I'd like to be able to monitor soil pH and N,P,K and was wondering if these
electronic meters you can buy for $30 or so are worth the money? Anyone
have any experience using these things? Are they remotely accurate? If not
do you have any recommendations about a test kit to use? I'm not a pro,
just a home gardener.
Thanks for the help
I've seen numerous discussions here which suggest that the meters have
definite limitations. If they all worked perfectly, their advantage would be
as time savers. If you don't have the patience for throwing things away when
they don't work, get yourself a test kit that uses chemicals & test tubes.
It's a slower process, but you can make it more interesting by getting a
white lab coat, spattering some fake blood on it, and laying on a thick
Romanian accent while doing the tests. :-)
It depends on whether you're trying to test soil or build a monster in the
basement. For the latter, the accent is essential.
The extra time for the chemical tests comes from having to label where the
samples came from. And, at least for the kit I own, you have to let the soil
dry before testing. You also need distilled water. That involves a 4 minute
stop at the grocery store. That's major.
You'd be better off getting a soil test from your state soils lab every
3-5 years. Usually about $10-20 for pH, P, K, and some micronutrients. N
is very tricky to measure, even in a lab setting.
Or you can buy a roll of pHydrion paper for about $10 and have a lifetime
of pH testing that's accurate enough for gardening.
Haven't ever seen one of the cheapie meters give an accurate reading
except by accident.
a couple soils labs with fairly typical fee schedules:
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