Has anyone used Miracle Gro (the blue water-soluble granular material) as a nutrient in a hydroponics system?
Most of the N in MG is urea which will severely drop your Ph of your nutrient solution. It also has to be converted into nitrate by bacteria in order for your plants to use it and it lacks certain micro nutrients. Somebody from this site recommended this place to me they have hydro nutes that are cheaper then MG and your plants will do a lot better.
peters 20-20-20 with micronutrients is a better choice, but if you want to grow hydro you should be using hydro nutrients.
i like pure blend pro
Thanks to kirk1977 and to shelbyguy for your replies. I'm using a commercial nutrient called Hydrogreen in a concentration of 5 gm/gal in Arrowhead Distilled Water, and it actually seems to be good stuff. TDS and pH are 650 to 700 ppm and less than 6.8 respectively. I've tried it in both inside and outside installations, and outside I've actually gotten a number of pretty good salad-quality red peppers from it. Why don't I therefore grow everything outside? Because the sunniest place available happens to be right in the middle of the patio table, and that is an awkward spot to say the least. I've used the same nutrient in the inside system but, as explained previously, all I've gotten so far is very lush vegetative growth and no peppers, although buds did form only to fall off. I'm guessing lack of temperature control to be the most likely culprit for the failure of the buds to develop. The installation is in a small room exposed to the Southern California sun. The only temperature control is with a pedestal fan and I'm quite certain that the average temperature was nowhere near the value of 20 deg. C recommended at http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/opp4523
I'm going to try MiracleGro because it's easy to come by and I'm naturally optimistic. I can't find the Hydrogreen product anywhere locally. The distributor has no website and gives no phone number, only an address. I've written there for nutrient, my check has been cashed, but so far after about three weeks I have received no product. I don't expect to.
Just using MG your plants will look great for the first few weeks. Leaves will be large, green, numerous, and otherwise healthy looking. However when flower buds start forming that's when you notice a problem. Buds will form but not flower, and usually fall off. From that point it is all down hill from there. Obviously there are other nutrients missing among these are calcium, magnesium, sulfur, molybdenum, zinc, and chlorine.
Thanks for your input, hank_mili. It's not my point to be unnecessarily argumentative, but the situation that you describe with the MiracleGro is _exactly_, _precisely_ the situation that I encountered using the Hydrogreen. The plants were heavy with large, deep-green leaves, and all six produced a reasonable quantity of buds. A few actually flowered but then fell off. Most fell off in the bud stage.
Two things come to mind: The first is temperature control, or the lack of it in my case. The website that I gave in my previous letter gives an excellent tutorial on growing sweet peppers commercially. One of the things that is stressed is the necessity to control the temperature in the range of 20 deg. C. (68 deg. F.) I'm sure that the average temperature in the course of a day in the room that housed the pepper system greatly exceeded this.
A lesser possibility is my illumination system. It consisted of three banks of 40 watt fluorescents, two Phillips Plant and Aquarium tubes directly overhead, a few inches from the plants, and two tubes of GE cool whites in front and two behind of the in-line array of six plants. The spectral output of cool white fluorescents favors vegetative growth over fruiting and that could be why flowering did not occur. The spectrum of warm white fluorescents favors flowering and fruiting, or so the "experts" say.
Hi frangeb the MG results were actually my experience when I first started out in hydro. The fact that you have control over your growing environment puts you way ahead of the game as far as what results you can achieve.
can you tell me the mix for adding boric acid,calcium,iron,
sulfur,and other stuff to miracle grow for hydroponics?
am using 4 gal flood system with the clay pellets (cant remember what they are called :( )
would like to compare to conventional hydro solution
nerdy that way
please reply as no one seems to posts this info
do a search on peppers on the site and you will find that too much nitrogen in pepper plants will cause the blossoms to fall off. I've used miracle grow to grow parsley and basil and spider plants with no ill effects. they all tend to do well with fairly dilute formulas. I'll try to remember and post my formula tomorrow. (I don't have it with me, here)
check out southernag.com/ click on professional services at the bottom. then click on view there catalog. when the pdf opens, go to page 6 (pdf page7) the stuff you want is in the middle near the bottom. soluble hydroponics solution. get that, a bag of calcium nitrate, and some epsom salts, and you've got years of nutrient solution.
Can't much help you, guys. My last post was in '95 and my hydroponics system is in a storeroom covered over with so much junk I don't even remember what it looks like! maybe some day I'll get back to it.
I'm doing a little experiment now with two common fertilizers on potted plants (MG and Scott's) and Pure Blend Bloom. I already did an experiment with Pure Blend Bloom all the life of the plant versus switching from Gro to Bloom. The sweet peppers definitely do much better with the Bloom all through the plant's life cycle. So far, it's also beating my plants fed with MG and Scott's. The blossoms keep dropping on the potted plants. I got a few to hold when I flushed the pot and used just water for a week. Once I added the fertilizers again I started seeing blossoms drop again. Aside from that the plants are quite beautiful. The blossoms I hand pollinate drop fastest so I am positive it isn't from lack of pollination. Temps are mild in Indiana right now and the night temp difference is ideal for fruiting peppers.
Point is that so far the easiest way I have found to lose pepper blossoms is to use too much nitrogen. Therefore, to me, the first way to avoid it is to not use a fertilizer with too much nitrogen. Such as MG.
Flower drop probable causes:
1. Day temp too high >95F
2. Night temp too low 3. Too much nitrogen fertilizer
4. Too much water
5. Low light levels (reduces fertility).
6. Very low humidity (reduces fertility)
7. Poor air circulation (air circulation contributes to pollination).
8. Lack of pollinating insects.
9. Size of pot
I use Miracle Gro for my fig tree. However, these guys are right. It isn't enough by itself. I assume that you are wanting to use it because of the price, so here is my recipe for a cheap fertilizer blend that contains all of the nutrients you need. I have a 2.5 gal reservoir, so the amounts are for that much water.
2 tsp Miracle Gro 12-4-8
2 tsp Earth Juice Microblast
1 tsp Silica Blast
a little plaster of Paris - maybe 1/2 tsp? (I haven't calculated exactly how much of this is needed yet)
Earth Juice and Silica Blast can be found at hydroponic stores. The other two were at Lowes. Buying all of this stuff costs a bit more than just buying a bottle of hydro fertilizer, but you end up with a huge amount of it, and you have silicon, which makes your plants stronger, healthier, and more compact. The solution comes out too basic for the plant to grow well and it will start to show deficiencies after a few weeks if you don't adjust the pH periodically, starting with the day you make it. To deal with this cheaply, I bought a 250 test liquid pH testing kit from a pet store. It says to use 5 ml of your solution and 3 drops of the tester, but if you only fill the test tube with 1/3 the recommended amount of your fertilizer blend, you can use only 1 drop of the tester; now it's a 750 test kit for under $10. I lower the pH with white vinegar from the grocery store, and raise it with baking soda. Stir before testing again. It doesn't take much to change the pH a lot, so keep that in mind, and use as little as possible. I aim for around 6.3. I've been growing a fig tree outdoors this way for a few months now. My tree has put on more growth, is a darker shade of green, and its leaf nodes are closer together than my friend's trees that are in the ground and much better lit than my own.
I tried my hand at hydroponics for the first time last year. I have a 7 gallon resivoure and I used the small end of the MG scoop. 1 scoop per gallon and changed the water once a week. My tomatoes grew great all season. The plants grew in little clay balls. The only problem I had was algee on the roots. This year I have covered the root area with aluminum foil to keep the light out. So far so good
How do i post pics here?
Directly from the Hydroponic Strawberries thread (near the middle)
. . .to post images directly from another website use the following code:
replace [web address] with the exact name (copy and paste?!?) as seen in the address bar including the http://
And if you forget how to post pics in the future, instead of waiting for an answer from someone you could google "posting pics on gardenweb" and the instructions come up. That's what I did.
It is interesting to note that you were able to grow Tomato successfully with MG.I am curious to know if it contains Urea Nitrogen or Ammonia nitrogen. Also please specify what is the N-P-K content.
I look forward to see your reply.
im using MG 24 -8- 16 in a bubbler bucket . no issues at all
I actually spent approximately 9 years developing hydroponic systems, both for research companies and for large commercial setups and my own use. Quite often I would be running 3 or 4 completely different systems everywhere from airoponics to full rockwool slabs to coco and everywhere in between, and also pretty much all of the ways in which to use the available "hydro nutrients." The outcome was in my experience the ultimate system utilising parts of many different systems, this was determined by yield, time to yield, and ultimately the quality of the produce. Although I am not going to go into the details of what I did, I am simply going to answer the questions and comments regarding the miracle grow question. Miracle Grow is a good nutrient and has a very high solubility rate, and some people I know still use it with reasonable success in the right situation and application. When I first started to experiment with hydroponics in the early 90s it was the most readily available "decent" plant food that provided most of the nutrients needed for plant growth and it served its purpose at the time.
OK so it is a "plant food" by designation. Plant foods and fertilisers are by designation 2 different things. Fertilisers are primarily designed to add things such as Nitrogen, Phosphorous and K Potassium to a soil base that either contains the trace elements and other goodies or has them topped up by application of other things such as lime, gypsum, dolomite, boron etc. A plant food is "meant "to provide all of the above in one package for use in things like potting mix which contains an exhaustable supply (generally not long after the plant starts growing) Not unlike a hydroponic situation.
So can you grow hydroponically with miracle grow? Yes you can!
Is it the best option available? Well NO, If it was, companies such as canna, Growth technology, Monsta bud and all of the many other companies out there that make specific hydroponic nutrients would be out of business.
The flower drop thing, if your flowers are not setting and are dropping off there are a couple of options. 1. the flowers have not been pollinated! 2. The nutrient you are using lacks "K", for effective flowering and fruiting you need a nutrient which is lower in nitrogen and higher in potassium and phosphorous. There are also other micronutrients that help but those are the most important.
"my plants look week and necrotic" there are reasons for this and if you search the internet you will see photographs that will describe what is lacking for your plants to look like they do. buy yourself an EC meter and a PH test kit, the PH test kit is probably the most important . and gradually work your mix up until you no longer see improvement in the growth rate, then drop it off 5%. now all different plants require different amounts of nutrient I.E. tomatoes are gross feeders and will take a strong mix however chillis although related will use a much weaker mix to great result however they should have more calcium, magnesium and boron buffers in the mix.
Anyhow I hope this has not muddied the waters too much and has made some things clear.
You realize the last post was four years ago, right?
If you wish to use Miracle Grow or any other urea based fertilizer, you can if you put a bio filter inline. This is how aquaponic systems convert fish waste into usable nitrogen. However it takes time to build the useful bacteria. I;m not sure if you that much money though. Just a thought.
I agree with Robdroy, you need the biofilter to convert Urea in MG to Ammonia and Nitrate, in this case MG fertilizer can be used in Hydroponics successfully, my biofilter is my growbed which is filled up with small size gravel and Hydroton mixture, I use ebb and flow system and I was able to grow salad greens, cucumbers and tomatoes succesfully !!!