Tomato yellowing top leaves

biggyboyMarch 19, 2014

Hi there,
I check my Hydro plants every day, PH and EC micro Siemens...
Today I noticed one of my two tomato's is starting to yellow.
the top most leaves are yellowing, the bottom are still nice and green.
Here is my setup.
5 Gal bubble bucket with Hydroton grow rocks under t5 6500K lights set 2 inches above the plant.
Fresh water and Nut three days old. PH set too 6.5 but always climb back up. Today it was at 8??? My incoming town water is around 7.2 ish... with an EC of about 300
My total Ec with nuts added is 1168 aprox. (580ppm)

I have a new wrap that hangs from the light and drapes down past the tables edge. it it a reflector.
I'm wondering if this new reflector wrap is blocking off air movement and hence CO2???
One other thing:
I moved this tomato from my flood table 4 days ago to the bubble bucket. The table was flooding every three hours, now the root are in water all the time. should I lower the water level to keep the roots out of the water?

I tried the search feature on this forum but it came up with everything but tomato's and yellow leaves??

This is the tomato yesterday when it was still green.
See the rest of the photos in the next post.


This post was edited by Astaroth on Wed, Mar 19, 14 at 19:12

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Todays phot of the tomato with the yellowing top leaves.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 7:04PM
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The setup of bubble buckets.


    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 7:05PM
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PupillaCharites(FL 9a)

New nutes or not, your high pH swinging is probably killing the iron chelate and hitting the plants two-fold, since the iron can fall out of solution above neutral pH's (depends on the Fe chelate ligand, EDTA is worst), and the plant can't uptake iron at higher pH as well. If you have pretty hard water (high Calcium/magnesium), the effect will be worse and if there are other trace nutrient metals that are not chelated, such as Manganese, they can trash the Fe-chelates too, and you want to oxygenate better if possible since this will work in the favor of iron availability, DEFINITELY lower that too high water level. Your plants will get well quickly if you put a ppm of Fe from Fe-chelate in there if you have any.

Good Luck!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 8:25PM
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@ PupillaCharites
Thanks for the reply.
I have adjusted my PH down to 6.5 and will keep an eye on it. My town water is lake water and is not overly hard.
I can add a bit of Iron chelate. and see what happens.
I have looked at our town annual water report and the hardness is not to high. plus the alkalinity is not overly high either. My chemist, botanist, biologist friend looked at my water report and said it wasn't to bad. But I'll tell you this water sure has a big buffering effect. I can get the ph down but it doesn't last long before it pops back up.


    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 8:37PM
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PupillaCharites(FL 9a)

This is a case that merits adjusting down the water's pH before mixing, say the day before, sitting over night, and doing it again if necessary before mixing, wil be very helpful since there is something funky going on. What we don't know is what other metals are in the source, because several metals in trace concentrations have a seek-and-destroy property to eject the iron from its chelate and drop it out completely.

That's what you're wrestling, and tomatoes usually can benefit from a higher Fe ppm even in normal situations, some extra iron is frequently recommended-- tomatoes do fine at 5 ppm Fe (see Howard Resh). Everything is working against your iron nutrition, a pH of 6.0 at this point would be even more helpful than 6.5. Also, if you have the chelate Fe-DTPA it will grab the iron better at these pHs.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 8:54PM
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@ PupillaCharites

I think that may be a good idea, about lowering the PH a day before mixing. I will need to get some extra 5 gal buckets to pre PH treat the water.

I have the hydrobuddy program that calculates the ingredient amounts for making your own nut concentrates. There are several recipes for nut formulas by Howard Resh included in the program.
Once I use up the four liters of A-B DNF nutrient, I'll be mixing my own brew. I have all the dry nutrient powder salts ready. The trace minerals come as a mix. Six pack.
I found a guy that sells greenhouse grade nuts by the pound.


This post was edited by Astaroth on Wed, Mar 19, 14 at 21:24

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 9:20PM
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PupillaCharites(FL 9a)

Wow, Glen, sounds like you have done a lot of footwork to be ready! That's good because I looked up DNF just now and could not find a guaranteed analysis anywhere showing all plant nutrients including minors, and I have to believe it has them - personally I hate those kind of products since the most fun in this for me is to know what my plants are getting and then be able to make adjustments to it as you will soon be doing! You might have it on the bottle though and I don't doubt whether it is a good recipe. It's just the not knowing part ... Was trying to guess at your application rate and see the ppms for iron from DNF just to see the relative proportions you were feeding the plants. Typically it's less than 3 ppm, and sometimes as low as 1.5 ppm. But at this stage it is likely it is not lack of iron in the fertilizer but rather loss of iron from it. Anyway, please post a pic of them when they get over their mild iron chlorosis.

Glad to hear you found a way to get bulk ingredients in Canada!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 12:37AM
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@ PupillaCharites
OK thanks much for the info!!!

I just phoned the locale nursery and they have Iron Chelate 7%
I'm going to pick that up. I have no idea how much should be added to a 5 US gal bucket!?!?!?
Hopefully there will be instructions on the label.
My Micros are the complete mix.


    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 10:45AM
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PupillaCharites(FL 9a)

Perfect! and better yet if it's Iron-DTPA powder. At 7% (usually this refers to elemental iron, just like we use) in 18.925 liters (5 US gallons), each 1 ppm can be quickly calculated like this: Liters/70. So 18.925/70 = 0.2704 g per 5 gallons.

That's quite small to measure and you need a fine scale. Best to make a stock solution. Use distilled or de-ionized water. If you make 100 mL, put 2.71 grams into 100 mL. Each 5 mL teaspoon of the aqueous stock will then add 0.5 ppm to 5 gallons. I'd say stick two tsp of that per bucket, 2 x 0.5ppm for a total of 1 ppm per bucket. You might do three, but DTPA will be more stable. If it is EDTA, definitely 3 tsp. Keep the extra stock in the dark, better in an opaque container, not clear water bottle.

This post was edited by PupillaCharites on Thu, Mar 20, 14 at 12:01

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 12:00PM
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@ PupillaCharites,
Hey that's great! :-)
Thanks for the help!
I picked up Plant-prod powdered Iron Chelate with DTPA.
had to pick up a smaller scale, mine didn't do dec. point of a gram, just grams.
Will mix it up tonight and add it.
My PH is still buffering.
My friend told me as the tomato uses up some of the nutrient it will create an ionic change to the water and change the PH

I just remembered that I have a jug of liquid formic acid, that I can use to get the PH down. I also have Oxalic acid crystals too.


    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 8:19PM
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PupillaCharites(FL 9a)

Sounds good ;-)

Be sure you use pure water (DI or RO), definitely not chlorinated, not hard nor alkaline water, for the stock solution, just wanted to emphasize.

As for the other organic acids you have available, is there a reason to use them instead of the regular pH down you've been using? If it isn't something important, I wouldn't. Organic acids tend to break down quicker and make pH adjustment more challenging. On the specific acids, oxalic and formic, I wish I had concrete experience to say, but I only have limited experience with citric and acetic (vinegar).

I would be afraid to try oxalate until I had nothing else to do but a scientific experiment, because it is involved in plant metabolism and it can chelate metals, both trace nutrients and other heavy metals. Nothing wrong with that, and it could be potentially even a secret ingredient to enhance performance, or maybe degrade growth. More than not it would be ok, but concretely don't know.

As for formate, I doubt it would form formaldehyde which might not be good, and it probably would be similar to using vinegar except maybe a little stronger, which actually might be good. Further, it might even be uptaken by the plant as a nutrient itself as very minor direct source of carbon for growth instead of the regular CO2. In a pinch I'd be willing to try it, but if I had regular pH down, one of the big three inorganic acids, P,N,S I'd definitely use them first. But I have used citric acid before as part of pH down, more for its buffering stability.

So you could try them, some people just use vinegar which has generated many threads, but the acetic acid of vinegar seems ok, just does't seem like the effect lasts long, probably because organic acids can decompose and provide nutrients to bacteria and fungi in solution more than readily than to the plants.

Hope that helps...good luck on the stock sol'n, you're tomatoes are woring up a good appetite for it ;-)

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 10:25PM
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@ PupillaCharites,
Thanks for the additional info!
Yes I used DE-ionized water for the concentrate.
I'm still having problem with keeping my PH at 6 it keeps climbing up over 7.
My nutrient was changed out last Saturday. I'm assuming it's time for fresh batch of water and nutrients.
I have a bucket of tap water sitting. I adjusted the PH down to 6 this morning and with check it's PH tonight. then will add the nutrient tonight, re-ajust the PH and see what it is like in the morning. Then change out the bubble buck with the new mix.

I will be getting a RO unit sometime soon maybe this will help!?!?

I have been doing lots of reading on PH for Hydroponics.
They say Ammonium Nitrate is a good buffer to keep the PH down. Calcium Nitrate has a small amount in it's make up apparently. My DNF uses Calcium Nitrate. Read that you can sub half the amount of Calcium Nitrate for ammonium nitrate.

Again thanks for your great info and input.


    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 7:55AM
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PupillaCharites(FL 9a)

Can you get ammonium nitrate in Canada? Sounds like it, it's not available here to hobbyists. But the calcium nitrate already has some ammonium nitrate in it, in about the right proportion, assuming you will use the 15.5-0-0 stuff. Increasing the ammonium is not the solution to this, it could even hurt the plants and with throw another variable/uncertainty in to your unpredictable pH. There is something odd with the water. Just a week with the nutrient and five gallons for a small tomato plant - you're doing everything you can to get rid of your nutes ;) I'd keep mine a month and the water behaves very well after the initial conditioning. Your plant is small, no rush now that you are adjusting with the iron which likely is the only victim from the pH swings.

Why not go the extra mile and just adjust your water a week in advance, that won't hurt, so what if there's always an extra bucket sitting around. The RO may or may not be a solution. My town water is the same EC as yours, and I dilute it 50/50, using clean rain. It takes some time to stabilize and I start to prepare my solution two days beforehand. The addition of the plants always causes pH to go from 6.25 (where it starts) to around 7.0. I check and adjust it back about 5 hours after putting the plants. It's also interesting why my plants do this, and I need to figure out why one of these days. But after three days of plants all the problems are driven out. I actually need the calcium and magnesium from my (1/2) water as part of my recipe!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 11:34AM
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@ PupillaCharites ,
Thanks once again for the handy info.
Been doing some more reading on Buffering.
Daniel from Hydrobuddy wrote an articular for making a buffer to keep your pH where you want it.
Here is a cut and paste:

"A pH bufferâÂÂs function is to provide reaction âÂÂalternativesâ for strong acids and bases when they contact the nutrient solution. These acid or basic substances generally react with water and this changes the value of pH. When a buffer is present, they react with the buffering molecules instead of water. This of course, makes pH remain approximately constant. Since the generation of species can be perfectly controlled and predicted by the use of mathematical methods, we can create very good buffering system by âÂÂexperimentingâ with different substances using a computer, as I mentioned in an earlier post.

As a result of my simulations I concluded that a mixture of citric acid/carbonate acts as a good buffer in hydroponics both towards the addition of acids and bases. The actual species involved are citrate and the bicarbonate ion, the bicarbonate ion reacts with acids, providing basic pH buffering, while the citrate reacts with acids providing an acid range buffering effect.

It is very easy to use this system by using your regular pH meter. Prepare your nutrient solution as usual, at the end, add 5g of citric acid for 500 liters of solution (this will acidify the pH of your solution a lot). Now, take back the pH to the value you want (5.8 to 6.2) by adding potassium carbonate. It is important not to use bicarbonate as this will react quickly with citric acid to form carbonic acid and then carbon dioxide (which will leave as a gas !). Also make sure you add both chemicals previously dissolved in water to afford quick chemical equilibrium achievement inside the solution.

By using this method you will have a nutrient solution that is perfectly buffered at your desired pH and that will remain at that pH value for a good amount of time. This of course, depending on the solutionâÂÂs volume and the type and number of plants you grow with it. (below, the distribution of species diagram or the carbonate family)"

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 12:30PM
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    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 12:32PM
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I just read on another site that Hydroton will effect the pH if it has NOT been soaked in pH balanced water first before use.
all I did was rinse it out with tap water at 7.2 pH aprox.
I think I'll take some pH balanced water (6pH) in a pail rinse out some new Hydropton and then put it in the bucket for an hour or two and see what it does to the pH, too see if it does raise it.


    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 1:12PM
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PupillaCharites(FL 9a)

Thanks Glen for the above interesting read. Citrate and other fleeting organic supplements have been used as part of a buffer in these situations since long before I was born, I think it is also a regular ingredient in powdered pH down from GH, for example ... it is what I consider 'reactive' rather than 'proactive' nutrient management, and it is completely unnecessary for my 2 veggies.

pH control is like holding the steering wheel - I drive by holding chemical additions to an absolute minimum since that makes everything simple to manage and predict. If your initial water is not properly conditioned, and you insist on going down that road someone else may be a more stubborn chemist to deal with that.

It's a waste of time to be dumping things in to push the equilibria against the natural water on the fly by putting more and more chemical species, which also can affect my interpretation of the EC.

There really should be no need to do this if you settle your water in advance. My nutes just needs checking about once every 10 days, and not always adjustment. My biggest two problems are the rain diluting my nutrient solution, and the worst is really bird poop falling in which incidentally forms oxalic and other ammonium related compounds, and screws up everything for a few days!

If I had to adjust the pH more often, I would simply revise my fertilizer recipe until I got it right.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 1:31PM
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"If I had to adjust the pH more often, I would simply revise my fertilizer recipe until I got it right. "

Hum... and this is one of several of my problems.

1. I'm not making my own nutrient mix.
2. Even if I did make my own mix, I wouldn't know what to alter as far as salts to get a better control of pH.
But form now on I'll be balancing out my water well before it needs to be changed out.


    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 2:07PM
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PupillaCharites(FL 9a)

The commercial mineral-salt fertilizers I've had are pretty stable when used according to their mixing instructions, too. I'm sure you'll get the water figured out very soon and just forget you even had the problem once you get the hang of what's needed to prepare the water.

For altering a home made mix, it definitely takes lots of patience, but it can be very satisfying in a cathartic way, and a few months of growing like everything else in agriculture and gardening, and anyone can do it just by trial and error and keeping accurate records of weights and test results.

No instant results, but once you don't care if the pH falls to 4.75 or up to 7.0 or something like that, doesn't have to be scientific, but more fun like cooking a pot of cowboy beans, and seeing what happens if you throw in a little beer, less pork skins, more or less jalapeños and garlic, or less onion, coriander, and what not.

The plants are remarkable when it comes to tolerating how we mistreat them, and one of the nicest feelings is to have suffered through a few cycles and suddenly guesstimated something right, be rewarded with lush growth. As long as it's just a hobby, I actually enjoy learning from the failures since it makes the success all sweeter, which is really obvious usually when suddenly the plant has great color and holds its leaves up proudly.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 4:21PM
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I was in at a Hydro shop that I have not been in before to see if they had any carbonate.
i was telling him about my pH swings and not being able to keep it under 7pH.

He suggested I try the Dutch Pro brand of nutrient.
That is what he uses and he doesn't have any problems with pH swings and doesn't need to add any pH up or pH down.
We are both on the same supply water.
So I thought I would give it a try and do a head to head test of the DNF and this Dutch Pro. Two 5 gal buckets each with a tomato in it. So far so good, the Dutch Pro is staying stable at 6.0 pH The DNF is rising and I keep needing to add Nitric acid.
The Dutch Pro didn't need any acid right from the start.
both buckets were started at the same time with new water and nutrient from water that was aged from the day before.

The DNF water was pretreated with Nitric acid to lower the tap water to 6.0 pH. The Dutch Pro need no acid like I said.

Will see how it turns out at the end of the week.
If this Dutch Pro works out for me, That may be the formula I'll copy. But first I want to run it for a while and see.
I also re-did my 100 liter res for my flood and drain table with the dutch Pro and am pleased to see it is also holding a steady pH.


    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 6:36PM
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Here are the guaranteed nutrient for the Dutch Pro
2.5ml / liter of water.

NO2 4.2%
NH4 .2
P205 2.3
K20 6.3
CaO 3.1
MgO 1.2
SO3 2.7
NA2O .6
CL .3
BORON .006
Cu .002
Fe .018
Mn .015
Mo .oo2
Zn .006

This post was edited by Astaroth on Sun, Mar 23, 14 at 22:20

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 7:12PM
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PupillaCharites(FL 9a)

Switching nutrients is one wy to skin a cat ;); Perhaps you're listing the combined numbers for both an A and a B side for a net 2.5 mL/L for moderate hardness in the water, if so, looks reasonable, @ ~126 ppm of nitrogen. Just your "Fe .002" should likely be 0.2% which gives 5 ppm in solution, but the rest of the micronutes are ballpark %'s for that mix rate. Interesting the ingredient analysis lists Cl and Na (assuming NA2O is Na2O) separately, too bad the US fertilizers didn't do more of that. Tomatoes taste better with salt anyway. Keep us posted! Thanks

This post was edited by PupillaCharites on Sun, Mar 23, 14 at 21:10

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 9:08PM
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@ PupillaCharites,

Yes I believe the guaranteed nutrient numbers are the combined 2.5ml of A and 2.5ml of B. Both the A and B jugs have the exact same label with the same numbers.
The solution is a 400 to 1 concentrate.

The Fe is .018 I typed it in wrong, I corrected that in the above post.

Yes NA20 is actually Na2 0, another typo :-)

I used the ppm calculator on this site to get the ppm.
My total for Nitrogen came out at 110.
105ppm for the N02
and 5ppm for the NH4.
Do you use the same calculator or the one in Hydrobudy?
How did you come up with 126?
If they used a buffering agent such as a carbonate would they need to list it in the ingredients. IE: potassium carbonate?

Here is my ppm's from the calculator.

N02 105
NH4 5
P205 25
K20 131
Ca 77
Mg 30
S03 67
Na20 .6
CL 7.498
Cu .05
Fe .45
Mn .3749
Mo .05
Zn .15

This post was edited by Astaroth on Sun, Mar 23, 14 at 22:14

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 10:09PM
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I just realized that there is no Calcium Nitrate, they used Nitrogen dioxide.

And the Ca is actually CaO Calcium oxide
And the Mg is actually MgO Magnesium oxide
So they are not using Epsom Salts for the magnesium?
And because they are not using calcium Nitrate, for Calcium, they are using the Calcium Oxide?.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 10:27PM
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PupillaCharites(FL 9a)

Hey, I see where you think you are going with this, but for this particular Dutch Pro stuff and many others of its ilk, I would not try to crack the formula until you've had significantly more practice. It is not so straightforward as it seems at first glance when it comes to the ingredients. Just stick with estimating the ppms of the nutes for now. I don't know the Dutch and Canadian regulations nor do I want to study truth in labeling from them. I'm still flustered by the American scam labels...

LOL Did you need a calculator to multiply 4.4% of 2.5 = 110 mg = ppm? Then I just added a 15% tip for the fun of it ;-) so it became about 126 ppm. DUTCH aren't DENSE without tipping LOL!

EDIT: forgot to say, I doubt the 4.2% refers to "NO2" you typed, and didn't nitpick that one since it was irrelevant. But since you asked, and the ingredients aren't listed in the thread, I bet the "NO2" is N derived from NO3 and the "NO2" part is a typo that either you made or is on the label. You comment nitrogen dioxide is in the mix recipe, but this is not likely. It would acidify the heck out of it, and the nutrient would probably stink of air pollution. Possible, but, not likely. More likely: typo.

This post was edited by PupillaCharites on Mon, Mar 24, 14 at 0:17

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 11:12PM
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I double checked the label and it does say NO2.
The dutch pro does drop thew pH more then the DNF does, when added to the water.

Yet me do some searching on the internet and try to see if it is NO2 or NO3 they are using.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 8:12AM
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PupillaCharites(FL 9a)

If we were to take what you read off the label as accurate at face value, it could also be nitrite nitrogen N(NO2-) instead of nitrogen dioxide as you suggest N(NO2 neutral). This, because when mentioning ammonium nitrogen you wrote NH4 instead of NH4+.

Tomato plants can uptake nitrite (NO2-) in small amounts, but it becomes toxic, according to this this study. The ppm values corresponding to their tests are 3.5 ppm to 140 ppm of N(NO2-).

"Increasing nitrite levels in the culture medium led to several disruptions of tomato plants, reflected by reductions of both dry matter per plant, chlorophyll concentrations and the appearance of chlorosis symptoms at the leaf surface."

Another possibility is the NO2 is a quirky Dutch way to do nitrate book-keeping that makes little sense from an ingredient perspective, you know like the P2O5 and K2O (on American.Canadian labels), and the Na2O you also have on the Dutch label, etc.

In aquaponics nitrite(NO2-) nitrogen is usually around 1 ppm, since it is gets toxic to the fish even quicker than the plants. That is why Nitrobacter bacteria are essential in aquaponic setups and the systems are unstable upon startup as Nitrosomonas first begins, you still have to wait for the second step of nitrification to kick in with Nitrobacter which takes at least a week longer.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 11:18AM
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Yes about the NO2, I mentioned it to my chemist friend at work and he told me it is a gas.
He asked "are you sure it didn't have a - sign after it"?
I told him it very well might.
Once again, I'll have to take a better look at the very very small print on the label LOL The info about ppm toxicity is interesting.

If the ppm of the nitrogen was 110 in the concentrate, would it not be diluted down to 27.5 ppm the concentrate is a 400/1 ratio. or is that ppm calculated for the diluted mix?

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 11:35AM
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PupillaCharites(FL 9a)

It would be more efficient and now I'm also curious, just for you to take a picture of the label and post it here. You would also be helping others who want to know what the Dutch Pro Grow hydro formula is all about (hint! hint!).

You asked: "If the ppm of the nitrogen was 110 in the concentrate, would it not be diluted down to 27.5 ppm the concentrate is a 400/1 ratio. or is that ppm calculated for the diluted mix?"

This is arithmetic question you ask if 110 ppm when diluted with about 400:1 parts of water:nutrient becomes 27.5 ppm... (actually that's for 399:1, but the difference is insignificant).

Two things about that, first 110/400 = 0.275 ppm (not 27.5 ppm!). I would suggest if you start using a spreadsheet instead of these misc. programs floating around to avoid silly errors, since you are technically quite intelligent in your questions and the programs are getting in your way to understanding what is going on.

The second part I'm tempted to say who the heck knows what the concentrations are in the concentrate LOL since from what you've said, both the A and the B containers have the identical compositions printed on their respective labels. My frustration aside regarding the scam labeling practices, just re-read your label. It appears N is 4.2% + 0.2% = 4.4% of something, whether it be A, or (A+B)/2, or hopefully not (A+B)/1 (the latter @ 5 mL application rate? ;-)).

So, forget about programs, please ;). Just look at the numbers: 4.4% nitrogen. Percent is pph, right? To get to ppm, multiply by 10,000 (100 x 10,000 = 1,000,000). So the number listed is 44,000 ppm on the bottle. Clearly, that is the composition of the concentrated product as sold in the bottle. Now, just to convince yourself, check: 44,000/400 = Voila! 110 ppm diluted. Oll Korrect..., except don't forget the required 15% tip or the Dutch will just be giving you a bottle full of distilled water - so call it 126 ppm, if the label makes some sense. I really would like to see the label though to have a chance to interpret it too. 0.51 ppm of iron (calculated from your "Fe 0.018%" typed above is somewhat out of whack IMO with 126 ppm N, even after you corrected your typo. I doubt you made a second typo and would rather believe we are just dealing with clever Dutchmen guarding their company jewels;-)

This post was edited by PupillaCharites on Mon, Mar 24, 14 at 13:18

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 1:10PM
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I'll post a photo tonight when i get home from work.

Using your method of calculating ppm. does it take into acount, usable ppm of a given salt?
IE: take calcium nitrate for example. lets say hypothetically we have a product that has 5% nitrogen. To calculate ppm for the nitrogen you would not be just adding the calculated ppm of calcium nitrate to the DIY mix, would we? Calcium nitrate is approx 11.8% to 15.5% nitrogen and roughly 19% calcium.
Do you see where I'm going here and does your method take this into count? 100 ppm of calcium nitrate is not a 100 usable ppm of nitrogen or 100 usable ppm of calcium.

Sorry I'm not trying to judge or second guess you, I'm just trying to get my facts straight and to learn from you :-)
I'm really appreciating your time spent helping me!!!
It's quite fun learning this stuff.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 1:57PM
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PupillaCharites(FL 9a)

OK, your enthusiasm is catchy too. Yes I see what you are trying to get straight. You don't trust someone writing a private encyclopaedia for you on the internet without grilling them on all the details, but you have blind trust in labels on the bottles ;-) Really, I encourage you to be skeptical about anything I told you, but only if you promise to be 10X more skeptical of some of the canard on the labels. Then I won't feel like you are picking on me LOL

OK, here's your problem "Calcium nitrate is approx 11.8% to 15.5% nitrogen and roughly 19% calcium". But you are still getting too caught up in those online ppm gizmos. Here is what you need to consider in outline format:

1. The "analysis" you provided does not include any reference to salts.
2. I did not include any reference to salts in my calculation (I only talked about N from nitrate and/or ammonium)
3. For conversation's sake, let's call the ions the nutrients; let's call the salts, the source from which the nutes are derived.

As long as you keep the distinction clear, you will be fine. We are not formulating Dutch Pro Grow, we are only assuming what the label says is what nutrients it contains, not the recipe to make it.

If I say, eat your lettuce, it has 10 ppm of iron in the leaves, if you eat 100 grams of lettuce, you will eat 1 milligram of iron. We don't know if it is derived from chlorophyll, ferritin, or something else, nor would a human nutritionist ask what the iron was derived from in most cases.

There is only one method to calculate ppm that's been used before my time. That's why you need to use a spreadsheet if you are serious about learning, because the programs cannot teach you.

In other words, when the fertilizer says N is 4.4%, the fertilizer is talking about the element N, and not the source of it. 44,000 ppm (4.4%) is all there is to it. That's why the analyses cover composition, which is all that is needed to calculate the application rate by a user. Then as you already are doing, use your dilution factor and we get the ppm conversion from stock solution to working solution. Farmers traditionally never had to worry about chemical formulas, the way fertilizers are sold contains the practical information necessary already reflecting the net content after the formula, impurities, etc. have been analyzed.

Looking real forward to seeing those Dutch Pro labels! If they have a part that says "Derived from" or some such thing actually listing salts they claim to have used, for sure, include that too in the image ;-), keeping straight the distinction

This post was edited by PupillaCharites on Mon, Mar 24, 14 at 15:21

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 3:15PM
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Deleted due to Double post.

This post was edited by Astaroth on Mon, Mar 24, 14 at 15:53

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 3:47PM
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Here are the photos of the label.
Bottle A 5 liters

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 5:57PM
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Bottle B 5 litres.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 5:58PM
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The instructions in English. There six languages on the bottle. No ingredients are on the label, Just instructions and the percentages.


    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 6:01PM
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OK I played with the numbers and see how it works now! :-)
The 15% you added to the PPM. Can you explain a bit more on why that is done? Also that 15% would be added to all the ppm values for each, not just Nitrogen correct?
The spread sheet you speak of, do I have to make it?
I can use and make excel spread sheet OK, not good with macros though. I added the equation you posted for figuring out ppm to my Hydroponic study note book.

OK I get what you are saying about the percentages on the bottle and ppm. Thanks for clearing that up!!!

Boy I'll tell you something, I sure am very skeptical about the information on the labels of these nutrients. I'm not trying to be skeptical about you at all, actually you are a great help!

Thanks for all your input, I sure am learning a lot!!! :-)


    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 6:39PM
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PupillaCharites(FL 9a)

Then I guess you saw that it really is NITRATE I kept assuming, that is, NO3 after all ;-) No nitrogen dioxide or for the other comments as you said they repeat the identical numbers in the two images. In the first label where more is visible you cut it off right under the mix instructions (all I see is in 100 liters of water, and then a bunch of cautions.) Without seeing the text of the mixing instructions it isn't as helpful, since we are piling assumption on top of assumption so far about this formula.

It would be nice to read the mixing instructions to see how they phrase it. The way it stands with this label, too much is unclear. For example the 4.2% NO3 may refer to elemental nitrogen or it might refer to the nitrate moiety as a whole. In the US it would be specified like this N(NO3-) for elemental N but because we don't know the Dutch labeling regulation or have the manufacturer available to quiz, it is unclear. Because of that we are left guessing how to consistently interpret these numbers.

My feeling is that it is done purposely this way. Probably the NO3 is only elemental nitrogen derived from nitrate, because, with the dilution ratio you gave that actually gets us about right for nitrogen. However if we use the same interpretation P2O5 really would be P2O5 like it is inflated in the US and Canada, again because 2.3% elemental phosphorus in a grow formula would give an awfully high phosphorus to nitrogen ration only for most to add even more phosphoric acid to adjust pH.

So, we have more fun than that, is the Magnesium really reported as elemental magnesium or as its oxide MgO?

There are a lot of weird things about this formula, for example, Manganese is practically the same as Iron. That's not normal for most plants, and will contribute to lockout of iron. The most likely explanation is that clever Dutchmen have written their product in such a way that something is on the label that can be interpreted by them as ok for label making, but not opening the kimono to anyone casually sauntering in duplicating their formula (not that their formula is anything special to someone who doesn't use it nor need to duplicate it for any compelling reason).

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 6:45PM
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" It appears N is 4.2% + 0.2% = 4.4% of something, whether it be A, or (A+B)/2, or hopefully not (A+B)/1 (the latter @ 5 mL application rate? ;-)). "

Here is what I did to test the finished EC of one litre of water
with 2.5ml of A and 2.5 ml of B

One liter water 2.5ml A + 2.5ml B= 1148 uS EC
The tap water is 370 uS EC to start with.

On the bottle of the DNF it states to add 5ml of A and 5ml of B
per 1 litre of water.

The Dutch Pro is not so clear on this.


    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 7:07PM
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Darned dyslexia! some times I see number that aren't there LOL

As for the label. The part written above the first label photo showing the % is in German. The English mixing instructions are in the third photo, I posted. There is no more English instructions on the bottle, other then what is shown in the third photo.

All I know right now is this. The Dutch Pro is knocking the pants off of the DNF, as far as keeping the pH stable. The two test buckets have one tomato each. The 5 gal bucket with DNF has pH swings up and needs acid added daily. The bucket with Dutch Pro no acid added and is locked in at 6.0 pH with no pH change. New water and nutrient started Saturday Mar 22.
My flood table with 80 litre of Dutch Pro nutrient water in the res is also locked in at 5.9 pH and not moving.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 7:33PM
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PupillaCharites(FL 9a)

Oops, I answered your posts without refreshing my screen so I missed your last ones, importantly where you clearly showed the instructions. We can read the German if you think there might be more info by the nute "analysis" or whatever we should be calling that.

You also are skeptical about the labels! Yeah! Usually people come to the forums with ideas that are pretty fixed so I have to admit it feels good to have connected for once. That same flexibility and open mind you had to rethink labels for the crap they are on these sort of overpriced products is what will eventually get you comfortable mixing your own nutrients if you decide to go that route, or perhaps just settling on a good powder from a reputable seller of 10 to 25 kg sacks of this stuff.

Let me make a suggestion of what I would do in Canada, recognizing some of us down actually think it possibly is larger than Texas but are afraid to say it in public, I have been buying the greatest greenhouse peppers from Canada, and the local Florida stores also have plenty of Canadian tomatoes to the dismay of our more local growers. I would put on a pair of jeans one day and track down one of these operations and visit it, if I had to beg, borrow or beg my ticket there. If you could find a nice guy at one of them just for a brief chat, you know some of them must be getting bulk hydro fertilizers for tomato and pepper. The quality of the product is truly awesome, so if you find out and can buy or make it, you will need look no further. Plus you got to promise to tell me. I'm really really impressed, Canadian product getting here is truly superb.

Promise to give it a try? That is a tip I would very much appreciate without overturning the world looking from down here.

You asked about my Dutch "15% tip". Of course, 15% would not be a tip in Holland, it would be much too high to be expected. It was a weak attempt at a pun on the innocent Dutch, a beautiful people with smiling young women that ride bicycles everywhere and are extremely friendly and excellent businessmen to deal with...

The pun went like this. You are putting 2.5 mL/L of fertilizer in there. However, as you know, the fertilizer consists of water in which various chemical salts are dissolved. When you dissolve most salts into a liter of water, it keeps being rather close to the same liter of water for most solutes. So, 2.5 mL of water weight 2.5 grams.But then you must add the weight of the dissolved salts. I plucked out of the blue that this product has about approx. 13% dissolved salts in it. In chemical terms it's density is approx 1.15. That means each 2.5 mL weighs 2.5 mL x 1.15 g/mL ~ 2.875 grams, 15% more than the base. I may have guessed wrong, but it will be close enough for illustrative purposes. So I hope it helped (as you review, - the percentages are based on weight, not volume, making liquids more fun to calculate)!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 7:37PM
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HEHE the Canadian Tomatoes come from Leamington, two hours from here. Acres upon acres upon acres of greenhouse.

A good friend of mine has 9 acres of greenhouses on 100 acres of land.
He grows annuals, perennials and some vegetable bedding plants to sell to retailers and greenhouse.
They also sell plugs to greenhouse.
It is an amazing place.
When they put the plants outside in the summer there is acres of field full of rows of potted flowers. The fall is spectacular with acres of potted mums outside.
They buy their greenhouse grade salts in 50 LBS bags and mix their own nutrients. He has told me They use two basic formulas. He also told me I can get nutrient salts from him. Once I get a chance to talk to him when he is not so busy, I'll get some details of their liquid mix.
They do liquid injection drip, into peat moss, soil mix.
They have the same salts as what we would be using.
I'm over there every few weeks.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 8:26PM
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PupillaCharites(FL 9a)

Wow ... Thanks for letting me in on that secret corner of Canada Glen. I'm now a fan of your Leamington, Ontario weather for farming ... It's in US, USDA zone 6b! ... making it the same as most of Tennessee! What a nice place to be among all those tomatoes and one to put on the vacation calendar for sure. I just read that even though Heinz, under Warren Buffett's voting shut down their operations last August in the 110 year old factory there, the Tomato Queen was still crowned and life went on and now the factory will continue under Canadian management thanks to Canada only allowing fresh tomatoes to make tomato juice, unlike the US, which makes juice from pastes concentrates shipped cold. Here's the local newspaper (big pdf).

I can imagine how beautiful that place must be. Please don't forget your Jax FL buddy ... Those formulas are nothing secret but they must be spot on in that area, all that secret BS is only with the bottled up liquid stuff labeled for hydro retail sales, which always costs beaucoup. The bulk stuff proof is in the peppers and tomatoes we get here in Florida from you guys and they are incredible.

The pH probably will start drifting up, all else being well balanced, as your tomatoes consume especially nitrate, but if the system is sized properly, for a good recipe, it ought to be slight, like 0.1 pH units per day. I'm glad to hear it to you are having good results with your crop on the Dutch Pro, because out of shear coincidence, it is the exact same product I recommended to MsGreenFinger in Ireland 5 days ago ;-)

Please let us know how things go and don't forget to give me a hand with the mix they are using up there! I really want to try a hydro huge tomato, so bad, I want one to get so big and fat it breaks my hydro rig. Like this from Phil Hunt, of Port Elgin, Ontario (but I won't be using the claimed 'Delicious' variety). It will be very interesting to see how nutrient solutions behave with this type of tomato load ;-) Maybe you are neighbors with the Hunts, no matter how big they say Canada is LOL

This post was edited by PupillaCharites on Tue, Mar 25, 14 at 11:25

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 12:01AM
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Port Elgin is on the shores of Lake Huron, aways North of
I'll ask my friend when I'm back at their greenhouses if he has any connections to anyone in Leaminton to find out what there mix is. Maybe the seed producers will have a contact.
They may buy their seed from the same supplier.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 8:00AM
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PupillaCharites(FL 9a)

Hope things go well with all your new nutrients meanwhile. When you ask your friend about the Leamington fertilizer, also try to find out what adjustments they practice through the growth and fruiting. They probably have a practical way to do that without much micromanagement of the recipe. Thanks.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 11:56AM
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Ok I'll ask, I'm hopefully planning on stopping by tonight after work.

The dutch Pro as of this morning, day 4 is still rock solid at pH 6.0 the other bucket of DNF still needs to be adjusted two times a day

I'm assuming you have read this!?!?
and this

This post was edited by Astaroth on Tue, Mar 25, 14 at 12:26

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 12:22PM
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PupillaCharites(FL 9a)

That's sounding good. Those links, yes, are really micromanaged, I used precisely them as my original base for strawberry, which also interestingly gives good results.

It's quite complex, and because the Florida university folks recommend it doesn't mean growers are actually doing something like that in practical situation :-), for example most probably simply increase their "A" side while keeping all the rest the same.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 12:52PM
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I like the info on the second link I posted. The mixing instructions and amounts are easier to understand. The first links info is a bit confusing.
May try a small batch of the Tomato formula from the second link. and see what it does. Maybe a good place to get my feet wet. I'll just use it on one plant in a test bubble bucket.

This one maybe:

Table 7. Formula 5. Tomatoes (rockwool, perlite, and NFT-PVC) (Hochmuth, 1990).

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 3:17PM
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OK I dropped into the greenhouses tonight and found out, that they do not have any direct contacts with any of the Leamington greenhouses, but do know people that do.
He said he would Email a sales rep at Plant-Pro, who was recently bought out and are located in Leaminton, to find out about some tomato formulas.

Now about the Hydroponic tomato greenhouses in Leamington. He said when he did a tour of the greenhouses there he said they bring in tanker trucks full of liquid fert.
They don't mix their own ingredients from salts apparently :-(


    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 6:55PM
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PupillaCharites(FL 9a)

Yes! let's get this straight ... you want to try the mixes for Florida in Canada, and I want to try the mixes for Canada in Florida. Only I think this makes good sense :-) ?

Well, keep trying just like you are with me cheering along in the bleachers. Your friend is a real nice guy to be kind and open. Don't feel bad about the liquid deliveries. It sounds like the operations are so big there and concentrated that it makes little sense for each manager to be doing his thing and that the formula is established and common knowledge (unless it is a monster co-op).

Probably makes more sense to have just a couple of fools breathing in all the powders they must have, and more importantly, keeping the base powders moisture free, instead of everyone running around with different bags of salts storing theirs with varying degrees of success in the shed with the leaky roof.

The fact that it is standard might be good news since that probably means it is generally available to nice guys like your friend and everyone else trying to earn a living in the proud and satisfying tomato growing tradition!

Now I've decided to grow a few tomatoes, and who's to blame :-) I've already missed the planting date and need seeds quickly, work ahead...

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 12:50AM
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LOL, You know what they say.
"The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence"
Actually, now I'm thinking on doing one of Howard Resh's tomato

I grabbed another tomato plant plug from the greenhouse last night to try in another bubble bucket with a DIY mix, will be the first time doing my own mixing.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 7:50AM
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PupillaCharites(FL 9a)

Good luck experimenting and hope you can continue to share what you're learning and what you friend finds about the Leamington mix. Maybe you can work out with Doctor to try a pound or so of his pile of base fertilizer (hint). I don't have a bag of 4-18-38 or I'd help if you wanted to check how the standard commercial hydro tomato mix performed. Did you ever hear from jr peters to see if it is economical to ship theirs, or are you just waiting to get your friend's powdered formula and making your own just for experimentation meanwhile?

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 12:02PM
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Now that I know where to get the individual salts from, the plan is to just make the nutrients from scratch. I have enough salts and
and Micro mix to do a litre 100:1 concentrate. I'll use Howard Resh's Tomato formula and see how it goes for now until my Friend has a chance to track down some info. I'll just need to figure out how many grams of the micro mix will need to added to the 1 litre concentrate. It came as a mix, not separate.
DNF's website states to use 29 grams per 1000 litres of mix.
It's their Micro trace elemnts mix that I have.
So for a 100:1 concentrate, I guess I would move the decimal point over to the left by one to get 2.9 grams for my 1 litre of 100:1 concentrate!?!?!?!? OH Boy here I go again with the math :-)
The DNF micro trace elements mix consists of Boron, Zink, copper, Iron, Manganese, moly............

The container has the % of each ingredient but not application rate :-(


    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 2:12PM
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PupillaCharites(FL 9a)

OK, If it is anything like this:

1.3% boron
7% iron
2% manganese
0.4% zinc
0.1% copper
0.06% molybdenum (???)

It's not true that you are stuck with the DNF trace probably will want to add around 2/3rds of the 29 grams (=19.4 g) of your Fe-DTPA as an additional ingredient, if Resh's formula is calling for 5 ppm of iron. Not saying it won't work without it, just that Resh has lots of iron in his recipe, at least the one I know. Don't add an equal amount though, no matter what.

Yup the math is daunting ;) 29g/1000Lx1Lx100X=2.9g for a liter of 100X stock. Canceling Units will keep you honest!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 3:36PM
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The numbers on the container. And yes that is the right % of Molybdenum.
Iron 7%
Manganese 2%
Zink .4%
Copper .10%
Boron 1.3%
Molybdenum .66%

Ok for you suggestion about adding iron:
Do you want me to add 1.94 grams of iron to 2.9 grams of the micro mix?
Or did you want me to add 1.94 grams to 1/3 of the micro mix IE: .86 grams of micro mix and 1.94 grams of iron to the 1 litre of 100:1 concentration solution??
I'm assuming you mean to add 1.94 grams of iron to the suggested 2.9 grams of micro!

The moly is high, someone else stated that DNF micro mix is high in moly, but it was not a problem.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 5:18PM
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PupillaCharites(FL 9a)

Oh good grief more fun. I'm skeptical about the Moly and think it's a misprint meant to be 0.06, and I also bet the company puts 0.09% in anyway (totally made the last one up, but certainly possible from some of these POS labels I've seen)...that's why I put the (???) after it since I was aware of what the label said.

What anyone else is saying unless they are tied in to production at DNF, doesn't proved that person checked verified whatever the label says by chemical analysis using a certified method; glad someone noticed it but think it is more scientific to put it under suspicion rather than just nod because then someone else will find this thread with the same question, and the cult of believer of DNF high Mo will be born ;-) It depends how much of a label skeptic you are. If there is a logical reason for it that comes from DNF, that's a different ball of wax, but I see none, let me know if you find one.

Molybdenum can be toxic around 0.5 ppm I seem to recall, and I've not heard of anything over 0.1 ppm, and typical is 0.04. If we ethe iron is typically formulated to a conservative 2 ppm, the Mo will come out to be 0.2 ppm, as fixed by the ratio in the blend. So unless there is some special reason someone put the Mo out of whack, I'll be content thinking DNF's intern business student typist in the label department couldn't keep track of "0"s or just had a sticky "6" on their keyboard ;-) but that's me...

Right, the mundane stuff off the soapbox crusade to bash markups from chemical companies which I enjoy too much.... Yes, you can just make your stock solution with the 1.94g. I said 19.4 g since the instructions on the container you said were 29 g. Oh goodie, lets see the Fe ppm. 2.9 x 70 (remember?) = meh = 203 ppm. (give 2.03 ppm at 1:100)

So, to a liter of distilled water you can first add your 2.90 gram blend of trace minerals, dissolve it well, it will hopefully acidify nicely all by itself, then to that add 1.94 of extra Fe-DTPA. Seems like that'll put you around a 350 ppm iron in the stock solution and Resh probably has 5 ppm (500 ppm at 100X) so you'll be low, but play it safe. Remember the dyslexic intern clicking away on the impact labelmaker ;-)

This post was edited by PupillaCharites on Wed, Mar 26, 14 at 19:00

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 6:53PM
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OK got ya :-)
I'm figuring on putting the micro mix in the B solution as they suggest, But put the additional Iron in the A solution as it is supposed to.
I'm off to the basement to my DIY lab to mix up some brew now.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 7:49PM
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PupillaCharites(FL 9a)

Sounds good, doing that have the Fe-DTPA split almost equally in both feeds, as long as it's no problem needing a stock solution of Calcium nitrate.

If you double the rate of CAN down the line, the iron will then be slightly over 5 ppm according to the label guarantee, using that particular stock, or you could just make another of CAN if things change....

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 10:19PM
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The tomato plant is back to normal with pretty much all the yellow gone. It is also flowering quite well and has grown in the last 8 days.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 9:56PM
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PupillaCharites(FL 9a)

Beautiful ! Is that the DNF with added iron chelate (original recipe) on the pH seesaw, or is it the Dutch Pro, and does Dutch Pro also get the same supplement of added iron?

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 10:15PM
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It's the poor experimental tomato still suffering away in the DNF
swinging away with it's pH LOL. This Saturday I'm going to put it out of it's misery and change the nutrient to the dutch Pro.
That Dutch Pro's pH is rock solid with my other Tomato.

Actually now that I am using Nitric Acid instead of Citric acid the swings are no wear near as violent. The pH rises about 3 points per day, instead of 18 LOL and there is no sludge, bad smells of foaming. and I can see to the bottom of the bucket. and no slime on the roots!!!! :-)

Got a batch of home brew made up and will try it out on the third tomato in a bubble bucket. Right now Its being fed with the Dutch Pro for a week to give it a head start. Just put the third tomato plant in a bucket tonight.


    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 10:53PM
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ykerzner(9 TX)

OT question here. Just curious, Astaroth, what type of fitting are you using that has a 90-degree angle for the clear tubing?

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 4:39PM
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@ ykerzner 9 TX
The 90 on one of the buckets is a 1/2 " 90 for poly pipe.
The other buckets or 1/2 " 90 for some other type of piping system that I can't remember what it's called. They are slightly smaller in diameter then the poly pipe 90.
all of the fittings were in the plumbing section of our town Hardware store. Home Depot should have them.
For Canadians, I got mine from Canadian Tire Store.
The rubber grommet is 1/2 and it came from Home Depot in the electrical section, Gardner Bender brand. A hydroponic store will have all the fitting too, with better thicker grommets.
But the 1/2" grommets from HD works well.


    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 8:13PM
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PupillaCharites(FL 9a)

Beautiful greens there Glen and I'm glad the pH troll went to different greener pastures. Hope the nutrient changes went well and you keep posting a pic of the progress now and then. I'm seeding (late) tomatoes today, gonna try to catch up to you. They are hierlooms though and have little resistences, disasterous recipe for here in Florida but I'm going to see if I can do something with hydro to counteract that. Anyway it was you that got me in the mood for tomatoes with this thread!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 11:51AM
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I went with Heirloom tomato again this year, for the outside garden. They are Pondarosa and Romano. They worked out well last year. I think i have 16 plants in total to go outside hopefully on Mothers-day weekend. In these parts that is when it is usually safe to do so.


    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 12:08PM
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Very cool, man! I know that in the ground Heirloom tomatoes tend to crack with excess water.

Do you find that in systems, like your deep water culture system, that the heirlooms grow ok without cracking, or do you have to pick them before completely ripe, and then ripen off the vine?

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 10:49AM
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@ GrnToe
Last year I found that for the in ground tomatoes, only some of the Pondarosa Tomatoes cracked. The Romans did not crack.
This is my first time doing hydroponics.

PupillaCharites would probably have an answer on whether they crack in hydroponics.


    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 12:12PM
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PupillaCharites(FL 9a)

Hi Toe, Someone else could do better on that one. All I know for sure is to keep the potassium level high in the nutrient, having a good bloom/fruit formula. I've been worried about it too since I'm trying heirlooms.

You gotta be careful, because some tomatoes just crack because it's in their DNA like Cherokee Purple. But the cracking I'm worried about I think happens when there is a step, or quick change in nutrient, temperature or watering. When it gets ripe the skin gets taught and below soft, so rain or sprinkling water can trigger it (like sweet strawberries), changing nute strength can do it, and from what I can tell most worrying is that we can be in situations where the temperature fluctuates suddently since our babies aren't buried in the heat sinking ground. So if it spikes in temperature variation I think you can forget about heirlooms.

Back to DWC, besides the problem of rapid temperture changes if you're outside, because the roots have no heat sink that are in the air, if you're thinking that all the watering will trigger it, I'm gonna guess it's the opposite as long as you run your system with a pretty constant level. But if there is a big change in the water level I'm sure that would split them if they had that tendency. Your probably need a way to automatically siphon or float valve in water to keep the level constant.

Get some crack resistent heirlooms like Thessaloniki, Google "crack resistant heirloom tomato"

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 2:30AM
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I had a similar problem
Thoroughly wash the hydroton.
Then I stopped top watering.
Every time I top watered through the hydroton, my ph in the nut water went up.
When I stopped top watering, the nut solution water only changed within the acceptable and expected parameters of a hungry and happy plant. I have found benefit from R/O water flushes but have yet to nail down at what frequency.
Since I finally figured that out with all the other parameters being correct and me being stumped for months, I've never had a happier bubble bucket garden. Good Luck.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2014 at 5:15PM
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