How do I use nutrients I see in those jugs that say veg and bloom, or do I even need those to try and do it organically?
A: Most hydroponic nutrients, whether organic or conventional, are split into “grow” and “bloom” or “veg” and “flower” formulations. These are referred to as base nutrients. A good base nutrient is exactly what its name implies: a foundation for your entire fertilizer regimen. Base formulas are made up of the essential elements needed for basic survival and general health. In other words, base fertilizers will contain a substantial amount of NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) along with a variety of micronutrients. Most base nutrients are split into veg and flower (aka grow and bloom, respectively) formulations because the nutrient ratios contained are specific to that particular stage of growth. For example, during the vegetative stage of growth, a cannabis plant requires larger amounts of nitrogen and during the flowering stage, a cannabis plant will require larger amounts of potassium and phosphorus. Base fertilizers specific to the “veg” or “bloom” stages will provide the cannabis plants with essential elements in ratios that are tailored for that stage of growth.
For organic hydroponic systems, base fertilizers with appropriate ratios for each stage of growth are still recommended. Advancements in organic-based hydroponic fertilizers continue to be developed. Over the last 15 years, there have been many advancements in the processing, extraction, and stabilization of organic compounds. In fact, there are many pure organic or organic-based liquid fertilizers on the market that can be incorporated into a hydroponic system. When shopping for organic liquid fertilizers, be sure to check if the product is designed to be used in soilless media. Generally, the organic “soilless” fertilizers will be filtered and specifically processed for use in a hydroponic system. Purchasing soilless-specific organic fertilizers can go a long way in preserving the longevity of pumps and emitters, which could otherwise get clogged in a recirculating hydroponic system.
I should also mention many organic “hydroponic” systems are actually hybrid systems, which, instead of using a soilless medium, incorporate a living soil into the system. A good organic soil can supply a cannabis plant with the essential elements otherwise only received through base fertilizers.
To recap: If your goal is to grow your cannabis in a true hydroponic system, you will need to use “veg” and “bloom” base fertilizers (organic or conventional). If your hydroponic system is a hybrid system with a well-balanced organic soil, the bulk of the essential elements can be obtained from the soil itself. I hope this answers your question.
Keep on Growing,
Lee. G. Lyzit
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