Adjusting Ph organically - the DIY way

RoboGeekFebruary 15, 2012

Obviously you can buy things to do this, but I just wanted to see what you guys use that might be a bit more organic in nature.

I personally use white vinegar and baking soda. My setup is usually slightly alkaline and I usually don't need to add very much vinegar.

Some will ask if it alters the taste, but since I mainly grow peppers and tomatoes, I cant detect and flavor changes. Also no taste changes in the basil or mustard

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For a minute I thought this was going to turn in to a urine thread :-)

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 3:44PM
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What nutrients do you use? I've had problems using vinegar and baking soda, they correct it intially but then the pH goes out of wack again the next day.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 3:54PM
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I'm using GH Flora Nova series usually, but more and more custom mixed stuff. Haven't had any issues with changes from anything other than nutrient absorption - that changes my pH and my ec rather rapidly. I have a bad setup for the size of plants I have so I have fresh nutrients on my tomatoes and peppers in the ebb/flow daily.. the dwc systems stay pretty stable with the pH and ec levels

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 6:07PM
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The primary complaint with vinegar/baking soda is that the ph spikes and returns in short order.

Ph up and down contain buffers to prevent this.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 7:34PM
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I've found if you didn't have a problem it stays pretty stable. But if your trying to correct a problem there are lots of residual nutrients in the roots that change the pH again pretty fast. A couple points is nothing - I had a neglected pot I finally checked today that was sitting at 9.2. I fixed it and checked it a few hrs ago and its still right where I had it. I'll check in the morn. Dunno why but I thought I had it in water, flushing the system for a few days.. but oops... that wasn't water! Probably 2 week old nutrient solution!

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 7:53PM
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I've tried vinegar before, and I have found it tends to break down quickly in a recirculating system, causing the ph to go right back up. I have used citric acid before with slightly better success.

What I don't understand is why you would need a ph up and ph down? My tap water is usually the best ph up. I've also heard it is bad to mix the two.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 2:53AM
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For one, the pH of anyone's water supply can/will fluctuate. Two, what would you do if you accidentally over adjusted?

Sure once you know your water supply, and the normal pH levels once you mix your nutrients in it, as well as how the adjusters you use affect it, you will be real good at guessing the exact amounts needed to adjust it. But you wont be perfect every time. Then what do you do? Wait a week or so to have it delivered because you didn't have any on hand?

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 5:15AM
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I test my water cf and ph before I add any nutrients, then again after. Guessing isn't really a good choice

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 12:38PM
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When I said "once you mix your nutrients in it, as well as how the adjusters you use affect it, you will be real good at guessing the exact amounts needed to adjust it". I was referring to the amount of ph adjusters you'll need to bring the volume of nutrient solution to the desired level in the first try, and without adjusting it to far in either direction (and needing to re-correct it after retesting it). Thus the point of needing to have both pH up and pH down on hand, rather than just only getting one because you didn't feel you will ever need the other.

I used to test pH both before and after mixing the nutrients, but after doing that for a while I found that testing before wasn't really necessary for me. Even though the pH of the water supply does fluctuate. Once I add the nutrients to it, I barley need to adjust it. Then once I do, it remains stable for at least a week or two unless I need to add much water to replace the water the plants drink. If I need to add 25% or more water to replace it, I'll generally re-check the pH then. But after checking the pH every day, I got almost perfect at guessing if the pH was in range before I even tested it. So now I really only test it for the first couple of days (fresh nuts). Then only if I suspect a problem after that (and/or if the nutrient solution is about 2 weeks old).

    Bookmark   February 19, 2012 at 4:41AM
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I buy my water in gallon jugs because my tap water is nearly toxic even for humans (it smells like wet dog). The cf varies from the 40's to the 300's in the store bought so I like to know where I'm starting from before I add anything

    Bookmark   February 20, 2012 at 11:08AM
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The problem is the vinger and soda creates co2 in the root zone which stifles the roots. And please their nothing wrong with using urine as a fertilizer. Just take vitianims, wait a week and start using. If you look at the back of a box of MG you'll find the same things listed

    Bookmark   February 20, 2012 at 12:49PM
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I'm not sure if vinger and soda creates co2, but when mixed together they do create a gas. But again the key is when mixed together, not separately over days. The issue is their not stable pH adjusters.

And please their nothing wrong with using urine as a fertilizer.

Ya, all you need to do is pee in a bottle, then save it for your nutrients. Mix it 50-50 with plain water for your nutrient solution, and you'll have the best plants on earth. Nothing else needed. Just wiz on your plants.... It's a conspiracy, the nutrient manufactures are just re-selling pee to you at very inflated prices. I should know I sell pee to the nutrient manufactures, but I spend all my money in beer so I can pee enough to make enough money (they don't pay much). Don't buy nutrients, just buy beer, and pee on your own plants.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 8:26AM
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Just so people know, I was only being sarcastic, and that was just to prove a point.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2012 at 7:04AM
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I can see your point homehydro. Untill one actually has true experience in hydroponics and can see the production, following practices that would not be excepted in the commerical hydroponic industry as a "good idea" so to speak might seem ok to them.

To keep it simple using a basic 3-part hydroponic fertilizer and a ph up and down, and a good cleaner. No need to add any strange things.

On the ph thing.

Well, like homehydro stated "The issue is their not stable pH adjusters."

I am sure there are many organic ph up/downs that you can get either at a hydro store or online.

For the record I use a hydro organic fertilizer called Botanicare pure blend pro grow for my soilless container garden so I am for organic.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2012 at 5:58PM
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Ya, I would always suggest for any new hydroponic grower to start using what is tested tried and true to work first. But beyond that I have herd the same type of "using urine as a fertilizer' claims from a lot of people (not just georgeiii). But I was also trying to make the point that without being given context, the statement's are vague. Thus leading to your observation of using a tried and true nutrient solution first, until you've got a feel for what your doing.

Theirs a lot more going on for the root systems (chemically) in hydroponic systems (organic or not), than just adding anything that seems to work in soil. Without context it means nothing. I was just trying to get people to think about the context part of the statement. That's why I went to the extreme with my statement. It's also why I clarified later. so anyone not knowing/seeing my point wont think I was serious and hopefully wonder why/what I really meant.

Also Ya, there are many organic pH adjusters sold by many hydro manufactures. For pH down using citrus acid works. In fact that's the stuff I use. I'm not sure what is in the pH up, but both are organic, and are made by Earth Juice (who makes lots of trusted organic products for hydroponics). Now with that said I don't know if there's a difference in pH product from what you put in the hydroponic systems, and what you put in your food. But I see so many times people try and use under the counter products for adjusting pH for various reasons (cheaper/ just in a bind etc.). They just never save a penny in the long run. And I am all about building your own systems, etc. but ph adjusters just aren't something to try and save a few cents on to me.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 5:18AM
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For pH down using citrus acid works

Hey thanks thats a good idea.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 1:45PM
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sulfuric acid -add by drops -untill u get the hang of it -wait times -measure PH- ---if to low use baking soda--same -pinch at a time and wait (dont forget to mix thoroughly)
all organic -everything in NATURE

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 4:56PM
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