Share this article on FacebookShare this article on TwitterShare this article on LinkedinShare this article on RedditShare this article on PinterestExpert Author Zach Waldman
Beginning indoor gardeners visiting a hydroponic store may have a tough time deciding between one part, two part, or three part nutrient solutions. Even when people are just starting out, they want the biggest yields possible and it turns out the best choice is personal. www.nutritionlines.com
First, it’s a myth that one part nutrient solutions are for beginners. Many people wrongfully assume that two parts are better than one. This idea may come from the fact the twenty years ago, one part solutions didn’t work well.
Back then, it was hard to keep the individual elements and nutrients from having a chemical reaction when they were in just one bottle. This reaction really hurt plants because it made certain elements and nutrients unavailable to them. This is known as nutrient lock out and can happen for other reasons, such as a pH level that’s too high or low.
A good nutrient solution is complete, meaning it contains everything your plants need. Not only that, it contains the nutrients and elements in the proper amounts for the stage of growth your plants are in.
By separating the calcium from the phosphates and sulphates into two bottles, the premature chemical reaction doesn’t happen and plants get what they need.
However, nutrients have come a long way in the last twenty years and one part solutions are now made differently. Growers can get great results from them and they’re much simpler to use.
The new one part solutions contain a biological solid within the liquid which absorbs large amounts of calcium. This solid is a shield that keeps the elements and nutrients from having a chemical reaction. In order for them to work properly, it’s very important that you shake your one part nutrient solutions. Shaking them mixes the suspension (the solid biological ingredient) with the other elements so your plants will have good nutrient uptake.
Furthermore, the suspension helps to buffer your pH which makes it much more stable. Not having to mess around a lot with your pH saves time and money. One part solutions start to look very appealing when you consider the reduced maintenance.
On a side note, I remember a friend of mine telling me years ago that the more parts something has, the more precise it is. However, a lot of parts also means there’s more that can go wrong.
I bring this up because I’m about to talk about three part nutrients. While using a three part solution gives you more control of what you’re feeding your plants (precision), there’s also a lot more room for error.
Now, you may think that more precision is better, and therefore three part nutrients are for expert growers that want the biggest and best yields and one part nutrient solutions are for newbies. On the other hand, it may be more accurate to say that they both work great and one part solutions are for growers that just want to make life simple.
As you can see, the choice between using a one part, two part, or three part nutrient solution is personal. They all work great. I started off using Flora Nova which is a one part solution. Next, I moved to Super Veg/Bloom, a two part solution. Next, I started using the Botanicare line.
Why did I ever change? Well, like most hobbies, you start off simply, get bored, and in the spirit of advancement, you make things more complicated than necessary. The result is that you usually come full circle and get back to basics. Fundamentals win baseball games and keeping things simple in your garden may just get you the best yield you’ve ever had.