What is a nutrient calculator for? Mike Straumietis, Founder and CEO of Advanced Nutrients, discusses the use and importance of a nutrient calculator in this blog post.
Having a good hydroponic nutrient line doesn’t mean your work is done. You will still need to develop an accurate feeding schedule for your plants. Nutrient companies provide farmers with a feeding chart per gallon or liter. However, even with a feeding chart, you will still need to calculate a personalized chart of your own, basing it on several factors, including the reservoir’s size, plant growth or bloom stage, and water hardness.
Therefore, you need a nutrient calculator, notesMike Straumietis.
Most nutrient calculators have similar interfaces. First, you’ll need to adjust the recommendations as you see the need, based on the conditions of your farm. Then, a nutrient calculator will do the rest of the work, allowing you to supply your plants with the proper nutrients they need.
An Overview of Feed Charts
Upon choosing a nutrient line, you must always ensure that the supply of nutrients for your plants is on point. Adding fertilizer weekly according to how you feel does not mean your plants will flourish. Veteran farmers and expert growers know that different plants need different nutrients to maximize their growth. The wrong amount of nutrients will affect their development. Feed charts notify you how much to supply in the progressing weeks for growth and help you allocate nutrients during the various vegetative and flowering stages.
When flowering starts, Mike Straumietis says that plants need more potassium, calcium, and phosphorus. Feed charts show you when to stop giving certain nutrients and add different products to help you meet your plant’s needs.
There is also a danger of feeding your plants the same amount of nutrients throughout their lives. Doing so runs the risk of incurring nutrient deficiencies or toxicities. It will also render a portion of nutrients useless, making them a waste of your money.
However, as mentioned earlier, there are things feeding charts cannot do. For instance, most charts only provide basic information, such as the number of nutrients you will need to put in each gallon of solution on specific weeks.
Enter the Nutrient Calculator
Nutrient calculators are quite like feed charts, but they provide a more precise picture of the nutrients for your hydroponic system. Like most online calculators, you will need to enter the pertinent information, and the nutrient calculator will give you your answer in return.
Mike Straumietis shares some of the more important components of a nutrient calculator below.
1. Base PPM or EC
The Base PPM or EC will tell if any minerals are already in your water. It measures your solution’s parts per million (PPM) or electronic conductivity (EC). The PPM indicates how many minerals are in your solution. The EC shows the number of salts in the solution.
2. Type of Media
Various types of media react to nutrients in unique ways. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to the differences in the cation exchange capacity (CEC) within each material. These differences tell you how some materials hold onto nutrients more or less than others, affecting how many nutrients you need to allocate to your plants over time.
3. Nutrient Product(s)
Since different hydroponic fertilizer products have different amounts and ratios of nutrients, the application recommendations will be different between products. Moreover, you might be using more than one of these products at a time. Mike Straumietis explains that a good nutrient calculator will let you know how much of each product to put in during each week of a plant’s growth.
More about Mike and Advanced Nutrients
Mike Straumietis, the Founder and CEO of Advanced Nutrients, and his large and diverse team of Ph.D. scientists have helped growers in more than 110 countries unlock the genetic potential of their plants through a growing system that optimizes every phase of the vegetative and bloom cycles, from seed to senescence.