Hydro nutrience Is it all just marketing?

biggyboyMarch 6, 2014

Whats up with the hydroponics retail industry?
I went into a shop last night to get some hydroton and was looking at the prices for the base A, B nutrients and thinking
"these prices are nuts."
They were selling Anywhere from $48.00 for a 4 liter (us gallon) of A and B to well over a hundred for the same size. I can make it at home for $5.00!?!?!? $48.00 for 8 liters of water and at their cost $1.00 worth of mineral salts!?!?!?
Then I looked at their other nutrients such as boosters and fortifiers and ...... OMG they are even more expensive then the base nutrients ~Shocking !! They sell Cal-mag for $30.00
for 2 liters (half US Gal) It's a Dollars worth of mineral salts for me to make it, and it could be pennies if I was buying the mineral salts in 50 pound bags instead of 2-3 kilogram (4-6LBS) as I have.

It must be all about marketing?
They get you to buy the base nutrient and then tell you "hey if you want to grow really big and good plants you will need to buy these boosters and fortifiers....".
Why don't they just make an all in one A-B and get it over with? Something that you don't have to buy two or three different products.

Why make a grow base formula and then also make a grow fortifier that needs to be added to the base?? Why make a bloom base formula and also a bloom fortifier that needs to be added to the base?? Just put the appropriate amount of mineral salts in the base formula in the first place and get it over with.


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It is a money making operation, they are in it to make money. Now,,, I pretty much agree with what your saying. I need to learn to make my own nutes. Right now I am using a 2 part system that is fairly inexpensive. I know we can do it much cheaper.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2014 at 6:26PM
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@ Rio_Grande,

If your interested in a free software program that calculates the weights of mineral salts to add to water to make an A-B nutrient,
then check out Hydro Buddy.

There are some sample recipes to start with.
If you do decide to mix your own, it's better to use greenhouse grade mineral salts over agricultural salts sold at a farming fertilizer outlet. The greenhouse grade is purer.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2014 at 10:16PM
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boreal_wormer(Alta Canada)

I'm new to hydroponics and I have to say that the price of fertilizers was a shock. Maybe as it grows in popularity we'll see a 'Miracle Grow' scale of manufacturer enter the market and lower prices.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2014 at 11:13PM
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PupillaCharites(FL 9a)

I make my own recipes because that's the part of this I enjoy most. But it always costs me more in the long run to make my own than using the more convenient bulk commercial 3-part powder hydro fertilizers (fert+CAN+Epsom.

My thought is, that unless there isn't a commercial blend that meets your needs, it isn't worth home blending on the basis of cost cutting alone. Like right now, time to mix some more, but rain every day, and I don't want to open each bag of the 12 different ingredients in my strawberry formula until the air is dryer. It can be a pain sometimes, like today.

Here's my per pound cost (one pound makes 76 gallons) for an excellent lettuce production based on a 5-11-26 for a commercial 3-part: $1.51 (cost is price averaged for the actual usage of the three ingredients). That is hard to beat if it is already available off the shelf. There are also health issues to consider when mixing some of the micros. If you enjoy mixing the chemicals or have no ecomomical option, though, then it would be better to make your own. My home brew probably costs around $1.25/# weighted, but there are losses and inefficiencies trying to purchase, ship, handle and store these chemicals and in the long run I think $2.50-$3/lb is a realistic estimate not to fool myself for my home-brew situation. The blending no-nonsense companies that sell the sacks don't have my little guy inefficiencies plus they buy ingredients by the railcar or micros by the palletload, so IMO they earn their margin which is probably something like 50%, remembering they get a great deal on railcar loads.

My advice is just to avoid the snazzy marketeers, but look for a commercial blend operation product first. A spreadsheet or similar program is always nice to have.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2014 at 11:48PM
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@ Boreal,
What are you currently using for nutrient?
I have the 4 litre A and 4 litre B DNF from Home Grown Hydroponics.
It's $48.00 for the two jugs $40.00 online.
Once this is close to gone I'll be mixing my own.
I'll be buying the micro nutrient (metals, copper, zinc...) premixed from Home Grown Hydroponics.
The Macro nutrients I'll get from my buddy that runs commercially 10 acre greenhouses on 100 acres.
Home grown actually sells the mineral salts as a "six pack" with the Micros already mixed together and 5 other Macro nuts seprated.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 8:09AM
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boreal_wormer(Alta Canada)

Astaroth the product name is spam blocked here but it's a single part formula that was $15 for a pint on Amazon.ca. I only have a WindowFarm and a couple of Kratky buckets going so don't think it would be worthwhile to buy the ingredients to blend it myself.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 10:57PM
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