Supplementing Kelp Fertilizer in Your Hydroponic System
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Good hydroponics growers see their reservoir like a pastry chef might see a mixing bowl. In the reservoir, a hydroponics gardener should work to carefully to reach an optimum balance of nutrients, vitamins, fertilizers and other supplements to help achieve maximum plant growth. A key ingredient for many reservoirs is kelp based fertilizer. It has several different kinds of nutrients and hormones that can help stimulate growth in a way that most other organic fertilizers cannot. But in order to get the most from your seaweed plant food, you have to give serious thought about what you will do to complement kelp’s plant growing properties. Here are a few ideas on how you can get the most out of this potent plant booster.
Humates – Humic and fulvic acid are an ideal addition to any nutrient solution, especially if you are using a kelp-based fertilizer. The materials in your nutrient solution are not going to be soaked up by your plant just because you put them in there. In order to truly maximize nutrient uptake, you need to do everything in your power to create a favorable environment for this. After doing the basic things that help ensure uptake, such as optimizing the pH balance and making sure that your nutrient solution is at an ideal temperature, you should take the extra step of adding humic and fulvic acid.
Guano – Guano and kelp are perhaps the most potent organic fertilizers available to hydroponic growers. Together, they make a very powerful combination. You should pay particular attention to what kind of bats your guano is derived from. Guano that comes from the kind of bats that prey on insects are very rich in the nutrient Nitrogen, which helps facilitate vegetative growth. Guano that comes from herbivorous bats is much more rich in phosphorus, which means it can better facilitate flowering and produce better tasting fruits and vegetables.
Beneficial Bacteria – Kelp based fertilizers, like all organic fertilizers, provide an ideal environment for beneficial bacteria to thrive. While it is certainly possible that these bacteria will form in your nutrient solution by themselves, they probably will not give the most benefit alone. The bacteria cultures that are built specifically for hydroponic systems contain much more effective strains than those that are typically found in nature. These “super strains” will help make nutrients more available, protect your plants form disease and encourage the germination of beneficial fungi much more effectively than average beneficial bacteria. While using bacteria, it is important to keep an air pump in your nutrient solution provide the cultures with oxygen and to cut down on the odors that bacteria can sometimes generate.
Bloom Booster – To give your plant that extra punch of organic nutrients, you should use a good bloom booster alongside your kelp fertilizer. These usually contain a variety of organic nutrients, such as alfalfa, fish base, and earthworm castings, and are designed specifically to help improve the taste and quality of produce.