Understanding General Hydroponics Nutrients

Every time I have a discussion with one of my friends about hydroponics, it always begins with a question like, “what kind your growing system are you using, and did you build it yourself? I always answer, yes, I built the system myself out of food-grade plastics; after all, we are what we eat. The next question always brings up lighting. What kind of lighting is the best, fluorescent, or LED? Many growers use both based on the cost to purchase and run them; secondly, it’s about the light spectrum and PAR values. Some hydroponics growers opt for a sodium halide lamp, but this type of lighting is beyond me.

Hydroponic Nutrient Solutions Help Plants To Grow

Conversations easily focus on the physical components for hydroponics well because system choice and lighting are important factors. But the next set of questions should be about plants, like which are the best plants to use in a hydroponics system? What conditions do I need for good vegetative growth and flowering? Before the conversation ends, let’s talk about general hydroponics nutrients required for plant growth. Remember, hydroponics is all about growing without soil, but plants still need nutrients. So if you are a hydroponics grower, let’s continue our conversation about general hydroponics nutrients.

What Are General Hydroponic Nutrients?

Hydroponic nutrients are divided into two main categories, which consist of macronutrients and micronutrients. Plants require macronutrients in large amounts, including carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorous, and sulfur, along with lower potassium, magnesium, and calcium quantities. Macronutrients enable the plant to make the building blocks of life, like carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids. Micronutrients are needed in much smaller amounts but are essential for the cell’s metabolism to function properly. These micronutrients include zinc, nickel, boron, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, boron, and chlorine.

Without these macro and micronutrients, plants would have a hard time functioning, completing cell growth and metabolism. So getting back to the important question, why is understanding hydroponic nutrients so important? The answer is simple, yield! We care about vegetative growth if you’re growing something like lettuce or flowering and fruit production for tomatoes. Understanding plant nutrients is one of the first steps in becoming a successful hydroponics grower. So follow with me as we discuss these general hydroponic nutrients in more detail.

How To Buy

If you are a small home grower, it is best to buy a pre-made nutrient mixture. These general hydroponics nutrients are generally purchased as pre-mixed liquid or powder concentrates. Just add water is all it takes. Manufacturers sell twin or triple packs that separate macronutrients and micronutrients. This is a good thing because some nutrients are incompatible with each other and may result in precipitation. If this were to happen, the nutrients would not be as effective. Once diluted, they should not form unwanted precipitates.

master blend nutrients

I purchased a 2.5 pound kit of Master Blend Fertilizer from PowerGrowSystems.

Mixing Hydroponics Nutrients

Since I am using a small system at home, I find it easier to make 5 gallons of nutrient solution at a time. They are simple to mix and only require a few materials: a container to mix them in, a way to accurately measure, and a stirrer. I purchase a premade solid powder triple pack, so I use a digital balance to measure as accurately as possible. If we want to be the best hydroponics growing, then we need to think about the details. After mixing a hydroponics nutrient solution, I check the pH and adjust it if necessary. Starting off with a correct pH will allow for better nutrient absorption by the plant.

mixing hydroponic nutrients
A) Use a digital balance to measure out the exact quantity of each nutrient. B) Create your solution by mixing with water in a 5-gallon bucket.

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