Selecting A Hydroponic Nutrient

Most nutrients list the amounts of N-P-K represented in percentages. For instance, a 10-10-10 solution would contain 10% Nitrogen, 10% phosphorus, and 10% potassium by weight. If you do the math, you will see this concentration adds up to only 30%. That's because the remaining percentage of ingredients in the nutrient usually consists of other nutrients, filler or chelates used to assist the nutritional process. While you can use hydroponic nutrients for other methods of gardening, you can't use plant foods designed for soil gardening for hydroponics as these prodcts don't contain the proper balance of nutrients for this application. I personally favor the two and three part nutrient formulas because they always outperform the single part, general purpose formulas. The two and three part products allow you to custom blend your solution for each crop, and stage of growth for better performance.

Hydroponic nutrients come in all flavors; powders and liquids, single part, two-part, three-part and then some. Choosing the best one for your application can by tricky, personally, I prefer a system that is simple to use, inexpensive to own and effective at growing a wide variety of crops to their fullest potential without requiring additional supplements or stimulants.

Hydroponic nutrients come in all flavors; powders and liquids, single part, two-part, three-part and then some. Choosing the best one for your application can by tricky, personally, I prefer a system that is simple to use, inexpensive to own and effective at growing a wide variety of crops to their fullest potential without requiring additional supplements or stimulants.

If we compare the measure of a plant's health to the strength of a chain, we find the plant is also only as strong as its weakest link. To insure that your "nutrient chain" is strong, it is very important to make sure all the links are in place, and in good supply. The proper concentration of nutrients within the solution is critical, as hydroponically grown plants are completely dependent upon what is mixed with water for food, and different plants have varying nutrient requirements. Many commercially available hydroponic nutrients now include instructions for mixing solutions specific to plant types, stages of growth and growing conditions. The wide selection of high quality commercially available products makes it easy to get started in hydroponics for those not looking to make their own nutrients.

When selecting a nutrient to use with your garden, there are a few things you need to look for. The most important factor is that the nutrient be designed SPECIFICALLY FOR HYDROPONIC application. Using a common fertilizer like "Magic Grow" is not advisable as these formulas are designed for

Hydroponic Nutrient Formula

Commercially available nutrients offer growers convenience, value and trade secrets that improve nutrient availability to plants over those which you may choose to make on your own.

How Make Hydroponics

While many may argue, I'm not a big fan of Organic Nutrients for use in hydroponic systems. The reason is simply that an "organic" nutrient is by nature not a "clean" nutrient and as a result, they generally do not dissolve well or stay in solution. (the picture above shows what was left in my test reservoir after only one month of use with an organic nutrient) Organic nutrients require the actions of bacteria to decompose the constituent material so unless there is an oxygen rich "home" for these bacteria within your system, the nutrients will not break down and will leave your plants undernourished. Metal salt hydroponic nutrients dissolve completely and stay in solution, making them available immediately and round the clock to your crop. My recommendation is to use Organic nutrients in the ground where they have available bacteria and time to decompose properly to become available to your plants.

use as a supplement to soil gardens and do not contain the micro and trace elements essential to the hydroponic environment. The second consideration in choosing a nutrient is that of using a powder or liquid formula. Multipurpose, single part powdered nutrients are o.k. for growing plants hydroponically under low to moderate lighting conditions but if you plan to grow under High Intensity Discharge lighting or in strong, direct sunlight, you will find using a two-part powdered or liquid nutrient gives you better performance. The reason for this is simple, one part, multipurpose nutrients are designed to satisfy the widest range of plants, lighting conditions and stages of growth. They are not custom-blendable according to your specific crop or conditions. I prefer the two and three part liquids for exactly this reason - you can blend them in different concentrations and combinations to target the specific growth requirements of your crops at each stage of growth. This is a very powerful technique in optimizing growth in your garden.

Growing Soilless

Growing Soilless

This is an easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide to growing organic, healthy vegetable, herbs and house plants without soil. Clearly illustrated with black and white line drawings, the book covers every aspect of home hydroponic gardening.

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