What is Hydroponic Fertilizer?

Hydroponics has become more popular especially with the invention of the aerogarden systems, like AeroGarden. DIY home hydroponic grow systems are also popular, as are Kratky methods. All of these systems require hydroponic fertilizer which is quite a bit more expensive than regular soluble fertilizer. It begs the question, can you use regular fertilizer in place of hydroponic fertilizer? What makes hydroponic fertilizer special and what should you be looking for when you buy them?

hands holding lettuce plant showing roots
Lettuce grown hydroponically, source: Farm

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What is Salt – It May Not be What You Think

Some people won’t use synthetic fertilizer because it contains “salts”. For years I was told not to use mushroom compost because it contains “too many salts”. Salt is also recommended to kill weeds and just today I saw a post which suggested pink Himalayan salt makes plants grow better. You can buy commercial sea salt to fertilize your plants. This doesn’t make sense. Salt is a weed killer and it’s a good fertilizer?

As a gardener it is crucial that you understand which salt is being discussed so you don’t use the wrong one and harm your plants. This blog will help you through the maze of salt crystals.

Picture showing salt shaker and a bag with NPK on the label, and the word VS between the two
What is Salt?

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How the Myth of Milk Fertilizer Started

A while ago I wrote about Milk As Fertilizer and concluded that although milk would add organic matter to a garden, it was no ‘magic bullet’. Since that report I have spent more time looking at the subject of milk fertilizer and tracked down how this myth was born. It a thriller full of deception and lies. Today I will dig deep into this myth and uncover some surprising facts. Then I will review the latest research on the subject.

Milk Fertilizer - a Myth is Born
Milk Fertilizer – a Myth is Born, source: Patrick Franzis

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Rock Dust – Can It Remineralize the Earth?

Rock dust is a very popular soil additive especially with organic and permaculture groups. It is full of nutrients and it is claimed that adding it to soil will replenish all of the nutrients that agriculture has taken out of our soil. This process of adding nutrients back to soil is known as mineralization.

This seems to make a lot of sense. We remove food from the land, and the food contains lots of minerals. At some point we need to put them back into the soil or else we will have soil that won’t grow anything. This seems logical but is it really true? Is our soil losing fertility? If it is deficient, can rock dust be used to solve the problem? How effective is rock dust and which type of rock works the best? Time to crush some myths about rock dust.

Azomite - a common brand of rock dust
Azomite – a common brand of rock dust

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Nitrogen for Leaves, Phosphorus for Roots and Flowers, Potassium for Health

I am sure you have heard the saying, plants need nitrogen for growing leaves, phosphorus for growing roots and flowers, and potassium for overall plant health. Well, it is not only wrong, but very misleading because it causes gardeners to use the wrong fertilizer.

In this post I will have a close look at this and show you why it is wrong. Along the way you will learn a lot about plant growth and how to get more flowers.

Nitrogen for Leaves, Phosphorus for Roots and Flowers, Potassium for Health
Nitrogen for Leaves, Phosphorus for Roots and Flowers, Potassium for Health

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Selecting the Best Organic Fertilizer

People love to go organic, which is a good thing. Unfortunately, the information about organic fertilizers is not always correct or complete. Here are some real important things you need to know about organic fertilizer.

Limitations of Organic Fertilizer
Limitations of Organic Fertilizer

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Mycorrhizal Inoculant Investigation – Do They Work?

Mycorrhizal Inoculant products have been around for more than 10 years but the number of products available is rapidly growing. Clearly manufacturers are finding customers willing to pay for these products, but are they worth the money? Do they work? Are companies able to provide solid evidence that their products work?

I have done an investigation and you will be surprised by the results.

Mycorrhizal Inoculant Products - Do They Work?
Mycorrhizal Inoculant Products – Do They Work?

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Is Urine Safe to Use in the Garden?

Is urine in the garden a match made in heaven or hell on earth?

Human urine is not commonly used as a fertilizer but we do use animal urine when it’s mixed with manure. Many gardeners have no issue with its use this way, but few would use human urine even if it is clean and free of feces. Is this just due to social attitudes or are there some a good reasons for not using urine. Is it safe? Will it burn plants? Can it spread human pathogens and what about all the drugs we use? Those can’t be good for plants?

Let’s have a wee look at using urine in the garden.

Is Urine Safe to Use in the Garden?
Is Urine Safe to Use in the Garden?, source: MRS

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Is Bone Meal Good for the Garden?

Bone meal, or bonemeal, is a common organic soil amendment and many consider it to be a good fertilizer. It is a “must add” when planting spring bulbs and it’s claimed to help plants establish after being moved by improving root growth. Plant not flowering? Add bone meal to make more flowers.

This sounds like a great product every gardener should use, but are the claims real or just myths?

Is Bone Meal Good for the Garden?
Is Bone Meal Good for the Garden?

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Is Sugar Water Good For Plants

Is sugar water good for plants? This is a very interesting question and one that leads to all kinds of fun facts about plants.

Even more interesting is how this myth plays out on the internet. In most cases, popular gardening sites promote the myth, but in this case they tell you NOT to use sugar water for plants, except in special cases. They then give a variety of reasons why sugar water is bad for plants, but these explanations are mostly wrong. They are creating new myths with their explanations!

Many of these writers ignore basic plant biology or are unaware of the correct facts. I’m going to try and sort this thing out for you.

Is Sugar Water Good For Plants
Is Sugar Water Good For Plants

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