Liquid seaweed fertilizer is a mild, non-burning form of seaweed. The low numbers in the N-P-K ratio are a clue that you can use it every time (as directed) without damage to your plants. Add 10 ml to every gallon of water you give to your plants. Liquid seaweed also makes a great foliar spray. Mix it according to directions, and mist your plants with it every 3 or 4 days. The solution requires no Ph correction, and plants treated in this way will never develop a micro-nutrient deficiency...not to mention the faster growth rates.
Kelp meal is another mild form of seaweed fertilizer with a very low N-P-K ratio. Added to the soil mix, it will not burn your plants and provides an excellent source of carbohydrates, which in turn support large populations of beneficial micro-organisms. The important role of these micro-organisms should not be overlooked. In addition, it is an excellent source of fully chelated micro-nutrients and plant hormones (like all seaweed products).
With such low N-P-K numbers, seaweed fertilizers are often used as supplements, instead of as the main fertilizer. All purpose fertilizers simply take a seaweed base, like kelp meal, and process it to include an N-P-K ratio with higher numbers. An all purpose, seaweed fertilizer such as Maxsea has one basic formula for the vegetative stage (16-16-16) and one for the flowering stage (3-20-20).
Fertilizers with higher N-P-K numbers are more capable of burning your plants. Carefully read and follow the directions. If you are feeding your plants each time you water, use only half strength nutrient solution. The safest way is to always measure the nutrient solution strength with a TDS meter or EC meter before using it on your plants.
One of the biggest benefits of using Maxsea is that it is very close to the ideal nutrient solution pH, and it's pH tends to drift upwards very little when sitting in a nutrient reservoir over time. Controlling the pH of the nutrient solution is extremely important to the success of a hydroponic garden, and probably causes the greatest number of problems for the indoor gardener as far as plant nutrition is concerned.
For anyone beginning a hydroponic garden on a tight budget, using Maxsea is one way to avoid having to purchase an expensive pH meter (at first) while still being able to achieve very good results.
If you decide to use Maxsea, be sure to add 1 teaspoon of Epsom salt to every gallon of nutrient solution. This provides your plants with Magnesium, which is the only micro-nutrient lacking in the Maxsea fertilizers. Even better, use Maxsea in combination with Cal-Mag supplement. This will give you a very complete and very affordable feeding strategy that is also very easy to maintain. One of the only places you will be able to find Maxsea fertilizer is Charley's Greenhouse and Garden.
When using the above seaweed fertilizers, I have never found it necessary to use a concentrated supplement. Concentrated supplements are for plant hormones more than for micro-nutrients or carbohydrates. I suggest you learn about pH, temperature, light, humidity, CO2, Oxygen, and the basic N-P-K ratios before trying to boost your plant growth with concentrated plant hormones.
If you feel you have the years of experience needed, and you are finely tuned to your indoor plants, and you still feel you need a little boost in the plant hormone department, than I suggest Nitrozime seaweed extract.
Hi everyone, Jason from Jason's Indoor Guide here. When I got started with hydroponic gardening more than 20 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.
What is colloidal humus?
Unfortunately, I have been gardening for over 20 years and I have only just recently mastered this difficult skill....and even then, only because I happened to find a very easy to follow, high quality technique and decided to follow the instructions to the letter. I produced more high quality compost in just one week than I was able to use in a whole year! I highly recommend it. It is one of the top 3 things you can do to increase the productivity of your food production efforts, while at the same time decreasing the amount of effort required to grow all of your own food, and decreasing the total cost of operating your food production system.
And when I say decrease operating costs, I mean decrease them to almost ZERO, especially if you are producing your own nutrients.
One final solution to eliminate the cost of your hydroponic nutrients: Imagine a hydroponic system that does not require you to buy any nutrients, does not require you to make your own compost, and does not require you to brew your own nutrient tea. Seriously! No cost and no effort as far as providing nutrients to your plants is concerned. Plus, at the end of the gardening cycle, you harvest all of your garden vegetables, PLUS YOU HARVEST FISH from the system!
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.
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!
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!
Years and years of experience and results can't be argued with....the Food4Wealth gardening strategy is one of the top 3 things you can do to increase your productivity, reduce your total costs, and reduce your total work....specifically for organic gardeners who love soil gardening. THIS is the most efficient and productive way to do organic gardening, period! And combined with the ability to make a years' worth of colloidal humus compost in just one week (see World's Best Compost), this overall organic soil gardening strategy is just unstoppable- foolproof, low cost, and low effort!