Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without soil. Hydroponics is often used in areas where the earth is depleted, contains hazardous substances that can harm crops or people. The method is efficient and effective, but only on condition of regular introduction of nutrients. To do this, use a nutrient solution for hydroponics, which is a diluted fertilizer in a certain concentration.
What is hydroponic solution?
When growing crops in the ground, they take components useful for development from the ground. If plants are cultivated without soil, as in the case of hydroponics, they can receive nutrients exclusively through specially prepared solutions.
Solution for hydroponics is a special liquid enriched with mineral salts, which is used for watering plants. For each particular type of crop, one or another type of solution is prepared, but there are also universal types that are suitable for different cultures. The main task of the solution is to provide the plants with the necessary elements. Liquid fertilizers are used in hydroponics throughout the entire development of plants, from the creation of seedlings to the collection of the last harvest.
Hydroponics on the windowsill
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Fertilizers that are used to create nutrient solutions for hydroponics, there are two types.
- Organic fertilizers are prepared by decomposing plant and animal substances. The solution that is taught due to dilution does not act as quickly as the mineral one, but its action lasts longer. In addition, such solutions cause minimal damage to the plant roots.
- Mineral fertilizers are used in hydroponics more often. They are either purchased in stores, or prepared with their own hands, by mixing minerals in the right proportions. For those who are only acquainted with the cultivation of plants by the method of hydroponics, this is an ideal option. Minerals are quickly absorbed by plants, but, unfortunately, the duration of action is minimal.
Control solution for hydroponics
Preparation of nutrient solution for hydroponics - a responsible matter. It is very important not only to choose the right fertilizer, but also to strictly observe the concentration and control some other points. If you exceed the concentration of fertilizer in the water, the plants will begin to wither and die. So there is a constant monitoring of all solutions used for plants, according to several parameters.
- The concentration of the nutrient solution. In hydroponic fertilizers there is a mass of minerals necessary for plants. But so that they do not harm the roots, they are diluted with water to a certain concentration. To measure the nutritional value of the solution using the EU-meter. For each stage of plant growth are valid values. If the solution is too concentrated, it is diluted and vice versa, if it is weak, fertilizers are added.
- The pH level is checked by special devices testers. The solution is checked for acidity, and then, if necessary, the pH is raised or lowered. The normal pH level is 5.5-6.5, but in the case of individual cultures it may vary. If the acidity is broken, the plants will not be able to fully absorb the elements from the water, and will begin to die.
- The temperature of the working solution should be within + 18 ... +24 ° С. When the temperature rises, the oxygen level in the water decreases, and the plants consume more feedings. And if the temperature drops, the oxygen becomes more, and the plants need fewer elements.
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Ready-made fertilizers for hydroponics contain many nutrients. There are different types of such dressings, they differ in brand, purpose. There are fertilizers for rapid growth, yield, active flowering, and so on, you only need to buy one that is suitable in a particular case, and use according to the instructions. The concentration of the drug for certain cultures is indicated on the label.
Ready Nutrient Solutions
Purchased fertilizers are organic and mineral. They are marketed in solid forms (candles, capsules) and in liquid form. By type of composition are divided into complex and one-component.
Among the different types of fertilizers on the market, it is worth highlighting the three best types used in hydroponics.
- Greenwoeld Spezialdunger Hydrokultur - German development for the growth of green plants. It prevents yellowing of leaves, makes the harvest juicy, tasty. Ingredients: 6% potassium; and 4.5% of nitrogen and phosphorus. Some other minerals are also available.
- Guanokalong Extract 1 lt - universal organic fertilizer, which is made from bat excrement. This tool nourishes the crop, improves the taste of the crop. The preparation contains some of the most important minerals.
- Floraduo bloom - French fertilizer for any crops that are developing rapidly. Used during fruiting and flowering. Components: 5% phosphorus oxide, 3.5% potassium peroxide, 3% magnesium and 1% nitrogen and other minerals.
Making a solution for hydroponics with your own hands
Nutrient solution for hydroponics is not difficult to do with your own hands. To do this, in specialized stores you need to purchase dry minerals, fertilizers, which will be mixed with water to obtain top dressing.Important! Dry fertilizers, minerals are stored in glass containers, in dry rooms. So they are stored longer. But in the case of iron salts, the container is taken exclusively from dark glass!
Preparing a nutrient solution for seedlings with your own hands
Preparation of the solution begins with a search for a recipe and all components. In different cases, components and proportions may vary. It all depends on which cultures are used for the composition and what effect should be achieved. If you take a universal option for normal development, which is suitable for all types of plants, then you need to take per liter of water:
- 2% potassium;
- 1% nitrogen;
- 0.5% phosphorus;
- 0.3% magnesium.
This solution provides the culture with good nutrition, strengthens, allows you to grow quickly.
Another well-known composition, called Knop solution:
- 1 l of water;
- 1 g of calcium nitrate;
- 0.25 g of magnesium sulfate and potassium phosphate;
- 0.125 g of potassium salt;
- 0,0125 g of ferric chloride.
All components are mixed separately with a small amount of water. And only after they dissolve, can they be connected one by one in a common container with water.
There is also a good recipe for Ellis:
- 10 g of calcium nitrate;
- 5 g of magnesium sulfate;
- 3 g of potassium sulfate;
- 1 g of ammonium sulfate;
- 0.5 g of iron citrate;
- 0.02 g of manganese sulfate and sodium tetraborate;
- to 0.01 g of copper sulfate and zinc sulfate.
A fertilizer according to Herrick, known for its efficiency, is made by mixing:
- 5.5 g of potassium nitrate;
- 1.4 g of magnesium sulfate and monocalcium phosphate;
- 1 g of calcium nitrate;
- 0.2 g of ferrous sulfate;
- 0.02 g of sodium tetraborate and manganese sulfate;
- on 0,01 g of zinc sulfate and copper sulfate.
Do not forget that the proportions must be observed with maximum precision! If you take more minerals, there will be burns on the roots, and the plants may die. All components are added after they measure the right amount on the scales, not by eye!
Strawberry Nutrient Solution
Recommended fertilizer concentration per 1l of water for strawberries
Strawberries without land can grow very well, but only if you provide enough nutritive watering. In the case when the strawberry grows in the substrate (coconut fiber, peat), it is watered by the drip method. Due to this, the fluid gets directly to the roots. When creating a solution for hydroponics per liter of water is taken:
- 1 g of calcium nitrate;
- 0.25 g of potassium sulfate;
- 0.25 g of magnesium sulfate;
- 0.25 g of potassium phosphate;
- 0.025 g of ferrous sulfate;
- 0.035 g of ascorbic acid.
All of the above components are mixed with water and then used in drip irrigation.
It is recommended to take universal fertilizers from purchased products. Bred them according to the instructions, strictly observing the dosage.
Cucumber Nutrient Solution
A good crop of cucumbers without useful dressings is difficult to obtain. In order for this culture to bear fruit in hydroponics, it is necessary to regularly enrich water with useful elements. Depending on the result you need to achieve, you can make various solutions for cucumbers, but there is also a universal option that nourishes and improves the fertility of crops.
55 g of superphosphate, 29 g of ammonium nitrate, 29 g of potassium salt, 2 g of iron sulphate are taken per liter of water. After adding all the components, the solution is well mixed so that all the components are dissolved. This concentration is suitable for the growing culture, but if cucumbers have already begun to appear, then the rate of all substances should be increased exactly 2 times.
Nutrient solution for tomatoes
DIY hydroponic systems
When feeding tomatoes used the same components, in the same concentration as for cucumbers. From commercial fertilizers, you can take a universal option, as for strawberries and apply according to the instructions.Interesting! Perlite is often used in hydroponics. It is a silicate material of volcanic origin, which can be found on sale in the form of granules. If you grow tomatoes in it, then they will need far less nutrient supplements than when placed on peat tablets or other similar substrates.
The acidity of water permissible for hydroponic tomatoes should be about 6.3. If it is higher, add a pH-down, used for hydroponic solutions, and if lower, add a pH-up.Interesting! PH-down and pH-up are special dry mixes that reduce or increase the acidity of the solution for hydroponics respectively. They can be bought at flower shops or online.
Green crops in hydroponics grow no worse than strawberries. As fertilizers use the compositions, mixed with their own hands or purchased. In the second case, it is recommended to take a simple, universal fertilizer and use according to the instructions.
In order for greens, such as onions, parsley, basil, mustard, sorrel, lettuce or dill, to develop normally, it is necessary that the acidity of the solution from which they feed should be in the range of 2.8-4.0.
How often to add nutrient solution for hydroponics
When growing crops using hydroponics, the concentration of nutrients is constantly monitored. In the literature, it is referred to as "EC" - electrical conductivity. For different plants, EU norms can vary greatly. Below is a table of optimal values for the seasons.
|Culture||EU summer||EU in winter|
|Greens, lettuce, legumes||1,5-1,8||0,7-1,5|
|Solanaceae (tomatoes, eggplants)||2,5-3,6||3,6-5,0|
The EU indicator is monitored daily. As soon as it starts to approach the lower mark, they pour fresh hydroponic solution. If the EU indicator is exceeded, water is added to reduce the concentration.