Liquid fertilizer or commonly known in Malaysia gardening scene as “Baja AB” is a versatile fertilizer that are central to many modern technique of gardening namely Hydroponics of different varieties, Fertigation system, or even for soil-based traditional farming
There are plenty of specific types which have many different components but the 2 most common are one meant for “Leafy” plants (not producing fruits such are the common vegetables) and “Fruity” plants (meant for fruiting plants like tomato, chilli, cucumber etc)
I have used a lot of different brands but now im fixed on using Baja AB for Leafy from wellgrowseeds.com and Baja AB for Fruity (generic no brand) from local hydroponic store in Tuaran
The Ultimate Aim is this 2kg (1kg A & 1kg B) will produce diluted 3200 L of liquid fertilizer
1. Creating concentrated liquid form of Baja AB
From the concentrated mixture, you will create an endless infinty amount of Baja AB to be used for actual growing
Choose your intended amount of diluent volume to create the concentrated form of liquid Baja AB from its powder form
You can choose 4L, 6L, 8L and so on, the more the better as it allows more uniform mixing
What i did was i took 2 x 1.5L bottle & put tap water inside it, and pour it inside a small bucket. So i got 3L of water & mix whole of Baja A powder in it. Thus i got Concentrated Baja A in liquid form. Mix it thoroughly so it will be dissolved fully. Then pour back into the 1.5L bottle x2 so it become your concentrated Baja A.
Repeat this for Baja B using another set of 2x 1.5L bottle. Remember, the more water you use for this concentrated Baja AB, the better it is because of uniform mixing, but the same amount must be used for both A & B.
when you mix Baja AB to become one bottle of A and one bottle of B. dont forget to add the small pack of powder inside each A and B. many of my friends kept forgotting it
This concentrated fertilizer cannot be exposed to sunlight for extended hours, once you use it to mix to create the diluted liquid fertilizer, store the “concentrated” form back inside your house.
And then now i have 2 bottle of A and 2 bottle of B.
If you want to use more than 3L, you will need to find a bigger plastic bottle or you can even use you big pail. The important part is to know the volume of the water (the diluent).
2. Creating the final Baja AB to be used for the plants
In the end the dilution will be this 2KG Baja AB (or in its liquid form 6L) will become 3200L solution of Baja AB.
In the equation you can see below, say that you have a 4L big mineral bottle. and you want to dilute it to use for growing your kangkung. You can take your 3L concentrated liquid of Baja A and Baja B, math the science out, and produce the final diluted form of Baja AB to be used to fillthe bigger tray underneath and then soak the seedling tray inside it!
That means, everytime you want to dilute it to use for you plants, doesnt matter what type, be it hydroponics, fertigation and traditional soil, you have to dilute it to the final diluted liquid form
The moderate to big size farmer will use several huge container right away to make 3200L as suggested in the photo
But for me, as i dont want to spend money to buy such a big expensive container, i just mix it to bcome a lot of small bottles of diluted Baja AB using all 1.5L bottles or bigger 4-4.5L mineral bottles
Getting more advance: Using EC meter
As you get more technical and more advance, such in the case that you are expanding to more variety types and growing your farm further, you have to be more objective in getting your plant need for fertilizer more accurate
Plant sure need the right amount of fertilizer, which are usually plant-specific, measured in the quantity of “EC”, or Electrical Conductivity.
As you can see when you mix Baja AB, it is actually a solution containing a lot of electrolytes, and these solution able to conduct electricity measured in its SI (standard international) units of “siemens”. Some meter will show 1.0,2.0 mS/cm, just basically it is “miliSiemens”, which is used in Hanna Instrument brand, or some meter will use 1000, 2000 uS/cm, which basically means “microSiemens”. both are same 1.0 mScm = 1000 uS/cm. Just a different way of expressing the unit either in mili or micro.
The higher the EC measurement means the more concentrated the liquid fertilizer, and the lower the EC measurement means your baja AB is too diluted
as you can see below, this is the equipment i use to measure EC level of the Baja AB that i mix
As you can see above, the first two picture is the EC Meter from Hanna Instrument brand that i recently bought at the price of RM 322 from www.cityfarm.my, sound expensive isnt it? but it is absolutely important since im using it to measure accurately my big fertigation farm which uses 450L tank as u can see from the last picture.
I upgraded from the cheap, china brand EC meter coz the cheap meter brought me disaster episodes previously. From my experience, if you gonna go more advanced might as well buy this Groline tester from Hanna Instrument right away, rather than buy those cheap EC meter from Shoppee because, u might save more in terms of avoiding potential disaster, having peace of mind of accuracy and reliable meter and saving your time from having to deal with disasters due tofaulty EC meter
Here are the example of table showing different plant require different EC measurement (concentration of baja AB)
What about PPM? Is it better using PPM or EC?
When you start researching further, you might find materials, reading that shows reading of PPM (parts per million), and some farmer swore by using PPM. But after researching it myself, PPM meter will actually measure EC and then converted it using either 2 formula usually used to convert it to PPM reading. So, for me its better to use EC as it is the standardized measurement and recommended one
Anything else? What about PH of the solution
To put it simply, plant will only absorb the nutrient if the pH of the solution is within the plant optimum pH. if the pH too high or too low, it cant absorb the nutrient optimally. I bought pH meter of Hanna Instrument brand as well, rather than buying cheap china brand
If you are just starting, you can get away without measuring the pH because most of the time, the pH will be just about right most of the time but you absolutely need EC meter for expanding your farm.
if pH is too low, you can add potassium or calcium carbonate to increase it
if the pH is too high, you can flush your tank with more water, but doing this, your EC measurement may become lower, or you can add nitric acid (67%) or phosphoric acid (75%) or sulphuric acid (35%) to reduce it