Growing Beyond Kratky

One of the most popular blog posts has been on using our Holland Secret brand 3 part fertilizer as the base nutrient in the Kratky method of hydroponics.  For those who don't know or need a refresher, this method has plants suspended over a container with nutrient solution with their roots submerged in the solution.

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Click here to read "How to use the Kratky Method with 3-part Hydroponic Nutrient Solutions"

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It uses the assumption that the plant will use nutrients and water at a similar rate. The salinity will be more or less what the plant can handle throughout its lifecycle.  It relies on a single feeding of nutrient at the beginning of the plants life to get it through its entire life.  Of course temperature, container and plant size will all have effects on this rate so I suspect many users will be adding new nutrient solutions occasionally, or at the very least a little extra water. 

If you grow plants with the Kratky method and are happy with it then by all means continue using it, there is no need for you to read any further.  However, if you want to maximize the potential of your growing set up, then read on!  

Kratky is the simplest form of water culture, that is dissolving nutrients in water so the roots can directly absorb them. 

 

No soil involved!

 

The potential issues that could be faced by growers using Kratky could include:

  • Growth or root pathogens due to a stagnant nutrient solution. 
  • Improper nutrient levels from the plant consuming some nutrients faster than others, or becoming insoluble over time. 
  • Only having one nutrient ratio throughout the plant life cycle.  To maximize yield ratios should be adjusted throughout the different stages of growth.

The next most sophisticated water culture method would be recirculating system.  This system can be summed up as follows:

  • The solution is kept in a separate reservoir from the plants. 
  • A submersible pump is placed into the solution which is then pumped via lines to each of the plants. 
  • The plants themselves are placed into pots containing clay pallets (or similar material).  The solution passes through this medium and the plant takes its water and nutrients. The allows for maximum root aeration since there is a lot of space in between the pellets. 
  • When this liquid passes through the pot it is drained back into the reservoir to be repeatedly recycled.
  • The solution is changed weekly to keep nutrients at their optimum levels. 
  • pH, temperature, and nutrient concentration (TDS - Total Dissolved Solids) should be monitored to keep these levels in optimal ranges. 

Once this system is set up and plants are ready to go into the system the appropriate nutrient ratios need to be used.  As far as we know the Kratky method is only being used on fruiting vegetables and leafy green vegetables.  If anyone is growing something different please feel free to contact us and we can help design a feeding program specific to that crop. 

Leafy Green Vegetables include: Lettuce, Spinach, Chard, and Kale 

Fruiting Vegetables include: Tomatoes, Peppers (sweet and chili), Cucumbers, and Eggplant

All measurements are in milliliters of fertilizer per 4 liters of water 

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Leafy  Green Vegetables

 

Early Development

4 ml Holland Secret Grow

4 ml Holland Secret Micro

2 ml Holland Secret Bloom

Future Harvest Holland Secret Grow Micro Bloom fertilizer nutrients

 

Late Development

10 ml Holland Secret Grow

7 ml Holland Secret Micro

4 ml Holland Secret Bloom

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Fruiting Vegetable 

 

tomato

Early Development

4 ml Holland Secret Grow

4 ml Holland Secret Micro

2 ml Holland Secret Bloom

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Future Harvest Holland Secret Micro Grow Bloom Calnesium Cal-Mag fertilizer nutrients

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Vegetative and Early Flowering

10 ml Holland Secret Grow

6 ml Holland Secret Micro

4 ml Holland Secret Bloom

2 ml Calnesium

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Fruit Set and Ripening

2 ml Holland Secret Grow

8 ml Holland Secret Micro

8 ml Holland Secret Bloom

6 ml Calnesium

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Future Harvest Holland Secret pH Up and pH Down pH Adjusters

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And just one last reminder, it is absolutely essential that pH is adjusted when using water culture.  Optimum levels are between 5.8 and 6.2.  There are many affordable pH meters on the market.  At the minimum, test strips or indicator dye solution can be used.  Also avoid high temperatures in the nutrient solution as this will encourage root rot

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Any questions? Email us at marketing@futureharvest.com or send us a message on Instagram @futureharvestdevelopment and we will help you as best we can!

 

    Published by Loren Price

    Bio:
    Loren, the Director of Fertilizer Technology at Future Harvest, grew up on a mixed grain and cattle farm in North West Saskatchewan. He went on to study biotechnology and worked in agrosciences in Saskatoon for several years before moving on to Future Harvest and the hydroponic plant food industry. Starting off in fertilizer production, his focus is now on fertilizer formulations and regulatory affairs. His areas of expertise include: agronomy, analytical chemistry, plant tissue culture, plant breeding, molecular biology, and plant nutrition. Outside of work, Loren collects vintage concert T-shirts and is an amateur craft brewer specializing in historical and lesser known styles of beer.

    E-Mail: loren@futureharvest.com

  • Mar 23, 2021
  • Category: Articles
  • Comments: 0
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