MSU Fertilizer

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gonewild

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I communicated with Fred Clarke at Sunset Valley Orchids about his MSU formula.

It is essentially the same as the one sold by First Rays, 13-3-15-8Ca-2Mg

Fred says they customized his formula to raise the pH about .5 over the normal formula. That sounds like a added benefit for slippers, but he gave no explanation how they did it and the label is exactly the same as far as I can tell.
 
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DavidH

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Good details! I guess the biggest thing to consider is where you live and what's the cheapest shipping rate.
 

gonewild

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DavidH said:
Good details! I guess the biggest thing to consider is where you live and what's the cheapest shipping rate.

Right, shipping fertilizer across the country can cost more than the fertilizer. I did not ask Fred, but I assume he only sells it in 25 pound bags. That may be too much for some people.
 

littlefrog

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gonewild said:
Right, shipping fertilizer across the country can cost more than the fertilizer. I did not ask Fred, but I assume he only sells it in 25 pound bags. That may be too much for some people.

Yup... It is the shipping that kills you. Try to buy supplies (especially the heavy ones) locally. I don't sell the fertilizer online, but if you want to avoid shipping and can arrange to see me in person I'm always happy to bring some along. #25 bags, whatever you want. At most of the shows in our region somebody is selling it in smaller containers (Porters Orchids sells a lot, and a few other vendors), so I don't normally bring it.
 

gonewild

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Yes, MSU is complete by itself. When you add it to other fertilizers or other fertilizers to it you change the balance between the nutrients. The MSU formula of nutrient ratios was found to be the most ideal for most orchids.
Remember the ratio of each nutrient present in the water or media is what the plants depend on for optimum growth.

The MSU formulas are not new discoveries, they are very similar to what has always been used by commercial growers. MSU did tests and research to fine tune the formulas and publish the results based on their findings for use on orchids. In the past to get these ratios growers had to mix all the raw ingredients from scratch, now you can buy it prepared and ready to mix. Very simple to have a good fertilizer now days.
 
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DavidH

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No. It only has the mix ratio numbers in grams and ounces for the different Nitrogen ppms.
 

Ray

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I remember Bill Argo (Blackmore - the inventor) mentioning that a very few locales around the country needed a slight adjustment, but that's only true for the "well water" formula.

Pure is pure, no matter where you live. (Let's not get into the esoteric BS about the minuscule differences in pure water supples... They are irrelevant in our applications.)
 

gonewild

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Ray said:
I remember Bill Argo (Blackmore - the inventor) mentioning that a very few locales around the country needed a slight adjustment, but that's only true for the "well water" formula.

Pure is pure, no matter where you live. (Let's not get into the esoteric BS about the minuscule differences in pure water supples... They are irrelevant in our applications.)

Ray,
Does the RO process equalize all water to the same pH?
Regardless of the pH of the source water?
 
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DavidH

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Actually, based on experience PH varies based on the incoming water source. The PH from my RO water in the summer is 7.5. In the winter it is 8.0. This difference is also cited in the monthly water bill summary that lists the PH and various PPM's of the water sources in my area. With fertilizer, I run about 6.3 PH in the summer and 6.8 PH in the winter.
 

gonewild

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DavidH said:
Actually, based on experience PH varies based on the incoming water source. The PH from my RO water in the summer is 7.5. In the winter it is 8.0. This difference is also cited in the monthly water bill summary that lists the PH and various PPM's of the water sources in my area. With fertilizer, I run about 6.3 PH in the summer and 6.8 PH in the winter.

Do you know what the pH of your incomming water is compared to what your RO outputs?
 

paphreek

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I'm interested in this question, also. Can the pH of R/O water vary? Intuitively, it would seem that once the dissolved solids are removed, that all R/O water should be close to 7.0, depending on the efficiency of the system. Am I wrong in this assumption?
 
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IdahoOrchid

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Dang, where was it that I read that RO water was corrosive to metal pipes????? If RO water can have a ph of 7.5 or even 8 how can THAT be corrosive?
 
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DavidH

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My RO water has an approximate 0.5 PH difference from the incoming tap water. It was almost a 1.0 PH difference when the RO water was deionized after going through the RO process, but I removed that process because it served no purpose and raised my PH higher. I use a digital PH/TDS/EC when I measure and occasionally check it against the testing solutions to verify accuracy.

For further clarification, TDS on the incoming water is around 280-290 ppm. TDS on the output water is 16 ppm. My system consists of a sediment filter, two carbon filters (one granular and one carbon block), two 100 gpd RO membranes in parallel, and a final carbon filter (not really needed). I also have an aquatec pump raising the system pressure to 100 psi to speed up tank filling. The waste water feeds my desert plants in the backyard.

When I first started, I also thought pure water would neutralize the PH to 7.0. Experience has shown otherwise so I wasn't worried about the results (i.e. it's close enough). However, I did learn that if slime builds up on the inside of the tank (i.e. trash can), my PH rises a little more in the tank as compared to the water output from the system. The winter PH was the biggest surprise. I figure those 16 ppm must be having some effect.
 

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