One of the problems faced by many newcomers to hydroponics growing is adjusting the pH levels. Without the use of soil or traditional fertilizer, you might feel a little lost when it comes to raising or lowering the pH levels. In outdoor gardens, you can simply add some extra fertilizer to the soil to adjust the levels. However, indoor hydroponics systems don’t have this luxury, so you’ll have to be a little bit more creative.
What is pH and Why Is It Important?
The pH level of soil or water is a measurement of how acidic the contents are. As you may already know, plants require a very specific pH level in order to grow and thrive. If the soil is too acidic or not acidic enough, they either wont grow to their full potential or they will simply die off.
Do you remember back in high school chemistry class how your teacher talked about the properties of baking soda? Baking soda has the opposite effect of acid and is able to raise the alkaline, or pH, of plants and vegetables. If the water in your hydroponics system is too acidic, try adding a small amount of baking soda. Give it a day or so to sit in and then tun a pH test on the water to see how it affected it.
So you know how to raise the pH levels in a hydroponics system now, but how do you lower them? If the pH is too high, you’ll need to add acid-rich ingredients, such as lemon juice. This is one of the strongest ingredients used to lower the pH levels. Just add a small amount of lemon juice to your hydroponics system, give it some time to thoroughly disperse and test it again.
Vinegar is another acidic solution which can be used to temporarily lower the pH levels in your hydroponics system. Unfortunately, though, most indoor growers will give you mixed reviews regarding the use of vinegar. While it will in fact work to lower the pH levels, it doesn’t take hold for very long, therefore driving the levels back to where they originally where. Truthfully, though, this is a common problem that you’ll likely come across during both indoor and outdoor gardening. You must stay on top of your hydroponics system and constantly test the pH levels to determine if any new ingredients are necessary.