AuthorTopic: Making your own liquid Nutirents.  (Read 24868 times)

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Making your own liquid Nutirents.
« on: December 07, 2012, 07:12:16 PM »
I will add all the information I find on making your own liquid nutrients here.

The attached pdf suggests it is very straight forward.

Mixing 10:1 water and seaweed and adding just a bit of human urine for extra nitrogen and letting it steep for 3 to 5 days at room temperature would likely be the easiest for me. Not mentioned here is Fish Fertilizer which is very highly rated. I'll add what I find about it.

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Re: Making your own liquid Nutirents.
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2012, 07:20:33 PM »
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There is no doubt human urine can be a valuable fertilizer for garden plants. The average adult produces about 1 1/2 quarts of urine per day. Diluted 1:20 with water, this would make about 7 gallons of high-nitrogen liquid fertilizer, so a family of four could produce enough high-nitrogen fertilizer for an average garden and lawn. As Brinton suggests, when we think of N-P-K, we should also think N-Pee-OK!

Maybe it’s all the diapers I’ve changed, but I don’t like minding pails of pee. In winter at my house, we have a bucket of sawdust stationed on the deck to help us capture this valuable resource, and we keep a designated bale of hay out in the garden for urine deposits. If you do the same, you can use the urine-enriched sawdust and the hay from “pee bales” as nutrient-rich mulches in your garden.

Whatever materials and methods you choose, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the simplicity of making your own no-cost liquid fertilizers.

Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/liquid-fertilizers-zm0z11zhun.aspx?page=4#ixzz2EQWhdABG

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Re: Making your own liquid Nutirents.
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2012, 07:26:35 PM »
PDF attached

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Re: Making your own liquid Nutirents.
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2012, 07:30:33 PM »
http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Fermented-Plant-Juice-%28Organic-Fertilizer%29

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Re: Making your own liquid Nutirents.
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2012, 07:40:27 PM »
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/dEJiHHdjGeI?feature=player_detailpage" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/dEJiHHdjGeI?feature=player_detailpage</a>

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Re: Making your own liquid Nutirents.
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2012, 07:47:58 PM »
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The benefits of homemade fish emulsion are many.  For one, it is cheaper to make in large quantities.  There are nutrients in homemade varieties which are not available in commercially-produced products.

http://www.shenandoahrosesociety.org/id13.html

Making Your Own Fish Emulsion

By Charles Shaner

Master Rosarian, Shenandoah Rose Society

 

 

            It doesn’t take a PhD in soil conservation to realize the benefits of fish as a soil conditioner and fertilizer.  If you remember your elementary school history, the Indians taught the settlers in Jamestown to catch fish and bury them in the ground to use as fertilizer.  I once went to a feed store and ask for a bag of fish meal.  The man wanted to know what I was going to use it for and I replied, “I am going to feed my roses”.  He got to laughing and said, “that is the way the Indians did it”.

 

            Fish emulsion is mainly used for its quick high organic nitrogen and available soluble P and K benefits as a foliar feed.  Fish emulsion is also used as a drench for root feeding.  Most fish emulsions have N-P-K value of 4-1-1 with some having an N value of 5 or 6.  Fish meal is mainly a great soil conditioner and great bacterial food to help feed the soil microorganisms.  Most commercially-made fish emulsions come from trash products of the menhaden fish.  This group of fish includes herring, sardine, and anchovy fishes.  Commercially-produced fish emulsion also contains 5% sulfuric acid in order to preserve the fertilizer on the shelf, but also it supplies needed sulfur to the plant and soil.  Most commercially-produced fish products do not contain fish oil which supplies beneficial soil fungi, or fish bone which provides needed calcium.

 

            The benefits of homemade fish emulsion are many.  For one, it is cheaper to make in large quantities.  There are nutrients in homemade varieties which are not available in commercially-produced products.  Commercially-produced emulsions are made from trash fish which have less protein, less bone and less oil than fresh fish or canned fish in a home brew.  Aerobic bacteria and fungi are essential to hot composting, disease control, and soil health.  In commercial fish emulsions there are little to no aerobic bacteria in the containers.  If the bottled product had living organisms, the container would expand and blow apart on the shelf.  The homemade versions will always contain more bacterial microorganisms than the commercially-produced products.

 

                Making your own is easy and requires a few items you can pick up at the local store or around the garden.  The items you will need are:

 

            A closable, 5-gallon bucket

            Fresh fish

            Extra browns like sawdust, leaves or straw

            Molasses (Note:  use unsulfured molasses or dry molasses for faster microbial growth)

            Water

            Epsom salts

 

If you are using fresh fish, you need to compost it separately in a 5-gallon closeable bucket.  Fill bucket 1/2 full with extra browns like sawdust, leaves, or straw. You can add molasses to the fishy mixture in order to build up microbes to speed up decomposition.  A couple tablespoons of Epsom salts will add needed magnesium and sulfur.  The sugars will also help control odors.  Open the bucket and stir the fishy paste daily or every other day in order to get air in the mix for better decomposition and better aerobic microbial growth in the emulsion.  Let this paste rot for at least 1-2 weeks.  The browns help control offensive odors and absorb organic nitrogen from the fish so that it is not leached out or evaporated.

            After the paste has rotted, it can be added to compost piles or to your special compost tea recipes.   Molasses or brown sugar can be added to increase the microbial growth.  The sugars are also an excellent natural deodorizer.

 

            You may want to make a simple tea or an aerobic tea.  For a simple tea, let your mixture brew for one week stirring every day.  For an aerobically-brewed tea, you will use an air pump with your mixture brewing for 3 days or until it has a yeasty smell or has a foam layer on top of the tea.  Five gallons of this brew will make 25 gallons of tea mixed with water.  If you want to use the tea as a spray, you may add liquid molasses, fish oil or yucca extract to act as a spreader sticker

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Re: Making your own liquid Nutirents.
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2012, 07:51:57 PM »
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http://faq.gardenweb.com/faq/lists/organic/2002080041031662.html

How do you make homemade Fish/Seaweed Emulsion?

    WHY FISH AND SEAWEED PRODUCTS?

    As you may know fish emulsion, fish meal, seaweed/kelp meal, and liquid seaweed/kelp are some of the most powerful natural fertilizers and soil amendments in the world.

    NOTE: For those organic gardeners who prefer vegetarian soil amendments, you can skip the fishy ingredients, it's not necessary. There is plenty of NPK in alfalfa meal and other grains that you can use.

    Most commercial fish emulsions are rated NPK = 5-1-1.
    Most commercial liquid seaweed sprays are rated NPK = 0-0-1.

    Even though these NPK ratings to a novice may seem low, there are lots of important trace elements, growth hormones, disease control, and organic matter in these products.

    Fish Emulsion is mainly used for its quick high organic nitrogen and available soluble P and K benefits as a foliar feed. Fish Meal is mainly a great soil conditioner and great bacterial food to help feed the soil microherd. Even though there may be 4-5% organic N, 1% soluble P, and 1% soluble K in fish emulsion, there may be up to 6-8% total N, and 2-3% total insoluble P or K in it, that gets broken down later by the soil microherd. Most commercial fish products are made from the trash products of the menhaden fish. This fish is a relative of the herring, sardine, and anchovy fishes. Most commercial fish emulsions contain up to 5% sulfuric acid in order to preserve the fertilizer on the shelf, but also it supplies needed sulfur to the plant and soil. Most economical fish products do not contain any fish oils in it, which supply extra beneficial soil fungi. Most also do not contain much fish bones which supply extra calcium.

    Seaweed/Kelp has a low NPK = 0-0-1. However, just like the fish products and all other natural fertilizers, there are more insoluble NPK nutrients and other trace elements in the product than meets the eyes. There may be up to 1-3% total N, 1-2% total insoluble P, 3-5% total insoluble K in seaweed products. The real benefit of seaweed is not in its NPK amounts. Seaweed/kelp can contain 60 trace elements, many growth hormones, and disease control properties in it! Basically every nutrient that any surface plant can ever need! If seaweed products are mixed with high N products like fish, you have an excellent complete natural fertilizer and soil amendment that will supply every NPK and trace element need of the soil and plant. Seaweed and other algae plants are some of the most powerful plants on earth, or should I say in the ocean. Seaweed is also an excellent food source for beneficial fungi in the soil.

    WHY MAKE IT HOMEMADE INSTEAD OF BUYING IT COMMERCIALLY?

    A. It's cheaper to make most natural fertilizers and soil amendments in large quantities.

    B. There are some nutrients that you get from homemade versions that are not in most commercial brands. For example, commercial fish emulsion since it is processed from trash fish, will have less fish oil, fish bones, and proteins than fresh fish parts or canned fish in a homemade brew.

    C. Aerobic bacteria and fungi are essential to hot composting, disease control, and soil health. In commercial fish emulusions there no little to no aerobic bacteria in the containers. If there were any growing and living in the containers, the bottles would explode on the shelves! Homemade brews always will contain more beneficial microherd than most commercial brands.

    HOW DO I MAKE A HOMEMADE BATCH OF FISH/SEAWEED EMULSION:

    You can use the following suggestions to the other suggestions in the Organic Gardening forum FAQ's on Compost Tea recipes when you brew these fish/seaweed foliar sprays or soil drenches.

    You can use fresh fish parts or any cheap canned fish. The juices, sauces, or oils in the can can be used to breed beneficial microbes and supply extra proteins in the tea, so use it.

    (NOTE: If you use canned fish products, you may want to let it decompose mixed with some finished compost, good garden soil, etc. in a separate closeable container for a few days before using. Since most canned meat products contain preservatives, this will guarantee that the good microbes in the tea will not be killed off or harmed in brew making.)

    You can use any fresh or dried seaweed. Fresh seaweed has more N in it, but that really isn't important for seaweed teas. You can buy fresh or dried seaweed at most oriental grocery stores. Seaweed decomposes better if chopped up or liquified first in water before brewing.

    If you are using fresh fish, you need to compost it separately in a 5 gallon closeable bucket. Fill bucket 1/2 full with extra browns like sawdust, leaves, or straw. You can add molasses to the fishy mixture in order to build up microbes in order to speed up decomposition. The sugars will also help control odors too. Open the bucket and stir the fishy paste daily or every other day in order to get air in the mix for better decomposition and better aerobic microbial growth in the emulsion. Let this paste rot for at least 1-2 weeks. The browns help control offensive odors and absorb organic nitrogen from the fish so that it is not leached out or evaporated.

    Since commercial fish emulsions contain sulfur in the form of sulfuric acid, if you like you could add 1-2 tblsp of Epsom salt to the mix for extra magnesium and sulfur. Or to mimic the acidity of sulfuric acid and add extra trace elements you could add 1-2 tblsp of apple cider vinegar to the mix. NOTE: Recent studies have shown that unsulfured molasses or dry molasses powder is best for faster microbial growth in tea brewing.

    You can now safely take the decomposed fish paste from the 5 gallon bucket and add it to your regular hot composting piles or add it to your special compost tea recipes. The more vegetable or fruity organic matter that you add to fishy compost the better you remove the offensive smells and the more trace elements you add to your compost and teas. This of course is optional.

    You can add molasses or brown sugar to your teas also. Sugars are high carbon substances that not only can cause speedy microbial growth, but also sugars are an excellent natural deodorizer.

    At this point you may want to decide whether you want to make a simple tea or an aerobic aerated tea for your needs.

    When you make fishy tea, you need to add the seaweed at brewing time. Let it brew for at least 1 week, stirring every few days. If you decide to brew it aerobically with an air pump, try up to 3 days, or until the brew has a "yeasty" smell, or has a foamy top layer on the tea.

    You can apply this fish/seaweed emulsion at a dilution rate from 1:1 to 1:5 ratio (5 gallons of tea to 25 gallons of water).

    If you like, you can add a few drops of mild liquid soap per gallon as a wetting agent to get better coverage as a foliar feed at application time. (NOTE: If you are concerrned that using soaps may harm the beneficial microbes in your teas, you may want to just use liquid molasses, dry molasses powder, fish oil, or yucca extract as a spreader-sticker.)

    You can use this tea as a foliar feed or as a soil drench or both. Soil drenches are best for building up the soil microbial activities and supplying lots of beneficial soluble NPK to the plant's root system and the topsoil texture. Foliar feeds are best for quick fixes of trace elements and small portions of other soluble nutrients into the plant through its leaves. Foliar feeds are also good for plant disease control. Foliar feeds work best when used with soil drenches or with lots of organic mulches around plants. You can poke holes in the soil around crop roots with your spade fork, to get more oxygen in the soil to further increase organic matter decomposition and increase microbial activity in the soil.

    Remember all your homemade fertilizers and soil amendments can be as diverse and unique as you are. So have fun and keep composting!

    Happy Gardening!

    Entered by CaptainCompostAL

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Re: Making your own liquid Nutirents.
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2012, 08:10:55 PM »
Compost tea as a hydroponic nutrient
      
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Posted by greystoke Mediterranean (My Page) on
Sat, Aug 4, 07 at 5:42

I don't know if "traditional" compost tea can be used in hydroponics. The tea boosts a variety of micro organisms which are beneficial to soil-based cultures, but there are numerous warnings that it can also introduce disease this way.

I'm not interested in micro organisms and I also doubt whether they are of direct benefit to the plant. I think the tea contains organic substances which stimulate growth and immune responses in the plant.

However, I can't find an authoritive article on the subject. Every one sings the tea's praises, but . . . what exactly for?

Does anyone have an opinion on this ?

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    Posted by willard3 (My Page) on
    Sat, Aug 4, 07 at 11:33

I have a worm farm and, as a result, plenty of compost tea.

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Tea used untreated in hydro will get you lots of biota that will plug up your liquid passages (pumps, pipes, etc.)

There will also be pathogens in the tea that you don't want.

I have sterilized tea with hydrogen peroxide and my notes indicate no change in the chile plants or fruit over time.

I put the tea on the dirt garden with great effect and the worm juice last tested at 3-1-1 NPK ratio.

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    Posted by greystoke Mediterranean (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 5, 07 at 2:02

That's very useful information. Wont the peroxide affect the beneficial organics in solution? What is the concentration?

A surprising high N-content!

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    Posted by tclynx 9 (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 5, 07 at 16:36

The nutrients in worm tea as in compost tea are going to vary depending on the feed/bedding for the worms or the input into the compost.

The peroxide probably would kill the beneficials as well as pathogens.

The reasons for singing the wonders of compost, worm castins and teas brewed with those substances is that the beneficials in them improve the soil and healthy soil naturally grows better plants. Just because these substances are wonderful for organic gardening, does not mean they are much help in hydroponics which so far has not figured out quite how to be organic.

There are a few interesting ideas floating around out there for organic materials being made into hydroponic nutrients but so far I'm guessing it might be easier to use those materials for regular organic gardening.

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    Posted by greystoke Mediterranean (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 6, 07 at 2:30

I am repeating this post here, as I accidentally posted it in the wrong thread.

I’m beginning to realize that some of the benefits of compost/worm tea may well be lost on hydroponics, in which case it may be better to stick to soil-based cultures.
On the other hand, there are plenty of reports showing the response to foliar sprays. This means that the tea contains organic compounds that are readily absorbable by the plants. Compounds that are absent in base-chemical nutrient solutions.
This makes me believe that there is still merit in pursuing this.
In any case, I realized that it would have to be a two-step system.
1. A bin producing compost.
2. A system to leach-out the beneficial compounds, and sterilizer (A UV-steriliser?)
African Sunset

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    Posted by gerrymouz (My Page) on
    Sat, Aug 18, 07 at 12:38

Hello all, I am trying to set up a hydroponics system for some high school students and I was thinking of using compost tea. I'd appreciate any ideas, suggestions.

For the hydroponics system, I was thinking of a raft type: plants in styrofoam blocks floating on the growing liquid (with aeration).

For the growing liquid I am thinking of using:

1. Real hydroponics solution as a control for the experiment.

2. Diluted compost tea made from general purpose compost.

3. Diluted compost tea made from partially compost garden waste with and without kelp meal. Basically, allow the garden waste (grass & weeds with/without kelp meal) to compost for 1-2 weeks then make the compost tea.

I am thinking of making the compost tea by simply mixing the compost with dechlorinated water. I am might particular worried or care about the micro-organisms in the compost tea, I just want to extract the water soluble plant nutrients.

Anyone think this will work? After since compost has all the nutrients for plants, wouldn't an extract of it work as hydroponics liquid?

Gerry

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    Posted by greystoke Mediterranean (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 19, 07 at 2:53

Hi Gerry,

That raft system is a good idea. Do you have an EC-meter? Because you would need to dilute your "tea" to the same strength as the control nutrient, and preferably also the same pH.
I am going to undertake something very similar, but – until now – I’ve been given to consider so many potential problems, that I’m pretty confused.
For instance:
The organic matter needs to be properly digested to make the soluble nutrients available. But how much will there be? Also, you can expect it to be somewhat deficient in phosphate and magnesium, so you need to "spike" the compost heap with bone meal and dolomite. But how much? And then, if the compost has been kept too wet (heavy rains) it will have lost all of its potassium. Potassium is very volatile.
Finally, there’s the problem of pathogens from garden waste (dog pooh, etc)

Originally, I was going to intermittently spray the compost heap with water from the collecting drip tray in a re-circulating system. Then I thought of making a two-step system which makes properly digested compost first, and then leach it to make the tea.

Now, I’m back on my original plan, because I saw a system in operation whereby kitchen and garden waste is thrown into a pond which connects to a fish rearing pond (tilapia) A small pump keeps the water circulating from waste pond to fish pond and back.
The waste nutrients feed micro-organisms, which feeds small organisms such as daphnia, which feed the fish.
Very clever!

Regards
Greystoke

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    Posted by gerrymouz (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 19, 07 at 11:46

Hi Greystoke,

Thanks for EC-meter idea. We want to compare compost teas to real hydroponics solution, so we have to make sure they are at the same strength. Also, we will be growing the same plants in soil as an extra control.

The aim of this project is to determine whether we can make a "simple" hydroponics system using garden waste (that is, only grass and weeds, no kitchen or animal wastes). Can we make a system that people use their garden waste to grow plants hydroponically? If we assume that most people do not have EC/pH meters and precise measuring/weighing equipment, we are a bit limited by what we can do. (I am part of a university in Ireland and have all the equipment we need, the point is to make a system where we do not need to use them).

This all comes out from an experiment I did years ago in Greece. I collected seagrass (Posidonia oceanica, similar to seaweed) from the beach - it was a mixture of fresh and dried. Washed it to get rid of the salt and sand and freeze/thawed it once to break open the cell walls. I then dumped it into an aquarium (about 1/5 seagrass to 4/5 freshwater). I used that water to grow tomatoes, basil and peppers. Compared to similar plants in soil, it worked fantastic - and that was with no equipment to test EC or pH.

Now in Ireland, I want to make a similar system using garden waste.

In this high school project we are going to take fresh garden waste or waste mowed within, say, 2 weeks. Mince it in a meat mincer and then put it in a raft type hydroponics system. With the general purpose compost we will simply dilute it in the water. The EC meter should help with guessing how much to add in.

By the way, the tilapia system you mentioned is the prime example of "polyculture" aquaculture, practiced in China: tilapia/carp grown in a rice paddy, their wastes are eaten by ducks, those wastes help the rice grow.

Gerry

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    Posted by tclynx 9 (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 20, 07 at 8:04

Is the EC meter going to have much to read in compost tea?

I like the idea of using compost and worm compost waste to feed plants. I am interested to hear about the results of your experiments.

It isn't really like hydroponics but some of the permaculture methods where plants are planted in mulch might be similar to Hydro if you were watering with worm/compost teas. Mulch is more likely to support those microbes rather than killing them off.

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    Posted by greystoke Mediterranean (My Page) on
    Tue, Aug 21, 07 at 0:36

Wow Gerry, you've given me a lot to think about!

I've collected a lot of info on leaf analyses of various plants, and I've done a little exercise:

Young grass cuttings contains (±) 2% N, 0.25% P, 1.5% K, 0.25% Ca, 0.2%Mg and 0.15% S.
If you were to put 75g in 10L of water, you would get a nutrient solution consisting of:
150ppm N, 19ppm P, 113ppm K, 19ppm Ca, 15ppm Mg and 11ppm S. All assuming a 100% extraction rate.
That's not bad for such a simple operation, but as a hydro nutrient it is somewhat deficient in P, Ca, Mg and S, which leads me to believe that - if you use grass cuttings - you need to supplement the "broth" with say: bone meal, dolomite and a pinch of epsom salt.
What you think?

Hi tclynx,
I think that if the broth contains nutrients that are available to the plant, then there must be an EC reading, and that reading is indicative of the nutrient concentration thus obtained.

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    Posted by darthhelmut (My Page) on
    Wed, Aug 22, 07 at 14:21

Hey greystroke, let me just add my 2 cents. The measurement from the ec readings will be off. Ec measures salts, or more so the electrical charge of the solution. The problem is that not all organic nutes are in a salt form, therefore wont add to the reading. Doesnt mean that they arent there, you just cant see them with an ec meter. Second, if you use the tea in hydroponics, you will need microbes to break the stuff down. That can be acheived in hydro, as long as it is an active system, which means pumps, air stones, ect. The new improvements in the mycorrhiza scene made way for them to be used in active systems where aeration of the nutes is constant. They will colonize the roots quickly, and when the organic solution is run through the system, they will grab the particles, and digest them into plant usable compounds.On the other hand, a lot of the compounds in worm castings are readily available already, so at least some of the good stuff will be used right away, without the microbes. I have tried tea as a foliar spraY, BUT YOU MUST WASH THE PLANT SOON AFTER IT DRIES. Every time I used it, I got this brownish film, that was more than a little stinky the next day. Either way, I probably could have ended this sooner by saying its a great additive, but as you said is low in other goodies, so should not be used alone.

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    Posted by greystoke Mediterranean (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 23, 07 at 2:22

darthhelmut,
but then the tea was not fully digested, and you're relying on a post-composting process to digest the last bits and pieces.

By-the-way: thanks for the link on "oxygen near the roots"

Regards
Greystoke

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    Posted by gerrymouz (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 26, 07 at 7:06

Thanks for the analysis greystroke. I will have the students look into the calculations and how much we will need. I don't think they have decided which type of plants they will grow.

Also, not sure about using bone meal - it has a real bad name here in Ireland/UK due to the "mad cow" BSE crisis. The dolomite might be worth trying.

By the way, I was reading the hydroponics entry in Wikipedia and I had one of those light-bulb above the head moments. OF COURSE compost tea can be used as a hydroponics solution. Extracting soil or compost with water and using to grow plants is the ORIGINAL proof/basis of hydroponics done by Sir Francis Bacon in the 1600s. It shows that you do not need the actual soil/compost, just the water soluble bits for plant growth.

If you boil the extract you can then demonstrate that the micro-organisms are not needed for plant grow either.

Hoping to start our experiment in the next few weeks. I will post any results as they come in for anyone interested.

Gerry

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    Posted by
    billy
    (elizalaurel@gmail.com) on
    Thu, Jun 24, 10 at 11:37

Concerning Teas - have you tried adding humic acid to your brews?

Would anyone suggest, which I’m leaning towards, was using organic compost teas in conjunction with any quality products and regiment? ie :advanced organic hydro program joined with supplemental teas for its benefits concerning diseases, root clean up, and its foliar benefits(disease reduction and absorption)

I’m forced to go hydro I feel because the state I’m living in is constantly changing its laws - hydro is the only way to achieve high yield? Is the conclusion I've been coming to - what do ya'll think? id much rather stay with dirt but am trying to also achieve high yields?!?!
Thanks

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    Posted by igshydro (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 25, 10 at 12:57

Hello, I have had great results with Vermi-T. I add it to every batch of nutriets I mix up. Both soil and hydro (coco) and have great results. Even use less nutrients because it increases the uptake of nutrients.
I like it.

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    Posted by wordwiz (wordwiz@fuse.net) on
    Fri, Jun 25, 10 at 16:26

My concern with compost tea in hydro solutions, especially if one adds molasses, is the possibility of e. coli. It's not common but it is not unheard of either. I did not feel it was worth the risk.

Mike

o
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    Posted by joe.jr317 5 (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 28, 10 at 10:00

Mike,

Could you expand on that? I don't think I have heard of anyone getting e. coli from compost tea. I have heard of a high risk when using manure tea. Particularly from corn fed cattle. That is what is so often used in organic farming, but somehow the word organics is confused with the word safe. I'm not saying you're wrong. Just wondering if you could point us to a resource that supports it as being a risk. Unfortunately, the term "compost tea" is used to describe a very wide range of concoctions. It could be composted manure, worm castings (whether vermi-T or your own worm bins), backyard compost from yard clippings, etc. and all of them fall under "compost tea" if you let it steep in water for a bit. Some is aerated. Some isn't and is allowed to go anaerobic. So I guess my point is that it seems to me that people definitely shouldn't base their course of action off a general term, but should first work out the little things like what is in the compost in the first place and how composted/aged it is.

I'm normally big on compost teas for the ground garden. Particularly worm cast teas. However, this year the only plants I have that have diseases are the ones I sprayed with teas I made from my outdoor compost mixed with some castings from my worm bins. I don't know if a disease was laying in wait in the compost or if it is complete coincidence. I am definitely a well seasoned composter and know what I am doing. I make sure the heat climbs significantly (160F+) for a period of at least 2 weeks and I let it "cure". Especially if I am going to use it for tea. It was good compost. All I know is, it didn't do squat for keeping disease at bay this year.

o
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    Posted by wordwiz (wordwiz@fuse.net) on
    Mon, Jun 28, 10 at 14:33

Here is one article. It talks about hygiene being extremely important.

This is an extract from another article:
In contrast, use of commercially formulated mixtures or combinations of individual nutrient supplements consistently resulted in growth of pathogens and indicators in aerated CT. At 24-36 h, E. coli O157:H7 in CT increased 10- to 1000-fold and S. enteriditis increased 10- to 10,000-fold.

In fairness, I need to point out that if no e.coli are present in the compost, the chances of it being in the tea are not likely. However, that means the compost has to reach temps between 135-170 degrees for 15 days which will destroy pathogens.

HTH,

Mike

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    Posted by lucas_formulas (My Page) on
    Tue, Jun 29, 10 at 2:23

I agree with the problem of using general terms like "compost" or compost tea and the fact that there is often confusion of what is actually meant.

The older the compost the better, simply because beneficial (and in fact harmless) bacteria remain in the compost and get dominant over time. This is just a natural phenomena. So don't ever confuse "quick-fire" compost with any compost that has matured for one or two years+. The more decomposed it is, the more nutrients and trace elements are readily available as well, obviously. If they aren't leached out due to exposure or porous underground, of course.

If using molasses, you have to understand that this is some kind of fast food for bacteria and yeast to multiply rapidly and thus accelerate fermentation. But if you feed in such way, you may multiply unwanted bacteria or yeast as well. That is why the inoculation with EM (effective micro-organism) comes handy here. They tend to become dominant quickly and keep your aero- or anaerobic fermentation clean, - in the same way as a clean yeast in vine fermentation. As soon as the selected fermenting yeast has multiplied and got started, your brew is almost safe from intrusion of unwanted organisms. Also, it's always better to allow to molasses to be completely fermented and transformed, before using any such compost especially in hydroponics.

Compost making and using teas in hydroponics is some kind of new science and there are specific techniques, rules and specs you have to learn and consider here. Here also you have got various and special techniques and it is recommend to go by the book of these, if you have no experience or don't know at all what you are doing.
In basics of aquaponics, you use more like fresh or less fermented manure, composts etc. instead but there you have to use appropriate growing beds that allow good recirculation, aeration and an ideal underground and environment for CONTINUOUS bacterial decomposition.

Seems to me that in any field, there are always people who want to imagine and do things their own ways, no matter how or what they are told by experienced people and experts. But as a consequence, so many people don't actually know what they're doing but obstinately follow their own bloody-mindedness instead. And sub consequently will be disappointed of the results or even screw it up in some way or the other. ;-)

o
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    Posted by mixaplor (My Page) on
    Fri, Nov 26, 10 at 21:18

Can beneficials (bacteria, nematoads, fungi) be kept alive in a separate tank if supplied with aeration, water, molasses, kelp, compost, worm castings, etc. once TDS/EC levels max out? Can they be kept alive forever this way?

Can the aforementioned solution circulate through a hydroponic system without causing damage to the system if the compost tea is held in a small pore micron-screen bag?

Will the aforementioned solution be too varying in its nutrient/bacteria content and pH? Any way to stabilize it?

Hope someone out there knows the answers (and responds :D).

o
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    Posted by lucas_formulas (My Page) on
    Sat, Nov 27, 10 at 1:34

Beneficial bacteria as EM can not only be kept alive, they actually multiply and bread if you feed them with what they need (molasses actually is the food and fuel for this). In fact it's not about keeping them alive, as they have a limited live span - but to keep them breading.

If using compost tea as main nutrient, or as supplement, it is recommended to simply using an adequate system where nothing can clog or get damaged. An Ebb-Flow system with robust in- and outlets is probably the easiest and most appropriate solution. Other systems may need filtering. Any Aeroponic system with fine spray or mist does not qualify. Unless you solve the problem with adequate filtering which still filters organic micro particles (perhaps beneficial bacteria) out - and your tea will not decompose any further any soon. Look how Aquaponists deal with it and how it is solved in this filed. You can learn a lot from them.

The most simple solution to have consistency with the nutrient content or concentration is probably to firstly work out your own "recipe" with a series of empirical tests to determine an optimal brew that delivers what your plants need. Example: you use X Kilo or Pound with a composition of 20% compost A plus 30% of compost B, add 10% of seaweed extract, 5% of bat guano, 5% molasses, plus percentage of other ingredients, etc. You inoculate the MIX with x milliliter EM or bacteria and brew the whole enchilada with 50 Liter /gallons) water for X days. Once your recipe is modified until working, you simply repeat the process with equal parts and the same variables and you will end up with almost consistent results every time. If you have access to such recipes, you can use or try those of course - or use them as a guideline.

You can also use EC measuring, knowing that there will be quite more Nitrogen and other elements that aren't water soluble, dissolved or decomposed yet. Here you simply use the EC as an INDICATOR with your tests and experiments.

With pH regulation, consider that depending on setups like Ebb/flow (plus a massive growing area filled with media) you deal more with a "soil-like" environment, where plants are able to regulate root zone pH to a (hopefully) sufficient level by themselves.

Hope this helps and is useful.
Cheers,
Lucas

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    Posted by sdgrower 10 (My Page) on
    Tue, Nov 30, 10 at 16:12

Lucas and others willing to share experience,
I have been doing some research attempting to get some answers concerning the following and have been getting mixed answers and would like to get your opinion.
I would I be able to keep beneficial bacteria and mycorrhizae alive in my system but have read some places that the synthetic fertilizers won't keep bacteria/mycorrhizae alive (no food for them, need organics), while others say it will as long as they are established first since they will ultimately be feeding on dead roots/etc.
I was wondering if I used synthetic fertilizers for nutrition, but added a small amount of compost tea as a supplement to my nutrient reservoir would it help keep beneficials alive and replicating?
My tea contains bat guano, seabird guano, seaweed extract, worm castings and molasses. I am going to be growing in perlite and would inoculate with a powdered mycorrhizae.
Basically I am not trying to use the tea as a nutrient (yet), just trying to help keep the benificials alive while using synthetic fertilizers.
Thanks for your help!

o
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    Posted by lucas_formulas (My Page) on
    Wed, Dec 1, 10 at 0:40

@sdgrower
Interesting and also a bit difficult topic. Little research about various hydroponic applications available as well. But basically mycorrhizae, various beneficial fungi and other microorganisms will have a direct interaction (a so called mutualistic or symbiotic relationship) DIRECTLY with plants and will have access to carbohydrates directly from them. The term "synthetic fertilizers" isn't exactly appropriate either from my understanding and especially in this context it may lead to misconception. There is no difference between bacterially decomposed N-molecules and the ones that are provided by salts used in hydroponic nutrients. On a molecular level it's not exactly the same, as some processes are bypassed. But what plants actually do absorb happens on an elemental level and they can't tell the difference between N and N, or K and K as there is any between elements provided by microorganisms and the ones provided by salts. Besides, plants simply can't absorb any organic substances or components but only in water dissolved ions and related.

If we use chelated micro nutrients for example, those can be called "synthetic" in fact, because we deal with a combination of organic and inorganic components that result in a substance with "new" properties (a synthesis). However, any nutrient solution based on salts and commonly used chemical components isn't a microorganism unfriendly environment at all. On the contrary, it's more like a perfect imitation of dissolved soil in water with very similar chemical properties and pH.

But then again mixing both, organic components and directly available and pure nutrients (based on chemical components), isn't exactly a good idea, because you mix a known and given with a unknown and 'convertible'. Generally it's dis-recommend to mix up both, because of unpredictable pH fluctuations and danger of contamination. But that's more of a standard reply. PH can be controlled and corrected - nutrients could even be adopted to fit specific organic components as part of the solution. And Inoculation isn't a contamination, but in fact an antidote. Thus, mixing both (only) adds one more degree of difficulty with control and reliability.

There is a simple solution to most complicated problems, and in this case it would be threefold:
1. keep your nutrient solution clean and almost free from organic components, inoculate only and/or use foliar spray with beneficial fungi, EM, other bacteria, amino acids, chitin, etc...

2. Go for organic (why do I hate that term?), use an appropriate setup, sufficient media (semi- or fully organic). Experiment based on what you have researched and thus seems safe enough - and let nature play it while you observe and learn.

3. If for some reason you still want to mix or combine both, consider it experimental with a capital "E" and do not confuse it with a sure to grow, safe and/or hassle free production method.

Cheers,
Lucas

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    Posted by sdgrower 10 - San Diego (My Page) on
    Thu, Dec 2, 10 at 20:03

Thanks Lucas, very helpful!

I am going to stick with number 1 for now since that has worked well for me in the past, but I am going to do some research on inoculation practices and foliar applications and move forward with those techniques.

Your point about the compost tea having both beneficial and contaminates while the inoculations contain only the beneficial makes sense to me and I will take your advice.

It is interesting that the potential contamination problems using the tea as a nutrient are not an concern when used as a foliar spray. I am going to look through the archives and find some more info, thanks for the lead.
-Lots to learn!

o
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    Posted by lucas_formulas (My Page) on
    Thu, Dec 2, 10 at 22:27

You're welcome sdgrower,

In the same way as the term "synthetic" may be misunderstood, contamination or "contaminants" can be as well. A contaminant is simply and per definition an impurity, a foreign matter. In some context ( with food- or soil contaminant) it mostly is something negative and certainly unwanted. But in some other context it's not necessarily or exclusively negative. Some commonly used salts for nutrient making contain some Fe and Mo (some Co or Ni, even Al or a few ppm of Pb) as contaminants, but except Pb, they are in fact welcome in a nutrient solution. Btw: In soil we have them as well and unfortunately for some, (often) in higher amounts as in chemical components.

The role any "contaminants" of organic matter may play in a nutrient solution, is in fact related to the predictable and given part I was talking about earlier. They are not necessarily or exclusively a bad thing either - but simply change the rules. As soon as we introduce a certain amount of organic matter in a nutrient solution, we waive the privilege of control we formerly had with salts only ... ;-)

Concerning the bacterial part, the purpose of inoculation is in fact to introduce a dominant bacteria or fungus, that controls others - a bit like the role of yeast in Wine making. In this context we do not care about a "contamination" with other bacteria or fungi, but actually relay on the inoculation with beneficial and dominant species which are supposed to dominate the environment.

You also have to differentiate like follows: some additives and beneficial elements can be introduced or used directly in a nutrient solution (without affecting the rules), while others are better used as a foliar spray only. Folic acid (potassium humate), chitosan and amino acids (more recently used amino acid chelates) can be used and introduced directly to the nutrient solution or sprayed. While any more voluminous organic matter or liquids, compost tea, Effective Microorganisms (any EM derivates) and Trichoderma harzianum, are more effective and safe as foliar sprays. Most of them can also be used as a root treatment (dropping in a solution when transplanting) or even as a seed treatment. Also, some treatments are onetime only, (Trichoderma harzianum inoculation for example) while others shall be repeated frequently (like EM).

o
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    Posted by lucas_formulas (My Page) on
    Fri, Dec 3, 10 at 1:59

One more addition (actually a correction):
When I said earlier that plant's can't absorb any organic matter it is only partially true and mainly concerns non-decomposed nutrients as NPK-Ca-Mg-S, etc in organic matter. Nevertheless, roots are still able to absorb several biotic and other organic substances, as amino acids, vitamins and even antibiotics. Also the presence of bacteria versus a "sterile" nutrient solution is determinant (interactive) for the uptake of some of these organic substances.

Thus "sterility", versus inoculation and the presence of bacteria in a nutrient solution remains a disputed and rather uncharted territory.

o
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    Posted by sdgrower 10 - San Diego (My Page) on
    Fri, Dec 3, 10 at 16:55

Lucas,
All this info is great! I am unfamiliar with Folic, chitosan and amino acids as foliar sprays and will do some research on those next.
As far as root inoculation goes… Do you recommend using powdered inoculants vs. liquid?
From my understanding the powdered/dry forms are more likely to have biologically active organisms, while the liquids may have reduced life due to cold/heat/ long time on shelf… seems to make sense?
Many of the commercial available “Rooters Mycorrhizae” products and other “Root Growth” products state the product should be used as a an inoculation during transplanting, but can also be mixed into the nutrient solution every week or two. If I understand you correctly, you feel the inoculation during transplanting is ok, but to be cautious of adding into the nutrient on a regular interval? (Howard Resh also recommends just inoculation with Trichoderma harzianum, strain T-22, but only at transplanting)
I understand the manufacturers are trying to sell more product, hence their advice on using regularly; can you elaborate a little more why you feel they should only be used once (not questioning your methodology, just trying to understand a little more)?
Am I confusing “inoculation” with “adding to the reservoir”? Is it practice to re-inoculate each plant by pouring a little water + Rooters Mycorrhize directly onto the plant site periodically instead of adding to the reservoir?
Thanks again for all this I apologize for the lack of knowledge on the subject, I have done lots of looking on the net and reading books, but this topic is a tough one as you mentioned multiple times. Definitely going to play it safe with the additives, but also want to start experimenting.
Hopefully someday I will have some little nugget of worthy information to share back with you and the rest of the forum!

o
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    Posted by lucas_formulas (My Page) on
    Fri, Dec 3, 10 at 20:55

sdgrower,
Well, again it depends on the properties of different substances and organisms. As for Trichoderma harzianum, only a single inoculation is needed to have it assimilated and "installed and resident" in plants. Thus no need to repeat the process and no need to "contaminate" the Nutrient solution either. The recommendation of Dr. Resh is hence correct and to be understood purely pragmatical. The same is basically true for mycorrhizal, once inoculated, they are supposed to be installed.

Humates (postassium humate) or Amino Acids, are more like actual and permanent additives, as they are being assimilated continuously as part of a plant's diet.

Chitosan again is some sort of "active substance" and besides its main effect as a "natural growth enhancer" it's supposed to have antifungal properties and eliminate toxins. It can be sprayed or added on a regular basis.

Effective Microorganisms, sometimes contested to not actually being "that effective" need to be grown and multiplied in a starch/molasses mix which isn't the best thing to add to a nutrient solution. But as a frequent use is recommended, frequent spraying is the best option here.

Trichoderma harzianum is best directly as a fungal culture (on corn) and for all others I use the powdered form and dissolve them in water. Chitosan powder (concentrate) needs to be dissolved in highly concentrated acetic acid first, though. Effective Microorganisms generally come in liquid form (concentrate) and seem stable that way.

PS: don't worry about the (temporary) lack of knowledge, some of it is rather new to me as well. Also, the actual knowledge is somehow linked to availability of products. Example: I was using Chitosan in liquid form until recently - and the recipe and instructions of making your own liquid concentrate only came with the powder... until then I didn't even know of it. ;-)

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Re: Making your own liquid Nutirents.
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2012, 08:35:35 PM »
Quote
http://scienceinhydroponics.com/2010/07/preparing-your-own-hydroponic-nutrients-a-complete-guide-for-beginners.html

Preparing Your Own Hydroponic Nutrients : A Complete Guide for Beginners
Chances are that if you are into hydroponic gardening and you live in Europe or in the US you have been buying your nutrient solutions from one of the many hydroponic nutrient sellers available locally. Generally people do not prepare their own nutrients because they consider this task “terribly difficult” and they prefer to keep buying previously made formulations so that they don’t have to deal with the technical problem of making their own fertilizers. What most people don’t realize is that the profit margin of hydroponic nutrient producing companies is HUGE. You would be surprised to know that each one of those concentrated nutrient gallons you buy costs only a few dollars to make (sometimes even only pennies) and you are probably paying a few times what the whole fertilizer is worth.

Obviously if you are going to be growing plants for a long time or if you simply want to grow a large garden the buying of this commercial nutrient solutions is not an option and starting to make your own formulations – adjusted to your own needs – becomes the main priority. On today’s article I will be speaking to you about how to prepare your OWN solutions using my nutrient solution calculator, carefully explaining to you what you need, where to buy it and what you should expect. I will guide you through making your own first A+B solution by YOURSELF getting all the chemicals and utensils you need easily and economically.

So what do you need to make your own nutrients ? The list below shows you the things you will need to start making your own A+B solutions. You will notice that you will need two scales since we are going to have to weight two “nutrient sets” with different precision, micro nutrients (which are used only in small amounts, need to be weight more precisely) and macro nutrients (which are used in larger amounts and therefore need scales with larger capacity).

    Scale that can weight down to 0.01 g at a +/- 0.01g precision (something like this is perfect, just search 0.01 g scale on ebay to view similar products)
    Scale that can weight up to 1kg at a +/- 0.1g precision (something like this)
    Two Empty one gallon containers with caps
    Plastic Spoon
    Plastic small container (to weight salts)
    A source of RO or distilled water (your tap water will NOT work)
    Download my hydroponic nutrient calculator here.
    Download the formulation you will be using here.

Now these are the chemicals you will need (an online purchase link is included for each one) :

    Yara Brand Calcium Nitrate (here)
    Magnesium Sulphate Heptahydrate (here)
    Potassium Nitrate (here)
    Copper Sulfate Pentahydrate (here)
    Potassium Monobasic Phosphate (also known as mono potassium phosphate) (here)
    Manganese Sulfate Monohydrate (here)
    Zinc Sulfate Dihydrate (here)
    Sodium Molybdate (dihydrate) (here)
    Boric Acid (here)
    Iron EDTA (NaFeEDTA) (here)

These chemicals can be bought in a variety of places but there is a link next to each one showing you a link where you can actually make the purchase. Often it is also possible to get these chemicals on ebay. The purity may not be as guaranteed as when purchased from a regular supplier but it is good enough for practical purposes in hydroponics. This is an example of Sodium Molybdate of a decent quality being sold there.

Of course you may see right now that the initial investment might be significant (from 100 to even more than 500 USD depending on whether you buy 50lb or 1lb quantities of macro nutrients) however after this purchase you will be able to produce more than one hundred gallons of concentrated A+B solutions which would cost you more than 10 times the price you will be paying if you bought them commercially. After doing the math you will see that this is a GREAT way to save money and produce your own solutions ! Hey you could even start selling to the neighbors ! :o)

After you buy the chemicals simply open my hydroponic calculator and load the general_beginner.txt nutrient formulation file you downloaded earlier on the calculator (use the “add external” button on the “Desired Formulation” tab. Then click the A+B solution button and select the “calculate weights for specific stock solution volume” option and input 1 (choose gallon) on the edit box above it. Now go to the “nutrient salts used” tab and select the salts mentioned above (make sure you select Yara Calcium nitrate instead of the regular one) .It is now time to go back to the “desired nutrient formulation” tab and press the “calculate formula !” button. Your screen should look like the picture shown below.
-
-
Now that you have calculated the weights needed you should go to the “calculation results” tab where you will be able to find the weights of the different nutrients you need to prepare the solution. The results of the calculation are showed below. You should now follow these steps to prepare the solutions :
-
-
If the chemical weights more than 10g weight it on the “less accurate” 0.1g scale. If it weights less on the “higher precision” 0.01g model.

    Fill each one gallon container with half a gallon of RO or distilled water
    Weight one salt on the container you set apart for measuring. Make sure you always DOUBLE check the weights and the appropriate A or B gallon container you need to add the salt to.
    After you measure the salt transfer it to either the A or B gallon container (depending on which one it should go into). Use a little bit of water (RO or distilled) to transfer any remains that cannot be easily added and dry the container you are using to weight before measuring the next salt
    Shake the container where you added the salt and make sure it is fully dissolved before measuring and adding the next one.
    Do the same as above for all the salts
    After you are done adding the salts add half a gallon of water (again RO or distilled) to each container
    Then seal the containers and shake them vigorously
    You have just prepared your first batch of self-made nutrient solution ! (Yey !!)

The above formulation is a general multi-purpose blend that should allow you to grow a large variety of plants. You simply need to add 10mL of A and 10mL of B for each final LITER of nutrient solution. You should use your pH meter and EC meter to adjust these values as you do with your regular commercial nutrients.

It is very important now to keep your chemicals stored in air-tight container in a dark and cool place. Some chemicals like calcium nitrate will absorb moisture and become useless if you leave them in contact with air for prolonged periods of time !!!

Of course, once you are more comfortable with preparing your own nutrients you can go to the A+B+C tutorial or research the available literature for some custom formulations available to grow each one of your plants under its favorite nutrient levels. I hope this tutorial has allowed you to reach a new level in your hydroponic gardening experience, hopefully accompanied by a drastic reduction in your soil-less gardening costs !

Note : Please leave a comment with your experience with the tutorial and with any links, phone numbers or addresses of your local chemical suppliers (if you have already located some you like). I will add them to a future feature of the calculator which will hold a chemical supplier global directory :o).

 

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