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How to airate soil? Lower PH

Posted by durban (My Page) on
Tue, Nov 6, 07 at 13:06

I have been growing plants from seed in 6 oz cups, i think i kept them in the cups 2 long, i have been late on watering a few times and it seems like my plants are not getting enough nutrients from the soil,, I am using a good soil fox farms. When i repotted to larger pot my soil was kind of hard and crusty, i dont think when i am watering the water is draining well, i think it just pours over the top and down the sides of the soil.

Also i want to lower my PH, i dont want to go crazy with lime or things like this, i am just looking for a home depot product i can easily use.

Thanks


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: How to airate soil? Lower PH

What makes you think the plants lack nutrients? It seems like you should get the simple things right first, like watering, and then start to worry about something complicated. You can always use a balanced soluble fertiliser in the water a couple of times and see if your plants respond.

I am not familiar with Fox Farms soil. Soil repelling water and shrinking away from the side of the pot is a classic behaviour of peat. Most potting soils are based on peat of course, but quality products include other ingredients which prevent the worst of the peat side effects. Watering regularly so that the soil doesn't dry out completely will reduce the problem. Once peat dries out, it can be extremely difficult to re-wet, try soaking the pot to the neck in water for an hour or two or just standing it in a saucer of water overnight.

To some extent hard crusts on the soil are another side effect of peat, and even some other types of soil, but may also be caused by using hard water, or by getting the soil too wet and then too dry.

You mention drainage problems. Too much or not enough? Your pots should have holes in the bottom. Water should run straight through if you pour on enough.

Why would you want to lower pH? Are you growing carnivorous plants? Lime is used to raise pH. If you want to raise pH then you use lime, it is available at all garden centres and probably at Home Depot too. If you want to lower pH then you have a problem. You can use various acids such as vinegar or lemon juice but the dose is hard to calculate and it is easy to damage your plants. Better to start off with an ericaceous soil, again available at all garden centres, and make sure that you don't use hard water on it.


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RE: How to airate soil? Lower PH

Great thanks, reason i think they arent getting nutes is the leaves dry at the tips, then proced in with the leaves curling up. How do i know if i have hard water? Could i use something like bottled waters would that help?

im not that good at knowing when to water, i was told just let the plant go till it starts wilting and then water, but some times i dont think about it and a day or 2 can pass


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RE: How to airate soil? Lower PH

Great thanks, reason i think they arent getting nutes is the leaves dry at the tips, then proced in with the leaves curling up. How do i know if i have hard water? Could i use something like bottled waters would that help?

im not that good at knowing when to water, i was told just let the plant go till it starts wilting and then water, but some times i dont think about it and a day or 2 can pass


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RE: How to airate soil? Lower PH

What kind of seeds are you growing? Most plants suffer permanent damage if you let them get to the point of wilting. Your leaves are probably drying up due to lack of water.

If it's the bottom leaves, the first set you saw, they are called "seed leaves" and it is normal for those to die off as the seedling gets bigger.

Unless you have a water filter on your faucet, tap water is probably fine. The right amount of water is much more critical than the type of water.


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RE: How to airate soil? Lower PH

Thanks! I think the issue is hard water, i dont know what im growing, well what its called in english its a plant from india Ashwaganda


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RE: How to airate soil? Lower PH

Ashwaganda is Withania somnifera. I don't think it is grown in the west although it is available as an alternative medicine. Unfortunately that means it is hard to google information on growing it because I just find thousands of hucksters trying to sell me unknown grey powders :(

Its related to tomato and grows to a similar size so I'm going to assume that it has roughly the same growing needs. They should grow pretty fast, a 6oz cup won't last long. They (tomatoes) wilt tolerate a little wilting but it is best to keep them watered enough that they don't have to. Tomatoes are not fond of alkaline soils, so avoid very hard water if you can. It would have to be extremely hard, possibly saline, to cause the problems you describe. Anything drinkable shouldn't cause that sort of burning.


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RE: How to airate soil? Lower PH

in my experience the fox farm soils lack nutrients. you should either repot with some better soil or get some liquid nutrients in there to help support life. also if your soil is drying up too fast you either have a heat issue or your pots are too small.

soils i like are pro-mix BX or miracle grow garden soil. also when looking at liquid nutrients look for something balanced like peters 20-20-20. Always start out lighter on your fertilizer applications by adding twice as much water which will cut the nutrients in half. this will make your nutrients a 10-10-10 instead of a 20-20-20. any others like 5-5-5 or 1-1-1, or 3-3-3. the main goal is to get all your nutrients balanced so you don't have nutrient issues.

to get you ph more acid you can simply add apple cider viniger to your water to lower the ph. lime would bring your ph up as it is more basic. also if you buy dolomitic lime it has a ph near neutral and can't be overdone.

i wish you the best of luck. if i can help just post


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RE: How to airate soil? Lower PH

buy dolomitic lime it has a ph near neutral

Hmmm? Dolomitic lime is a mixture of calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate, where regular (agricultural) lime is just calcium carbonate. Dolomitic lime is actually a little "stronger" than standard agricultural lime, that is you need less of it to get the same pH increase. It definitely is not pH neutral.


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RE: How to airate soil? Lower PH

Fox Farm's Ocean Forest potting soil is really good stuff in my experience it has plenty of nutrients mixed in with it, enough for about a month of growing. You can fertilize when you water or mix some worm castings and bone meal into the soil before potting to add enough (slow-release) nutrients for up to six months. Sprinkle in some greensand or kelp meal for trace elements. (Can you tell I'm an organic grower?)

It sounds like the soil has dried out and so the mix is repelling the water; I would bet that beneath the top half inch the soil is staying dry. Take the whole pot and sink it up to two-thirds the soil height in a saucepan full of clean, lukewarm water. You should see the top of the soil moisten in 20 minutes or so as the water saturates the soil below.


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