In addition to proper lighting and ventilation, monitoring and controlling the pH and TDS of the nutrient solution is one of the most important aspects of a successful and productive grow room. Of the 100-plus elements on earth, a plant only needs less than 20 to survive. But a plant’s roots can only absorb those essential elements within a certain pH range (5.5 to 6.5 for hydroponics, 6.0 to 7.0 for soil). Additionally, even if those elements are in a nutrient solution at the correct pH, the roots will not be able to absorb them if they are at too high of a strength. If either measurement is off, nutrients may not be available to the plant when it needs them or they may be at such a high concentration that the nutrient solution actually reverses the flow of nutrients into the roots, causing damage to the plant.
With that in mind, it is easy to see why measuring pH and TDS is so important for healthy plants, heavy harvests and happy growers. [Continue reading]
Try substituting your chemical based pH down solution with all natural lemon juice. The average pH of lemon juice is about 2.3 and the citric acid in the juice will help lower your pH (at a rate of 1 tablespoon per gallon) to your desired range. You can use either fresh lemons or the concentrate, both will do the trick.
Although not as concentrated as phosphoric acid, citric acid is a great alternative that, due to its organic structure, won’t harm beneficial bacteria or fungi which assist in nutrient uptake.
To learn more about the benefits of keeping your pH in check, read our FAQ on pH and TDS.