Dr. Nate Storey: We’ve been getting some questionsabout nutrient solutions for hydroponic systems. We do a lot of aquaponics here, but we alsohave a commercial hydroponics facility anddo a lot of hobby hydro as well. Today I’mgoing to talk a little bit about the differentnutrient solutions, what you should be lookingfor, and the best ones to use in your particularsystem. There’s basically two types of nutrient solutionsout there. Now there’s a lot of differentformulations but there’s two basic types. You can get your fertilizer as a liquid, oryou can get your fertilizer as a powder ora solid. For most hobbyists, you’re buyingmixed fertilizer solutions, so you’re buyinga liquid mix. A good example of it would besomething like this stuff. We both sell thisFoliage Pro and we use it in all of our homeand hobby systems. This kind of fertilizersolution is really, really nice because itis very simple, is very easy to put in yoursystem, is very easy to run, and with thisDyna-Gro stuff, we actually really like it. This is our preferred nutrient mix for smallersystems. Now if you’re going to scale up though andyou’re going to do a larger system you probablywant to look into powdered nutrient solutions. These are commonly called two-part mixes. What they are is they’re a combination ofcalcium, nitrate, and then a main nutrientmix. You’re going to mix those together intowater separately, then you’re going to mixthem together, and that’s what you’re goingto be using as your nutrient solution. The pros and cons are that this stuff is veryeasy to use, very simple to use. But if you’reshipping it or if you’re using it a lot ofthe time you’re paying for a lot more water. Now if you’re a home grower then this is stillvery cost-effective and it’s a great solution. It will work really well for you. But if you’recommercial grower you don’t want to pay forall that extra water to be shipped and youbasically just want a concentrated form forstorage, for mixing, just to make your lifea lot easier. For instance our farm down in Colorado usesa two-part mix that they buy from a placedown there called Hydro-Gardens. Hydro-Gardenssells a bunch of different two-part mixesand different formulations for different crops. So depending on the crop that you’re goingto be growing you want to find a formulationthat is close or specific to that crop. Most home and hobby solutions are not typicallythat crop specific. A lot of them have beendeveloped for alternative industry, I’ll putit that way, so the home and hobby grower,the ones who say grow strawberries or wantsto grow lettuce or something like that oftentimeshas difficulty finding a solution that’s tailoredspecifically to that particular crop. Butfor two-part solutions the nice thing is thatall of the formulation has been done for us. We can actually buy a strawberry mix to growstrawberries. We can grow an herb mix to growherbs. We can buy a lettuce mix to grow lettuce. That’s the differences between the two. Ona small level of course we recommend a Iiquidfertilizer. This Dyna-Gro stuff is reallygreat. If you haven’t tried it, definitely,definitely give it a shot. It’s what we use,again, on all of our spring systems and allof our small hydro systems. One other thing that you should be thinkingabout is if you’re going to be getting intohydroponics there are a few things you needto understand. One is pH and one is EC. Theseare your two major measurements that you needto be taking in any hydroponic system. Theexception to this is if you’re using likeone of our springs and you’re using our Dyna-Grosolution you don’t really have to check ECor pH that much. We give directions on howto do it without checking pH and EC. But for all other systems you need to be checkingyour pH and adjusting your pH because thesystems will get more basic or more acidicovertime. Similarly with EC, you need to bechecking your EC and making sure it’s in theright range. What EC is is electrical conductivity. We’ll do more videos on this down the roadbecause it’s a complicated topic. But youneed to be measuring your EC and making sureyou’re within a certain range, to make surethat your nutrients are within a certain range. EC is basically measuring the soluble saltsor the nutrients in your solution. If youdon’t know what those are I’d encourage youto go do a little more research before youjump into hydro. But once you understand these principles,once you understand these things, hydroponicscan be a really fun and very, very profitable,and very . . . It’s just a great way to growfood. There’s a lot of payback both in educationand quality of product, and if you’re doingit commercially of course and money. So definitelydo a little bit more research and keep checkingback. We’re going to do videos on pH and EC. We’ve talked about these in the past for aquaponicsbut going forward we’re going to talk aboutthem in a more detail for hydroponic growersbecause this is a really growing area of interestout there. Hopefully this information is useful to you. If it is, make sure you check out some ofour other videos. We go into more detail onother topics in our other YouTube videos. Check out the Vertical Food Blog for moredetail, and if you find this information usefulplease do subscribe.