Interested in the field of hydroponics? Keen on starting your own hydroponics farm? Joining the hydroponics community is a great idea as it is a great way to grow plants within the confines of your own home. One thing that seems to be bothering most newcomers is the price of liquid fertilizers. This is mostly because the use of hydroponics instead of soil means that the job of providing the plants with nutrients is that of the gardeners. With the costs of fertilizers being quite expensive, it might turn some people away from this method of growing plants. Luckily for you, we have a list of five places to go and get yourself some free hydroponic nutrient samples!
1. Make your own fertilizers with the help of some friends
Find yourself a gallon of organic (if possible) compost or a pound of worms castings. Place either one into a big bucket with a lid. After that, add in water and stir the mixture. Using an aquarium air pump, allow air to enter the mixture. Set the mixture aside for three days and remember to stir it thoroughly daily. Once the three days are up, strain the water out of the bucket. This solution will be your fertilizer! Pop that into the hydroponic system and you are done!
2. Reuse the byproduct of animals and the sea
To a gallon of water, add one and a half teaspoon of fish emulsion and seaweed extract (each). To that, add another tablespoon of bloodmeal. These three ingredients will help provide nutrients for your plants. Once it is well stirred, filter the mixture to ensure that there are no large chunks of bloodmeal. And you are done!
3. Eggshells for calcium
Made one too many omelets this morning? Use the eggshells as fertilizers for your plants. Wash about six eggshells and crush them up using a blender. Afterwhich, add one and a half liters of water as well as a bit of hydrochloric acid. Give this mixture a day to settle before you filter it. Ensure that the pH level is about five. This fertilizer can also be used in a system that is high in nitrogen to help improve the plant’s growing stages.
4. Look for people who love coffee
Know of a coffee addict? They can be put to good use when you are thinking of having a fertilizer that would help to enhance your plants. Take their leftover coffee grounds and soak them in water for at least 24 hours. Once it has settled, filter the mixture. By adding this to your hydroponic system during the growing stages of your plant, it would help to promote better growth in them. This is because the bacteria that have developed from the waste coffee grounds have a nitrogen level of two percent in addition to other organic nutrients.
5. Your kitchen
You heard that right. If you can use coffee grounds, there is bound to be something else in your kitchen that can act as a fertilizer for your plants! In this case, it would be banana skins. Banana skins are very useful when it comes to aiding the growth of plants. During the flowering stage, there is a possibility of increasing growth by twenty percent. With this increase in growth, plants are better able to use the sugar, carbs, and starch that they have absorbed. Now back to the banana skins, boil three or four of them in a liter of water. To this, add a bit of sugar. It is said that if you were to use molasses, the results would be even better. Once this is done, you only need to add a few drops to your hydroponic system. Only do this once your mixture has cooled down.
Note that the fertilizers that you will be making will come in the form of liquids. This is usually because the process of making liquid fertilizer is easier. What’s more, it is more beneficial for the plant. Plants usually tend to take in the nutrients that they need and nothing more. These nutrients are then used to help them grow strong and healthy. By creating your own liquid fertilizer, you are able to adjust and choose what nutrients and how much of it should be added into the solution for maximum growth. Also, be aware that when you add the nutrients, it will affect the pH level of your solution. As such, remember to have a digital pH pen to help you check your levels as well as some pH solutions for readjustments.
You should also be aware that one disadvantage of making your own fertilizer is that you might not have the same concentration of nutrients within every batch. With the help of your digital pH pen, you can check when the mixture has too much of a certain nutrient. If the concentration of nutrients is too high, you have to dilute it. This is because when there is too high a ratio of nutrients in the solution, the plant will not be able to absorb the nutrients that it needs to grow. Instead, it will begin to dehydrate as it loses water to the solution that its roots are surrounded in.
How then can you determine if your fertilizer is not good enough for your plants? Well, here are some examples. Nitrogen-deficient plants will tend to have smaller leaves and have faded colored leaves. This is because its growth has been cut short. When the plant is manganese deficient, the plant will have weak growth and not many flowers will bloom.
One more thing to note is that even though you have filtered your mixtures before adding them into your hydroponic system, it is good to have a second look. This is because there might be a few leftover residues that could have slipped through. If you do not check regularly, these leftover residues will collect and eventually clog up your system.
I hope these simple tips and tricks have helped make life a little easier for you and the process of making your own hydroponic garden more enjoyable. With these free fertilizers made by yourself, your plants are sure to grow strong and healthy if you take good care of them and regularly check the pH levels of your solutions.