One of your most important responsibilities as a grower is monitoring the pH and nutrient content of your soil and nutrient solution. If pH levels are out of range, it can lead to a host of problems. If nutrients are too concentrated or too weak, plants can develop deficiencies or toxicities.
Why should I test my garden soil?
It is important to know what is in your soil before you even start growing, but this needs to be checked regularly as well. The main things you are testing for in the soil are pH and nutrient levels.
There is a specific pH level where plants thrive, being 6.5-6.8 in soil, and 5.5-6.5 in soilless gardens. The pH levels affects a plants ability to absorb nutrients, and if the range is out of whack, it can slow growth and damage the plant.
The other reason to test garden soil is to determine the nutrient content. Many soils contain macronutrients and micronutrients, and it is important to know the NPK levels so you can adjust your feeding.
For example, if your soil is Nitrogen-rich, you can dial down the Nitrogen you feed your plant to avoid nutrient toxicity. If you find your soil lacks Potassium, you can feed accordingly.
How do I test my garden soil?
Using a soil meter and test kit makes monitoring soil conditions easy. There are a wide range of meters and tests, ranging from simple to complex. The Active Air 2-Way pH & Moisture Meter is a simple moisture and pH test kit, and is as basic as it gets. Some of these will be more advanced 4 in 1 tests, like the Luster Leaf Products Rapitest Electronic 4-Way Analyzer, which tests for pH, moisture, sunlight, and N-P-K levels.
For growers looking for the most advanced, automated testing device, the Bluelab Pulse Multimedia EC/MC Meter allows for easy spot checking, and pairs with an app on your smart phone to store all information!
How do you change the pH of soil or nutrient solutions?
If you are only concerned with testing pH levels of your nutrients or water, you will be best off with a pH meter or test kit.
If you find your pH levels are less than ideal, you will need to quickly rectify this. Using a pH adjuster kit makes it super simple, by allowing you to raise or lower pH easily.
Automating your garden or grow room
All growers should strive for automation in their grow room as they grow as a cultivator. After you have your growing process dialed in, the next step should be spending less time in the grow room, and enjoying as much free time as possible.
Combination meters condense all your meters and test kits in one, and can greatly reduce the workload of growers. These can test for pH, PPM and TDS, temperature, and sometimes more. A lot of these allow you to access this data continuously in the cloud on your phone.
To further increase the efficiency of your grow room and free you from constantly stopping to monitor and adjust things, use a nutrient and pH doser. These devices are best used in hydroponic systems, and will constantly monitor the nutrient reservoir.
When the device detects any unideal range, it will automatically adjust it. For example, if pH starts to raise too high, pH down will be implemented to correct the issue. These are a serious lifesaver for growers who want to cut down on the hassle of constantly monitoring and adjusting things in the grow room.
Temperature and humidity in the grow room
You also need to pay close attention to temperature and humidity in the grow room. Ideal levels will vary from stage to stage, but for the most part, humidity should be 40-50%, and temperature should be 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Using thermometers and hygrometers allows you to quickly check these levels when you enter the grow room. Hygrometers are usually two in one, and can monitor both at once.
Not sure which meter or device is right for you and your grow? Check out our guide on the best pH testers for soil and hydroponics by visiting our blog. We'll make the shopping experience easy!
If you have any questions regarding any of these devices, reach out to our experienced growers at 888-815-9763!