Now we have a basic understanding of mixing our base nutrients, we can move on to checking the strength of our freshly made nutrient solution with an instrument called an EC Meter (Most bottles in Australia use EC as a guide)
We also check the pH of our solution to see if the nutrient solution is in range. Most nutrients if used correctly will come very close to achieving the correct range without any further calibration.
The pH ranges in hydroponics are 5.5 – 6.5
The EC ranges in hydroponics are 0.3 – 2.4 (various phases)
If the pH is either side of this suggested range, absorption of specific nutrients is severely limited, this usually leads to a nutrient deficiency which impacts plant growth and cell development.
Nutrient absorption and an incorrect pH is like trying to drink a milkshake with a folded straw, if we correct the pH then the straw completely opens up, allowing us to drink the milkshake with ease.
Hydroponic growing is never a flawless exercise, there are constant issues that arise, this forces the gardener to understand how the plant works.
When a plant has a problem, it can only communicate to us via its leaves, understanding these signs allows gardeners to become fluent in the “plants language.”
Through repetition you will become far more capable of identifying these issues and how to correct them, to the point where eventually you can focus on preventatives instead of solutions.
Writing a journal is highly recommended, this way if there are any issues you can quickly refer to your notes to determine how you can correct.
Mixing nutrients using pH & EC meters:
STEP 1 – Fill measuring jug/reservoir with required amount of water.
STEP 2 – If tap water, let it sit out overnight, check and write down pH
STEP 3 – Measure dosage from "Bottle A" appropriate to jug/reservoir.
STEP 4 – Mix really well, let sit for 2-5 mins
STEP 5 – Measure dosage from "Bottle B" appropriate to jug/reservoir.
STEP 6 – Mix really well, let sit for 2-5 mins
STEP 7 – Check and write down the pH and EC of the solution.
STEP 8 – Add any additional additives one at a time and mix really well
STEP 9 – Check and write down the pH and EC of your final solution
STEP 10 – Feed your plants!
Gardening for most is a great way of reducing stress and stilling the mind, and now you have a better understanding of EC & pH your plants will also be able to enjoy a stress-free life!
Allowing you both to perform at your best!