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  • 1 University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003

Many people want to use hydroponics in production of plants but often are hobbyists with limited access to the reagents necessary to formulate a nutrient solution. Several readily available commercial fertilizers and chemicals with tomato-(Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) as the test plant were used to develop a nutrient solution. A 20-8.8-16.6 IN-P-K) general purpose fertilizer was added (1 g/liter) to deionized water to make a basic solution. This solution was fortified with slow-release fertilizer (approx. 17N-2.6P-8.5K with Ca, Hg, and minor elements) at 1 g/liter added directly to hydroponics vessels. Tomato developed severe foliar symptoms of Ca deficiency in this medium. Addition of CaSO4 or CaCO3 at 0.5 or 1 g/liter to give a solid phase of these chemicals in the vessels prevented development of symptoms of Ca deficiency; however, plants now showed symptoms of Mg deficiency. Addition of MgS0 at 0.25 g/liter to the basic solution prevented symptoms o Mg deficiency. Analyses confirmed that leaf N, P, K, Ca, and Mg were sufficient.

This solution was as good as Hoagland's No. 1 solution for growth of tomato, marigold, and cucumber and was better than Hoagland's solution for growth of corn and wheat.

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