Organic Hydroponic Nutrients - Canna Bio

by Joanna
(NY, NY)

I'm working with Boswyck Farms, a small research and design farm in Brooklyn, NY. We work with a variety of hydroponic systems including NFT, flood and drain, drip, and sub-irrigation. I've just begun researching organic hydroponic nutrients and I see that you recommend Canna Bio. I was looking online to find more information on the product, specifically the manufacturing process.

As the label "organic" is still fairly unregulated in the U.S., I'm hoping you can point me in the right direction. In addition to being organic and not using animal products (although I'm open to worm casings or bat guano provided it's done in a responsible manner), it's important to me that the production of a nutrient solution is sustainable. Thanks!

Answer: Joanna- Upon looking for more information on this hydroponic nutrient, I have found very little in the way of specifics. However, I did find one "clue"....the product is described as "fermented plant extracts". Having some experience myself with making compost and, in particular, compost tea....the compost tea is made by fermenting compost soaked in water. The idea is the same as with making the encourage a large population of beneficial micro-organisms, which then produce esters, amino acids, humic and fulvic acids, and usable carbohydrates.

The fermentation usually begins with compost, as compost is loaded with beneficial micro-organisms, and when made properly it has very few pathogenic micro-organisms (they are forced out due to competition with the beneficials). The population of beneficials can be increased by providing protein and nutrient sources, and also energy sources, to the micro-organisms. This includes adding green crops such as Berseem clover, Alfalfa hay, and seaweed, as well as simple carbohydrate sources such as un-sulfured molasses.

Seaweed adds plant hormones and micro-nutrients to the mixture, and green crops add lots of usable Nitrogen. The starting compost can be made in many different ways to customize the exact quantities of Phosphorus and Potassium in the finished liquid, and I don't know if the finished product is stabilized in some manner before being packaged (normally compost tea needs to be used within a few days after making it).

So, while I do not know the exact method by which they produce their hydroponic nutrients, the words "fermentation" and "plant extracts" tell us it is some process similar to what I have described above. Always be sure to use in-line filters and pre-filters before the water pump in your hydroponic system whenever you use organic nutrients, as there is usually particulate matter in them. This is especially true if you are using an aeroponic system or a drip system.

Other organic nutrients you may want to check out include Roots Organics, Humboldt Natural, Advanced Nutrients Organics, Techniflora Pure Vida, Pure Blend Pro (which I have a recipe for here), Earth Juice, GH General Organics, Fox Farm Organics, and Bio-Bizz. Just FYI- Earth Juice requires a lot of pH adjustment, and avoid fertilizers using rock Phosphate, as this is not a renewable or sustainable resource. Unfortunately, bat guanos are also being used much more quickly than they can be replaced. I hope this helps, and Happy Growing!

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Jul 31, 2011
Organic Molasses
by: Duga

Hey Jason, let me start of sayin thanx for the helpful insight of this site. I have a question about using molasses in teas and to use in waterings and foiler misting. Please expand on this topic, thank you

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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 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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Soil Gardening

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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