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Five tips to succeed when doing Kratky hydroponics

Passive hydroponic growing has become very popular during the past 10 years as it has a very low starting cost and uses no electricity. However, growing without active nutrient circulation, aeration and solution monitoring can cause significant problems, many of which can lead to crop failure. In this post I want to give you five […]

Practical use of ion selective electrodes in hydroponics

The achievement of adequate ion concentrations in nutrient solutions, media and plant tissue is key to success in hydroponics. It is therefore important to measure them, so that proper values can be maintained. Up until now, this has been mostly achieved with the use of external lab testing but electrochemical developments made during the past […]

Inner leaf tipburn in hydroponic lettuce

The most common problem I get contacted for by hydroponic lettuce growers is the appearance of inner leaf tipburn within their plants. During the past 10 years I have consulted for dozens of growers and helped many of them solve this issue. There can be multiple causes for the problem but a careful evaluation of […]

The effect of Seaweed/Kelp extracts in plants

Few bio-stimulants are more popularly used than seaweed/kelp extracts. These are used by many growers to increase plant quality and yields, in particular, extracts from the Ascophyllum nodosum species are an all-time favorite of the industry. These extract have also been studied extensively for the past 40 years, with large amounts of evidence gathered about […]

Characterizing hydroponic stock nutrient solutions

I’ve written several articles in the past about how to characterize concentrated hydroponic nutrient solutions using simple yet highly accurate small scale methods. I have now released a video showing how this is all done in practice, using the B solution I showed how to prepare in a previous video.

Why are different hydroponic formulations required for different situations?

Hydroponic growers tend to have very different experiences with nutrient solutions. It is not uncommon to find a grower who “swears” by product A and another who says product A delivers terrible results but product B is “the best”. This causes a lot of confusion among new growers since there doesn’t seem to be any […]

How tap water affects your hydroponic nutrient formulation

Tap water is often the most reliable source of water for hydroponic growers. However, especially in the North America and Europe, tap water can contain a significant amount of dissolved solids. These substances can fundamentally affect the properties of the water and require adjusting the nutrient formulation in order to achieve proper nutrient concentrations in […]

How much Phosphorous are you adding to your solution to adjust pH?

Phosphoric acid is one of the most commonly used pH down agents in hydroponics. This is because phosphoric acid is available in high purity, is easier to handle and has lower cost. However, phosphorous is a significant plant macro-nutrient as well, and substantially changing the level of available P in a nutrient solution can have […]

How to deal with nutrient solution waste in hydroponics

Hydroponic nutrients contain a wide array of chemicals that are fundamentally contaminating to water sources and can heavily contribute to eutrophication. Both run-to-waste and recirculating systems eventually generate significant amounts of waste as nutrient solutions cannot be infinitely used – even when recirculation is done – due to the many ways in which a solution […]

Factors limiting the life of a recirculating hydroponic nutrient solution

Hydroponic systems that use recirculating nutrient solutions can be more efficient in terms of water and nutrient usage. However, despite how good the management of a solution is, there are certain factors that will limit the time that a solution can be maintained without performing a full change of the entire recirculating nutrient solution within […]

Preparing your own low cost A+B generic hydroponic nutrients at a small scale from raw salts

In a recent post about the cost of custom hydroponic nutrients, I talked about the cost of preparing nutrients equivalent to those of a commonly used brand (general hydroponics Flora series) at a small scale. We saw that the cost savings are not very significant when doing this with small amounts of salts, given that […]

How to correctly prepare dilutions from concentrated solutions in hydroponics

Accurately preparing dilutions of concentrated nutrients is no trivial task. For example, if you want to prepare a 10 gallon solution at “2mL per gallon” of a hydroponic nutrient, ensuring that you’re adding 20mL and actually having a final volume of 10 gallons is not trivial, given the inherent errors in the measurement of both […]

The cost of reproducing the label of a commercial hydroponic fertilizer with raw salts at a small scale

Creating your own hydroponic nutrients can dramatically change the amount of money you spend in fertilizers per crop cycle. Commercial pre-blended hydroponics nutrients carry significantly high margins, so making your own nutrients can often save you a lot of money down the line. Raw fertilizer salts are not expensive at all – millions of tons […]

Starting a youtube channel to teach chemistry related hydroponic skills

The ScienceInHydroponics blog has been a great place to share my knowledge and experience in hydroponics during the last 11 years. However, the world has changed a lot since then and video has now become easier to produce and a better way to share a lot of practical content. For this reason I have decided […]

Hardware for building a wifi-connected DIY monitoring/control system for a hydroponic crop

Success in hydroponic systems can be increased by having adequate control over a wide array of different variables. Having automated monitoring and control will mean faster reaction times and provide better information about crop cycles as they happen. Having the possibility to choose the sensors that you require and code the control algorithms yourself will […]

Nutrient problems and foliar sprays

Nutrient related issues are common in hydroponic crops. They can happen due to a large variety of issues, including pH drifting, EC drifting, lack of proper nutrient ratios, humidity issues, temperature issues and root damage. The fact that an issue is of a nutritional nature will be evident within a leaf tissue analysis, but its […]

Five things to consider when trying to copy commercial hydroponic nutrients

There are hundreds of different formulated hydroponic fertilizers out there and most of them are very expensive. Due to these very high costs, growers will often want to copy a set of hydroponic products they are very familiar with or a set of products that other growers – ideally growing under similar conditions – have […]

Five things you can learn from leaf tissue analysis

Lab results are incredibly useful in hydroponics, as they give us a quantitative view of what’s going on within our crops. From the potential array of analysis that can be carried out, few give us as much information as leaf tissue analysis. Despite this fact, few growers ever routinely carry out this analysis, as it’s […]

What is the ideal amount of media per plant in hydroponics?

When designing a hydroponic crop, the amount of media is a crucial variable to consider as it will determine a lot of the capital costs involved as well as play a key role in determining how irrigation is setup and how big the plants can get. However, how can we figure out what the ideal […]

Why most of the time a “deficiency” in hydroponics is not solved by just “adding more of it”

I am routinely approached by hydroponic growers who believe that a “deficiency” in their hydroponic crop needs to be fixed by adding something to their nutrient solution. The logic is simple, a plant is showing some set of symptoms that are often associated with a lack of that element in tissue. The response, seems to […]

Getting all the data to evaluate a problem in a hydroponic crop

Problems are an inevitable part of being a hydroponics grower. Even experienced growers will sometimes face issues when moving between environments or plant species as things change and new challenges arise. A big part of being a good grower is to be able to think about these obstacles, find out their causes and successfully respond […]

Building a DIY control infrastructure for a hydroponic crop: Part one

Controlling an entire hydroponic crop using electronics is not a trivial task. This includes everything from the automated control of things like relative humidity and ambient temperature, to other variables, such as lights, solution pH, conductivity and temperature. Many paid solutions exist in the market, but, in my experience, none of them offer enough flexibility […]

Five common misconceptions around nutrient management in hydroponics

After many years of experience as a consultant in the hydroponic industry and interacting with dozens of different customers growing different plants with different systems, there are some common misconceptions that become apparent as time goes by. As a chemist, the ones I remember the most are related with the management of nutrient solution and […]

Five tips to successfully manage your nutrient solution in a recirculating hydroponic setup

Although a significant portion of hydroponic growers use run-to-waste setups – where the nutrient solution is ran through plants and then lost – the industry is now moving towards the implementation of recirculating hydroponic systems in order to reduce both water usage and the unnecessary dumping of fertilizers into sewage systems. A recirculating setup has […]

About the default fertilizer database in HydroBuddy

Hydrobuddy is an open source calculator that seeks to help growers create their own hydroponic nutrient solutions. In order to do this, the program includes a database with a list of curated fertilizers that should be a good starting point for those interested in making their own nutrients. However, why these salts are included might […]

A new conductivity model in HydroBuddy

On my previous post you can read about how I ran experiments to develop a conductivity model using empirical data in order to improve our ability to predict EC values from the concentration of individual nutrients in a hydroponic nutrient solution. In this post I will now talk about how this was finally implemented in […]

Building a model to predict EC in hydroponic nutrient solutions

Electrical conductivity (EC) is one of the most useful parameters in the practical preparation of hydroponic nutrient solutions. This is because knowing the expected conductivity of a nutrient solution can allow you to prepare solutions without having to measure the total volume exactly, a parameter that is often hard to accurately determine in practice. Although […]

Keeping plants short: Using day/night temperature differences (DIF)

In this article series about “keeping plants short”, we have explored the reasons why short plants are desirable and how this can be achieved using gibberellin inhibitors. However this is not the only effective way to control plant height and several other ways – some using no chemical means – can be used to keep […]

Monitoring the quality of fertilizer stock solutions

Hydroponic concentrated nutrient fertilizer manufacturers are not held to any routine quality standards by regulatory authorities in most countries. Although fertilizers need to be properly registered and their intended minimum compositions are shared with the public, the manufacturer never guarantees that each batch of the product will comply with any sort of quality standard and […]

Why red and blue LED grow lights never took off

Anyone who has been growing plants for a while has probably seen a chart showing the absorption profile of chlorophylls A and B, as shown in the image below. From this it seems that most of the light absorbed by plants has a wavelength below 500 nm or above 650nm so it seems incredibly straightforward […]

In-depth books to learn about hydroponics at an advanced level

Growing plants without soil requires a lot of knowledge. As a hydroponic grower, it is now your duty to provide the plant with the needed chemical and environmental conditions that nature used to provide. Acquiring this knowledge can be difficult, as there are few well structured programs that attempt to teach in-depth hydroponics to students […]

Six things you need to know before using plant hormones

Plant hormones are small molecules with no nutritional value that are used as chemical signaler within plants. A hormone will trigger a chemical signaling cascade that will cause the plant to carry out certain specific behavior. This fact has made them one of the most useful tools to manipulate plant growth and improve the yields […]

Keeping plants short: Synthetic gibberellin inhibitors

Plants grow both vertically and horizontally. A plant will develop branches along its stem – expanding horizontally – and the stem will grow towards the sun, making the plant taller. This vertical growth is almost always an undesirable quality, both in extensive and intensive crops, which creates an opportunity to improve plant cultures by attempting […]

Keeping plants short: Why is it important?

Plants have evolved to grow vertically – to reach more sunlight – and horizontally – to increase their surface area and capture more sunlight. However, vertical growth is almost always undesirable because of the many problems it can generate. With this article I am starting a series of posts about “keeping plants short” which will […]

Using calcium sulfate in hydroponics

Calcium is a very important element in plant nutrition and can be supplied to plants through a wide variety of different salts. However, only a handful of these resources are significantly water soluble, usually narrowing the choice of calcium to either calcium nitrate, calcium chloride or more elaborate sources, such as calcium EDTA. Today I […]

Average yields per acre of hydroponic crops

I constantly talk about yield in hydroponics and how a variety of different techniques, additives and methodologies can be used to make plants more productive. However, what is the average yield you can expect in a hydroponic crop for a given plant specie? Where have these yields been measured and what can you expect your […]

Three ways to judge the quality of powdered hydroponic nutrient products

Commercial hydroponic nutrients are often available as liquid concentrates. These offer a very reproducible experience for the user, with very high homogeneity and easiness of application. However, one big drawback of liquid concentrates is the fact that they contain a significantly large amount of water, meaning that shipping them is often very expensive. The solution […]

How to control algae in a hydroponic crop

Microscopic algae can be a very annoying problem in a hydroponic crop. As photosynthetic organisms they can cover all exposed surfaces that get wet with hydroponic nutrient solution and can cause a wide variety of different issues for the grower. They can also be hard to control, reason why some growers simply choose to ignore […]

Can you use regular soil fertilizers in hydroponics?

If you have just started your journey into hydroponics you’re probably wondering why you need to spend your money in hydroponic specific nutrients when there are so many cheaply available soil fertilizers sold out there. Certainly there are all plant food and there must be some way you can use all these cheap soil fertilizers […]

Accurately preparing large quantities of concentrated hydroponic nutrients

When preparing concentrated solutions for hydroponics it is important to have a reproducible process that always generates the exact same results. If this is not done, you’ll obtain different nutrient concentrations between different batches and the concentrated nutrient additions to create the final nutrient solutions will yield inconsistent results. To address the potential variability of […]

Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria (PGPR) in hydroponics

Plants did not evolve in an isolated environment but with a wide variety of different microbes. Through their evolution, plants prospered more in the presence of certain microbes and therefore evolved traits to attract and nurture them. In turn these microbes were also selected to create even deeper mutualistic relationships with plants. Specifically, the bacteria […]

Why do NPK labels express P and K as oxides?

If you have had any contact with the fertilizer world you have probably noticed that fertilizer labels contain N-P-K values on their front and back labels, denoting the chemical composition of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium available within the product. However you will soon learn that while N is elemental composition – the actual percent of […]

HydroBuddy has now been updated to v1.70: New features and modifications

My free and open source hydroponic nutrient calculator has been available since 2010, going through many iterations and changes through the years. The latest version as of May-24-2020 is now 1.70, which you can download here. This new release implements some important updates and modifications. In this post I will write about these, the reason […]

Calcium EDTA and its problems in hydroponics

Calcium is mainly used in hydroponics as calcium nitrate, given that this is a very soluble and abundant form of calcium. However this is not the only way calcium can be fed to plants and a myriad of other calcium sources exist. Among this we find calcium sulfate, calcium chloride, calcium hydrogen phosphate, calcium citrate, […]

How to prepare a low cost chelated micronutrient solution

Micronutrients constitute only a small portion of a plant’s nutritional requirements but are still vital to growth and development. They are mainly comprised of heavy metals (Fe, Zn, Mn, Cu, Mo) as well as a single non-metal, boron (B). Since they are used in such small concentrations – normally in the 5 to 0.01 ppm […]

How to prepare pH 4 and 7 buffers from scratch without using a pH meter

I wrote a post in the past about how you could prepare pH buffers in order to calibrate your pH meter if you happen to already have a calibrated pH probe. This can generate decent results if the initial calibration of the probe is excellent and the sensitivity of the probe is high. This however […]

Why TDS is NOT equal to Total Dissolved Solids in hydroponics

Electrical conductivity is a very commonly used measurement in hydroponics, yet a very poorly understood one. I have written several posts about conductivity in the past (1,2,3) and today I want to talk about the use of the term “Total Dissolved Solids” and the poor usage of the unit “ppm” in order to express a […]

Understanding the carbonic acid/bicarbonate buffer in hydroponics

I have written several articles before about pH and it’s importance in hydroponic culture (1, 2, 3, 4). However I have yet to write a detailed explanation of one of the most important buffering systems in hydroponics, which is the carbonic acid/bicarbonate buffer. This buffer is significantly more complicated than the simpler buffer created using […]

Hydroponics nutrients and microgreens

One of the most important goals in microgreens is to maximize the amount of weight gained by shoots from seed to harvest. Since the entire upper body of the plant is harvested and plants are sold by weight, maximizing the weight gain is vital in order to obtain the highest possible margins in a crop […]

Is my water source good for hydroponics?

Before starting your hydroponic project it is important to know whether your local water source can actually be used to water plants. Not all water sources are compatible with plants and some require special adaptations to the nutrient solution in order to become viable. In this post I will talk about the things that can […]

A guide to different pH down options in hydroponics

The control of pH in hydroponic nutrient solutions is important. Plants will tend to increase the pH of solutions in most cases – as nitrate uptake tends to dominate over the uptake of other ions – so most growers will tend to use pH down much more than they use pH up. While most growers […]

Microgreen production at home: Getting the materials

Microgreens are plants that are harvested for consumption during the seedling stage, normally a week or two after a seed has been germinated. They can be one of the most nutritionally dense plant foods out there, given that they contain a lot of the nutrition already present in seeds plus phytonutrients derived from the beginning […]

Nutrient solution conductivity estimates in Hydrobuddy

People who use Hydrobuddy can be confused by its conductivity estimates, especially because its values can often mismatch the readings of conductivity meters in real life. This confusion can stem from a lack of understanding of how these values are calculated and the approximations and assumptions that are made in the process. In this post […]

Sugars in hydroponic nutrient solutions

Carbohydrates are an integral part of plants. They produce them from carbon dioxide, requiring no additional external carbon inputs for the process. However, since plants can absorb molecules through their leaves and roots, it is perhaps natural to wonder whether they could also get carbohydrates through the roots and avoid some of the stress they […]

Controlling pH in hydroponics using only electricity

The ability of plants to assimilate nutrients changes as a function of pH. This makes maintaining the pH of nutrient solutions within an acceptable range – most commonly 5.8 to 6.2 – one of the most important tasks in a hydroponic crop. This is commonly done with the addition of strong acids or bases to […]

Maximizing essential oil yields: A look into nutrient concentrations

Essential oils are the main reason why several plant species are currently cultivated. These oils have a wide variety of uses either in the food industry or as precursors to more complex products in the chemical industry. Modifying nutrient solutions to maximize oil yields in hydroponic setups is therefore an important task. However, there are […]

How to make your growing more systematic

The aim of every grower should be to improve their results with every new crop cycle. This is strongly facilitated by practices that make growing more systematic as problems become easier to spot and solutions become more obvious. However, having a systematic growing approach is not trivial as it requires a substantial amount of effort […]

The best cheap sensor setup for relative humidity in hydroponic automation projects

I have written in the past about humidity in hydroponics, especially how accurately measuring humidity is hard due to problems with the sensors. In my experience during the past 5 years with different humidity sensors in Arduino based automation projects I have tried different chipsets and have now reached a conclusion about my preferred chipset […]

The media exchange solution test: A better measurement of media effects in hydroponics

In the traditional hydroponic paradigm we want media to be as chemically inert as possible. The ideal media in this view would absorb no nutrients, give off no nutrients and would not decompose or react with the nutrient solution in any way. However none of the commonly available media sources comply with these properties, reason […]

Using biochar in hydroponics to improve yields

The media used in hydroponic crops can vary widely around the world depending on what’s cheaper and more easily available in large quantities. In the United States, coco coir, peat moss and perlite tend to be favored while other regions might prefer media like rice husk, sand or vermiculite. However there is an entire type […]

Six things to consider when running experiments in hydroponics

Two different growing facilities are never exactly the same. Fine tuning nutrient solutions, irrigation cycles and environmental conditions is therefore fundamental to achieve the best possible outcomes under different growing conditions. This naturally requires experimentation, which is not trivial to carry out. Today I am going to talk about five important things you need to […]

Why you should optimize your nutrient solution for your particular setup

In hydroponics, most plant nourishment is delivered through the use of a nutrient solution. This solution is prepared from raw fertilizer inputs by the grower – or a fertilizer company – and should contain adequate mineral ratios to maximize plant growth. However, although basic solutions can successfully grow crops under a wide variety of conditions, […]

Five common reason why you’re losing yields

Mistakes in hydroponic culture are not uncommon among both amateur and seasoned growers. Since there is considerable distances between a successful crop and an optimal crop, growers can go a long time without noticing mistakes that are likely to be heavily detrimental to their actual crop yields. Today I am going to share with you […]

High P or low P? The mystery of phosphorus in hydroponic culture

If you searched for the optimal P concentration for plant growth in hydroponics you will likely find very different results, ranging from low values to very high values. This is inherently contradictory and difficult to understand, why don’t we have a smaller range for optimal P conditions? Why has it been so hard to describe […]

Using a biodegradable iron chelate (IDHA) in hydroponics

Chelates are a very important part of hydroponic nutrient solutions as they provide a reliable source of heavy metals. Without chelates, heavy metals can easily go out of solution and become unavailable, either because they precipitate as an insoluble salt or because they are captured by active surfaces with a high affinity for metals. Among […]

Selenium in hydroponic culture

The element selenium (Se) is not commonly used in hydroponic culture – as it’s not necessary for plant life – but the fact that it’s necessary for human life has meant that plant enrichment with selenium and its effects have been studied in hydroponics. Its effects however, are more than just an increase in Se […]

Five ways to save money in hydroponics

Commercial hydroponics can be extremely expensive, given the technological complexity and supplies required for a successful crop. The biggest costs are usually related with the initial setup but subsequent crops can also become very expensive, especially if you are using boutique fertilizers or additives that can get very expensive very quickly. Today I want to […]

Using electro-degradation to enhance yields in recirculating hydroponics

The efficient use of nutrient solutions is a very important topic in hydroponics. Although some commercial growers use run-to-waste systems where solutions are not recirculated, the economics of fertilizer use often demand re-circulation in order to enhance nutrient utilization and maximize growing efficiency. However one of the biggest problems found when circulating nutrient solution continuously […]

Using machine learning control methods in hydroponics

Properly controlling the hydroponic environment is perhaps one of the most challenging tasks the modern grower must face. Either with a small grow room or a big green house, it is difficult to properly control variables such as temperature, humidity, pH and nutrient concentration, ensuring they are all kept in tight ranges with the proper […]

Calcium’s behavior in hydroponics

Calcium is often one of the most puzzling elements in hydroponic culture due to its ability to respond fairly non-linearly to nutrient concentrations in solution. This behavior is the result of its transport dynamics and its relationship to other elements that may antagonize it very effectively when they reach higher concentrations. On today’s post I […]

Better understanding pH dynamics in hydroponic culture

Plants require specific conditions within their root zones to give optimal yields. The negative of the logarithm of hydronium concentration (a.k.a pH) is a very important measurement that tells us if the root zone is too acidic or too basic for our plants. However pH is affected by many different variables, making the calculation, theoretical […]

Five important things you should know about humidity in hydroponics

Humidity is one of the most important metrics in hydroponic culture. In order to have a successful crop it is critical to understand what humidity actually is, how we measure it, why we need to control it and where we want it to be. Today I want to share with you five things you should […]

DIY Warm white LED lamp PAR measurements, not so exciting after all!

If you read my last few posts about DIY LED lamps built using 150W warm white LED cobs (which do not require an independent driver) you might have been excited by some of my claims. I previously stated that you could probably get around a 1000W HPS equivalent using just two of these lamps, which […]

Cheap DIY high power LED grow lights: Introducing the Zip-tie lamp

Make sure you also read this post, where I studied the PAR of these lamps and realized they are not as good as I thought! Several months ago I wrote a post about using high power LED cobs that do not require an external driver in order to build a high power DIY LED lamp. […]

Potassium concentration and yields in flowering plants

From the different nutrients that are needed by plants we have known for more than 4 decades that potassium is of critical importance to flowering/fruiting plants. Potassium is one of the most highly limited nutrients in soil due to its high mobility and great increases in yields have been achieved with both potassium fertilization in […]

Five reasons why a dedicated hydroponic testing room is a great idea

Most commercial hydroponic setups completely lack testing environments. The most common reason for this is that commercial crops are meant to produce revenue and a testing environment means dedicating space, time and money into something that might not be as productive as the rest of the production facility. Furthermore a testing room implies that you […]

The use of phosphites in plant culture

Plants normally get most or all of their phosphorous from inorganic phosphorus sources. Most commonly these sources are monobasic or dibasic phosphate ions (H2PO4– and HPO4-2), which are naturally formed from any other phosphate species at the pH values generally used in hydroponics (5.5-6.5). However these are not the only sources of inorganic phosphorous that […]

Five things you should know when mixing your own hydroponic liquid nutrients

Many hydroponic growers – especially large scale ones – can benefit greatly from mixing their own custom nutrients. Not only can this save money in the thousands of dollars per month but it can also give you an unprecedented degree of control when compared with store-bought nutrients. On today’s post I am going to write […]

Humic acids in hydroponics: What is their effect?

Plants and microorganisms affect the substrates in which they grow in many ways. If you start growing plants in an inert substrate – with nutrient applications of course – you will notice that the substrate’s chemical composition will start to change with time and it will start to get enriched in carbon containing substances. As […]

How to prevent problems with powdery mildew in hydroponic crops

One of the worst problems you can get in a hydroponic crop is mildew. Year after year I see growers lose significant amounts of production due to this disease within a variety of different crops. Powdery mildew reduces yields, stunts plants and – if contracted early on – will possibly cause a complete loss of […]

Five important things to consider when doing foliar spraying

Foliar spraying is a true and tested way to increase yields and prevent issues in plant culture. Both soil and hydroponic growers have used foliar fertilizer applications to increase yields and prevent problems due to nutrient deficiencies during the past 50 years. However there is a lot of mystery and confusion surrounding foliar fertilizer applications, […]

Creating a robust pH/EC monitor for hydroponics using Atlas probes and an Arduino

A few months ago I talked about how you could build a simple sensor station for your hydroponic projects using an arduino (see here). However this small project used the relatively cheap – but I have found not very robust – pH/EC probes and boards from gravity which makes it a poorer choice for a […]

Comparing the conductivity of two different solutions

Conductivity is perhaps the most misunderstood and erroneously used measurement in hydroponic culture. This has a lot to do with conductivity also being called a “totally dissolved solid” (TDS) measurement and the conductivity scale being expressed in “ppm” units, concentration units which only cause confusion in this area. Today I want to talk about an […]

Controlling aphids in a hydroponic crop. Part 1.

Without a doubt aphids are one of the most common pests affecting crops worldwide. There are both root and leaf aphids, the former which generally live only around plant roots – producing winged offspring only to infest new plants – while the later live generally in plant stems, leaves and – when infestations are bad […]

Five ways to increase your seed germination rates

When you start plants from seeds one of the most important things you want to achieve is a very high and fast germination rate. However if you try to do seed germination without any additional effort you will most likely reach sub-optimal results since there are some natural factors that hinder seed germination that need […]

Making your own DIY plant rooting gel

Cloning is a very common technique used by a large variety of plant growers. When growing plants from seeds there is an important unpredictability factor in what you might get so cloning ensures that you get a clear genetic copy of the parent and therefore removes a lot of the variability inherent to the growing […]

Building your own DIY high power LED lamp: Part One

It is no mystery that LED technology has evolved greatly during the past several years. We are now up to the point where anyone can buy LED lamps to replace HPS fixtures, with full spectrum LED configurations that have showed to be just as good – or sometimes even better – at growing crops (see […]

What is the ideal nutrient solution temperature in hydroponics?

One of the simplest variables that can make a substantial difference in crop yields in hydroponics is the temperature of the nutrient solution. Nutrient absorption by plants is mainly controlled by chemical processes within their roots and the efficacy of these processes is determined in an important part by the temperature the roots are subjected […]

Are High Pressure Sodium (HPS) Lamps better than LEDs?

Growers who use artificial lighting usually prefer high pressure sodium (HPS) lamps to do the job. Not only do HPS lamps have a very high photon flux but compared to metal halide (MH) lamps they have a much more prominent red spectral component and therefore a significantly larger dose of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) per […]

Five dos and don’ts for automated pH control in hydroponics

The pH is one of the most important variables to control in hydroponic culture as it plays a key role in the availability of different ions and their absorption dynamics. Although most growers control pH manually it is often desirable to implement automatic pH control so that you can ensure that your solution always stays […]

Using triacontanol to increase yields in hydroponics

Usually additives used in hydroponics need to be added in rather large quantities to obtain palpable results. Molecules like salicylic acid – which we have discussed before – need to be used in concentrations in the order of 10-4 to 10-2 M to obtain a significant effect. This means that you need to use quantities in […]

Salicylic acid and its positive effect in hydroponics

When looking for ways to increase crop yields we usually want something that is safe for the environment, safe for us and able to give us a substantial bang for our buck. From the multitude of additives that have been researched during the past 30 years one simple organic molecule seems to fit all the requirements […]

Using titanium to increase crop yields

There are many additives that can be used to enhance the yield of flowering crops. Some have been covered in this blog – like silicon – while others haven’t been mentioned here. Today we are going to talk about a rarely discussed additive that is infrequently used in plant culture these days: Titanium. I want to talk […]

Phosphorous toxicity and concentration in higher plants

If you search the web for symptoms of nutrient toxicities you will often find clear pictures and descriptions for most elements. Feed a plant too much nitrogen and it will grow leggy and weak, with dark leaves and long stems, feed it too much boron and you will see yellowing and tissue necrosis. However you […]

A simple Arduino based sensor monitoring platform for Hydroponics

Last time I posted about automation I talked about how I use an Arduino to automate the monitoring and management of my home hydroponic system. Today I want to talk about how you can build an Arduino based station to monitor the most important variables of your hydroponic crop without having to solder anything, use […]

What is the effect of amino acids in hydroponics?

It is very common for hydroponic nutrient manufacturers to add amino acids to their products. They often mention significant benefits that range from strengthening plants to greatly increasing yields or product quality but they rarely mention any peer reviewed evidence studying these effects. Today we are going to look at the use of amino acid applications […]

Calibrating your digital humidity sensors

On a recent post I talked about vapor pressure deficit and its importance in hydroponic culture. To adequately control VPD it’s necessary to accurately measure relative humidity and in order to do so it’s necessary to have adequately calibrated humidity sensors. Since most of today’s humidity sensors are digital this becomes even more important as these sensors can […]

Probes for constant immersion in hydroponic nutrient solutions

If you have a hydroponic crop then you probably have to measure and monitor the pH and EC of your nutrient solutions. This means taking probes out of storage, ensuring they are calibrated and then carrying out measurements. This process can be very inconvenient, reason why growers might prefer to carry it out less often, even […]

Five things that will damage your pH probes

Since pH is one of the most important variables to control in hydroponic culture almost all hydroponic growers have and use pH probes. There are however several things that can go wrong with these probes due to the very nature of the sensor and the way in which other substances interact with it. Today we […]

Vapor pressure deficit (VPD) in hydroponics

If you have read books or articles about greenhouse environmental control you have probably heard about Vapor Pressure Deficit, also known as VPD. This is an important variable to measure as it helps us understand the conditions our plants are facing, gauge their water use and even predict whether we will be getting better or […]

Maximizing yields per area in hydroponics

Since the 1940’s hydroponics – which I use to talk about a broad variety of soilless growing methods – have promised to deliver better plant yields than soil culture with less water usage and higher fertilizer efficiency. However there are many different types of soilless cultures that vary in their initial cost, media used, irrigation […]

A few basics of leaf tissue analysis in hydroponic crops

Adequate nutritional control is difficult. Although there are several tools to control your plant’s chemical environment – such as pH, EC and ORP – in the end the main interest we have is to control the composition of plant tissue and how this composition affects plant development and yields. One of our sharpest tools to […]

Managing a Run To Waste (RTW) hydroponic crop from a nutritional perspective

Today it’s very common to create hydroponic crops using techniques where nutrient solution is not recycled. This type of crop, commonly called drain-to-waste (DTW) or run-to-waste (RTW) offers the advantage of having a very cheap setup – since no recirculation is used – with the big disadvantage that nutrient control becomes harder as there is […]

Using coco coir in hydroponics

Side by side with peat moss, coco coir is one of the most commonly used media in hydroponic culture. Its excellent root propagation and aeration properties, coupled with its adequate water retention, make it an ideal media for hydroponic culture. Nonetheless there are several issues that can arise when using coco coir, particularly due to […]

Measuring ion concentrations in hydroponics using electronic tongues

One of the biggest problems in hydroponic research is the measuring of individual ion levels in hydroponic solutions. Right now there is no commercial solution for the accurate tracking of individual ions in hydroponic solutions and this makes it impossible to track ions in real-time to measure how nutrient absorption reacts to different environmental and […]

Using Peat Moss in Hydroponic Culture

There are several different types of media available for hydroponic culture and from these peat moss is one of the most popular due to its low cost and high availability in some countries. This media is made up of decaying mosses and is used mainly in drop irrigation systems of both a recirculating and non-recirculating […]

Automated media moisture monitoring in hydroponic crops

Irrigation control is one of the most important things to control in a hydroponic crop. Irrigate too frequently with a media that has high water retention and your plants will start to wilt as their roots die due to lack of oxygen and reductive conditions, water too sparingly and your plants will not grow as […]

Hydrobuddy v1.60: A new update with important changes

During this past few weeks I have been working on modernizing Hydrobuddy in order to get it to compile with the latest versions of Lazarus and the Free Pascal Compiler (FPC) so that other people can more easily build the software from source. Today I want to talk about the latest release for Hydrobuddy (v1.6) […]

Do you really need to be using RO water?

One of the most common practices in hydroponics is to use reverse osmosis (RO) water in order to create your hydroponic nutrient solutions. This water is made by running another water source – most commonly tap water – through a reverse osmosis system that removes a very large portion of the ions within the initial […]

Hydroponic micro and macro nutrient sufficiency ranges

When you want to prepare a nutrient solution one of the first things you want to know is which concentration ranges are appropriate for the growth of the specific plant specie you want to cultivate. You will definitely want to make sure that you do not feed either too much or too little of any […]

What is the effect of chloride in hydroponics?

I recently wrote a post about the effect of sodium ions in hydroponics and how it is important to keep an eye on sodium levels due to the potentially negative effects they can have on plants. However you may have noticed that sodium is never added alone into nutrient solutions and there is always a […]

Some things you should know about sodium in hydroponics

Sodium is a ubiquitous element, you can find it in your tap water, in the sea and in most eatable foods. It is also necessary for animal life where it plays a key role in many biological processes. However – despite its overwhelming abundance – sodium is in fact not required for plant life in […]

Using UV sterilization in your recirculating hydroponic crop

In general most growers want their hydroponic setups to remain fairly sterile. This is because maintaining a sterile environment discourages problems such as algae growth and can eliminate bacterial and fungal problems even before they appear. This is especially important in recirculating hydroponic setups where algae can cause important nutrient balance issues within hydroponic solutions and root […]

What is an ORP meter and why is it useful in hydroponics?

Hydroponic growers are used to using pH and EC meters to control their growing conditions but very few use ORP meters in order to learn more about their nutrient solution. An ORP meter can give you very useful information and cheap ORP meters can usually be bought on ebay or amazon for less than 20 dollars […]

How to prepare your own solutions for EC meter calibration

On a recent post I talked about how you can prepare your own solutions for the calibration of your pH meter. However hydroponic growers not only need to calibrate their pH meters but they also need to use EC meters to control their growing environment. Today I want to talk about how you too can prepare […]

Preparing your own buffer solutions for pH calibration

One of the most common tasks that hydroponics growers have to carry out is to calibrate their pH meters in order to ensure that the readings are accurate. To do this it is generally necessary to buy somewhat expensive pH buffer solutions that will only last for a relatively small while before new solutions have […]

Automating a hydroponic system: Sensors and monitoring

Hydroponic systems benefit greatly from gathering more information as this gives the grower the ability to better diagnose problems and better understand the evolution of their hydroponic crops. Usually growers limit the information they gather to single sensor measurements carried out either at different points during the day or even only when nutrient solutions need […]

Is ortho-silicic acid worth the additional expense in hydroponics?

Silicon is all the rage right now and different silicon product manufacturers are racing to produce commercial products that contain more and more biologically active silicon. The idea is mainly that potassium silicate – the most commonly used form of silicon in hydroponics – has some problems maintaining high bioavailability at the pH levels used […]

Nitrate, Ammonium and pH in hydroponics

The stability and variability of pH in hydroponic solutions has always been a complicated topic to discuss. There are many reasons why pH may change in a hydroponic system, ranging from the media being used, the micro-organisms present and the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. However the most agressive contributing factor in a healthy […]

HydroBuddy v1.80 : The First Free Open Source Hydroponic Nutrient Calculator Program Available Online

HydroBuddy is a completely free and open source program for the calculation of nutrient solutions for hydroponics and general agriculture built by me – Daniel Fernandez – based on my experience in hydroponics as a professional chemist. This piece of software was coded from the ground up using the Lazarus open source programming suite and […]

Almost There Guys ! The New HydroBuddy v1.0 is Just Around the Corner :o)

Through the past few months its been very quiet here at scienceinhydroponics.com mainly because I have been very busy with the development of the latest version of HydroBuddy as I mentioned within my last post. Through the past few weeks I have worked many hours on this new implementation and I am glad to say […]

Walking Towards v.1.0 : Why Development of HydroBuddy is Taking Its Time

If you had been following my development of the free HydroBuddy nutrient calculator your probably have wondered why development seems to have “stopped” during the past few months. The truth is that beyond the fact that I have been quite busy – with my other occupations – I have actually decided to implement some very […]

Instrument Precision : Its Importance in the Preparation of Hydroponic Nutrient Solutions

One of the most overlooked aspects when preparing hydroponic nutrient solutions is the actual precision of the instruments used to measure the salt or liquid reagent additions. People who are not familiarized with the preparation of solutions usually underestimate the importance of this aspect of solution making – both concentrated and final – which is […]

Understanding Reagent Purity and Its Importance in Hydroponics

When making hydroponic nutrient solutions one of the most important concepts we need to understand is “reagent purity” and how this affects the overall quality and composition of our hydroponic nutrient solutions. People who have not been academically trained in science usually do not have a very good understanding of this concept and its implications […]

HydroBuddy’s Online Hydroponic Formulation Database

There are certainly thousands of different ways in which a hydroponic nutrient solution can be prepared. You can make a solution schedule to closely follow the environmental and growing conditions of a certain crop – like tomatoes – or you can simply make up a generic formulation to use within all your hydroponic plants. Besides […]

Hydroponic Nutrient Availability : What “Pushing Out an Element” Really Means

Plants need a very large variety of elements in order to grow successfully. In hydroponic crops we intend to provide all these elements in their different forms dissolved within our nutrient solutions. However the mechanisms by which plants absorb these elements is complex and there are many different factors that determine which elements are absorbed […]

Preserving Fertilizers and Additives – How to Keep them from Going Bad

When you prepare your own hydroponic nutrient solutions and you are finally happy with the way in which you have been mixing your nutrients and additives you start to notice that something murky is starting to develop from the top of your container. When you open up your nutrients or additives you then find a […]

A Step Forward : Moving from AllHydroponics to ScienceinHydroponics.com

Through the past few weeks I have been meditating about the current limitations of the blogger platform and how it makes my writing and customization options smaller and the look of my blog less professional. Due to the fact that I intend to start writing more and expanding this blog it becomes evident that I […]

Making Isotonic Solutions For Draining : Preparing Your Own – and better – Clearex

When growing hydroponic products it is common in the industry to do a final treatment before picking up the crop in which nutrients are removed from the hydroponic solutions. While in most cases this is achieved by passing RO water through the system it is true that passing water with a very low osmotic pressure […]

Imitating Commercial Nutrients : A Tutorial Using HydroBuddy (my free Hydroponic Nutrient Calculator)

A few months after the first official release of my free hydroponic nutrient calculator it seems that many people are using it to imitate commercial hydroponic fertilizer formulations. Although the calculator had the capacity to do this from the time when the “salts to formulations” feature was implemented many users apparently did not know how […]

Bulding a World Without Hunger : The Massive and Passive Hydroponic System Project

If you have visited my blog within the past few days you have probably realized that I am interested in the further development and use of non-recirculating, totally passive hydroponic systems which are extremely easy to use and require no electricity or high setup costs. These systems are very important due to the fact that […]

Completely Passive, Non-Recirculating Hydroponic Systems : Some Tips for Large Plants

On yesterday’s post I talked about the existence of completely passive, non-recirculating hydroponic systems and how they can be successfully used for the growth of almost any hydroponic crop you can imagine. Following on this post’s idea today I want to share with you some tips to use this type of system with larger plants […]

Completely Passive, Non-Recirculating Hydroponic Systems : Yes, Its Possible

Generally when we think about growing plants hydroponically we think about complex setups with water pumps, air pumps, artificial lights, environmental control and greenhouses. However, it has been shown through many controlled experiments and experiences that hydroponics can be made in a much less fancy way, so simple in fact that pumps and other such […]

Improving Seed Germination : The Science of Seed Priming

When we want to produce large amounts of plants or simply when we want to start our gardens fast and get the most out of our purchases improving seed germination becomes a large priority. One of the largest concerns of world agriculture as well as the home grower is the decrease in germination time and […]

My Hydroponics Calculator : Features and Objectives

For those of you interested in the preparation of your own hydroponic nutrient solutions, my hydroponic nutrient calculator should prove to be a very useful (hopefully invaluable !) tool to complete this endeavor. Within the following paragraphs I want to talk to you about the main objectives and uses of my calculator as well as […]

My Hydroponic Calculator Tutorial : Saving and Loading Formulations and Recipes

One of the greatest features of my hydroponic nutrient calculator (which you can get here) is the ability to save and load recipes and formulations into the software. These options open up a lot of possibilities and allow you to quickly and effectively modify your previous work or get the information you need for the […]

Cobalt in Hydroponics : Better or Worse ?

On yesterday’s article we talked about silicon, one of the most beneficial non-essential nutrients you can use in your hydroponic crops. Although Silicon has proved to give marked benefits in peer-reviewed scientific studies, other elements are usually commented on being beneficial without a thorough investigation around current scientific literature. One of this particular cases is […]

Silicon in Hydroponics : What Silicon is Good For and How it Should be Used

Certainly if you have been involved with hydroponics for a while or even if you have just started to research this awesome field you might already know that science has only discovered a handful of elements to be necessary for plant growth. From the first 92 elements of the periodic table, plants have only been […]

The NPK Mystery – What Do These Numbers Mean and How are they Calculated ?

When you go into a forum about hobby hydroponic or soil growing one of the first things you will notice is that there is a big confusion regarding the meaning of the traditional NPK notation and the way these values are actually calculated. Some people believe this is supposed to be merely an N to […]

Truly Cleaning Your Hydroponic System : The Fenton Process and Chemistry

When most people clean their hydroponic systems they use a hypochloride or hydrogen peroxide wash that they think kills all the bacteria and potentially hazardous substances within their setup. However few people realize that – although the system is indeed sterilized – the bast amount of harmful substances and chemicals (even those coming from the […]

Iron Sources in Hydroponics : Which One is the Best ?

Definitely one of the most important problems dealing with the stability of hydroponic solutions is the availability of the iron (Fe+2 or Fe+3) ions. Since iron easily forms hydroxides and insoluble salts with other ions present in hydroponic media it becomes essential for us to provide iron in a way which is accessible to the […]

Chemical Buffers in Hydroponics : What is the Best, Cheapest Buffer

One of the biggest questions people ask when starting to grow hydroponic crops deals with the stabilization of pH and the use of chemical buffers to keep pH levels at acceptable ranges during long periods of time. The question is very relevant since changes in the pH of a nutrient solution can cause a lot […]

Preparing Your Own Hydroponic Nutrients : A Complete Guide for Beginners

Chances are that if you are into hydroponic gardening and you live in Europe or in the US you have been buying your nutrient solutions from one of the many hydroponic nutrient sellers available locally. Generally people do not prepare their own nutrients because they consider this task “terribly difficult” and they prefer to keep […]

Preparing A, B and C (three part) Concentrated Nutrient Solutions, a Tutorial for my Hydroponic Nutrient Calculator

On the last tutorial dealing with my hydroponic nutrient calculator we learned how to prepare A and B concentrated nutrient solutions for any given formulation we would like. We learned about the different incompatibilities that need to be avoided and why this leads to the creation of two separate solutions. After learning how to prepare […]

Preparing A and B Solutions Using My Hydroponics Nutrient Calculator

The default way in which solutions are prepared using my hydroponic nutrient calculator involves the direct addition of some component in your nutrient reservoir plus the preparation of some micro nutrient and iron concentrated solutions from which 10 and 100mL are added per batch. This way of preparing solutions is especifically suitable for people with […]

Using my Nutrient Calculator with Commercial Fertilizers : Part No.2

On the last part of this tutorial series I talked about how you could use my hydroponic nutrient calculator to figure out the ppm values of a commercial fertilizer. Today I am going to talk about how you can achieve a given ppm formulation using a commercial preparation figuring out what additional salts you would […]

Using my Nutrient Calculator with Commercial Fertilizers : Part No.1

One of the main reasons why I wanted to develop a nutrient calculator for hydroponics was to allow people to understand the amount of nutrients they are adding to their solutions and to use the calculated amounts to either use common salts to achieve the same nutrient percentages or to understand which salts are needed […]

Possible New Features for my Hydroponics Calculator

A few days after the release of my hydroponic calculator free software implementation I can tell you that I am absolutely happy with the results. The calculator had some resolution problems at first but these problems where easily fixed. After changing to a tabbed interface and by including the ability to save and load nutrient […]

Building Your Own High-Power LED Grow Lights for Hydroponics

You will often hear in the world of hydroponic growing that Light emitting diode (LED) lights simply do not work as well as the traditional HPS (high pressure sodium) or Tungsten Halide lamps when growing large plants. The truth is that this belief is centered around the fact that most of the commercially available LED […]

A Simple Home-Made PVC Hydroponic Growing System

When I moved into my new apartment I wanted to build a small hydroponic system I could use to grow basil just next to a window. Since I absolutely love to cook Italian food and fresh basil is a key ingredient this seemed like the best solution to enjoy my cooking to its fullest and […]

Understanding pH in Hydroponics – Part No.2

Yesterday – on the first part of this article – we talked about the nature of pH, the origin of pH changes in hydroponics growing and why these changes happen with time within a hydroponic culture, I also talked a little bit about how to prevent pH changes by building a balanced solution with a […]

Understanding pH in Hydroponics – Part No.1

When water reacts with itself to create the H3O(+)(hydroxyl) and OH(-) (hydroxide) species, one of the most fundamental and important characteristics of aqueous solutions is generated. The reactivity of a solution and its interaction with living organisms is determined in a great extent by the concentration of these two species, a variable usually measured as […]

Growing a Hydroponic Garden Without a pH or EC meter

So you have decided you want to start a hydroponic garden but you do not want to use a pH or an EC meter. It is fairly common for people to feel this way when they are starting their own hydroponic gardening due to several reasons. Maybe you are not very familiar with the technical […]

Is OceanGrown Fertilizer a Scam ? A Scientist’s Point of View

In recent days I was contacted by a person who wanted to start selling the OceanGrow fertilizer who asked me to be the head of a research team to do scientific tests to evaluate if there is actually any value behind the OceanGrown fertilizer. After going through its webpage and doing and in-depth review of […]

Fruit Quality and High EC values in Tomatoes

You may remember an article I wrote last year about the effect of salt concentration in tomatoes and how several different studies have been done about this matter. On that article I talked about a paper released in 2007 showing that tomatoes raised at an electrical conductivity value of 4.5 dS/m had the best tasting […]

The Best Outdoor Hydroponic System. A Simple Way to Grow Large Amounts of Food

I have always seen that there is not a lot of information regarding outdoor hydroponics and the building of scalable and cheap systems that may provide large amounts of food without the complexity, trouble and expense of building a greenhouse. For the past several years I have been puzzled by this issue and I have […]

Crazy pH Swings – How Media and Bacteria Affect pH in Hydroponics

I usually get an email from time to time from someone who is experiencing wild pH swings in their hydroponic reservoirs. Growers usually tell me that their pH was around 6.2 one day and then 8.0 by the next morning or some similar story. This situation becomes a little bit frustrating as the grower does […]

Preparing your Own Chelates – Improving Your Hydroponic Nutrients

If you have already read my free ebook for preparing hydroponic solutions and you have already seen many commercial and other standard formulations you may be asking yourself if you will have problems with iron due to the unavailability of any chelating agents. The truth is that I have used formulations without any chelating agents […]

Urea in Hydroponics – Positive or Negative ?

When we supply nitrogen in our hydroponic solutions there are always a several ways in which we can fulfill our plants’ needs for this nutrient. The traditional way is to supply nitrogen solely as nitrate (NO3-) salts, something which is well proven to give good results, high yield crops and better than soil growth. However […]

Hydroponic Tomato Formulations – Nutrients for Every Growth Stage

One of the most interesting things that can be done once you know how to prepare your own hydroponic nutrients (check out my free ebook on the right hand menu) is to make formulations for the different growth stages of your crops. Certainly the variation of several nutrients along the different stages of a plant’s […]

How to Have a Constant pH in Hydroponics – No More Corrections ! :o)

Those of you who have read my other articles or all of you who have already had your first hydroponic crop know that pH is a constant concern which becomes a little bit of a pain after a while. Hydroponic gardeners need to constantly adjust the pH of their hydroponic solutions to the desired level […]

The Importance of Oxygen in Hydroponic Systems

It is very common for new hydroponic gardeners to have an over developed focus on the nutrient aspects of their cultures while totally neglecting other very important aspects such as aeration and light. Some of the most common problems that plants face are a direct consequence of a lack of a proper supply of oxygen, […]

Making Your Own Hydroponic Solutions – Download my Free Ebook

Many of us have always dreamed about making our own hydroponic solutions to stop buying all those expensive solutions from the hydro fertilizer companies. Sadly, most people do not have the necessary knowledge to prepare solutions and coming up with an adequate formulation seems to be extremely difficult for almost everyone out there. As a […]

Hydroponic Nutrients… Why Solid is Better than Liquid

One of the most important decisions you can make when buying hydroponic nutrients for your plants is the way in which the nutrients are prepared. Fertilizers for soil-less culture are available both within solid and liquid presentations and it is very likely that you have been buying the liquid once up until now since these […]

Hydroponic Solutions and Vitamins… NO real proof

It has always surprised me that vendors of hydroponic solutions have always included vitamins and other nutrients as a “boost” and “bonus” of their nutrients. It is not very rare to see a fertilizer containing vitams of the B complex, C, E, etc. When I first learned about this practice to include vitamins – as […]

Choosing a LED Grow Light for your Hydroponic Crop

One of the most common problems faced by urban gardeners who want to deal with hydroponic crops is lack of light. Generally plants need very large amounts of light to grow which can only be given by very powerful and expensive lamps which also have the big draw back of consuming large amounts of power. […]

Static Hydroponic Systems, Cons and Pros

There are several systems available today in which hydroponic crops can be grown. All hydroponic systems can be divided into two main categories defined either as static or dynamic systems. In hydroponic dynamic systems the solutions is recirculated at some point by using a water pump while static systems neglect the use of a pump […]

Easy Seed Germination with Polyurethane Foam

Most hydroponic gardeners germinate their seeds using either a solid media such as perlite, vermiculite or coconut fibers or a woven media such as rock-wool. The first germination alternative has the problem of making transplant stress higher, while the second has the problem of being too expensive (for most hobby and commercial growers). With that […]

Salt Concentrations in Hydroponic Tomato Cultivation, More or Less ?

One of the most produced vegetables in hydroponic growing, both hobby and commercial, is the tomato. Because of this, and the very important place tomatoes have in world economy, many research efforts have been done towards the production of better quality crops. In hydroponics, much of this effort has been devoted towards the investigation of […]

Selenium in Hydroponic Growing of Lettuce

Hydroponic culture has a very good fame of giving optimal conditions for plant growth and nutrition. It is known that hydroponic crops grown with the best possible conditions can attain results far superior than those obtained with any form of soil gardening. However, the research community has just recently became aware that hydroponic growing may […]

Titanium Dioxide as a Disinfectant in Hydroponic Gardening

As I have said on previous posts, the problem of disinfection in hydroponic gardening continues to be a main issue in the area of soil less culture. Although there are many chemical solutions such as sodium hydrochloride and hydrogen peroxide, they continue to be non discriminant oxidants with the potential to damage roots and more […]

Checking the pH of your Hydroponic System, The Easy Way !

Growers often think that they need to buy pH meters in order to accurately control the pH level of their hydroponic nutrient solution. Actually, there are a couple of ways in which pH can be readily monitored without any digital equipment. One of the cheapest ways in which this can be done is through the […]

Building a Cheap System to Grow Hydroponic Lettuce

In an earlier post, I talked about a static hydroponic lettuce system that needed no aeration or recirculation and worked by providing an air space between the nutrient solution and the plants. Today I am going to explain how to build this very simple system from cheap materials. These are the things you will need […]

My pH Balancing System for Hydroponic Growing

In the past few days, several people have asked me how to use my carbonate/citrate buffering system as a means to control the pH of their nutrient solutions. For this reason, I decided to write a post which explains the simple way in which my buffering system can be prepared and a little more about […]

One Plant Hydroponic System, Wick Growing

Most hydroponic systems today are a fairly complicated combination of holding materials, irrigation systems, aeration pumps, etc. For most people wanting to grow a single plant in hydroponics it has become quiet impossible to figure out where to find a cheap system to do so. One of the cheapest systems available for hydroponic gardening of […]

Outdoor Hydroponics, Growing Without a Greenhouse

Most hydroponic gardening techniques demand strict control over the growing media and ambient variables in order to have a crop in optimum conditions. However, most small hobby and commercial hydroponic gardeners do not have the budget necessary to build a greenhouse and need to have their systems exposed to the elements. This is why I […]

Ion Selective Electrodes in Hydroponic Culture

Currently, hydroponic growers rely on a combination of electrical conductivity and pH measurements in order to assess the quality and durability of their hydroponic nutrient solutions. However, many are unaware that hydroponic gardening can be much furtherly enhanced by the addition of ion selective electrodes. In a certain sense, all hydroponic gardeners have used an […]

Growing Citrus Trees in a Hydroponic Garden

While hydroponic gardening is most often done with plants like tomatoes, lettuce and bell pepper, it is well known that the hydroponic growing technique can be applied to a large variety of plants with different degrees of success. One type of plant that is an all time grower favorite is the citrus tree. Plants such […]

Beneficial Fungi in Hydroponic Gardening

In common hydroponic culture, the growing media and the hydroponic nutrient solution are kept sterile in order to guarantee the absence of malicious plant pathogens. This however, changes the root environment dramatically and places plant roots in a media which is totally inert and different from the media in which they evolved, soil. However, hydroponic […]

The NFT Hydroponic Growing System

In the last 50 years, many hydroponic systems have been developed in order to make crop cultivation easier, cheaper, faster and denser. Amongst the systems that have been developed, one of the hydroponic systems which has caught the most attention and is used more frequently is the so called NFT (Nutrient Film Technique) system. The […]

Disinfecting your Hydroponic Solution with Hypochlorite

As I talked about in a previous post, the disinfection problem in hydroponics is very important as many pathogenic microorganisms as well as algae develop through the course of any hydroponic gardening attempt. Hydrogen peroxide, as I said earlier, is a very good disinfectant with incredible properties but most of the time it is not […]

Preparing Hydroponics Nutrient Solutions, From Concentrations to Weights

In a previous post, I explained how concentrations are given in hydroponic gardening and what they actually mean. For example, I exemplified that 200 ppm of N equals a solution which contains 200 mg per liter of nitrogen although the form in which nitrogen is present is not described by the concentration data. In this […]

Describing Concentration in Hydroponics

Most amateur growers, both hobby and commercial, who do not have a chemical knowledge background are most of the time stunned by the amount of chemistry involved in hydroponic cultivation. One of the things that proves to be the most difficult for this new comers is the understanding and description of nutrient concentrations. Concentration, to […]

Nitrogen Fertilization in Hydroponics

It is a common mistake in hydroponic gardening to assume that the chemical forms of nitrogen that can be used in hydroponics are the same that can be used in regular soil gardening. Don’t get me wrong, plants in soil and plants in hydroponic media use the exact same chemical forms of nitrogen as nutrients, […]

Rooting Cuttings Naturally

When gardening, it is sometimes most convenient not to start a plant from seed but to start it from a cutting from another plant. Most of the time, the science of starting cuttings involves the use of root growth hormones and other chemicals which can prove hard to get in some regions of the world […]

An Organic, Natural Insecticide for your Garden

Few people have been able to experience the joy of gardening without encountering the nasty problem of insects. Every year, many gardens suffer from the amazing attacks of these small creatures that turn beautiful plant spaces into infested focuses of insect populations. Up until now, most chemical solutions have acted on insects quiet effectively. In […]

FAQ – controlling, adjusting and knowing pH in Hydroponic Gardening

Even though there has been great effort by many people to show hydroponic growing as something that can be done by anyone with little knowledge, it has come to my attention that many novice and commercial gardeners fail because of their inability to properly interpret the chemical phenomena around them. One of the variables that […]

A Natural, Organic Fungicide you can make !

Amongst all the problems faced by hydroponic and soil gardeners, fungus problems remain one of the most challenging. Fungal diseases tend to start rapidly and quickly wipe out entire sections of plants, leaving the grower wondering what happened or if anything could have been done to prevent it. Sadly, most commercially available fungicides are very […]

What are Hydroponic nutrients ? The nature of nutrient salts

When researchers first started to study how plants grow and what plants exactly need to develop, they found out that plant needs are very different from our own. We, as humans, need minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates, proteins and fats amongst other substances. However, plants seemed to require a small assortment of inorganic substances from which they […]

Keeping the pH of your hydroponic nutrient solution stable

A nightmare for many growers inside the hydroponic industry is the fact that pH adjustments need to be made every now and then to nutrient solutions. In fact, people often adjust the pH of their nutrient solutions several times a week in an effort to keep the values close to those considered ideal. However, most […]

Hydroponic Nutrients, Are they Unnatural ?

In today’s world, things seem to have started to shift towards a more “natural” look at things. People are starting to reject synthetic and “artificial” things in favor of the more “natural” and “earthy”. Well, as a scientist, I have to say that most people have some very bad misconceptions about these definitions and their […]

Hydroponic Gardening for Small Spaces

People everywhere enjoy the pleasure of growing plants. Most people use their backyards for this purpose, growing ornamental as well as plants used for eating. However, many people around the world don’t have a backyard because of space limitations, something which is becoming more common everyday with the growth of world population. For people who […]

The Hoaglands Solution for Hydroponic Cultivation

This hydroponic nutrient solution was developed by Hoagland and Snyder in 1933 and it’s one of the most popular solution compositions for growing plants (in the scientific world at least !). The Hoagland solution provides every nutrient necessary for plant growth being appropriate for the growth of a large variety of plant species. The solution […]

Indoor Hydroponic gardening, the cheap way !

Hydroponic gardening is a great way in which plants can be grown and cultivated with yields far superior to those of traditional soil based culture. However, the last frontier of hydroponics remains being indoor growing. Light, which we take for granted because of the sun, is a crucial factor for plant growth and becomes dramatically […]

Hydroponic Floating System for Lettuce Production

Lettuce is one of the most common vegetables produced in hydroponics. It is amongst the first 3 vegetables produced in hydroponic crops around the world with tomato and bell peppers. Most lettuce production systems are designed around two ideas, either the NFT (nutrient flow technique) system or the floating raft system. The later system is […]

Hydroponic Nutrient Solution Toxicity

It has become a common practice for many hydroponic enthusiasts, hobbyists and even commercial growers to dispose of the nutrient solutions they have that “are not adequate anymore” by throwing them down the drain. Most of them are not aware than hydroponic solutions are environmentally contaminating. Hydroponic solutions contain all the basic nutrients necessary for […]

Preparing a Hydroponic Nutrient Solution

Every hydroponic grower should know how to prepare his or her own solution in order to save money and improve crop results. Preparing a nutrient solution is an exact science involving some basic chemical knowledge that is in fact, not so hard to do. One of the main problems in preparing hydroponics solutions (besides knowing […]

FAQ – Electrical Conductivity (EC) in Hydroponics

Amongst one of the few properties that hydroponic growers use to control their nutrient solutions is electrical conductivity (EC). The main problem with the measurement of the EC, is that few growers really understand it’s meaning and more often than not, grossly overestimate the amount of information it can give them. Therefore, I decided to […]

Hydroponic Nutrient Solutions for Lettuce

Most hobby and some commercial hydroponic growers often get their nutrient solutions from stores that sell “generic” hydroponic nutrients. In some cases, this standard solutions are “compensated” with the aid of some additional help coming from additive solutions that are formulated to add certain qualities that the original standard solution is missing. Well, the sad […]

Hydrogen Peroxide in Germination

As I published earlier, the use of hydrogen peroxide is extensively known in hydroponic cultivation as a disinfectant. However, this little molecule has far more uses and some of them also pertain to plant grow. For example, as it was discussed in the fourth International Symposium on Seed, Transplant and Stand Establishment of Horticultural Crops; […]

Using Hydrogen Peroxide in Hydroponic Crops

As we all know, hydroponic growers face the challenge of maintaining pure and innocuous solutions that should be free of any type of bacteria, algae or any other microorganism. The growth of any of these organisms inside the nutrient solution carries with it the imminent possibility of plant disease as well as an increased risk […]

FAQ – Growing media in hydroponics

In this section I will answer some of the questions that I have already answered in mails that have been sent to me, and that I believe will be helpful to most of the people interested in developing hydroponic crops. This FAQ covers the essential part about the hydroponic growing media and some advice based […]

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