Constitution of the Aeroponic Nutrient

by Senthil
(Bangalore, India)

I have done a bit of reading on aeroponics (with no real experience in agriculture) and it has got me very interested to experiment. However, my motivation comes from the fact that I am in India, with little or no knowledge or aeroponics in the country, and I am at a point in my career where I am looking for a change.

Having read quite a bit of stuff on the web, I am still struggling to understand how the aeroponic nutrient solution can be produced at home. I have only come across websites which seem to sell the nutrients in packets. However, I am keen to know how this can be produced on a larger scale at home.

To start my experiment, I would like to grow tomatoes. Being in India, sunlight is in plenty and I would like to get this started outdoors. Cheers, Senthil.



Answer: Senthil- providing all of the nutritional requirements of your plants can be very complex. When growing plants in soil, the plants can obtain many of the substances from the soil....this makes soil gardening more forgiving. Often times soil gardeners can get away with providing just Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium and still have decent results.

When you grow plants using hydroponics (including aeroponics), the plants MUST be able to find everything they need in the water you provide. This means you must have a more complete picture of everything your plants are going to need. In addition to primary nutrients (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium), your plants also require considerable amounts of secondary nutrients (Calcium, Magnesium, and Sulfur) and small amounts of many micro-nutrients (boron (B), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), chloride (Cl), manganese (Mn), molybdenum (Mo) zinc (Zn) and others).

You will have to mix up a nutrient solution of the proper strength containing all of these nutrients in the proper proportions (that tomatoes require). Then you will have to test the aeroponic nutrient solution strength and nutrient solution pH once a day, and adjust it to keep it working properly.

A good place to begin would be to make a compost tea. Compost contains decent amounts of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium (which will vary depending on what went into the compost), and is likely to contain most of the secondary nutrients and micro-nutrients as well. Seaweed additives, like kelp meal, contain nearly every (of the 72) micro-nutrients and would be an excellent addition to the tea- they will prevent any micro-nutrient deficiencies, and will also add some plant hormones to the tea.

Tomatoes need a lot of Calcium to produce well, and so it will be a deficiency in Calcium that is most likely to occur in your situation. Adding some bone meal to your tea would add both Calcium and Phosphorus to your solution....or you could possibly find a source for some Calcium Phosphate. I'm not too sure what else you could do for extra Calcium, short of buying a professional nutrient additive like Cal-Mag.

The suggestions above will give you a good place to start, but will surely need some fine tuning. One last note....organic nutrients like these are almost sure to cause clogging if you are using a system with spray heads or spray nozzles. If this is the case, you will also want to use an in-line filter. The picture at the top of the page is one clog-proof way of doing organic aeroponics. Otherwise, you may want to consider another type of hydroponic gardening system (such as deep water culture). I hope this helps, and Happy Growing!

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Jul 08, 2011
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RealAeroponics
by: Anonymous

Dear Senthyl,

The problem of delivering nutrients to the root , which hangs in the air ( by Aeropinics) is that roots in the air needs ionized nutrients which should be magnified by the root after its spray from the Fogger ( Mister) device.

I also search the web to find nutrient supplier for real Aeroponics which differs totally from Hydroponics.

Amir

Jun 01, 2011
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Thanks
by: Senthil

Jason,

Thank you very much for this insight. I am going to start my experiment and will return to this page in the next 2-3 months with my findings.

Cheers,
Senthil

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Find out the cheapest and easiest ways to garden productively in this article.

Hi everyone, Jason from Jason's Indoor Guide here. When I got started with hydroponic gardening more than 22 years ago, my first garden used rockwool cubes and B.C. Nutrients....and I remember thinking to myself yeah, sure, there may be a lot of advantages to gardening with hydroponics, for example there are very few pest problems, therefore very little pest control, no weeding, no plowing or tilling the soil, no soil testing or having to add things into the garden soil, no watering the garden....but for someone who just wants to grow their own vegetables and have more control over their food supply and the quality of the food that they eat, the cost of constantly having to buy grow media and hydroponic nutrients makes this an expensive hobby for most people.

I suppose when you take into consideration how much money you save NOT having to buy food at the grocery store, it is surely cheaper to grow your own food hydroponically even with the cost of high quality nutrients. Nevertheless, I didn't have a whole lot of money to work with and I needed to make my efforts as affordable and effective as possible....and in the last 20 years I HAVE learned a thing or two!

As you browse through Jason's Indoor Guide, you will notice all of the systems that I use personally are homemade systems. As I got 3 or 4 years of experience under my belt, I quickly adopted a preference to standing water systems and systems that use expanded clay pellets or lava rock, because the media is re-usable and it eliminates a huge operating expense. So once a hydroponic system is built, garden maintenance is minimal- check and adjust the nutrient solution daily, and to change it completely every 2 weeks....and the biggest operating cost is the hydroponic nutrients. (and the electric bill, lol).

And, regarding the cost of the nutrients....I experimented for about 3 years with making different compost teas and nutrient teas, but there is still a lot of expense $$$ associated with making high quality nutrient teas....like kelp meal, liquid seaweed, rock dust, bat guano, un-sulfured molasses, worm castings. You can eliminate a lot of this expense by becoming an expert at making high-quality colloidal humus compost, and use your properly made compost as the basis of your hydroponic nutrient solution.



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This solution is aquaponics. If you are serious about producing all of your own food and being self-sufficient, this is the ultimate solution for reducing expenses (as much as possible), reducing the total amount of work required, and maximizing the productivity of your gardening efforts. I have been gardening for over 20 years, and it is the perfect food production solution in my opinion.


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Besides mastering how to make high quality compost, learning aquaponics is one of the top 3 things you can do to increase your garden productivity, reduce your total costs, and reduce your total work. The product that I learned from is called Aquaponics4you. With all of my hydroponic gardening experience, the first time I came across the Aquaponics4you product I knew immediately that it was something very special! Place an aquaponics system outdoors and use the sun instead of grow lights, and you have reduced every garden expense to nearly ZERO!


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This is where my advice ends for people growing in water. But some of you out there are in love with soil gardening and organic gardening, and rightly so! It's a pro-human activity. It is pro-conservation. It is pro-life. It nurtures and promotes life at all levels, from the micro-organisms to beneficial insects, to healthy humans. It's natural. it's spiritual. Gardening is written deeply into our DNA, like how you feel watching a bonfire or sitting by the ocean or next to a river.

My friend John at Food4Wealth has more than 20 years experience organic gardening, so he reminds me a lot of myself. He knows organic gardening like I know hydroponic gardening, and over the years he has learned just about every trick there is to organic gardening. He knows what makes the plants grow, and he knows how to do it with as little effort as humanly possible. His garden never needs digging, naturally repels pests, has no weeds, always produces more than his family is able to eat, produces vegetables everyday all year round, and....only requires 8 HOURS of light, easy effort PER YEAR!


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