The following 16 elements are considered essential plant nutrients: nitrogen(N), phosphorus(P), potassium(K), calcium(Ca), magnesium(Mg), Sulfur(S), iron(Fe), manganese(Mn), boron(B), molybdenum(Mo), copper(Cu), zinc(Zn) and chlorine(Cl). Plants also need carbon(C), hydrogen(H) and oxygen(O), derived from air & water. The nutrients C, H, O, N, P, K, Ca, Mg and S are needed in large amounts and are referred to as the macronutrients. Fe, Mn, B, Mo, Cu, Zn and Cl are needed in small amounts and are the micronutrients. A nutrient solution should ensure that all of these nutrients are available.It is now understood that there are more factors to plant nutrition than just these essential macro and micronutrients. High quality organic nutrients are available. Nutrients are also chelated to assist in the uptake of micronutrients and other molecules.
Modern plant nutrition also supply plant growth hormones and metabolic enhancers; there are a variety of nutrient additives and foliar sprays whose essential funtion is to speed the plant up, making the plant work faster and harder. There hormones help energize the plant, allowing it to grow faster, and ultimately to yield more. Last but not least, the importance of healthy root zone functions has come to the forefront of plant science. Now there are a variety of ways to provide for powerful, healthy root growth. These options include enzymes to break down dead materials, root tonics and stimulators, and inoculations including beneficial microbes, fungal, bacterial and mycorrhizal.
pH Values & pH Meters
The pH value of a nutrient solution is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. A basic, neutral solution is numerically equal to 7. The solution gets more acidic as the numbers decrease and more alkaline as the numbers increase. The pH scale ranges from 0 pH(very acidic) to 14 pH(highly alkaline). Pure water has a pH of 7.
Different nutrients are absorbed at different pH levels. Most plants need a pH level between 5.8 and 6.5 for optimum nutrient uptake. If the pH is too low, nutrients are bound up and the roots are unable to absorb them. If the pH is too high, plants may succumb to toxic salt buildup, limiting the ability of the roots to intake water and food.
Your pH will fluctuate and should be monitored regularly. It can be tested with inexpensive pH papers or with a pH shaker tester, or you may choose to use a pH meter. pH meters come in various degrees of sophistication and price.
You can tweak the pH of your solution to allow more nitrogen in the growth phases and then readjust during the bloom phase for more phosphorous uptake. Most importantly, adjust the pH based on what plants you’re growing.
Adjusting the pH Level
The pH level of your nutrient solution will need to be adjusted if it is too low or too high (too basic). You will want to keep pH Up and pH Down handy in your grow area. Use very little at a time and stir the solution thoroughly. If you use too much of one, you will have to correct it with the other. The less you end up using, the better. Be careful when hadling thes solutions as they can burn the skin. We have a variety of pH Up & Down solutions for you to choose from.
Measuring the Nutrient Levels
By monitoring nutrients, not only can you feed your plants the appropriate level of nutrition, but you can also maximize the nutrients available for uptake. Equally important, you can be certain that your plants aren’t undernourished. Both EC & TDS meters give an easy-to-read reference point of the conductivity of nutrient in solution.
TDS stands for Total Dissolved Solids and is measured in ppm . One ppm is one part by weight of the mineral in one million parts of solution. In hydroponics TDS is estimated using a conversion from the measure of electrical conductivity (EC). TDS is currently the standard of measurement that most US growers use. This will probably being to change in the future as manufacturers begin changing their products to EC.
Modern Plant Nutrition
Over the last ten years, hydroponic plant science has moved away from the simple addition of bare-bones nutrients to a sterile root zone. It is now understood that there are more factors to plant nutrition than essential macro and micro nutrients.
Modern Plant nutrition has three main areas of concentration:
- Basic plant nutrition: Newer nutrients are now chelated, using agents such as fulvic and amino acids to make the uptake of micro nutrients and other charged molecules much easier and more accessible to the plant.
- Providing hormones and metabolic enhancers: There are a variety of nutrient additives and foliar sprays whose essential function is to speet the plant up, making the plant work faster and harder. These hormones help energize the plant, allowing it to grow faster and to ultimately yield more.
- Root zone health: The importance of healthy roots cannot be overstated. There has been a lot of research in this area and we have an entire Root Health FAQ explaining why the root zone is so important.
Mineral Nutrient Selections
The nutrients in these solutions are readily available, allowing plants to grow fast and strong. Although they are not organic, these nutrients are made from highly refined and pure ingredients. You will see excellent growth with any of these options-they all provide a full range of macro and micro nutrients. If you are growinig in hydro, be sure to use a hydroponic nutrient line.
This is the original line of hydroponic nutrients. Many growers still rely on the reliable 3-part Flora Series and feel it is unrivaled in its overall performance.The 3-part Flora Series lets you tinker with the levels of Grow, Micro, and Bloom to your heart’s content in search of the perfect formula. General Hydroponics has also put out a 1-part nutrient, Flora Nova (which comes in both a Grow as well as a Bloom formula) and works rather well and is super easy to use. They also have some really good additives to support the line. Floralicious Plus is a kelp based metabolic enhancer that is full of good stuff. Along with kelp, Floralicious Plus has carbohydrates, amino acids, polyflavinoids, and humic and fulvic acids. Diamond Nectar is concentrate pur fulvic acid and will help with nutrient uptake and availability. SubCulture is an easy-to-use affordable inoculant of beneficial microbes ranging from Trichoderma to Streptomyces. FloraNectar is a new product that contains all natural raw can sugar, molasses, malt syrup, select plant based esters, L-amino acids, organic acids,polyflavinoids, vitamins and essential minerals. Florablend is a vegan organic product that contains highly solble organic compounds that increase and promote healthy root structures, build the plant’s immune system and provide carbon building blocks for plant processes responsible for color and flavor of fruits and vegetables. Lastly, Kool Bloom is General Hydroponics age-old “super phosphate” bloom stiumlant, which will promote larger fruit/flowers.
These are some of the best nutrients on the gardening market as well as some of the most complicated. The line contains the entire range of nutrietn additives and it can be overwhelming to manage at first. When using A.N. it is suggested that you use only RO water. What makes the nutes themselves special is that the micro nutrients are individually chelated with their appropriate micronutrients. Nutrients come from premium mineral sources. When working with Advanced Nutrients you have your choice of base nutrients, the two-part Sensi Grow and Sensi Bloom solutions, or you can go with their Grow, Micro, and Bloom which can be combined to provide specialized nutrients for plants in any stage. Now there is also Connoisseur A + B for Bloom. Connoisseur is the most premium nutrient system we have seen. It is made from pharmaceutical grade minerals which have been either individually amino chelated or chelated with the most expensive chemical chelates (such as EDDHA). On top of that they incorporate new technology in the form of polyamino alcohols which increase the elasticity of the cell membranes, allowing more nutrients to be absorbed and thus digested. This provides for explosive growth and yield. When using any of these Advanced base nutrients we suggest starting out slow with the additives. Big Bud and Overdrive are premium bloom enhancing products that have uniques levels of phosphorus and potassium for the fruit and flowering stage. Piranha and Tarantula, are two beneficial microbe solutions that greatly increase root mass and thus yield more. SensiZym is a strong digestive enzyme solution that will help the plant by degrading dead or dying root systems and feed them back to the plant and the beneficial microbes, keepting them away from any pathogens.
House & Garden
This is a very finely crafted suite of nutrients and additives brought to you straight from Holland. Made from only the finest ingredients, this line uses the highest levels of calcium we have ever seen (up to 12% for some base nutrients) as well as EDDHA iron chelate. They have a base nutrient for almost every type of grower. Their Coco A+B is a premium drain to waste nutrient with levels set to perfection for coco growers. Their Aqua Flakes A+B are designed for recirculating hydroponic systmes. They also have a one-part soil formula called 1 Component Soil. THe most extraordinary product iin their fleet is Roots Excelurator. House and Garden also has a full line of additives including Bud-XL, a bloom booster that concentrates all the plant’s energy into the growing fruit/glowers; Top Booster, a premium pK booster that ensures larger fruit/flower sites; MagiGreen, a foliar spray that will green up any plant; Shooting powder, creates a secondary bloom stage increasing overall yield; MultiEnzym, a very economical yet powerful digestive enzyme collection; and Drip Clean, a flushing/cleaning agent that can be run through a system at all times ensuring that the lines stay clean.
Many growers want to use organics in their hydroponic system. Although there are many brands of ‘hydro-organic’ nutrient on the market today, these nutrients are a bit more difficult to manage than a regular hydroponic nutrient. Organic nutrients (such as bat guano or bone meal or solutions made from these kind of ingredients) must be broken down before the plant can absorb the minerals. They work great in soil because of micro bacteria which increase the rate of this process. In hydroponic systems, however, there are no beneficial helpers and so growth can be much slower as organic nutrients are not as quickly available to the plants.
Another thing to be wary of with organic nutrients is their propensity to clog drip emitters, tubing, and pumps. It will be easier to grow organically using an ebb & flow system as opposed to a drip system with many small parts.
Many growers use a regular hydroponic nutrient and supplement it with organic additives for the best of both worlds.
Botanicare Pure Blend Pro
Botanicare Pure Blend Pro is an organic nutrient with 10-15% pure mineral content. It contains absorbable forms of iron, calcium and phosphorous. The phosphorous comes from pure rock phosphate. The line has a vegetative and a bloom formula. It also includes a calcium/magnesium micro nutrient formula called Cal-Mag Plus, which is to be used at the end of the vegetative period and throughout bloom. Cal-mag Plus helps to prevent micronutrient deficiencies and lockout. Another option to consider is SensiCal. SensiCal has three forms of calcium and four forms of iron as well as all essential plant metals. Liquid Karma, a kelp based growth enhancer was made to be used with this line, as was HydroGuard, a bacterial inoculant and fungicide. For those who are concerned about large flowers and fruits, we recomment using Pure Blend Pro Bloom for soil, instead of the regular Bloom formula for the last 3 weeks of Bloom. We also highly recommend Piranha, a mycorrhizal inoculant that encourages explosive root growth, SensiZym, comprised of enzymes which stimulate root growth and digest dead or dying plant proteins, and Barricade which hardens cell walls, increasing yield by up to 20% and also increases the plant’s ability to deal with environmental stress(bugs, heat, etc.)
NOTE: If you follow the directions on the Pure Blend Pro label you will find that the strength of your solution can be too high. It is best to monitor the PPM in your solution-we HIGHLY recomment getting a meter- but if you want to try without it,just use a little less than the directions call for.
Fox Farm nutrients have been known as the “Microbrewery” of premium plant foods and soil mixes. Their fertilizers are built around the use of proprietary earthworm castings, nature’s finest soil amendment. They also add fish meal, crab meal, shrimp meal, calcium carbonate, rock phosphate, kelp and more to create a well balanced diet for plants. Although not entirely “organic,” Fox Farm is mostly organic with no chemicals added. Anything that is not technically organic is at least ALL NATURAL. For example even though rock phosphate comes from pure mineral sources (shaved from a mined “rock”), it is still not technically “organic” becuase it is not carbon based (from life). There are three parts to their formula: Grow Big for vegetative growth, and Big Bloom and Tiger Bloom to promote heavy yields full of lush flavor and enticing aromas.
The Earth Juice line of organic fertilizers are derived from 100% natural, organic ingredients. Earth Juice stimulates vigorous growth and provide abundant yields, while improving the soil. They are highly concentrated, easy to use, and contain no salt-building chemicals or hidden NPK boosting synthetics. Earth Juice Grow is an all organic, OMRI listed nitrogen formulation for vigorous green growth. Earth Juice Bloom is a non nitrogen phosphorus solution which is used to promote larger fruit, buds, flowers, and vegtables. It is also OMRI certified. Earth Juice Catalyst is a premium organic additive that encourages compact branching, stimulates optimal fruiting sites, and triggers early yields. Along with these 3 core ingredients there are two other additives: MicroBlast-a liquid micronutrient formula to be used to prevent and correct micronutrient deficiencies; and META-K- a natural potassium based formulation for maturing, fruitings, and flowering plants that require more potassium. Earth Juuice also makes a one part nutrient line, Sugar Peak Grow and Bloom. These are simple, easy to use formulas of selected natural and organic elements, bio-enhancers along with the purest elemental nutrients complex into a form that is easyily assimilated by plants grown both hydroponically and in soil. Sugar Peak Grow is crafted for energetic stem and leaf growth for foilage plants and the vegetative stage of flowering and fruiting plants. Sugar Peak Bloom is designed to effectively maintain fruiting and flowering plants. There are two great additives for this line as well. Briximus Maximus s a carbohydrate foliar spray which when used in conjunction with Grand Finale maximizes flavor and aroma.
Metabolic Enhancers & Supplements
Although hydroponic formulas have come a very long way in providing total plant nutrition, many vital compounds and biological agents that are available to the plant in healthy soil are absent. When used correctly, metabolic enhancers can bridge the gap between organic and mineral nutrition. They can help the plants achieve full plant potential at every stage of growth.Metabolic enhancers and supplements can provide for:
- Better seed germination, stronger seedlings, faster, more vigorous clones, massive root systems, healthier vegetative growth, better resistance to pests and disease.
- Bigger plants, bigger yields.
Please be aware that many hydroponic supplements are new and much remains to be learned about the materials involved. Always be cautious when experimenting, and let us know your results! We’d love to know how they work for you.
Root Tonics & Beneficial Microbes
There is a wide selection of products that will aid in root development and ward of pathogens, keeping your roots extremely happy and healthy. Depending on the medium employed, beneficial microbes can also do wonders for the media’s environment, the root zone efficiency and for overall health, as well as provide help with delivering nutrients and creating hormones and enzymes. Check out our entire information section dedicated to maintaining a healthy root zone for a more comprehensive look at the root zone and various products that are available to maximize its potential.
Humic acids are a complex mixture of organic materials. They change the water retention of a grow media and the of the plant cell, causing it to swell up with more water, creating an osmotic imbalance and promoting the uptake of nutrient salts. Fulvic Acid, Nature’s chelating agent, is the most powerful type of Humic Acid. Important to the Krebs Cycle, Fulvic Acid shuttles essential elements across a cell membrane effortlessly and insures the availability of those elements. Studies show that plants treated with Fulvic Acid show a 36% increase in harvest weight, a 36.5% increase in growth, and they flower ahead of control plants.
Grandma Enggy’s Humic(H2)-This humic acid brew can be used in soil and hydroponics to increase water holding capacity, root zone aeration, and root efficiency. Humic stimulates root branching, plant enzyme function, and plant immune systems. Humic provides natural carrier compounds that transport nutrients and vitamins into plants more efficiently, so plants grow faster and have stronger cellular processes
A long with its chelating properties, fulvic acid is also a key factor in the Kreb cycle, the plant’s respiratory and metabolism system. Providing this molecule reserves a plant’s key energy reserves. A recent study showed that plants treated with fulvic acid experienced a 36% increase in produce weight at harvest, a 36.5% increase plant growth, and they flowered on average four days ahead of the control plants. Studies indicate the use of humates in hydroponics results in bigger plants and bigger veggies and quicker harvests.
Pure Fulvic Acid
A great deal on pure fulvic acid. These acids are small active organic molecules and are excellent chelators which penetrate through plant surfaces and roots. The results are healthier and stronger plants, decreased water stress and improved soil moisture and structure.
Diamond Nectar is a fulvic acid extract from a combination of unique Leonardite sources providing the highest availability and diversity of these bioactive pant compounds. The General Hydroponics research team has assayed over 300 different Leonardite sources around the world to create a proprietary, pH balanced, fulvic acid with maximum agronomic benefits.
Liquid Karma chelates micronutrients through amino and fulvic acids, and shuttles them into plant cells, increasing metabolic rates and conserves plant energy. Full of B-vitamins and other stress relieving components with/ large amount of cytokinin derived from ascophylum nodosum North Atlantic sea kelp.
Grandma Enggy’s Fulvic(F1)- A 7-step extraction process creates Grandma’s honey-golden fulvic acid that nourishes plant cells, roots and leaves to produce bigger, more aromatic flowers. Has been competitively tested against other fulvic products and was found to produce quicker nutrient absorption, transport, and a greater cellular metabolism.
Traditionally, the three “major plant nutrients” were thought to be nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK). Recent studies on calcium have proven it to be just as important as the “BIG 3” First off, calcium is an essential part of plant cell wall structure. The more calcium present, the stronger and thicker the cell walls will be. In addition to its role in cell structure, calcium also plays a role in regulating various cell and plant functions as a secondary messenger/co-factor. This function as a secondary messenger/co-factor assists in various plant functions including nutrient uptake. It also helps the plant react to the impact of environmental and disease stresses.
Magnesium goes hand in hand with calcium. Although not as important, magnesium is part of the chlorophyll in all green plants and essential for photosynthesis. Magnesium also helps to activate specific enzyme systems. Enzymes are complex substances that build, modify, or break down compounds as part of a plant’s normal metabolism. Both calcium and magnesium are two of the most common deficiencies (especially when using purified or RO water), and need to be addressed and dealt with quickly when diagnosed.
Below are our favorite calcium products:
Plant Amp is derived from a unique and proprietary microorganism based chelation process, which harnesses the power of Nature’s smallest creatures to "fix" plant food for easy uptake. This microbe-chelated Calcium will not lock-up important compounds such as phosphorous, silicates, or sulfur, while facilitating Calcium uptake by plant roots and leaves. Great for Foliar applications! Also Note: This is a pure calcium product. Does not contain magnesium or other plant essential elements.
MagiCal is a highly enriched blend of Magnesium, Calcium and Iron, that promotes vigorous and healthy plant growth for both soil and soiless gardens. MagiCal accelerates protein syntheses, maintains high starch content in crops, improves the density of fruit and the production of essential oils, creates lush and greener foliage, and maintains a healthy root system.Completely soluble and clear of any sediment, MagiCal will mix with ease into any solution providing an instantly available source of nutrients. This is the most Absorbable form of ready-to-use Calcium out there. It also has an assortment of Micro-Nutrients within it as well.
Cal-Mag Plus is a bio-catalyst for plants. A beneficial plant nutrient correcting the inherent problem of calcium, magnesium and iron mineral deficiencies found in most soil fertilizers and some hydroponic nutrient liquid concentrated formulas.
Budswel- A solution comprised of Bat Guano and Earthworm Castings. This solution has been around for quite a long while, and many people swear by it. The organic enzymes and hormones contained in this powerful solution will help promote more aroma, sugars, oils, and resins to the max.
Bloom Stimulants come in two forms these days: those that are mineral based (super phosphate- indicated below in orange) and those that employ hormones and/or enzymes. Phosphorous and potassium are directly involved in fruit/flower formation, structure and overall taste, potency & aroma. By adding more of these two macro-nutrients at key points in the Bloom phase we can influence (and thus speed up) or increase the number of fruit/flowering sites. Hormones and enzymes, alternatively are organic (and have no NPK value) and can stimulate new growth, speed up the plants metabolism or govern a wide variety of internal reactions which in turn will increase the yield, flavor and aroma of the fruit/flowers. It is very important to NOT overlap two of the same type of product which essentially are offering the same ingredients.
Big Bud & Overdrive from Advanced Nutrients – Big Bud will dramatically increase bud/fruit growth, width, weight and resin production like no other bloom enhancing product can (use for weeks 2-5). Overdrive is a premium fruit/flower booster with an extremely extensive and very complex array of phosphorus and potassium source. OverDrive is designed to give fruit/flowers their final girth as well as increase oil/sugar/resin content (use weeks 6-7). Designed to be used one at a time.
Kool Bloom -This is General Hydroponics super phosphate product that is designed for use in the second half of reproductive development. This concentrated nutrient supplement increases the production of essential oils and fragrance in flowers. Comes in both dry (for the last 3 weeks of bloom) and liquid formulations (weeks 2-4 of bloom).
Hydroplex –This is Botanicare super phosphate and is designed to be used for the final 3 weeks. (Not to be used during flush.) What makes this product special is its use of humic, fulvic, and amino acids to help chelate its phosphorus and potassium and make them more accessible to the plant.
Shooting Powder- This bloom booster starts a new fruiting/flowering cycle after the regular bloom phase, increasing the fruit’s weight. The extra yield after applying this nutrient will probably surprise you. It actually creates a new layer on top of the existing fruit. Output increases of over 20% can be reached this way. Use with Bud-XL for best results.
Bud-XL –Bud-XL has the unique ability to extract sugars from the leaves of the plant and transfer them to the fruit. The fruit is thus made sweeter and its taster improved. Bud-XL also increases the size and robustness of the flowers, resulting in an increase in fruit production and greater yield. Use with Shooting Powder for best results.
Phytochromes & Plant Flowering
The signal for plants to flower in the correct season is called photoperiodism, which is the change in the proportion of light and dark in a 24 hour period.There are three ranges of photoperiodism: short day and long night, long day and short night, and day neutral (in which case the plant uses other signals to trigger flowering)
Temperature is also a factor in photoperiodism. The theory goes that, as temperature changes the plants internal chemistry speeds up or slows down. For example, henbane (a long-day plant) needs 11.5 hours of light at 83°F but only 8.5 hours of light at 60°F. However, there is a definite critical point at which the flowering signal switches on. For example, at 72.5°F henbane would not flower at 10 hours of light, but 10 hours and 20 minutes of light is enough to induce flowering.
The leaves are the only part of a plant that carries the flowering signal, which triggers the hormones in the plant to alter their functions. The message is so subtle that if only a small pice of one single leaf is left on a plant, it will still transmit the signal. The mechanism that causes this flowering signal is pretty amazing. Plants contain several very specific color pigments: chlorophyll-a, chlorophyll-b, carotene, and phycobilin, but the two pigments which control the flowering signal are called Phytochrome Red (PR) and Phytochrome Far Red (PFR). Phytochromes are photoreceptors, or pigments that plants use to detect light. These two photochemically-reactive pigments act as “on-off” switches that tell plants when to initiate flowering. Phytochromes also regulate seed germination, the size, shape, adn number of leaves, the synthesis of chlorophyll, and other functions.
Plants are continously producing PR, which degrades to PFR whenever it gets exposed to “red” light of 660-760 nm. During the daytime, the balance between PR and PFR is constant. When night comes, the darkness or “far red” light steadily decreases the PFR over a period of hours, causing the PR to rise. If a light flash with red in it occurs in the middle of the night period, or if the plant is exposed to daylight, the PR immediately changes to PFR, which switches off the flowering signal. If a plant recieves no light, or is exposed to “far red”, the PFR turns back to PR. One way to remember this process: PFR is rapidly produced in the light, and PR is slowly produced in the dark.
Most plants seem to need a continuous critical length cycle of about two weeks for the hormones to change totally from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage. This 2 week time period can be overcome through a process of an intial long night period of 36 hours as coupled together with two distinct hormone regimes (Pre-Bloom and Ultra-Bloom)
When to Induce Flowering on Indoor Plants
The more time a plant spends in vegetative growth before flowering, the more fruit or flowers the plant will yield (up to a point-Indoors a plant should never be over 18-20″ tall before put into Bloom-This is the point of dimensished returns!) This is because it builds up more energy storage reserves, especially in its roots. This explains why plants alwayas flower at the end of the growing season in nature, never the beginning. Because of indoor limitations, gardeners must choose a point to put their plants into Bloom. Plants will double in size before full flowering and fruiting, so to produce a plant that will finish at, say 24-36″ tall, it should be put into flowering by the time it reaches 12-16″. The only way around this is generally by putting in more plants!
Using Pre Bloom and Ultra Bloom to get a Larger Yield in Less overall Time
Through the altering of the Light/Dark cycle to 36 hours of Darkness right when the plants first go into Bloom, Coupled with the use of Pre-Bloom (Not during the 1st week of Veg. Growth and Not the last. . .But, the weeks inbetween of Veg. growth i.e. 2 and 3) at 1tsp./Gal. and Ultra-Bloom – right after their 36 hours of darkness for 1st 2 weeks of Bloom – Plants will go into Bloom in 4-7 days as opposed to 10-14 days, thus making them spend more time in Bloom which in turn increases their yield. Also by cutting out some of the transition phase (the normal 2 weeks that it takes to take a plant from the Veg. cycle to Bloom) they will end 1 week sooner than normal.
Plant Growth Hormones
Plant hormone research has come a long way in the last few years. The natural plant growth regulators (or plant hormones) are gibberellic acid , ethylene gas, abscisic acid (ABA), 4 auxins, and several cytokinins, all of which have their own specific effects on growth and development in plants. The main advancement that has been made relevant to hydroponics is with cytokinins. Most cytokinin research has been concentrated on determining the appropriate and most elevated amounts that can be delivered to the plant without any harmful side effects.
There is a wide range of products now available that are made of Ascophylum Nodosum, the North Atlantic sea kelp from which most cytokinins are derived from Growth Max, a seaweed extract made for foliar feeding plants. An excellent and inexpensive way to give your plants an extra boost.
Nitrozime-a very popular – growers swear by the results – Nitrozime provides cytokinins to help control and regulate germination, root development, nutrition uptake, plant tissue composition, flowering. seed and fruit set
B’Cuzz-Atami’s line of stimulators are formulated from a combination of two kinds of seaweed, Laminaria digitata and Ascophyllum nodosum. These solutions help plants handle stress. Three formulas, one for rooting, one for growth and one for bloom.
Liquid Karma-If you are looking for just one thing to add to your nutrient regimen, Liquid Karma is the one. It is good for every stage of growth and will definitely increase branching points, fruit and flower sets and overall yield by as much as 30%. Liquid Karma chelates micronutrients through amino and fulvic acids, and shuttles them into plant cells, increasing metabolic rates and conserves plant energy. Full of B-vitamins and other stress relieving components with a large amount of cytokinins derived from ascophylum nodosum north atlantic sea kelp.
SuperNova- SuperNova contains high concentrations of cytokinins extracted from Ascophyllum Nodosum. Cytokinins increase cell division, which promotes vigorous plant and root growth. SuperNova also contains growth precursors, vitamins, and amino acids. Super Nova is made by General Hydroponics to work with Dark Energy.
Along with the major plant hormone research, enzymes have become the recent focus of much attention. Smaller yet amazingly powerful, enzymes have a variety of important benefits for the hydro grower. There are many different enzymes that all have different functions. The hydroponic growing community is just beginning to realize what they all do. There are two types of enzymes that we are most concerned with. There are those that accelerate sugar/ resin production and work to create flavor and aroma. There are others that break down dying and dead plant proteins into their component parts – amino acids, lipids and smaller molecules which can be reabsorbed by the plant.
Cannizym consists of more than 15 different kinds of enzymes to which vitamins and extracts of desert plants are added. Cannazym speeds up the breaking down of dead root material and activates microorganisms. Cannazym also facilitates and increases resistance against pathogenic microbes. The strongest digestive enzyme on the market.
Hygrozyme. This enzyme solution prevents the formation of pythium bacterial rot, and algae, Hygrozyme is an activating enzyme solution. It will create healthy white root growth in your plants. (Great with freshly rooted cuttings to promote even more roots.) It will not harm beneficial microbes. You CAN use Hygrozyme (or any other enzyme product) with any product except for Hydrogen Peroxide or Zone. In fact you can (an many people do) use Hygrozyme with another enzyme solution such as SensiZym. Hygrozyme will produce Bigger, Stronger, Faster Growing plants with larger overall Yield and greater overall health. Feel free to come in and ask us about Hygrozyme and its many benefits
Sensizym is a super concentrate of over 80 different enzymes, each having specific functions that enhance plant and root growth. Great for soil or hydroponics. Mainly digestive enzymes. This is our favorite all-around enzyme solution. We feel it does the best job at promoting good healthy new growth, as well as keeping roots in good condition. Part of the Advanced Nutrients line.
Multi-zyme is yet another enzyme mixture. This is slightly more concentrated then either SensiZym or Cannazym. It is part digestive enzyme and part catalyst. This is a combination package similar to SensiZym.
Silicate helps strengthen plant tissue helping plants flourish in adverse environmental conditions such as heat, drought, and frost. For use in container gardens or soilless hydrogardening applications
Barricade – Silicate is a beneficial nutrient supplement to be used in conjunction with standard nutrient program. Barricade will substantially strengthen and boost your plants’ vigor by increasing cell wall stability.
Can I use organic nutrients in a hydroponic system?
There are many brands of organic hydroponic nutrients on the market today. These nutrients are a bit more difficult to manage than ‘regular’ hydroponic nutrients, and they can cause problems if not managed correctly.
Regular hydroponic nutrients contain mineral elements (such as nitrogen, calcium, etc.) that are immediately available to the plant. Organic nutrients (such as bat guano or bone meal) must be broken down before the plant can absorb the minerals. Organic nutrients work great in soil because of the micro bacteria which increase the rate of this process. In hydroponics there are no beneficial ‘helpers’ so growth can be much slower as nutrients are not as quickly available to the plants. The plants are also at greater risk for nutrient deficiencies and need to be watched a bit more closely.
Another thing to be wary of with organic nutrients is their propensity to clog drip emitters, tubing and pumps. It will be easier to grow organically using an ebb and flow system (with no drippers) as opposed to a drip system with many narrow, small tubes.
Many growers use a mineral-based nutrient and supplement it with organic additives for the best of both worlds.
Organics can be great in hydroponic systems, but it is important to make sure that the root zone is protected. This can be achieved by creating a “beneficial ecosystem” in the reservoir and at the roots. To get more information look here Root Zone
What is the difference between one-part, two-part, and three-part nutrient solutions?
The reason many nutrient solutions are separated into ‘A’ and ‘B’ formulas is because essential elements have a tendency to react with each other (thus creating insoluble, non-absorbable particles) when they are in strong concentrations. So usually the calcium containing compounds are kept separate from the phosphate and sulfate compounds. However, there are some great one-part solutions on the market made by different manufacturers who have found various ways of tackling this problem.
The three-part solution we sell is the General Hydroponics Flora Series. They have designed these nutrients to allow the grower to custom-tailor nutrient solutions to satisfy the needs of practically any type of plant during each different stage in its life cycle by varying the combination and overall strength of the mix. Thus with the three components you can provide the correct ‘flavor’ for every life stage of your plants.
How do I use the Flora® Series from General Hydroponics?
General Hydroponic’s Flora® Series is the most commonly used hydroponic nutrient on the market. It can work extremely well if used properly. One of the beauties of the three-part solution is that you can adjust the ratios to suit your type of plant and stage of growth. General Hydroponics suggests the mixing ratios we’ve posted below. You will need to use an EC or TDS meter to know exactly how much nutrient to use – it depends on your desired nutrient level. Just be sure that you always mix the three nutrients in the correct ratio.
It is important to know that you should never mix the nutrients together. You should only add them one at a time into your watering solution/reservoir. Stir well between each addition to prevent nutrient lock-up.
What is the best temperature for my nutrient solution?
You should keep the nutrient solution temperature between 65 and 75 degrees F. Rremember, plants don’t like rapid temperature changes, especially in the root zone. So before adding water to your reservoir, we suggest you allow it to reach the same temperature as the water in the reservoir. You can use an aquarium heater to heat the water in the winter and a “chiller” to cool the water during the summer. Also, letting the water stand in a container uncovered overnight helps dissipate any chlorine than might be in the water.
What is N-P-K?
Those letters stand for the first three of the main macro nutrients that plants need.
N = Nitrogen
Nitrogen is the first major element responsible for the vegetative growth of plants above ground. With a good supply, plants grow sturdily and mature rapidly, with rich, dark green foliage.
P = Phosphorus
The second major element in plant nutrition, phosphorus is essential for healthy growth, strong roots, fruit and flower development, and greater resistance to disease.
K = Potassium (Potash)
The third major plant nutrient, potassium oxide is essential for the development of strong plants. It helps plants resist diseases, protects them from cold and protects during dry weather by preventing excessive water loss.
What is pH?
pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. A basic, neutral solution is numerically equal to 7. The solution gets more acidic as the numbers decrease and more alkaline as the numbers increase. The ph scale ranges from 0 pH (very acidic) to 14 pH (highly alkaline). Pure water has a pH of 7, indicating that it is neither alkaline nor acidic, but neutral. Different nutrients may be absorbed by plants at different pH levels.
What pH level should my nutrient solution be at?
The ideal range is different for different plants, but the general range for plant survival is between 5.0 and 7.5. Any lower and delicate plant tissues can be burned; higher and some nutrients may precipitate out of solution, making them unavailable for uptake. It is also important to take into consideration the fact that different nutrients can only be absorbed at certain pH levels. The optimum pH range seems to be between 5.8 and 6.5. . If you want to get real fancy, tweak the pH of your solution to allow more nitrogen in the growth phases and then readjust during the bloom phase for more phosphorous uptake. You’ll need to manually test and adjust your pH daily, unless you use an automated controller.
What is PPM/TDS?
TDS stands for Total Dissolved Solids and is measured in ppm or parts per million. One ppm is one part by weight of the mineral in one million parts of solution. In a laboratory, TDS is found by allowing the liquid to evaporate and weighing the particles left over. In hydroponics TDS is estimated using a conversion from the measure of electrical conductivity (EC). TDS is currently the standard of measurement that most US growers use. This will probably begin to change in the future as hydroponic manufacturers begin changing their products to EC.
What is EC?
EC stands for Electrical Conductivity and is measured in mS/cm or miliSiemens per centimeter. An EC meter measures an electrical current in the solution and reads the conductivity produced from the motion of the mineral ions. Low conductivity means low nutrient concentration, often resulting in nutritional deficiencies and slow plant growth. High conductivity means more food for your plants. But be careful not to get overzealous with the concentration of your nutrient solution; very high conductivity can burn or kill your plants.
Which is the best way to to measure amount of nutrient in solution?
In Europe, EC has been used exclusively. In the US, most growers have been using TDS. The problem is that, as explained earlier, TDS is a conversion from EC, and different manufacturers use different conversion rates. Different TDS meters may show a discrepancy of as much as 600 ppm when reading the same solution. Last June at the Hydroponic Merchants’ Association conference is was decided that the industry will begin to switch over to EC. This switch could take years however.
American growers still seem to want to use TDS meters most often and we supply a wide range of quality ones. Be sure when calibrating these meters to use the correct calibrating solution from the correct manufacturer.
How do I convert my readings from TDS to EC and vice versa?
To get the approximate TDS value, simply multiply the EC reading (in milliSiemens/cm) by 1000 and divide by 2. To get an EC value, multiply the ppm reading by 2 and divide by 1000.
- If your EC is 1:
1 x 1000/2 = 500ppm
- If your ppm is 500:
500 x 2/1000 = 1E
What nutrient level should my solution be at?
For seedlings, your nutrient level should be between 400ppm (800ms) and 600ppm (1,200ms). For vegetative growth, the level should be between 800ppm (1,600ms) and 1,100ppm (2,200ms). For bloom, the level should be between 1,000 ppm (2,000ms) and 1,400ppm (2,800ms). These of course are very general levels.
How do I calibrate my TDS or EC meter?
It depends on the meter. You should follow the calibration instructions in the manual of your particular meter. Fortunately standard reference solutions are used. Nutrient bottles are marked with the conductivity (EC) value in microSiemens/cm and the corresponding ppM values for sodium chloride (NaCl) and potassium chloride (KCl) solutions, and sometimes a “442” reference mixture. Because the conductivity of sodium chloride solutions is close to that of hydroponic minerals, a “1000 ppM NaCl” standard the frequent standard for calibrating your meter.
My plant leaf tips are curling down and there are small rust colored dead spots beginning to appear in the middle of the leaves. What’s going on?
The symptoms you describe are consistent with salt toxicity. Your plants are not able to take water up through their roots because there is too much salt in the solution. There are also probably too much salts lingering in plants roots etc.
The solution to this problem is to drain the reservoir immediately and fill it up with fresh water. You will use this fresh water to leach the salt from the plants over a period of days. You can use a flushing agent such as Final Flush or Clearex to speed up the process. Keep an eye on the TDS readings of your reservoir. If they go very high, you may want to drain the reservoir again and keep flushing. After a few days you should notice signs of more normal growth and can switch back to your regular nutrient schedule
What are some reasonably priced fertilizers/foods for my plants. Could you suggest one for vegetable growth and one for when I start flowering?
For starters, if you are looking for simplicity, we suggest the one part Flora Nova from General Hydroponics. It has a one part grow solution and a one part bloom solution. You can always add Hygrozyme for the roots or Liquid Karma for general health and metabolic enhancement. But of course you don’t need them because Flora Nova is a complete nutrient unto itself.
If you are looking for en even better nutrient I would go with Advanced Nutrients Sensi Grow and Sensi Bloom. It is a 2-part nutrient, but easy to use. You need to add equal parts of A and B to the reservoir. You never want to mix them together unless it is diluted in the reservoir or watering container. So, to clarify, if you add 5 teaspoons of A then you will add 5 teaspoons of B as well. This method will give you a slight performance advantage over the Flora Nova nutrients. You can also take a look at the rest of the Advanced Nutrients line.
How can I tell what nutrient deficiencies or excesses my plants are suffering from?
How can I tell if I am using too much VHO?
VHO is primarily made of Auxins – which is one of the primary growth hormones in plants. If you are using too much you can see a slew of disorders; necrosis, strange twisted growth, halting growth all together, etc. If used properly you will see the results that the bottle claims. You’ll get more rapid shoot growth, more lateral branching, and more cuttings.
I’ve heard that the chemical nutrients used in hydroponics can be bad for me, is this true?
Not at all. The “chemical nutrients” that are on the market for plants are not toxic. They are mineral based nutrients that are mined and refined in a lab under strict standards. They do not contain any toxic materials. However if you are at all worried you can go with an organic nutrient line such as Pure-Blend Pro. We recommend; Pure Blend Pro Gro , Pure Blend Pro Bloom , Cal-Mag Plus, Liquid Karma, Hygrozyme, and HydroGuard. If you understand that the chemical based nutrients really are natural and are comfortable using them then we suggest either Canna or Advanced Nutrients.
Are the following nutrients a good regimen for my plants: Pure Blend Pro (veg), Pure Blend Pro (Flowering), Botanicare Liquid Karma, Botanicare Cal-Mag Plus?
If you would like to complete your lineup you should run the other products that Botanicare makes available for their Pure Blend line of nutrients. I would recommend rounding out your recipe to include Sweet, Silica Blast, and Clearex (you can click on the Product Name to follow the link to product page).
Cal-Mag: If you are using Reverse Osmosis H2O like we here at GreenCoast recommend then Cal-Mag is essential otherwise your plants will experience these respective deficiencies due to the Reverse Osmosis process taking these minerals away. Keep in mind that municipal water supply is usually treated with Chlorine and Chloramine which will kill off most of the organics that are being made available by the Pure Blend lineup, another huge benefit in using Reverse Osmosis filtration in you growing environment.
1.) Sweet: (I like the Berry Formula) Helps maintain a proper balance between Photosynthesis and Respiration and also contributes to more pronounced aromas and flavors.
2.) Silica Blast: Helps build plants cell wall which in turn will produce a plant that is very heat, frost, drought and pest tolerant.
3.) Clearex: A leaching solution that unbinds excessive nutrient/salt buildup in your medium thereby decreasing your chances of toxicity and lockout. Also used prior to harvest to flush out excess nutrients from plants.
On another note, I would also recommend pulling from other lineups to enhance your plants growth and produce a much finer finished product. A few more suggestions as follows…….
For Root Growth Enhancement I advise you to use a product called Roots Excelurator (House & Garden) coupled with Piranha (Advanced Nutrients) . Hands down there is nothing on the market, at the moment, that will perform better than these two products combined. Remember the adage “The bigger the roots, the bigger the fruits!” –Jdawg.
There are also some great finishing products that you might be interested in.
Two weeks prior to harvest I replace my Base Nutrients, in your case Pure Blend Pro Bloom, with a product called Grand Finale (Sugar Peak). This will yellow off any fan/water leaves and as a result direct all available energy towards the fruit/flower where it is better used, thus resulting in an overall increase in quality and yield.
In addition, you can also begin adding Final Bloom (Advanced Floriculture) in the last two weeks. This will cause a rapid increase in the last phase of the blooming process, otherwise known as the ‘final bloom’. All energy that is now being directed towards the fruit/flower by administering the Grand Finale will be effectively used by adding this product.
Lastly, I would recommend foliar feeding your plants with
(Humbolt County’s Own) in the final two weeks by lightly dusting fan/water leaves ONLY. This will cause a massive increase in essential oil production.
Oh yes, one more thing. If you are interested…….a great way to tell the overall health of a plant while it is in its growing cycle, to know when your plants are ready for harvest, and to test the overall quality of your finished product after harvest you can use a BRIX Meter (Milwaukee Instruments).
What are metabolic enhancers? Do I need to use them?
Although hydroponic formulas have come a very long way in providing total plant nutrition, many vital compounds and biological agents are available to the plant in healthy soil are absent. When used correctly, metabolic enhancers can bridge the gap between organic and mineral nutrition. They can help the achieve full plant potential at every stage of growth.
- Better seed germination
- Stronger seedlings
- Faster growing, more vigorous clones
- Massive root systems
- Healthier vegetative growth
- Better resistance to pests and diseases
- Bigger plants, higher yields
Please be aware that many of these techniques are new and much remains to be learned about the materials involved. Always be cautious when experimenting, and let us know your results! We’d love to know how they work for you.
What are flushing agents?
Flushes are used to rid plants of mineral and salt buildup. They can be used periodically during a growth cycle or just before harvest. Many hydroponic growers flush their plans with plain water, but salt leaching solutions can do a much more thorough job of it. Our current favorite flushing agent is Final Flush which also comes in flavors- you can flush out the salt and leave a sweet flavor if you so wish. (Many growers swear by this!)
Why do I need plant enhancers?
Although hydroponic formulas have come a very long way in providing total plant nutrition, many vital compounds and biological agents are available to the plant in healthy soil are absent. When used correctly, enhancers can bridge the gap between organic and mineral nutrition. They can help the achieve full plant potential at every stage of growth. Plant hormones and enzymes can greatly increase the metabolic functions within the plant, above and beyond what would occur naturally. Root enhancers do an incredible job of stimulating fuzzy white root growth, and promoting a healthy rhizosphere.
There are so many different things that can be added to my nutrient solution, where do i begin?
You should begin by understanding the different categories of additives that are available. Once you have this understanding, you will have a better grasp on what the individual additives do and which ones would be right for you to use.
There are many different products to choose from. We suggest prioritizing what is most important to you. Start with only one or two additives in addition to your regular nutrient. Watch for results and decide whether or not to add more. Be careful some products are not recommended for use with each other. As a rule of thumb, organic products can be used together, but the more concentrated mineral based products should be used more cautiously.
This category includes anything that speeds up the rate of growth and or flower formation and facilitates nutrient uptake. These are often made up of hormones, enzymes and vitamins. Some of the more common enhancers available include fulvic acid and humic acids, cytokinin and auxin hormones, gibberellins, chitin, B-1 vitamins, amino acids, and phosphorus boosters.
These products help protect plants against diseases and pest infestations. They do this by inhibiting pest and disease growth and by strengthening plant defenses.
There are so many different products on the market, where do I begin?
The two most important enhancers are something for the roots and something for the yield. If you are on a budget and are looking to simply keep your reservoir sterile and that no pathogens hurt your precious root system, then go with Dutch Master Zone. It is cheap, and very effective. However, if you are looking to take your roots to the next level, we suggest giving Roots Excelurator from House and Garden a try. We have never ever ever seen a product this good in the hydro market place. It will blow your roots way out and give them a shiny fuzzy healthy glow that stays with them throughout their life span. (Do not use these two products together.)
Just about every grower is interested in bloom stimulants. These increase the number, size and density of fruits and flowers. Every line has their own set of bloom stimulants. Our favorite for early to mid bloom stage is Big Bud and for late stage, Overdrive. Both of these are from Advanced Nutrients. If you are want to kick it up another notch, we recommend Phosphoload for the early stage and Final Bloom for the late stage.
Be careful as some products are not recommended for use with each other. As a rule of thumb, organic products can be used together, but the more concentrated mineral based products should be used with more caution. We always suggest half strength applications at first, and never introducing too many new things at once as you build your nutrient routine.
Why do I need plant enhancers?
Although hydroponic formulas have come a very long way in providing total plant nutrition, many vital compounds and biological agents are available to the plant in healthy soil are absent. When used correctly, enhancers can bridge the gap between organic and mineral nutrition. They can help the achieve full plant potential at every stage of growth. Plant hormones and enzymes can greatly increase the metabolic functions within the plant, above and beyond what would occur naturally. Root enhancers do an incredible job of stimulating fuzzy white root growth, and promoting a healthy rhizosphere (root environment).
Do you recommend any specific products? What are some winning combinations?
For beginners we really recommend using SM-90. It’s very easy to use in the reservoir and it discourages root disease while encouraging new growth. We’ve had great results with it and have seen its amazing capabilities for giving new life to severely damaged roots. SM-90 does not work well with other biologically active products. We suggest using it with a regular nutrient throughout the growth cycle, and then if at the end you are hoping for large fruit or flowers, adding Monster Bloom. (These two products do not interfere with each other and can be used together.) Monster Bloom’s high phosphorous content promotes rapid and lush bloom sets. It’s another of those products that we know REALLY works. For the last four days of your harvest you could use a flushing agent such as Final Phase. This should remove all excess salt from your final product.
A second combination that we often use relies on organic substances to add that ‘organic’ flavor to the harvest. Organic additives are not as strong or concentrated as refined mineral additives and therefore there is a bit more leniency when it comes to dosage concentrations and combinations. We suggest adding one organic additive at a time. As you get good results from the first, go ahead and add the second. Always watch your plants to see how they react. In addition to our nutrient solution we have had good results combining fulvic acid with Fossil Fuel (with humates). As soon as flowering starts, Kelp can be added to this mixture. You may also choose to add Pro-Silicate to promote healthy cellular growth. A final additive you might choose is BananaMana (this is great for any kind of fruits or flowers that produce resin).
When I add certain solutions to my reservoir, I see a blue cloud. What does this mean?
If the solution you are adding is colorless and you see a cloud forming, what you are seeing is ions reacting with each other to form insoluble salts. This reaction makes nutrients unavailable to your plants. In order to prevent this kind of reaction you should dilute the solution you are adding and add it very slowly while stirring. This will help to disperse the ions and will prevent them from clumping up.
How is hydrogen peroxide used in hydroponics?
Hydrogen Peroxide (H202) is made up of oxygen and water. When it breaks down, a single atom of oxygen is released along with a single water molecule. It leaves no residue or waste behind. The single atom of oxygen is what makes it so useful.
Hydrogen Peroxide has two main uses in hydroponics: disease fighting and aeration. It can be added regularly to nutrient solution in order to increase the amount of dissolved oxygen in solution. It can also be added to help fight root rot. At higher concentrations it can be used to sterilize growing medium, gardening tools, and plastic trays and pots.
How can I treat my water to prevent disease? Do I need to?
It is MUCH easier to prevent disease from occurring in the first place than to treat a full blown attack. We are very fond of using SM-90 in our hydroponic systems. It keeps plant roots healthy throughout the growing cycle and prevents disease from taking hold.
Other alternatives are using hydrogen peroxide in the solution, or Dutch Master Zone.
What is hard water? How do I know if I have it?
Any water sample containing more than 150 mg/liter of bicarbonates (HCO3) could be considered “hard”. Hard water is found all over the world in different regions. It is characterized by high levels of mineral salts and it can cause problems for hydroponic growers.
Hard water usually has a very high pH and a grower will find that it takes a large amount of pH down to lower the pH. The hydroponic grower will usually add phosphoric acid (H3PO4) to lower the pH. As it takes a significant amount of phosphoric acid to lower the pH, the levels of phosphates in the solution will skyrocket. Over time, the phosphate will accumulate and the high levels will affect the uptake of other nutrients, such as zinc for instance. Major nutrient imbalances will not be far off.
You may be able to tell if you have hard water just by looking around your home. It is harder to get soap to produce a lather in hard water. Hard water also often leaves a buildup of lime on your pots and pans. The surest way to tell is to get a water quality analysis from your local water company, or if you like you could take a sample to your local hydroponic shop who could send away for an analysis.
If my water is hard, what should I do about it?
You have two choices when dealing with hard water. The first is to use a nutrient specially formulated for hard water such as Ionic, a one-part nutrient solution available in both Grow and Bloom formulations. These formulas are more acidic and are also specially formulated to take account of the minerals, such as calcium, that are usually present in hard water. By reducing these elements in the nutrient solution it is possible to ensure that the final solution comes as close as possible to ideal levels of the major elements.
A second choice is to go with a reverse osmosis unit. RO systems filter the water before it enters your reservoir, removing about 98% of inorganic salts.
How often should I change my nutrient solution?
A good rule of thumb is to always top off your reservoir with fresh water without any nutrient added. You will lose some water through evaporation and plant uptake, but the strength of the solution doesn’t necessarily drop the with the level of the solution. Sometimes, as the reservoir water level drops the nutrient solution can actually become more concentrated. To avoid overdoing your nutrient, add only fresh water and then adjust your pH accordingly. The best way to know when its time to change your nutrient solution is to keep a record of how much water you’re putting in the reservoir to top it off. When the amount added equals half of the reservoir capacity, it’s time to change the solution and rinse the reservoir and growing medium. So, if you’ve got a 20 gallon reservoir and over the course of 12 days you’ve added 10 gallons — it’s time to change your solution.
How do I prevent/treat algae buildup?
The best way to handle algae is to prevent it from occurring. Algae needs light to grow, so keep your reservoir out of light. It should be shaded or covered with a lid. You should also take care to shade the input and output pipes and other ‘wet’ equipment.
If you already have an algae problem you should clean out your system thoroughly, using the method discussed below. When you refill your reservoir you may consider adding a product such as HydroShield to prevent further outbreaks in the future.
How do I clean my reservoir?
If you are cleaning your reservoir just to add fresh solution, you can follow the following steps:
- Remove all plant matter and debris that you can grab from the water.
- Drain reservoir.
- Wipe out as much residue as possible with a paper towel.
- Refill reservoir and add new nutrient solution.
How do float valves work?
Float valves work off of the same concept that your toilet works off of. When the water level of the reservoir drops, it causes the float valve to drop with it, thereby opening up the pathway for water to flow into the reservoir. When the reservoir is filled up again, the float valve rises back up with the water and closes off the pathway, thus restricting water from passing through.
A watering timer is suggested to prevent unwanted floods from occurring. When your hydroponic system is running full steam ahead, the last thing you want is the float valve to drop, allowing EXCESS water into the reservoir.
When your system turns off and drains, there would be chance of too much water in the reservoir and the system could flood. The use of a watering timer prevents that. It turns on once or twice a day, when the hydroponic system is off, and allows the float valve to fill the reservoirs.
If you would like to complete your lineup you should run the other products that Botanicare makes available for their Pure Blend line of nutrients. I would recommend rounding out your recipe to include Sweet, Silica Blast, and Clearex (you can click on the Product Name to follow the link to product page). Cal-Mag: If you are using Reverse Osmosis H2O like we here at GreenCoast recommend then Cal-Mag is essential otherwise your plants will experience these respective deficiencies due to the Reverse Osmosis process taking these minerals away. Keep in mind that municipal water supply is usually treated with Chlorine and Chloramine which will kill off most of the organics that are being made available by the Pure Blend lineup, another huge benefit in using Reverse Osmosis filtration in you growing environment.
1. Sweet: (I like the Berry Formula) Helps maintain a proper balance between Photosynthesis and Respiration and also contributes to more pronounced aromas and flavors.
2. Silica Blast: Helps build plants cell wall which in turn will produce a plant that is very heat, frost, drought and pest tolerant.
3. Clearex: A leaching solution that unbinds excessive nutrient/salt buildup in your medium thereby decreasing your chances of toxicity and lockout. Also used prior to harvest to flush out excess nutrients from plants.
On another note, I would also recommend pulling from other lineups to enhance your plants growth and produce a much finer finished product. A few more suggestions as follows……. For Root Growth Enhancement I advise you to use a product called Roots Excelurator (House & Garden) coupled with Piranha (Advanced Nutrients) . Hands down there is nothing on the market, at the moment, that will perform better than these two products combined. Remember the adage “The bigger the roots, the bigger the fruits!” –Jdawg. There are also some great finishing products that you might be interested in. Two weeks prior to harvest I replace my Base Nutrients, in your case Pure Blend Pro Bloom, with a product called Grand Finale (Sugar Peak). This will yellow off any fan/water leaves and as a result direct all available energy towards the fruit/flower where it is better used, thus resulting in an overall increase in quality and yield. In addition, you can also begin adding Final Bloom (Advanced Floriculture) in the last two weeks. This will cause a rapid increase in the last phase of the blooming process, otherwise known as the ‘final bloom’. All energy that is now being directed towards the fruit/flower by administering the Grand Finale will be effectively used by adding this product. Lastly, I would recommend foliar feeding your plants with Purple Maxx (Humbolt County’s Own) in the final two weeks by lightly dusting fan/water leaves ONLY. This will cause a massive increase in essential oil production. Oh yes, one more thing. If you are interested…….a great way to tell the overall health of a plant while it is in its growing cycle, to know when your plants are ready for harvest, and to test the overall quality of your finished product after harvest you can use a BRIX Meter (Milwaukee Instruments). If you should have any further questions please do not hesitate to e-mail or give me a call. I hope the information I have provided you helps in your growing. Have a great day Lacy and thanks for browsing our site.