In hydroponic gardens, hydroponic nutrients are a standard additive. However fertilizers can also be added to boost the growth rate of plants as well as the final size they get to and the amount of fruit they produce.

The video above compares the effect of a commercial hydroponic fertilizer called ChemGrow 4-18-38 (a fertilizer that is specifically designed for use in hydroponic gardens) to soluble fertilizers such as Miracle Grow that are designed for use in traditional soil gardens on the growth of lettuce in a deep water culture system.

The results are quite amazing. The ChemGrow 4-18-38 fertilizer produces much larger and much healthier lettuce than a number of soluble fertilizers intended for use in soil gardens.

The lettuce are much larger and maintain a very healthy appearance.

The roots of lettuce grown in ChemGrow 4-18-38 are also much larger and healthier. They are very white in color, indicating they are very healthy. In contrast, the root balls of plants grown using the other fertilizers are smaller and have a brown discoloration, indicating they are not as healthy as they should be.

The difference in growth is due to the different availability of nitrogen in the fertilizers. The ChemGrow 4-18-38 fertilizer contains nitrogen that is directly usable by the plants.

The soil-intended fertilizers contain nitrogen that requires bacteria to convert it into a form that is available for plants. Without the required bacteria in the hydroponic system, this fertilizer doesn’t do any good for the plants.

The take-home message: use fertilizers designed for hydroponic gardens in hydroponic systems.

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