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Moisture meters-experience to share? Toplef10Moisture meters-experience to share? 1zd3ho10

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Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

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Moisture meters-experience to share?

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Theresa
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Post  boffer 4/7/2010, 12:05 pm

The suggestion to use one came up in another thread and got me wondering.

I bought one recently and am not trusting the results in Mel's mix. In 'regular' garden soil, I started with dry soil and measured, added some water and measured, and added some more water and measured. The meter results changed accordingly, as I expected them to.

But when I did the same thing in Mel's mix, I got different results. Regardless of water content, the meter readings were inconsistent and erratic, which renders the meter worthless. The meter measures a very small electrical current between two probes. I'm assuming the amount of air entrained in Mel's mix is what's throwing the readings off.

Anyhoo, has anyone else tried one?

(I should stop spending money on gizmos and accept that old school is sometimes the best ie. sticking my finger in the soil to the bottom of the box!)
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Post  martha 4/7/2010, 12:07 pm

I have a really hard time staying away from gizmos, even though they have a low success rate. My guess is the Mel's mix is too friable for them to work.
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Post  timwardell 4/7/2010, 1:50 pm

Interesting point boffer... I use a moisture meter (held over from my days before Mel's Mix) and lately I've been questioning the results as well. My readings haven't been what I'd call erratic, but they do trend drier than what the finger method leads me to believe. I trust the meter, because I've had it for a while and know that it's readings in soil are accurate. However, I'm opting to use it as one tool in my toolbox instead of THE reference that it has been in the past. Nothing beats common sense.
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Post  Theresa 4/10/2010, 3:12 pm

I used a similar gizmo for my hanging flower baskets, only mine didn't have a meter, it was a bird and the probes were the birds legs, when it needed water, the bird would sing. I would walk out onto the deck and hear the bird singing over 50 feet away. I have a hard time remembering to water the hanging baskets, so the little chirpy bird saved the lives of my flowers. I use Mel's mix in my hanging baskets and flower pots too.
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Post  Ages 4/10/2010, 4:50 pm

@Theresa wrote:I used a similar gizmo for my hanging flower baskets, only mine didn't have a meter, it was a bird and the probes were the birds legs, when it needed water, the bird would sing. I would walk out onto the deck and hear the bird singing over 50 feet away. I have a hard time remembering to water the hanging baskets, so the little chirpy bird saved the lives of my flowers. I use Mel's mix in my hanging baskets and flower pots too.

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Post  Toastie 4/11/2010, 12:35 am

Mels Mix is made up of different materials and would throw off the calibration. I would guess the Vermy is messing with it since it is a non-organic item and the electrical conductivity may be differnet
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Post  boffer 4/11/2010, 12:45 am

@Theresa wrote: it was a bird and the probes were the birds legs


I tried going low tech, 'Wormie' changed colors as he dried out, not effective outside!

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Post  Toastie 4/11/2010, 12:55 am

@boffer wrote:
@Theresa wrote: it was a bird and the probes were the birds legs


I tried going low tech, 'Wormie' changed colors as he dried out, not effective outside!

Moisture meters-experience to share? Wormie10
Just popped in my head, wonder if a sight glass would work, eh time for another round
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Post  Theresa 4/11/2010, 8:57 am

LOL...I've had the little wormie too...If I can see the little wormy is dried out, then I could just see the soil is dried out.

I think what saved me with the chirpy bird was hearing the bird singing gave me the wake up call that I needed to water.
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Post  timwardell 4/11/2010, 9:49 am

@Toastie wrote:Mels Mix is made up of different materials and would throw off the calibration. I would guess the Vermy is messing with it since it is a non-organic item and the electrical conductivity may be differnet
Good point.
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Post  timwardell 4/11/2010, 9:49 am

@Theresa wrote:I used a similar gizmo for my hanging flower baskets, only mine didn't have a meter, it was a bird and the probes were the birds legs, when it needed water, the bird would sing. I would walk out onto the deck and hear the bird singing over 50 feet away. I have a hard time remembering to water the hanging baskets, so the little chirpy bird saved the lives of my flowers. I use Mel's mix in my hanging baskets and flower pots too.
Where did you get your chirping bird sensor?
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Post  Patty from Yorktown 4/11/2010, 10:57 am

Hi,
I have planted common violets. I like them, even though they reproduce aggressively. I also have planted them because they are very sensitive to water. They are the first plant to wilt when the garden is drying out. If I see the violets start to wilt, then I know it is time to water the garden. I do well with low tech solutions.

Patty from Yorktown

Ps. I have a picture of my son at about age 2 chewing on one of those clay worms, dirt and all
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Post  boffer 4/11/2010, 11:15 am

@Patty from Yorktown wrote:
Ps. I have a picture of my son at about age 2 chewing on one of those clay worms, dirt and all


LOL We had a wormie in a big planter in the house, till our Dalmatian chewed it up and spit it out!
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Post  Kelejan 2/19/2013, 10:18 pm

Well, I can't share any experiences with moisture meters as I was only given one this afternoon, but I did probe my Wiggler Hilton and found the reading to be 8 on a scale of 0 to 10, so I am assuming it means 80%.
It is a very simple one: All it says on it is Moisture Meter M-320.
At this moment, on the computer in my kitchen the reading is 40.
It only has one probe, unlike the bird shown in one of the above postings.
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