Saturday, August 21, 2010

Test Grow

Yesterday, in search of a replacement hose connector, I visited the local Wal-Mart garden center. I thought that if I waited until the first of September I would be out of luck; as Wal-Mart would be pushing Christmas stuff and playing carols by then. (translate greed)

As I had some time on my hands, and needed fertilizer for the soil garden, I thought I would see if they had any end of the season bargains. Next to the Miracle Grow I found their brand of fertilizer. The price seemed reasonable enough, at $3.62 for a pound and a half of fertilizer, with an NPK of 15-30-15. Reading the guaranteed analysis I found that the product had a reasonable amount of most all of the nutrients I would need for hydroponic use. The ratios are slightly off, but may be within acceptable limits for lettuce and pot greens.

Deciding to test the fertilizer for hydroponic use, I added two rounded teaspoons of the fertilizer to five gallons of water. In addition, I added two rounded teaspoons of calcium nitrate, and three teaspoons of epsom salt. When I checked the TDS I found it to be slightly over 1,000, and to my surprise the pH was right at 6.0. Will wonders never cease?

The solution has been placed in an ebb and flow system to test on leaf lettuce and endive. If it is successful I will use it for growing salad greens, as it will be a very economical substitute for the professional nutrients I have been using. The professional nutrients will then be reserved for crops with more stringent requirements.

Time will tell......

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