There all all sorts of alternative nutes that will work VI but AN is about the only one that actually develops their nutes while growing pot and proudly proclaims that as a sales pitch. For that alone they get my vote. At a big garden center in the city I found a cheap alternative yo Big Bud. It's Part B of a 2 part crystal nute. Made by Nutrilife as the flowering part of the system it's 3-9-27 where Big Bud is 1-17-38. Very similar NPK ratios but even tho it contains all the basic micro-nutrients that is needed in the right propotions for flowering pot well it lacks many of the amino acids and chelated elements that are in AN's formulas that by law are not allowed to be displayed on their labels. Incredible that 19th century laws still prevent nute companies from disclosing everything that is actually in their nutes on the labels.@OldMedUser
Good stuff...Whenever I read people posting about costs I feel compelled to share that for Veg there is a very cheap easy to use single bottle solution I have used many many times that is great. You can find it at Home Depot or Walmart so shouldn't take 2 hours to find.
Just for the fun try some eleanor's vf-11 sometime. You will want to add some Cal mag. but you wont need to for the first few weeks.
I haven't tried it in bloom...But it does work great in veg and is dirt cheap.
I typically drain at light cycle change and for flush. I have been successful managing this stuff through veg without dumping the res. A guy like you should have no issues and it feels like its free compared to anything else.
Single solution no A and B mixing. $17 a gallon... I'd still spend money in bloom but this gets ya stalks in veg bigger than your thumbs and supper tight nodal density for near nothing. I typically see nodal density tighter than an inch a part using this on a 400W in veg...I switch to a 1000W and the good stuff in bloom. I'm a happy camper and I find it easier than AN PH perfect (not that AN is difficult...just this is easier, cheaper, great results).
Companies like GH and magazines like Maximum Yield still refuse to admit that most of what they profess and sell goes to growing pot. We are all growing "special tomatoes" I guess. Tomatoes like higher P than K for flowering and that is what most growers think works best for pot. Sure it works but so does Miracle Grow if you are happy with crap for bud.
Fug them and the self-righteous horses they rode in on! You get what you pay for and the base nutes from AN aren't much more than anyone elses. If you buy into all the weekly nute change BS then it costs a lot more. Even more if you buy into all the supplement BS so you can be a "Master Grower". I may not be a Master but I do a lot better than many. Titles mean more to some but they can have them. Damn good is good enough for me.
I bet with Part A of those Nutrilife nutes along with Part B I could grow damn good plants but would have to monitor pH a lot more closely and my terpene profile would be a lot less fragrant. My nutes are a minor cost of my whole grow so why not get the best.