pH & EC Measuring
In hydroponics, environment maintenance is key. Unlike growing plants using ground soil, these plants require certain environmental factors to be controlled such as pH, EC (Electrical Conductivity), and temperature as these are crucial for the optimal growth and survival of the plants.
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Hydroponics is a revolutionary mode of vertical farming enabling plant growth without the use of soil under a completely controlled environment. Studies suggest that this method allows the plant to receive adequate nutrition directly from the reservoir provided. This means that the plant will no longer search for food as it will be administered readily, thus growing fewer roots and most of its energy will be utilised in producing more leaves, flowers, and fruits.
By definition, pH is the measure of acidity or alkalinity of a solution. It measures the amount of Hydrogen ions (H+) present in a compound: the higher the H+ concentration, the more acidic the solution is. Moreover, a scale of 0-14 is commonly used to measure the pH. Pure water has a pH value of 7, which is used as the reference value or the midpoint for the scale: Solutions that give a pH less than 7 are acidic whereas those that are above pH 7 are alkaline. Measuring the pH is essential as it affects the absorption and availability of the elements that the plant needs. Generally, most plants absorb optimum nutrients in a slightly acidic environment (pH 5.5-6.5). In contrast, pH levels outside that range make it difficult for the nutrients to be absorbed readily, thus resulting in deficient or incomplete plant nutrition.
On the other hand, EC measures nutrient concentration in a solution. It has to be adjusted appropriately as inadequate EC leads to deficiencies while excessive EC levels can result to plant toxicity. Delicate plants may require low EC levels at the beginning that gradually increases as the plant grows. Some plants tend to thrive better on a nutrient-rich solution while others prefer less concentrated ones. Put simply, it is essential to adjust the EC levels in accordance with the nutrient requirement of the plant of choice.
Furthermore, the temperature is another vital requirement as it indicates the oxygen level of the water reservoir: the warmer reservoir means poor oxygenation. Low oxygen levels will compromise the water absorption, making the root zone look wilted. Also, increased temperature makes the plant susceptible to pathogens. The aforementioned are crucial factors in plant nutrition, making it necessary to invest in quality hydroponic equipment as accurate pH, EC, and temperature will guarantee a better yield. Progrow Hydroponics provides a variety of quality and advanced equipment that can cater to any hydroponic gardening needs, regardless of the size of the room, methods employed, or budget.