Making our own nutrient solution?

Plant City, FL(Zone 9a)

Has anyone here tried mixing their own nutrient solution?
We've been growing hydroponic vegetables for a few months and will be expanding out garden shortly. I'm looking for alternative hydroponic fertilizers. More than half of our hydro plants will be growing in stackers we purchased from a company called Hydrostacker ( That will be about half of our settup. The other part will be miscellaneous buckets and styrofoam coolers that we are hooking up to an automatic system. The Hydrostaker company supplied us with their own fertilizer - their "secret sauce." They claim that it is good for growing everything hydroponically.
I went to Worm's Way, the nearest hydroponics supply store, last weekend and looked at what fertlizers they had. It was really overwhelming to see the large selection there. One thing I noticed was that many companies have different kinds of fertilizers according to what one may be growing - some special for tomatoes, others for the growing and blooming cycles, etc. Since then, I've been reading up on this - checked out some books from the library. "Hydroponics Home Food Gardens" by Howard Resh, Ph.D says,

"While many prepared plant foods are available in hydroponic or garden centers, and even in supermarkets, it is cheaper, more versatile and more challenging to make up your own formulations. Most of the compounds needed to supply all the essential elements in your hydroponic fertilizer mix can be purchased from garden centers or directly from fertilizer companies. Some of the micronutrient salts such as boric acid (H3BO3) can be obtained from pharmacies."

He provides a number of nutrient formulations and how to mix/dissolve them.
We would like to be able to supply ourselves with as much organic produce as possible without spending a fortune on the nutrient solution.

The picture is of one of the stackers we planted last October.

Thumbnail by Florida
Dansville, NY(Zone 6a)

Well to start off with , yes . you will find lots of different hydroponic nutrients for different crops.
the reasion is to get the maxium food the plant needs to get maxium yeild. every plant likes something

One thing you with mixing your own nutes is your basicly starting from scratch and will have to play with
your mix till you get it right. a little off on this or that and you will loose yeild or kill plants.

Another book to get would be Hydroponics food production from none other , Howard Resh, Ph.D .
this book had the math and info needed to calulate your nutrients .. your going back to chemisty class
in this book , using the element charts for atoms, mols ... ect ..

one thing you will find in the hydroponics industry is that its TOP SECRET. seams not to many want to share
the info on what works and what dont.

best place i can point you is to growing edge website , They also have a great magazine. I grab the free copys of the
issues they have at the hydro store when i visit.

here some links for ya ..

Composts Teas ,

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This message was edited Feb 28, 2007 10:43 AM

Cincinnati, OH

The secret ingredients are listed on the Material Safety Data Sheet.
Google: MSDS + whatever.

Dansville, NY(Zone 6a)

Link is broke , its got a period on the end .. .. fixed .

the msds dont show everything thats in it all the time , last i looked at the msdn for General Hydroponic Grow , Bloom and Micro
didnt show any chemical elements becouse its basicly not toxix. might be becouse its a liquid.
I know my cat used to drink from my hydro resivore so i checked on them , Also i have been hosed in the face a few times
from a blown pump hose .. no taste to it either .. I even called GH just to make sure .. shouldnt hurt the cat just try not to make
a habbit for the cat .. a little sip now and then wont hurt but might not be good for only source of water.

Apon futher investigations of your link , check the label .. for hydroponic general use .. you have to add more stuff to it,
5-11-26 Hydroponic Special has been formulated to be used in combination with other materials such as Calcium Nitrate and Epsom Salts to deliver the correct nutritional needs of the hydroponic grower.
It is essential that this order of addition is followed to
avoid any problems with the fertilizer solution:
1. add 5-11-26 Hydroponic Special
2. add Epsom Salts (make sure it is fully disolved)
3. add Calcium Nitrate
4. add any other materials one at a time

there is more mixing data on the label for this fert , but if you didnt see that , there would be no way to just follow the msds
and come up with a correct nutrient.

Thers alot more involved with feeding with hydroponics becouse you have to supply everything the plant needs.

Im also sure you could just go with whats on the msds and get something to grow , but to get the best yeild from it ... humm
i would think not .

Plant City, FL(Zone 9a)

Hi, thanks for the responses. I think for now we'll have to find whatever works best for the plants we are growing from prepackaged fertilizers. I checked out Hydroponic Food Production from our library and looked through the tables with all the detailed information on each nutrient. It looks like more than I can handle right now. I like the idea of supplementing with manure or compost teas. One of my concerns is that the nutrient solution we are using now doesn't list things like iodine or selenium. I know that this would be in very small quantities in the soil, or even totally missing where we live - sandy Florida. Those elements are important for our health, so we'll be supplementing with kelp and fish emulsions too. The cost of nutrient solutions and other supplements does add up though.

Cincinnati, OH

These are the Grow ingredients:


The product is derived from ammonium molybdate, ammonium phosphate, calcium nitrate, potassium nitrate, potassium phosphate, potassium borate, magnesium sulfate, cobalt sulfate,copper sulfate, manganese sulfate, zinc sulfate, iron DTPA, and 0.1% humic extracts derived fromleonnardite.

Iron DTPA is chelated iron.

Plant City, FL(Zone 9a)

I found a formula in "Hydroponics of the Home Gardener" by Stewart Kenyon for a nutrient solution with micronutrients. We're in the process of locating the 7 or 8 compounds called for. I was surprised this morning at Wal-Mart and CVS pharmacy when I was told that they no longer sell Boric acid. We found a company about an hour away which has most of what we are looking for - though, again, no Boric acid. The cost will be a fraction of the $20/4 lbs. that we pay now for the "Secret Sauce." We'll be paying about $20 for 50 lbs. instead!

Boca Raton, FL(Zone 10a)

I found this company: They have premixed formulas and sell all the individual items as well. Priced very reasonable. Out of Colorado Springs


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