How to Make Your Own Hydroponic Nutrient Solution

If you are looking for a way to garden that is efficient, sustainable, and doesn’t require a lot of space, then hydroponics may be the perfect option for you! Hydroponic gardening is the process of growing plants in water instead of soil.

This method has many benefits, including:

  • Reduced water usage – since no water is lost to evaporation, you can use less than traditional gardening methods
  • No nutrient runoff – since the nutrients are contained in the water solution, there is no risk of overfeeding your plants or polluting your local ecosystem
  • Faster growth rates – plants grown in a hydroponic garden typically grow faster than those grown in soil
How to Make Your Own Hydroponic Solution at Home

What is hydroponics and what are the benefits of using a nutrient solution in a hydroponic garden

If you are interested in starting a hydroponic garden, one of the first things you will need to do is make a nutrient solution. This solution will provide your plants with all the nutrients they need to grow.

A typical hydroponic nutrient solution is made up of three main ingredients:

Water – This is the base of your solution and should make up about 80-90% of the total volume.

Nutrients – The remaining 20-30% of your solution should be made up of nutrients that will give your plants everything they need to grow. These can be found in many different forms, including powders, liquids, and tablets.

pH adjusters – You will also need to add pH adjusters to your solution to ensure that the pH level is correct for your plants.

The best plants to grow in a hydroponic garden

While almost any plant can be grown in a hydroponic garden, some plants are better suited for this type of growing than others. Some of the best plants to grow in a hydroponic garden include:

Tomatoes – Tomatoes are a popular choice for many hydroponic gardeners because they are relatively easy to grow and produce a high yield.

Peppers – Peppers are another good option for hydroponic gardens. They can be grown indoors or outdoors, and they come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors.

Cucumbers – Cucumbers are a great option for hydroponic gardens because they are easy to grow and require little maintenance.

Lettuce – Lettuce is a good choice for hydroponic gardens because it grows quickly and does not require a lot of space.

Spinach – Spinach is another good option for hydroponic gardens because it is easy to grow and can be harvested in as little as two weeks.

Tips for maintaining your hydroponic garden

DIY Hydroponic Nutrients

Once you have set up your hydroponic garden, there are a few things you will need to do to keep it running smoothly. Here are some tips for maintaining your hydroponic garden:

Check the pH level of your solution regularly – The pH level of your solution should be checked at least once a week to ensure that it is at the correct level for your plants.

Change your solution every two weeks – You will need to change your solution every two weeks to ensure that your plants are getting the nutrients they need.

Monitor your plants closely – You should monitor your plants closely for signs of stress or disease. If you notice any problems, be sure to address them immediately.

DIY Hydroponic Nutrients: 6 Cheap Homemade Recipes

Hydroponic Nutrient Mix Formula №1

This mix is good for your plants. But you need to watch them to make sure they don’t have any problems.

This is the right formula for 5 gallons of water. Remember this is for non-circulating systems where the water is not diluted again before adding it to the tank. This is good for small systems with your roots sitting in the solution, like DWC or raft systems. If you want to use this in a circulating system, you will need to make more of this solution so it fills your tank.

  • Masterblend Tomato 4-18-38: 10 g
  • Calcium Nitrate 15.5-0-0: 10 g
  • Epsom Salt: 5 g

This is an easy solution to make and it doesn’t take a lot of time. However, you will need to get rid of it when you harvest your plants. This is because the salt/EC levels will increase. If you see any signs of deficiency, you can use one of the later supplementary formulas to give your plants some extra nutrients.

Hydroponic Nutrient Mix Formula №2

This DIY hydroponic nutrient mix needs a few more compounds than the first, but it is still very easy to mix. Once mixed, you just add 10 grams of the liquid for each gallon of water in your tank.

  • Potassium nitrate: 255g
  • Calcium Phosphate: 198g 
  • Magnesium Sulfate: 170g
  • Powdered Ammonium Sulfate: 43g
  • Monocalcium Phosphate: 113g
  • Iron Sulfate: 1/2 teaspoon

Mix your dry ingredients together to form a powder. Add 10g of this nutrient powder per gallon of nutrient-rich water. This dry mix is highly concentrated and can cause skin irritation, so wear goggles and suitable protective clothes.

To add nutrients to your tomatoes, you can use the “Farmers Friend Recipe” or the “Gift from the Sea” mix. Be sure to check your pH and EC levels after adding these nutrients.

Hydroponic Nutrient Mix Formula №3 – Compost Tea Recipe

This is a homemade organic nutrient mix. It takes more effort than other mixes, but it can give your plants a growth boost.

The first thing you will need is a compost heap or bin. This should be outdoors so that there are no fumes.

  1. To make a compost heap, you should use half green waste and half brown waste. Green waste is things like grass cuttings and green leaves. Brown waste is things like straw or hay, dead leaves, old papers (not shiny magazine paper), wood chippings.
  2. When you have your heap, turn it every few weeks so the materials can break down and the bacteria can do its job.
  3. When your compost is ready, you can add it to a large bucket. Fill the bucket with water and let it sit for three days.
  4. If you have access to aquarium water, that’s great. If not, try to avoid any chemically treated water. Rainwater is also a good option, so start collecting it when it rains.
  5. After your mixture has been soaking for three days, you will need to pour out the liquid. You will then need to strain it to remove all the compost sediment. The sediment can be put back on your compost heap.
  6. If you want to use this liquid, you need to mix 1/2 gallon with every 50 gallons of water in your tank.

You can use this recipe by itself, or you can add some of the next two recipes, homemade fertilizer or growth booster.

Hydroponic Nutrient Formula №4 – The Farmers Friend

The farmer who started using hydroponics to farm came up with this well-proven formula that retains organic elements.

  • Seed meal: 4 lbs.
  • Agricultural lime: 1lb and finely ground
  • Gypsum: 1lb
  • Dolomitic lime: 1lb
  • Bone meal: 1lb
  • Kelp (Seaweed): 1lb – you can use dried, just make sure it is not roasted.

To mix the ingredients, add them to 5 gallons of water. Stir until the consistency is thin. Not all of the ingredients will dissolve, so it is recommended to filter them before use.

You need to add 6-fluid ounces of this nutrient mix to every 100 gallons of water in your tank. This mixture is ideal for large systems, but you can make a smaller batch if needed. Just be sure to use it all so it doesn’t go bad.

Hydroponic Nutrient Formula №5 Gift From the Sea

This is a basic recipe. You can add growth enhancers or liquid fertilizers to boost plant growth. If you see any signs of deficiency, adding these in small increments can help your plants grow better.

  • Seaweed (Kelp): 6oz
  • Epsom Salts: 5 teaspoons – 1 teaspoon per gallon of water

This formula is super easy to make.

  1. All you need to do is take your seaweed, wrap it in cheesecloth, and tie it with twine. This prevents sediment settling in your water.
  2. Add 5 gallons of water into a bucket and add your seaweed bag.
  3. Leave this sitting in the sun for 5 days
  4. Add the 5 teaspoons of Epsom salts

You can add the entire contents of the nutrient mix to your hydroponic tank, or you can add it in one-gallon increments.

You need to measure your EC and pH levels to be safe, especially if you add growth enhancers during your plant’s growth.

Hydroponic Nutrient Formula №6

The nutrients in this mix are perfect for growing plants during the vegetative, flowering, and fruiting phases. If you need to scale up the recipe to make more than one gallon of mixture, be sure to adjust the quantities accordingly.

Vegetative Stage Nutrient Formulation

  • 6.00 grams – Ca (NO3) 2: Calcium Nitrate
  • 2.42 grams – MgSO4 * 7H2O: Magnesium Sulfate
  • 2.09 grams – KNO3: Potassium Nitrate
  • 1.39 grams – KH2PO4: Monopotassium Phosphate
  • 0.46 grams – K2SO4: Sulfate of Potash
  • 0.40 grams – 7% Fe Chelated Trace Elements – see below

Flowering Stage Nutrient Formula

  • 4.10 grams – Ca (NO3) 2: Calcium Nitrate
  • 2.40 grams – MgSO4 * 7H2O: Magnesium Sulfate
  • 2.80 grams – KNO3: Potassium Nitrate
  • 1.39 grams – KH2PO4: Monopotassium Phosphate
  • 0.46 grams – K2SO4: Sulfate of Potash
  • 0.40 grams – 7% Fe Chelated Trace Elements – see below

Fruiting Stage Nutrient Formula

  • 8.00 grams – Ca (NO3) 2: Calcium Nitrate
  • 2.80 grams – KNO3: Potassium Nitrate
  • 2.40 grams – MgSO4 * 7H2O: Magnesium Sulfate
  • 1.70 grams – K2SO4: Sulfate of Potash
  • 1.39 grams – KH2PO4: Monopotassium Phosphate
  • 0.40 grams – 7% Fe Chelated Trace Elements – see below

Chelated Trace Elements

  • 7.00% Iron (Fe)
  • 2.00% Manganese (Mn)
  • 1.30% Boron (B)
  • 0.40% Zinc (Zn)
  • 0.10% Copper (Cu)
  • 0.06% Molybdenum (Mo)

These trace elements need to be added together and mixed to a fine powder in a mortar and pestle before you can add them to your first three mixtures.

Point #1 – Choose the Right Kind of Nutrients

Firstly, you should choose the right kind of nutrients. The nutrients would differ from one plant to another. Two important elements all plants need would be oxygen and carbon. Luckily, these nutrients are obtained from air and water. Hence, your hydroponic nutrient solution doesn’t require these elements.

Point #2 – Be Familiar with Macronutrients

Now, you should become familiar with the macronutrients. This en covers over important nutrients like magnesium sulphate, potassium nitrate, calcium nitrate, potassium sulphate and mono potassium phosphate. Each of these compounds have a huge array of benefits and characteristic features.

Point #3 – Know Your Micronutrients

Moving on, you must decide on ideal micronutrients. Experts consider these as trace elements. Nevertheless, remember that these elements are also important. As suggested by its name, you should include micronutrients in very small quantities in the mixture.

The elements would have an impact in the reproduction, development and growth of hydroponic plants. Famous micronutrients would include nickel, boron, sodium, copper, chlorine, silicon and cobalt.

Point #4 – Making a Good Mixture!

Conversely, it’s time to mix the micronutrients and macronutrients properly! Just like reverse osmosis, you must use only distilled water to blend the essential nutrients. Tap water must be avoided, due to the presence of ions and free radicals. Complex ions and radicals prove to be harmful.

While mixing nutrients, you should use a good food graded plastic container. For a small hydroponic system, a 4-litre jug will be sufficient. On the other hand, some gardeners tend to use 20-litre containers while mixing large amounts of nutrients.

Point #5 – Making Accurate Measurements

Be very careful with the amount of nutrients you include in the hydroponic nutrient solution. Make use of sterilized filter papers and plastic scoops to store the chemicals. Also, buy a graduated cylinder to measure the nutrients accurately. Remember that too little or too much nutrients will have adverse effects on the plants.

Point #6 – Letting the Hydroponic Solution Flow

You can transfer the hydroponic nutrient solution, with or without a funnel! Nevertheless, when you use a funnel, everything will be under control. The chemicals will not flow out of the container or cause accidental spills. These spills will induce a nutritional imbalance in the hydroponic nutrient solution.

As you add the nutrients, remember to pour water into the container slowly. And, bear in mind that nutrients should not be lost or included into the system.

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