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Old April 15, 2016   #1
FourOaks
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Default Homemade Miraclegro Liquafeed Refill

Are you tired of being held hostage to those expensive refills? Here is the solution (with easy math)

I pretty well like the MiracleGro injector device. And, that is, what it pretty much is. It injects fertilizer into your line at a fixed rate. It works with just about any watering method, and it doesn't have to be removed do to unresolved pressure issues. When you want to use it, switch it to "feed". When you want clean water, switch it to "water".

Here is a link in case you have no idea what im talking about:

http://www.miraclegro.com/smg/goART2...00004/12900004

First let me say I DON'T work for them, I just like the product itself. I have used it with drip irrigation, soaker hoses, and a plain wand. It works pretty darn reliably. Not to mention, a whole lot cheaper then a commercial injector.

The hang up, is the cost of the refills. Not to mention the lack of variety in the refills.

Now, this tutorial even applies if you have a brand of fertilizer you like other then MiracleGro. Just got to math it out. I know plenty of folks hate MircaleGro, and thats ok.

The first thing to establish is how much water passes thru the injector too empty the refill bottle. On that link I gave you, they have a handy dandy chart. Ignore that, its useless. If you do enough reading, way down in the FAQ, they give the answer, sort of.

The injector has a mix ratio of 325:1 To make this really simple (for those who don't quite understand it) 1 gallon of concentrated fertilizer would make 325 gallons of fertilized water (the stuff your feeding your plants with).

We need to make this a smaller number because the refills dont even come in a one gallon bottle. The refills are 16 ounce bottles.

One gallon is 128oz.

128/16 = 8

So it takes 8, 16 ounce bottles too equal a gallon. Perfect. Now we divide the 325 by 8.

325/8 = 40.625

We can round that down to 40. So we now know that the injector, with a refill bottle makes 40 gallons of fertilized water. Give or take, but close enough for my purpose.

Now the refill. I like the "All Purpose". Its labeled as 12-4-8. Which is a 3-1-2 ratio. Here is where this all works out to our advantage. If the fertilizer is a 3-1-2, 6-2-4, 9-3-6, 12-4-8, 15-5-10, 18-6-12, 21-7-14, or, 24-8-16, they are exactly the same, with one exception, the strength of the fertilizer.

To get to the point, 12-4-8 is half the strength of 24-8-16. So 24-8-16 is 2 times as strong as 12-4-8. Keep this in mind. We need to side track for a moment..

I prefer a weekly, weak feeding. I started that this year and have noticed improved results over feeding every other week. Plants are growing at what I would consider a consistent rate, they don't jump over night. They are staying green and lush. I fertilize every Friday morning. Its easy for me to remember that way.

Now back to math, and my previous point. To make our refill, use the 24-8-16 bulk fertilizer. Cost wise, its the most bang for your buck. Reading the instructions (and its pretty much the same for all water soluble MiracleGro) 1 TBSP of MG mixed with 1 gallon of water.

Now, following that math, using 24-8-16 (diluting in 1 gallon of water)

1 TBSP = 24-8-16 = 40 TBSP needed per refill bottle (This might kill you plants)
1/2 TBSP = 12-4-8 = 20 TBSP needed per refill bottle (Manageable every other week feedings)
1/4 TBSP = 6-2-4 = 10 TBSP needed per refill bottle (This is what I use every Friday)

We now have something to work with. Grab your supplies and your kitchen apron, its time to mix up a refill.

You will need some el cheapo measuring spoons, a funnel, coffee filter, and a jar/bottle to mix everything in. Also your empty refill bottle.

In your jar/bottle put in 14 to 15 ounces of warm water. I like using a quart size Gatorade bottle. But anything with a tight sealing lid will work.

Measure out your fertilizer (I use 10 TBSP) and add this to your jar with water. Shake this until the fertilizer is dissolved. Dont worry if you see some particles floating around. This is some sort of inert stuff that wont dissolve no matter what. Set this to the side.

The refill bottle has a valve that has to be removed. Using a knife, pry it off. Be careful, the first couple of times the valve is firmly seated. After that, it gets easier.

Now place your coffee filter in the funnel and place that into your refill bottle. Pour your homemade fertilizer in and let the filter do its job. I use one of the permanent coffee filters that is a fine metal mesh. It filters faster then a paper filter.

You want to filter the mix due to the sediment. It will clog up the injector if not.

Once your refill bottle is full, put the valve back on. You will hear it snap when it seats properly. Then, go feed your plants.
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Old April 15, 2016   #2
Worth1
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I took my hand held one and bored out the orifice to 0.040 and use Alaska fish fertilizer 5-1-1 in it.
I did some calculations and testing.
With the bottle 1/2 full of the fertilizer and 1/2 full of water mixed I get 1 1/2 tablespoons per gallon coming out of it.

One thing these MG folks dont tell you is these contraptions get clogged up with salt and stop working.
It is easy to take them apart to clean but a better option would be to put fresh water in one of the bottles and flush the system out.
Worth
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Old April 15, 2016   #3
FourOaks
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Good point worth. With such a highly concentrated dose of fertilizer, salt is bound to clog up the injector. Running a bottle of clean water through it wouldn't hurt.

Good idea with the Fish Fertilizer. I have a bottle but have mixed feelings. This is the first year I haven't used some. I don't miss the feeling that I would smell like a "Fish Monger" after mixing that stuff up.
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Old April 15, 2016   #4
Cole_Robbie
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I like the Hozon siphon injector. They are very well-built:

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Old April 15, 2016   #5
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My hand held one had a tiny screen in it I lost that was completely clogged up.
As for the bottle top me thinks a person could adapt that to a hose pipe or tubing and run it to a big tank to draw fertilizer from.
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Old April 15, 2016   #6
FourOaks
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cole_Robbie View Post
I like the Hozon siphon injector. They are very well-built:

I like the idea of the Hozon, my trouble is that it requires 35 psi, I believe. My drip irrigation is.... Im thinking 15. Or maybe 21. At any rate, I came to the conclusion that it just wouldn't work for me. Thats what made me purchase the other unit.

On the other hand, for stuff in the GH, such as seedlings, hanging baskets, etc, thats all being watered by hand anyways. So... maybe I should look into one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Worth1 View Post
My hand held one had a tiny screen in it I lost that was completely clogged up.
As for the bottle top me thinks a person could adapt that to a hose pipe or tubing and run it to a big tank to draw fertilizer from.
Thats something I have looked into once or twice. Its a matter of me remembering too look for the appropriate tubing at the hardware store, when I get there.

I think as long as you keep the tank of fertilizer above the injector, all should be good.
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Old April 15, 2016   #7
Cole_Robbie
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The Hozon takes a fairly high flow rate. Mine has only worked with drip when I have a very big garden. I just expanded my garden this year. As soon as I get the Hozon hooked up, we'll see if it works. If not, I may have to buy an injector. My EZ-Flow ruptured in the sun. I never did like it that much, anyway.
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Old April 15, 2016   #8
FourOaks
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cole_Robbie View Post
The Hozon takes a fairly high flow rate. Mine has only worked with drip when I have a very big garden. I just expanded my garden this year. As soon as I get the Hozon hooked up, we'll see if it works. If not, I may have to buy an injector. My EZ-Flow ruptured in the sun. I never did like it that much, anyway.
I went to the Hozon site, something to the effect a minimum of 3 gallons per minute. Thats a bunch of water to be using drip.

I might still consider it for GH use.
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Old April 15, 2016   #9
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I was in big box store a couple of weeks ago and found a G CLEAN high pressure detergent injector for putting soap (their brand) into the feed for pressure washers. There is a valve for plain water or soap. If I put soluble fertilizer in the pint size "tank" I can run water until the drip lines fill and then run a dose of fertilizer. It takes quite a while for the fertilizer to empty. It was on the sale shelf.
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Old April 15, 2016   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FourOaks View Post
I went to the Hozon site, something to the effect a minimum of 3 gallons per minute. Thats a bunch of water to be using drip.

I might still consider it for GH use.

Thanks for looking that up. I had been meaning to do that.

I have Chapin drip tape with 12" spacing. It's 1/2 GPM per 100'. I have 900' at the moment, which is four and a half gallons per minute, so I should be good, as long as I am running everything at once, and not just the high tunnel.
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Old April 15, 2016   #11
FourOaks
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So, just for fun, approx. how much fertilizer would you mix up for that garden? Im just curious.

I can definitely see the plus side to the Hozon. The major plus of not being limited to a container size to dispense the goods.

Honestly though, Im not sure my well could deliver that much water.
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Old April 15, 2016   #12
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Good question. I have no idea. I have soil that I think is some of the best in the world. It's mostly composted hay. So I am able to get by with very little fertilizer. I hardly use any at all. But I still love the injector idea to be able to inject tiny amounts at each watering, plus to combat any specific deficiencies that pop up towards the end of the season, typically magnesium. If I'm running the drip, I always want to be pumping a little something through it, even if it is just a little molasses.
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Old April 16, 2016   #13
Worth1
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I think I solved the problem and will post pictures and come back and make comments.
Okay I'm back.
I grubbed around and did some measurements and found the SCH 40 inch PVC inside diameter is just about the same as the outside diameter of the back shoulder of the MG bottle.
So I cut and trimmed one of the bottles as you can see and epoxied it into a length of 1 inch PVC.
In the last pictuer there is a wee groove cut in the shoulder this may be for air inlet I dont know.
But is it is it wont matter because now you will be going to a tank and it can have it's own air inlet.
By connecting this pipe to the bottle top you can now connect it an any way you want to any kind of tank you want and not have to buy the expensive refill bottles.
even if the groove matters you can always file one up along side the pipe to accommodate it.

Worth
IMG_20160416_2886.jpg

IMG_20160416_1245.jpg

IMG_20160416_21171.jpg
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Last edited by Worth1; April 16, 2016 at 01:56 PM.
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Old April 16, 2016   #14
Worth1
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I just tested it and it works like a charm.
In the picture you can see how the rascals made the tolerances so close nothing will fit in it.
But the one inch PIC did with just a wee bit of sanding just enough to get the excess glue off.
This is the hose in model.
The faucet model I think pumps the fertilizer so I am almost sure it will work under just about any flow.
Worth
IMG_20160416_44407.jpg

IMG_20160416_54698.jpg
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Old April 16, 2016   #15
Worth1
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They really shouldn't have made a exploded view of the device for me to look at.

Worth

https://youtu.be/owe4N4RfWUw
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