A Simple Approach to Nutrients

lots of different nutrient solutions

   Hydroponic Solution Basics

OMG! If you thought hydroponics equipment was confusing, wait 'til you see the vast array of hydroponic solution choices out there!

There's bloom mix, super shot, mix for lettuce, tomato special. There's one-part, two-part and even 3-part mixes, and dozens of brands of each. There's Iguana Juice and Happy Frog and Dr. Hornby's Big Bud.

Heavens! Which one is best for your garden?

Let's make this real simple... use the stuff NASA uses! Read on to find out what that hydroponic solution is...

soil-less hydroponics

No matter which hydroponics system you decide on, there is one factor common to them all--- a nutrient solution.

This liquid fertilizer contains all the nutrients your plants need, in a readily absorbed form, delivered right to the root zone of the plant. This creates perfect growing conditions, resulting in bumper crops of delicious, nutritious produce. It's what hydroponics is all about!

Now, I know you don't want to hear all the scientific formulas and chemical processes involved, but a little bit of knowledge will help you understand and troubleshoot better if things go wrong.

The hydroponics process is so dependent on proper nutrition, that we strongly encourage you to read this section. It gets into the "nut and bolts" of running a successful hydroponics project.

At the end of the page is a link to our super simple 50% method of reservoir maintenance. Don't miss it!

   Water- The Elixir of Life

Starting with healthy water is the basis for a successful hydroponics experience.

water-the elixir of life

If you're going to be using city or well water, get it tested first to see where you stand. You can do this inexpensively through the county ag agent or health department, or through an independent lab. If using tap water, you can call the water company and ask them the calcium content of the water.

testing water quality

Basically, what you want to know is if you have very hard or very soft water. Hard water has lots of mineral content and calcium carbonate in particular. If you see calcium buildup (white residue) on your faucets, you probably have hard water.

Soft water has low mineral content, which is preferable. (But you cannot use water that has gone through a water softener system for hydroponics... it's way too salty).

Okay, so you found out you have hard water (Calcium content is above 70 ppm). What can you do about it?
Simple: The GH Flora hydroponic solution we recommend later has a base solution specifically for use with hard water. Instead of using FloraMicro, simply buy Hardwater FloraMicro. Problem solved!

poor quality drinking water

If you find out that you have really poor water, (greater than 300 ppm total solids), consider installing a RO (reverse osmosis) water filter under your kitchen sink. An RO filter costs $150-$250, but it provides the highest quality drinking water possible.

If you are stuck with mineral-laden water, you must use an RO filter if you want a successful hydroponics experience (and a healthier family).

Another alternative: you could collect rainwater in a barrel and use that for your garden. Sweeeet!

rain barrel

"The garden suggests there might be a place where we can meet nature halfway."

~Michael Pollan

At the end of the page is a link to our super simple 50% method of reservoir maintenance plus a cool video on pH testing. Don't miss it!

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Now on to Part 2:
Hydroponic Nutrients Simplified


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