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Old 07-03-2019, 01:28 AM #1
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My ph appears too low at the moment, ....

.... And I'm trying to avoid further sources of magnesium, as I'm correcting k, mag, etc., per my last soil test.

I don't want to go full tilt boogie on K, or I'd add a smidgeon of wood ash I have, and bump it up a bit that way.

On top of it, I've backed myself into a corner again, and have very little time to let the first 5-6 batches of my corrected (?) mix I'm processing at the moment 'percolate' and become more active, so I've slightly increased the Ocean Forest adjunct, and another ready-to-use source, as a here-and-now lifeline while things come on-line...

Any recommendations other than dolomite (don't want the increased mag), wood ash (don't think I need the increased k) ????

And the wood ash is mobile via watering anyway, thus may dissipate in short order, in terms of ph benefit, from my understanding.

Thoughts on raising ph without the above complications?

Also, is the gypsum (specifically with the sulfur content) leading to a greater acidification than I might see with less gypsum in the mix?

Thanks.
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Old 07-03-2019, 03:52 AM #2
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Well.. In that I've gotta' run and get this happening, or so the plants seem to be saying, with their metaphorical arms crossed, tapping their proverbial toes, and an imagined irritated look.... "I gotta' rock.."

So, I'm going to bite my finger hard, put about 2-3 TBSP of old clean wood ash into what amounts to about 12 gallons of soilless mix, not counting the <50 cups (~3 gallons) of Ocean Forest/Kellogg OMRI (80:20) planting mix combination, and 35 cups (>2 gallons) of a now-diluted previous mix that was too stout, stand on one foot, do a pirouette, and see what the ph reagent says THIS time...

*One wild card being that SOMETHING I've been using in my mixes over the past year or so, has an apparent delayed reaction in re. to testing ph, as stated last year. Never saw this before, but maybe once or twice, long ago, but the ph results change, when re-testing the greater aggregate the next day or 2... So there's a neutralizing or mildly alkaline <something-or-other> in there, that, despite the alcohol-based reagent typically getting ph results readily, it's been delayed.

Like I needed yet -ANOTHER- perplexing mystery in life!!!
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Old 07-03-2019, 03:59 AM #3
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Oyster Shell Powder, calcium carbonate with no mag.

Mr^^
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Old 07-03-2019, 04:13 AM #4
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I would use calcium carbonate to raise the ph in soil if it was available.

Are you testing the ph yourself or sending it in each time?

Diluting what you have may be the answer, sounds like you have considered that.

When I have made soil mixes in the past I’ve obsessed over having enough of everything in the beginning stage of building.
Now I would rather come up a little short and topdress to to get things where they need to be.

After testing initial mixes I often am way high in P, N, Fe, S, Al, sodium.
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Old 07-03-2019, 04:28 AM #5
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I tossed my oyster shell flour in a mass nixing of anything that -might- have ^ sodium in it (with the exception of kelp meal, which I reduced considerably, as well as reducing my EWCs a bunch), as I was battling sodium last year in testing.

Brought the sodium down a bit via one discarding of amendments or another, but still higher than I'd like, so I'd flushed a bit with gypsum in H2O after the last test on the last mix before this one, then reduced nutes that needed reduction. (Thanks Jidoka and Growing Crazy for the gypsum cure; the plants at that time had greened up over night, after the flush, btw.. ).

I'm having soil analysis done by Brookside Lab, after mixing and wetting, but I'm testing ph myself with a LaMotte's 2221 alcohol-based reagent and tray that I've used for many years, with a good amount of success.. 'Current' read indicates about a 5.6, but if I let it sit, I'd bet a case of good beer that it bumps up to around 6 or greater, just based on observations over the last year, with this mystery phenomenon...

I have a 40-lb. bag of garden lime on-hand, that touts 95-96% calcium, and maybe 1.5% magnesium or so, which beats the tar out of using dolomite, but not sure if it has the capacity to raise ph in the way I'd like.

My well water has a notable presence of calcium carbonate, but don't think the slow rise that might result from watering over time with untreated water is the key.

And all of this coming at crunch time is my own fault. If procrastination were a sport, I'd be in the Olympics. ;^>)

Last batch that was too hot, 'cooked' for about 3 weeks or so in totes. This batch, if I'm lucky, will get maybe 3-5 days to percolate, (which is why I upped the amount of Ocean Forest and Kellogg bags <retaining an 80:20 ratio of OF to Kellogg>, but with increased volume overall..)

Thanks for pitching in, too, btw.
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Old 07-03-2019, 04:30 AM #6
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And I'm completely out of rep, too, or you'd see some. ;^>)
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Old 07-03-2019, 05:13 AM #7
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So, the one part I'm still uncertain about.. (One part? That was BS; there's lots I'm uncertain about), is re. the potential acidity in ph readings from the sulfur component in the gypsum?

I can go toss some into my tray and wet it with the reagent, and maybe find out that way, but... any thoughts?

Is it possible that's my mystery component resulting in delayed rising of the ph over the next day or 2 after mixing? The sulfur content in the gypsum?

And another unanswered question from last year; my untreated, unfiltered well water has a total hardness of somewhere near 380. If I acidify the H2O (not right now with the current ph in the mix, but a valuable question, nonetheless) does adding the food-grade citric acid increase TDS, reduce, or stay the same?

Thanks again.
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Old 07-03-2019, 06:56 AM #8
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Looks like the Calcium Carb is the way of the walk......

And I get an idiot award.

I pulled out the larger bulk bag of my 'garden lime,' and it states (assuming the label's correct, and there's been reason not to trust, over the last decade or so): 97% calcium carbonate, 38% calcium, 1.5% magnesium. AKA 'The right stuff'...

So.. I recalled the mag content accurately. The rest had partly fallen into the gray void.

Earlier on, in uncertainty, I'd already added 2 TBSP of Lilly Miller Super Sweet to the larger aggregate, in addition to the original amounts of other calcium sources in my adjusted mix, but I doubt that'll carry any serious consequences.

Thanks, and I feel sheepish.

I'm headed to the shop to drop some of the gypsum I've got into a ph test tray, and see what it has to say.

That leaves the question re. TDS and addition of food-grade citric acid crystals (Natural Down); does it lower, raise, or have no affect on TDS #s?

(*Asking in part because I still haven't sprung for a R/O D/I kit, and I know 380 on total hardness is pretty high.)

Thanks again. I'll read more closely as to what I have on-hand.
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Old 07-03-2019, 07:26 AM #9
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Still waiting for rep to build back up for you, MedResearcher..

I tested the gypsum I'm using and at least ONE primary culprit in acidification has been found; it tests at about 5.5, and there's about 3/4 cup in the total aggregate, as well as other organics that might/could contribute to my more stubborn ph issues.

My bag of Super Sweet is over 20 years old, but indicates very similar content to the garden lime I used, with the exception of somewhat lower Calcium Carbonate; I think around 90 or 91% rather than the 97% in the other, non-granular lime.

So, all's well in that regard. And thanks for the help.

Anyone got an answer for the citric acid and TDS #s?

I'll do some more searches for that now, but months ago, when I tried to find results with my older super-slow dial-up internet, I came up with nothing specific. I'll see if the new fiber optic has any different offerings.
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Old 07-03-2019, 07:34 AM #10
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Nope. Still the same black slate re. fast results from Google where obvious answers concerning TDS and citric acid is concerned, so I'll lay that here, and see if it gets any responses.

Thanks again.
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