Page 3 - Griffin Gazette Issue 1 - 2019
P. 3

When you grow your understanding                                       humidity of the environment in the plant
                                                                                   canopy. Temperature can impact specific
                                                                                   nutrient absorption, and the rate at which
            you can grow better plants!                                            controlled-release fertilizers are depleted.
                                                                                   Now that we know the importance of
                                                                                   measuring the root zone environment,
                                                                                   how  do  we  measure  EC  (nutrients),
                                                                                   moisture and  temperature  in  the  root
                                                                                   zone without it being a very labor-
                                                                                   intensive chore? That’s easy,  Bluelab
                                                                                   has done it again. The new  Bluelab
                                                                                   Pulse™ Meter measures EC, moisture
                                                                                   and temperature directly in the root zone
                                                                                   in under 10 seconds. The Pulse Meter is
                                                                                   coupled with the powerful Pulse mobile
                                                                                   app, where measurement data is auto-
                                                                                   synced, viewed, stored and compared.
                                                                                   Measurement data can also be exported.
                                                                                   MEASURING PH IN SOIL/
                                                                                   SOILLESS MEDIA
                                                                                   Soil has a natural ability to prevent the pH
                                                                                   from shifting dramatically. This is called
                                                                                   buffering. Soil contains microorganisms,
                                                                                   decomposing  matter  and  varying
            By Cindy Farnsworth, North American   of pores and voids that are occupied by   moisture levels, all of which can change
            Sales Manager, Bluelab             oxygen and water/nutrient ions.     the pH value. Soilless mixes can create
                                                                                   different behaviors with pH. It’s best to
            Whether you’re growing plants for   MEASURING NUTRIENT LEVELS          measure media pH before planting as
            business or as a hobby, you need to   IN THE ROOT ZONE                 well as during the growth cycle; different
            understand their growing environment.   The root zone is the region where the   plants thrive in different media pH values
            When you measure the root zone, then   plant absorbs nutrients from its growing   due to nutrients becoming soluble
            you know  the plant's environment, and   media. Measuring the EC here will   and therefore available to the plant at
            you can then manage and control it!  give you the best picture of nutrient   different pH levels. Knowing the pH value
            GROWING MEDIA                      quantities available to the plant. If you   of your media should help determine
            Successful growth depends on the plant   measure  away  from  the  root  zone,  you   the appropriate medium treatment to
                                               may obtain the optimum EC value,
            and its root system being supported.   but the plant can’t absorb nutrients    optimize plant growth and health.
            That’s the role of a growing medium.   from there.                     Soilless mediums are mostly used in
            Media range from the traditional soil                                  container  growing.  Common  materials
            to soilless mixes to solution-based   MEASURING MOISTURE LEVELS        include coco coir, perlite, vermiculite and
            hydroponic methods, and are chosen   IN THE ROOT ZONE                  peat moss. Accurate measurement of
            according to the cultivation method    Moisture content is the amount of water   the pH of any media is essential. Note
            and crop.                          present in the media, thus what’s available   that pH levels are not standardized,
                                               to the plant. Measuring this ensures that the   and the medium may require treatment
            All growing media types must provide:
                                               plant's roots are sufficiently hydrated and    before use for growing.
            •  Good oxygen supply to the roots  not waterlogged. This is particularly
                                               important as the physical properties of   Traditional ways of measuring are very
            •  Supply of water to the roots to keep                                time consuming and tedious! That’s why
            them hydrated (moisture levels)    different growth media retain water differently   Bluelab has introduced the  Bluelab
                                               and can cause issues if not monitored.
            •  Sufficient drainage to prevent the roots                            Multimedia pH Meter. It takes an
            from becoming waterlogged, which can   MEASURING TEMPERATURE IN        accurate and quick pH reading directly
            cause rotting                      GROWING MEDIA                       in the root zone: no slurry, no pour-thru,
                                               Measuring the temperature of your   no waiting. For best results, the soil must
            •  Sufficient supply of nutrients to be   growing media will help you to decide   be moist. We suggest taking readings
            transported by water through the media   how frequently your crop requires   approximately 2 hours after watering.
            and to the plants’ roots (EC levels)  irrigating. It will also impact the plant’s   pH will affect every part of the plant's
            The coarseness and absorbency of the   internal temperature and how much   life cycle. Perfect your pH, and you will
            medium  are what determines the ratio   water exchange is required to cool it   perfect your crop results.
                                               down. This goes hand-in-hand with the
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