It’s not that hard to do once you understand some fertilizer basics.
By Deidre Hughes
Mixing your own fertilizer solutions might seem like a daunting task at first. But once you understand some fertilizer basics you’ll realize it’s not that hard to do. One of the biggest benefits of mixing your own fertilizer solutions is the amount of money you’ll save. Another benefit of mixing your own solutions from dry fertilizers is that it requires less storage space than pre-mixed fertilizers which are often in liquid form.
Big Tex Urban Farms and Hort Americas have partnered together to install, test and demonstrate a variety of hydroponic production systems while at the same time providing Dallas community organizations with locally-grown produce.
How you grow and process fresh cut basil will impact the flavor and shelf life of the harvested product.
Basil is one of the most popular culinary herbs. Whether grown as a potted crop or for fresh cut sales, basil is an herb that’s in demand year-round. Growers looking to add edibles to their product mix should consider basil to be a must-have herb in their product offerings.
The 17 Essential Plant Elements include nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, boron, chlorine, iron, manganese, zinc, copper, molybdenum, and nickel.
The non-mineral essential plant elements include hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon. These are either taken up as a gas or water.
There are 4 elements that are beneficial to promote plant growth but are not considered to be necessary for completion of the plant life cycle. They are silicon, sodium, cobalt, and selenium.
Figure 1 illustrates the essential and beneficial elements location on the periodic table. You can see that there are three clusters of elements within the periodic table.
These elements can be further divided into either macro- or micronutrients based on the relative concentrations typically found in plant tissues. The macronutrients include nitrogen, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and sulfur. The micronutrients are chloride, iron, boron, manganese, zinc, copper, molybdenum, and nickel.
The 17 essential plant elements can be remembered using a clever Mnemonic device that my botany professor Dr. Max Bell taught me in my undergraduate days at Truman State University. Here is the mnemonic device to remember the 17 essential plant nutrients of higher plants:
HOPKNSCa Fe is Mighty good and Clean. The owner is my Cu Zn Mo B the Nickel Miner.
The beneficial mineral elements can be remembered as a “Cozy Sinner” (Co Se Si Na).
Figure 1. Periodic table of the elements illustrating the essential and beneficial elements in higher plants.
In hydroponics, these mineral elements come from either the fertilizer salts you add to your source water or are already present in your source water. The macronutrients carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen come from either water or gases in the air.
Our Hort Americas Hydroponic fertilizer (9-7-37) was specifically designed to meet the unique needs of hydroponic plant production. Please contact us at to find our why Hort Americas Hydroponic Fertilizer is the perfect fertilizer for your hydroponic system.
This is part 3 in the 3 part series on hydroponic fertilizers from Hort Americas. This video focuses on how to build and adjust a hydroponic fertilizer formula based on the quality of your source water. Fertilizer formulas mentioned in this video are specific to leafy greens, culinary herbs and lettuces.
If you missed the e-GRO webinar “Managing Nutrient Solutions for Hydroponic Leafy Greens and Herbs” on Jan. 22, 2016, which was sponsored by Hort Americas, you can still view the webinar on YouTube.
Hydroponic greens and herbs are produced in systems with recirculating nutrient solutions. In order to maintain productive and quality crops, it is important to know how to properly maintain the nutrient solutions. Dr. Chris Currey at Iowa State University and Dr. Neil Mattson at Cornell University discuss strategies for managing pH and EC, formulating nutrient solutions and identifying common nutrient disorders.
Part 1: Common production systems, pH and EC management
Presented by Dr. Chris Currey, Iowa State University
Part 2: Nutrient solution recipes, common nutrient disorders