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Plant Nutrients and Fertilizers
As a general rule, plants will have a higher nutrient requirement during cooler months, and lower requirements in the hottest periods. Therefore, a stronger nutrient solution should be maintained during winter, with a weaker solution during the summer months when plants take up and transpire more water than nutrients.
Know Your Crop Plant EC or cF may vary according to the stage of growth. For example, cucumber prefer cF 20 when establishing, and cF 25 after the first harvest. Between 3-7 weeks after first harvest, the optimum cF is 17.
See Plant FAQ's for charts of plants that grow well together.
Nutrient solution should be changed regularly. Between changes water levels will decrease. When this occurs 1/2 strength nutrients should be added to raise the level. When water evaporates or is used it raises the conductivity level of the water and should be monitored carefully not to burn the plants.
Should there be a requirement to flush the growing bed, the system should be flushed with nutrients (run-to-waste) rather than water to avoid starving or stressing the plants.
There are 20 Mineral Elements needed for optimal plant growth.
The Macronutrients, called such because they are required in large amounts.
The Micronutrients called such because they are required in trace amounts.
Common chemicals used in mixing your own nutrient formulas.
Common materials used as fertilizers and soil amendments.
TE = Trace Elements also called micronutrients.
Measured levels for hydroponic nutrients.
1 mS = 10 cF = 700 PPM
EC = Electrical Conductivity
mS = Milli Siemens
cF = Conductivity Factor
TDS = Total Dissolved Salts
PPM = Parts Per Million