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Hydroponics Newsletter

Supplementing Kelp Fertilizer in Your Hydroponic System

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.

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Four Major Benefits of Plant Surfactant

In modern growing, a gardener has to rely on two things: his or her knowledge and proper tools. If you don’t have the knowledge on how to use your tools, obviously the tools are worthless. If you don’t have the proper tools to bring out the best in your garden, you won’t have the opportunity to use your knowledge.

This is one reason why every gardener, whether you grow hydroponically in a grow room or outdoors in soil, should always have some quality plant surfactant on hand. Plant surfactants reduce the surface tension of liquids. This very minor change in how your water and nutrient solution behaves can have profound effects on your plants.

Here are a few of the primary ways that gardeners can use plant surfactants to their benefit.

Increase Root Absorption – Any experienced hydroponic gardener knows that providing nutrients to your plants is not enough. You also need to ensure that you increase uptake sufficiently. Even a perfectly balanced nutrient solution is completely useless if your pH balance is off or your nutrient solution is too cold.

Similarly, your plants may not be getting all of the nutrients that they could be receiving if the surface tension of your nutrient solution is too high. By using a plant surfactant to reduce this surface tension, you help ensure that your plants get all of the nutrients that they need. A nutrient solution that is “thinner” can very easily pass into the roots.

Makes Herbicides more Effective – If you grow in an outdoor soil garden, this can be crucial. Every outdoor grower knows how frustrating it is to discover that your garden and the surrounding areas are overrun with weeds. For the sake of the safety of your plants, the first line of defense against weeds should always be hand weeding. This is labor intensive and there is never any guarantee that you are going to pull out the entire root by hand, but it reduces the risk of accidentally harming your plants.

In cases where a weed situation is so out of control that hand weeding just isn’t feasible, a gentle herbicide is your next best option. However, even this can be tricky if the herbicide runs off of the weeds you are trying to kill. Plant surfactants can help make sure that the herbicide you use coats the invading weed entirely.

Increase Foliar Feeding Success – Foliar sprays are a fantastic way to supplement your feeding schedule. But if the foliar fertilizer beads into small groups on your leaves rather than spreading evenly, your plant will not get the full benefit. A plant surfactant can increase the effectiveness of foliar feeding by several folds by ensuring an equal distribution of the fertilizer. This helps the stomata of your leaves get the most nutrients that they can possibly absorb.

Of course knowing how a plant surfactant is used is entirely different from knowing how to use a plant surfactant properly. Like with anything else, you should get educated about plant surfactants to make sure that your investment in them does not go to waste.

To learn more about plant surfactants and the ways that they can help your garden, visits www.advancednutrients.com

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