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PH levels

Emilya

Member of the Month: Mar 2019
No, the opposite it is at least 50% peat. That's why I am struggling to why it's running on the high side or is it just my measurement tools being inaccurate? New pen coming for water check and I'm guessing get some more capsule test unless someone knows anything more accurate?
I still don't think you understand then, if you have at least 50% soil there. What sort of soil is it? I am curious what is in there. Soil's pH is supposed to be on the high side. You probably do not have a problem other than you are trying to adjust out a ghost that isn't there. Just water at 6.3 pH every time, whether it is water or water mixed with nutes and additives. 6.3 pH in will then drift due to the proper buffering of the soil, and it will rise up through the range of 6.3-6.8pH, just as it was designed. Your peat doesn't automatically make the soil acidic by being there, it is only when it breaks down that it can drive the pH downward. If you flush regularly to get this broken down peat out of there, it should not affect your soil in a negative way. (catch that pun?) If you do not flush regularly, then that peat will stop the drifting action and your soil will either slow way down or start drifting negatively when you water, and that will be bad. If it ever looks like your plants are not getting the nutrients even though you are adjusting things correctly, you probably need to flush. Fox Farm Ocean Forest is about 30% sphagnum moss and that is the problem with this soil, the peat breaks down and requires you to flush it out. Fox Farms knows this and recommends regular flushes. You will have the same problem with this frankensoil, but it can be managed.
Lastly, you really don't have an accurate way to measure your soil's base pH. It has to be done in a vacuum to get accurate results. This and Mulder's chart on soil mineral interactions absolutely needs to be taken into consideration when attempting to mix up your own soil... it is not just as easy as mixing in things that sound good. I remember totally failing in a grow one time because I thought that a lot of locally made compost mixed into the soil was going to be a good idea. Until you totally understand soil water retention rates, flow through rates, cation exchange and mulder's rules, it is simply a guessing game when you start mixing and matching products, additives and even products within the same soil family as to whether you make things better or worse in any of these important areas.
 

CC420710

Active Member
This is all good info but I am still a little confused about this mix that you are calling soil. If it is mostly peat, then you are not growing in soil at all, and your pH needs to be changed on all of your inputs to the hydro range of things. If you have a soil/peat mix it is important to know how much of each is in there, so we can advise accordingly.
It’s half and half with perlite and vermiculite in the mix. So I’m confused as to which I should refer to? Really if you grow in peat you go off hydro measurements? Is that the same for anything else?
 

Emilya

Member of the Month: Mar 2019
It’s half and half with perlite and vermiculite in the mix. So I’m confused as to which I should refer to? Really if you grow in peat you go off hydro measurements? Is that the same for anything else?
peat is not soil... it grows in the soil, but it has none of the same qualities, such as being able to retain minerals, amino acids, etc., that soil does. Because of this, there are no available nutrients in peat... and you have to feed the plants everything that they would need, exactly as you do in hydro. It is possible to grow in pure peat that way, as well as in pure perlite, coco or even just water, as long as you supply the proper nutrients at the proper pH.

You have an appreciable amount of soil in there though... and that is different, and in my opinion, much better. I would bet that in addition to the perlite and vermiculite there are also other additives, such as dolomite lime, so i am convinced now that i am advising you correctly with the 6.3 pH.
 

CC420710

Active Member
Any good organic soil should have a decent ph level, as well as a fair amount of ph buffering ability, meaning its basic ph shouldn't be permanently changed by feedings and you shouldn’t need to worry much what the ph of your feedings are. The lime, clay, and minerals in organic soil do a good job of maintaining soil ph where it should be.

Hydroponic grows often use mediums that are basically just there to hold roots and whatever nutrients you wash through them. Examples are rockwool, coco, clay pebbles (hydroton), perlite, peat moss, etc. These mediums do not contain nutrients other than what you add, and don’t have much/any ph buffering ability. So with a hydroponic style grow, ph levels of the nutrient mix have to be monitored and adjusted for every feeding.

Almost all bottled nutrients are acidic.
One reason I chose not to do hydro because of room for error. From what I read it's not as forgiving if you mess up, Maybe one day idk trying to learn rn
 

CC420710

Active Member
Is it raw peat moss or has it had lime added?

Generally speaking, if your plants aren’t showing ph related issues, it’s best not to bother worrying about it. Especially without an accurate meter to test it.
You raise a good point with the additives I am going to check everything now to see if there are any. I’m not too worried as it’s not a big problem rn but curious as to what does affect if problems start from it and learning for next grow. Whether anyone else gets help from idk but all the input has been very helpful to me. Which is why I have a lot of questions. So if anyone of anyone gets tired of my questions oh well there are good teachers here
 

CC420710

Active Member
peat is not soil... it grows in the soil, but it has none of the same qualities, such as being able to retain minerals, amino acids, etc., that soil does. Because of this, there are no available nutrients in peat... and you have to feed the plants everything that they would need, exactly as you do in hydro. It is possible to grow in pure peat that way, as well as in pure perlite, coco or even just water, as long as you supply the proper nutrients at the proper pH.

You have an appreciable amount of soil in there though... and that is different, and in my opinion, much better. I would bet that in addition to the perlite and vermiculite there are also other additives, such as dolomite lime, so i am convinced now that i am advising you correctly with the 6.3 pH.
So if growing hydro and peat would you need to feed more often since it doesn’t retain them? Just curious as I have been looking into other options in future like coco fiber.
 

CC420710

Active Member
You raise a good point with the additives I am going to check everything now to see if there are any. I’m not too worried as it’s not a big problem rn but curious as to what does affect if problems start from it and learning for next grow. Whether anyone else gets help from idk but all the input has been very helpful to me. Which is why I have a lot of questions. So if anyone of anyone gets tired of my questions oh well there are good teachers here
Reading the bag itself says only ingredient is peat but I am double checking soil part. I don’t have it’s bag anymore.
 

TorturedSoul

Member of the Month: May 2009, Oct 2010, Sept 2017
So if growing hydro and peat would you need to feed more often since it doesn’t retain them?
Personally, I'd just choose a better medium, one that didn't break down (in terms of chemical/etc. changes, rather than physically breaking or crumbling). Hydroton / Geolite / Hydro Crunch (all name brands for expanded clay "balls") or perlite. Coco Coir if I couldn't find anything better and didn't mind hydrating it, rinsing the <BLEEP> out of it, and then soaking it in a dilute solution of calcium nitrate and a little Epsom salt before I used it, then never letting it completely dry out.

BtW, some people have been adding extra lime to Fox Farm's Ocean Forest soil for years, both as a bit of a "preventative" if the grow runs long and to guard against the occasional poor batch (which has happened).

Speaking of soil (and "soil"), whenever you buy a bag, make sure you dump it into a larger container and mix it well before you start filling containers with it. Those cheap little children's "pools" that you can get for less than ten bucks at Big Lots after all hope of selling them at list price on the stores they were originally sent to work well for this task.
 

CC420710

Active Member
Thanks everyone for the knowledge. I have a new ph pen coming so all should be good soon if it isn’t. I did try mixing the soil with distilled water to make it more liquidity and according to strips it’s on lower side. I also used my 3-1 digital meter and it shows around 5. I’m not sure the accuracy but they both seem to match result wise mixed with water. Girls are doing good
 

Emilya

Member of the Month: Mar 2019
Thanks everyone for the knowledge. I have a new ph pen coming so all should be good soon if it isn’t. I did try mixing the soil with distilled water to make it more liquidity and according to strips it’s on lower side. I also used my 3-1 digital meter and it shows around 5. I’m not sure the accuracy but they both seem to match result wise mixed with water. Girls are doing good
You really need to disabuse yourself of this notion that you can somehow measure the pH of the soil with the tools you have on hand and that whatever reading you get somehow relates to the actual pH at any point in the container. It may help to explain that the pH of any region in that container changes, depending on how close that soil is to being dry and therefore reverting back to its base pH, or how much incoming water/s pH is still influencing that region.

The pH is different at different places in the container, and at different times during the wet/dry cycle, so how does a local snapshot in time measurement of pH by an inaccurate meter or test strips tell you anything important? The answer is that it doesn't, but then to try to adjust the incoming water's pH somehow to compensate for what you think you are seeing in the soil can quickly make a good situation go bad.
Trust your soil. It will do what it needs to do. Use your new pen to accurately measure and adjust the pH of any incoming fluid to 6.3 pH and all will be golden.
 

Nunyabiz

Well-Known Member
I think one of the biggest problems people have with pH and trying to maintain homeostasis between their medium and plant is that they try to use synthetic salt based nutrients in soil that needs to rely on the microbiome.

IMO, if you are set on using synthetic nutrients then you should use a tried and true medium for that which is washed and charged coco mixed with about 30% pumice and 5% precharged biochar.
pH this at around 5.8 to 6.0 and water every single day because this is more of a Hydrosoil medium, needs to stay moist at all times and this everyday flow of a weak solution of salt based nutrients helps flush the salt on through instead of building up which is what happens in soil or in whatever medium with compost, humus etc.
The salt buildup screws everything.

If you want to do soil then do a Living Organic Soil and inoculate with mycorrhazae, get your soil tilth right with 30% aeration in the form of about 20% pumice, 10% rice hulls and 5% precharged biochar.
Put that in a fabric pot and you don't need to worry about pH or over watering unless you go insane.
 

Emilya

Member of the Month: Mar 2019
I think one of the biggest problems people have with pH and trying to maintain homeostasis between their medium and plant is that they try to use synthetic salt based nutrients in soil that needs to rely on the microbiome.

IMO, if you are set on using synthetic nutrients then you should use a tried and true medium for that which is washed and charged coco mixed with about 30% pumice and 5% precharged biochar.
pH this at around 5.8 to 6.0 and water every single day because this is more of a Hydrosoil medium, needs to stay moist at all times and this everyday flow of a weak solution of salt based nutrients helps flush the salt on through instead of building up which is what happens in soil or in whatever medium with compost, humus etc.
The salt buildup screws everything.

If you want to do soil then do a Living Organic Soil and inoculate with mycorrhazae, get your soil tilth right with 30% aeration in the form of about 20% pumice, 10% rice hulls and 5% precharged biochar.
Put that in a fabric pot and you don't need to worry about pH or over watering unless you go insane.
I hate to jump on what you are saying again @Nunyabiz , and for our original poster's future grows what you said here is definitely worthy of consideration, but the OP came in here asking for help understanding pH and how it was affecting his present grow, not for advice as to what they should of or could have done or why their method was inferior to what you are proposing that they should do instead of what they have going now.
There is also a bit of misinformation in what you said. There is nothing wrong with using a good potting soil as a medium and then using synthetic nutes to supply to the budding plants what the soil can not. It is done all the time, and indeed companies such as Fox Farms and Roots Organic have made a lot of money using their fine soils along with a solid synthetic nute program. Salt can easily be flushed out of soil, just like in coco or the specific coco/pumice/biochar mix that you say that everyone "should use" or of course they wouldn't need synthetic nutes at all in a LOS like what you actually are promoting all over this forum.
Please note that in all of my posts in this thread explaining pH and how this great new member should go about fixing his grow and understanding pH, I never once told him that he should move to a TLO grow like I do, or that what he is doing is all wrong and that he needs to start over... I worked to help him understand his present grow and how to better manage it and how to work with what he had going right now, so as to get to a final harvest. To offer anything else would be less than helpful and maybe a little self promoting, and it gets people like me a little bit agitated when I see posts like your last one. It is perfectly fine to promote your own methods and offer your opinions, but while doing so, please also remember that someone came to us for help with their present grow so giving factual information is vitally important because at the end of it, all they really want to do is get through this grow with a decent harvest.
 
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