Should I Get a pH/EC Meter for PourThru Testing?
Yes! The more you know the better. Being able to monitor acidity scale and electrical conductivity using basic sampling procedures gives you an excellent baseline. If you do not have your own pH and EC meter, you will have to send PourThru test samples out for testing. This is much more expensive than investing in your own meter!
Soil pH Monitoring
If your substrate (growing medium) pH is too low (acidic), nutrient uptake may increase to toxic levels. If your substrate pH is too high, chemical interactions make nutrients less available and plants go hungry. Growers commonly keep their substrate pH at between 6.0-6.5 although a range as wide as 5-7 can produce positive results.
Why Does Soil pH Matter?
Much like in our own bodies salt influences electrical conductivity. If levels are too high it means you are fertilizing too much. If levels are too low it means you’re not fertilizing enough and your plant needs more available nutrients. Your plant’s nutrient needs typically grow over development stages.
Nutrient Needs vs Growth Stage
To give you a general idea, in early vegetation they need some, in late vegetation they need more, during peak flowering they need the most, and at pre-harvest, they go back to needing some. Investing in pH/EC gives you invaluable hard data on your plant’s nutrient status and provide helpful data points to help you develop a “feel” for what’s going on at each stage.
What is a Good pH and EC Meter to Buy?
There are many pH and EC meters that are available for as cheap as $20-30, or more expensive models that can cost hundreds. Since these meters are so useful, it is a good piece of equipment to invest a little more in. With regular care and calibration, they can last for years (even decades)!
pH/TDS/EC/Temp Meter by HM Digital
This pH/EC meter is a great value for just about $160.00. It also can read total dissolved solids (TDS) and temperature which makes it very useful when it comes to mixing nutrients and monitoring soil salinity. The temperature compensation feature means that you will get highly accurate results.
- Advanced waterproof combo meter
- Measures four parameters: pH, electrical conductivity (EC), total dissolved solids (TDS), and temperature
- Two different conductivity conversion factors to convert EC to TDS using the 0.5 (NaCl) or 0.7 (442TM)
- Selectable modes for measurements in the µS, mS, and ppm scales
- Automatic temperature compensation accommodates for discrepancies in temperature
- Digital calibration for easy and precise calibration