All plants need access to the correct amount of food (nutrients) so that they can optimally grow and flourish. Over or under-feeding your plants ultimately results in plant health issues, not to mention the waste of expensive nutrients.
The fundamental parameters of pH, conductivity and temperature all play a pivotal role in driving optimal plant health. Regularly measuring these environmental factors guarantees your able to optimise your plants’ nutrient uptake.
While conductivity (EC) indicates the amount of nutrients in your soil/solution, pH (potential Hydrogen) shows how acidic or alkaline your medium is, which ultimately determines nutrient absorption. Temperature affects your plants’ growth rate and structure.
Whether your growing your produce in good old fashion soil, or utilising hydro methods such as solution the simplest way to keep track of nutrients is by measuring and testing environmental factors within your growing medium.
Correct measurements ensure the root systems ability to uptake and exchange nutrients to your plant is optimised, as a result, the plant is also able to naturally fight off pathogens and disease.
What is Electrical Conductivity?
EC refers to the measure of the amount of total ionic content (dissolved salts) in the medium of choice such as soil or solution. Scientifically speaking, when nutrients are added this creates the potential for electricity to move through the medium, increasing electrical conductivity (EC).
By measuring and adjusting nutrient levels you are able to ensure that your plants are receiving the necessary macro and micro nutrients they require for superior plant health. It is an excellent indicator of nutrient availability and loss. When utilised to measure soil, you have the ability to identify soil texture and the soils available water holding capacity.
Too high or too low EC will hinder the growth of crops. Different plants have different suitable EC according to the characteristics of fertilizer demand and growth stage.
As already mentioned, all plants need a balanced diet in order to grow, however plants can only access these nutrients if pH (potential hydrogen) of your growing medium falls within the correct range. pH plays a vital role in ensuring the nutrients are soluble so they can be absorbed by plants. Contrary to popular belief, it's necessary for growers to measure pH , regardless if your growing in soil or solution.
If your medium is too alkaline or too acidic your plants won't be able to access the nutrients they need. Each plant requires a a different pH, they range from a pH of 5.5-7.
Why is Temperature Fundamental?
Soil/solution temperature and plant growth strongly relate. Regularly measuring the temperature within your plants’ growing environment is key to success. Your mediums temperature influences both water absorption and nutrient uptake. If the medium is too warm, this may lead to oxygen deficiency and root infections, and if it’s too cold, this could shock the roots, which leads to hindered plant growth.
Get the fundamentals of growing right by regularly measuring these 3 environmental factors.