Hydroponics gardening is becoming more and more popular with those who want to have a garden in their patio where they could spend their leisure hours relaxing while they are growing some great plants. A lot of people want to produce their own vegetables in the convenience of their own backyard or in a secure room designed for hydroponic gardening. However, it is not that easy to start and maintain a productive hydroponics garden. You need to know which plants to grow, which hydroponic nutrient to use for each plant, and use the right water-nutrient solution. This requires that you become knowledgeable regarding the proper mixture of water and the right nutrients.
What Hydroponic Plants Really Need
Most hydroponically-grown plants are much healthier and taste so much better than other plants because they get just the right amount of the nutrition. This is why you need to make sure that you are giving your plants the right hydroponic nutrient and are using the right solution. A well-prepared water-nutrient solution is the key to the sustainable growth of your plants. It is extremely important that you implement the proper kinds and amounts of nutrients.
Basically, plants need around 16 mineral nutrients for their optimal growth; but not all of these are equally important. There are only three major minerals that plants need in large amounts and these are Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P), and Potassium (K). These can be usually seen in hyphenated numbers like “15-30-15” in commercial fertilizers, and these correspond to the relative percentage by weight present in large concentrations.
Important Things to Keep in Mind
The right water-nutrient solution will vary depending on the different stages of the growing period. The growth and grow solutions are formulated during the period when the plants are still growing. This is the stage before the plants have begun the late-stage fruit, vegetation or flower development. On the other hand, the bloom or flower nutrient solution is used during the later stages of the plant growth when it begins to produce vegetation or flowers.
There are two mixes of hydroponic nutrient that you can use depending on the growing condition of your plants:
- A weak nutrient solution is used when the plants are in poor growing conditions such as low light, high heat or even low heat. This weak solution keeps the plants from growing too quickly for the said conditions. It is also ideal when you have transplanted or cloned plants.
- A regular nutrient solution is used when the plants have the ideal growing environmental conditions. You can switch from these two solutions gradually to prevent the burning of roots and to obtain optimum growth of your plants in your hydroponics system.
You will find various hydroponic nutrient solutions sold by online retailers and special garden centers in a concentrated form. The nutrient formulations are usually given in parts per million (ppm) concentration of each of the essential elements in the solution.
One ppm is equivalent to one part of one item in one million parts of another. For instance, a 250 ppm of calcium in a solution can be 250 microgram per gram. Typically, the concentration of the nutrients solution and water ranges from 150 to 600 ppm. Fruits and vegetables are usually grown in a hydroponics system that will require around 300 to 400 ppm range of solution.
Initially, you may think that the preparation of the hydroponic nutrient can be a complicated process. You should not worry about this because several growing industry companies have engaged in the production of various nutrient solutions. A lot more companies can provide you with everything that you may need, especially if you prefer to set up your own DIY hydroponics system. You can find hydroponics kits that include some seeds and instructions on the applicable water-nutrient solution.