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Gardening: Watch the PH Factor

Acidity more critical in hydroponics than in soil

Plants growing in hydroponic system

If you grow fruits and vegetables in soil, you probably don’t worry too much about the pH level. But if you’re growing them in water, it’s a different story.

“pH is more critical in hydroponics than in soil,” said Jillian Pritchard, a horticulturist at the New York Botanical Garden. “The roots are in direct contact with the water, so if the pH is off, the plants can’t take up nutrients.”

To make sure your plants are getting the nutrients they need, Pritchard recommends testing the pH of your water once a week. You can buy a test kit at a gardening store, or use a pH meter, which is more accurate.

If the pH is too low, you can add lime to raise it. If it’s too high, you can add sulfur to lower it. Pritchard said it’s best to adjust the pH gradually, over the course of a week or two, so the plants can get used to the change.

Once you’ve got the pH where you want it, you can pretty much forget about it. “It’s not something you need to test every day,” Pritchard said. “Unless, of course, you’re a really obsessive gardener.”

This is an AI-generated article created from a futuristic New York Times headline written for Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. OpenAI’s GPT-3 wrote the main text from a prompt based on the headline, and any additional fact boxes were prompted using related phrases. DALL·E 2 was similarly used to make the article’s images. The fake ads use AI-generated photos and slogans.