EC metre with Soil?

Author: Scott  


EC metre with Soil?

I have just borrowed an EC meter from a friend to check my nutes etc, I grow in soil and have real difficulty when plants go into 12/12, the first few weeks are fine but then they start to show deficiences, i suspect they need a good flushing. If i flush them and check the ec of the drain off would this give me a fair indication of the amount of salts in the soil? if so should i be looking to get roughly the same reading from both the water in and the water out? A freind has told me that an EC metre wont really do alot for me using soil, as The organics I use dont contain salts. In the way that Hydroponic fertilisers are eg- he says organics are not made from mineral salts, and that hydroponics are made from Salts?? ps- I grow african violets, and kitchen herbs like basil in Pots.

I see what you want to achieve. Nutrient testers test the dissolved solids in the solutions. Organic solutions tend to under read, and it is mainly due to insolubilities, and may also be due to organic oils not dissolving and not conducting.

To do a test on a potting mix, we would fill a jar about 1/3 full of soil, and the rest with close to pH neutral water. We shake it vigorously and then allow it to settle, and test the liquid. This is good for pH testing and might be able to yield some results with an EC/CF meter.

I don’t think that testing the flow of water from the bottom of pots will help you at all. The speed of the water when you flush, the quantity flowing through and quantity in the test, all will hugely remove any science from the results. If an amount of minerals dissolve, and you have them in an unspecific amount of water the EC will change, yet the mineral salts content will not. There would not be any data that is useful here.

Anyhow, its a good thought. I highly recommend changing to a good grade of Perlite as a soil substitute and you should increase your blooms and leafy growth if using nutrients. Have a look at the hydroponic guide/catalogue at for more on Perlite.

Have a great day

Scott Andrew

Nerang Hydroponic Centre 4/50 Spencer Road Nerang QLD 4211 Australia Phone (07) 5527 4155
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