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 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
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.


Jun 01, 2011
by: Senthil


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.


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Hi everyone, Jason from Jason's Indoor Guide here. When I got started with hydroponic gardening more than 24 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...

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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 24 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)...

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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.

Unfortunately, I have been gardening for over 24 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! If you can master the technique, 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.

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