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Parts Per Million (PPM)
Feeding schedules will usually be written in two ways. The first will be a measurement like ¼ teaspoon of nutrients to 1 gallon of water. The second will be based on PPM (parts per million). By using a meter you can get a reading that will tell you much “stuff” is in the water.
Pure water is 0 ppm, but don’t expect that from tap water. If you’ve heard the phrase heavy water before, PPM is what they are talking about. Personally, I like the accuracy of using a ppm meter because I know exactly how much nutrients I’m giving and it’s easier to create the right dose. But I didn’t get one until my second or third grow even though it would have really helped.
A PPM meter will also allow you to check your runoff and you can use that number to tell if your plants need more nutrients or not. Plants vary in their feeding habits during all times of their growth period.