Best Nutrients For DWC (Deep Water Culture) Reviews
Nutrients, oxygen, and water, play a critical role in Deep Water Culture (DWC). Boost your plants’ growth with our top picks for the best nutrients for DWC.
Comparison Table: 4 Best Nutrients for Deep Water Culture
Deep Water Culture (DWC) is one of the most popular and the simplest hydroponic gardening methods most gardeners adhere to. Instead of submerging plant roots in soil, this system uses enriched water, thus the name. DWC requires three main things in order to grow plants: oxygen, water, and nutrients. Just as the supply of water and oxygen have to be managed, nutrients too should be of good quality to allow plants to thrive.
To properly aid in plant growth, DWC should contain the necessary micro and macro nutrients. This is greatly important in oxygen-rich water since there is no access to nutrients from the soil. However, not all DWC systems on the market give an honest supply of these nutrients. But be glad because this article will give you a truthful guide to the best nutrients for DWC.
How to Choose the Best Nutrients for DWC
Figuring out the best DWC plant nutrients have become trickier, thanks to the many companies producing them. For beginners, the first option is often to check the general hydroponics plant nutrient series. While others who want to be more hands-on mix their own hydroponic nutrients. Either way, there is a checklist of things to look after if you are to come up with the best nutrients for DWC. Below are the most important ones.
1. Know Your Plant’s Nutrient Requirements
All plants need phosphorus, calcium, nitrogen and other essential elements for proper nutrition. However, while most plants require essentially the same micro and macronutrients, the ratios in solution may vary greatly. This depends primarily on the kind of plant you are growing. If you are not sure of that, you can always check out a DWC nutrient guide online. The key is to understand them to be able to provide the best nutrients for DWC plants.
2. Check The pH Level Of The Nutrient Solution
The pH level is not something to be taken lightly as it can ultimately kill your hydroponic plants. Typically, plants require a pH level between 5.5 to 7 with 5.8 to 6.3 as the most optimal range. If the nutrient solution’s pH level drops down to 5.5, micronutrient toxicity may creep in. On the flip side, a pH level above 7 becomes too acidic for plants.
It may be simpler to deal with lower pH as you can simply add up, but if the latter is the case, you will need to use some pH down solution. A mixture of the pH down solution should be added to your nutrient solution to lower the level of acidity. The pH level should also be customized to the stage of your plant’s growth. Vegetative plants typically need higher pH than flowering plants.
3. Verify Your Electrical Conductivity (EC) Measurement
Electrical Conductivity may sound complicated, but it is really just the ratio of the nutrient solution relative to the amount of water. The goal is to keep the EC level between 0.8 to 3 with the normative value set between 1.5 to 2.5. The simplest way to verify this is to use Electronic EC meters. Manual computations may be a little tricky but is also an option.
The consequence of a low EC is not that unnerving as you can simply adjust upwards. The concern lies with a high EC because you run the risk of a nutrient burn. It is a condition where plants dry out or die because of too much fertilizer. Once done, this is not something that can be reversed, but you can definitely set the right amount by adding some more water to bring the EC down to the suitable range.
4. Check the Oxygen Level of Your Nutrient Solution
Determining the oxygen level of your nutrient solution should be carried out to properly oxygenate your DCW plants. Much like the pH level and EC measurement, the oxygen level should be optimized. Dissolved oxygen meters can be utilized for the job, but they might be an overkill for those who are just starting out and have few hydroponic plants. Some no-cost options are to manually monitor the right temperature and to run an air pump.
When oxygen level is too low, toxins will accumulate which reduces the permeability of the roots to water and minerals, thus leading to insufficiency in both. If the oxygen is too high, there will be an excessive oxygenation, which will still lead to poor absorption of the necessary nutrients and minerals. Letting either way happen is a great loss to your plants’ growth.
Top 4 Best Nutrients for DWC 2018 Reviews
DWC hydroponics nutrients can be obtained from several products on the market. A majority adheres to the 3-part nutrient solution- grow, micro, and bloom. Although many products claim to contain advanced nutrients, the difference can only truly be noticed upon usage. Here, we’ll give you some of the best-rated and most preferred nutrient solutions for DWC.
Changing the Nutrient Solution
Nutrient solution in DWC will eventually be completely absorbed by the plant roots. Therefore, it is necessary to replace them from time to time. The appropriate length of time varies depending on the type of plant, the stage of growth, and the size of the nutrient reservoir. However, suggested replacement usually runs between two to three weeks.
The better way to do this is to opt for a complete change of both water and nutrient solution. However, if you don’t want to do so, you can simply mix in some nutrient solution to water and add the mixture into the reservoir to achieve the right balance again.
Submerging Roots into the DWC Reservoir
Having prepared and done all the necessary mixture and checking, you can already relax and just submerged your plants into the water and nutrient reservoir. Definitely Not! First of all, DWC hydroponic gardening is not some gardener-mood-dependent activity. If anything, it should be a regular part of one's life. Secondly, only the roots should be submerged into the mixture and not the stem, and definitely the vegetation.
Most importantly, only a portion of the root should be kept under water leaving at least 1.5” of the root matter up top. Having a part of the root on top is not something to worry about as airstone bubbles will eventually pop some water up. Thus, that part of the root will still be nourished.
Importance of Checking Raw Water Quality
The quality of the raw water used in any hydroponic gardening system is as important as choosing the right nutrient solution. Raw water may already contain some amount of iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and other essential nutrients and minerals. These elements should be factored in upon adjusting the DWC nutrient solution to avoid nutrient burn.
Unsurprisingly, raw water may also contain sodium, chloride, and other unwanted minerals that are not suited for hydroponics. Thus, the water must be replaced, diluted or pre-treated before pouring in the nutrient solution. You may have the best nutrients for DWC but when the raw water is not checked, you will still run the risk of failure in your hydroponics endeavor. Ensuring the appropriateness of your raw water and nutrient solution are imperative.
A nutrient solution is the only source of nutrients for DWC hydroponic plants. It is understandably imperative to ensure a balanced solution that contains the necessary plant nutrients. Other than the required nutrient concentration, there are several other factors to look after in preparing the solution. This includes the raw water quality, the pH level, the EC measurement, the oxygen level, and most importantly, the nutrient requirement of your grown hydroponic plants.