The concept of pH is not really complicated, but it sounds too science-y for some people, so they ignore it and often end up with weak or dead plants. It’s much easier to read this article for 5 minutes and learn all about it!
The pH scale, from 1 to 14, measures acid-to-alkaline balance. The number 1 is the most acidic, 7 is neutral, and 14 is the most alkaline. Every full-point change in pH indicates a ten-fold change in acidity or alkalinity. For example, soil or water with a pH of 5 is ten times more acidic than water or soil with a pH of 6. Water with a pH of 5 is one hundred times more acidic than water with a pH of 7. With a ten-fold change between each point on the scale, accurate measurement and control is essential to a vigorous, fruitful crop.
Most plants grow best in soil with a pH from 6.5 to 7. Within this range plants can efficiently absorb and process available nutrients. If the pH is too low (acidic), acids can chemically bind nutrients so roots are unable to absorb them. An alkaline soil with a high pH also causes nutrients to become unavailable. The pH of organic soil mixes is very important because it dictates the growth of specific pH-sensitive bacteria.
Hydroponic solutions perform best with a pH range slightly lower than for soil applications. The ideal pH range for hydroponics is from 5.8 to 6.8, although some gardeners run the pH at lower levels and report no problems with nutrient uptake.
You can measure your garden’s pH with a simple soil test kit, litmus paper or liquid pH tests, or via an electronic pH tester. When testing pH, be sure and take two or three sample readings and follow the instructions that are supplied by the manufacturer to the letter.
Soil test kits measure soil pH and primary nutrient content by mixing soil with a chemical solution and then comparing the color of said solution to a pH color chart. Most of the kits available can be difficult for novice ganja gardeners to achieve accurate measurements. Comparing the color of the soil/chemical mix to the color on the chart can be confusing. If you decide to purchase one of these kits, be sure to buy one that offers directions that are easy to understand and from a company that is reputable.
We hope this information helps clarify the importance of a properly-balanced pH to growing a successful crop of trichome-encrusted goodness. Grow on and keep it green!