The soil pH meters and test kits we carry at Hydrobuilder can help you keep your soil healthy and your plants growing their best. We have soil moisture meters and NPK test kits to help you determine what your plants are lacking or getting too much of.
There are a number of reasons why you should use a soil tester to test your garden soil. It is important to know the conditions you are growing in, so you can adjust accordingly.
If you are growing in soil, a pH meter for soil or a test kit is an absolute must to ensure you are growing in ideal soil conditions.
What is a good pH level for soil?
In general, a pH range of 5 to 7 is most favorable for plant growth because most plant nutrients are readily available in this range. This is very dependent on the plant species you are growing. Plants often have different ideal pH levels, moisture levels, temperatures, etc.
However, some plants have soil pH requirements often that can be above or below this range. Soils that have a pH below 5.5 generally have lower availability of calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus.
The availability of many plant nutrients in soils, including iron, zinc, copper, and manganese, is reduced at high pH values. Iron chlorosis in plants, caused by inadequate iron, is a common problem in alkaline soils.
How can I test my soil pH at home?
Here at Hydrobuilder.com, we carry many simple at-home soil testers and meters that can help test and correct bad soil conditions. Our meters can test for anything from soil pH levels, moisture content, and EC, but also temperature, and more! We also carry test strip kits for measuring ph of water or nutrient solution.
No matter what you are looking to test for in our soil-based garden, we have options for all home growers or professionals.
Are pH meters accurate?
The accuracy of pH meters generally range from ±0.1 pH to ±0.001 pH. A pH meter with an accuracy of ±0.01 is a good option for quality control or research environments. A meter with an accuracy of ±0.10 may be more affordable for a school and be adequate for their needs. An important point is that very low-cost meters often don’t always last long and often need replacement after a very short period of time.
Another important factor to consider with accuracy is how often they are clean and calibrated. Cleaning your probes or pH meters and storing them properly after use is important to the reliability and long-term accuracy of the tester.
Our reliable and accurate pH meters from the top brands such as Blue Lab, Milwaukee, and Hanna Instruments provide top-notch performance with very accurate results.
How do you use a soil pH meter?
To test your soil pH, insert the probes on your pH pen into the soil. Readings will display the pH level digitally.
The pH level of your soil directly affects the plant's ability to absorb nutrients. If your pH is too low or too high, you will see slower growth than you otherwise could!
Use the pH test results to determine how or if you need to adjust your nutrient or soil pH to better grow your crops. The plant species does play a big role in what soil and pH conditions you should have.
How do you correct pH in soil?
If the soil you test is outside the optimal range for the crop you are growing, you need to take steps to fix it quickly as possible to prevent issues. If you have a few supplies at home, it can be very simple.
pH adjuster kits contain pH up and pH down, and make correcting pH easy. These are natural alkaline or acidic chemicals that can be added to the soil.
If you are an organic grower, you can use amendments to adjust pH organically, but they won't act as fast. To lower the pH in your soil, try using peat or sulfur. To raise your pH, try using lime.
Or, check out our guide on the best pH soil testers by visiting our blog. We'll make the shopping experience easy!
Can you use a soil pH tester in water?
If you need to test your water or nutrient solution for an indoor garden or hydroponic system, you will need a hydroponic pH meter. These do not feature long, skinny probes like a soil meter. Some of the best pH pens for use in hydroponics or nutrient solutions are the Bluelab and Hanna Instruments. These brands provide a very accurate reading and are specifically designed for use in hydroponic applications.
If you are growing in soil, a soilless mix, coco coir, or a combo of any of those growing mediums, a simple pH soil tester is all you need. These meters work in both indoor and outdoor soil/soilless gardens and are usually very affordable.
What does a soil test tell you?
The most basic soil test kits, such as the Luster Leaf Rapitest Digital pH Meter, will display only the pH of the soil. However, we have many other options that test for moisture, temperatures, EC and much more. Plants need a pH of between 5-7 in order to absorb nutrients properly. If your soil is preventing this from happening, it needs to be corrected using a pH adjuster.
Some soil meters can also test for moisture. Growers sometimes like to cycle the soil between very moist and very dry to active certain processes. Unfortunately using your finger to guess how damp your soil is just doesn't work. The Active Air 3 - Way Meter is a 3-in-1 soil meter actually capable of reading pH, moisture, and sunlight!
More advanced multi-use tools can also test for specific macronutrient profiles in the soil, also known as NPK. This test reveals how much nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are in the soil, and how you should adjust these nutrients based on the plant's current growth stage.
You can also get a soil chemical test from a laboratory that sells at-home laboratory soil test kits. These kits will tell you the exact chemical makeup of your soil and sometimes can offer suggestions to improve soil nutrient availability and absorption.
What happens when soil pH is too high?
Soil pH affects plant health and optimal pH levels can help a plant reach its potential. If you hope to get the most out of your soil-grown crop, you will need to make sure you are accounting for pH and adjusting as needed.
When soil pH is too high, it can create problems for plant health and growth. For many plants, soil that is too alkaline will make it harder for the plant to use nutrients from the soil, which can limit their growth.
What happens if pH is too low in soil?
When soil pH is too low in the pH range, the soil is too acidic, causing plants to have difficulties absorbing nutrients through their roots.
Acidic soil causes deficiencies in several important nutrients, including phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and molybdenum. The resulting nutrient deficiencies may cause problems including yellow leaves, stunted growth, or lack of flowers and fruit on plants.
Automating your garden soil pH, moisture, and NPK testing
Are you a commercial grower, or a hobby farmer with limited time to tend to plants?
If so, you should strongly consider automating your soil testing with a device from the Sure Test line of products. These soil meters take continuous readings of your soil's moisture, salinity, temperature, and EC, and send them to a database on your computer or smartphone.
If you want to learn more about Garden soil testing, visit our blog for the full article.
If you have any questions about these soil meters and test kits, reach out to our expert growers at 888-815-9763 and let us help you!