Homemade Hydroponic Nutrients

Traditional in-ground gardening requires the soil to be fed in order for it to feed the plants. The same principle is true for hydroponic gardening, the only difference is that water gets fed instead of soil. Nutrient-rich water will produce well-nourished plants and a bountiful crop of fresh food. Keeping the water fed with the proper nutrients can be costly unless you know how to make homemade hydroponic nutrients.

Making your own water soluble fertilizer allows you to tweak the ingredients to meet your exact specifications for optimum plant growth and production. You’ll only get out of your homemade hydroponic food what you put into it, so use these guidelines to help create the perfect mixture of homemade hydroponic nutrients to keep your plants healthy and growing strong.

Start with Quality

Start with top quality elemental salts. Purity in means purity out. Keep the elemental salts in a cool, dry location to avoid them being compromised by being exposed to moisture.

Salts are measured by weight, so it’s essential to have an accurate scale for weighing. A kitchen scale used to weigh food is not accurate, invest in a lab scale for precise weight measurements.

Most measurements create a gallon of homemade hydroponic nutrients, so have enough clean, sturdy gallon containers on-hand before getting started.

Fertilizer Salts

Fertilizer Salts

Fertilizer Salts

The most common type of homemade nutrient is one made from fertilizer salts. These can be purchased in bulk from agricultural agencies, plant-food suppliers, chemical suppliers and some garden supply centers.

In addition to the three key fertilizer elements of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K), that are essential to all plant growth, there should be at least 10 trace elements present in your homemade nutrients. These are boron, calcium, chlorine, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, molybdenum, sulfur and zinc. All key elements and trace elements have specific functions for optimizing plant growth and production.

*Nitrogen is needed for the production of leaves, stem growth, and building plant cells.

*Phosphorus is needed for developing flowers and fruits, and aids in the growth of healthy roots.

*Potassium is used by plant cells to assimilate the energy produced by photosynthesis.

*Boron is needed in minute amounts, but how plants use it is still a mystery.

*Calcium promotes root growth and helps plants absorb potassium.

*Chlorine is required for photosynthesis.

*Copper is needed to help produce chlorophyll.

*Iron is needed for the production of chlorophyll.

*Manganese aids in the absorption of nitrogen, an essential component in the energy transference process.

*Magnesium aids in distributing phosphorus throughout plants.

*Molybdenum assists in several chemical reactions that occur within the plant.

*Sulphur aids in the production of plant energy and heightens the effectiveness of phosphorus.

*Zinc is an essential component needed for the energy transference process.

Basic Nutrient Recipe

10 ounces sodium nitrate

10 ounces calcium nitrate

10 ounces potassium sulfate

15 ounces superphosphate

5 ounces magnesium sulfate

**In a separate container, combine the trace elements below and mix well; then use a mortar and pestle to grind them to a very fine powder:

1-ounce iron sulfate

1 teaspoon manganese sulfate

1 teaspoon boric acid powder

1/2 teaspoon zinc sulfate

1/2 teaspoon copper sulfate

Once mixed, add this powder to the first five ingredients and combine with the elemental salts. Use 1/2 teaspoon per 100 gallons of water, or dissolve a teaspoon in one quart of water and use one liquid ounce to 3 gallons of nutrient solution. Discard any leftover mixture.

Chelated Trace Element Recipe

Mix these trace element ingredients together for use in all the homemade hydroponic nutrient mixtures.

1.30% Boron

0.10% Copper

7.00%  Iron

2.00%  Manganese

0.40%  Zinc

Vegetative Nutrient Recipe

Get your plants off to a good start and promote strong, healthy plant growth with this homemade nutrient recipe.

6.00 gr  Calcium Nitrate

2.09 gr  Potassium Nitrate

0.46 gr  Sulfate of Potash

1.39 gr  Monopotassium Phosphate

2.42 gr  Magnesium Sulfate

2.09 gr  Potassium Nitrate

0.46 gr  Sulfate of Potash

0.40 gr  7% Fe Chelated Trace Elements

Flowering Nutrient Recipe

Plant need different types of food at different stages of their life cycle. Mix and use this homemade nutrient recipe to bring your developing hydroponic plants into the flowering stage.

4.10 gr  Calcium Nitrate

1.39 gr  Monopotassium Phosphate

2.40 gr  Magnesium Sulfate

2.80 gr  Potassium Nitrate

0.46 gr  Sulfate of Potash

0.40 gr  7% Fe Chelated Trace Elements

Fruiting Nutrient Recipe

Give the water enough nutrients to bring the hydroponic plants all the way to the finish line of fruit production with this homemade nutrient recipe.

8.00 gr  Calcium Nitrate

1.39 gr Monopotassium Phosphate

2.40 gr  Magnesium Sulfate

2.80 gr  Potassium Nitrate

1.70 gr  Sulfate of Potash

0.40 gr  7% F Chelated Trace Elements

Mixing The Ingredients

Fill gallon container with warm water, add precisely weighed out elemental salts one at a time and allow each to dissolve completely before moving on. After elemental salts have dissolved, add the other selected recipe ingredients (vegetative, flowering or fruiting) and mix well.

Do not add it to nutrient reservoir until mixture has totally cooled. Wait an hour or two after adding nutrients before taking a meter reading.

Tweaking The Homemade Formulas

Plants absorb

Plants absorb

Plants absorb what they need through small hairs on the root ends. This selectivity makes it impossible to overfeed your plants in hydroponics. However, if you mix too high a concentration of nutrients in the water, the plant will be unable to absorb sufficient water. Salts need to dilute themselves, and if the concentration is too high, the plant will start giving off water instead of ingesting it. As a result, the plant dehydrates itself.

Formula tweaking should be done with restraint and caution to prevent destroying an entire crop. Here are some common symptoms of nutrient deficiency in hydroponic plants.

* Lack of nitrogen produces stunted plants with large root systems; leaves smaller and lighter in color than normal; and slow growth.

* Lack of phosphorus creates stunted plants with dark, dull and discolored leaves, unusually hard stems, poor root system, and very little branching.

* Lack of potassium causes yellowing and curling of older leaves, while new leaves droop. Flowers are lackluster, and stems are soft.

* Lack of calcium causes underdeveloped roots and curled leaf edges.

* Lack of manganese results in poor blooming and weak growth.

Author Bio:

Leslie J. Shearer is the founder and owner of the blog colorgardening.com. Gardening is her passion and she has a deep relationship with nature. Growing plants and digging deep to germinate flowers and vegetables brings positivity in her life.

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