Compare the measure of a plants health to the strength of a chain, it too is only as strong as its weakest link. To insure that your 'chain' is strong, it is very important to make sure all the links are in place, and in good supply. Proper concentration of nutrients within the solution is critical, as hydroponically grown plants are completely dependant upon it for food and different plants have varying nutrient requirements. Most commercially available hydroponic nutrients now come with instructions for mixing solutions specific to plant types, stages of growth and growing conditions. There is a great number of commercially available nutrients on the market which makes getting started in hydroponics easy for the beginner 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 supplemental fertilizer like Miracle Grow or Peter's is not advised as these formulas are designed for use as a supplement to soil based gardens and do not contain the trace and micro-nutrients essential to the plant. the second consideration in choosing a nutrient is that of using a powder or liquid formula. Multi-purpose, single part powdered nutrients are o.k. for growing plants hydroponi-cally under low to moderate lighting conditions.
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. A very powerful technique in optimizing the growth of your garden. The picture below is of the Above & Beyond line of liquid nutrients from FutureGarden.
It has come to my attention over the years that there are many interested in making their own nutrients so I have provided a few recipes. If you are reading the Acrobat version, you will find a nutrient calculator spreadsheet included with your download. Otherwise, consult the table on the next page which details the salts required to make three hydroponic nutrient solutions for use with vegetative, fruiting and flowering crops.
The weights shown are all based upon making 1 gallon of nutrient. To make more than a gallon, multiply the gram weights by the total gallons of nutrient solution required, ie: 20, 40 etc... These formulas have been tested with a wide variety of plants all in the same system and have performed quite well, however, results will depend upon the quality of raw materials and precision with which you prepare these solutions.
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