Gardeners who have just started their hobby of planting hydroponic plants usually ask what is the best PPM for hydroponics. PPM stands for parts per million. It measures the total dissolved solids or TDS within the nutrient solution.
It is important to notice what is the best PPM for hydroponics. Gardeners have to ensure that they understand their plant’s growth cycle. The level of PPM is the result of EC reading conversion.
Some TDS meters apply different methods of conversion. This is why not all PPM readings are consistent. But, the difference doesn’t significantly impact the result of the harvested plants.
Why Is PPM Level Important?
The level of PPM is the measurement that gardeners should pay attention seriously. This is to ensure that their plants get their nutrients properly. They should never be underfed or overfed.
By monitoring the levels of PPM, then gardeners can rest assured that their hydroponic setup provides enough nutrients for their plants.
Checking PPM levels should be done before and after adding the fertilizer. Low PPM levels can happen when plants lack nutrients though it is easy to solve by adding fertilizer. Meanwhile, high PPM levels reveal s too many minerals.
Important Things To Know Before Planting Hydroponics
Nutrients for hydroponic plants are available in the form of liquid. The liquid contains several nutrient solutions with a specific composition. The composition is the solution is measured with electrical conductivity or EC.
So, all gardeners have to own their measurement devices. This is to measure the level of PPM and EC simultaneously.
The dissolved solids measurements within the nutrient solution are measured with EC, which becomes the indicator of PPM.
The Right Measurement of PPM
The level of EC can help gardeners determine the hydroponic nutrient solution concentration.
Using a TDS meter, gardeners can notice when the device shows a low level of PPM, which means that the nutrients within the mineral nutrient solution are fewer than the requirements. When it happens, plants don’t get enough nutrients.
On the other hand, a high level of PPM means that the plants get too many nutrients. It is not good for plants, either. Both conditions won’t make hydroponic plants grow well.
Is pH Level Important?
Plants need water with certain water acidity. Then, gardeners have to measure the pH level of their water reservoir.
This is to ensure that the plants reach their optimal growth. The right pH level can ensure the best growing process for hydroponic plants.
Gardeners can measure the level of pH within the water reservoir. When the pH level is high, it is hard for plants’ roots to absorb nutrients.
When it happens, gardeners can decrease it by pouring citric acid in a small amount. Yet, the low level of pH can also stunt the plants’ growth. Gardeners can add baking soda to raise pH levels.
Make Sure That The Hydroponic Plants Get The Right PPM Level
The growth stage of hydroponic plants determines the right level of PPM. Seedlings should get not more than 500 PPM though the minimum intake should be at least 400 PPM.
For hydroponic plants in the vegetative growth phase, the PPM level should be at least 650 with a maximum of 900 PPM.
The plants with an early flowering stage need at least 900 up to 950 ppm. Then, the plants that reach middle to late stage flowering should get 950 PPM at the minimum and 1150 ppm at the maximum.
Measure The Water Reservoir Well
The water reservoir is the place containing the total dissolved minerals that hydroponic plants require.
The dissolved minerals contain various nutrients such as sodium chloride, calcium nitrate, and other minerals based on the plants’ needs. Checking the nutrient levels is necessary before adding the food to the plant.
Use The Right Measurement
a TDS meter is the right measurement for determining the level of PPM. It is also known as an EC meter. Some EC meter devices provide TDS readings, while others don’t.
When gardeners use EC meters that don’t provide TDS readings, a conversion chart is needed.
Here is how to use the meter. It includes a metal probe that users insert within the reservoir containing nutrients. It needs at least two minutes to get the result.
The time length determines the PPM meter temperature to suit the temperature of the water.
Is it Possible to Raise PPM?
Some gardeners may be confused when the levels of PPM drop. It means that plants need higher nutrients than before. It means the PPM amount has to be increased. Raising PPM is as simple as adding more fertilizer.
Conversely, lowering the level of PPM is also possible. Gardeners should make sure that they apply the right rules. When the PPM level is too high, it can be due to overfeeding or tap water that contains minerals.