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Adjusting the pH in Living Soil

Adjusting the pH in Living Soil

Adjusting the pH in Living Soil

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Earth Juice Natural pH Down Crystals
Earth Juice Natural pH Down Crystals

This intro right here, regarding adjusting pH in living soil, is the most important part of this article, so make sure you get what I’m saying. If you are growing using my True Living Organics method, or any true all natural style growing, the microlife in your containers is essential—duh. My bigger, yet more subtle point is that the microlife are also very good at adjusting the soil pH themselves. In a very literal sense, they fix it if it’s off. As long as they are allowed to survive and thrive. Good soil, and most (dechlorinated) groundwater will be just fine and you won’t have to worry.

Adjusting your plant water’s pH is a much faster way to correct any kind of pH issue than adjusting soil additions. I will cover both of those bases today so no worries there. Issues can arise from your water source changing. My groundwater recently jumped up 0.5 pH points, and trust me here when I say, that’s a lot. Overwatering your containers can also cause the pH to dive hard by favoring anaerobic microlife.

If you use rain, distilled, or reverse osmosis (R/O) filtered water, you will most definitely need to take the pH and PPM upwards, or add special soil amendments that I will tell you about below.

Adjusting the pH in Living Soil—via Your Water, Because Shit Happens

Earth Juice Natural pH Up Crystals
Earth Juice Natural pH Up Crystals

The following are some of the reasons you may need to manipulate your pH. You never want to make big jumps in pH and 0.5 points is the largest adjustment you should make at any given time via soil or liquid additions. Earthjuice makes a line of natural crystalized pH adjusters, both up and down. These seem like they are fine to use to adjust your water when needed. Below are a few situations…

  • Using hard water, pH rises
  • Using liquid fish fertilizer or liquid bloom, pH drops
  • Overwatering, pH drops
  • Overfeeding causes pH to drop hard in the short term
  • Customizing your own soil incorrectly, unknown pH effects
  • Groundwater seasonal changes, unknown pH effects
  • Exotic cultivar and landrace needs, variable pH needs

When things are going well, take benchmark readings of pH and PPM. That way if your plants start looking sad you can take those same readings to see if something PPM or pH wise is off from your benchmark. You savvy?

Adjusting the pH in Living Soil and Using Your Meters

A liquid pH meter (I use an Apera PH 20, liquid pH meter) is a very cool thing to have if you are experiencing problems. I use a soil pH meter with a 12-inch probe. Here’s a link to one like mine: Soil pH Meter with 12″ Probe. You shouldn’t be having any pH issues using my True Living Organics (TLO) book guidelines. I, however, do experience pH drifting high or low from time to time because I am always fucking with things—LoL!

My Favored Liquid pH Meter—the Apera PH20
My Favored Liquid pH Meter—the Apera PH20

Using good balanced and buffered soil along with most groundwater sources works just fine, like tap/municipal/well/spring water sources bring. Well and spring water can vary, so you need to be aware of the pH and the PPM values of these water sources in particular at the start. Most city water has a buttload of chlorine (monochloramine) in it, but is otherwise decent water for growing. My groundwater (tap) runs about 45 to 52 PPM at a pH between 7.2 and 7.7, and seasonally these values can change, as you can see in my ranges. Data is good, so get you some.

Lastly, I just want to say, using a liquid pH meter like mine requires you stirring it vigorously in the water for around 30 seconds or so. I then stir it in 10 second stirring bursts, reading the meter each time. Once the value/reading doesn’t change for 3 consecutive 10 second stirring bursts, that’s my pH!

Adjusting the pH in Living Soil via Soil Additives

Crab Meal is Excellent for All Natural Gardens and Tends to take pH Upwards
Crab Meal is Excellent for All Natural Gardens and Tends to take pH Upwards

If you are using my soil recipes in my new book, you are all good. These are all balanced and buffered really well. If you are “going off script” and adding your own customized things to your soil mix, then here’s a few clues regarding the pH influences of said additions.

  • Coconut coir takes pH upwards (see via plant water below).
  • Ground pumpkin seeds takes pH upwards.
  • Oyster shell and eggshells take pH upwards.
  • Crab meal or shellfish meal generally, takes pH upwards.
  • Greensand takes pH upwards.
  • Feather meal, hoof/horn meal, and bone meal takes pH upwards.
  • Rock phosphate and soft rock phosphate takes pH downwards.
  • Cottonseed meal takes pH downwards.
  • Humic ore takes pH downwards.
  • Blood meal, and bat/bird guanos take pH downwards.
Pelletized or Prilled Dolomite Lime is My Personal Favorite
Pelletized or Prilled Dolomite Lime is My Personal Favorite

Generally speaking, all natural additions that are rich in calcium (Ca), and or potassium (K), will take your pH upwards. Dolomite lime actually buffers your soil towards about 7.0 pH which is beautiful. Basically, when you have soil with a high ratio of organic matter, like any great mix for cannabis will have, every time you water it, the pH will tend to drop a bit. So, you just want some additions in there to counter this. Otherwise, you can adjust your water’s pH to handle this. Say what…? Yup, see below.

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Adjusting the pH in Living Soil via Plant Water

Using those Earth Juice crystals seems like it works okay to me from what I have seen using them. They also seem pretty all natural to me, but must be used with great caution. You never wanna goose your pH up or down by more than 0.5 points. It’s a massive death sentence to many of the microlife, so things get a bit chaotic in your containers, which is not great.

Here is the First Sign (flag) in My Gardens that My pH is Running a Bit High
Here is the First Sign (flag) in My Gardens that My pH is Running a Bit High

You can also use Dolomite Lime water (from my latest book) to take your water pH upwards if it is below 7.0 pH. Dolomite Lime water is also awesome to use if your only water source is rain/distilled, or reverse osmosis water. If you use these low PPM water sources without any water modifications you will need to cut your soil mix about 25% with fully rinsed/flushed coconut coir if not using lime water.

New TLO Druids Edition Book Available on Amazon Now
New TLO Druids Edition Book Available on Amazon Now

Using citrus juices like lemon, lime, orange, and apple cider vinegar, can safely take your water pH downwards if needed. If your pH is running a bit low, you will see your leaves “taco” up. The edges will curl upwards. This is a sign/flag for you to make small adjustments now before anything gets out of hand.

Afterword

Smoking a Little Bit of TLO Dry Sifted Homemade Temple Balls—Yum!
Smoking a Little Bit of TLO Dry Sifted Homemade Temple Balls—Yum!

That’s it for me today my green friends. I hope you enjoyed the pH journey today and got something from it. Wanna get some Rev on? Check this out: Strain Review of Cherry Thunderfuck. Also, do buzz by Kingdom Organic Seeds and grab some wicked seeds to start your all natural growing run with. They are grown and bred all naturally using TLO baybee! Last but not least man, do for sure get you some Druid’s knowledge on with my new all natural growing guide: True Living Organics the Druid’s Edition by Rev!

Well, I gotta bounce now, lots to do for an old guy today, LoL. See ya all back in a couple weeks right here at SKUNK. L8r G8rs.

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