The only way I can get FP is to ship it for $9 extra from Dyna-Gro. Is there any alternative that I can look for in the local hydroponics shops that will have the same micronutrients?
General hydroponics is better then FP. NASA stands by it.
which product from General Hydroponics?
I ordered my Foliage Pro from Amazon, which has a fair price and is $5 to ship. I think I payed about $23 total, so not too bad a deal. I checked out the website for the General Hydroponics stuff. There's a lot of horn tooting, which is fine, because you have to toot your horn to sell your product, however, I can't seem to find any information on what's in it, and at what levels. Personally I like to know what I am buying, especially when I am ordering off the web. I can tell you from experience, that my plants have definately shown major improvement since switching to Foliage Pro 9-3-6. Also, don't get reeled in to something just because NASA stands by it. I'm sure the stuff is good, but do your research should you choose to try it, because NASA is just another government entity, and government entities aren't exactly reliable in the truth department.
What Joe said.
Superthrive ALSO claims the US Govmt as an entity that wouldn't be w/o their product, which in my mind automatically calls their reliability into question.
If you have a hydroponics shop near you, you might ask them if they have an 'all-in-one' product that doesn't require you to mix several solutions to come up with the same formulation already in FP. Any 3:1:2 ratio that contains Ca/Mg and all the minors is what you would be looking for.
Let us know what you find out. I'm not beholden to FP for any reason other than there was a LOT of thought that went into its formulation. I'm glad I stumbled on it a few years back. There may well be other products out there that are virtually the same as FP - dunno ......
I'm just not one to take advertising hype as gospel. I'd much sooner trust my own observations or the observations of an unbiased source than trust the verbiage in some one's advertising campaign.
I just typed up some info on another thread, but I'll copy & paste the meat & potatoes of it for you. It is in reference to the cost of Foliage Pro. Whatever you get for a price, take these numbers into consideration.
Let's assume you get a 32oz jug of the Foliage Pro 9-3-6, like I did. I payed a total of $23, including shipping, from Amazon on sale. I water with 1/4tsp per gallon, every time I water; a maintanence fertilizing program.
They recommend 1tsp per gallon, every 2 weeks for regular dose fertilizing.
1oz = 6tsp
32oz = 192tsp
Thus, on a feed every 2 weeks plan, you can make 192 gallons of fertilizer solution.
For maintanence feeding, which I do, they recommend 1/4tsp per gallon of water, every time you water.
1oz = 6tsp
32oz = 192tsp, but at 1/4, you get 4 times that.
192x4= 768 gallons of fertilizer solution.
With the math in mind, to me, $23 dollars is easily worth being able to make 768 gallons of superior fertilizer solution. The time it'll take me to use 768 gallons of fertilizer water can be measured in years. Until something better comes along, Foliage Pro is the winner by a country mile, and well worth the expense.
Phil - did you call Dyna-Gro and ask them for the name/s and phone number/s of their distributors who actually carry Foliage-Pro in your area?
I was unable to find it locally either and checked with all of the dealers in my area that were listed on the Dyna-Gro web site but none of them carried that specific product. I called Dyna-Gro, one of their customer service reps gave me the name and number of their Denver area distributor. The rep at the distributor said they had it in stock, checked to see if they had any accounts with nurseries close to where I lived, and actually took the product to that nursery that same day so I could pick it up from them.
The nursery that I bought the Foliage Pro from was not on the Dyna-Gro dealer list, so I think going through their actual wholesale distributor is the way to go. I was quite impressed with the customer service of Dyna-Gro and of their local distributor.
All in ones are not the best. Plants like certain ratios of each macro/micro depending on the type of plant and the plants specific point of life. There is a reason the GH line (along with many other lines)Makes 3-part grow-bloom-micro. If you look at what is in the micro it has only little Ca to allow the grower to "tune" his/her feeding program. I was considering FP then I took a look at the price and relized GH is cheaper. GH= 20-30 a gal. FP=40-50 a gal. To complete the Gh line you must get all 3 for about $70-$80 in gal. size. But then you have 3 gal. You pay $40 at cheapest for the FP and you have one gal. with everything all in it. I think when it comes down to it GH is a little more mixing thus allowing you to have more power over your plant needs. 3 gals of FP=$120-140 3 gals of GH=$60-90. You decide if FP is 2x better just like it price.
How come these stores dont hold FP but they hold GH? That shows people use more.
Example: When NASA needs to find out how much plant material they will produce in a determined sq ft of greenhouse space they have a rule of thumb because they stay with the same reliable nutrients. GH.
I could point a couple of other things out but I wont. Overall FP is good because one can just mix and feed, it has everything in it. It is more user friendly because you dont have mix 3 seperate liquids.
Three-part nutrient systems are designed to sell three times as much product.
That's pretty much it. Companies increase their profits if people think that all
these special gimmick formulas are needed.
The ratio of nutrients used by most plants throughout the life-cycle is approximately 3:1:2,
or so I've read here at GardenWeb. I believe there's been some tissue analysis.
When it comes to manipulating production via nutrients, many growers actually
withhold a nutrient (such as nitrogen) rather than increase a nutrient.
Thus "bloom boosters" are yet another example of horticultural myth.
I'm definately not in the tank for any product, and never will be, so I'm not trying to sell Foliage Pro or anything. I look at it in a practicality sense, in that with FP, you add the correct amount to your water, and feed. This works great for many amateurs and professionals alike. Having to mix a 3 part solution adds more chances for error, and can be confusing and/or daunting to any hobbyist plant grower. Sure, the brains at NASA are horticulturists, and have no trouble understanding the formulas, not to mention that they are being paid, with our tax money mind you, to screw around and take the extra time to mix and "analyze" what they mixed. Then of course, seeing it's our tax dollars, someone has to analyze the analyzer, then analyze the analyzer's analyzations....you get the idea.
As for why people would use more of one thing than another, well, that's not always an easy question. There are a lot of people out there who believe anything they hear, read, or see on TV. A lot of these people see something that says "NASA uses it" in one way or another, and they hop right on the bandwagon. Basically, make your own decisions based on a wide range of opinions from people like yourself. If you don't like something, find a new product. Don't believe advertising TOO much, because they'll say what they gotta say to sell you something. Why do you think those companies that claim that you can "make $200,000 a year from home" are around?? Yup, because there are so many suckers who really think you can sit on your rear at home all day and make money. Heck, look how bad a majority of this country got duped when Obama won. They took his false advirtising hook, line, and sinker, only here some plants are at risk of dying, not the whole country.
Great post, Joe ;-)
I get Foliage Pro at Capitol Nursery.
I concur Joe. Gardening should be an enjoyable experience. I shouldn't have to think very hard or very long about what fertilizers I need to use. That would make it work. All in one fertilizers are great and I wish they made more like Foliage Pro with everything you need in one bottle.
I forgot to ask if you've looked at Osmocote Plus? It's very comprehensive but different application of course.
There is nothing that stacks up to Foliage Pro.
Thank you all for the help!
Rwsacto, no I have not but I will give them a call tomorrow. I called the registered retailer on the Dyna-Gro website and he did not have the Foliage Pro, he had basically every other product, though. He was comically frustrated that I asked for the only DG product he did not stock.
Oakiris, I did call Dyna-Gro and was truly impressed with the service. Turns out headquarters is only a couple hours South of me and the woman took quite an interest in finding me a local source. I sat on hold for a good twenty minutes while she tried to nail down a retailer, however she could not find one and said that my only option was to ship it. I will probably call them back if I find it at Capitol Nursery.
TheMasterGardener, I would be more interested if there was any chance I could use up 3 gallons of fertilizer in the next decade. Furthermore, it seems ludicrous to suggest that the nutrients need to be in 3 different packages and then mixed together into one solution to be effective. I do see how the ability to customize your fertilizer could be advantageous for tricky plants, but I think I will be better off as a beginner with a balanced and easy to use fert. I waste enough time in my garden without mixing 5 ingredients into my water instead of 2. Thank you for the input, though! I will look into GH products a bit more.
Ms minnamouse, no I have not found Osmocote Plus locally, but I am using Osmocote Indoor/Outdoor as a base in my mixes. I want to use Foliage-Pro in very small quantities at each watering to supplement the micronutrients. I also dosed the Osmocote lightly with intentions of using liquid fert later.
"TheMasterGardener, I would be more interested if there was any chance I could use up 3 gallons of fertilizer in the next decade. "
They sell Quarts for like $15 for one. And yes do look them up.
Capital Nursery on Sunrise in Citrus Heights. After finding Foliage Pro there last summer, I went back in Dec and got a container for a Christmas gift for my mom. Their Freeport location didn't know what I was talking about. I'm not sure about Elk Grove. Call ahead.
Thank You Rwsacto and Everyone!!
With your help I just tracked down some Foliage-Pro at Capital Nursery. Only after you wise people confirmed that I should be buying it, now I feel that much better about spending this kind of money on fertilizer.
I may call Dyna-Gro back, the woman on the phone was very nice and she spent a good 20 minutes searching for a local vendor, but she did not find Capital Nursery, so the time was sort of wasted. I was about to pay $28 for only the Foliage-Pro, shipped from Dyna-Gro. Now I will be paying $32 for the Foliage-Pro AND Pro-TeKt.
I am hoping the Pro-TeKt gives my plants a little extra heat protection when the heat finally hits, if ever.
Remember to leave some FP on the shelf for the rest of us!
You can find Osmocote plus at OSH and sometimes at HD. Hurry and you can use the 15% off holiday coupon.
I found Osmocote Plus at Ace Hardware. I couldn't find it ANYWHERE else locally. Shipping was icky since I don't like paying extra money for just getting the product to me when I can find it cheaper locally, which I did!
I knew when Lowe's let it the last remaining containers of Osmocote Plus for 6 dollars last fall, in which I bought all six of them, that they were not going to restock it. What a shame.
It seems like every time you find a favorite of anything, they stop carrying it eventually.
Now all they have is the regular crap while the nurseries still get to use the stuff by 25 pound bags for 65 dollars a pop! And get this, it is a nursery distributor who won't sell to the public unless you have connections, and yet I still can't come up with that kind of money just yet.
Funny, ms minnamouse, because my local Ace only has Osmocote Veggie and Indoor/Outdoor.
Just found 'Miracle Gro Shake n Feed plus Moisture Control' today at HD. It's 12-4-8 plus Ca and Mg and other micros. Lasting 3 months. The only shortback is not water soluble so you have to use it as CRF.
I guess it's a good replacement for Osmocote Plus. Just got one 4.5lb jug for $14. Need to try it before saying anything for it.
Here is a link that might be useful: Miracle Gro Shake n Feed plus Moisture Control
Ya that stuff looks pretty good, although 4 months would be nice. Also, with lime in your container mix you get decent cal and mag from that. If it were 4 months I would have tried it but my growing season is long, well it is two seasons really, but I won't be repotting.
I read in a couple of your posts that you can mix foliage Pro with Pro tekt when feeding your plants. I usually feed my plants at 1/4 strength once a week. How much of Pro tekt should I add to the gallon of water with 1/4 FP already added to be safe.
THANKS FOR YOUR HELP.
Be careful with the MiracleGro moisture control products in potting mix. The "moisture control" component is an polymer that swells up absorbing huge amounts of water during watering and then releases it back as its surroundings dry out. The end result is to keep the container mix damp for longer that it would otherwise be. That may not may not be desirable depending on what you want. On the one hand, the crystals are pretty big and the water they aborb isn't filling up the pores in your soil. On the other hand, the overall water to air ratio is still going to be higher than it would be without them.
check ebay for Dyna-Gro Foliage Pro 9-3-6
and Dyna-Gro Pro-Tekt 0-0-3.
I have been using 1/2tbs per gallon of each (FP and Pro-TeKt) every time I water, which is about every 3 days. I do not give each plant much volume of the fert water though. I water fully with softened tap and then I dose each plant with a small splash of the FP and ProTeKt. So far no fertilizer burn and good results.
In fact I am going to add foliar sprays and see if that looks like its overkill, at this point a few plants look hungry.
Thank you Phildeez for the response. So I guess if I mix 1/4 of teaspoon of each FP and Pro-tekt in a gallon and water every time, I should be ok. Thanks again for your help!
What about CNS-17?
That is 3-1-2 with Ca and Mg. It looks like it is missing some of the things like Nickel and etc that show up on the FP label. I wonder if Osmocote+ would make up for those?
It's about half the price of FP where I am (I just lost my really cheap source of FP) - but it's only 3-1-2 - does that mean I'd need 3x the fertilizer to get the same nutrient levels I had before?
If so then FP is still a better deal at 58$ a gallon compared to CNS-17 at 30$ a gallon?
CNS-17 is good. I noticed it lacked some things aswell, iron being a major on that I am sure maybe their Cal+Mag may have that in it. I did look up FP and I have to say it has a lot of micro nutrients that alot of these other compainies lack. I have used Botanicare and stand by it but I think it requires more micro.
I used to be able to get FP locally for $26 a gallon. Now the cheapest I can find it locally is about $58 a gallon.
While I liked the product I don't want to pay twice as much for it as I used to so I'm going to find another solution.
I might even go with Miracle-Gro's 24-8-16 formulation and then add water soluble minors+micros from other companies.
The only problem I see is that a lot of the minor+micro fertilizers say not to mix them with calcium. Any ideas?
I used MG 24-8-16 and 12-4-8 for years with the addition of STEM or Micromax micronutrient supplements & using dolomite or gypsum in my soils as the fertilizer/micronutrient supplements (and pH) dictated.
Thanks Al. I know you're busy lately but if you read this maybe you could clarify for me?
The 3:1:2 MG formulation + STEM looks like it lacks the Mg and Ca. This is, I gather, why you add dolomite or gypsum (and presumably then epsom salt?) to the soils.
If I make the 5:1:1 as directed with the addition of the dolomite I should have the Mg and Ca necessary for a growing season? Then I would just need the MG + STEM? What proportions would you suggest for this if I'm fertigating and had been using .25tsp of FP at every watering before?
If I understand things correctly so far then what about the gritty mix? The gritty mix wouldn't need the pH adjustment that the dolomite gives so is that where you use the gypsum? Does it not just wash out? The kind I have is almost a powder and doesn't seem like it would stick around for long. And then we need to add epsom salt, yes? And sorry, you've probably answered this before, but what proportions of things things per gallon would you suggest?
Thanks a lot, your advice so far has been very helpful.
Hmm. Now I'm confused.
I was going to try just buying 50lb bags of Calcium Nitrate and Magnesium Nitrate (available for ~30$ locally) and mixing them with the Miracle Gro and STEM and seeing if it would stay in solution.
But I read that there will be precipitation problems with Calcium Nitrate in the presence of Mono-Ammonium Phosphate (I think this was in one of your other threads Al)?
I also read that magnesium sulfate (epsom salts) will precipitate out in the presence of calcium nitrate - indicating that magnesium nitrate would need to be the Mg source in any soluble fertilizer that contained Ca.
But when I look at the MSDS for Foliage Pro I see that it contains (among other things) the 3 incompatible ingredients: Mono-Ammonium Phosphate, Calcium Nitrate, & Magnesium Sulfate. Now I'm very confused.
I might try buying the nitrates and seeing if it works anyway just because close to 60$ a gallon for the FP is too absurd. But I'd really like to know how things are supposed to work here...
I understand that the nitrates would push the N content of the final product a little higher but that doesn't bother me too much as I shouldn't need much of them in the final solution...
Well - for anyone still following along here is some information. No clue if it's accurate.
There's a freeware application that allows you to build custom fertilizers with a list of ingredients. You can input the list of available ingredients and their cost. You can then input a commercial formula (I put in the values for Dyna-Gro FP WITHOUT the micro nutrients). With a bit of tinkering you can get the program to give you the forumla for the fertilizer AND get a price estimate per unit according to the prices of the raw materials that you input.
I just found the program today and I am not an expert. In fact I know nothing of fertilizers or this software but I did get it to give me a consistent answer for how to build the NPK + Mg + Ca portion of FP. I didn't bother with the micros because I will just buy a commercial formula and add it in.
You can get the software here: http://scienceinhydroponics.com/2011/01/the-first-free-hydroponic-nutrient-calculator-program-o.html - again, I have no idea if it's safe or accurate. I installed it seemingly without issue.
Here is the Dyna-Gro information I used to calculate the forumla:
The MSDS for their line of fertilizers has the ingredients used: http://www.dyna-gro.com/Website%20pdf%20Files/MSDS%20Grow-Bloom-Pro%20Series.pdf
The product information has the % of nutrients in Foliage Pro: http://www.dyna-gro.com/936.htm
*There is almost certainly a mistake somewhere.
*I know nothing about mixing chemicals. Just because this list is here doesn't mean it's safe to make. I put some numbers into a program and this is what it gave back to me. I might give this a try if I can find Ammonium Nitrate locally (haven't so far - probably won't since it can be used as an explosive, sigh).
*A liquid acid is one of the components. No idea how safe this is to use or in what way it must be added to the other ingredients to be safe. Don't ask me, I do not know.
*The ingredients list for the Dyna-Gro fertilizer list Mono Potassium Phosphate as an ingredient which makes up "*I guessed a price for ammonium nitrate. I put in 2$ per kilogram. This seems somewhat in line with the cost of the other nitrates but I have no idea what it actually costs.
*All the other prices I based on retail prices available to me locally.
I want 1 gallon of liquid fertilizer with an NPK of 9-3-6 with 2% calcium and .5% magnesium.
Mono Ammonium Phosphate - NH4H2PO4 - 10.75g - $2.70
Calcium Nitrate (Tetrahydrate) - Ca(NO3)2.4H2O - 22.606g - $.80
Ammonium Nitrate - NH4NO3 - 80.891g - $4.60
Magnesium Nitrate (Hexahydrate) - Mg(NO3)2.6H2O - 9.137g - $.40
Phosphoric Acid (52%) - H3PO4 - 24.323g - $5.50
Potassium Nitrate - KNO3 - 30.082g - $1.90
Total Cost per Gallon at retail: $15.90.
Approximate initial cost to buy materials retail:
Mono Ammonium Phosphate - 4lbs - $17.00
Phosphoric Acid 52% - 2 gallons - $50.00$
Calcium Nitrate - 50lb bag - $29.00 (you can find smaller bags online)
Magnesium Nitrate - 50lb bag - $36.00
Potassium Nitrate - 50lb bag - $50.00
Ammonium Nitrate - 50lb bag - $45.00 (assumed price)
Total Startup Cost: $217 + chelated micro nutrients (easier to buy imo).
I remember a thread where Californian was mocking us all for buying Foliage Pro rather than making it ourselves. He seemed hostile and aggressive to me so I didn't pay much attention. Looks like he was mostly correct. The retail cost of the ingredients is somewhere around $20 a gallon. The wholesale cost I'm sure is far less.
The cheapest I can find FP locally is for about 60$ a gallon. Assuming I haven't screwed anything up that means that I could make back the initial investment after about 8 months (I go through a gallon of FP in about 2 warm-season months).
If anyone else is interested it would be great if you could check my numbers. If anyone knows if mixing these chemicals is safe/effective please let me know. I'm particularly concerned about the safety of mixing the acid and the ammonium nitrate - does that need to be done in a certain way to avoid nastiness? Can all of these things be safely stored? Etc.
Some further information to check out: the software gives:
N:P2O5:K2O = 1:1.36:1.19
N:K = 1:0.99
N (NO3-):N (NH4+) = 1:0.46
Ca:Mg = 1:0.25
Do these look right?
I already see a mistake. I was messing around with the supposedly unnecessary Mono Potassium Phosphate and had left it in the calculation when I gave the last sets of numbers at the end of the post.
Here are the actual reported values with the ingredient list I gave above according to the software:
N: P2O5: K2O - 1: 0.75: 0.79
N: K - 1: 0.65
N (NO3-): N (NH4+) - 1: 0.46
Ca: Mg - 1: 0.25
N: P: K - 1: 0.33: 0.65
That explains why they didn't look right... things get messed up when I add the Mono Potassium Phosphate back in. Maybe they use it in one of the other formulas with higher P or K ratios than FP.
Doesn't look like anyone is interested but it seems like the initial formulation was off. I did it again to check my work today and am getting different numbers. Not sure why.
I might have confused the 3% and 6% when I input them and might have put them under P,K instead of P2O5 or K2O. I will have to keep tinkering with it.
For some reason the weights look vastly different but the estimated price is staying the same. Like maybe I selected the wrong units or something too. In short: don't use the above formula until I can make sure...
I wish someone else was interested enough to check the work heh
I see what I did - I used "ounces" instead of "grams" in the initial formula. The program displays "g" no matter what, confusingly. So where I wrote "g" next to each ingredient it should be "oz."
I'm still not sure if the 3 and 6% should be entered in as P, K or as the P2O5 or K2O. One formula has higher concentrations (the one entered as P,K). I don't know which one is correct.
If I use the P2O5=6%, K2O=3% values for the FP it looks like this:
Mono Ammonium Phosphate NH4H2PO4 8.997oz $2.3
Calcium Nitrate (Tetrahydrate) Ca(NO3)2.4H2O 22.499oz $0.8
Magnesium Nitrate (Hexahydrate) Mg(NO3)2.6H2O 10.033oz $0.5
Potassium Nitrate KNO3 24.903oz $1.6
Ammonium Nitrate NH4NO3 84.896oz $4.8
Phosphoric Acid (52%) H3PO4 0.885oz $0.2
Total Cost per gallon: $10.20 (retail)
and for anyone interested a liquid chelated micro mix that covers the remaining nutrients (except nickel) adds ~$1 per gallon.
I haven't compared it to Osmocote but Dynamite select all-purpose indoor/outdoor (purple)is a 9mo. controlled release fert. It's 15-5-9:
Total N 8.2%Nitrate and 6.87% Ammomiacal N
Mg 1.87% water soluble
S (combined) 4%
Cu 0.05% water soluble
Fe 0.16% chelated
Mn 0.05% water soluble
For container vegetables I was wondering if anyone had tried the Dyna Gro Grow 7-9-5?
Redshirtcat mentioned the reason for multipart formulas in that many ingredients react with each other, especially in a concentrated format. In hydroponics, my experience is that three part formulas are far superior to all in one. I think that hydroponics is much fussier as far as ratios and such then soil-less mixes which may tend to buffer things more. In limited experiments I have done this year, I found not a lot of difference with three part mixes in soil-less mixes, unlike previous experience with hydroponic.