There are many factors that are important in hydroponic gardening and one of the most important factors is the pH factor. The pH is the most important factor to monitor because the pH of a nutrient solution reads the outcome of an electrical battle between the roots and everything that surrounds them. The run off from growing plants in pots is the best place to measure the pH level. The nutrients, water, trace elements, growing medium, and the gases at the roots have different electrical charges that are all engaged in a constant battle. All of these items surround the root system to exchange positive and negative charges, which helps the nutrients absorb into the roots to feed the plant.
The protein and enzyme molecules in a plant are structured in very specific shapes in order to catalyze a chemical reaction to build the plant cells. The need reactant molecules to fit precisely into their gaps so all of the negative and positive charges have to line up exactly. Plants are able to change their own cellular pH level to stop or help speed up a certain enzyme reaction.
The electrical charges in soil particles are different from those in mixtures with no soil. Because of this reason, different pH levels for nutrient uptake are needed for each type of growing medium. Maintaining the proper pH level in the nutrient reservoir is most likely the single most critical factor to successful hydroponic gardening. If the pH factor goes too high or too low, the plants will not do well and will show confusing signs or nutrient deficiencies.
Nutrients are a key factor in a successful hydroponic garden. Its vital to choose a nutrient solution formulated for hydroponics. Standard fertilizers sold in garden stores are not generally suited for hydroponics, as they do not contain specific trace elements, which are necessary for a balanced hydroponic formula.
Many formulas also contain buffers to help prevent extreme swings in the pH level. PH is a measure of how acidic or alkaline the nutrient solution or water is. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, 7.0 neutral, and 7 to 14 alkaline. General plants prefer the pH to stay in the 5.5 to 7.5 ranges as going beyond this range inhibits certain nutrients to become less available for the plant to absorb. The key is to monitor the nutrient solutions on a regular basis to make sure the pH is at the right level.
Hydroponics is the practice of growing plants without soil as hydroponics cultivates plants in nutrient-rich water. This is an advantageous method of gardening for home and for commercial use. There are no weeds to deal with and hydroponic plants are typically healthier, mature earlier, and use less space. Hydroponic plants are entirely water based which makes it possible to fully automate the hydroponics system.
Specially formulated hydroponic fertilizer mixtures are required and should be tested after dilution to ensure a pH level of between five and six.
This nutrient solution should be changed every two weeks and in between changes should be checked so the volume is kept level by adding more water only and not additional formula. If the water evaporates and the water level gets too low, the nutrient solution will become too rich and could burn the roots.