How to Make Hydroponic Fluid

Overview

A critical component of a successful hydroponic garden is the nutrient solution. Most beginning hydroponic growers will rely on premixed solutions, but it is not difficult to make homemade hydroponic fluid as long as a grower has access to the necessary chemicals. Hydroponic solutions may be tailored to specific plants, but general recipes also exist for growing plants in low light and high light intensity conditions. The formula provided is suitable for fast-growing plants with high-intensity light requirements, such as vegetables.

Step 1

Put 10 gallons of water into the large mixing container. Add 2 level teaspoons of ammonium phosphate, 4 level teaspoons of potassium nitrate, 4.5 level teaspoons calcium nitrate and 4 level teaspoons of magnesium sulfate. Stir well to incorporate all nutrients, creating Solution 1.

Step 2

Mix 1.25 level teaspoons of boric acid and 1/10 teaspoon manganese chloride into 1 quart of water, using a separate small container. Take out 1/2 cup of this solution, and add it to Solution 1.

Step 3

Measure 1/2 level teaspoon chelated iron, and pour it into 1 quart of water in a small mixing container. Add 1.6 cups of this solution to Solution 1.

Step 4

Check the pH level of Solution 1. If it is between 5.5 and 6.5, then no further additions to the solution are needed. If the pH is greater than 7, add a few drops of white vinegar. Stir, and check the pH again. If the pH is lower than 5, add a small amount of baking powder, mix and recheck the pH. As long as the pH is outside the desired range, continue adding the substance needed, mixing and checking the solution.

Step 5

Pour the prepared solution into the hydroponic system. This batch of hydroponic fluid may be reused for up to 14 days when applied three times a day.

Things You'll Need

  • Large mixing container (10 gallon plus)
  • Teaspoon measure
  • Cup measure
  • Ammonium phosphate
  • Potassium nitrate
  • Calcium nitrate
  • Magnesium sulfate
  • Stirring stick
  • 1½-quart mixing container
  • Boric acid
  • Manganese chloride
  • Chelated iron
  • pH meter
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda

References

  • Alabama Cooperative Extension: Hydroponics for Home Gardeners
  • University of Florida Extension: Building a Floating Hydroponic Garden
Keywords: hydroponic fluid, hydroponic solution, homemade hydroponic fluid

About this Author

Ann Wolters, who has been a freelance writer, consultant, and writing coach for the past year and a half, has had her writing published in "The Saint Paul Almanac," and in magazines such as "Inventing Tomorrow" and "Frontiers." She earned a master’s degree in English as a second language from the University of Minnesota and taught English as a foreign language for nearly seven years.