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Share your rule-of-thumb recipes for make-at-home Kratky hydroponics nutrients

 
gardener
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Hey, I am considering some wintertime experiments with very small scale Kratky hydroponics -- we are talking on the scale of a few quart jars with pots in the necks.  For those who don't know, "Kratky" refers to the method that requires no moving parts (water or air pumps) because the root growth and declining water level in the container balance to allow sufficient aeration to the roots of the plant, eliminating the need to circulate and/or bubble the water.  



The downside with hydroponics in general is that the "nutrients" used tend to be pretty unsustainable chemicals by permie standards.  It's not clear to me that this is necessary but the mindset among hydroponics fans is very data-driven: lots of testing, lots of neepery about min-maxing nutrient suites in pursuit of perfect efficiency.  Working with lab-style chemicals is the usual result.  And, at least as packaged up for sale to the small-scale hydroponics community, these are quite expensive as well as being things many permies don't want to eat.  

But like I said, it's not clear this is the only way to do it.  A good compost tea, suitably diluted, would probably work.  But getting that scaled to quart jar volumes and having any meaningful idea of "proper" dilution?  It's not inherently obvious how to do that.  

The internet is not hugely helpful.  The min-maxing frustrated home chemists tend to occupy the search space.  There are hints of home gardeners "winging it" with organic nutrient recipes, but not much firm information.  Somebody was stirring up spoonsful of brewers yeast with various nitrogen sources, for example.  

I'm not a data guy.  I'm not rules driven.  I don't spend a lot of time taking careful measurements of things.  I'm looking for repeatable "good enough" recipes: "a pinch of this, a spoon of that, a handful of the other, soak in a gallon of water, boom!"  Maybe it's not possible.  Maybe the whole notion is too fragile without precise finicky titrations of manufactured powders of known purity.  In which case, I'm not interested.  But I don't really believe that.  Nature's usually not that fussy.

So, what have you tried?  What worked?
 
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I think this might interest you. Jeb is one of my favorite you tubers and he experimented with growing using worm castings

 
Dan Boone
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Oh, yes!  I'm not currently a worm farmer either, but his results are impressive confirmation that small-vessel hydroponics can make successful use of organic nutrient sources.
 
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I have been using a combo of fish water from my filter of my gold fish and I have started adding fermented bolivian sun flower plants...

Below are my results.     I have been considering adding sand to the bottom of the mix to get minerals in the later, I may also try lava rock.
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I would give aerated duck pond water a shot for hydroponics, but it could have sanitation concerns. Duck manure is generally better balanced in NPK and micronutrients than fish, which is very high nitrogen and can produce lush leaves but not flowers or fruit. I have had  great results in soil and “soil-less” gardening with duck manure and supplemental micronutrients from kelp. I hypothesize ducks have coevolved with aquatic plants for symbiosis, much like fish.
 
Mart Hale
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Ben Zumeta wrote:I would give aerated duck pond water a shot for hydroponics, but it could have sanitation concerns. Duck manure is generally better balanced in NPK and micronutrients than fish, which is very high nitrogen and can produce lush leaves but not flowers or fruit. I have had  great results in soil and “soil-less” gardening with duck manure and supplemental micronutrients from kelp. I hypothesize ducks have coevolved with aquatic plants for symbiosis, much like fish.



I have a friend that uses duck water to fertilize their plants.    Yep you have to think about ecoli, but yep I believe that God has created a great order out there and we just need to learn from it.

Thanks for the suggestion.
 
The permaculture playing cards make great stocking stuffers: http://richsoil.com/cards
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