How To Make Your Own Organic Hydroponic Fertilizer:
If you have the time and wherewithal to put in a bit of elbow effort, it's pretty simple to mix up your own basic fertilizer mix that will be well-suited for your hydroponics setup while meeting 'organic' standards. Let's look at three different approaches that allow you to simply mix up great base fertilizers for organic hydroponics without having to spend a few years getting your degree in chemistry or spending thousands on a complicated chem-lab at home! We came across these recommended recipes as originally published by Ken Sleight and edited by Lindsay Evans.
"Gift From The Sea" Recipe:
We really love this one at Humboldts Secret. As a base fertilizer, this will work seamlessly in conjunction with Golden Tree as your nutrient additive. You'll be creating a nutrient liquid that you can use in your hydroponics system:
- Take 6oz of seaweed and wrap it in cheesecloth, tying off with twine.
- Soak this "tea bag" in a bucket (5 gallons of water), leaving in the sun for 5 days.
- Add 5 teaspoons of Epsom salt (1 teaspoon per gallon).
- Choose between adding the entire five-gallon mix to your hydro reservoir or adding in one-gallon increments.
"The Farmer's Friend" Recipe:
This recipe was purportedly created by a traditional farmer who eventually went the way of adopting hydroponics. He had already developed a successful fertilizer mix for the traditional setting that he adapted for hydroponics. So again, using this as a base fertilizer mix will play seamlessly into your adding Golden Tree as your nutrient additive down the line.
- In a 5 gallon bucket, mix together these ingredients: 4 pounds of seed meal, 1 pound of fine ground, agricultural lime, 1 pound of gypsum, 2 pounds of dolomitic lime, 1 pound of bone meal, 1 pound of kelp.
- Fill your bucket with water, stirring evenly until you have a thin consistency mix.
- Use the mix in a ratio of six ounces per 100 gallons of water. It's ideal for a large scale system, but you can easily scale down, keeping the same ratios.
(Note: If you'd prefer to keep your mix in powdered form-much easier on the storage end of things - you can always mix per application with 1/2 teaspoon for each 100 gallons of water.)
"The Compost Tea" Recipe:
This ones' ideal for those organic purists out there who are into recycling everything. Most of the components, you'll be able to find around the home with the exception of aquarium water. This one's also best suited for folks who have a yard or at least access to a yard or garden space.
- Build a compost heap or use a composting bin, situating in an isolated, secluded place outdoors. (Think: Odor and fumes! )
- Use equal amounts of green and brown matter (Green: grass cuttings, veggie scraps, green leaves; Brown: straw, dirt, drying, yellowing or brown leaves, old paper or wood products, shredded up newspaper, even dryer lint.)
- Turn up your pile with a shovel every day for 2-3 weeks until you've got a nice, ripe compost.
- Two large shovelfuls of compost can be steeped in 5 gallons of water for 3 days. Distilled water is okay, but aquarium water is recommended best (Careful: not the chemically treated variety).
(Since the components of your compost can vary, you'll have to adopt a "play it by ear/feel" method on application since the fertilizer will not have perfect chemical consistency from batch to batch. For starters, go with a recommended one gallon of compost tea per 100 gallons of reservoir).