Organic hydroponic nutrient

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Odsox
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Organic hydroponic nutrient

Post: #282661 Odsox
Tue Oct 28, 2014 10:06 am

There are two things I don't like about my hydroponic system, the fact that bought nutrient mixtures are totally inorganic and the cost of keep buying the stuff.
The two are about equally annoying, the cost because I'm mean and the fact that it's inorganic when the rest of my garden has been totally organic for the 20 years I've lived here. The cost in fact probably represents 90% of the running costs as the only other expenditure is electricity for the pump to run for a total of 15 minutes per day (abt 20c per week).
So I've been playing about with trying to concoct an organic nutrient and so far it's looking pretty good. Of course I started this venture just as the growing season started to wind down, so I probably won't be able to do much more this year. But, now that I have a simple basic recipe means that next year I can tinker away with the ratios, adding bits until I'm satisfied with the results.

The basic recipe is activated compost tea made from equal quantities of comfrey leaves and seaweed plus a small quantity of compost.
The comfrey (or could be nettles) give the basic NPK, the seaweed gives loads of trace elements as well as some more NPK and the home made compost gives the necessary humic acid.

I grew a courgette plant in my small hydro unit and allowed it to deteriorate by running it with just plain water. The leaves yellowed over the course of a week and it looked very sick. I then replaced the water with the activated tea and it almost immediately recovered, although the old yellowed leaves stayed yellow all the new leaves were a nice dark green and it started to fruit again.

Fun and games next year then, tinkering with the recipe to satisfy the needs of all the plants I grow, from tomatoes to cauliflowers.
Tony

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ina
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Re: Organic hydroponic nutrient

Post: #282662 ina
Tue Oct 28, 2014 10:35 am

Have you looked into replacing at least some of the nutrients with urine? (And before you say yuck - urine is practically sterile when it leaves the body... And if it's your own, you know 100% what's in it.)
Ina
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Re: Organic hydroponic nutrient

Post: #282663 Odsox
Tue Oct 28, 2014 10:45 am

No I must admit I hadn't thought of urine. That may well be on the list of ingredients for next year's trials, although I'm not sure about mine as I take quite a few pills and a mid morning pee smells extremely "medical".
Tony

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Re: Organic hydroponic nutrient

Post: #282667 Green Aura
Tue Oct 28, 2014 11:49 am

I've just scored myself a very robust pipe for making comfrey/nettle tea. So that's good. Can you make seaweed tea the same way - i.e. pack it in the tube with the other stuff and let it drip into a bucket. Seaweed doesn't strike me as something that would rot that quickly, although the comfrey might spur it on.

Otherwise how do you utilise the seaweed - as there's tons being washed up at the moment it would be a real shame to miss it.
Maggie

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Re: Organic hydroponic nutrient

Post: #282668 doofaloofa
Tue Oct 28, 2014 12:20 pm

Can you boil the compost soup/urine/virgin blood to steralise it Tony?

is that even nessesary?
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Re: Organic hydroponic nutrient

Post: #282669 Odsox
Tue Oct 28, 2014 12:30 pm

Kelp especially turns to jelly in a very short time if kept warm and moist. That's not how I'm doing it though, I put comfrey and seaweed in water and aerate it like aerobic activated compost tea. The seaweed didn't disintegrate much in the short time I took to make the nutrient so I'm not sure how much came out in the way of trace elements, so that's another aspect to experiment with.

Seaweed is a wonderful material, spread in thick all over your garden as a mulch especially if you have light sandy soil. In the tunnel it's not so easy though because it dries out and goes brittle over winter. Probably if you double dug it in it would be fine, otherwise compost as much as you can get. The islanders around the British Isles made their soil purely from sand and seaweed.
Tony

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Re: Organic hydroponic nutrient

Post: #282670 Odsox
Tue Oct 28, 2014 12:33 pm

doofaloofa wrote:Can you boil the compost soup/urine/virgin blood to steralise it Tony?

is that even nessesary?

I don't think it's necessary Doofa, or desirable as you would probably drive off some of the nitrogen content.
Tony

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Re: Organic hydroponic nutrient

Post: #282671 MKG
Tue Oct 28, 2014 1:14 pm

Green Aura wrote:I've just scored myself ...


:iconbiggrin: :iconbiggrin: If ever there was a word usage which puts anyone within a period of time, that's it :lol:
The secret of life is to aim below the head (With thanks to MMM)

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Re: Organic hydroponic nutrient

Post: #282672 ina
Tue Oct 28, 2014 1:16 pm

Odsox wrote:No I must admit I hadn't thought of urine. That may well be on the list of ingredients for next year's trials, although I'm not sure about mine as I take quite a few pills and a mid morning pee smells extremely "medical".


Yes, pharmaceutical remnants in urine/sewage sludge are a major problem. Actually, if it's just you who eats the stuff grown with it, you might be able to reduce your medical intake - kind of recycling of medication... :wink:

I use diluted urine for seedlings that need nutrients and that I don't have room to plant out at the moment - watered from below, of course, you'd try to avoid splashing it on the leaves - and it works very well. One advantage is that it is liquid already! If you are looking for more natural fertiliser to add to your range, try to get struvite. We ran an experiment with it once (with grass and barley - when I still had a proper job!) - it was a good addition, and I am sure will become more popular in future what with the lack of phosphate fertiliser.
Ina

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Re: Organic hydroponic nutrient

Post: #282676 doofaloofa
Tue Oct 28, 2014 1:40 pm

what kind of quantities are you getting through Tony?

urine is a great fetilizer

i use it on the brassica

i also get several gallons of black liquid from the compost toilet sump
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Re: Organic hydroponic nutrient

Post: #282678 Green Aura
Tue Oct 28, 2014 2:06 pm

MKG wrote:
Green Aura wrote:I've just scored myself ...


:iconbiggrin: :iconbiggrin: If ever there was a word usage which puts anyone within a period of time, that's it :lol:


As I wrote it I was thinking "Someone's going to pick me up on this one". And there it is, not in the way I'd imagined, but I got the right bod. :lol:
Maggie

Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. Marge Piercy

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin

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Re: Organic hydroponic nutrient

Post: #282680 Odsox
Tue Oct 28, 2014 2:57 pm

doofaloofa wrote:what kind of quantities are you getting through Tony?

Next year I will have a third pipe in use, then I shall get through 120 litres every 3 weeks.
Hence the desire to make my own for nothing.
Tony

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Re: Organic hydroponic nutrient

Post: #282683 diggernotdreamer
Tue Oct 28, 2014 6:10 pm

I did wonder if you could use seaweed and comfrey as the liquid nutrient. I have just returned from a seaweed foray with three huge bags. I put the seaweed through my shredder. I made some compost for my tomatoes by layering well made compost and seaweed in an old water tank, it has a pipe at the bottom and I chucked any waste water into it from the pigs bowl. I was drawing off some very brown and seaweed smelling liquid, the seaweed broke down really well, I think shredding it up is the key to it breaking down better

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Re: Organic hydroponic nutrient

Post: #282684 Green Aura
Tue Oct 28, 2014 10:27 pm

I'll give that a try, dnd. Not sure where I'll get pig water from, though. :lol:
Maggie

Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. Marge Piercy

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin

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Re: Organic hydroponic nutrient

Post: #282686 diggernotdreamer
Wed Oct 29, 2014 8:13 am

Green Aura wrote:I'll give that a try, dnd. Not sure where I'll get pig water from, though. :lol:


It's not easy to score pig water, if you can't find any locally, I'll post you some


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