An intimidating prospect may be preparing your own fertilizer solutions from scratch. Once you learn the basics of fertilizer, you’ll find that it’s not that difficult. When you mix your own fertilizer solutions, you’ll save money in the process. Additionally, making your own fertilizer solutions from dry fertilizers requires less storage space than pre-mixed fertilizers, which are often in liquid form.
If you’re using hydroponics, make sure the nutrients you buy are soluble and suitable with the system. With a variety of fertilizers, Hort Americas is able to meet the needs of any grower. The Hort Americas website sells these fertilizers. You can get 5% off your online shopping by using the coupon FERTILIZERS5!
To begin making your own fertilizer solutions, it is important to know which hydroponic system you have. When it comes to the treatment of smaller water reservoirs, it’s often the same. A few extra parts may be needed for bigger deep water culture systems, which will be addressed further on in this text..
pH and EC meters must be properly calibrated before you begin mixing fertilizer solutions at home. To achieve accurate pH readings, it’s critical to keep calibrating your pH meters on a weekly basis. You can acquire calibration solutions from Hort Americas.
What is EC?
An EC rating is a measure of electrical conductivity. Your water’s salinity (both good and harmful) is represented by this value. Your water should be tested to make sure it is not more than 0.5. Consider employing a filtration system or seeking a new source of water if there is a significant concentration of dissolved salts in the water.
Concentrated fertilizer stock solutions can be used to grow leafy greens like lettuce and herbs in an NFT (nutrient film technique) system, such as a GrowRack or other small ebb-and-flood table. When filling the reservoir back up with water, you may easily make adjustments to the fertilizer solution. This is how you make a concentrated fertilizer solution:
- Two 5-gallon buckets with lids, clean and dry, are required.
- Using a flow meter, fill each bucket to the brim with 4 liters of water. The nutrients will dissolve more quickly in warm water. It is not required, however, to produce fertilizer solutions in warm water.
- Stock A and Stock B should be labeled on separate buckets.
- Add 1,432 grams of calcium nitrate to the Stock A bucket with care. Use a drill with a paint or concrete stirring attachment to fully mix the fertilizer solution.
- Add 824 grams of Hort Americas 9-7-37 Hydroponic Fertilizer and 668 grams of magnesium sulfate to the Stock B bucket, and mix thoroughly. The Stock A solution can be used to mix this solution.
- Keep the solutions stirred by placing a 4- to 5-inch air stone in each bucket and connecting it to a two-outlet air pump.
- To prevent algae growth, cover the buckets with lids and store them away from bright light.
pH Down liquid can be used to lower the water pH if it is above 6.5. Maintaining a pH between 5.5 and 6.5 is ideal. Some nutrients may be unavailable to your plants if the pH is too high or too low. If the pH of the nutrition solution isn’t maintained at the proper level, no amount of fertilizer application will make a difference.
Once the pH of the water has been corrected, the fertilizer stock solutions can be added. Stock A and Stock B should always be added in equal amounts. To get an EC of 1.5 to 2.0, a tiny amount of the stock solutions should be added at a time. You should add about 350 milliliters (ml) of Stock A and Stock B solutions to a 40-gallon water reservoir to elevate the EC by roughly 0.03.
When preparing your own fertilizer, the greatest suggestion is to take your time and not rush the process. Adding a tiny bit of each stock solution at a time, mixing it thoroughly, testing, and adding more stock solution as necessary is the simplest method. If you’ve accidentally added too much stock solution to your reservoir, this is preferable to dumping the entire thing and starting over from scratch.
Always take your time when regulating the pH. You should keep track of how much of each liquid (pH down or up) you add to your stock solutions, water, and other mixtures. To save time in the future, you can use this as a reference point when mixing new solutions. When it comes to your crop, it might help you identify what isn’t working.
It’s really not that difficult, is it? A hobbyist or tiny grower can make it as difficult as they like, but it does not have to be.
Growing in a deep water pond production system
All nutrients must be balanced in order to avoid deficiency or toxic poisoning in a big recirculating system.
To verify that the water is acceptable for hydroponic cultivation, a source water sample should always be sent to a lab for analysis before construction begins. Using a simple online search, you may locate a water analysis laboratory. A water sample form and instructions will be sent by the lab. It typically costs between $30 and $50 for a water sample analysis.
Your water source may already contain calcium, so you’ll need to take that into consideration while preparing this volume of water. Sodium, chloride, and alkalinity are all important considerations.
When alkalinity is very high, it may require more acid to maintain a stable pH, which is why alkalinity is sometimes referred to as a buffer. Acid will be needed on a frequent basis because the pH is continually trying to rise. Alkalinity levels should not exceed 150 ppm (parts per million) (ppm). The total concentration of sodium and chloride should not exceed 100 ppm.
An example of a laboratory analysis of source water is provided below:
If your water is suitable for hydroponics, the next step is to construct a fertilizer recipe. A wide variety of fertilizer recipes can be found online. We’ll utilize the Hort Americas demonstration greenhouse in Dallas, Texas, for this example because of the wide range of rates that have been seen there.
Our goal is to reach the ppm rates listed above while taking into account the water’s current composition.
The ppm of nutrients from the source water are already in the pond, which is 10 feet by 20 feet by 18 inches deep and holds approximately 2,244 gallons of water. In order to meet the permissible nutrient ppm rates for the crop, it must now be established what to add to the current formulation.
Analysis of fertilizer labeling (each value is a proportion of the total weight of the fertilizer):
P2O5 at a rate of 7 percent
37% of the K2O
Percentage (B): 0.09
0.05 % of Copper
Mn is present in very small amounts (0.19 percent).
1 percent of the time
P2O5 and K2O must first be reduced to their atomic elements before being used.
There are two formulas for converting between different units of measurement:
The formula for converting K2O to K is 0.83.
If 37% of the total is divided by 0.83%, the answer is 30% K
When converting to pounds per gallon, we’ll use milligrams per liter (mg/L). 1 ppm is equal to 1 mg/L of water.
You must first figure out the desired ppm before determining how much fertilizer is needed. It’s easy to see in the table below that potassium (K) makes up 30.71 percent of the fertilizer blend. The goal has been set at 180 ppm K.
The next step is to see what effect adding this much potassium has on the other components of the blend. Amounts of milligrams and percent of remaining elements must be multiplied by milligrams to arrive at total ppm.
The micronutrient manganese (Mn) is high, although not alarmingly so, according to the estimates. It is necessary to utilize additional fertilizer products to ensure that the required amounts of N, P, Ca, and Mg are met.
- Citrate of calcium (15.5 percent N, 19 percent Ca)
- Salt of magnesia (9.6 percent Mg, 13 percent S)
- Phosphate of monopotassium (22.7 percent P, 28.7 percent K)
The source water has a total nitrogen concentration of 53.97 parts per million (ppm). For a total of 193.97 ppm, an extra 140 ppm N are added.
Monopotassium phosphate can be used to boost phosphorus levels to 70 ppm. Already, 18.4 parts per million of phosphorus are on hand. Overdosing on potassium can prevent magnesium and calcium from being properly absorbed.
The final ingredient is magnesium sulfate. To reach a total magnesium concentration of 60 ppm, an additional 55 ppm of magnesium sulfate must be added to the 4.31 ppm already present.
We can now compare the final ppm to the allowed range:
The mg/L must be translated to pounds needed for the pond if the quantities are within the acceptable range.
Here are a few simple conversions to get you started:
A gallon is approximately 3.785 liters.
The weight in grams of an ounce is 28.35 ounces.
0.03527 ounces equals one gram.
454 grams = 1 pound
0.45 kilos is equal to one pound.
453,592 milligrams is equal to 1 pound
A kilo weighs about the same as 2.205 pounds.
One kilogram is equal to 1,000 grams.
A gram is equal to one thousand milligrams.
What we require is:
9-7-37 Hort Americas: 586 mg/L
Calcium nitrate concentrations of 903 mg/L
The concentration of magnesiosulfate is 573 mg/L.
Total liters must be calculated from the 2,244 gallons of water that were originally measured.
Gallons divided by 3.7885 equals liters.
Use the following calculation to convert mg/L to pounds needed for the reservoir:
Total liters divided by mg/L required divided by 1,000
10.97 lbs of Hort Americas 9-7-37 were required to meet the demand for the product.
Each fertilizer product should be converted to mg/L.
A 5-gallon bucket, a large measuring dish, and a scale are all you’ll need for this project. Fill the bucket about one-third of the way with water. Add the first fertilizer to the water in the bucket by weighing it out and mixing it in. Do not combine any of the fertilizers at once. Never use fertilizer in an empty bucket; always mix it in with the water. Using a drill and stirrer attachment, thoroughly mix the remaining water in the bucket. Adding the fertilizer to the pond is possible once the fertilizer is entirely dissolving. Each fertilizer ingredient should be treated in the same manner as the last.
Send a sample of your water to a lab for analysis every month or two. At this point, you can go through the process again to determine what nutrients need to be put to the pond. To meet your fertilizer requirements, a variety of products are available in a variety of combinations.
An example of how to combine fertilizers using a wide range of observed rates, this is not a suggestion for the final ppm. It’s a good idea to look out the standard rates for your particular crops.
Know Your Solubility Limit
Simply put, the amount of fertilizer that can be dissolved in water is limited. These are the maximum levels of solubility that can be achieved. It’s critical that the fertilizer is completely dissolved in the water before using it. Otherwise, the fertilizer will settle in the mixing tank and the plants will not receive their full dose of nutrients.
Fixing the fertilizer dissolving issue is as simple as trying a handful of different methods.
- If you’re working on a small scale, you can use a paddle to mix the solution by hand.
- It’s possible to keep the solution in circulation until it dissolves with a circulating pump or;
- It is possible to dissolve the fertilizer in hot water (180°F).
How To Mix Your Own Fertilizers
A few things to keep in mind:
- When it comes to making your own fertilizer, there are a variety of ingredients you can utilize. To be clear, these aren’t used all at the same time! Consider nitrogen and potassium as two examples of elements for which multiple potential sources could be identified. You must determine the percentage of each fertilizer in parts per million so that the totals for each element match the amount you intend to apply.
- Epsom salt and magnesium sulfate are interchangeable terms. The more common name for this molecule is Epsom salt, although the chemical name is just “Epsom salt.”
- Some fertilizers are more difficult to dissolve in cold water than others. These are the ones that require extra attention. A good example is potassium sulfate. Cold water will not allow you to dissolve more than about 83 pounds of the potassium-rich food. About 13 ounces per gallon is what this translates to in terms of weight. There should be no problem as long as you don’t go above this amount or use one of the previous ways (mixing or boiling water) to dissolve the fertilizers.
- There is no space for error when it comes to micronutrients. It is common for boron to be combined with other elements to provide only a tiny amount of the element. Inaccurate measurements may lead to harmful results for your plants, even if they are just off by a factor of 10.
If you’re unsure, stick with a commercial fertilizer that has been pre-mixed.
How to Mix Fertilizers
Fertilizers replenish the soil’s nutrients, ensuring a long and productive life for your plants and veggies. Mixing with water is required for most commercial fertilizers. Depending on the type and brand of fertilizer you are using, the water-to-fertilizer ratio varies. Organic recipes and handmade combinations, on the other hand, are often more affordable than commercial fertilizers.
1. Fill a sack halfway with organic compost and set aside. A pillowcase, burlap bag, or pantyhose are all good options. Close the sack’s open end with a tie.
2. A large, lidded container is ideal for placing the compost-filled bag in the center of things to decompose. Use a five-to-one water-to-organic-compost ratio to wet the bag and fill the container.
3. The tea should “brew” for seven to ten days with the lid on. This tea should be light brown in color, so keep adding water until it is. Then, using a clean pump sprayer, mist the plants with the tea solution.
Organic Fertilizer for Vegetables
1. Protect yourself with a dust mask, chemical-resistant rubber gloves, goggles, and protective clothes.
2. Using a big metal container, mix four parts seed meal with gypsum, one quarter part finely ground agricultural lime, and one quarter part finely ground agricultural lime.
3. Fill the container halfway with kelp meal and the other half with bone meal. Place the container’s lid on tightly and shake vigorously for a few seconds to properly blend the ingredients.
4. In the spring, apply organic fertilizer at a rate of 4 quarts per 100 square feet.
1. In a 55-gallon drum, add two parts water and one part fish waste (such as fish pieces and intestines) until a third of the drum is full.
2. Fill the drum to the brim with water. Wait a few weeks before using the mixture.
3. Apply 3 gallons of the mixture for every 100 square feet of surface area. The fish emulsion enriches the soil with nitrogen.
Finally, a well-fed plant will undoubtedly increase your output.
The more you care for them, the more beautiful and healthy they will become.
For fertilizer mixing, you must first know the proper ratio and follow the directions carefully.
Fertilizers are needed because the soil lacks the necessary nutrients for plants.
I trust you gained a great deal of knowledge regarding fertilizer mixing. Thank you for reading and good luck with your mixing!