Water, water everywhere.
is an often overlooked component in hydroponics. Ideally, we
would use distilled water. That way we would be starting from
a completely neutral gallon mix. The real world is more murky.
fluoride and the added salts that most water softening systems
use, will all skew your results. We use a 10% chlorine solution
to clean the pails and components between plantings, but we make
sure that we rinse and clean thoroughly before planting the next
crop. Fluoride is also not good for plants.
most of the ingredients in hydroponic nutrient mixes are salts
themselves, the salts used in water conditioning can also alter
the characteristics of the mix.
a quandry! It sounds impossible! It need not. First, accept
that unless you use distilled water, whatever you use will be
imperfect. This isn't the end of the world. With some simple
precautions and observations you can get excellent results with
what's readily available.
your water has a chlorine smell, then you may be better off with
bottled water from the market. Chlorinated water may work with
flowering plants, but vegetables may tend to concentrate the
chlorine. A good resource will be your area Agricultural Extension
Center for information on the effects of chlorinated water on
you've got softened water, you'd do well to invest in a pH meter.
It will help to keep your pH balance toward the acidic side,
which is best for most plants. A TDS (total dissolved solids),
sometimes called an EC (electrical conductivity) meter will help
you to determine your optimum solution strength for your plants
at each stage of their growth. The combination meters are fine,
but your best buy is the waterproof variety. If you want to
buy them one at a time, I'd suggest the TDS (or EC) meter first.
An inexpensive pH kit can be bought at your local pet store
in the aquarium supply section. You should pick up some pH Down
while you're there, as you'll use a lot more of that than pH
lucky here, in that we still have well water. It has its own
problems, the main one being mineral content. It can block some
of the nutrients from being absorbed by the plants. It can also
overload some of the micro-nutrients that are included already
in the nutrient concentrates that we buy.
of what the meters read, no matter the books or recommendations,
the ultimate judge of your solution will be the plants themselves.
If they thrive, then you've done well and if you've logged your
procedures then you'll be able to duplicate your results.
New Tool Co.
Reprinted with permission.
Workshop - Hydroponics - Cryan Studio
© Copyright 2005-2009 Fabric Workshop
P.O. Box 204 Centerbrook, CT 06409
Go to ORDER PAGE
for Ordering Information