I’ve used at least 6 different brands of nutrients in the last few years. All other things equal, I can’t even tell you one nutrient line that works better than another. Initially, every time I changed nutrients, my grows looked nicer, but that was simply because I was becoming a better grower.
By running a “perpetual” grow, I have the luxury of trying different nutrients and different growing techniques. I’ve run General Hydroponics nutrients off and on, and it works just as well as any other. Gen Hydro nutrients are available just about anywhere, and it is known as the “go to” nutrient for beginners and experts alike. I often see dudes at the grow store coming in and buying them by the 5 gallon container, so they must be good, right?
If you are new to growing, you’ll find out quickly; there are a plethora of “magic snake oils” out there. There is always some new additive that claims “Explosive roots”, “Explosive growth”. In fact, if I see the word “explosive” on the bottle, I won’t buy it. Don’t be fooled! There is no need to buy that $60 bottle of bloom booster, in hopes of getting a “massive yield”.
There are a few things you’ll need to pay attention to, when selecting your nutrients.
- Base Nutrients: Every brand of nutrients has a “base”. This is usually a 3 part (Grow micro bloom), or 2 part (A+B) type. Don’t mix Part A of one brand, with Part B of another brand.
- Additives: These are the extras that can give your grow an added edge. However many of the additives are over priced or not necessary. Over the last few years, I’ve found a few additives that I find necessary, and I would not go without. It is USUALLY ok to mix additives from one brand, with another brand’s base. More on this below.
- Synthetic or Organic: This topic could be an entire article. For recirculating hydroponics like Rockwool or DWC, use synthetic nutrients. Organic nutrients in a hydroponic system can get a little FUNKY. Synthetic nutrients are formulated so the plant can take up the nutrients RIGHT NOW, where as organic nutrients can take longer to benefit the plant. Organic grows are known to produce slightly better tasting product, and are also known to take a little longer to flower. For the scope of this article, we will be talking about General hydroponics’ synthetic nutrients.
Important Note about EC and PPM: EC stands for electrical conductivity. This is the only way we can measure the nutrient concentration, when we mix up our nutrients. The “EC” is measured by a “EC meter” and in the states, this is converted to “PPM” or “parts per million”. Most other countries simply use “EC”. The conversion to PPM is just an estimate, and is further complicated by meters that have different conversion rates (500 or 700). For example, I use a 700 conversion rate. So, if the meter reads an “EC” of 1.2, my PPM will read 1.1 x 700 = 770PPM.
The Captain’s Nutrient recipe for General Hydroponics.
When I mix up nutrients, I always start with a 5 gallon bucket of R.O. water. Do not add nutrients to the bucket, before the water. It is not necessary to use R.O. water, but there are two problems with Tap water.
1. Tap water has a starting PPM of 100-300, depending on where you live. Subtract the starting PPM, from your desired ending PPM. If your starting PPM is 200, and your goal is 600, then your ppm meter should read 800 when you are finished mixing your nutrients.
2. Tap water has chlorine and or chloramines in it (depending on your water source). Add a few drops of aquarium “dechlorinator” before using it. Chlorine and or chloramines WILL KILL large fish! And it kills beneficial bacteria too.
For vegetative growth, or flowering, we add our additives (same for both), first:
1ml/gal Armor Si Silica (strengthens plants)
4ml/gal Cali-Magic (provides essential minerals and in my experience, builds heavy buds)
3ml/gal Florablend (for lush green leaves and contains seaweed, which is known as a natural bud hardener)
1ml/gal Floralicious Plus ()
Note: I use these additives with MOST other brands of nutrients.
Then our base nutrients, in order:
For Vegetative growth: (GMB)3-2-1
2ml/gal Flora Micro
1ml/gal Flora Bloom
3ml/gal Flora Grow
For Flowering: (GMB)1-2-3
2ml/gal Flora Micro
3ml/gal Flora Bloom
1ml/gal Flora Grow
Last 4-5 weeks of flower, add 2ml/gal KoolBloom.
After adding your nutrients, and mixing up the bucket, the PPM should look similar to this: Perfect!
Then, you can add more water to lower the PPM, or add more of the base nutrients to raise the PPM. NOTE to stoners: PPM = Parts per million. NOT, Parts per millions. Don’t say, “PPM’s”.
Here is my basic PPM range for the life cycle of the plant.
Seedlings and clones: 300 ppm
Rapid vegetative growth: 500-700ppm
First 4 weeks of flower: 700-900ppm
Weeks 5 to Finish of flower: 800-1100ppm (adding 2ml/gal bloom booster will cause ppm to go up a bit)Last week of flower: ZERO ppm. Flush media VERY well with ZERO ppm water.
Adjusting PH: For PH, don’t get OCD about this. A common mistake is over correcting, adding PH up and down, trying for the perfect PH. For rockwool or any kind of hydroponics where the media is irrigated daily, I aim for 6.0, but anything between 5.5 and 6.5 is fine. Plants take up nutrients in this range, and by using Recharge, or other beneficial bacteria, you will allow your plant to take up nutrients at an even wider range. NOTE to stoners: “PH” and “Foliar” are not verbs. It is not possible to “PH” your water or “Foliar” your plants. You ADJUST the PH of your water, and you FOLIAR FEED your plants. Anyone caught saying, “I PH’ed my water”, “Check your parts per millions”, or “do you foliar your plants?” will be forced to walk the Captain’s plank.
That’s it, Bilge rats!! Happy growing, from the Captain’s Ship. Here’s some pretty desktop wallpaper for ya. Click for full size.