One of the most frequently asked questions that growers ask, especially new ones, is about the difference between base nutrients and all other supplement products. It is a surprise for many how difficult it is to find the answer to this question online. Reasons vary due to many factors, but they will not be analyzed here.
As you undoubtedly know, an experienced gardener can grow almost anything without nutrients. However, using them makes things easier and helps you boost your plants to their peak performance, thus getting maximum yields. Fertilisers also allow you to focus and improve different aspects of your results.
What is a base nutrient?
Base nutrients are the key components of a plant’s growth ability.
There are two major nutrients categories – mineral and organic. There are a variety of differences between the two, but in both cases, their function is the same – to provide the essential components as building blocks for your plants’ development.
For the mineral category, the blocks in question are potassium, nitrogen, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, manganese, zinc, and sulfur (there may be additional ones depending on the manufacturer). The plant uses them to build more complex structures like peptides, proteins, and polysaccharides needed for its growth (anabolic process). These are also known as micro and macronutrients:
- Macronutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, sulfur, magnesium, carbon, oxygen, hydrogen.
- Micronutrients: iron, boron, chlorine, manganese, zinc, copper, molybdenum, nickel.
As for organics, bases again provide the essentials, but in the form of complex organic molecules, e.g., molasses or beet sugar. The plant breaks down the complex molecules into simpler compounds. In the root zone, the beneficial bacteria break down these large, complex organic molecules into smaller components that can be used by the plants. This makes the absorption of all nutrients, including minerals from the substrate, much easier and leads to increasing the root pressure.
What about the supplements?
Besides bases, there is a wide variety of products that aim to enhance your plants so they can reach their maximum genetic potential. Supplements are essential for stimulating nutrient absorption or activation of various processes for healthy plant growth at different stages of a plant’s life cycle.
This veritable cornucopia contains products for the root system, stalks, leaves, flowers, and more. Some of the products have different functions unrelated to the plant (e.g., for flushing, pH corrections, and protection). For example, the Advanced Nutrients root supplements include Voodoo Juice, Piranha, and Tarantula. Their focus is on the development of the plants’ root system.
Can you only use supplements without a base?
Sometimes growers focus more on investing in supplements like boosters, PKs and other specific additives and stimulants. However, whether you’re growing in soil, coco or hydroponics, base nutrients have the KEY elements your plants require in the early stages of their life.
It is recommended to follow the manufacturer’s’ feeding schedule and product grouping. Each product can be used by itself, but benefits may be cumulative depending on the different combinations.
Are you hesitant to purchase all the recommended nutrients from the brand you have decided to use for your next grow? Then you can start small and use only a few of the products. You will still achieve great results.
So this is it – one simple answer to a complex question.
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