What is pH and how to measure it

pH : Unravelling the Techno Talk

Confused by all the technical explanations of pH? Well, in this article, we are not going to go near the technical side (or not too near, anyway) but we will focus on the practical aspects. What does a high pH mean to the plant?  Why are certain levels of pH recommended?

As you’ve no doubt read in any of the voluminous number of articles written on pH, it is a measurement of the acidity or alkalinity of the water, soil or whatever is being measured.  A pH of 7 means that it is neither acidic nor alkaline; below 7 is acidic and above 7 is alkaline. It’s as simple as that. You can consider acids and alkalis as opposites.  In hydroponics, unless you have very hard (high pH) water then you will more often be dealing with low pH. You are much more likely to encounter a low pH, of say 4, than a high pH of say 10. We are talking here, in general terms. Most tap water, hard or not, will have a pH above 7. Hard water is hard to adjust the pH and soft water is easy to adjust the pH. To measure pH there is no need to bother with things like Hydrogen ion potential or dissociation unless you love that sort of stuff. Just do what commercial growers do and use a pH meter or indicator solution to measure it.