Can You Use Vinegar To Lower PH In Hydroponics?

If you're looking for ways to lower PH levels in your hydroponic system, then yes vinegar can actually help.

It will break down excess alkalinity over time so it's not as likely that you'll need pH up solutions when using this method. That said, there are some things to keep in mind.

Vinegar is very acidic, so too much can actually raise pH instead of lowering it depending on how you use it.

It's best used at a low concentration and make sure that your system has enough ventilation when you're using this solution.

Also Read: Best PH Meter For Hydroponics

How much vinegar is needed to lower pH in hydroponics?

One cup of vinegar solution is sufficient to lower pH by 0.35-0.45, which means you will need about two cups of vinegar for every ten gallons in your hydroponic system if you want to drop the level by half a point.

Or if you're working with a smaller hydroponics system, then 2 tablespoons per gallon.

Will apple cider vinegar lower pH in hydroponics?

No. The use of apple cider vinegar will only serve to increase your acidity and it is unlikely that you can achieve a significant decrease in the PH value with this method.

Having said that, if you mix the ACV with other ingredients such as Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate), then it may be possible to lower the PH value.

Epsom salt is soluble in water and will act as a nutrient for your hydroponic plants, improving their growth capacity by providing them with magnesium which also helps increase photosynthetic rates.

Stick to distilled white vinegar which you can buy from most local food stores.

What can I use to lower pH in hydroponics instead of vinegar?

If you don't want to use vinegar, there are some other methods to lower pH in your hydroponic water like: calcium hydroxide, potassium carbonate or phosphoric acid, but vinegar is recommended as it's natural.

Remember, whatever you put into your water, your plant roots will soak up, so the more natural nutrients you add to your water, the more organic your plants will be.

If you have a larger hydroponic system like an ebb and flow, DWC or NFT etc. Then vinegar is not as effective as other methods to lower pH because it's difficult for the acetic acid in the vinegar to make its way around your entire water supply.

Quick note: Phosphoric acid is not as good for the environment, so be mindful of how much you're using and where it goes! That's why a lot of hydro growers use calcium hydroxide which will also increase alkalinity at first before bringing down your pH level over time to provide optimal growing conditions.

I've lowered it too much, how do I increase my pH?

Easy, just use baking soda to raise it back up to normal levels.

Each time you add sodium bicarbonate, use a pH meter to check pH and control your levels to ensure nutrient uptake.

If you find that it's not working, try adding more water to dilute out the baking soda so it doesn't become too saturated with alkaline particles.

As long as you don’t go overboard by using too much vinegar or baking soda, this should be a safe process for both hydroponics and soil pH.

Why do I need a PPM meter?

A PPM meter measures the amount of nutrients available for your plants to absorb. The more concentrated nutrients are, the healthier and faster your plants will grow.

It's an essential tool because it allows you to monitor the nutrient strength in order to determine when it is time add extra or less water/nutrients as needed.

Is your PPM count over 400?

If your parts per million count is over 400, then you really should flush out your hydroponics system and start fresh.

The reason being is because you run the risk of salt burn or buildup, which can damage your system entirely. Obviously, that can be costly, so keep an eye on your salts!

Why does the pH level matter in hydroponics?

The pH level is important because it can affect how well your plants absorb nutrients.

Vinegar only lowers the pH of water, not soil, so you must use vinegar to adjust PH levels in hydroponics systems that rely on nutrient-rich water instead of dirt like NFT and DWC systems. It's safe for your plants and actually effective.

If your system is too basic or has a high pH level of eight or more, it can lock out the good nutrients that you are giving to your plants—and they will die. It's important to keep an eye on this number in order to prevent nutrient lockout in your hydroponic garden.

Conclusion: What to do next

Grab the following tools and then get to work, drop pH until they are at the right amount. It's important to note that pH adjustment takes some trial and error.

How Do Plants Get Nutrients In Hydroponics?

Hydroponics is a process that uses mineral-enriched water to provide plants with their nutrients.

Plants absorb the water and minerals through their roots, which are suspended in the solution.

The nutrient solution circulates throughout the plant's growing system, providing all of its essential needs for growth. Hydroponics can be used indoors or outdoors, depending on your preference.

So that's how plants get their nutrients.

But does it mean that hydroponics is better than other methods of growing plants? Maybe so for most plants, let's explore why hydroponics systems can help you give your plants more amino acids and micronutrients than other methods.

Also read: Nutrients Needed for Hydroponics

What is hydroponics, and how does it work?

Horticulture is the science of growing plants. Hydroponics uses a water solvent as a base for plant growth instead of soil, allowing gardeners to grow specific crops in areas where soils are poor or not available.

In hydroculture, nutrients dissolve into the solution and are absorbed through the roots via osmosis. Because no soil is present, hydroponics can be used with almost any crop production.

There are six major types of nutrient solution methods used in hydroponic systems:

A container holding an inert growing media is filled with nutrient solutions in the flood and drain method. As the water drains away, it carries dissolved nutrients into the plant's root zone, where they are absorbed through osmosis.

The process then repeats itself as new nutrients flow in from overhead emitters to replace the roots of the plants.

Check out our top recommendations for hydroponic systems

Nutrients in soil vs. nutrients in the water

The best way to think about nutrient uptake in hydroponics vs. soil is by understanding the difference between mass and volume. In soil, there is a lot of material available for plants to use as nutrients (soil).

Plants can take up these nutrients from this large amount of "mass" around them. However, when growing hydroponically, plants can only draw on the water and nutrients' "volume." This is precisely why it's crucial to monitor your nutrient levels when growing with a hydroponic system.

Why you should use a nutrient solution for your plants

Using a nutrient-rich solution for your plants when growing hydroponically can be beneficial for several reasons.

The plant's ability for growth is improved when they are given a nutrient-rich solution.

Your plant can also grow at an increased rate in hydroponics compared to another growing medium such as soil, which is excellent if you want quick results.

You will have less maintenance since the water-based system does not accumulate dirt and dust over time, so clean-up is easy.

It's kind of a no-brainer when you think about it. Less time, money, and dirty fingers.

The 4 most important factors to consider when choosing a nutrient solution for hydroponic gardening

The four most important factors known as "essential elements" to consider when choosing nutrient solutions for hydroponics are:

pH is a measurement of how acidic or alkaline your water is, which affects plant growth. The ideal pH level range you should look for is between a pH of five to six. If the water's pH levels are outside this range, it can harm or kill your plants.

EC measures how much salt content there is in the nutrient solution and affects plant growth as well. An EC meter will provide you with a reading for how many millisiemens per centimeter.

How to calculate the pH of your nutrient solution

The hydroponic nutrient solution comprises three main ingredients: water, nutrients, and pH. It has to be within a range in order for your plants to grow healthy.

How do you know for sure if your plant needs more or fewer nutrients?

Plants can't talk to you, but there are other ways to determine if your plant needs more or fewer nutrients.

The pH balance of the nutrient solution is a quick way to determine if your plants need more or fewer nutrients.

The ideal range for hydroponic solutions is between pH levels of about six and seven, but it varies depending on what exactly you're growing. If there isn't enough potassium in your plant's system, they will show signs like yellowing leaves, curling the leaf edges, and stunted growth.

If there is too much potassium in your plants' system, then you will see signs like black spots on their leaves or burnt tips at the ends of them.

To adjust pH levels, all you have to do is change out some water with a fresh nutrient solution with a lower pH.

For best results with your hydroponic nutrients, you will want to test their pH levels first thing every morning and then again on their last watering before going to bed at night. You can use litmus paper or an electronic meter for this process.

Monitor EC/PPM levels

You should also monitor EC/ppm levels as well as temperature, humidity, and light.

The EC/ppm stands for Electrical Conductivity, another way to measure the number of nutrients available in a solution. We'll discuss this shortly, when we talk about adding necessary nutrients to your hydroponic system.

Don't forget about high temperatures.

The temperature will affect the speed at which plants grow, so it makes sense that you want to keep track of it.

Humidity is another factor you will want to monitor because plants lose water through their stomata, so if the humidity levels seem too low, they can't replace what they have lost. If it is too high, your plant may develop fungal diseases or rot at the base where its stem meets the soil.

Also, light is essential to produce good plant nutrition.

Light is an essential factor in growing plants indoors because that's where they will be spending their time.

However, you need to pay attention to the intensity of your light and the length of exposure to it.

If there isn't enough light, your plant won't grow very fast, and its stems may become weak. If there is too much light, your plant will grow leggy, and its leaves may become sunburned or develop spots on them.

If you see any of these tell-tale signs in your plants, it means that they need more nutrients to help them thrive and grow properly.

Conclusion: Are Hydroponic Systems Worth The Hassle?

If you ask me, yes, they are.

As long as you're patient, make sure your nutrient formulas are correct and tend to your plants in a controlled environment. Plants grown with hydroponic systems seem to be of better quality.

What Should the PPM Be for Hydroponics?

If you’re new to hydroponics, you’ve likely come across the acronyms PPM, EC, and pH. These are three of the units of measurement that hydroponic growers monitor to keep their plants healthy.

PPM is a measurement of electrical conductivity (EC). The pH level refers to the acidity of water.

These details help you monitor the quality of the nutrient solution in your hydroponics system.

If your water has low ppm levels, it lacks nutrients.

So, what should the ppm be for hydroponics? It depends on the current growth cycle of your plants. Here’s a closer look.

You should also read:

What Does PPM Mean in Hydroponics?

PPM is an acronym for parts per million. PPM measures the total dissolved solids (TDS) in the nutrient solution. Hydroponic growers measure ppm levels to avoid underfeeding and overfeeding their plants.

A low ppm level indicates that the mineral nutrient solution contains fewer nutrients, which may lead to nutrient deficiency. A high ppm reading may mean that you’re overfeeding.

Hydroponic hobbyists typically use a TDS meter to take readings. Most meters provide readouts for PPM and the electrical conductivity (EC) of the solution.

EC is the measurement of dissolved solids in your nutrient solution. As with ppm levels, EC levels help you determine the concentration of your hydroponic nutrient solution.

PPM is calculated by converting the EC reading. As manufacturers use different conversion methods, PPM readings are not always consistent. However, PPM remains the most used unit of measurement, making it the preferred choice for most growers.

What Is a Good PPM Level for Hydroponics?

The ideal ppm level for a hydroponic garden depends on the growth stage. Established plants consume more nutrients, which results in higher ppm readings.

Keep in mind that meters don’t provide readings on individual nutrients, such as calcium nitrate or sodium chloride. You receive an overall estimate of the total dissolved minerals in your water reservoir.

During early growth, you’ll see lower ppm levels. After the vegetative stage, nutrient intake increases. Plants begin consuming more nutrients to support flowering and fruiting.

Here’s a general overview of the expected readings for different plant growth stages:

When growing a cannabis plant or other types of flowering plants, you’ll likely remove the crop from the system after harvesting. After removing the crop and flushing the system, the ppm levels should drop significantly.

How to Measure PPM in a Hydroponic System

Check the nutrient levels before and after adding liquid plant food. Hydroponic growers typically use a TDS meter or an EC meter to determine the PPM.

If you use an EC meter that doesn’t provide TDS readings, you’ll need to convert the EC reading to PPM using a conversion chart.

Most meters include metal prongs or a probe that you insert into the nutrient reservoir. You typically need to wait a minute or two for the temperature of the PPM meter to match the water temperature, which gives you a more accurate reading.

Along with measuring ppm levels, you should check the pH of the water using a pH meter. A high pH may limit the ability of nutrients to be absorbed by the plant root system. Both high and low pH levels can stunt growth.

Did You Know? You can use small amounts of citric acid or white vinegar to decrease pH levels. Baking soda can be used to raise pH levels.

How to Raise PPM in Hydroponics

If the PPM levels start to drop, your plants are likely to consume more nutrients. This tends to occur when transitioning from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage.

You simply need to add more fertilizer to raise the PPM levels. A general rule is to use about 1 mg of plant food per liter of water for each point that you want to increase the PPM reading.

For example, the current PPM reading is 500 and you want to increase it to 800, requiring an increase of 300 PPM. You would need to add 300 mg of fertilizer per liter. If your tank holds 10 liters of water, you need 3,000 mg (3 grams) of plant food.

How to Bring Down the PPM Levels

If you need to lower PPM levels, attempt to determine the reasons behind the high nutrient concentration. Some of the most common causes of high mineral levels include:

Tap water often contains heavy minerals that offer no nutritional value. The minerals in the hard water increase the conductivity of the water, which raises the PPM levels.

Use distilled water instead of water from the tap. Distilled water should contain low PPM levels, as the distillation process removes about 99.9% of all minerals.

Overfeeding is another common cause of high PPM levels. You may miscalculate the amount of fertilizer to use and add too much. Always double-check your calculations before adding liquid plant food.

A gradual increase in PPM levels may also be due to unhealthy plant roots or higher pH levels. Unhealthy plants don’t absorb as many nutrients, leaving more of the minerals in the water.

High pH levels may also increase the mineral content of the water by limiting the solubility of the minerals. High alkalinity limits nutrient uptake. Deal with unhealthy plants and high pH levels before attempting to adjust the nutrient strength.

You can reduce the nutrient concentration using a carbon filter or a reverse osmosis machine. Both options cleanse the water of particles, which lowers the PPM levels.

Adding fresh water also reduces the nutrient levels of the water. You can flush a portion of the water tank and refill it with distilled water.

Summary

Monitoring PPM levels helps you determine whether your hydroponic setup is providing enough nutrients to your plants.

Always check the PPM levels before and after adding fertilizer. Low levels occur from a lack of nutrients while high levels indicate an abundance of minerals. Low PPM levels are easy to fix, as you typically just need to add more plant food.

High mineral levels may be due to overfeeding, high pH levels, or contamination. Start your water reservoir with distilled water to avoid the heavy metals found in faucet water.

What Is NFT Hydroponics?

NFT stands for nutrient film technique. It is a popular method of hydroponics gardening that requires minimal space and allows for faster plant growth.

Hydroponic growers also tend to enjoy the NFT system due to its simplicity. Anyone can set up an NFT hydroponics system to grow small, quick-growing plants, such as lettuce, herbs, and other leafy crops.

The ease of use and low cost may also appeal to beginners.

If you’re new to hydroponic gardening, learn more about the nutrient film technique, including its pros, cons, and best uses.

You should take a look at: What Hydroponics System Is The Best?

How Does the Nutrient Film Technique Work?

The nutrient film technique (NFT) is a type of hydroponic growing that includes one or more grow trays and a separate water reservoir.

The trays are positioned at an angle to allow a shallow stream of water to flow from one end to the other.

A soilless growing media, such as rockwool or coco coir, is used to hold the seeds inside net pots placed in the grow tray. The plant roots grow inside the tray and typically form a dense mat.

If the seedlings are started in a separate container or tray, they can be transplanted to the NFT system without growing medium. The roots receive enough moisture and nutrients from the system and do not need the growing media for support.

A pump delivers a continuous flow of water at a steady flow rate. The water travels to the shallow end of the tray, where it drains into the water reservoir to be recycled.

Unlike deep water culture (DWC) and several other hydroponic methods, NFT doesn’t drown the roots in water. The shallow flow of water feeds the plants but keeps them from getting too saturated.

What Do You Need for an NFT Hydroponic System?

The following components are needed for the typical NFT hydroponic system:

The grow tray is often a PVC pipe with holes for the net pots, as the NFT method requires a narrow growing channel for the nutrient water.

The net pots are typically plastic containers with openings to allow root growth. Soilless growing media is typically placed in the pot and holds the seed or young plant. However, growing media isn’t necessary for established plants.

The reservoir sits below the grow tray and is connected via tubes and a return channel. A pump sends water to the top of the growing chamber. Some systems also include a second pump connected to an air stone to help with oxygenation.

Quick Pro Tip: Make sure that no light reaches the bare roots of the plants. Light promotes algae growth, which can deprive the roots of oxygen.

Roots that are exposed to light also start to turn green and become tougher, limiting their ability to absorb nutrients.

Advantages of NFT Hydroponics

Compared to other hydroponics methods, NFT provides several advantages:

You can use the NFT system without a growing medium. The plants can grow in net pots without growing medium, which is one less thing that you need to purchase.

NFT systems also provide a continuous flow of water, which eliminates the need for a timer. You simply turn the pump on and let it run.

The typical NFT system includes fewer components compared to other hydroponic systems. It’s one of the more affordable types of hydroponics to set up.

Disadvantages of NFT Hydroponics

The main drawbacks of the NFT system compared to other hydroponics methods include the risk of power failure. Plants that are grown in NFT hydroponic setups dry out quicker if the nutrient solution stops flowing.

The shallow stream of water also provides more space for the roots to grow. The dense root system may partially block the flow of water. Luckily, you can easily check the root growth and remove any plant with a large root mass.

You may also struggle to grow certain types of plants. Leafy vegetables, such as lettuce work best. Other than leafy green vegetables, you may try herbs.

Nutrient Film Technique Versus Ebb and Flow

The NFT method is comparable to the Ebb and Flow system, as both systems use a pump to send nutrient-rich water through the grow tray.

The water drains to the reservoir where it is recycled. However, the Ebb and Flow growing system doesn’t use a continuous flow of water.

The water floods the growing tubes before draining back to the reservoir. After the water flows back to the reservoir, the tray fills with oxygen.

The design of the Ebb and Flow system eliminates the need for a separate pump with an air stone, as the plants receive adequate oxygen. However, these systems require a timer to control the water cycle.

The trays also require more frequent cleaning. The inside of the tray is frequently exposed to water and oxygen during a repeated cycle. Without regular cleaning, the trays tend to attract mold and mildew.

Nutrient Film Technique Versus Aeroponics

An aeroponic system may provide a better alternative for beginners. An all-in-one aeroponics kit includes a small water reservoir and space for several plants.

Unlike the NFT method, the plants are extended high enough above the water to keep the roots from being completely submerged in the water. The design adds an air chamber above the water to promote oxygenation.

Summary: So What Is NFT Hydroponics?

The nutrient film technique (NFT) is one of the most popular forms of hydroponics due to its simplicity. You can set up an NFT system with minimal equipment.

Using the NFT hydroponics method includes several risks. Roots may eventually block the NFT channel. If the system malfunctions, the roots can quickly dry out and become overstressed.

In a hot environment, plants can die within a few hours of the pumps shutting off.

Yet, if you can keep your NFT system running, you’re likely to enjoy a wide range of advantages.

NFT hydroponics uses less water and fewer nutrients compared to other hydroponic techniques. The NFT systems use a shallow stream of water, which allows for the efficient consumption of water and nutrients.

Using an NFT system also allows you to easily inspect the roots, as you can check the plants between watering cycles.

The bottom line is that NFT hydroponics offers an effective way to grow plants, but you need to check the equipment frequently to avoid any malfunctions.

Hydroponics vs Soil - Is Hydroponics Better Than Soil?

Anyone who has started to discover hydroponics is going to have one key question – is hydroponics faster than soil? After all, one of the most important things to consider when weighing up how to grow your plants is how quickly they will grow, especially if you’re growing food crops.

Yes, plants generally do grow faster when you use hydroponics to grow them. This can make a huge difference to growing any kind of plant, but particularly food crops, where fast growing is key to getting a good harvest.

Some plants will grow up to fifty percent faster, although it does depend on what you’re growing and the conditions you provide.

You might also like: Best Hydroponics System For The Money

Why Does Hydroponics Make Your Plants Grow Faster?

It may seem odd to hear that plants grow faster in water than soil. Plants obviously need water, but most of us think of them as needing soil to provide them with nutrients. However, there are a couple of reasons that plants grow more quickly in a hydroponics system, such as:

Tip: You need to keep an eye on plants that are starting to mature in your hydroponics system.

This will often happen more quickly than with plants that are grown in soil, and you may find that your plants are trying to go to seed faster than you expect. To prevent this from happening, check your plants daily.

Which Plants Are Best Suited For Hydroponics?

So, plants do grow faster with a hydroponic system – and that might leave you wondering which plants you can take advantage of this with. Which ones are best suited to growing hydroponically?

Check out our full list plants you can grow well in a hydroponic system: Best Plants To Grow In A Hydroponic System

Here are a few that great:

You should also have success with strawberries, many kinds of lettuce; leafy greens such as spinach, watercress, kale, and mustard; and herbs like basil, mint, and oregano. All of these should thrive in a hydroponic system.

It’s important to check whether a plant is suited to hydroponic growing before you try and grow it in a hydroponics system, as some don’t thrive.

Potatoes, carrots, other root vegetables, and things like melons and vine-growing plants do not do well in hydroponic systems and are better off being grown in soil.

These plants will grow hydroponically, but they are not as suited to hydroponic growing as many of the others, and often take up unnecessary amounts of space that could be better used on other crops.

How Much Faster Will They Grow?

How quickly hydroponics will make plants grow does depend very much on the kind of plant, as well as your degree of success in providing everything that the plant needs. Herbs, for example, will often grow around twenty-five percent faster if you get the perfect conditions for them to thrive in.

Some of the leafy greens mentioned may be ready in just a month in perfect conditions, sometimes a month and a half. You should make sure you are harvesting them reasonably early, and not giving them a chance to turn bitter. If left too long, some of these will become inedible and get wasted.

Tip: Make sure you know what you are growing and how it responds to being grown hydroponically so you can harvest at the right time and make the most of the crop.

If you’re growing lettuces, the variety you grow will make a big difference in how quickly they grow. Many lettuces are very fast growing anyway, but romaine and buttercrunch are particularly quick, and may be ready to harvest in just three weeks using a hydroponics system.

Other lettuces, those with big heads like iceberg lettuce, often take longer to grow in hydroponics, but should still grow faster than they do in soil. They will usually be ready in a couple of months, so don’t let them over-grow and turn bitter.

The advantage of this is that you can fit more growth cycles into a single growing season, and using light and temperature controls, even extend the growing season. This is a key strategy to maximizing your space and time, and also get more experience in growing.

What Else Do I Need To Be Aware Of?

You do have to watch out for pests on your hydroponic plants, as these will massively slow the growth of your plants and could kill them.

While hydroponic systems do help to protect your plants from crawling insects as they have no soil to hide in, it is still possible to get pest infestations, and you need to check your plants regularly.

Secondly, make sure you understand the balance of nutrients that your plants require. Don’t be tempted to increase the amount of nutrients just to try and make the plant grow faster. This is one of the worst things that you can do, as an overdose of nutrients could completely kill your plants in only a few hours.

You need to know exactly what feed your plant requires, and then provide that. Too little will result in slow or weak growth or even death, and too much will equally kill your plants.

Finally, you also need to keep the water clean and of good quality, and make sure the temperature is kept steady. If the environment is not suitable for your plants, they will certainly not grow faster in a hydroponics system than they would in normal soil.

Is Hydroponics Cheaper Than Soil?

When it comes to growing food crops, either commercially or for your own pleasure at home, price is a big factor to consider. If growing your plants will cost significantly more than purchasing the food at a supermarket, many people are disinclined to do it – so is hydroponics cheaper than soil?

A hydroponic system is more expensive to set up than a soil-growing system. You need to buy equipment and install it, and the upfront costs can be high, although they are slowly decreasing as hydroponics becomes more popular.

However, the ongoing costs can be lower than with soil, especially when you take the efficiency and improved yields into account.

Why Are Hydroponic Systems Expensive?

Two things make a hydroponic system quite expensive, both in terms of setup and ongoing costs. We’ll look at setup first, and then ongoing costs.

The Setup

The setup involves quite a lot of equipment. You will have to purchase tanks, pumps, and controls, and these things can cost hundreds of dollars for just a square foot of growing space. You need to understand what is needed, and purchasing kits can be very expensive.

This cost is falling as more people move toward hydroponics and the technology to create the systems gets cheaper, but it can still be prohibitive for many growers. Getting into hydroponics is pricey.

You also have to think about lighting; you’ll need equipment that’s appropriate for your space, high quality, and reliable. This can also add significantly to the cost of a system.

Lastly, your main problem is choosing a flow system that allows for rich nutrient solution, giving your plant's roots the best chance of absorbing everything they need to grow fast. EBB and flow system and nutrient film technique are the two most popular.

The Costs

You then have to consider the ongoing costs and the maintenance of your system. You will need to repair and replace equipment as necessary, and you’ll need to consider the costs of your system in terms of electricity. If you have to heat the space you are using, this must also be factored into your cost assessment and budget going forward.

If you are capable of maintaining and making repairs yourself, you will pay less in terms of keeping equipment in good shape, but you should still include this cost in case you need to call in an expert.

However, despite the expense of hydroponics, many people believe it contains the key to sustainable farming in the future. For example, PSCI.Princeton lists ten reasons that hydroponics may be the future of farming. These include:

What Areas Will You Save Money In?

So, where is hydroponics economically attractive and viable? Let's look deeper at electricity and maintenance costs:

Hydroponics vs soil: What do you prefer?

Better space use

Hydroponic gardening can firstly save you money via space-saving. It makes use of vertical space, allowing you to grow more in far smaller areas.

This can save a lot of money when compared with traditional farming, which needs vast areas of land in order to successfully grow crops.

Did you know: Plants grown in soil need more space than hydroponic gardens, as they need to spread their roots through the soil to find nutrients. With hydroponics, the nutrients are given directly to the plant roots and thus a small root network is all a plant needs.

Reduced water consumption

Water can be an extremely expensive aspect of farming, and if you don’t have a reservoir or rainwater collection system in place, watering your plants can cost a lot of money. Soil does not hold water well, meaning that you lose the vast majority of your water back into the ground.

Watering your hydroponic plants needs significantly less water and a higher quality nutrient solution, because again, the water is delivered directly to the roots. Some methods, such as aeroponics, use very little water because they only mist the roots, rather than washing them with it.

This is what sparks the "hydroponics vs soil" debate, as water is the biggest worry.

Reduced weeding

A hydroponic system does not require you to weed your plants, and if you’re growing a lot of crops, this cuts a massive expense from your system.

You no longer need to worry about losing plants to weeds, and you don’t have weeds sapping away the nutrients that your plants need.

Faster growth

If you want to make the most of the growing season and maximize the crops you get from a space, hydroponics is the way forward. Hydroponic crops can grow up to fifty percent faster in some cases.

This means that you get a great deal more value from the space you own, with far more plants being ready to harvest in much shorter periods of time.

Whether you are growing crops commercially or just for your home, a doubled production is certainly worth the financial input and should pay great dividends.

Many experts believe this is due to the dense nutrient solution that a hydroponic garden uses.

Fewer pests

Anyone who has ever grown plants outdoors will know how quickly pests can decimate your entire food crop. You can lose everything in just days. Even if you aren’t that unlucky, pests can massively reduce your harvest.

With hydroponic gardening, pests are rarer. Insect pests can certainly still be a factor, but you won’t be faced by raccoons, pigeons, rabbits, squirrels, etc., trying to munch up your plants. You may also find that there are fewer insect pests to contend with, although they can spread quickly through a hydroponic system.

Is Hydroponics Better Than Soil?

Hydroponic gardening saves space, water, and time. You can grow healthier, fuller plants in less time without needing a green thumb.

Hydroponics is also great for those who dislike dealing with pests, weeds, and dirt. Yet, you also need to pay attention to a few extra challenges.

If you plan on using hydroponics to grow plants, you may need to invest a little more time and money. Hydroponics requires more equipment compared to soil gardening. You also need to closely monitor nutrient levels.

In the end, if you’re willing to take the time to test the nutrient mix each week and monitor the health of your plants, a hydroponics system is likely to work better compared to growing in soil.

Final Thoughts

Hydroponics systems are a great way to help your plants grow faster, and maximize the use of your space.

With the right food, access to water, the correct temperature and light levels, and fewer pests, your plants should do fantastically well and you will enjoy faster cropping and healthier plants.

Best Soil Test Kit For Healthy Plant Growth

Soil testing kits have been around for so long. You can choose to go for the best soil test kit for healthy plant growth present on the market and pay a lot of money for it or, you can choose to go with the homemade soil testing that requires some baking soda and vinegar.

Whichever way you decide to go, the importance of testing your soil acidity and alkalinity remains the same. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself paying tons of money and putting hours upon hours of sweat, blood, and tears into your crop without getting the results that you want.

Quick glance at the best soil testing kits:

Related:

Best Soil Test Kits Reviewed

After a ton of research, we've handpicked some of the most promising soil testing kits you can find on the market. Keep in mind that you must focus on what kind of testing you need and how many tries you can get out of each kit when shaping up your decision.

Without any further ado, let’s get straight into our products and what each of them has to offer.

Sonkir Soil pH Meter - Best Overall

SONKIR Soil pH Meter, 3-in-1 Soil Moisture/Light/pH Tester for Plant Care, Garden, Lawn, Farm, Indoor & Outdoor Use, Promote Plants Healthy Growth (Black)

Amazon 

Our first pick is the Sonkir Soil pH Meter, MS02, and it’s genuinely an amazingly compact and lightweight device that gives you a simple, to-the-point idea about the state of your soil.

One of the many great attributes of this kit is the fact that it’s beginner-friendly. The interface is easily understood by everyone, and every piece of information is explained thoroughly.

As for the kit’s functions, it’s a 3-in-1 soil test kit, as in it tests sunlight and its penetration of the soil, the pH level, and the level of moisture in the soil.

Pros

Cons

Soil Savvy - Soil Test Kit - Great Choice

Soil Savvy - Soil Test Kit | Understand What Your Lawn or Garden Soil Needs, Not Sure What Fertilizer to Apply | Analysis Provides Complete Nutrient Analysis & Fertilizer Recommendation On Report

Amazon 

Next in line, we’ve got an excellent choice to go with that covers almost all the basics that anyone would need to test to determine the state of the soil. That is the Soil Savvy - Soil Test Kit.

This soil testing kit produces accurate results when testing for both macro and micronutrients, which is something that we don’t see often. Moreover, after it’s done with its analysis, it’ll break down the results for you.

For instance, it’ll tell you how much nitrogen is present in your soil; then, it’ll let you know how much nitrates and ammonium are present individually.

Pros

Cons

Luster Leaf 1880 Rapitest 4-Way Analyzer - Best Analog Soil Test Kit

Luster Leaf 1605 Digital Soil Test Kit for pH, N, P and K, 25

Amazon 

Now, we’re onto our best choice in regards to analog soil testing kits, and that’s the Luster Leaf 1880 Rapitest 4-Way Analyzer, which can easily give you the statistics of the pH level, sunlight, and moisture levels in the soil.

Moreover, it tests for micronutrients using its four separate meters. Another kind of testing that it does is the soil fertility test that mainly involves nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus.

Furthermore, this analyzer is designed to be comfortable for everyone; beginners and experienced farmers alike. So, the device itself is large, easy to hold, and maneuver in your hand.

Pros

Cons

Whitetail Institute Laboratory Soil-Test Kit - Premium Option

Whitetail Institute Laboratory Soil Test Kit, Ensures The Most Successful Deer Food Plot Possible, Professional Consultation Included, Receive Results Within One Week

Amazon 

Now, we’ll move on to a soil testing kit that can be labeled as the jack of all trades. The Whitetail Institute Laboratory Soil-Test Kit is an amazing kit that gives you detailed and specific results incredibly fast.

Why is that? Simply because using the kit, you’d collect the sample and follow the instructions, then send it to Whitetail Institute Laboratory for them to analyze it.

Consequently, you’ll be receiving the analysis of all of the organic elements in your soil, as the kit can be used to analyze the levels of pH, and the presence or absence of micro and macronutrients.

Pros

Cons

Atree Soil 3-in-1 Soil Tester Kit - Most Simple

Atree Soil pH Meter, 3-in-1 Soil Tester Kits with Moisture,Light and PH Test for Garden, Farm, Lawn, Indoor & Outdoor (No Battery Needed)

Amazon 

If you don’t want to go through all of that back-and-forth with the company and wait for your results, then maybe a simpler path is more tailored towards your needs, and that’s where simpler testing kits such as the Atree Soil 3-in-1 Soil Tester Kit comes into play.

Now, this lightweight, compact device has double poles, enjoying the double-needle technology, which allows the device to capture accurate information in regards to the three essential aspects of any soil.

What’s more, the Atree soil tester works on all types of soils. Not to mention, it needs very little maintenance to perform.

Pros

Cons

Luster Leaf 1601 Rapitest® Soil Test Kit - DIY Option

Luster Leaf 1601 Rapitest® Soil Test Kit

Amazon 

Lastly, we have the Luster Leaf 1601 Rapitest Soil Test Kit, with its wide coverage range and affordable price tag. This kit comes with multiple tests included and 40 capsules, allowing you to test several parts of your soil.

Furthermore, it gives quick, accurate results and comes with a pamphlet that explains the pH levels of 450+ different plants and the rhythm of their nutrient uptake.

Also, it offers quick solutions to soil problems, and only needs distilled water. On the other hand, it’s not specific to a certain problem, and disposing of the capsules can be a bit tough.

Pros

Cons

How to Choose a Soil Test Kit

Types of Soil Test Kits

There are so many different types of soil testing kits, from DIY home kits all the way to laboratory testing that is done only by certified professionals and all that lies in between these two extremities. We’ll explore all of your options in detail.

Chemical

In general, chemical testing relies on a chemical reaction that will happen when each reagent responds to a particular nutrient that you wish to measure in your soil, and the general rule is that you take a sample from your soil, put it in a tube, and add the reagent of choice to it.

Take the vile, shake it, and wait for the reaction to take place. Afterward, compare the color of the product that you have to the reference chart that would be included in the kit. Some chemical kits are a bit more advanced, and they require the addition of another substance to the agent to make it more accurate.

Digital

Unlike chemical testing kits, which are focused on the elements, mostly nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus, digital testing kits are focused on the pH level. Some of them can give information regarding the nutrients level. Nevertheless, it’s not near as accurate as of that of the chemical testers.

With the digital testers, you’ll either have to insert the probe into the soil or if the kit comes with a vial, you’ll be making a solution or a slurry of soil and distilled water inside the said vial and inserting the probe there.

Analog

Analog soil testing kits are a bit like the digital ones. Yet, they use three probes at a time, as each one tests a certain variable. Mostly, these variables are the pH, soil moisture level, and sunlight absorbance.

The analog testers give a range of their tested variables, and they must be moved all over the soil area in order to get the most precise results possible. Plus, the probes ought to be cleaned and maintained properly in between uses.

Lab/Professional

This is the most accurate method that you can go with. But, this accuracy has a price as it can take up to a week or even more to get your results. Additionally, the process of collecting samples is way more complicated than what the other methods require of you.

To collect a suitable sample, you have to collect soil from various places in your land and mix that together thoroughly.

Next, you’ll need to let the sample dry completely, then preserve it till you get it to the laboratory. The thing about professional testing is that it provides several types of analysis, such as micro and macronutrient levels, in addition to analyzing the composition of your soil in regards to sand, clay, and silt percentages.

DIY Home Testing

When testing for the pH level of your soil, the perfect result that you can get is no results at all. You need two clean cups, half a cup of baking soda, half a cup of water, and a soil sample, of course.

Add equal parts of your soil to each container, and to the first container, add your half cup of vinegar. If a reaction takes place, and you start to see bubbles, your soil is too alkaline.

As for the other container, add your half cup water, mix it to form a slurry, then add your half cup of baking soda.

Types of Testing

We’ve mentioned that if micronutrients and micronutrients are balanced correctly, they can give the soil an incredible boost. Subsequently, it’s essential to test specifically for them. Then, you’ll be able to provide precisely what our land needs.

Micronutrient Testing

This type of testing goes in-depth, as it explores all that is present in your plants. It crosses the border of the standard nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus testing to include smaller elements like zinc, magnesium, calcium, and even different types of sulfates.

Macronutrient Testing

The point of micronutrient testing is the diligent analysis of our three main factors; nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Each one of them has an essential role in the life of plants.

Nitrogen boosts the growth of leaves and stems and is stored in great amounts by different plants. As for potassium, it goes for the roots, allowing the plant to become stable and have better access to nutrients that might be stored in lower levels of the soil.

Nevertheless, too much of it will disrupt the roots. As for phosphorus, It's all about the growth of flowers and, later on, fruits.

Soil pH Testing

Staying neutral when it comes to soil pH is definitely the best way to go, as around 99% of different plants prefer this environment and grow optimally in it. However, every rule has its own exceptions, and there are some plants that only grow in acidic environments or alkaline environments exclusively.

For these plants, it’s better to specialize certain parts of your land for their usage. With soil pH testing kits, all you need to do is grab a sample from your soil, put it in the device with water, and compare the color of the water to the reference.

Why Having a Soil Testing Kit Is Important

Boosts Soil Productivity

Having different kinds of soil testing kits gives you a better idea of your soil’s needs and reactions. Every patch of soil is different and can support certain types of plants.

Sometimes, what soil needs is crop rotation to boost its productivity. When you know what kind of nutrients and the normal level of pH present in your soil is, you’ll be able to decide on the best crops to rotate to maximize your own profit and work your soil without overworking it.

Fertilizer Management

Fertilizers come in all shapes and sizes, but mostly they consist of the three main ingredients; nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

These three elements support plants in different ways, and when you already know what your soil has and what it lacks, you’ll pick the perfect fertilizer for your land and use it economically and wisely.

Overusing fertilizer isn’t a good thing. It might burn your plants if it has a high level of nitrogen, and it’ll also result in loss of resources.

Knowing the State of the Soil

Logically, using a soil testing kit will lead you to understand the state of your soil. It might need aeration, it might need to rest for a season or two, or you might even need to start mixing the type of soil you have with another type to enhance its productivity and help revive it a little bit.

There are so many procedures that can be done to have soil reach its optimum, and it all starts with a simple soil testing kit that’ll give you a more detailed look at what’s lying beneath your feet.

Figuring Out How to Improve the Soil

Most of our soil testing kits today come with guides, pamphlets, and brochures with all sorts of different information regarding how you can improve the quality of your soil, how you can adapt your soil to different plants, and general solutions to the more common soil problems.

Avoid Unnecessary Erosion

Unbalanced soil management is a problem that faces a lot of gardeners as the worst-case scenario is soil erosion which unfortunately happens to around 24 billion tons of fertile soil every year.

So, knowing the state of the elements in the soil, the pH, macronutrients, and micronutrients will allow you to start balancing out your soil like you need it to be.

Are Home Soil Test Kits Accurate?

Yes, they’re accurate, to a certain degree. However, they’ll really depend on the brand that you decide to purchase. More often than not, the specific kit that you intend to buy will have a rating of its accuracy in percentage printed on it. Search diligently for that number before you purchase any kits.

Is It Possible to Get a Free Soil Test?

Many universities and colleges offer free services in different fields that they teach in order to educate their students.

Fortunately, this is the case for agriculture colleges, so you can visit the nearest school to your location and have one of the students analyze your soil for you for free in exchange for documenting the experience so that they can add it to their portfolio for extra credit.

Which Soil pH Tester Is Best?

Undoubtedly, the Sonkir Soil pH Meter, MS02 will take the crown as it produces the most incredibly accurate results in regards to pH testing.

It also boasts an easy, beginner-friendly interface that won’t frighten anyone. Furthermore, it’s affordable, and since it’s a 3-in-1 kit, you’ll be getting a lot of bang for your buck.

Can You Test Soil at Home?

Yes, of course, you can test your soil at home using a few products easily in any kitchen, which are vinegar water and sodium bicarbonate. It’s an incredibly simple process that won’t take you more than half an hour.

As we’ve discussed before, you create a solution of either vinegar and water or sodium bicarbonate and water, drop equal amounts of soil in each, and wait for your results.

Are Cheap Soil pH Meters Accurate?

The accuracy of a soil pH meter doesn’t depend on price but rather on the type. And, we’ve discussed the different types of pH meters before.

The cheapest type that we’ve got will have to be the strip tests which are more or less advanced litmus paper. To be honest, they’re accurate to an end, but the problem lies with the calibration of the color that you are receiving.

How Do I Know My Soil Type?

Your soil type can be one of six: sand, clay, silt, peat, chalk, or loams. Let’s quickly get to know the trademarks of each type.

If you have sandy soil, you’ll be able to see and feel the sand more than anything else, and the thing about sand is that this stuff, no matter what you do to it, can’t be shaped.

How Can I Test the pH of My Water Without a Kit?

We go back again to the kitchen for this little experiment. Fetch a cabbage and cut it up into pieces, then place it in a bowl. Boil two cups of distilled water, take the distilled water and pour it over the cut cabbage. Cover the bowl and leave it for an hour and thirty minutes.

Then, you’ll notice that the color of the distilled water is changing to a red-purple shade.

What Is the Fastest Way to Lower pH in Soil?

In case of wanting to lower the pH for soil quickly, we turn towards the elements. Here, we can use aluminum as it easily dissolves in the ground and spreads quite fast. We can also utilize sulfur as it has so many variants, and according to its purity, the soil will go down in terms of pH level.

What Is the Optimal Time for Soil Testing?

Any gardener should know when to test their soil to get the most accurate results. The general rule is to test your soil right before you start planting your seeds, hence, guaranteeing optimal conditions for them.

Different plants have different seasons, so you must know what you’re planting, where you’re planting it, and how exactly you’re going to test the soil. You also need to know what kind of results you’re aiming for.

Can You Test Your Soil at Any Time?

The state of your soil is greatly dependent on the weather; hence it passes through times of activity and dormancy in regards to its nutrients and pH level.

There’s no harm in testing the soil whenever it looks a bit rough, so you can deal with any problems as soon as they happen. Your soil might end up needing one of many procedures such as aeration to improve its quality.

What Happens When pH Becomes Way Too Acidic in the Soil?

Firstly, any imbalance in the pH levels of the soil will lead to stunted growth and general soil toxicity, which is bound to affect the absorption of the plants quite negatively; but, in different ways.

For instance, when the pH is way too acidic, the plants might die due to a deficiency of calcium and molybdenum, which can cause chlorotic blotches. That will lead to leaves’ cupping as they grow much thicker than their normal.

What Happens When pH Becomes Way Too Alkaline in the Soil?

When the pH is way too alkaline, the plants will lose their ability to absorb certain nutrients.

Moreover, you’ll be facing incredible microorganism imbalance as the alkaline micro-organism will gain the upper hand while the others will die out. Also, you’ll lose every chance at the species’ balance as the alkaline plant will flourish while others degenerate due to many things, such as molybdenum build-up.

Final Thoughts

The 5 Best Watering Cans For Your Garden

Watering cans are an essential accessory for any novice or aspiring green-fingered gardener.

Quick glance at the best watering cans:

Related:

Best Watering Cans Reviewed

Our reviews have considered features, such as the weight, water-holding capacity, watering style, and the material the watering can is made of.

These factors will determine how well it performs. So let’s dig in and see what each water can on our list has to offer.

Union Watering Can with Tulip Design - Best Overall

Union 63068 Watering Can with Tulip Design, 2 Gallon, Sage Green

Amazon 

The Union Watering Can delivers 2 watering styles, thanks to its removable plastic spout, which makes it versatile for those who need a garden-hose backup and have a lot of watering to do. In addition, the twin handles give you more leverage to choose the way you hold the can.

It also comes in a 1 or 2-gallon size, so you can choose from the two models, depending on how much water you think you'll need or how many plants you have to water. We believe this is the best watering can for most uses, and it's available in a range of bright colors with a cute tulip motif.

Pros

Twin handles perfect for picking up

Shower and stream watering styles

Choice of 1 or 2-gallon sizes

Cons

The removable plastic spout may be flimsy and could leak

Not the most ergonomic design

Bloem Easy Pour Watering Can

Bloem Easy Pour Watering Can, 2.6 Gallon, Black (20-47287CP)

Amazon 

This watering can by Bloem can hold more than 2 gallons of water, ideal for those who have lots of flowering beds and plants to water. We've considered it the best all-rounder because of its ergonomic design that allows you to fill it with water from the side so that the handles aren't on the way.

It features a unique sprinkler head that lets you switch between rainmaker watering style to stream with one easy click, targeting areas such as roots without affecting the soil.

This watering can's twin handles make carrying and refilling easy. Its high-quality, UV-resistant, BPA-free plastic body with soft edges gives you an easy watering experience and feels good in your hands.

Pros

Twin handles

Rotating spout clicks into place for 2 watering styles

Holds over 2 gallons of water

Durable plastic and convenient side hole for filling water

Cons

Can be hard to get a light water flow using this can

Novelty Indoor Watering Can

Novelty 30601 Indoor Watering Can, 1/2 Gallon, Green

Amazon 

This budget plastic watering can by Novelty is ideal for day-to-day maintenance of indoor plants. It holds a gallon of water and is lightweight.

Moreover, it features a long spout with a small opening to let you have complete control over the water flow, making it ideal for flowering baskets and hanging plants that may be placed high up. In addition, its long handle gives you leverage, allowing you to move your hand as the water drains out.

Novelty's watering can is sturdy and durable, made of shatterproof UV-resistant plastic. Not to mention, its small size means you can easily store it away.

Pros

Long spout with small water opening

Long, ergonomic handle allows for easier movement

Durable and lightweight, made of shatterproof plastic

Cons

Holds one-gallon capacity only

Suitable only for indoor use

Behrens 2-Gallon Steel Watering Can - Best Galvanized Can

Behrens 210 2-1/2-Gallon Steel Watering Can, Silver

Amazon 

Behrens steel watering can has a vintage appeal and performs as well as it looks! It's made from sturdy galvanized steel that resists rust, so it's ideal for outdoor watering. It's incredibly durable and lasts longer than any plastic watering can, so you could leave it out anywhere, and it'll be as good as ever.

It comes in a range of capacities, including 1.5, 2, 2.5, and 3 gallons, and features a handle at the top that flips down to make filling water easy.

Moreover, it delivers a wide spray pattern, allowing you to cover distant areas, and is suitable for most plants. In addition, it can be tipped forward if you require a stream of water.

Pros

Rust-free galvanized steel

Twin handles

Wide spray watering style

Cons

The sprinkler head isn't removable

Could be expensive for some

Bloem Aqua Rite Watering Can - Best For Indoors

Bloem JW41-26 Watering Can Aqua Rite 1.2 Gal. (144 oz), Bermuda Teal Green

Amazon 

Bloem has designed this watering can with plastic resin to ensure long-lasting performance, so you can rest assured that your UV-protected watering can will be fine if you leave it outside or on the window sill.

Unlike chunky cans, this one is beautifully streamlined, so your water won't be splashing about when moving around with the can. In addition, it has a convenient long-stem spout to give you leverage with water control, especially when it comes to delicate plants, houseplants, small plants, or those that may be low down, protecting your back.

You won't get tired of lugging this around your home thanks to its curved, comfortable long handle. You can easily switch between periods of holding and pouring using two hands or one.

You also get a capacity of half a gallon of water and an aesthetically pretty flower motif.

Pros

Long stem spout

Allows precise watering

Curved design avoids water spillage

Long handle

Cons

Small, holds half a gallon only

Catered mainly for day-to-day maintenance

Suitable for plants placed at waist-high length or low down

How to Choose a Watering Can

When it comes to choosing which watering can to go for, it all depends on your requirements and whether you're going to be using it inside or out.

Another factor to bear in mind is the capacity and how much you can carry. Some large watering cans may end up feeling too heavy to hold.

Other cans come with handles that allow you to use both your hands which can be convenient when holding a lot of water. Below are the factors you need to consider when choosing your watering can.

Spout Options

The spout of a watering can will determine the watering style that's delivered. For example, some spouts will have only a stream or pour function while others will sprinkle like a shower, and some will let you switch between both.

A sprinkle head has the advantage of evenly coating your plants with steady pressure, giving you precision by directing where you want water to be sprinkled. In addition, it allows for a light flow to avoid damaging soil.

If, however, you need deep and direct waterings as well, then you might benefit from a can that gives you the flexibility of removing the sprinkle head.

For example, if you require your watering can to provide you with a straight stream directly to the soil, or if you want something to help you extend your reach, then a longer spout would be ideal.

Size

Larger watering cans feel heavier when they're full, so if you know you're going to require a lot of water to serve your needs, opt for a watering can that's large but streamlined and can carry a gallon or two.

Most watering cans will have a carrying capacity of about 1 or 2 gallons, and the ones on the larger end of this spectrum have the advantage of reducing the number of trips to the water faucet.

On the other hand, if you have a few indoor plants to water, you don't need a big watering can. In this case, opt for smaller, lightweight, and compact designs that can cater for about half a gallon.

Pro Tip: Smaller-sized watering cans are perfect for new plantings, seedlings, and houseplants.

You can always choose an inexpensive and small watering can for day-to-day uses and a larger one for mixing in fertilizers and intensive waterings during the main growing seasons.

Material

Some materials give a lovely aesthetic to a watering can, while others tend to be more practical or functional.

Plastic

Being lightweight and therefore easy to refill and relatively sturdy, plastic watering cans are a good choice. They're long-lasting and never rust, especially when stored correctly.

Plastic watering cans are also more streamlined, so they can be stored in small spaces, and some even come with UV-protective coatings so you can leave them out in the sun, and they won't fade.

Plastic cans are cheaper than metal ones and often come with versatile spout options, such as a stream or sprinkler head.

Metal

Metal watering cans have that beautiful, vintage appeal. You can opt for one made of galvanized steel with the advantage of being very strong and durable, so it won't rust the way other metal (particularly tin) watering cans do.

Galvanized steel will probably last you forever, or you can opt for brass, copper, or stainless steel watering cans, all of which have a beautiful aesthetic to them and can look charming in any garden. Metal watering cans tend to be long-lasting but can be heavier than plastic watering cans.

Leak-Free Design

Plastic is usually constructed in one piece, so there are no seams for water to seep out. In contrast, metal cans that tend to rust will potentially leak.

They're also not constructed in one piece, so there might be small joinings in the metal that water may seep out of after some time.

If you're searching for indoor watering cans for indoor house plants, consider one with a curved spout that will prevent leakages when refilling and moving around.

One vs. Two Handles

Two handles can make things feel more comfortable for your hands when operating with larger capacity watering cans, giving you more control over water flow.

You can use the top handle for carrying the watering can around, while you can use the back handle for directing flows.

Some designs come with a long continuous handle from the top to the back, commonly seen on smaller cans and indoor watering cans.

Indoor Plant Misters

Plant misters are used to gently mist plants to encourage humid conditions that plants love. You’ll need to use your watering can for watering the soils, as that helps plants take up water through their roots, but misting can prevent leaves and petals from drying out.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most common questions people have.

Are Watering Cans Necessary?

Watering cans give you complete control of the water flow necessary for new plants and seedlings.

Hoses can cause damage at times due to the intense water pressure they impart. Indoor houseplants like succulents would benefit from direct and precise watering with long spouted watering cans without creating the mess that a regular cup might do.

Do Galvanized Watering Cans Rust?

Galvanized and stainless steel cans won't rust but will be heavier than plastic ones. You could opt for an aluminum watering can if you want a metal-based watering can.

How Do You Maintain a Watering Can?

Storing it away from light and in a dry place will help preserve the plastic or metal materials of the can.

How Big Is a Normal Watering Can?

Average watering cans will hold about 1 to 2 gallons of water.

What Can I Use Instead of a Watering Can?

You can use any bottle that has a handle, such as a milk bottle.

Conclusion

The ideal watering can shouldn’t be too heavy and must give you the flexibility of two handles to comfortably hold and use it.

It should also have a spout that matches your requirements for the type of watering pattern you desire and carry a water capacity that would be suitable for either indoors or outdoors, depending on which you prefer.

With the right choice, you are sure to provide excellent care and continuous flourishing for your plantings, new seedlings, and crops.

Best Gardening Gloves - Gloves That Last!

Having a high-quality pair of gardening gloves ensures clean hands and nails, prevents scrapes, cuts, calluses, and blisters, and protects against harmful chemicals as well as insect bites.

Since you’ve landed on this article, it’s safe to assume that you haven’t yet found the right pair of gardening gloves for your needs. Fret not! You’re in the right place.

In this article, we shed light on some of the best gardening gloves on the market today. We also cover how you should go about pinpointing the perfect pair, so stick around.

Quick glance at the best gardening gloves:

Related:

Best Gardening Gloves Reviewed

Having sifted through countless top-rated gardening gloves, we were finally able to filter out four impressive products that hit the nail on the head.

No matter what you intend to use any of these gloves for a while you're digging in your garden; you can rest assured they'll suffice and stand the test of time.

Magid Glove & Safety Bella Comfort Flex Coated - Best Overall

Sun Joe All-Purpose GGNP-S3 Reusable Nitrile-Palm Gloves, Tactile, Washable, One Size Fits Most, For Gardening, DIY, Set of 3, Green

Amazon 

Kicking off our list is the water-resistant Magid BE337T Bella garden work glove, with its form-fitting design, double-coated palm, and breathable nylon back.

With the BE337T Bella covering your hands, you don't have to worry about getting your hands wet as you're doing your gardening. Instead, the water will simply bead up and roll off the gloves.

The double-coated palm, which incorporates nitrile and polyurethane, is sure to remain unscratched and in good shape even after years of use. It’s also quite comfortable.

Thanks to Comfort Flex technology, this garden glove’s nylon back flaunts exceptional breathability, so you can forget all about sweaty, slippery hands. You can get the BE337T Bella gloves in size L or XL.

Pros

Durable, form-fitting design

Breathable nylon back

Waterproof

Can easily be hosed clean

Reasonably priced

Cons

A little too thin for yard work

Not the best insect protection

Foxgloves Original Gloves - Runner Up

Foxgloves Original Gardening Gloves (Periwinkle Blue, Medium)

Amazon 

The Foxgloves Originals are a bit more expensive than the Magid BE337T Bella, but for a few good reasons. For starters, the Foxgloves Originals are made of high-tech sports fabric that ensures superb durability and water resistance. They also incorporate lycra elastane to provide flexibility and stretch.

On top of that, these gloves do an excellent job of keeping your hands and fingernails clean. They also feature longer cuffs to provide wrist protection.

Not just that, but they incorporate Supplex nylon to boost durability and provide a comfortable, cottony feel. The gloves are available in nine vibrant colors and three sizes: small, medium, and large. They're perfect for both men and women.

Pros

Unisex design

Flexible and comfortable

Water-resistant

Super lightweight

Available in many colors

Cons

Not the most breathable

Relatively expensive

Atlas Gloves Atlas Nitrile Touch Gloves - Budget Pick

6 Pack Showa Atlas NT370 Atlas Nitrile Garden Gloves - Small (Assorted Colors)

Amazon 

Just because the Atlas Gloves NT370A6M are affordable doesn’t mean they’re not reliable. In fact, they’re one of the best-selling gardening gloves today, mainly because of their reliability.

These unisex gloves are made of nitrile, which is why they feel as if they’ve molded to your hands once you put them on. They’re also available in several color options, including purple, blue, teal, and green, so you’ll surely find something to appeal to your taste.

Now, even though the Atlas Gloves NT370A6M are puncture- and abrasion-resistant, they're not really intended for heavy-duty work. Instead, they're intended primarily for light gardening work that requires dexterity.

Pros

Unisex design

Perfect for light gardening

Good puncture resistance

Available in many colors

Great value for the price

Cons

Too large for smaller hands

Not suitable for heavy-duty work

Exemplary Gardens Rose Pruning Gloves - Heavy Duty

Rose Pruning Gloves for Men and Women - Thorn Proof Goatskin Leather Gardening Gloves with Gauntlet (Medium, Brown)

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Designed for all green-thumbed men and women, the Rose Pruning Gloves from Exemplary Gardens are the perfect pick for heavy-duty gardening, as they’re made of 100% natural goatskin leather and boast remarkable puncture resistance.

This high-quality leather glove features an extended suede cuff to protect your arm from cuts and scratches. And while it's durable and super sturdy, the Rose Pruning Glove maintains excellent flexibility, allowing you to deadhead without any constrictions or any risk of hurting yourself.

By the way, if you have sensitive skin, you’d be happy to know that these gloves incorporate lanolin as a moisturizing agent to help keep your hands supple.

The Rose Pruning Gloves are available in four unique color options and in five size options to accommodate hands of all sizes.

Pros

Durable goatskin leather

Great wrist closure

Comfortable and pliable

Smooth internal texture

Excellent grip

Cons

Not entirely thorn-proof

Quite expensive

How to Choose Gardening Gloves

There are several things you should consider before choosing a pair of gloves.

Material

Possibly the most important part of any pair of gloves. Let's look a little closer at the materials.

Nylon

Nylon gardening gloves strike an excellent balance between durability and elasticity. They’re quite popular because of their low absorbency, especially when compared to PU (synthetic leather) gloves. What’s more, nylon gloves are highly resistant to puncture and tear. They’re also lightweight and offer a reliable grip.

Leather

Leather gardening gloves are arguably the strongest and most durable, making them perfect for heavy-duty work and pokey jobs like wire fencing and rose pruning. What we don't like about leather gloves is that they're bulky and don't usually fit snugly enough. Nonetheless, they provide excellent protection and are guaranteed to last long.

Bamboo

Gloves made of bamboo fiber are soft, breathable, flexible, and quite comfortable. They’re also close-fitting and environmentally friendly. The main downside of using bamboo gloves is that they’re not water-resistant. They’re also not the most reliable when it comes to grip.

Grip

Another major factor. Grip can help you or hinder you, depending on what tools you use.

Coating

There are two common types of coating that you’ll come across when sifting through gardening gloves: rubber and nitrile or neoprene coating.

Gloves that are coated with rubber provide great protection against chemicals like pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. They also have excellent grip. The only problem with such gloves is that their coating restricts their breathability, so they tend to get hot and sweaty.

Neoprene or nitrile gloves are similar to rubber gloves in the sense that their coating is derived from synthetic rubber, but they’re much more breathable and flexible. They’re not the most resistant to puncture, though.

Textured Material

Most uncoated gardening gloves are made out of textured material to provide a reliable grip. As a result, such gloves tend to be more breathable and ideal for light-duty gardening.

However, the downside is that they're not really water-resistant, so water can seep through their seams, making it difficult for you to carry out your work.

Size

When it comes to choosing the right-sized gardening gloves, it’s vital that you check the manufacturer’s sizing chart, especially if it’s not possible to try on the gloves before you buy them.

Ideally, you should measure your hands before buying a pair of gloves to ensure a comfortable and snug fit. To do so, you need to grab a tape measure and wrap it around your knuckles. The measured circumference is what you should be looking for in the manufacturer’s sizing chart.

Use the measurements below for reference:

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most common questions that people have.

What Should I Look For in Gardening Gloves?

Three essential factors should influence your purchase decision, namely comfort, hand protection, and durability.

It would be best if you opted for a pair of gloves that are flexible and breathable to ensure comfort. Further, the gloves should provide enough protection for your knuckles, palms, and fingertips. Lastly, the gloves should be made of a durable material that will last long.

Should You Wear Gloves When Gardening?

Most definitely! Wearing gloves when gardening will significantly help protect your knuckles, palms, and fingertips from scratches and cuts. It’ll also keep your hands and nails clean.

Gardening gloves are especially important when working with harmful chemicals like pesticides and herbicides. They also provide protection against insect bites and stings.

Is It Safe to Garden Without Gloves?

Gardening without gloves can result in dangerous microorganisms finding their way into your body, causing serious infections that you could easily avoid. Not to mention, you run the risk of getting scratched, cut, bitten, or stung if you’re gardening without gloves. Accordingly, why not use gloves with all the available options?

Are Garden Gloves Washable?

Yes, most of them are actually. All you have to do to clean your gardening gloves is soak them in tepid water for enough time. Alternatively, you can wash them with water and soap while wearing them. Some can even be hosed clean, which makes them all the more convenient!

Recap

13 of the Best Herbs to Grow Indoors for Cooking

You don't have to be green-fingered to have your own indoor herb garden. Growing herbs can be a super satisfying way to add flavor to meals, aromatherapy, and teas. Once you start combining everything with fresh herbs, you won't go back.

There are a few pointers to consider before growing herbs indoors. Follow our tips on getting the most out of the 10 best herbs to grow indoors.

You should also read:

The Best Herbs to Grow Indoors


These herbs have a track record as proven easy growers. They're tolerant of indoors and can withstand variable conditions.

1. Lemongrass

Why Grow It?

Lemongrass is a fragrant indoor starter plant that’s versatile; usable in teas, curries and essential oil therapy. For culinary lemongrass, choose West Indian varieties when buying.

Light Needed

Lemongrass likes full sun, but it can tolerate a little shade. Keep it on a sunny windowsill as this herb enjoys full light, up to 6 hours a day.

Soil Needed

Lemongrass does best in well-draining soil. It should be planted in fertile and wet soil and should have some mature compost in its potting mix.

Quick Tip: To improve your current soil conditions, add some organic matter, either from your compost pile or gardening shops.

Watering Advice

Water lemongrass deeply and wait for it to dry out before adding more. You need to make sure that the roots don't dry out too much, so it's important to keep the soil moist.

2. Oregano

Why Grow It?

This Mediterranean herb is easy to plant as it doesn’t need a large pot, and it’ll trail instead of spread.

Light Needed

Oregano likes hot weather, so it's best placed on a sunny windowsill.

Soil Needed

It tolerates a lot of soil conditions and does best in airy, fast-drying soil.

Watering Advice

Though Oregano is drought resistant, it still benefits from being watered regularly. Let the soil dry between waterings and avoid watering excessively.

3. Bay Laurel

Why Grow It?

This culinary herb works well as a container plant, making it perfect for both indoors and garden settings.

Light Needed

This fresh herb enjoys full sun and some shade. The best place to set it in is on a sunny windowsill facing the south.

Soil Needed

This fresh herb enjoys full sun and some shade. The best place to set it in is on a sunny windowsill facing the south.

Watering Advice

Keep your potting mix moist but not waterlogged. During warmer temperatures, mist it regularly to avoid it drying out.

4. Cilantro

Why Grow It?

Cilantro has large seeds, so it's an easy starter plant and is perfect for growing indoors since it also enjoys cooler temperatures.

Light Needed

This fresh herb needs 6 hours of sunlight, so place its pots on sunny windowsills.

Soil Needed

Use fertilized, well-draining soil. You can purchase ready potting soil mixes or make your own.

Watering Advice

Cilantro enjoys moisture, but over-watering can cause diseases. If you notice the soil is dry, water slowly and let it absorb before watering again.

5. Mint

Why Grow It?

Mint is one of the best herbs to grow indoors because it grows year-round. Select a wide pot to let the roots spread out.

Light Needed

Give mint herb moderate light, with some partial shade. You can rotate the pot every few days to ensure different angles can bend towards the light.

Soil Needed

Keep mint in an excellent potting mix; either buy it or make your own. Also, make sure your soil is well-draining, similar to the soils of the herbs mentioned before.

Watering Advice

Keep the soil evenly moist, and if you notice the leaves turning brown or wilting, water some more.

6. Chives

Why Grow It?

Chives are hardy plants, tolerant of temperature changes, and are also flavorsome culinary herbs.

Light Needed

Typically, 6 hours of light a day is needed, so place the potting on a south-faced sunny windowsill.

Soil Needed

Keep chives in a rich, organic potting mix, making sure your soil is well-draining. Use a low dose of fertilizer to keep the herb actively growing.

Watering Advice

Keep the soil moist and spray with a mist to coat leaves evenly, making sure your room is airy so that the plant enjoys humidity

7. Sage

Why Grow It?

This aromatic herb, with its silvery foliage, has an earthy flavor. It tolerates dry air well, making it perfect for indoors.

Soil Needed

Sage needs lots of light, so place the pot on a sunny windowsill.

Light Needed

Sage requires a potting mix of well-draining, sandy, loamy soil. Avoid over-fertilizing as it reduces the flavor.

Watering Advice

This herb is drought tolerant, so it doesn't require that much water. Wait till the soil is dry before watering it well, as over-watering can cause powdery mildew.

8. Lemon Balm

Why Grow It?

Lemon Balm requires a few things to grow and has a fresh citrus flavor.

Light Needed

Lemon Balm needs lots of light, so place the pot on a sunny windowsill.

Soil Needed

A potting mix of well-draining, loamy soil and some light fertilizer every few weeks will encourage growth.

Watering Advice

Regularly water lemon balm and mist its leaves, but don't let it get soggy.

9. Parsley

Why Grow It?

This Mediterranean herb grows easily indoors and just needs a large pot for its long roots.

Light Needed

Parsley needs full sunlight, about 6 hours a day. But it can grow in some shade, albeit a little slowly.

Soil Needed

Choose a well-draining, rich organic soil, and remember to fertilize every fortnight.

Watering Advice

Regularly water and mist its leaves to encourage humidity, and remember to keep it moist but not wet.

10. Chervil

Why Grow It?

Similar to parsley, this herb grows easily indoors and can be kept in partial shade.

Light Needed

Chervil herb should be placed in partial sunlight and a cool room.

Soil Needed

Choose well-draining soil. Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged.

Watering Advice

Regularly water the soil and mist its leaves.

11. Rosemary

Why Grow It?

This super aromatic herb adds distinctive flavor to dishes and is easy to care for.

Light Needed

Rosemary enjoys full sunlight all day.

Soil Needed

Select a well-draining, organic soil that's sandy and loamy.

Watering Advice

Only water the plant when the topsoil is dry, so between waterings, just mist the herb.

12. Thyme

Why Grow It?

Thyme's a popular cooking herb, easy to grow, and attractive as a houseplant.

Light Needed

Thyme will do well on a warm, sunny windowsill that's south-facing.

Soil Needed

Select a fast-draining, organic soil, a combination of sand, peat, and perlite. Remember to keep the soil moist but not soggy.

Watering Advice

Only water when the topsoil is dry, but to avoid the leaves wilting, mist between watering.

13. Basil

Why Grow It?

Known for its low maintenance, basil is essential in your indoor garden.

Light Needed

This herb worships the sun so give it a dose of 6 hours a day on a windowsill.

Soil Needed

Select loose, sandy potting soils for basil, making sure they’re well-draining and organic.

Watering Advice

Keep the soil moist, and water it when you notice any wilting.

Where Can I Grow Herbs?

In Natural Light

Most herbs do best in full sunlight, requiring about 6-8 hours and only some shelter. You can grow herbs indoors on a sunny windowsill, using potting.

Under Glow Lights

You can opt for fluorescent grow lights or energy-efficient LEDs to place your pots under. You can buy a small light garden with fluorescent lights fitted in or buy individual clamping fixtures with LED bulbs.

Frequently Asked Questions

These are the most common questions that people have when growing herbs indoors.

Which Herbs Grow Indoors Year-Round?

All the herbs mentioned above grow indoors year-round, but our favorite picks are chives, mint, rosemary, and thyme.

Which Herbs Grow Best in Pots?

All the herbs mentioned above grow fine in pots, but the best would be basil, rosemary, chives, sage, and bay.

What Herbs Are Hard to Grow?

Herbs like tarragon, marjoram, and some species of cilantro can be hard to grow.

What Herbs Don’t Need Sunlight?

Chives, chervil, and some mint species don’t always need much sunlight.

What Herb Grows the Fastest?

Basil, parsley, chives & coriander grow the fastest.

What Herb Is the Easiest to Grow and Maintain?

Basil, thyme, bay, Indian, and mint are low maintenance and require basic herb care.

Conclusion

You require little to create an indoor herb garden. Most herbs are easy to grow, and the above are some examples. You just need to keep a disciplined routine for watering, lighting, and checking the soil to ensure they flourish to their maximum.

The key things that all herbs need are moist and ideally humid conditions without being bogged down with water, which many accidentally fall prey to.

Finally, keep an eye on topsoil and reinvigorate potting mix with fresh organic compost to ensure your herbs enjoy rich quality nutrients.

The Best Time to Water Plants All Year Round

Not sure when should you water your plants? Well, we can definitely help you with that. Watering plants at the right time is essential for their health and growth.

In this guide, we’ll familiarize you with the best time to water your plants all year round so you can enjoy their sight in your backyard or terrace for the longest time possible. Without further ado, let’s get right to it!

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Morning, Afternoon, or Evening Watering?

According to a study published by Iowa State University, you should water your plants in the early morning, specifically between 5:00 and 9:00 AM. It’s the best time of day to water them, no matter what type of plants you have or how good or bad the weather is.

If you don’t have enough time in the morning to water your plants because of your work schedule or other unexpected circumstances, you can water them in the late afternoon. However, try to avoid watering your plants in the evening as it could promote fungal growth.

Different Types of Watering

It's important to understand the various types of watering, so you can avoid any beginner mistakes.

Vegetable Gardens

Contrary to popular belief, vegetable garden plants aren’t that tolerable to drought. You still need to occasionally water your vegetable gardens with a soaker hose to avoid damaging them, especially on hot days.

Container Plants

Watering your container plant is essential for its growth. When it comes to potted plants, water is considered a fertilizer for them. Inadequately watering your potted plant will make it look scruffy, so the next time you water your lawn, make sure that you manually water your container plants instead of relying on your drip irrigation system or sprinkler.

Trees and Shrubs

Trees and shrubs must be watered deeply, even if rainfall is a common occasion in your region. Preserving their roots is key to sustaining their health.

House Plants

A houseplant usually requires less maintenance than outdoor plants. Watering your indoor plant once every 1-3 weeks would be more than enough.

Annual and Perennial Plant Watering

Annual plants need a single season to get their lifecycle done, while perennial plants require several seasons. Understanding which plants are annual or perennial is crucial when figuring out the best time to water them.

Unlike annual plants, such as impatiens and cosmos, perennial plants are resistant to drought thanks to their deep roots. This means that watering them a couple of times a week during summer would be more than enough; just make sure that you water them deeply.

Some of the most popular perennial plants include false indigo and coneflower.

On the other hand, annual plants require more frequent watering during heat waves because of their shallow roots. Therefore, you might need to water them daily or every other day, depending on how severe the heatwave is.

What to Do With Wilted Plants

Are your favorite plants wilting? Don’t panic! In many cases, wilting can just be the plants’ natural response to heat waves. Your plants should be back to normal before dusk if the reason behind them wilting was the temperature.

If your plants are wilting 24/7, you might be dealing with a disease or pest problem.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most common questions on watering plants.

What Is the Best Time to Water Plants in Hot Weather?

The best time to water your plants during hot summer days is in the early morning. It gives your plants the water they need to withstand the heat. Not to mention, watering your plants in the early morning is ideal because it prevents water loss due to evaporation.

Another reason why watering your plants in the early morning is recommended is to give them enough time to dry, which helps prevent diseases.

Do Plants Absorb Water at Night?

Yes, plants absorb water at night, but we don’t recommend watering them at that time. While your plants will definitely benefit from some nighttime watering, it’ll take longer for them to dry, leaving your plants vulnerable to fungal infections and powdery mildew.

If you really have to water your plants at night, just water the roots without splashing water on the leaves. You might also want to consider watering them right before dusk.

Should You Water Plants Every Day?

It’s not necessary to water your plants every single day. What really matters is how deep that watering is. Deep watering accelerates the growth of roots downwards. You don’t want your roots to grow near the soil surface, making them prone to dry faster.

As a general rule of thumb, water your plants just once or twice a week as deeply as you can.

Does Spraying Water on Plant Leaves Help?

Yes, spraying plant leaves is definitely a good idea. It helps get rid of the dust particles that accumulate on the leaves over time. It also eliminates fungal spores and insect pests.

However, make sure that you spray your foliage early in the morning to give them some time to dry because leaving them wet for prolonged periods may encourage the development of diseases that need moisture.

Conclusion

To recap, early morning is definitely the best time to water plants all year round, and here’s why:

Another good time to water your plants is right before dusk.

As for watering frequency, several factors come into play, like weather conditions and the type of your plants (annual or perennial). Generally speaking, annuals need more frequent watering, especially on extremely hot days.

On a final note, remember that morning watering your plants is the only way for them to flourish, so make sure that you keep it at the top of your to-do list.