Hydroponic growing with only organic materials has a lot of benefits. It can make your food free from pesticides, make each food denser in “dry” material, and help the environment. But like any kind of specialty growing, it comes with its own set of rules. If you have been growing hydroponically for a while, and would like to start using only organic plant nutrients and use organic means to deal with pests, you are going to have to learn how to deal with these new materials properly.
pH Regulation – Organic plant nutrients usually cause nutrient solutions to become more alkaline, so you should measure pH very carefully when using these nutrients. You shouldn’t, however, make adjustments immediately after using these products. It may take up to two days for the pH of your nutrient solution to settle after adding the nutrients. So if you make the pH adjustments immediately after adding new materials, you may be unintentionally overcompensating, and be forced to “yo-yo” your pH for days afterward to get it back to safe and optimal levels (about 5.6 for hydroponic systems), which might cause harm to your plants. Only adjust your pH with very high-grade pH adjusters designed specifically for hydroponics.
Add Beneficial Microbes – Organic materials give an ideal environment for beneficial microbes to grow and thrive in your hydroponic system. So you should also invest in a root booster that contains these beneficial bacteria and use it simultaneously with your organic plant nutrients. They will protect your roots and make the nutrients easier for you plant to absorb.
Oxygen – Keeping your reservoir well oxygenated has several benefits. Firstly, it helps keep unpleasant odors coming from your tank to a minimum. Since your roots need oxygen, this can also help improve the health of your plants and your roots. Too little oxygen in the nutrient solution may cause root rot. The best way to oxygenate your tank while using organic plant nutrients is by using an air pump. The alternative, using hydrogen peroxide, also works very well in preventing root rot, but it will probably kill any beneficial microbes you may have added to your system.
Change Nutrients During Different Plant Stages – Don’t assume that the same nutrient levels will continue to benefit your plants as your plant develops. Typically, your solution should be more concentrated during the vegetative stage and slightly less concentrated ruing the flowering stage. Check with the nutrient manufacturer for precise mixing directions.
Keep System Clean – While organic plant nutrients can certainly be a boon to plant development, they also are more prone to clogging your system, and that likelihood increases the more complex and intricate you system is. Make sure to regularly clean out your pump and remove any residue that builds up. You should also make certain to completely replace or thoroughly clean your medium after growing season. Keeping a clean and sanitized system won’t just help with nutrient uptake and prevent system malfunctions, it will also minimize the smells that can sometimes occur due to the buildup of organic materials.