Can't get soil Ph dialed in

Discussion in 'Sick Plants & Problems' started by Mick, Oct 18, 2019.

  1. Oct 18, 2019 #1

    Mick

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    My plants are starting to show some yellowing and other signs of Ph too high. I'm growing in Vermifire and feeding General Organics, in 5 gallon cloth pots. I tested my runoff the last 3 feedings and even going in at 6.0-6.2, my runoff is in the low 7 range. What am I doing wrong? Do I ever want to feed at under 6.0? After I mix their food should I letting it sit and retesting it before I feed? Seems like my soil just does not want to get into the acceptable range and I'm at a loss. Thanks in advance
     
  2. Oct 18, 2019 #2

    Lesso

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    Where are you in your growing cycle? Can you send us pics of the affected areas and of the whole plant?
     
  3. Oct 18, 2019 #3

    oldfogey8

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    I use General Organics nutes and I have never checked pH on it. Nute lock out can be due to temperatures, not just pH. GO and all organic nutes are really just feeding the microbes in the soil. If you have chlorine water(or worse yet chloramine), mixing the nutes up with that might be killing the microbes and fungi. With the soil essentially dead, the roots won’t be getting access to the nutrients it needs. I let my water sit out for a few days before mixing in the nutes and feeding the plants(soil). So I would make sure your grow area isn’t too hot or too cold and try letting your water sit out so the chlorine evaporates. As lesso said, info on the growth stage and pics would help as well.
     
  4. Oct 18, 2019 #4

    stinkyattic

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    Hi Mick!
    Yes, mix your ferts, shake/swirl, you can certainly let them sit for like a half hour and yes, re-testing right before feeding is the correct way to do it.
    I'm not familiar with that potting mix. Is there coco in it? Sometimes coco mixes can drift up over time. It's not particularly common though. Is there lime in it? Or did you add any? Lime is a very common potting mix ingredient and too much of it will prevent even intentional downward pH adjustment!
    Sure, you can feed below 6 to correct a drift, but personally I'd never go below like 5.6 even in dire straits, and I'd be extra careful to check calibration of my meter first cuz that's right on the edge of the known safe zone for roots even as a temporary condition!
    I'm definitely curious what's in that dirt now!
     
  5. Oct 18, 2019 #5

    umbra

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    ph in soil can vary. It is in part due to microbial action in the soil. Part of the reaction in the soil with microbes is hydrogen and or the lack of it. PH is more than just a measurement of acidity, it is about potential hydrogen … after all that is what PH means and it works similar to potential energy.
     
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  6. Oct 18, 2019 #6

    Mick

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    I took a couple pics with the lights on and it's hard to see much, the lights seem to give everything funky color on my camera. I will go out right at lights out and get a couple with a portable light I use. I'm in the country and on a well, so my water is as close to natural as I can get, no chlorination or other processing but it does come out the tap about 7.8. I pulled the ingredient list from the Vermifire, and it does contain coco. List is as follows, in their order...Perlite, coco coir, compost, processed softwood bark, lava rock, sphagnum peat, worm castings, fertilizer(see below), volcanic ash and mycorrhizal fungi. Ferts derived from bat guano, blood meal, bone meal, dolomite lime, feather meal kelp meal and potassium sulfate. Also includes glomus intradices. My first grow I used FFOF and got great results, but my local grow shop is having trouble getting that now and said this was about as close as anything he's come across. I'm not adding anything to it, just wanted to run a crop and see how it works.
     
  7. Oct 19, 2019 #7

    Lesso

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    Weve all been down that road with the grow shop.
     
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  8. Oct 19, 2019 #8

    Mick

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  9. Oct 19, 2019 #9

    Mick

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    Those don't look like everyone else's pics. I think I did that wrong >.<
     
  10. Oct 19, 2019 #10

    oldfogey8

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    They look hungry to me and you are nowhere near close to harvest. I have some old bottles of GO nutes hanging around and noticed newer bottles have different NPK ratios and some have directions for light and heavy feeding, some don’t. I tried feeding my plants according to the heavy feeding directions during my last grow and found they like that. Maybe bump up your dosages 50% or so. Everything you read says nute companies like to prompt you to feed heavily so you should feed lighter. I am vegging right now though and feeding for heavy feeding plants and the plants are growing like wild.
     
  11. Oct 19, 2019 #11

    stinkyattic

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    Hey the way you described your plants I thought things were gonna be way worse but we can work with this.
    They are starving/locked out/both. We haven't established which it is yet.
    In your situation I would IMMEDIATELY mix up a foliar of 1ml/l gh micro plus the recommended foliar dosage of your current nutrient and mist your plants 1-2×/day (assuming you don't have humidity problems and it's safe to do so) to try to slow the deficiency, since we think you are locked out which means they aren't feeding properly by their roots.
    Then we can talk about your water situation, which is giving me both Missouri and Long Island flashbacks, and also your medium, which sounds like the dirt equivalent of someone trying to explain the recipe for epices berbere from memory. Hang on gotta catch a breath here...
     
  12. Oct 19, 2019 #12

    sir-tokes-alot

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    cal-mag issue maybe??
     
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  13. Oct 19, 2019 #13

    stinkyattic

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    Ok just try not to foliar spray near the buds. Forgot to mention that part.
    Your water is bothering me, especially because you are on a well, I assume with no pretreatment (correct me if you use a water softener, and if so, what is the softening agent) . I'm not going to ask where you live, but can you describe the surroundings? When you dig up rocks or drive through a highway cut near your home, are they things like granite and basalt, or more like limestone and shale? Is your well fed from an aquifer or a near-surface source? What kind of plant habitat is near you? Like, grasslands, trees, are they hardwoods or softwoods, are you in /near a marsh, is it saline, etc. You might be able to find reasonably accurate water data from the nearest town that has a public water utility. Look up the water hardness. However if you are on a well and they are on a river assume a very wide margin of error... but your water is at a ph that makes me think you have enough hardness to cause problems such as soil pH issues from mineral buildup and lockouts as a result.
    I've seen this as an issue in the KC-MO area (excessive lime hardness) and southern LI/Eastern end of Queens (seawater inclusion).
    I hate telling people to go buy stuff but... you need a conductivity meter.
    Fingers crossed you don't need an ro system. But we'll do dirt next. : )
     
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  14. Oct 19, 2019 #14

    stinkyattic

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    Ok let's talk dirt.
    That mix sounds intense, both to list off, and also to manage, especially if you have hard water.
    Sometimes simpler is better. I'm not going to knock complex soil mixtures in general but I feel like they are something you kinda work your way up to like you 'level up' after mastering each one if that makes sense. Pre added organic constituents sometimes bite you in the arse. You can add but not subtract, and with the organics, good luck flushing out an oops! The most dumb as rocks medium I can think of is ProMix, which is just two components and very predictable. The more components, the more chemical interactions are possible between soil and ferts, and within the soil itself. Extrapolate this to combinations of conditions that promote or suppress biological activity in the soil, both good and bad.
    If your plants are strong enough to do so, I would repot to a larger pot with the simplest possible soil you can get, which is promix , bonus it's cheap and tends to drift DOWN over time so is good for hard water grows, this is why I'm suggesting it over my fave dirt which is coco based, you need some peat in your life, and let the roots explore into fresh soil. Meanwhile keep checking your runoff pH and also... yeah please even if you don't want to buy an ec meter, take a sample of your tap water to an aquarium or grow store and have them check the hardness.
    I think you just have an unfortunate bad combination of water that sounds good on paper and dirt that sounds good on paper, but together it's trouble.
     
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  15. Oct 19, 2019 #15

    Mick

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    ****, that's a lot to absorb. Thanks a lot, great info in there. I'm going to work my way down with some questions. " 1ml/l gh micro ", what is this? I'm new to all this and not familiar with all the terms and ingredients. If it's a calmag issue then it's going to go back to the Ph, I add cal-mag every feeding since the soil I'm using has perlite and that's what they recommend for this soil type. Now to the water...no pretreatment. Our soil out here is mostly sandy once you get past the topsoil. Southern MI won't give too much away, out in farmlands. Basically plains around here. River is about a mile away, I assume it's fed by aquifer. I almost guarantee it's very hard. The conductivity meter won't hurt my feelings if I need to buy one, anything I spend here I consider an investment in my future happiness and worth every nickel. I was under the impression my plants would like tthe trace minerals from a natural well, is that incorrect? The soil mix was recommended to me as the most idiot proof thing he had. That wasn't a list I put together, I tried that once and did horribly, never again. I have a buddy who uses promix, but he has this incredibly long list of nutes he has to work with, will I be able to feed the basic GO line using PM? Lots to think on and lots to do, I really appreciate the input.
     
  16. Oct 19, 2019 #16

    stinkyattic

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    Gh micro is the general hydroponics standard micronutrient additive. Its not one of the grow- bloom systems; its a standalone and it is CHEAP AS DIRT and works well and never goes bad in the bottle. 20 bucks will buy you a lifetime supply lol. I love love LOVE it for a quick fix foliar spray to help out with random deficiencies while I sort out the root zone, it buys time, and time is valuable! : )
    Perlite is inert. Not sure who told you to use calmag with perlite , that's weird advice and totally wrong. Calmag is for conditioning water that is too SOFT. no more calmag til you figure out for sure if you have hard water!!!
    Sometimes well water is amazing and sometimes it is a disaster, you gotta figure out an idea of what's in there, and you sound like you won't even need the calmag lol. I'll tell you the opposite story which I once had a grow house in a part of southern VT that was covered in hemlock forests. My promix was going sour in two weeks even though the well water was soft and came out at pH 6.8! Well guess what the buffering range of tannic acid is? Yikes... I had to do a lot of adjustments and didn't re sign the lease lol. Also it flooded (like, actual river ran through the kitchen and out the front door) every march at snow melt... but that was,another issue haha....
    You can pretty much use any fertsystem with promix. The trick is to watch your runoff ph, and also plan to use the smallest pots your plants can stand and repot to a slightly larger pot frequently to keep fresh soil available for fresh roots.
    Sorry I'm on mobile and my thumb is getting tired and also I have to go to the dump before it closes so I'll be back later to continue this discussion, which is pretty interesting.
    If you are looking at EC meters, the cheap one I like is a little Primo (think its a Hanna product) lollipop one that has a digital readout and can be easily calibrated, and for heavy duty use the Truncheon is awesome but expensive and the calibration is locked in which I don't like so much. Both of these shown are over 10 years old and chugging along.
     

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  17. Oct 19, 2019 #17

    oldfogey8

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    FYI- I was in Home Depot last week and on my way out they had a free water test kit. I am sure there is a catch but it might be something to look into...
    image.jpg
     
  18. Oct 19, 2019 #18

    stinkyattic

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    I'm sure there's a fee from the lab and/or you will end up with a Culligan salesman banging on your door lol. Home depot home services are pushier than door to door religion salesmen. Do YoU WaNT a QuOtE oN SoLaR PaNeLS? No, just Shoot me instead plzthx.

    I used to work in a drinking water lab. They will test for RCRA metals and possibly select organics, now that everyone is freaking out about PFOAs, but that is an EXPENSIVE test just to run, and the detection limit you need on the equipment for the results to mean anything is beyond the abilities of most labs, like 7 ppt... the metals test is cheap, like 25-50 bucks, but metals are good for plants in general and the overall hardness is most important of all
     
  19. Oct 19, 2019 #19

    oldfogey8

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    Yep. That is why I still have the kit. I don’t need harassing calls. My son bought a house last year and paid for water testing because the house has a well. It tested for everything. I think it cost him $100 but he wanted to be sure the water was safe. I am sure you are pretty sure your water is safe.
     
  20. Oct 19, 2019 #20

    stinkyattic

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