Nutrients can be a big mystery, but the basics are easy and you only have to think when something goes wrong.
The first thing is to pick a vendor and one of their systems. For this I recommend asking around and see what others are using and what has worked for them. What you choose will also depend on what type of system and medium you are using.
I personally use General Hydroponics Expert Recirculating Program (with Liquid KoolBloom). I purchased my nutrients awhile ago, and they have updated the Flora Series system since. I will update my system as soon as I run out of the old nutrient system.
Mixing a Nutrient Solution
Mixing your nutrients properly is important to make your plants healthy and avoid nutrient lock-out.
- Start with PH adjusted water.
- Add only one nutrient at a time, mixing your solution well after each addition using a whisk.
- If you are using General Hydroponics that the FloraMicro should be added first.
- Read the instructions for each of your nutrients the first time you use them. You can even learn neat stuff, such as certain nutrients can be used as foliage sprays.
- Mix your nutrient bottles before using them. The best way to do this is to turn the bottle upside down and right side up a few times. Make sure the lid is on tight first!
Using a Pipette
These are awesome for measuring out smaller batches of nutrients. I measured out a small one gallon batch of nutrient mix yesterday at 25% strength with no hassles using one of these. The only issue is rinsing the pipette between nutrients.
The best way to do this is to first pull up some of the actual nutrient solution and spit it back out, mixing the tip in the solution. Then have a cup of regular water (like above) to rinse the pipette again. This will make sure you are not mixing nutrients in the bottles, keeping them contamination free.
The last step is figuring out how much to measure. This can be tricky since sometime you want to use a solution diluted to a specific percentage or you just want measurements for your reservoir tank. I built an Excel Spreadsheet to help with this.
The first tab of the Nutrients Spreadsheet shows the amount per 1 gallon at various solution strengths. If the percentage you want is not there just change one of the percentages you dont need (in bold) to what you want and the table will calculate that percentage for you.
The second tab will give you the same information adjusted for your reservoir tank size. Just input your reservoir tank size in gallons in the box on top and the sheet is calculated for you.
- Change your reservoir out every two weeks and give your plants a flush with ph balanced water. Clean everything thoroughly before filling back up with nutrient solution. Since most nutrient schedule requirements and your plants requirements change every two weeks, this makes sense.
- You may also want to use a flushing agent, such as FloraKleen, when flushing your system.
- General Hydroponics Feeding Charts