Changing Your Hydroponic Nutrient Solution
In fact I tell a slight white lie above! Naughty me! Many hydroponic farmers in fact prefer to change their hydroponic nutrient solution every week instead of every two weeks. You’ll need to decide for yourself, taking your EC readings into account if this is necessary for you. Other factors should be how serious a hydroponic grower you are as well as cost.
Clearly by changing your hydroponic nutrient solution every week compared to every other week will incur twice the costs on you. If this is a concern to you then a compromise would be to change the nutrient solution every two weeks when the plants are small, then once they grow and start producing plentiful produce, then you can change to every week.
So why else do we need to change hydroponic nutrient solution on a regular basis?
– To keep your nutrient solution clean and fresh. Isn’t this the kind of drink we all prefer?
– To prevent toxic salt build up. This will cause numerous problems to your plants.
– To prevent the growth of algae and fungus.
– To head off nutrient deficiencies and excesses.
– To prevent stunted plant growth.
– To keep pH and EC levels to your plants optimum (as already discussed)
– It’s generally good practice.
How to change your hydroponic nutrient solution?
The best way of changing your hydroponic nutrient solution is by flushing your entire system with a very mild nutrient solution mix. This mix should be around 25% of your usual strength, maybe a bit less. By doing it this way, you’ll successfully remove far more excess fertilizer than by simply flushing it out with plain water.
You should carry out this flushing of your entire system for around two hours. This means that your pumps should be actively pumping the solution around your entire system for the duration and it should even be feeding the plants.
Mixing Nutrient Solution For Hydroponics
You’ll be mixing the hydroponic nutrient solution in your reservoir, it’s just easier that way. So the first thing you need to do is make sure your reservoir is clean. Using a sponge, wipe away any excess salt build up from your previous solution. Now would also be the best time to ensure everything, your pump mostly is in good working order. If you’re using an aeroponics system then give extra care around the spray nozzle to ensure there’s no salts or debris clogging it up.
mixing hydroponic nutrient solutionFill up your reservoir with pure water. Make sure you’ve already checked the EC readings of your input water (see above), if it’s higher than 300 PPM solids then you’ll need to use a reverse osmosis filter to remove them.
Depending on the individual fertilizer you’re using and the volume of water in your reservoir, you’ll need to determine the volume of fertilizer or fertilizers to add to the water. The fertilizer should come with some instructions to help you determine the correct amount to add. If you’re still in any doubts then simply contact your local hydroponic dealer who should be able to give you some advice.
Your liquid fertilizers can of course simply be added straight to the water in your reservoir. However, on the rare occasion you may be using solids or powders then a good idea would be to dissolve them in a glass of warm to hot water before adding them to the mix. Ensure the powders are totally dissolved before adding them in.
Once everything is added together then give it all a good mix. Return to the mix one hour later and take your pH and EC readings. If your pH is too low then simply add pH up and obviously if it’s too high then add in some pH down until you reach the desired level for whatever you’re growing. That’s all you need to do.
Remember to check daily or at least every other day and make the necessary amendments to the hydroponic nutrient solution.