The absence of soil in a hydroponic environment means that there is a need to source for hydroponic nutrients for your plants. These hydroponic nutrients consist of all the necessary elements and minerals that aid in the growth and development of the plants. These nutrients can easily be bought from your local gardening or agriculture shops. However, these might usually be sold in big bulks and unless you are planning to grow for commercial use, you are not likely to need huge packs! Noticing that you stumbled upon our page, it must mean that you are keen on learning how to make hydroponic nutrients of your own!
The concept of making your own hydroponic nutrients is a great one! It is cheaper in comparison to those you buy from the shops. Additionally, with you being in charge of what goes into the fertilizer, you can adjust it to suit the needs of your plants during their different stages. The result: strong, healthy, and high yield.
Before you begin to make your fertilizer, you must know what nutrients your plant needs first. With this knowledge, it would help you get better results.
Equipment you’ll need:
- Digital pH pen or any other pH tester kit
- Measuring cylinder (big)
- Fertilizer that allows both micro and macronutrients to dissolve in
- Epsom salts or magnesium sulfate
- Spoon to stir
What you need to include in your hydroponic solution:
The basic three elements that plants need to grow would be potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus. These three elements can easily be obtained in any fertilizer that can be purchased at gardening shops. You also require:
- Superphosphate: provides you with calcium and phosphorus. Phosphorus is essential in the making of flower buds and aids in increasing yield.
- Magnesium sulfate: also known as Epson salts, the magnesium is used in the creation of chlorophyll which helps the plant to make food for itself. This also helps the plant to transport phosphorous throughout the plant. Additionally, the presence of sulfur would help the plant to create more energy in the plant.
- Potassium sulfate: the potassium is used to create energy for photosynthesis.
- Potassium nitrate: nitrogen is important when it comes to the development and growth of leaves, plant cells, and stem.
Other elements include copper, zinc, iron, chloride, manganese, boron, and molybdenum. These are also necessary for your plants. However these must not be added in large amounts for they are not that important to your plants. Similarly, if you are using tap water in the production of your hydroponic nutrients, there will be no need to add chlorine into the mixture.
How to make your hydroponic nutrient solution
Use a bucket that is big enough to hold all the water needed to make your hydroponic nutrient solution. With your digital pH pen, measure the pH level of the water. Your device should indicate that the solution has a pH of around five to six – no more and no less. If the pH level does not fit within the desired range, use your pH Up and Down solutions to adjust it to the desired range. For every gallon of water, add two teaspoons of water-soluble dry fertilizer. Make sure that your fertilizer has the basic nutrients – nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. It would be good to check that your fertilizer has more than just these three. The presence of calcium, zinc, copper, and other elements stated above would be very beneficial to the development of the plant. After that is done, a teaspoon of magnesium sulfate should be added to every gallon of water. Mix everything together until everything has dissolved.
The nutrients that you make are only able to last for about a week or two within the hydroponic system. As such, remember to replenish the system within this time period. This ensures that the plants are always given the maximum amount of nutrients to help them grow strong and healthy. It is also advisable to use the fertilizer immediately once it has been made. This is to ensure that the strength of the solution is not lost over time, thus providing your plants with the best.
While making the solution, it is good to note if you see that the water level is decreasing within the bucket, you can only add plain water. Try not to add a completely new nutrient to your solution as well. This might not be beneficial to your plants and can instead turn out to be the complete opposite. Another thing to note is that if you are going to use a hydroponic solution, make sure you use one which doesn’t clog your irrigation systems easily.
It is good to check the pH level of your system once in a while too. This is because if there is a high concentration of nutrients in comparison to water, it would prevent the plant from absorbing more water into its system through its roots. When this happens, the plant will be suffering from dehydration.
To reiterate, before you begin the process of making your own homemade hydroponic fertilizer, be very sure of what your plants need to grow. Are they suffering from certain deficiencies? Calcium or Magnesium? With this in mind you can help aid the growth of your plants throughout its different stages. The decision to make your own hydroponic nutrients can help save not only money but the time put into growing the plants as well. The soil itself has all the essential elements for a plant to grow in it. The movement away from the soil and into a hydroponic environment would mean that you, the parent of these plants, are solely responsible for providing them with all the important nutrients needed to grow.
As time passes and you do this for a longer period of time, your knowledge in hydroponic plants will grow. By then you can easily decipher how much nutrients should be put and when. This then allows you to grow the strongest, healthiest plants while reaping in a good yield.