High PH and ensuing nute issues-Organic

ComfortCreator

Well-Known Member
I am watering pretty thoroughly. I have a water wand that i do an initial pass for each pot and then come back and do a thorough soak. I get some runoff, but try to water just beneath that. My soil feels barely damp down a couple of inches by the next morning.
I believe it. I like how the plants look too. BUT -- Im telling you, give it a shot, once. Wait an extra day and see how they do. If they wilt or look sick water immediately but you may fix any issues with just this.
 

Richard Drysift

Well-Known Member
So, your thoughts are that the 7.8ph i measured with runoff is not causing a lockout? I can definitely go the calmag route. I was using non organic calmag initially to bring my very soft water up to a 150ppm level. There seems to be a pretty big divide between the hands off organic route, and the more "scientific" meters and potions route. I like the science part, and i like the idea of trusting nature. I guess I'm trying to find my tack
I do not have a mulch layer on my pots. I started this grow with not much organic knowledge(my mom was into it when i was a kid), started with some bagged soil and a couple of additions. I have been learning very quickly about how people do it.

What do you mulch with?

I am just about to make soil for my second run and am taking a stab at a Coots style mix. I can definitely throw some vermiculite in there as well.
I use straw but bark nuggets or any kind of moisture retaining top layer is good for mulch. The verm is basically inert so won’t affect ph; should help retain moisture and is good for the fungi which will help w/absorption. Btw If you don’t use granular mycorrhizae at each transplanting that’s something you should look at doing. Measuring ph runoff tells you nothing useful; you need a soil probe to determine the actual ph in the root zone.
I can get some organic cal-mag for now. Good thing is that we have chickens, so we have a good deal of eggshells.

I actually added some dolomite as a top dress about a month ago. Would you actually add lime in addition to the oyster shell flour that I will be adding to my next soil mix?
Yes next time you recycle add some D-lime in addition to oyster shell flour. I also suggest adding garden gypsum; sounds like overkill right? It’s not; it’s such slow release. Once you get some composted eggshells into your mix you can lay off giving soluble cal/mag. Probably can get away with giving it like every other watering.
 

Nwtexan

Well-Known Member
I use straw but bark nuggets or any kind of moisture retaining top layer is good for mulch. The verm is basically inert so won’t affect ph; should help retain moisture and is good for the fungi which will help w/absorption. Btw If you don’t use granular mycorrhizae at each transplanting that’s something you should look at doing. Measuring ph runoff tells you nothing useful; you need a soil probe to determine the actual ph in the root zone.
I have some Mykos for transplanting/root zone

Yes next time you recycle add some D-lime in addition to oyster shell flour. I also suggest adding garden gypsum; sounds like overkill right? It’s not; it’s such slow release. Once you get some composted eggshells into your mix you can lay off giving soluble cal/mag. Probably can get away with giving it like every other watering.
I am doing the full Coots mix for my next soil attempt. It has gysum in it as well. I can try putting in a bit of lime
 

M.O.

Well-Known Member
Just throwin ideas out for your future in dealing with this because I too am on a well.

My pH is high but that isn’t what really matters most with the well honestly from my experience. It’s the bicarbonate in there. Cal/mag you definitely don’t want lol. In fact if you have a good amount in there the actual pH of your water is probably lower. Mine goes from 8+ out of the well to 6.5-7 after my salt filter system and RO filter get rid of everything. It definitely caused me all sorts of issues so if you only know pH having the ppm tested might shed light.

I read enough to assume that was my issue after seeing the pH difference from filtering, changed to RO and stopped seeing issues with watering other than the plants get straight up hangry. I keep them well top dressed and that balances fine.

Hope this helps, and doesn’t cause more confusion.
 

Nwtexan

Well-Known Member
Just throwin ideas out for your future in dealing with this because I too am on a well.

My pH is high but that isn’t what really matters most with the well honestly from my experience. It’s the bicarbonate in there. Cal/mag you definitely don’t want lol. In fact if you have a good amount in there the actual pH of your water is probably lower. Mine goes from 8+ out of the well to 6.5-7 after my salt filter system and RO filter get rid of everything. It definitely caused me all sorts of issues so if you only know pH having the ppm tested might shed light.

I read enough to assume that was my issue after seeing the pH difference from filtering, changed to RO and stopped seeing issues with watering other than the plants get straight up hangry. I keep them well top dressed and that balances fine.

Hope this helps, and doesn’t cause more confusion.
I appreciate that, and am slowly moving forward, I'm actually pretty up on my well water. I have a slightly above neutral PH, around 7.1. I have low mineral content, around 75PPM. I have a chemical test and my calcium is around 40-50PPM, which is pretty low for any water, espeically well water. I was originally using Calmag but as i was looking into organic was advised against it
 

M.O.

Well-Known Member
Sounds like a really good well! I’m jealous heh. I would look elsewhere for the problem too then honestly. For me I’d be wondering to if I added too much lime or shell flours to the mix like others mentioned. Then I’d probably go all in with a strong top dress of compost and ewc to try to bring balance. Letting them dry a bit more than before too maybe unless you’re sure that’s been right on. These big pots hold a ton in the core where the outer edges feel dry. Sorry this is rambling a bit but love to see problems solved. I’m sure you’ll get it though getting after it like this. :peace:
 

waktoo

Well-Known Member
@Nwtexan ...

Make sure to read the information I provided before mixing up a new batch of soil. IMHO, experience, soil tests, and a thorough review of the relevant literature have determined that these soil mixes are typically way over-limed. Compared to OSF and dolomite, "crustacean" meal contains way less calcium carbonate by weight, but the calcium carbonate content of "crustacean" meal is highly variable.

Get your water tested by a qualified soil lab. Logan Labs offers water testing for $35. Review the horticultural literature relevant to the use of alkaline water for irrigating plants.


You don't need a soil probe to test soil pH. On testing soil pH by measuring the runoff...


I'm trying to save you a lot of time, effort, and frustration. You can't rely on the anecdotal experience and suggested quick fixes offered by others. What works for one may not work for you. Soil chemistry is not that simple, and the chemical characteristics of the materials we use to build soilless mixes are not the same, as I've already mentioned.

Oh yeah. Spend some time researching home soil testing methods and tools. There's a great deal of variance that one can experience in the results offered by the testing meters that we use at home. They have to be properly calibrated for the "expected" range of the soil/soil solution being tested. For instance, if you've calibrated your meter with 4 and 7 buffering solutions, and are attempting to test a solution (like your irrigation water) that is inherently alkaline, your test results will not be accurate. Although high pH generally indicates the presence of bicarbonates, testing for pH doesn't tell you how much alkalinity the water is carrying. The Logan Lab test will eliminate all the guess work, and it's way more accurate than the tests/methods that you're using.

Applied science > bro-science, all day long.

Good luck man.
 

M.O.

Well-Known Member
I didn’t even think of this before posting originally but I’ve never tested run off pH with my soil. I thought that was a coco grower thing and soil run off could have you chasing your tail so to say. Maybe a question for all in here. Do you test your run off? I bottom water volume and top water only for it to be homogeneous so never get run off to even test.

My gut says your compost (as long as is sans lime) and ewc on top for the win.
 

Nwtexan

Well-Known Member
@Nwtexan ...

Make sure to read the information I provided before mixing up a new batch of soil. IMHO, experience, soil tests, and a thorough review of the relevant literature have determined that these soil mixes are typically way over-limed. Compared to OSF and dolomite, "crustacean" meal contains way less calcium carbonate by weight, but the calcium carbonate content of "crustacean" meal is highly variable.

Get your water tested by a qualified soil lab. Logan Labs offers water testing for $35. Review the horticultural literature relevant to the use of alkaline water for irrigating plants.


You don't need a soil probe to test soil pH. On testing soil pH by measuring the runoff...


I'm trying to save you a lot of time, effort, and frustration. You can't rely on the anecdotal experience and suggested quick fixes offered by others. What works for one may not work for you. Soil chemistry is not that simple, and the chemical characteristics of the materials we use to build soilless mixes are not the same, as I've already mentioned.

Oh yeah. Spend some time researching home soil testing methods and tools. There's a great deal of variance that one can experience in the results offered by the testing meters that we use at home. They have to be properly calibrated for the "expected" range of the soil/soil solution being tested. For instance, if you've calibrated your meter with 4 and 7 buffering solutions, and are attempting to test a solution (like your irrigation water) that is inherently alkaline, your test results will not be accurate. Although high pH generally indicates the presence of bicarbonates, testing for pH doesn't tell you how much alkalinity the water is carrying. The Logan Lab test will eliminate all the guess work, and it's way more accurate than the tests/methods that you're using.

Applied science > bro-science, all day long.

Good luck man.
Again, thanks for the advice. I appreciate you taking the time to give me the best words you can.

I am planning on reading as much as I can before making my batch of soil. This will be the first time I've ever made my own soil, so I will do due diligence, and hopefully come up with something workable in the process. I will definitely look into how my soil might line up with my conditions, including water.

I have had my water professionally tested a couple of times. I also have a decent PPM tester, as well as a Taylor chemical test kit. My tests have been pretty spot on with the tests that we got for our well. My PH is always around 7.1. Calcium around 40-50PPM with a total hardness of around 75PPM. This has been confirmed by multiple methods. I test my soil in the method you are talking about. I use that as a reference to see what's going on, especially when i'm having weird issues like that that started this thread.

I totally hear you about not following anecdotal evidence. I come from a family of scientists and value applied science. I'm also following advice of people willing to share it that have experience in the different sub-worlds of this community and others. Growing up around a lot of organic growing and culture, I know that a lot of those folks have a different way of looking at things.

In my case, with 3-4 plants at a time, there is a certain threshold that seems practical for me. I love to learn. That is my jam. That is what I'm digging about this deep dive into this world. On the other hand, I'm not doing this professionally, and I am trying to keep that in mind. For those of us that have never built a soil, we have to start somewhere, and it aint gonna be a soil Da Vinci the first time. I think following as much science as I can, and pairing that up with more experienced growers is a good balance of personal desire for success vs current lack of knowledge. I don't ascribe to "bro science" in any way, and find the term a bit dismissive. I do, as with anything value experience, and have found that most of the people here, especially in the organic forum, have been very generous with what works for them. I understand that is not a one size fits all.

For now, I need to solve this issue with the grow. Whether it is PH'ing the water down, adding Calmag, or simply reducing the amount of stuff(no worm tea for a while) I have to pick a path. For me, I am gonna go a few more days with just water and see what happens. Hopefully that will help whatever is going on. If not, I will probably be posting here asking for more advise.

I appreciate everyone's input
 

Nwtexan

Well-Known Member
I didn’t even think of this before posting originally but I’ve never tested run off pH with my soil. I thought that was a coco grower thing and soil run off could have you chasing your tail so to say. Maybe a question for all in here. Do you test your run off? I bottom water volume and top water only for it to be homogeneous so never get run off to even test.

My gut says your compost (as long as is sans lime) and ewc on top for the win.
thanks/ Definitely speaking from what I've read, but i think testing runoff can give you a clue if something is off in your soil
 

Nwtexan

Well-Known Member
Sounds like a really good well! I’m jealous heh. I would look elsewhere for the problem too then honestly. For me I’d be wondering to if I added too much lime or shell flours to the mix like others mentioned. Then I’d probably go all in with a strong top dress of compost and ewc to try to bring balance. Letting them dry a bit more than before too maybe unless you’re sure that’s been right on. These big pots hold a ton in the core where the outer edges feel dry. Sorry this is rambling a bit but love to see problems solved. I’m sure you’ll get it though getting after it like this. :peace:
thanks! I appreciate you loving to see problems solve too! I'm gonna try giving it some time to dry out and already put some EWC on top. Live and learn, live and learn
 

Nwtexan

Well-Known Member
@Nwtexan ...

Make sure to read the information I provided before mixing up a new batch of soil. IMHO, experience, soil tests, and a thorough review of the relevant literature have determined that these soil mixes are typically way over-limed. Compared to OSF and dolomite, "crustacean" meal contains way less calcium carbonate by weight, but the calcium carbonate content of "crustacean" meal is highly variable.

Get your water tested by a qualified soil lab. Logan Labs offers water testing for $35. Review the horticultural literature relevant to the use of alkaline water for irrigating plants.


You don't need a soil probe to test soil pH. On testing soil pH by measuring the runoff...


I'm trying to save you a lot of time, effort, and frustration. You can't rely on the anecdotal experience and suggested quick fixes offered by others. What works for one may not work for you. Soil chemistry is not that simple, and the chemical characteristics of the materials we use to build soilless mixes are not the same, as I've already mentioned.

Oh yeah. Spend some time researching home soil testing methods and tools. There's a great deal of variance that one can experience in the results offered by the testing meters that we use at home. They have to be properly calibrated for the "expected" range of the soil/soil solution being tested. For instance, if you've calibrated your meter with 4 and 7 buffering solutions, and are attempting to test a solution (like your irrigation water) that is inherently alkaline, your test results will not be accurate. Although high pH generally indicates the presence of bicarbonates, testing for pH doesn't tell you how much alkalinity the water is carrying. The Logan Lab test will eliminate all the guess work, and it's way more accurate than the tests/methods that you're using.

Applied science > bro-science, all day long.

Good luck man.
I read the white paper. thanks! Definitely good info on how soil responds to amendment, fertilizer, and crops. Made a lot of sense with why different PH levels allowed different nutrients to be more available.

What do you do with your grow? Are you doing a full organic run? Do you adjust water and so forth?

I have so much testing equipment. If anything, that is probably the most over the top thing. Are there any soil tests that you use? I would rather be able to test myself, rather than a 1 time mail out test.

I figure with my soil mix, I get it mixed up with general amounts, then test to see where it sits. I get that it's not a one size fits all, but my water is pretty in the range of what I would imagine would be common for gardeners(light on minerals, and thus alkalinity) so assuming I follow the general guidelines of additives and have a ph that sits right, what else would i be looking for?
 

M.O.

Well-Known Member
thanks/ Definitely speaking from what I've read, but i think testing runoff can give you a clue if something is off in your soil
You might be right on it giving some clues. I just think you’d want to have a soil probe and have that weigh more in your calculations. Even better a soil test. Although then you will just have even more advanced questions haha. Not a damn thing wrong with that either!

Anyway IMO you made a good call with EWC. I bet that will stall the fall and get her back on track. Now you get to practice your patience while the soil party takes a few days to get rolling and actually effect some change.
 

Nwtexan

Well-Known Member
Update--
I'm still seeing this issue. I'm also seeing elevated PH water in my runoff.I'm putting in 7.0 and coming out with around 7.7-7.8
I have been doing my best to move forward methodically. Temps in the high 70's mid 50's RH. Lots of air circulation. This plant is also potted in a soil that was based on Black Gold Organic, which had a higher starting PH than the other 2 plants(potted in OF and HF mix)
The problem plant is G13 and it is known to want more nutrients than other strains.

My thoughts are that there has been a PH problem, possibly exacerbated by overwatering. I was watering every day, due to the fabric pots seeming to be dried out by the next day. I tried taking it to third day before watering and had some limping on lower leafs. I have been watering every other day for the last few cycles.

Does this look like calcium deficiency to you? This is showing up on fan leaves, with not much of it under canopy

I have been adding a small amount of calmag pro. I know it's not organic, but wanted to see if that would help. I did a bunch of reading, and honestly couldn't find much to substantiate claims about killing bennies.

The only other things I have tried was a watering with recharge and adding a light sprinkle of EWC.
IMG_0421.JPGIMG_0422.JPG
 

ComfortCreator

Well-Known Member
Ok a few points --

In soil, esp supersoil, our target is usually to water at 6.5 ph. Yes, i know many don't ph their soil grow waterings....fine. but the rule is 6.5.

In a soil grow there are a lot of dynamics going on. While it might be tempting to water at ph5, its not hydro.

I would try watering ar 6.5ph. If the problem does not correct, water at 6.0. I would not go below 6.0 in soil. At 6.0, your water will counteract just a bit of the high ph and potentially let the plant absorb better as the ph swings.

I.e. water at 6.0, the water will itself be changed to 6.5 or 7 or more as it passes through the soil. That allows the plant to absorb across a useable ph range.

So to repeat - watering at 7.0 in soil seems neutral and would be fine in a perfectly balanced soil. When you water, runoff comes out way over 7...so your soil ph is above 7. With a target of 6.5 for ph perfect in soil...you can see the problem clearly.

Water at 6.5. If after 2 waterings it doesnt improve, try 6.0. So much of nute issues are lockout...start by regulating ph (imo). Watering every other day is much better than every day as discussed.
 

Nwtexan

Well-Known Member
Ok a few points --

In soil, esp supersoil, our target is usually to water at 6.5 ph. Yes, i know many don't ph their soil grow waterings....fine. but the rule is 6.5.

In a soil grow there are a lot of dynamics going on. While it might be tempting to water at ph5, its not hydro.

I would try watering ar 6.5ph. If the problem does not correct, water at 6.0. I would not go below 6.0 in soil. At 6.0, your water will counteract just a bit of the high ph and potentially let the plant absorb better as the ph swings.

I.e. water at 6.0, the water will itself be changed to 6.5 or 7 or more as it passes through the soil. That allows the plant to absorb across a useable ph range.

So to repeat - watering at 7.0 in soil seems neutral and would be fine in a perfectly balanced soil. When you water, runoff comes out way over 7...so your soil ph is above 7. With a target of 6.5 for ph perfect in soil...you can see the problem clearly.

Water at 6.5. If after 2 waterings it doesnt improve, try 6.0. So much of nute issues are lockout...start by regulating ph (imo). Watering every other day is much better than every day as discussed.
Thanks.

When I started this grow i was gonna do a soil grow with nutrients. As I got into it ands read up, I drifted towards organic. In this world it seems the general thought is very minimal intrusion to the grow once the soil is set up.

I was initially checking water PH and PPM, adding a bit of calmag to my water to get my low mineral water up to around 125(per Ed Rosenthal) and then PH'ing to around 6.3. I was discouraged to do this by many folks who said that an organic "living" soil doesn't need PH adjusted water.

This all makes sense to me. I can try PH'ing tomorrow when watering.
 

ComfortCreator

Well-Known Member
Thanks.

When I started this grow i was gonna do a soil grow with nutrients. As I got into it ands read up, I drifted towards organic. In this world it seems the general thought is very minimal intrusion to the grow once the soil is set up.

I was initially checking water PH and PPM, adding a bit of calmag to my water to get my low mineral water up to around 125(per Ed Rosenthal) and then PH'ing to around 6.3. I was discouraged to do this by many folks who said that an organic "living" soil doesn't need PH adjusted water.

This all makes sense to me. I can try PH'ing tomorrow when watering.
Truth is....growing WELL is hard enough. Growing in soil and especially organic makes it harder. And more rewarding to an extent.

Yes ph has a range and soil buffers it. But that assumes, as does the idea you dont need to check or know ph, that your soil is at the right ph. And so is your water. Those are big assumptions and relying on them wirhout really knowing can cause issues.
 

Northwood

Well-Known Member
Growing in soil and especially organic makes it harder.
Imagine the skill of the grower who grew all those redwood and western hemlock forests, or even the fertile grasslands of the prairies. It takes an unbelievable amount of work and knowledge to do that :P

Just being sarcastic here, but I don't agree that going organic has to be hard. Maybe if you ascribe to the 100 various commercial concoctions along with tea brewing, etc. then more effort will be required and more money spent.
 

Nwtexan

Well-Known Member
Imagine the skill of the grower who grew all those redwood and western hemlock forests, or even the fertile grasslands of the prairies. It takes an unbelievable amount of work and knowledge to do that :P

Just being sarcastic here, but I don't agree that going organic has to be hard. Maybe if you ascribe to the 100 various commercial concoctions along with tea brewing, etc. then more effort will be required and more money spent.
This all makes sense to me. The issue is what to do when you have a situation like mine.
Those ecosystems had eons to get it right and we are trying to artificially create environments that echo that same simpatico.

I am really just trying to find that simple consistent method and style. I grew up deep in the organic world as a kid and I know both the deep wisdom and some of the passed on wives tales that often walk side by side.

I think once I have my soil dialed in and understand how that works with my water, I will feel pretty comfortable with it all.

I will try PH'ing the water, and hopefully find a route out of this situation. There are still about 5 weeks left in flower
 
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