Redux: Mixing Hydroponic Nutrients
This tutorial is a redux of a previous one, as we at A-Grade are continuously seeing growers making these simple errors when mixing nutrients, so we have decided to bring this topic back for those having issues.
When mixing nutrients, a lot of people ask us how to do it.
Now the bottles do have instructions on, but there is still confusion.
This quick tutorial will hopefully help you make up the perfect mix every time.
When using nutrients there are 3 main types available:
- Single Part Nutrients
- Two-Part Nutrients
- Three-Part Nutrients
“When making a cake we don’t just throw the ingredients in roughly, we take our time carefully mixing, step by step.”
For the purpose of keeping the tutorial basic let’s look at Two-Part nutrients as they are the most commonly purchased.
STEP 1 – CHOOSE YOUR BRAND
STEP 2 – FILL MEASURING JUG/RESERVOIR WITH REQUIRED AMOUNT OF WATER.
STEP 3 – IF TAP WATER LET IT SIT OUT OVERNIGHT
STEP 4 – MEASURE OUT DOSE OF BOTTLE A APPROPRIATE TO JUG/RESERVOIR
STEP 5 – MIX REALLY WELL, LET SIT FOR 2-5 MINS
STEP 6 - MEASURE OUT DOSE OF BOTTLE B APPROPRIATE TO JUG/RESERVOIR
STEP 7 – MIX REALLY WELL, LET SIT FOR 2-5 MINS
STEP 8 – ADD ANY ADDITONAL ADDITVES USING THE SAME METHOD AS ABOVE, MIX WELL THEN SIT, THEN CONTINUE ONTO NEXT AMMENDMENT.
And that’s it, that’s how to mix your base nutrient.
“The reason we don’t add all the elements together and fill up with water is because these elements are biologically reactive and will cause precipitation.”
“The best advice I can give you when mixing up your nutrients, is take your time.”
CHECKING THE SOLUTIONS pH & EC
Now we have a basic understanding of mixing our base nutrients, we can move on to checking the strength of our freshly made nutrient solution with an instrument called an EC Meter (Most bottles in Australia use EC as a guide)
We also check the pH of this solution to see if the nutrient solution is in range. Most nutrients if used correctly will come very close to achieving the correct range without any further calibration.
The pH ranges in hydroponics are 5.5 – 6.5
The EC ranges in hydroponics are 0.3 – 2.4 (various phases)
If the pH is either side of this suggested range, absorption of specific nutrients is severely limited, this usually leads onto to a nutrient deficiency which impacts plant growth and cell development.
Nutrient absorption and an incorrect pH is like trying to drink a milkshake with a folded straw, if we correct the pH then the straw completely open up, allowing us to drink the milkshake with ease.
Hydroponic growing is never a flawless exercise, there are constant issues that arise, this forces the gardener to understand how the plant works.
When a plant has a problem, it can only communicate to us via its leaves, understanding these signs allow gardeners to become fluent in the “plants language.”
Through repetition you will become far more capable of identify these issues and how to correct them, to the point where eventually you can focus on preventatives instead of solutions.
Writing a journal is highly recommended, this way if there are any issues you can quickly refer to your notes to determine how you can correct.
Mixing nutrients using pH & EC meters:
STEP 1 – FILL MEASURING JUG/RESERVOIR WITH REQUIRED AMOUNT OF WATER.
STEP 2 – IF TAP WATER LET IT SIT OUT OVERNIGHT, CHECK & WRITE DOWN pH
STEP 3– MEASURE OUT DOSE OF BOTTLE A APPROPRIATE TO JUG/RESERVOIR
STEP 4 – MIX REALLY WELL, LET SIT FOR 2-5 MINS
STEP 5 - MEASURE OUT DOSE OF BOTTLE B APPROPRIATE TO JUG/RESERVOIR
STEP 6 – MIX REALLY WELL, LET SIT FOR 2-5 MINS
STEP 7 – CHECK & WRITE DOWN THE pH & EC OF THE SOLUTION
STEP 8 – ADD ANY ADDITIONAL ADDITIVES ONE AT A TIME AND MIX REALLY WELL.
STEP 9 – CHECK & WRITE DOWN THE pH & EC OF YOUR FINAL SOLUTION
STEP 10 – FEED YOUR PLANTS
Gardening for most is a great way of reducing stress and stilling the mind, and now you have a better understanding of EC & pH your plants will also be able to enjoy a stress-free life!
Allowing you both to perform at your best!