How to collect Hydroponics drip, drain and source water samples

How to collect Hydroponics Drip, Drain and Source Water samples 


Note that the accuracy of the analysis and the advice given is directly related to the accuracy of the sample collection, the better the sampling procedure, the better the advice, the better the crop!

Before collecting your samples

  1. Ensure that all the basic maintenance procedures have been followed on your fertigation system as recommended by your supplier.i.e. clean all the sieves and ensure all dosing channels are working efficiently and calibrated regularly.
  2. Make sure you have the correct equipment and clean unused sampling containers - if not order sample containers from us through
  3. Do not take the sample in the first cycle; take sample in the second or third cycle after the fertigation system stabilizes. 
  4. Please fill in the sample submission forms available at our and include the following information for proper sample identification and continuity or historical data:-
    1. Company Name,  Address, Contact person and contact information .
    2. Name of area being sampled .
    3. Type of crop .
    4. Sampling date .
    5. Analysis required (drip, drain, irrigation water or re-cycle water sample analysis) .
    6. Comments (In case of special sampling or problem) .

Drip Water Sampling


  1. Put clean plastic cups below the dripper at different positions in the green house as the fertigation process is ongoing. 
  2. Mix the cups from the same green house and take a composite sample solution of minimum 200mls and put it in sampling bottles which are available at the laboratory.  
  3. Label and seal well.
  4. You should take samples from a designated house for each feeding station.

Drain Water Sampling


  1. You should have a designated drain collection point for each sampling area (as above, one for each feeding station), from which a composite sample can be taken.
  2. Do not take drain samples from the re-cycle reservoir or open drains - this will not give a true representation of the drain water.  Note that chelated micronutrients will degrade in open reservoirs.
  3. Do not take drain samples on the same day as flushing or acidification of the system - wait at least two days for the media to stabillise.
  4. Take a minimum of 200 mls of sample in a clean container. 
  5.  Label and seal well.

Irrigation Water Sampling


  1. Use a clean 200 ml bottle. 
  2.  Do not use any container that has previously contained any chemicals, such as bleach or agricultural chemicals.  
  3. Rinse the sample bottle several times with the sample water, before filling.
  4. If you are taking samples from a well, or borehole pump the well of at least 10-15 minutes before taking the sample, to obtain a representative sample.  
  5. Samples taken from long irrigation pipes, might accumulate impurities from the pipes - again allow the water to flow for 10-15 minutes before taking a sample.
  6. Samples that require microbial analysis must be taken in 1 litre, sterile containers - please refer to '  How to take samples for microbial analysis'.

Recycle Water Sampling


  1. Take samples as above - as near to the pumping source as possible.

Media Sampling


  1. Ensure that you have clean buckets and a clean spade or auger.  
  2. Clean these thoroughly between each sampling procedure.
  3. Do not take samples immediately after flushing, acidification or soil drenching - wait 2 days for the media to stabillise.
  4. Collect 15-20 samples per greenhouse, in a W formation pattern, throughout the house.
  5. Take the samples between the plants, where the roots are feeding.  
  6. Gently scrape the top 2cm of organic matter (crop residues and organic matter) out of the way and take 'handful sized' sample of the media with your spade/auger. 
  7.  Place the samples a clean bucket and mix thoroughly.
  8. Fill in the details on the sample bag provided and fill with about 500 mls of the composite sample above -

note it is difficult to write on the bag after you have filled it up.

Points to Note 

  1. Properly labeled samples cause less confusion in the laboratory and are processed faster. 
  2. Provide the same names use in previous sampling area to be able to have historical data. 
  3. Store in a cool dark place and send the samples to the laboratory as soon as possible we recommend dropping them off within 24 hours or send using G4S or any other courier service to this physical address 
  4. :- Crop Nutrition Laboratory, Off Limuru Road, Limuru Kenya, Tel +254 711094444, Tel +254 720 639 933. 
  5. Please try not send samples at the end of the week or to arrive on the weekend, especially for any microbial analysis. 
  6. Samples coming from outside Kenya need to be accompanied by an Import Permit: please email us at to apply for your import permit. To get the most out of your analysis and fine tune your fertilizer program please also submit the drip, drain, source water, and re-cycle water samples together.

Note: The quality of any analysis is directly related to how well the sample is collected.

For more information please contact us through:

Location: Off Limuru Road, Limuru Kenya,

Tel  +254 711094444, +254 720 639 933., Kenya

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