For our growth we need so many things. But the most important thing we need is food and water. The nutrients we gain through food helps us a lot in leading a disease-free healthy life. Just as this the plants also need some basic needs in order to be healthy and most importantly to give us a higher yield. We all know that in hydroponics we are using a nutrient rich solution. This solution must contain all the necessary nutrients. Through this post I am going to discuss some of the key features regarding this nutrient solution. I think as hydroponics plays a great role in this modern farming world it is a must to have knowledge about this important topic.
What is this Hydroponic Nutrient Solution?
Plants need water, soil, light and air for their growth. But in hydroponics we replace this soil by a solution. A solution rich with nutrients. Normally the soil provides all the needs for the plant growth. The soil acts as a water retention medium, supply all the nutrients and also it provides the optimum temperature, salinity, pH and so on essential to have a better growing plant. Likewise, the nutrient solution we are using in the hydroponics system should also provide all these demands of the plants.
What are these nutrients?
From the beginning of this post, I mentioned the term nutrients. Now let’s have a look on what these nutrients are. Nutrients are some chemical compounds needed by all the plants to complete its life cycle. If we need to have the targeting yield from the plants sure we must provide all these nutrients. If we do not provide the correct nutrients at correct time in correct proportion or dosage then the plants will not grow well according to our expectations. It can subject to various diseases also. So, it is very essential to pay attention to these nutrient requirements of the plants.
Especially in hydroponic farming all the demands of the plants have to provide by us. so be careful when maintaining your hydroponic farm.
There are mainly two types of nutrients needed by the plants. They are macro-nutrients and the micro-nutrients.
These are the nutrients wanted by the plants comparatively in larger amounts. Carbon(C), hydrogen(H), nitrogen (N), oxygen(O), potassium(K), and phosphorous(P), can group under macro-nutrients.
Nutrients such as calcium (Ca), Sulphur(S) and magnesium (Mg) also come under macro-nutrients. But some what in less amounts than the above nutrients.
Micro-nutrients are the nutrients that uses by the plants comparatively in lesser amounts than the macro*nutrients. Nutrients like zinc (Zn), boron(B), chlorine (Cl), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), molybdenum (Mo) and nickel (Ni) comes under this category.
The nutrient solution should be able to provide all the above necessary nutrients in correct proportions. The proportion of these nutrients in the solution vary with the type of plant to plant. This composition also depends on the weather, plant type, temperature, growth stage, season and etc.
How to add these nutrients to the solution?
There are two methods in which you can supply these nutrients to the water solution. They are pre made and the home-made nutrients. Pre made nutrients are the packs or bottles of nutrients you can buy from the market. These are water soluble and if you are a small-scale farmer or a beginner you can simply go for this pre made solution. There only thing you have to do is to dilute the solution according to the correct proportions. Sometimes these solutions come up as liquids or as powdered form. As well you can buy macro and the micro nutrients separately.
Parameters to measure in the hydroponic nutrient solution
There are some key and important parameters you should measure in the solution before directing it to the plants. The correct maintenance of these parameters is very important for better growth of the plants. You have to check these parameters daily or regularly for better maintenance of the system
Some of the key parameters are mentioned here.
Correct pH of the solution is very important for the plants to absorb the nutrients from the solution. Different plants act differently in different temperature. Therefore, it is better to explore the best pH values for the plants you are growing. Most of the time the ideal or the optimum temperature is around 5-6 pH.
Optimum temperature which is not too cool or hot is needed for the plant growth. Correct monitoring of the solution temperature is important to facilitate the nutrient absorbance.
Measuring nutrient availability also must do daily or regularly.