Q: "I have an aeroponic system and I want to use it to grow an avocado plant. My questions are: What type of nutrients should I use? What percentage of nutrients should I mix with water? And what is the period of spraying mixed solution on the roots of the plant?"
A: Congratulations on building your first aeroponics system! Here are the answers to your questions in order.
The best nutrients to use with aeroponics are typically products with less organic material that may eventually sludge up the system. Don’t be afraid to try organic nutrients, though; just be ready to clean the system and filters more frequently if you do.
Another way to prevent algae and bad biology from growing on your equipment is to inoculate the reservoir with beneficial bacteria and fungi. These products help to keep the system clean by competing for the same space and food the bad biology needs.
The nutrient density depends on the nutrient mixing recipe provided by the manufacturer, as some lines have a higher recommended parts per million/electrical conductivity/total dissolved solids (ppm/EC/TDS) compared to others.
The main thing is to start a little lower than normal and work your way up. Also, if you’re using high pressure aeroponics, keep in mind that plants become super-efficient at taking up nutrients as root fuzz, a.k.a. trichoblast, begins to appear, thus less nutrient density is required at this point to achieve the same or greater growth rates. So, be sure to check pH and do not to overfeed your plants while enjoying these benefits.
While designing an aeroponics system, proper nozzle placement with respect to plant and root density, as well as other factors such as environmental parameters and plant size or age, determine a plant’s needs for various spray intervals.
Also, the type of plumbing selected would play a role; for example, a low-pressure aeroponics sprinkler system may need longer spray intervals than a high-pressure system that sprays a foggy mist that floats in the air, thus providing less dense root coverage and needing less time between intervals.
In a low-pressure aeroponics system, a typical spray interval might be around 30 minutes on and 15 minutes off, while a typical high-pressure aeroponics system with proper mist coverage would have spray intervals that might be anywhere from one to 30 seconds on, and two or more minutes off, depending on root chamber ventilation and the factors mentioned above.
So, be sure to keep the system clean and don’t be afraid to play around with the settings. Have fun with it! The plants will tell you how they are doing, so look for leaves that are reaching for the light and look for new root growth that is bright white or healthy in color.
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