Plant growers often have to face obstacles like climate and seasons when growing plants. Using hydroponics, you no longer have to worry about weather or the soil condition. Hydroponics is a method by which plants are grown without soil as the medium and mineral nutrient solutions are used to feed the plants in water. So, now it is possible to grow plant anytime. If you know how to make a hydroponic solution at home, it will be very convenient for you to grow plants.
Advantages of Hydroponic Systems
The hydroponic system is growing in popularity. It allows you to grow any plant anywhere without any natural obstruction.
Here are the advantages of hydroponic systems.
- It provides extra oxygen to the plants that stimulate the root growth. So, the nutrients are absorbed faster.
- The nutrients are mixed with water in the hydroponic system. These nutrients are sent to the root system directly, which doesn’t happen when plants are grown in the soil.
- Controlling the hydroponic nutrients is possible. So, the plants won’t have a deficiency of nutrients.
- Controlling every aspect of the growing environment is possible. So, you can control pests, bugs, etc.
When you grow plants using a hydroponic system, you stay indoors. So, you don’t need to sit under the sun for a long time. There is no need to use a garden tiller to prepare the soil. It’s much easier than outdoor gardening. When you grow plants indoors, the quality of air inside your home improves, and there is less chance of having allergy-related diseases.
Making Hydroponic Solution at Home
You can make a DIY hydroponic solution in two ways. One way is to buy the premixed nutrients. Another way is to mix your nutrients. Most people prefer making the hydroponic solution at home because it offers flexibility and is more economical.
Here are the steps you should take to make hydroponic solution at home.
1. Buy the nutrients
You should buy nitrogen, phosphorus, calcium, etc. to make the base of your fertilizer. These are in the form of salt. Mix these salts with water to make a solution. The salts will break down and provide nutrients to the plant. Here are the quantities you should use.
- 2 tsp of ammonium phosphate
- 4 tsp of magnesium sulfate
- 4 tsp of potassium nitrate
- 4.5 tsp of calcium nitrate
- Calcium and magnesium carbonates are also common ingredients.
You should know that nitrogen and sulfur supplies proteins and amino acids. Phosphorus is needed for photosynthesis and growth. Potassium and magnesium form starches and sugars. Nitrogen and magnesium produce chlorophyll. Calcium is needed for growth.
2. Use clean water
You should use filtered water. That way, there won’t be any dirt or unwanted contaminants. You will need a few buckets of water to make the solution. You should put 10 gallons of water into the buckets.
3. Mix the salts with water
You should add the salts slowing into the water. Make sure you add one type of salt at a time. Then put a lid on the bucket and shake it well so that the salt mixes well with the water. This will create the macronutrient solution.
4. Add micronutrients
In another container add 1 quart of water and mix 0.25 tsp of boric acid and 0.1 tsp of manganese chloride. You should stir well. Then take a half a cup of this solution and mix it with the macronutrient solution. In a separate container add 1 quart of water and add 0.5 tsp of chelated iron. Add 3/5 cup of this solution to the macronutrient solution. The micronutrients are needed for the growth of the plant. Boric acids, chlorine, manganese, iron, etc. are called trace elements.
5. Adjust the pH level
Now you need to adjust the pH level. You need to make sure that the pH level is between 5.5 to 6.5. If it’s more than 7.0, then it’s too alkaline, and you need to reduce the pH level. You can add vinegar to the mixture to reduce the pH level. If the pH value is less than 5.5, then the solution is too acidic. You should add baking soda to adjust the pH level.
6. Adjust EC level
After you have adjusted the pH level, you should adjust the electrical conductivity. This is the ratio of the nutrients to that of water. You can use an electronic EC meter to check the readings. The EC must be between 0.8 to 3.0. In most cases, 1.5 to 2.5 is more appropriate. If the EC is too high, you should add more water to bring the EC down.
Maintaining Your Hydroponic System
It’s essential to change the hydroponic solution once the added water volume is equivalent to the tank’s total volume. This step is usually performed every two weeks to prevent the buildup of nutrients and microorganisms, such as fungi and bacteria.
Maintaining the hydroponic reservoir entails paying attention to the temperature because the oxygen level declines if the temperature is too high. The nutrient solution must be between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Because not all plants absorb nutrients at the same rate, an EC meter can help determine the amount of fertilizer or nutrients within the water. Hence, you should have one in your toolkit.
In addition, homes with hydroponic setups must be aware of the important modifications in their plumbing systems to maintain smooth overall operations.
Most hydroponic growers use gate valves and ball valves. These valves can be made of plastic, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC), brass, galvanized steel, etc. The valve material influences the way the valves join the hydroponic system. Most growers use plastic and PVC valves.
You should add all the nutrients in the correct quantities to ensure higher yields. The plants should receive adequate light. Plants grown this way are not attacked by pests. So, weeding is not necessary. With practice, you will be able to make hydroponic solution at home.
Making a hydroponic solution can be challenging at first. However, once you master the techniques, you’ll find it easy to do. And you’ll benefit from a bountiful harvest all year round.
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