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Which hydroponic nutrient is the best?

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Working in a hydroponic shop, the Go Grow team is constantly asked the same question: which nutrient regime is the best? Now do not misunderstand, yes we could reply, how long a piece of string is, but firstly, that really is bad business and of course terrible customer service. Instead we try to understand the grower’s needs and wants, and primarily where they rank as a grower. Not in a derogatory manner but to establish where we can possibly interject and help without stifling the person across the counter. Not exactly savvy to go into a deep conversation regarding microbes and what not when the customer could well be just after some bamboo canes etc.
Pointless of confusing a gardening newcomer especially an indoor hydroponic newcomer. Just try to remember how much you had to take in at the beginning (lighting, lumens, watts, cycles, veg, bloom, npk’s etc etc) it can be quite daunting. To be honest there’s a heck of a lot of information to take in, in one go. So for newbie’s it would probably be best to start with an easy to use formula or an all in one feeding program for example Medi-One for soil or for hydro maybe the Hy-Pro A+B for grow & bloom. Experience shows the simplest regime to follow is usually the easiest and most straight forward.
The most commonly asked for nutrients are usually the most advertised and mainstream names. The growers in question are more the intermediate growers. Which are the most opinionated out of the three categories, as they have not only their own opinions and experience to go on but of course their friend’s opinions, gardening forums, and generally the internet? There is nothing wrong with amassing knowledge, especially with indoor growing. Unfortunately not everything they have been told is actually correct. For example they may have not been explained, as to why they should use a certain item. An example of this is simply someone advising their friend to start using Great White Mycorrhizae. But failing in not explaining why they’re using it and what exactly they are achieving by buying an expensive additive. So a product poorly explained, may put off a gardener by just the sheer price and not understanding. Whereas if explained in full the benefits and why they have to buy it, not only does their friend learn something new but they too can now pass on the good knowledge. A little like give a man a fish and he eats for a day, but teach him how to fish he can eat every day. Educating or giving tips and advice is what it’s all about and the more you understand the more it all makes sense. Intermediate stage is a tough one as you will still be trialling and experimenting and so forth as this stage this is what it’s all about, especially if gardening is a passion and not a chore to you.
The expert gardener may not look like what you imagine, Geoffrey Smith the famous BBC gardener or even maybe a David Bellamy type is what may come to mind. In actual fact, an expert gardener can come in all ages and can look as young as anything. They will have mountains of advice and knowledge in all aspects of gardening. Some may not be very forth coming but once you have earned your wings in a manner of speaking, they will begin to open up. You see at this level, they will have little growing secrets and knacks about all sorts so be ready to barter tips and advice. At the shop we advise agricultural farmers, indoor gardeners, hydroponic gardeners, hobbyist’s even professors in botany. All of which is simply an exchange of information. One greenhouse gardener had a problem trying to perfect her compost tea recipe to specifically deal with a powdery mildew problem. After discussing her powdery mildew fighting compost tea recipes, we simply showed her Plant Magic’s Essence. She was overjoyed as only wanted an organic solution and did not have the money for anything expensive. The essence solved her problem and is now a regular customer who has given us lots of great resourceful information regarding greenhouse growing for example. These expert growers will tend to have their own unique formula for gardening or mix mash of many brands that work symbiotically together. Of course there are organic as well as synthetic nutrients available for hydroponics. Not every expert grower will be aware of all the new products or improved ones out on the market. But the majority of expert growers will tend to have created their own nutrient program made up from all makes and manufacturers. The reason behind this is through years of testing and trialling an array of products, these expert level growers through the years tend to go through them all, hence there nutrient shelf is a mix mash of so many brands they use that it resembles a hydroponic shop.
To be brutally honest there is no definitive best nutrient program or schedule out there. Instead we advise gardeners to use products which they feel comfortable in using. Also remember that not every nutrient will react or do the same as it did for maybe a friend’s garden. Both gardens may be growing different types of cucumbers for example and one may need more nitrogen than the other so to speak. The truth of the matter is, it all really depends on you and where you are within the hydroponics gardening ladder. Rule of thumb, the best nutrient, is the one that not only does what it says it does, but more importantly that it works for you, your hydroponic garden and your hydroponically grown plants.