Archive for May 28th, 2009

pH Meter Tests

May 28th, 2009 No comments

Our potting mixture is too deeply colored to get a pH reading from a regular garden soil test kit, so we bought a pH meter – actually a Moist/Light/pH meter.

The extremely low germination rate and sickly behavior of seedlings made us suspect the soil pH.  So we tested the pH meter.

Testing tap water, the meter reads pH 6.7 with an inch immersed and pH 5.2 with four inches immersed.  Our regular garden soil test kit yields a pH of 7 for our tap water.

We were unable to attain deep immersion in a compartmented potting tray, so we filled a jar with potting soil and added water.  The meter read ph 5 with an inch immersed and initially pH 3 with four inches immersed.  After a few minutes the four-inch reading dropped to pH 4.5.  There may be pH changes as the various components of the potting mixture react with the water.

We removed potting mixture from several cells of the potting tray and arranged it so as to be able to test at various immersions.  At one inch the meter read pH 6.2 and at four inches the meter read 5.2.

Testing tonic water, the meter read pH 5 with an inch immersed and pH 3.5 with four inches immersed.  The pH changes steadily as immersion increases.  Clearly the pH meter has insufficient impedance.  We tried dissolving various quantities of table salt in the tonic water but there was little change in the readings.

We tried testing the tonic water with our regular garden soil test kit.  The pink solution and buff precipitate don’t match any standard reading so we don’t know precisely how acid the tonic water is.

I wish I could tell you the brand name of our Moist/Light/pH meter but all it says is “Made in China”.  It is green and has two probes.  And the pH function is garbage.

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A Recipe for Pot Roast

May 28th, 2009 No comments

An unceremonious name indeed for a succulent, economical dish.  This one has an afterlife.  Use the leftover meat in a beef pie, or slice it for sandwiches.

  • 2 to 5-pound boneless cross rib, chuck, or shoulder-clod roast
  • 1 10-ounce can beef consommé, undiluted*
  • 2 t. lemon juice
  • 2 t. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 to 4 bay leaves
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/8 t. ground cloves
  • 2 garlic cloves, whole (optional)
  • two medium, quartered onions (optional)
  • whole carrots

Brown the meat on all sides, using a liberal amount of cooking oil.  After the meat is brown, pour off the excess oil and add the consommé, lemon juice, spices, and, if you wish, the garlic.  Cook, covered, for two hours in a 325-degree oven.  Now add the onions, if you are going to, and the carrots.  (The vegetables may be placed on top of the meat or directly in the broth– they do not have to be covered by the liquid.)  Continue to cook, covered, for an additional hour.

Remove the dish from the oven, pour off the broth, and leave the meat and vegetables covered while you make a luscious gravy from the broth.

*or two cubes of beef bouillon + 1 1/4 cups water

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