420 Magazine Background

How can I test my soil pH?

Tecumseh

New Member
I'm trying to prepare a soil mix and I need a fairly reliable way to test my pH. I have this soil pH meter that I got from Home Depot but, it's junk. I can't trust it. I get totally different readings from the same sample when tested just a few minutes later. It's frustrating.I can test the water that I add to the soil and I can test the run off. How can I be fairly sure of what my soil pH is?

Junk meter
 

Droopy Dog

New Member
Why not just add powdered dolomite lime to that mix and not have to worry about pH?

~$5 for a 40Lb bag at Lowes. 2tbl/gallon of mix, or 1cup/CuFt of mix.

I don't bother pH'ng anything anymore, water, nutes, teas, whatever. I only check my runoff if there is a problem and it's been months since I've needed to do that.

DD
 

evergren420

New Member
Easy and reliable way to test your soil is with a kit, getm at homedepot 4$ in the garden section. You can also discuss this with the experienced growers.
 

Icemud

Member of the Month: July 2012, July 2014 - Nug of the Month: July 2012
I test my nutrient/water ph before feeding and then I also test the run-off left in the drip pans after the feeding. Usually I feed my plants water around 6.2-6.4ph. Every time I test my soil run-off I am sitting nicely at 6.4-6.2ph. This is the best way I have read to test your soil ph.

I use 2 things to test my waterings....I used a handheld Hanna PH meter, and also the ph drops. I try to used both because sometimes my meter may read inaccuratly if it wasn't calibrated prior to use so I usually will use the drops to make sure that my nutrient mixes and runoff are sitting about right...the problem with the drops is that when your runoff comes out, it usually has some brown/yellow coloration to it already, so it is very hard to read the true color of the ph drops. In this case I will watch the color of the drops as I drop them into the test solution and this will usually give me a good indication of where my ph is sitting, also if you shake your test vial, and then let it sit, the ph testing solution usually will rise to the top and make it a little easier to read. Like I said though, I use the drops more as a cross-check to my hanna meter than anything. I would highly suggest investing in a digital ph meter if you don't already have one...makes life much easier...
 
Last edited:

Tecumseh

New Member
Cool. Thanx. I rec'd my Hanna pH meter in the mail Saturday. I'm just waiting for the cal solutions to arrive. I'm gonna pick up some dolomite lime too. I'm using well water and it consistently measures 7 with my test strips. A couple of days ago I used a small amount of vinegar to bring the pH of my water down a little. It worked pretty well.
 

Droopy Dog

New Member
7.0 well water is fine. Mo betta than adding the vinegar even if you get it to 6.5 or whatever.

To get a good run off test, water well to saturation and decent run off. Let the plant sit for 1/2 hr or so. Add just a bit more water and test that run off.

That run off will have been in contact with the soil for however long you let the plant sit and will give you a more realistic reading than reading the run off from when you first water.

Spend the $5 and get a bag of powdered dolomite lime at Lowes.

DD
 

Tecumseh

New Member
7.0 well water is fine. Mo betta than adding the vinegar even if you get it to 6.5 or whatever.

To get a good run off test, water well to saturation and decent run off. Let the plant sit for 1/2 hr or so. Add just a bit more water and test that run off.

That run off will have been in contact with the soil for however long you let the plant sit and will give you a more realistic reading than reading the run off from when you first water.

Spend the $5 and get a bag of powdered dolomite lime at Lowes.

DD

I just finished calibrating my new pH meter and I've tested my well H2O. My water tested at pH 7.7. That can't be good. I guess that I misread the test strips. My eyes aren't what they were. This might help explain some of the problems that I've been having with my plants.

I'm wondering if a few drops of lemon juice added to my water might be better than vinegar. Any opinions on that are welcome.
 

datrippp

New Member
Wel, for testing my soil, I just use one of the cheap little green testers from home depot, the ones that do PH, Moisture, & Light. It seems to work great. I use a digital hanna for testing my nutrient ph when I mix it, and also for testing my runoff PH. But my cheap soil tester has been working just fine for about 1 1/2 years now. You can pick em up for about $5 at most garden centers, even wal-mart has em in the garden section.
 

Droopy Dog

New Member
I just finished calibrating my new pH meter and I've tested my well H2O. My water tested at pH 7.7. That can't be good. I guess that I misread the test strips. My eyes aren't what they were. This might help explain some of the problems that I've been having with my plants.

I'm wondering if a few drops of lemon juice added to my water might be better than vinegar. Any opinions on that are welcome.
Citric Acid would be even better. Look in the canning section of the grocery store, or the baking section. They should have small jars of it. It's a powder, not liquid.

DD
 

SirMatrix

New Member
Why not just add powdered dolomite lime to that mix and not have to worry about pH?

~$5 for a 40Lb bag at Lowes. 2tbl/gallon of mix, or 1cup/CuFt of mix.

I don't bother pH'ng anything anymore, water, nutes, teas, whatever. I only check my runoff if there is a problem and it's been months since I've needed to do that.

DD
do you think you could explain that a bit more ? it sounds intresting !:)
 

Hogdady

Plant of the Month: June 2010 - Nug of the Month: July 2010
do you think you could explain that a bit more ? it sounds intresting !:)
I'm sure DD won't mind if I jump in....

Dolomitic lime has been used extensively in agriculture to maintain ph stability. It is normally used as an amendment to the soil when you are preparing your planting mix. It can be added (top dressed) later, if desired. DO NOT use hydrated lime. Powdered lime is preferable, but pelletized will work. For cannabis, use 2-3 tbsp of lime to each gallon of planting mix (or 1 cup to 1 cubic foot of mix). :)
 

SirMatrix

New Member
I'm sure DD won't mind if I jump in....

Dolomitic lime has been used extensively in agriculture to maintain ph stability. It is normally used as an amendment to the soil when you are preparing your planting mix. It can be added (top dressed) later, if desired. DO NOT use hydrated lime. Powdered lime is preferable, but pelletized will work. For cannabis, use 2-3 tbsp of lime to each gallon of planting mix (or 1 cup to 1 cubic foot of mix). :)
thanks a lot mate :D
 

SirMatrix

New Member
I'm sure DD won't mind if I jump in....

Dolomitic lime has been used extensively in agriculture to maintain ph stability. It is normally used as an amendment to the soil when you are preparing your planting mix. It can be added (top dressed) later, if desired. DO NOT use hydrated lime. Powdered lime is preferable, but pelletized will work. For cannabis, use 2-3 tbsp of lime to each gallon of planting mix (or 1 cup to 1 cubic foot of mix). :)
thanks a lot mate :D i appreciate it
 

Droopy Dog

New Member
I'm sure DD won't mind if I jump in....

Dolomitic lime has been used extensively in agriculture to maintain ph stability. It is normally used as an amendment to the soil when you are preparing your planting mix. It can be added (top dressed) later, if desired. DO NOT use hydrated lime. Powdered lime is preferable, but pelletized will work. For cannabis, use 2-3 tbsp of lime to each gallon of planting mix (or 1 cup to 1 cubic foot of mix). :)
LOL, not at all and well put.

The amazing thing is its lack of *press* for a better word? Farmers have been using lime ever since, IDK when, but at least when it became feasible to crush large quantity's of limestone easily. 100+ years, if not longer?

Of course, with the mmj money machine that exists, it's much better to have a large variety of products and gizmos to fix problems that a few cup full's of lime from a $5-40lb bag, would have prevented in the first place.:yummy:

DD
 

Hogdady

Plant of the Month: June 2010 - Nug of the Month: July 2010
Of course, with the mmj money machine that exists, it's much better to have a large variety of products and gizmos to fix problems that a few cup full's of lime from a $5-40lb bag, would have prevented in the first place.:yummy:

DD
DD, you have such a way with words! Well spoken my friend...:)
 

Tecumseh

New Member
LOL, not at all and well put.

The amazing thing is its lack of *press* for a better word? Farmers have been using lime ever since, IDK when, but at least when it became feasible to crush large quantity's of limestone easily. 100+ years, if not longer?

Of course, with the mmj money machine that exists, it's much better to have a large variety of products and gizmos to fix problems that a few cup full's of lime from a $5-40lb bag, would have prevented in the first place.:yummy:

DD

I'm not trying to be a wiseass here but,... How would adding lime to my soil have helped me? Doesn't lime raise the pH of the soil? That's what it says on the labels that I've read. My problem is actually the pH of my water. I guess that I should have been more specific about why I wanted to test my soil pH. I wanted to know if I was getting the correct soil pH after correcting my H2O pH with a few drops of vinegar.

Believe me. I'd love to find the easiest, cheapest way to do this.

And, I actually live on top of limestone (the ground beneath my feet) and am using well water. I probably don't need any more lime.
 
Last edited:

Hogdady

Plant of the Month: June 2010 - Nug of the Month: July 2010
I'm not trying to be a wiseass here but,... How would adding lime to my soil have helped me? Doesn't lime raise the pH of the soil? That's what it says on the labels that I've read. My problem is actually the pH of my water. I guess that I should have been more specific about why I wanted to test my soil pH. I wanted to know if I was getting the correct soil pH after correcting my H2O pH with a few drops of vinegar.

Believe me. I'd love to find the easiest, cheapest way to do this.
There are two ways to grow Cannabis...proactively or reactively. The inexperienced and naive grow reacting to every negative situation as best they can. The wise and experienced grower takes many proactive measures to insure a trouble free grow. Dolomitic lime falls into the category of proactive measures. Dolomitic lime is a ph stabilizer, which acts as a buffer to ph swings from water and chemicals. If you use dolomitic lime, you don't have to worry about the soil ph. Just ph your feeding mix before you water and everything will be good.

From a Proactive Grower
 

Tecumseh

New Member
Thanks for that info Hogdady. I am of the inexperienced, reactive breed. You nailed that one. I don't understand how some things work. That's is why I'm here after all. To learn from those with more experience.

I may indeed try adding some dolomite lime to my next soil mix. I wish that I could find it in a smaller bag. 40 lbs would last me forever. I'm just doing a small grow for personal use.
 
Top Bottom