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Let me start of by saying that I am a person with very little experience of gardening. I have just been growing some plants in my balcony and in the process fell in love with this hobby and stumbled upon Hydroponic gardening. Since then I have been reading a lot about hydroponics but one thing has been confusing me and I would like someone to clear confusion revolving around nutrients.

I understand that all the nutrients that plants need in hydroponics are provided through water. I am not clear about the following things:

  • Should I use normal hydroponic nutrient (sold in two parts A & B) or should I use so called hydroponic fertilizers.

  • If I start with A & B Nutrients, should I replace them with fertilizer at the later stage when plant starts producing flower, should I mix them both or will simple nutrient formula be enough for the plant?

  • Can I use ordinary soil fertilizer, for hydroponics and save some money or will it not be enough?

I know the question of nutrient will depend heavily on the plant under discussion so I am taking chilli peppers and tomatoes for reference.

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Hydroponic solutions can be made up yourself and you need to supply npk as well as the 10 trace elements. However, the components required for these recipes usually come in 25-50 pound bags. So, for small scale growing you need to purchase solutions that are premade. Some of these concentrated solutions are incompatible so they are split into a solution A and B. The bottles will say whether they are designed for vegetative growth or also support flowering.

You can't use soil fertiliser since it will be missing many of the trace elements, and you won't know how much to add.

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  • Thanks for your reply Graham, can you please tell me if I use a general solution nutrient, do I need to change it in flowering/fruit stage?
    – Afraz Ali
    Jan 29 '16 at 4:25
  • Growing plants need nitrogen, and when flowering/fruiting need more potassium and phosphorus. So, you will need a bloom solution if you're growing a fruiting plant such as tomatoes. But if you're growing lettuce then you don't. Also you can use foliar sprays to help correct/prevent deficiences. Jan 29 '16 at 6:11
  • Thanks that cleared a lot of confusion for a newbie like me!
    – Afraz Ali
    Jan 29 '16 at 7:45

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