Questions confusion with PPM or TDS meter?
Do I need one, or both? I have a PH/soil temp meter, but I'm unsure of how to proceed, and confused by when/if to check PPM?
The only PH checking we do is with the probe in the soil and it varies widely between high 5's to low 8's...PH seems to be higher when the soil is drier. Now I read that I should be testing the water before watering, then testing runoff water to see what it says. So...the water I'm giving them is going to change just in the couple minutes it takes to drain thru the medium? That seems unlikely?
I guess my biggest ? is how to tell what amounts/kind of nutes are actually IN my medium...seems there's no way to do that except by testing the water? A TDS meter (or PPM?) will only tell me about the water, right?
I've posted a few pics on a couple groups and I either get "too much water/nutes" or ...not enough! Seems the opinions I've gotten so far vary so widely as to be pretty useless...so here I am, asking for more:)
I'm not posting pics cause I'm just trying to understand the process here, so I don't have to ask in the future everytime I sense a problem:)
First of all, welcome to Percy’s mate. Lots of questions so it sounds like you’ve been try to figure things out
Do I need one, or both?
A TDS meter and a PPM meter preform the same task, they just display it a bit differently. If you buy a meter I’d recommend something with a TDS scale as that’s generally what we use to compare values. TDS meters are used very regularly in all hydro applications but not very often in soil grows. You use the meter to determine if the feed solution is the right strength
Now I read that I should be testing the water before watering, then testing runoff water to see what it says. So...the water I'm giving them is going to change just in the couple minutes it takes to drain thru the medium?
Most soil growers adjust the ph of their water to ensure it’s at the optimal range for the plant. Some soil growers don’t do this but the quality of the water would determine if this is absolutely necessary. In soil grows you don’t need to check any runoff and in a typical soil grow you really don’t want much if any runoff to wash out your soil’s nutrients. The ph of the runoff is influenced by what’s in the soil and yes, it definitely changes greatly in that small trip through the soil because it’s washing out soluble compounds from the media
I guess my biggest ? is how to tell what amounts/kind of nutes are actually IN my medium
That requires an actual soil test. Where I live there is a state agricultural “county agent” that does this but you’ll have to check your area for that type of service. I know several US commercial grows that check their beds on a regular basis this way
A TDS meter (or PPM?) will only tell me about the water, right?
Correct, that meter is only about water quality and nothing else
Hope these answers helps some. I got very confused in the beginning try to gleam information from multiple websites. That turned into a real fiasco. Running a diary at Percy’s was a turning point because the experienced growers shared their accumulated knowledge. It was a game changer
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