How to Select Hydroponic Nutrients

Overview

Hydroponic gardening is a growing system that does not require the use of soil. Instead, the plants are provided essential nutrients through a nutrient solution reservoir. Choosing what kinds of nutrients to use in your hydroponic system can seem quite challenging. Without the correct balance of required nutrients, the plants could suffer irrevocably. The first step in selecting the right nutrients starts with knowing your plants' growing requirements.

Step 1

Write down all the plants you want to grow in your hydroponic system. Keeping a plant chart will help in identifying which growing properties are most important to you. Next to each plant's name, write down what you wish to achieve with this plant, such as bigger yields or larger quantities of blooms. Many commercial nutrient suppliers offer premixed solutions that achieve different growing results.

Step 2

Research each plant you want to grow to determine which vitamins and minerals are most important for maximum growth. Some plants, such as tomatoes, require lower levels of nitrogen than lettuces. You would not want to grow these two plants in the same hydroponic system since they have different nutrient requirements.

Step 3

Inspect the hydroponic gardening system and determine how much water it will hold. Different types of systems ---flood and drain versus drip, for instance---will have different nutrient solution requirements. Refer to the information that came with the hydroponic system and the nutrient solution to determine the best ratio for your specific gardening system.

Step 4

Purchase the nutrient solutions that are going to be beneficial to your specific plants. Refer to the chart you made earlier to determine which characteristics of the growing plants are most important for you to achieve. Nutrient solutions are available at gardening centers and hydroponic stores online.

Step 5

Use the hydroponic garden's included pH test kit regularly to make sure the nutrients you add to the solution are not affecting the pH too badly. Different nutrients and ratios of these nutrients can raise or lower the water's pH, which could cause a harmful growing environment for the roots of the plants.

References

  • Best Hydroponics Site: Hydroponic Nutrients and Feeding Guidelines
  • Hydroponics Nutrient: Hydroponics Nutrients Essentials
Keywords: hydroponic nutrients, selecting hydroponic nutrients, hydroponic system nutrients

About this Author

Rachel Turner has been writing professionally since 2000, focusing on garden-related topics. Her articles have appeared online at SlowTravel and in publications such as the "Arkansas Gardeners," "One Step Ahead" and "Writers Now." Turner holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Arkansas State University.

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