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Local Nutrients?


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  #1  
Old 10-17-2010, 05:24 PM
granth granth is offline
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Default Local Nutrients?

Hey guys, I have been reading up on hydroponics the last month or so and have almost everything I need but I am confused on nutrients. Are the nutrients you need not something that you can find locally at a garden supply/tractor supply type place or possibly wal-mart or lowes?

I have read a few places of using the water soluble miracle-gro, but problems arise in strength is the general thought behind reviews. Is there any way to get something suitable for a first run/first try that can be found locally?

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Old 10-17-2010, 08:49 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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You will want nutrients that are made specifically for hydroponics. Even if water soluble, soil nutrients will be lacking the micro elements needed for healthy plants. I don't know of any tractor supply, wal-mart or lowes that carry hydroponic nutrients. You may find a nursery that carry's them, I know of a local nursery here that's planing to sell organic hydroponic nutrients this year. Just make sure the containers say for hydroponics, and the sales people are not just trying to sell you what they have on hand (that's happened before).

The first run/ first try is really the most important one (for most people anyway). After all, most people that don't have success on the first try generally give up on hydroponics thinking it's to hard or doesn't really work. I know many clam to use soil nutrients and have good luck, but not for long. In order for (water soluble) soil nutrients to work, you will need to add the micro nutrients that are missing. I used Miracle-grow myself on some plants when I was running low on hydroponic nutrients. They lived for about a month on them but started going down hill after about a week (as I expected), I finally got some more hydroponic nutrients and they started coming back, but never really fully recovered (to much damage was already done). The reason there is so much confusion on how strong to mix soil nutrients for hydroponically grown plants is simple, there not intended for hydroponic plants, and no mater how they mix them eventually there are problems. So they don't have directions for that, it's just a guessing game.

Bottom line, I wouldn't recommend using anything other than hydroponic nutrients unless you were prepared for problems from the get go, and were willing to deal with trying to figure out the problems. For the first time hydroponic grow, you should try to eliminate as many problems as you can. Personally I used General Hydroponics Flora Series nutrients when I first started. There not the cheapest hydroponic nutrients, but I knew that General Hydroponics had been around for decades, so they had a lot of experience making hydroponic nutrients and I shouldn't have any problems with them (trying to eliminate as many problems as I could).
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Old 10-17-2010, 09:04 PM
granth granth is offline
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To use the flora series nutrients, I have to buy the Micro, Grow, and Bloom series...correct?

I hate to come off cheap, but my first attempt is by far on a budget. I will post a few pictures once it's together. Is there anything that would work well for a little cheaper?
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Old 10-17-2010, 10:18 PM
halfway halfway is offline
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Granth, I am brand new and no expert, but I went with CNS17 as my first nutes. Specifically "Grow" as I only have leafy and no flowerig veggies. CNS17 has all the elements and was the cheapest.

I'll post how that goes once I get the seedlings into the medium and growing.
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Old 10-17-2010, 10:23 PM
NorEastFla NorEastFla is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by granth View Post
To use the flora series nutrients, I have to buy the Micro, Grow, and Bloom series...correct?

I hate to come off cheap, but my first attempt is by far on a budget. I will post a few pictures once it's together. Is there anything that would work well for a little cheaper?
I've had good luck with local store nutrients, but dollar for dollar, you're going to spend about the same thing for them as with the GH nutrients.

The difference is in the produce. I'll give you a quick example:

The predominant vitamin in Tomatoes is "A". In soil grown tomatoes that you buy from your local grocery store, there is about 400 or so units of vitamin A per/pound. The FDA requires farmers to fertilize so that there is at least that much, and farmers know exactly how much fertilizer to use to arrive at that requirement.

If you maximize your nutrients at home in a hydroponic system, you can have tomatoes that have 4 thousand units of vitamin A per/pound.

This ratio holds true with almost all the veggies you can grow at home in a hydroponic system.

Of course, that comes at a price; more nutrients. Nutrients cost money.

GH makes what I think are the best nutrients available for the costs. If you feed your plants with GH nutrients at the suggested rate, you'll have some vitamin packed veggies for your own health and that of your children.

One salad will be equal to ten salads of store bought produce.

You can try some of the Miracle Grow products, but be careful not to over-do it with them. While good in small amounts on almost all veggies, they can cause some real problems on many veggies if used in too strong of a dose.

Miracle Grow products and those like them are made for soil growers. Hydroponic Gardening is a whole new world when considering nutrient application.
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Old 10-17-2010, 10:27 PM
granth granth is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorEastFla View Post
I've had good luck with local store nutrients, but dollar for dollar, you're going to spend about the same thing for them as with the GH nutrients.

The difference is in the produce. I'll give you a quick example:

The predominant vitamin in Tomatoes is "A". In soil grown tomatoes that you buy from your local grocery store, there is about 400 or so units of vitamin A per/pound. The FDA requires farmers to fertilize so that there is at least that much, and farmers know exactly how much fertilizer to use to arrive at that requirement.

If you maximize your nutrients at home in a hydroponic system, you can have tomatoes that have 4 thousand units of vitamin A per/pound.

This ratio holds true with almost all the veggies you can grow at home in a hydroponic system.

Of course, that comes at a price; more nutrients. Nutrients cost money.

GH makes what I think are the best nutrients available for the costs. If you feed your plants with GH nutrients at the suggested rate, you'll have some vitamin packed veggies for your own health and that of your children.

One salad will be equal to ten salads of store bought produce.

You can try some of the Miracle Grow products, but be careful not to over-do it with them. While good in small amounts on almost all veggies, they can cause some real problems on many veggies if used in too strong of a dose.

Miracle Grow products and those like them are made for soil growers. Hydroponic Gardening is a whole new world when considering nutrient application.
I will end up going this route i'm sure, I just have to save up that portion of the build. I plan on getting this running at some point in the week so that I can test everything and learn how my timer works.
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Old 10-18-2010, 04:46 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by granth View Post
To use the flora series nutrients, I have to buy the Micro, Grow, and Bloom series...correct?

I hate to come off cheap, but my first attempt is by far on a budget. I will post a few pictures once it's together. Is there anything that would work well for a little cheaper?
Yes the flora series is a 3 part and you need all 3 for it to work well. I didn't post the link because I figured you were on a budget. I don't know what you can afford or how big your system is planed for. But If on a budget I defiantly would recommend dry nutrients rather than the liquids. They are always cheaper because of shipping costs, not just to your house but the vendor who sells it to you pays shipping to him also (so he needs to pass that on to the customer).

I'm assuming that you don't have any local hydroponic supply stores near by because of the way your question was worded, so you will need to order on line in order to get any. I was fortunate enough to have some dry nutrients given to me to try out, and I have found that these have worked well for me. In fact I will likely use them exclusively in the future, simply because of cost compared to the General Hydroponics liquid nutes (not that I'm unhappy with the GH nutrients, other than cost).

Virti-Gro
The Verti-Gro Hydroponic Fertilizers and Nutrients - Organic and Hydroponic Growing for Commercial and Hobby Growers

It's a 2 part nutrient, first part is the "hydroponic formula" (fertilizer) the second part is the "calcium nitrate." Both come as a dry mix, you mix 2 pounds each separately into one gallon water jugs. At that point you have both parts pre-mixed as a liquid concentrate (instructions are on the label). Then to make the nutrient solution you mix 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons (10mL to 15mL) of each part per gallon of water. The label says 1/2 to 3/4 ounces per gallon (1 fluid oz = 30mL). As with most all hydroponic nutrients it's better to mix it a little weak, especially in hot weather or for small plants (seedlings about 1/4 strength) .

This is exactly what I have been using:
2 lbs. 5-10-25 Hydroponic Formula, SKU#: F510252, Unit Price: $11.95 (shipping $6.50)
2 lbs. Calcium Nitrate 15-0-0, SKU#: F15002, Unit Price: $8.95 (Shipping $6.00)

This makes 250 gallons of nutrient solution mixed per instructions, more if you mix it weaker. For $20.90 + shipping $12.50 Total: $33.40. But they also have the combo package: Nutrient Combo 4 lbs ea. 5-10-25 & 15-0-0, SKU#: FCombo, for $39.95 (shipping included) $6.50 more than buying them the other way but it makes twice as much.

Compared to the General Hydroponics Flora Series that makes 390 gallons of nutrient solution out of the 3 (part) gallons of liquid, each costing $25 or more + shipping for a total of about $100-$110 depending on where I order from, the virti-gro is much cheaper. $40 making 500 gallons, and for about $120 I can get the 25 pound quantity of both parts of the nutrients (including shipping), and it will make about 5000 gallons if mixed per instructions, more if mixes weaker. Anyway that's the way I'm leaning.
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Old 10-18-2010, 11:54 AM
NorEastFla NorEastFla is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
I defiantly would recommend dry nutrients rather than the liquids. They are always cheaper because of shipping costs, not just to your house but the vendor who sells it to you pays shipping to him also (so he needs to pass that on to the customer).

Virti-Gro
The Verti-Gro Hydroponic Fertilizers and Nutrients - Organic and Hydroponic Growing for Commercial and Hobby Growers

$40 making 500 gallons, and for about $120 I can get the 25 pound quantity of both parts of the nutrients (including shipping), and it will make about 5000 gallons if mixed per instructions, more if mixes weaker.
Awesome information, GpsFrontier! Thanks! I've been looking for a good dry mix for a larger scale operation that I'll have next year. You just saved me some searching!
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Old 10-18-2010, 07:02 PM
halfway halfway is offline
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Ditto, thanks GF.

And thanks for the link.

I'm anxious to get this system running (drumming fingers as starters have germinated and have no true leaves yet).
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Old 10-18-2010, 08:14 PM
granth granth is offline
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What kind of time cycle should I be looking at for flooding my system and draining it? I have read 15 minutes flood with anywhere from 1-4 hours off, as well as flood for 15 minutes 4 times a day. Is it best for my aerators to be on constantly, or is it okay for them to be on the same time cycle?

I'm betting that it depends on plant size and need, but what should i be looking at for a beginning point? I hope to grow a Tomato plant and a batch of Spinach if they will work together in the same nutrient solution while still being in separate pots.

Last edited by granth; 10-18-2010 at 09:17 PM.
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Old 10-18-2010, 09:48 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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What kind of time cycle should I be looking at for flooding my system and draining it?
Well that can be both complicated and easy at the same time. The easy answer is on just long enough to flood the system and wet the roots, then off. The complicated answer like always has many variables. like air temp, system design, amount of growing medium, type of growing medium. As well as like you said plant type and size. Also the timers available settings are a factor to how you set it.

I would start out trying 30min on and 30min off, or (better) 15min on and 15min off (if the timer allows it). Keep an eye on the growing medium (you don't want it to dry out). If the plants wilt at all they are drying out (and/or water temp is too high). Disease can also cause wilting, but we'll just assume that's not a issue at this point. Basically just keep an eye on the plants and watch for singes.

Quote:
Is it best for my aerators to be on constantly, or is it okay for them to be on the same time cycle?
24/7 is best, but if not possible just have them on as much as possible. Also going by your bucket design from the other thread, assuming you are planing on designing it so there will be water/nutrients in the bottom of the buckets all the time, I would suggest putting a air stone directly in each bucket. That would be better for the roots that are submerged as well as the ones that are not.

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I hope to grow a Tomato plant and a batch of Spinach if they will work together in the same nutrient solution while still being in separate pots.
I don't see why not the both have the same pH requirements, I would aim for 6.0 but if it fluctuates a little either way (5.5-6.5) not a problem.
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Old 10-19-2010, 03:16 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
Quote:
I hope to grow a Tomato plant and a batch of Spinach if they will work together in the same nutrient solution while still being in separate pots.
I don't see why not the both have the same pH requirements, I would aim for 6.0 but if it fluctuates a little either way (5.5-6.5) not a problem.
I just wanted to elaborate on this. Yes pH is the same, but there is a difference in nutrients. Tomato are a continuously fruiting plant, and spinach is not. Therefore tomato's would do better with a continuously fruiting nutrient formula, and spinach would do better with a vegetative formula. If you were growing on a commercial level, or just really wanted to have the best formula for the particular plants, I would say they should have different reservoirs. But if it were me and resources may not provide what I wanted. I would go with a continuously fruiting formula for the tomato's. The spinach will still grow , be good and editable. But they may want to flower and seed, rather than focusing on growing foliage.

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