What is pH ?
pH is the measure of acidity/alkalinity of a solution.
Can you explain this in a little more detail ?
pH is a measure of the hydronium ion H3O+. It is based on a logarithmic scale from 0 to 14. “Pure” water has a pH of 7.0. If the pH is less than 7, the solution is acid. If the pH is greater than 7 it is alkaline. Because the scale is logarithmic and not linear, a pH of 6 indicates ten times more H protons than a pH of 7, and a pH of 5 indicates 10 times more protons than a pH of 6.
pH is important because it affects availability and absorption of several of the 16 atomic elements needed for plant growth. Maximum absorption of these elements is found at pH readings 5.5 to 6.5. When pH falls below this range many of the macro elements (N, P, K) have less availability, and absorption of the micro nutrients can reach toxic levels.
How often should I check my pH level?
When first starting out it is a good idea to measure the pH of your water every day, until you get a feel for your system. Measure your water and then add your nutrients. Within an hour check the pH and adjust accordingly. Repeat this process until pH stabilizes.
.The pH of the nutrient solution is essential to the plants health because it will affect how well each element can pass through the root cell wall and nourish the plant. When the pH of the nutrient solution is out of balance the plants are not able uptake the nutrients in the water, basically starving them, even when there is plenty of food.
. When PH rises above 6.5 some of the nutrients and micro-nutrients begin to precipitate out of solution and can stick to the walls of the reservoir and growing chambers. For example :- iron will be about half precipitated at the PH levels of 7.3 and at about 8.0 there is virtually no iron left in solution at all.