Anything homemade that can work for nutrients?

ericjwi(9)July 28, 2008

I'm trying to get to a point where I can get things myself without relying on buying stuff from the store. Is there anything that can be easily made at home that can be used for hydroponic nutrients? There has to be something that can be easily made if its true what I read that they used hydroponics in ancient egypt. Not worried about optimum as long as it works, the only thing I want to worry about is PH levels.

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greystoke(South Africa(11))

I make my own mixture. Have done so for six years, although you have to get some things from the store anyway. And don't worry about pH. Getting the pH up or down is simple. Just get a pH meter (cheapest are the fish tank meters).

    Bookmark   July 28, 2008 at 10:24AM
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I wouldn't assume that just because ancients did it that means it must be easy to do at home. They had quite a trade network that provided lots of sea salts. Also, I believe they used waste. Did you know that human urine was so valuable in Roman times that it was taxed in some areas? They used it to wash clothes and fertilize. Ancients had few qualms about using waste. Plus, when you have that many people it seems logical that they would do what they could to use it rather than put the work into useless disposal. Someone told me that if I pee in my compost and later make a tea, it will serve as an excellent hydro mixture. I have yet to attempt that, but I am seriously considering it.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2008 at 11:13AM
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I've been using Urine for soil based plants. I'm told it doesn't work unless they are converted inside the soil though. You do have a good idea. Possibly put some soil in a strainer and let the pee soak through from the top?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2008 at 11:28AM
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greystoke(South Africa(11))

Urine must be diluted 10:1. That helps retain the ammonia generated by the ureum. Then you filter the solution over "bio-balls" (you can get these at an aquarium shop) or broken down ( inch pieces) clay bricks.
The medium must be dusted with a handfull of good garden soil. The filter must be mounted ABOVE the water line to allow ready acces of oxygen.
In this filter, the conversion of ammonia to nitrate is a two-step process carried out by two groups of bacteria belonging to the genus Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter.
Neither of these bacteria can metabolize organic carbon to meet their energy requirements. Instead they derive their energy for growth from the oxidation of inorganic nitrogen compounds such as ammonia and nitrite.
As a result of their unique metabolic pathways their growth rates are extremely slow and typical doubling times are in days compared to less than an hour for organisms that metabolise organic carbon. The slow growth rates of the nitrifying bacteria make them very sensitive to a wide range of physical and chemical parameters. Consequently a thorough understanding of the operational parameters and regular monitoring of the process is vital to ensure maximum nitrification is achieved. Optimal nitrification occurs when the temperature is about 30°C, the levels of dissolved oxygen and available alkalinity are high, the pH is about 8.0, salinity is low, BOD levels are low, heavy metals are absent and biomass is attached to solid media, there is sufficient retention time and adequate mixing. The key parameters to monitor are temperature, pH, ammonia and nitrate levels. If any problems are noticed with the nitrification process then additional monitoring needs to be done on the dissolved oxygen level, available alkalinity level and BOD levels. If serious problems with nitrification are still encountered more involved monitoring is needed to find out the chemical composition of the effluent.

If you have an establish culture the conversion is done in days, but when you first start-up it could take up to 2 months before you have a working filter.
The pH has a tendency to go up in the beginning due to the formation of ammonia. Don't let it go above pH 9.0. Then - when most of the ammonia is used - the pH tends to go down. This can be controlled by putting a layer of crushed seeshells on top of the filter. The nitrites/nitrates will liberate the Calcium from the shell generating CO2 in the process which is used as a carbon source by the bacteria.

Good luck

    Bookmark   July 28, 2008 at 11:40PM
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Lol that will have to be a side project while I'm working with Flora Grow on the rest ;)

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 9:52AM
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I think I'll stick with my Advanced Nutrients, and continue to flush the toilet, thanks.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2008 at 8:37PM
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greystoke(South Africa(11))

The trouble with the "rest" of the world (The world without the US and Europe) is that there is no such thing as "Advanced Nutrients". Yet in those countries hydroponics would be a distinct advantage in terms of efficiency of nutrients and water.

There are lots of people from countries where even the most basic chemicals are difficult to get who e-mail me for advice on homemade nutrients.
Eg: wood ash and urine are excellent resources, and once you know how . . they work very well and cost nothing.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2008 at 12:53AM
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I'm planning for something big happening where store purchased items wouldn't be an option any more. Even with the food supply it could be gone from the stores in less than a day if shipments stopped. I don't want to have to rely on something I might not be able to get.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2008 at 9:52AM
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greystoke said: "The trouble with the "rest" of the world (The world without the US and Europe) is that there is no such thing as "Advanced Nutrients". Yet in those countries hydroponics would be a distinct advantage in terms of efficiency of nutrients and water.

There are lots of people from countries where even the most basic chemicals are difficult to get who e-mail me for advice on homemade nutrients.
Eg: wood ash and urine are excellent resources, and once you know how . . they work very well and cost nothing."

Me: Not to mention that so many people actually feel invincible against a possibility of economic collapse. I'm not some conspiracy theorist, but I am a realist that believes the addage "those that do not learn from history are destined to repeat it". And let's face it, the US is now repeating history and it's been proven that following the path we are on will lead to economic collapse comparable to '29. Our technology hasn't exactly helped. It has actually sped the process that destroyed several civilizations because we use more resources at a much higher rate. As long as our country refuses to employ the technologies that will change that, we remain on a fast track to collapse. And this time there are a whole lot more hungry mouths out there that don't own land to garden/farm. Learning how to provide some food for yourself and others might help you and others make it through hard times. In fact, there are many people today that are dealing with very hard times. My step father just got laid off from his job. He was management, 64 years old, and on a job market that isn't looking to employ someone that is 2 years from full retirement. I lost my job due to it going overseas 4 years ago and I had an illness that kept me unemployable for 6 months (pancreatitis and subsequent liver failure). The US Government tries to break you before paying you the disability you pay taxes for and rightfully deserve for doing so. Not that I'm bitter or anything. Point is, one can fall on economic hard times in very short order whether the rest of the nation experiences collapse or not and often the knowledge one gains prior to this can make the difference between feeding his/her children properly and not.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2008 at 1:09PM
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I can understand the desire for preparedness, but there is absolutely nothing in common with the current economy and the pre-Great Depression economy. We're at two opposite ends of the scale at the moment.

Besides, if your goal is to plan for a possible collapse of modern society, you're talking about an event that will massively impact the total population. The absolute last thing you want to do in that situation is remain in a location lacking arable soil simply because the population density of such a location will be the end of you.

Think about it. If you're worried about getting enough food, and you don't have a plot of land to grow your own food in because you're in an urban environment, you're in exactly the same boat as hundreds of thousands if not millions of other people. Those people are the enemy, just like any reasonably intelligent, hungry predator is your enemy. If you have what they need to survive, they will take it by whatever means are necessary.

Don't bother trying to build some kind of urban fortress fed by hydroponics and fish tanks or whatever. Get the hell out of Dodge. Find some postage stamp of land in the middle of nowhere, booby trap the hell out of your perimeter (or whatever you need to do to make it safe) and avoid human contact until the worst has blown over and nature has separated the survivors from the casualties.

At most you might want to create some kind of community or something, but again you're going to want to be as remote as possible as early as possible. Mankind is a predator. We can, have, and will prey upon ourselves and at no time are we more likely to do this than in a crisis of survival.

I'm not necessarily speaking of cannibalism (though that'd be a problem as well) but there are people in modern society killed for basketball shoes or iPods. We're a vicious race that is capable of terrible crimes for simple greed. Threaten survival and we're capable of anything.

If the human race as a whole is starving, the human race is no longer your friend.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2008 at 1:01AM
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greystoke(South Africa(11))

I understand your points hooked_on_ponics , although I wasn't referring to this ultimate scenario. You are in an environment where - just about - anything is at your finger tips. I am at the opposite end of that spectrum.
That makes you more vulnerable then me.

Variety is the first to be sacrificed in a down turn. Stock holding is already down as a result of the oil crisis. Here in Africa, car parts are being imported one by one. No stock holding at all.

I think there is merit in making your own ingredients just for that reason. No sense in waiting 2 weeks for a bag of trade mark nutrients to arrive, which - as you correctly pointed out - may well get stolen on the way.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2008 at 1:33AM
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How did a home made nutrients thread turn into descriptions of Armageddon....?

Chicken likken, the sky is falling...........

    Bookmark   August 5, 2008 at 12:18PM
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greystoke(South Africa(11))

willard3 wrote:
How did a home made nutrients thread turn into descriptions of Armageddon....?

It's the magnitude of our thoughts that takes us from one end of the spectrum to the other within just a few posts.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2008 at 12:34PM
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because, Willard, the point of the thread was based (as indicated in a later post by the original poster) on prepping for something major that would make commercial nutrients unavailable.

Hooked on ponics, you are incorrect unless many economists are simply wrong. Our current state very much mirrors the false golden period renaissance of the 1920's. Corporate control of policy, major banks (again) getting busted over fraud, greater division of the rich vs. poor and elimination of middle class, shall I go on? Want more specifics? I have a feeling you base this stuff on high school history lessons which tell only the story of the elite and are discouraged from teaching the negatives of our corporate influenced government.

I never said armageddon. When someone mentions economic collapse, I notice many people give descriptions and automatically think in terms based on bad movies rather than consider very real historical events. Armageddon didn't occur in '29. Anarchy didn't happen. Many people banded together and helped each other through those hard times. According to yesterdays headlines, national unemployment levels jumped 26%. That's pretty significant for an economy that Republicans seem to think is rebounding. Our dollar is worth nearly half what it was a couple years ago on the global market. That means something when your jobs are going overseas and your product is now coming from overseas from countries that are getting pretty good control of our marketplace. Did it occur to you that if China started charging fair market prices you wouldn't be able to afford dishes from Walmart? Or maybe you are in the rich category and could. I don't know. Banks and corporations have had free reign of policy and education of the young to prepare young people to be credit spenders. A country's people can only spend money that doesn't exist for so long before it's time to pony up and that time is here. Hence so many people losing their homes, cars, possessions, and jobs due to spending downturns. I'm the only 31 year old I know (beside my wife) that doesn't have a single credit card by choice. The average american (according to CNN Money) has 7 credit cards! Few people live within their means and that is guaranteed to bite a majority of them sooner or later. That is one factor that makes the possibility of a depression even higher. More fake money is spent! Also, if we aren't heading in that direction, then why did even Bush recognize a need for "stimulus"? Because what caused and perpetuated the depression was reduced spending due to interest rate manipulation (sound familiar?), which reduced demand, which reduced need for manpower, which reduced jobs and thus money on the market to spend on the items that kept the jobs going. Additionally, today we have executives of corporations making 400x what the average worker makes and rather than take any cuts share the wealth with the hard workers that keep them employed, they cut jobs.

I realize that we may never see economic collapse, especially if the US can exploit someone else's (China). But economic collapse, like I said before, doesn't have to occur nationally to affect individual families or even cities.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2008 at 2:56PM
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Knowledge of how to do stuff is what I'm looking for. IMO we relied too much on stuff that can't be sustained so something will happen sooner or later. Lots of good information here about whats happening besides that

    Bookmark   August 5, 2008 at 7:52PM
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freemangreens(Zone 10 CA)


I think I'll simply answer your question: Yes, homemade nutrients is all I use and my plants (all of them!) flourish.

I use anaerobically digested chicken manure dissolved in water to make "Compost Tea". I make it two gallons at a time and use it diluted at about an ounce per gallon of water.

I "tweaked" it a bit to make it pH buffering. That part is kinda secret, but if you mess with it enough, you'll figure it out!

It doesn't get any easier than that and a 50-pound bag of composted chicken poop will last you a long, long time. It's gotta be composted anaerobically mind you, or you'll get sicker than sick! Don't EVEN use fresh manure!

Hope you enjoy the smell of eggs!

God bless.


    Bookmark   September 9, 2008 at 2:48AM
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Will the chicken poop work for grow and bloom?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 5:46PM
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