Wednesday, May 19, 2010

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 are the most well-known and easiest to prepare. However, you may not be realizing that by buying liquid fertilizers you are putting an enormous burdden on your hydroponic growth wallet. The fact is that by buying solid hydroponic nutrients you could be saving 5 to 10 times your hydro-food costs. Within today's post I will explain to you the difference between solid and liquid fertilizers and why buying solid nutrients is always a better choice for your hydroponic garden.

Liquid fertilizers available for hydroponics are generally prepared by dissolving an array of salts and additives in water. After these additions are done the concentrated solution is prepared and ready to be sold. When you get it the only thing you need to do is to take a given measure of volume from the liquid and poor it into your hydroponic reservoir. What you may not be realizing is that - due to the fact that salts need to be dissolved in water - there is an inherent limitation in the amount of nutrients you are getting and most of what you are buying is actually water. There is also the added cost that in order to make up a concentrated nutrient solution, compatible salts have to be used. This limits the chemicals that can be purchased and makes the cost of the fertilizer higher.

When you purchase a solid hydroponic fertilizer you simply buy a mixture of salts which you then need to weight and dissolve in a given volume of water. Since there is actually no water and the salts don't need to be predissolved in a concentrated solution, the array of salts that can be used are a lot wider and much cheaper costs can be achieved. Added to that is the fact that packing is a lot simpler and much more efficient since the need to bottle solutions is unecessary. In the end you will see that with 2 pounds of solid nutrients you will be able to prepare more than 300 gallons of nutrient solution while you would probably need much more (about 10-30 gallons of concentrated solution) to prepare the same amount using concentrated liquid fertilizers.
You will definitely see that most hydroponic fertilizer companies are simply charging you a lot for liquid fertilizers when you could as easily be buying bulk solid fertilizers at a fraction of the cost. Premixed solid hydroponic fertilizers are also widely available commercially and easily made up with some basic chemistry concepts (more on this on a later article!). So next time you are planning to buy more hydroponic fertilizers think about cost efficiency and look for some solid premixed hydroponic nutrients which are bound to give you as good - or better - results than your previous liquid mix.

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