Marco Nutrients are:

o Nitrogen (N)

o Phosphorus (P)

o Potassium (K)

These three elements make up the fertilisers you find at your local hydroponic supplier and are classified by the N – P – K reading on fertiliser labels. A good choice in fertiliser is one that shows a proven track record of research and the use of quality raw ingredients. The right fertiliser product will consist of a two-step process because plants need different ratios of particular nutrients at different stages of their cycles.

Look for fertiliser products like Nutrifield Coco or Elements. Elements consist of two products, Elements grow A&B and Elements Bloom A&B. For example, through-out the vegetative stage some plants require higher amounts of Nitrogen and Phosphorus and during their bloom stage they require more Phosphorus and Potassium. So what do these essential elements do? Nitrogen – The Growth Nutrient Nitrogen is vital to life; it’s a fundamental component of amino acids and of proteins which include the green light-harvesting pigment, chlorophyll, essential to the photosynthesis process.

Nitrogen is also necessary for a plant to grow productively and deficiency of Nitrogen seems to be considered the most common deficiency in most plants, whether soil or hydroponically grown. Nitrogen is a major component of hormones and vitamins and is a key factor in metabolism, cell growth and reproduction of all plant life. It is also the element that generally produces the greatest dry matter yield response in plants. Interestingly, Nitrogen is one of the most available elements we have, it makes up about 75% of the earth’s atmosphere, but it’s not ‘plant available’ in its current form.

Types of Nitrogen – There are three forms of Nitrogen available to plants

• Ammonium (NH4) – Ammonium ions bind and travel slowly through the medium, it’s readily plant available but can be extremely harmful if oversupplied.

• Nitrate (NO3) – Nitrate ions are easily absorbed by plants but leaching occurs quickly.

• Organic Nitrogen – Most Nitrogen is organic but needs to be converted by microorganism for plant uptake. Deficiency signs

• Slow growth

• Yellowing of the leaves, especially in the older leaves, if the younger leaves are starting to turn yellow then you have major on-going deficiency problem (chlorosis)

• Thin roots that are too long

• Stunted shoot growth and thin spidery plants Phosphorous – The Root Stimulator Like Nitrogen, Phosphorous is a vital mineral and plays several key roles in the health and vitality of your plant. It’s a key component in plant structure and an essential part of the enzymes for storing and transferring plant energy and an integral part of the nucleic acids, or the building blocks (DNA) of plants and is present in all living cells. Phosphorous carries genetic information to each new cell and aids in cell division. It’s also associated with shoot growth, increasing stem and stalk growth, stimulated root development, early growth spurts, enhanced flower formation, seed production and developing a stronger resistance to disease.

Phosphorous needs to be added early in the plants life for vigorous root development, but it is considered an immobile element in soil mediums, which means only about 20% of applied phosphorous will be absorbed by the plant. Phosphorus uptake is also facilitated by the presence of mycorrhizal fungi. A deficiency of phosphorous can be difficult to diagnose visually, but keep an eye out for the following. Deficiency signs

• Possibility of dark green foliage

• A hint of purple on the stems and possibly the entire plant

• Stunted growth and slow growth

• Brown spots (necrosis) Potassium – The Regulator and Quality Element Potassium is absorbed by plants in large quantities and acts as a regulator in plant growth. In particular, it’s associated with root growth and regulation of the rate of photosynthesis by activating the sixty known enzymes that are directly involved in plant growth – It directly affects the transfer, utilization and storage of sugars and proteins in the photosynthesis process. Potassium is also linked to fruit quality and production. Potassium is important for water and nutrient uptake because it is responsible for pH stabilization, respiration and transpiration (stoma openings) within plants. Without the regulation of these openings the exchange of Carbon Dioxide, water vapour and Oxygen is inadequate. Crop quality is commonly associated with Potassium due to its effect on factors such as size, shape, colour, disease resistance and yield. Deficiency signs

• Thin stems

• Brown spots on older leaves (necrosis)

• In advanced deficiency brown spots between the main veins

• Slight yellowing of leaves (chlorosis)

• Leaf dryness

• Leaves can curl or crinkle Your yield and profit rely heavily on the nutrient choices you make so make sure you make the right decision when it comes to brands and products. Contact our knowledgeable staff at Nutrifield and they will put in contact with someone who cares as much about your crops as you do.