How do Moisture Sensors Work

So, how do moisture sensors work and why does the soil’s moisture level matter? These days, more and more people are finding themselves growing heavily reliant on technology. Even in gardening, the invention of moisture sensors has become a helpful tool for farmers and home gardeners in determining their soil’s level of moisture.

Water plays a vital role in the growth and survival of many plants and when your plants receive less of it, plant stress can result and if left unaddressed, this could immediately lead to reduced yield and eventually, plant death. If you’re gardening for profit, this is the worst that can happen to you. To make sure that your plants receive the right water it needs at the right time, it may be better to consider using a moisture sensor.

How do Moisture Sensors Work

What are the 3 Types of Motion Sensors and How Do They Work?

Moisture content is important especially in the agriculture sector as farmers keep a close eye on the management of their irrigation system which ensures that their crops are getting the right amount of water every day. Soil moisture sensors, as the name implies, detects the level of moisture or water content of the soil. It uses either the electrical resistance, dielectric constant, or the interaction of neutrons in the soil as the basis of the soil’s moisture content.

The three most common types of moisture sensors are volumetric, tensiometric, and solid-state sensors. Here’s how they work:

 

Volumetric moisture sensors

Volumetric sensors work by measuring the soil’s water content directly. It’s most commonly used in agricultural research or in farms that cultivate high-value crops where there is a need for an accurate report of soil moisture level. Volumetric sensors have a lot of different types of moisture sensors including neutron moisture probes, heat dissipation sensors, and dielectric sensors.

Among those, the most common type of volumetric moisture sensors used in the field is the di-electric sensors. These sensors measure the soil’s water content by using the dielectric constant, or the soil bulk permittivity, of the soil. When the water volume of the soil increases, the dielectric constant would also increase and when the constant decreases, it would translate to lesser water levels in the soil.

 

Tensiometric moisture sensors

Since soil retains water either through tension or adhesion, tensiometers offer an accurate way for gardeners to measure the soil moisture level of their soil as it measures the tension between water and soil particles. With tensiometers, the higher the reading that is reflected on the gauge, the drier the soil is.

Tensiometric moisture sensors have a tube that is filled with water. When the probe is inserted in the soil near the plant’s roots, the water will leave the tube and into the soil through the probe’s porous ceramic tip. Once the moisture inside and outside the tube soil matches, it will create a reading which will reflect the level of your soil’s moisture.

When the soil is dry, the plants will have to exert more effort to absorb what little water is left in the soil and this will be reflected on your tensiometer’s gauge.

 

Solid-state sensors

Solid-state sensors primarily work by measuring the soil’s electrical resistance through electrical probes that are inserted in the soil. Solid-state moisture sensors consist of two probes that create an electrical interaction within the soil. Essentially, when there is more water, there would be less electrical resistance since the current can easily pass through it; when there is less water, the electrical resistance will be higher.

Solid-state sensors are the most inexpensive type of moisture sensors available in the market. However, when used in arid areas, the solid-state moisture sensors won’t be able to provide an accurate reading. Certain factors such as high salinity levels and elevated salt concentration in the soil could disrupt the workings of the electrical sensors of the probes which can lead to inaccurate soil moisture readings.

Benefits of Growing Plants Inside a Greenhouse

Greenhouses are one of the best places to grow plants because of the plethora of benefits it offers. Most plants grown in a greenhouse are often more productive than those that are grown in a garden.

Here are the other benefits of growing plants inside a greenhouse:

 

Increased crop yield

With greenhouses, you’ll have full control of the internal environment. This means that you will be able to tweak the temperature, humidity, and light according to the needs of your plant. As a result, plants grown in an optimal environment would develop and grow better leading to more crop yield.

 

Better protection for your crops

Greenhouses are usually with a plastic film or fiberglass which protects the plants from the extreme heat or strong winds. This minimizes the risk of your plants dying from any climatic factors. Aside from that, the enclosure can also protect your plants from the dangers brought about by pests and disease infestations.

Extended growing season

Since greenhouses offer people with full control of the internal environment, another bonus is that they can extend the growing period of their crops. You can extend the growing season of a warm-season plant throughout winter by putting it in your greenhouse and controlling the environment so it would generate enough warmth for your plant to continue producing flowers or fruits.

 

Conclusion: How do Moisture Sensors Work?

Moisture sensors come in a lot of varieties and the answer to the question, “how do moisture sensors work?” really depends on the type of sensor. Some measure the soil tension while others use the soil’s electrical resistance. No matter what type you choose, a moisture sensor can be a great tool you can use to determine your soil’s moisture level to make sure that your plants will receive the right level of hydration that they need.

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How To Prevent Root Rot In Hydroponics: 3 Useful Tips

If you’re a newbie gardener who’s looking to find ways to hone your skills, you’d want to learn how to prevent root rot in hydroponics even before this problem affects your plants.

Hydroponics can be advantageous to crops in more ways than one. However, it also comes with risks of diseases, such as root rot, which can be destructive or even lethal to your plants.

Unfortunately, there are no effective methods to recover the wilted parts that were affected by the root rot once it hits your plants. The only thing you can do if you do not want this catastrophe to befall your crops is to prevent it before it happens. Read on to learn more about this subject.

 

What is Root Rot?

Root rot is a disease that attacks the plant roots and causes them to suffer decay. This usually happens when a lack of oxygen supply occurs in the substrate.

To give you an idea, think about plant roots that are submerged in water that only has a little oxygen in it. Over time, the plant suffocates and dies.

Aside from rot and decay, this disease also leads to the proliferation of fungi that are naturally present in the soil. These include Rhizoctonia, Alternaria, Pythium, Botrytis, Fusarium, or Phytophthora. As soon as fungi colonies start to grow, they tend to target the weakened roots and infect your precious plant babies.

Once the plant becomes infected, they won’t be able to take in what they need to grow – water, oxygen, and other nutrients. When this happens, it won’t be long before the plant dies.

 

What is Hydroponics?

In case you’re not aware, the term hydroponic is derived from a Latin word that means “working water”. To put it simply, hydroponics is an art that involves growing various types of plants without soil. If you’re like most people, the first thing that comes to mind when somebody talks about hydroponics would be a picture of plants with roots suspended into the water without using any type of growing medium.

 

Avoiding Root Rot in Hydroponic Systems

Detecting and identifying root rot can be tricky. When your plants get infected, their leaves and roots gradually wither until the whole crop itself dies from the lack of nutrients, which is a common symptom of many diseases.

 

What causes root rot in hydroponics?

One of the requirements in hydroponics systems is oxygen. Without it, your plants are basically on the road to death. On the other hand, lack of such is one of the major triggers for root rot, and it must be avoided at all costs.

Just like when planting in soil, you loosen up the ground so that your plants’ roots can have their required intake of oxygen. That is the case for crops grown in aqueous solutions as well. If they cannot breathe, they would not be able to grow.

Another agent for root rot is the temperature. The last thing you would want in your system are parasites that leech nutrients intended for your plants and infect the water during the process. In common terms, these fungi are called molds.

One of the best breeding grounds for these is warm and moist areas. For this reason, if the water temperature inside your reservoir is high, then you are susceptible to it. Something as minor as letting the solutions exposed to sunlight can already be a risk factor.

 

3 Useful Tips on How to prevent root rot in hydroponics

There is good news! Root rot in hydroponics can be prevented! Just follow these tips:

Tip#1: Use the right air pump

If you do not want root rot to affect your plants, you merely have to avoid its causes. If you need oxygen, keep the water bubbling by providing an air pump of appropriate size, and also give importance to proper ventilation in the room.

 

Tip #2: Maintain the temperature

The temperature should be maintained within the 70 to 80 degrees F range. Get rid of any materials that can make your system vulnerable to infections, and make sure not to disturb your crops while they are trying to grow.

 

Tip #3: Get rid of the rotten parts

However, if you failed in preventing the disease, then the rotten parts should be removed immediately. Cut them off as there is no chance of reviving them, and focus on the potential new growth instead. Fix your hydroponics system and eliminate the risks.

 

Why Give Greenhouse Gardening a Try?

Greenhouse gardening offers numerous benefits to greens aficionados who dare to take their gardening experience to the next level. Aside from acting as a shield against the effects of inclement weather, a mini, hobby, or semi-pro greenhouse can also serve as a protective layer that keeps harmful bugs and critters at bay.

What’s more, its enclosed structure allows you to control your plants’ growing conditions including the temperature, light, moisture, and ventilation of the greenhouse’s internal environment. With a controlled environment, you’ll be able to extend growing seasons and grow plants that aren’t native to your area.

 

Conclusion

No matter how well-informed you are about how to prevent root rot in hydroponics, you cannot completely eradicate the risks. Therefore, to avoid the worst-case scenario, you should be prepared to sacrifice the infected for the sake of others. While you’re at it, consider trying your hand at greenhouse gardening as well.

 

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