keys to successful hydroponic gardening are pH level, nutrient
concentration and lighting. There are a number of other factors
including temperature among others, but if you take care of the
"big three", the others will follow. I'll be adding
articles on lighting, temperature and even others on pH and nutrient
in time, but for now these are the two areas that we'll work
plants prefer slightly (6.8) to very (5.5 for tomatoes) acidic
soil. In hydroponics, we provide them with an acidic solution.
nutrient concentration varies among plants and even in different
cycles of each plant.
seedlings, I'll use plain water or a very light nutrient mix
(under 500 ppm), increasing the strength as the plants grow.
and respiration will increase the strength of the solution and
as the nutrients are mostly alkaline, the pH will also rise with
between complete replacement of the solution (about every two
weeks) , I'll mix some very concentrated nutrient in one jug,
but keep it to the side.
top up the solution in the reservoir with plain water first.
Then I'll measure the nutrient strength and add nutrient from
the concentrated mix until that reads between 1200 on up to 1400
ppm for mature plants (parts per million) on my TDS (Total Dissolved
the nutrient strength taken care of, I'll adjust the pH, usually
with pH Down, as it's almost certain to be above 8.5 after adding
are exceptions, such as high temperatures, plants exposed to
wind or very large plants. In such cases, I'll go much lighter
on the nutrient, as a mature tomato in warm weather and exposed
to wind will go through nearly a gallon of water a day. You wouldn't
want to dose it with all of that nutrient simply because it will
consume the water to respire and the nutrient will make for a
cases like these, you'll want to provide a lighter nutrient solution
with each topping so that over a two week period, it will receive
two weeks worth of nutrient. We'll do this by mixing a one gallon
solution at full strength, and adding portions of it when we
top off the reservoir with plain water. This comes easier with
practice and observation.
As to the water that you use, that will depend a great deal on
what you have for water. We're still lucky enough to have a ground
well, and though it does have some mineral content, it's adequate.
Chlorinated or treated water will not be suitable, as the chlorine
will affect the solution and many water treatments use salts
to soften water. Well water that's been run through a simple
filter only should work fine. Alternatives include bottled water
or sterilized water.
New Tool Co.
Reprinted with permission.
Workshop - Hydroponics - Cryan Studio
© Copyright 2005-2009 Fabric Workshop
P.O. Box 204 Centerbrook, CT 06409
Go to ORDER PAGE
for Ordering Information