Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Making Up a Batch of Concentrate

Yesterday's top-off left me about out of nutrient concentrate so I had to make up a new batch this morning. I use the Total Gro Steiner hydroponics solution and it's just great. LOOK HERE The 8-5-16 mix is talked about HERE The site also have numerous other nutrient combinations and lots of technical materials for those who want to understand what is going on more deeply. This is fascinating stuff if you are technically inclined.

I mix up a concentrate by combining one pound of the white mix in a gallon of water and separately one pound of the blue mix in a gallon of water. This gives me a gallon of white concentrate and a gallon of blue concentrate. This is further diluted at about one ounce of concentrate to a gallon of water to make working strength solution. Note that when I say I added a cup of concentrate I mean a cup of the white (8 fluid ounces) and a cup of the blue (another 8 fluid ounces) to the system's tank. So I'm really adding two cups of stuff. You can't combine the concentrates at the concentrate concentration (there's a tongue twister) because it will cause essential nutrients to combine chemically and precipitate out and then you will have nutrient deficiencies.

So this morning my CF =22 and the system is fine but I was out of concentrate so I made up two gallons of white and blue solution. It took maybe half an hour since I carry all the paraphernalia, a bucket, a scale, some bags of powered 8-5-16 fertilizers and sit around contemplate the scenery as I mix things up. Now with two gallons of each I'm good for the rest of the Summer I figure.

This is just great fun! It's one of the best hobbies in the world.
Harvest Update — 3 more corn and 2 Donas from the garden 2 1/4, and 1 ounce.
10/11 G: Corn picked three total now 5. and likely only a couple more.
10/11 G: 2 Dona, 2 1/4, 1 for total of 4 at 6 1/2 ounces.
10/10 F:Atkinson/AL 2 at 7 3/8 and 7 1/8 for total of 6 at 36 3/8 ounces
10/10 F: Dona 1 at 1 1/2 for a total of 13 at 19 1/2 ounces
10/10 G:Dona 1 at 1 1/2 for a total of 2 at 3 1/4 ounces
10/8 G: Corn picked 2 and they look good. Total = 2 corn
10/8 G: Atkinson/AL 5 1/4,6, 6 3/8, and 7 3/4 for 4 more total 5 at 30 5/8 ounces.


Florida Hydroponics said...

Thanks for your post. Im looking for a new nutrients very soon. Im currently using GH MaxiBloom 5-15-14, but Im very interested in trying TotalGro.
The only concern I have is the nutrient concentrations (8-5-16). It has a lower concentration for Phosphorus (P), which is important during flowering. I've used Floramato (10-6-18) in that past with not the best results during flowering (many dropped flowers). But many environmental factors would have also taken place to make the flowers drop and leaves curl.

Anyways, your the expert and have doing this mmmuch longer than me, so what do you think?

At first I tried out a dutch bucket type drip setup with 5 & 3.5 gallon buckets, with 1'' of nutrients left in the bottom of the bucket. That was a pain to maintain and the excess nutrients/water in the bottom of the buckets caused salt buildup and needed flushing more than I would like to do.

So I moved to a rockwool slab leach tray drip system and Im liking it so far.

Im broke and I need the most nutrients for my money :) i think the dry stuff is the way to go and I've been following your postings and you seem to agree.. I think

You can check out my blog for more details and pics of my backyard hydroponic greenhouse setup and custom built by myself :) Not the most impressive, but not too bad either :)

I would love to hear your input.



Ray Schneider said...

I suppose the first thing to say is that I'm not an expert. I'm a putterer. I love hydroponics for lots of reasons, but many have very little to do with growing things. I enjoy dreaming up different configurations and I like tomatoes. Even when I mess everything up I get lots of tomatoes.

I mainly have done NFT systems and they have performed very well for me. The other system type that has performed well is float systems as long as you provide a means of oxygenating the water. Other than those I've had relatively poor success with wick and flood and drain systems. I have no doubt that with some more work figuring out the problems I'd likely do better.

My nutrient experience is similarly narrow. I originally tried to compound my own nutrient but that was way too much trouble. Just getting the materials was a pain in the neck. I ended up with Total Gro because of their Steiner compound. I had read about Steiner and he had developed his original nutrient formula specifically for tomatoes and that's what I wanted to grow. I worked out the powder to concentrate to working solution on my own. No big deal, just some elementary arithmetic. Then I was put onto the Dipstick by it's creator and it's been my favorite measurement device ever since. I don't fool with pH.

If you think the Total Gro nutrient formulation is weak in some particular nutrient you can obviously add some enrichment to increase the concentration of the ions that you think are in short supply. I've not had too much trouble with the system getting out of balance as evidenced by peculiar growth or evident deficiencies. I rarely swap out the nutrient more than once or maybe twice per season.

Glad for you comment on The Weedless Garden. It is fun isn't it. BTW I visited your site and it's obvious that you've done a lot too. I just bumble along having a great time. Best wishes for you efforts.