Kratky hydroponics - can a nutrient be refilled to any degree without harming a growing plant #798307

Asked June 28, 2022, 1:46 PM EDT

Hi, Know you guys (ladies and gentlemen) are loved - we'd be lost without you all. I am raising zuchinni in five-gallon buckets and it has become very apparent that five gallons of nutrient solution will not carry a zuchinni plant to maturity - what to do? I have seen it written that refilling a nutrient container will kill the plant because the air roots are submerged and the plant suffocates. Now to the question: can I add any quantity of nutrient (even a smidgen) without harming a growing? I am going to guess that it is permissible to add nutrient solution so long as I don't completely submerge the air roots. As always, thanks for sharing your amazing knowledge with us. D. Bright

Wallowa County Oregon

Expert Response

Thanks for reaching out. The publication, Small-Scale Hydroponics, from the University of Minnesota is a great resource. The recommendation for deep culture hydroponics (which is what your bucket system equates to) is to refill to cover only half the root system. This doesn't mean half the length of the roots but half of the biomass. You likely will have a denser clump of roots towards the base of the plant. Just make sure to leave some of those roots exposed to air. Also adjust the pH as needed once you add the new solution. 

Hope that helps and best of luck!

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