Sunday, May 15, 2011

Nutrients Tips

  • Tap water: Tap water can contain chemicals such as chlorine which can adversely affect your plants. If unsure it is best to let your tap water stand for 24 hours prior to adding to your reservoir or use chlorine remover for aquariums. By letting your water stand, you equalize the temperature of the water to that of the room, thereby making the water less likely to shock the plants' root system.
          Note: Chlorine will not kill your plants. Small amounts can actually help them resist mold and mildew  build up at the stock base. However most city's water that contain chlorine also contain bromine that will kill your plants, the best way to get rid of this bromine is to fill a barrel (not your reservoir) with cold water. The next day you will notice that the walls of the barrel will be covered in little bubbles. Tap your barrels sides a few times until all of these bubbles float up to the top. This trick is called perking and is a very effective way to expel bromine.  It is also much cheaper than using aquarium tablets.

  • Keep your nutrient solution temperature between 68 - 78°F.

  • It is a good idea to run 0 strength or 1/4 strength nutrient through the system for a day in between changes, to leach out any fertilizer buildup while you have the opportunity.

  • Make sure the fertilizer you use in a hydroponics system is complete. Match the solution strength to your plants' needs.

  • Use a pH meter or at minimum, a pH Test Kit to measure the pH.  Use pH Up or pH Down type products to insure you maintain optimum levels for nutrition uptake.

  • Always use an aquarium air pump and stone rated for the size of your nutrient reservoir. Oxygenation of the nutrient solution is paramount for nutrient uptake.  The smaller and higher volume bubbles the better.  Avoid large and sporadic bubble flow and discard stones that have become clogged and constricted.  Stones are cheap!
  • Sanitize your reservoir prior to use by pouring boiling water over all areas to be exposed to nutrient solution. This will prevent and pathogens from gaining a foothold and will kill most fungal spores.

  • Add a capful (5ml) hydrogen peroxide to the reservoir once every 7 days as a preventative and to add additional oxygen to the solution.

  • Plants will die from over nutrition or over fertilization very quickly; an undernourished plant will last longer than an over nourished plant.  Let the condition of the plant be your guide and be prepared to flush nutrients if you suspect a harsh over-feeding.  Several websites and forums have sections on identifying both over-nutrition and nutrient deficiency conditions.  Post a picture and you will likely get timely expert advice.

  • By carefully measuring the fertilizer when you mix up the nutrient solution, you can get away without the initial cost of an expensive TDS meter or EC meter as well. The best advice here would be to always top off your nutrient reservoir with 1/2 strength solution whenever it is a little low. Every two weeks, start over with fresh water and nutrients to avoid a nutrient imbalance in your solution.  Again, the use of a journal and paying attention to your plant's condition will allow you effective results in no time.

  • Keep it simple.  Follow the manufacturers instructions.  Check your system often while learning and observing plant behavior.  Ask the experts.  Learn from others.

Portions of above content have been pulled from wiki.

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