Hydroponics for Beginners Part 3: All about Nutrients
Just about anyone can grow beautiful, healthy plants using hydroponic methods. We are here to help you get started and to guide you through every step along the way. This is the third in a series of blogs, focusing on helping beginners get started. You can read Parts 1 and 2 by clicking here and here, respectively. Keep checking back for the latest installments and leave a comment if there is a topic you’d like to see us cover.
The best nutrients for each system:
When you are new to hydroponics, it’s best to keep it simple. Use the Flora Series™ (including FloraGrow®, FloraBloom® and FloraMicro®). Together, they offer complete nutrition and superior growth for just about any plant and work well with all of our systems. You can use the supplements (like the ones you find here) to get larger foliage, greater fruit production and better flavors and aromas to satisfy your individual growing goals. We call it the fine-tuning, while the Flora™ series is your basic motor that runs the whole operation. Almost all of our GH-made nutrient solutions are perfect for any of our hydroponic systems so explore them all and choose your favorite! However, I would like to mention one note about our General Organics™ line: they are ideal for growing media such as cocofiber or soil. However, they are not compatible with any of our hydroponic/recirculating systems because, when it comes to the flowing systems, cleanliness is paramount! The GO line promotes the growth of microbes; having that in the lines will gum things up fairly quickly. So, stay with the Flora™ series and you’ll be all set!
How to blend your nutrients (measuring and mixing):
The Flora™ Series is easy to mix whether you are comfortable with milliliter or teaspoon increments. Each of our recommendations are added at a per gallon ratio. When using the FloraSeries™, it is very important to first add the FloraMicro® to your water/reservoir. You can then add the FloraGrow® & then the FloraBloom®. This will ensure that the nutrients are properly mixed and will prevent lockout from taking place. The Flora™ Series is the industry standard to which all other hydroponic nutrients are compared.
How to check PPM (parts per million):
Once you get your system set up and get the right nutrients to go with it, you have to make sure you maintain the correct nutrient level for your plant. You can follow a feeding schedule and hope for the best but some plants take up nutrients at different speeds and plants need different levels at various stages in their life cycles.* The best way to calculate your system’s nutrient concentration level is with a PPM (parts per million) meter, a common scale for measuring nutrient strength. It tells you the mineral concentration of the water in your system.
There are a few different scales for measuring PPM but here at GH we use a .5 PPM scale (the second column in the chart to the left). It is the standard we use for all our measurements and recommendations. If you use a different meter, you can compare your reading to the chart to see its equivalent in other scales.
* Ideal PPM readings (on a .5 scale) for various stages in plant life:
- Seedling: 200-250 PPM
- Increasing growth: 800-1000 PPM
- Full bloom: 1200 PPM
How much to feed and when:
Using our nutrients is really quite easy and the nutrient calculator makes it even easier! Just input the specifics of your set-up into the calculator and let our program customize your feeding schedule, including the use of supplements like FloraBlend and Floralicious Plus. It doesn’t matter if you use Flora Series or FloraNova. It doesn’t matter if you recirculate or run to waste. Just enter all the variables and get personalized data pertaining just to your garden.