Thursday, April 19, 2012

I have been having a problem with the pH of my system.  My water comes from a well, and when I measure the pH from the tap it is 6.0.  But after the water sits in the open for a while (faster when I aerate the water), the pH spikes up to 7.8.  For a long time I thought that this was due to gravel in my beds or some other thing like that that was buffering the pH.  So I spent hours removing the gravel from some of the beds to no effect.  In frustration, I began to test the water by itself and found out that with no other outside influence, the pH was still going up.
So I went online to research this and found that frequently well water can have chemicals dissolved in the water from underground, and when the water is aerated, some of these things can be "gassed off."  I believe in my case, CO2 is going out of the water, resulting in an increase in pH.
Aha!  So I built this de-gassing tank out of a trashcan last weekend.  I put a cheap toilet float valve in the water supply line and installed a pump which circulates the water and supplies water to the float valves of my system.  The pH of the water goes up when it comes in and I have been treating the water with a very small amount to muratic acid to drop it down to the right level.  This slowly adds to my system and I should be able to regulate the pH effectively.
Here is my broccoli, which has been growing well.  Because my pH has been too high, many of the plants have been suffering from nutrient lock-out.  This happens because the plants cannot absorb the nutrients unless the pH is within a specific range.  The broccoli seems to be ok, but many of the other plants appear to have deficiency. 
Now that the pH is in a lower range, I am hoping that the plants will begin to thrive.


Blogger Rich said...

Clever solution, keep us posted.

April 19, 2012 at 10:42 PM  
Blogger Monday's Child said...

Great idea!
I thought you were using hydroton in your growbeds? From what I've read that can also bring pH down - as opposed to gravel which can push it up. So don't replace that!

April 20, 2012 at 12:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jon, this is awesome!!! You are going to have great food! healthy food,

August 6, 2012 at 5:06 PM  

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