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Unit 3 Part (A). Making Nutrient Water

Nutrient Water

Nutrient water is mixed by using water and then adding the plant nutrients.

Grow Root or Bloom Plant Nutrient

One of Grow, Root or Bloom nutrients is used depending on the type of plant grown. The plant nutrient provides most of the trace minerals for the plant. A 1/8 teaspoon is added for each gallon of water in the nutrient tank. If you want more leaves, use grow, if you want flowers or fruit, use bloom, and if you want roots use root. All plants should be kept on grow until they have enough leave area to support the plant growth.

Calcium Nitrate

The calcium nitrate should be added to the nutrient water after the grow nutrient appears to be dissolved. If not the two may form a white flaky solid on the bottom of the tank. The calcium nitrate is added 1/8 teaspoon for each gallon of water. The calcium nitrate in the bottle can start to dissolve or left uncovered. If it gets hard or liquid it is still a great nutrient, just a little harder to measure.

Magnesium Sulfate

The epsom salts or magnesium sulfate is added to the water 1/16 of a teaspoon for each gallon.

Organic Nutrients

An organic nutrient is usually a composted material such as chicken-straw compost or worm castings.

Fresh manure

Fresh manure can be used in the hydroponic system, but they may start to stink as they decompose. It is possible to leave a system over the weekend and be unable to enter the room on Monday because of the smell.

Using organic nutrient.

It takes a larger amount of organic nutrient than the Grow Root and Bloom. Usually you can use about 1/2 cup per gallon. The organic material should be used in a sock, or some other container to keep the larger pieces out of the nutrient water.

So if you have a 5 gallon container, you can put about 2-3 cups of organic material in a sock, and hang the sock from the lip of the container, down into the water. A good hydroponic organic nutrient should have a color like a weak tea.

Mixing more water

With inorganic nutrient, measure the number of gallons you add to the nutrient tanl and then add 1/8 teaspoon per gallon of water for Grow and Calcium nitrate and 1/16 teaspoon for magnesium sulfate,

With organic nutrient, add more water to the tank and look at the water. If it seems too weak, then add another cup of organic material to the sock or filter. Organic can be added cup per gallon added.

Water Source

There are many source of water, and most can be used for hydroponic growers.

Well water that is very hard probably has many plant nutrients already available. It will not hurt to add all the nutrients, it will just be richer.

Occasionally the pH of the water may be too high or too low to be optimum for plant growth. A desirable pH for most plant growth is 6.5 with 6.0 to 7.0 being a good range. Some plants (such as tomatoes) mayl grow better in a different pH, but 6.5 is a good average.

If the water source has a different pH, the plant nutrients has a buffer that can change the finished water to 6.5.

pH can be checked with a pH test kit. They can be purchased at a pool supply store or at most pet shops usually for under $10.00. If you do not have a kit, just go ahead and try the water .

Polluted waters Hydroponic plants use inorganic nutrients and can clean polluted waters. If the water is polluted with organic matter, it will also need microbes to reduce the organic matter to inorganic plant food. They will usually happen in organic water, or you can add them but adding pond mud to the system.

If the water has severe pollutants such as heavy metals or pesticides this many make the plants toxic. Also, some pollutants such as copper, may kill the plants. Poisoned waters should not be used.

Revised: 1 May 2016
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