Recommended Cultivation Tools for Environment and PH Management
We have used almost every tool imaginable in our gardens and have found what works best.
1. For monitoring your environment and dialing in your room vpd you need two things. You need a psychrometer and an ir gun. Never rely solely on the readings of your thermostats or environmental controllers. Always verify their readings. Many times the controllers will be off by a few percent humidity or a few degrees one way or another and you will need to correct your controllers or thermostat to compensate. These tools will allow you to do that.
First is the Vaisala HM41. This handheld meter is used to dial in room temperature and humidity. We don't trust any other sensor in the room except this one. You let this meter acclimate to the temp and humidity of the room and then you can walk around and check for environmental consistency. This, along with an ir gun we will go over next, are used when dialing in VPD using www.cropsaltvpd.com.
Second, you need an infrared thermometer to check leaf temps. Leaf vpd is extremely important. We use the Fluke 62 Max but any ir gun is better than none. If you're just calculating vpd based on room temp and humidity you are not controlling your environment properly.
2. Next is the ppfd meter. The Apogee MQ-610 is what we use. You can always rely on this meter to give you an accurate ppfd measurement. Use this to measure the ppfd your plants are getting and adjust accordingly based on the charts on the grow documents page.
3. We use 2 different tools for ph management.
The first is to monitor the ph and ec in your reservoir and your runoff. We have used countless meters and none have been half as reliable as the Bluelab Guardian. Keep your probes clean and always sitting in nutrient solution, recalibrate every 30 days, and this meter will last forever. We replace our ph probes every 6-12 months with the American Marine Pinpoint PH Probe from Amazon. These probes are excellent replacements.
We use a doser to automatically adjust our ph. The Bluelab CONTPH Controller is great for keeping your ph always where it needs to be. This is used for reservoirs under 300 gallons. For reservoirs over 300 gallon s you would use the Bluelab PH Controller Connect M which increases the dosing capability to match a larger res. We use Runclean as our ph down and is dosed through the Bluelab ph doser. Any ph up or down can be used with these. Make sure you have a pump or wavemaker in your res to mix up the nutrient solution as the Bluelab doses your ph adjuster. Always keep your probes in nutrient solution and recalibrate once a month. You can also replace the ph probe on these with the American Marine Pinpoint PH Probes from Amazon.