Growing hydroponically requires some special materials that aren’t readily available from your local gardening centre, but making them yourself can save you quite a bit of money and will ensure that your plant’s growth and health aren’t impacted by the ingredients of the fertilizer. This is how it becomes easy to make Hydroponic Nutrients.
Making hydroponic nutrients is easy and doesn’t require any complicated equipment, so get ready to learn how to make hydroponic nutrients today!
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Making your own Hydroponic Nutrients is simple
Get a spray bottle, fill it with water and add your nutrients. Then spray your plants every other day—but no more often than that or you can risk damaging them. You’ll probably have to experiment a bit at first before you figure out what schedule is best for your plants.
But don’t worry too much about overdoing it—unless you use something really strong like Miracle-Gro on crops grown indoors, fertilizer almost never hurts plants, but under-fertilizing does.
Too little food means smaller yields or worse, nutrient deficiencies that hurt growth or make crops vulnerable to pests and disease. If a plant gets too little nitrogen in its diet, for example, its leaves will get pale and yellowish…and then they fall off.
The plant starves from lack of food because it has nothing left to live on! When you fertilize a crop, either directly through a dose of fertilizer or indirectly by boosting nitrogen levels in soil via compost tea, fish emulsion or seaweed extract, think of it as feeding yourself…in a way.
Your goal is not only health and growth but also flavour.
Which Supplies Do I Need?
All you need are a few simple supplies to make your own hydroponic nutrients.
- You will want a 3-gallon bucket
- 1/2 cup bleach, 6 gallons of water
- 2 cups of Epsom salt
- 2 cups of table salt
- 1/2 teaspoon aloe vera gel
- 1 cup of betta fish flakes.
How to Make Hydroponic Nutrients
Fill up your bucket with 6 gallons of distilled water then add in two cups each of Epsom salt and table salt. The non-iodized salts are important because they won’t taint your final product with iodine residue.
Add in 1/2 teaspoon of aloe vera gel for its antifungal properties, which help keep contamination down to a minimum. Finally, mix in one cup of betta fish flakes at room temperature or warmer.
Betta fish contains more than 50 per cent protein, which is ideal for encouraging growth. Allow 48 hours before using so that all ingredients can dissolve properly. Once they have dissolved completely you’re ready to use them in your system!
What Is the Process to make Hydroponic Nutrients?
A common misconception in hydroponics is that it’s an exact science. The truth is, many experienced growers will tell you they don’t follow any sort of strict formula when making nutrients.
Some will even say they make their nutrient solution for each crop separately, tailoring it specifically for what they are growing. While there are certainly some people who take hydroponics very seriously and follow a few hard-and-fast rules, there are also plenty of others who won’t think twice about winging it. Most likely, you’ll be somewhere in between.
If so, here are some basic guidelines to keep your plant happy.
- The thing with hydroponics is that light has an enormous effect on both growth patterns and flowering patterns.
- Think about indoor vs outdoor cannabis plants, each cannabis plant indoors has its own light cycles whereas outdoor plants have much more constant ones. Inside, sometimes you see your plants want to flower while outside other times they want to grow leaves instead—it all depends on available hours of sun/light, which aren’t always consistent within indoor spaces either.
- It works out well when you think about it since inside lighting can be adjusted via timers, but nonetheless, these indoor varieties still feel at least somewhat fickle when in comparison to outdoor strains.
- So taking into account how light can affect things
Let’s look at how we make our nutrients
Let’s Talk About
- NPK: Nitrogen (N)
- Phosphorus (P)
- Potassium (K)
These elements are almost always mentioned together in conversation about nutrients, but why?
- These elements carry different weights (aka charge) in relation to one another.
- Nitrogen carries a positive charge
- Phosphorus carries two negative charges
- Potassium carries two positive charges.
That means nitrogen ions pack quite a lot of energy when compared with phosphorus or potassium ions. This makes them critical components in plant foods.
What Do Hydroponic Nutrients Do?
This gets pretty technical quickly, but long story short, nitrogen plays a key role in protein synthesis while potassium helps create enzymes that help build sugars and starches.
Together they play important roles in photosynthesis, respiration and chlorophyll production as well as cell division and maturation.
Phosphorus, on the other hand, enables vitamins to react with proteins. It also activates genes that are involved in metabolism and gene expression.
How Much Should I Use?
When using liquid nutrients it is recommended to stick within three numbers of each other per gallon of water depending on what type of plant food you use.
For example, you could put 2.5 ml of Grow Big per gallon of water, 6 ml of B.C. Boost per gallon, 9 ml of Big Bloom per gallon or 12ml of Koolbloom per gallon.
Using too little in relation to how much is required by your plants can lead to deficiencies while using too much may cause salt buildup in addition to possibly harming some plants’ root systems with heavy doses of nutrients that are meant for hydroponics, not soil.
Always consult your hydroponics store to find out how much you should be feeding your plants. Based on what they’re growing. Then always stay within 3 numbers of that amount per gallon of water.
The Right Kind of Water
Distilled and Reverse Osmosis (RO) filtered is best for nutrients, but tap can work fine too. All you really need is clean, pure water without chlorine. Because it will kill off beneficial bacteria along with other helpful compounds in your plant’s roots.
We’d also recommend against using well water if at all possible. Because it can contain bacteria and other substances that will harm your plants.
Lastly, though it’s a good idea to provide your plants with nutrients in your watering system. We recommend keeping them out of direct contact with nutrients once they reach their destination in your plant’s roots.