Yes, that’s you…!!! Anyone can master the trick of hydroponics and once done, I bet you won’t look back. That’s how it is. Hydroponics can be quite hypnotizing and can make you fall for it in every which way. Picture this, the first sprout during germination, green leaves, colorful flowers, fragrance induced herbs that are simply irreplaceable feelings for us.
But you have got to start somewhere. For those who are new to hydroponics here are few tips that you can implement while learning about hydroponics.
Lamps: For those who are dealing with lack of proper sunlight, grow lights are the only source for providing optimum support. Hence make sure that you use proper grow lights. However note that they lose lumen output and start depreciating up to 30% within 9 months to a year of usage. That means you are losing almost the same quantity of yield (30%) from your plants but the energy bills remains the same to run them. Hence it is a waste of money if you are running old lamps.
Seedlings: When you are using rockwool or any other grow media, make a stock solution using the grow nutrient to a TDS reading of 10-12. now adjust the pH level to 5.5. Drain this solution to a bottle and feed this to the grow media as and when required. Make sure to shake the bottle before sprinkling. Do not over soak or let the media stay in a pool of solution.
Grow medium: Any sterile grow media can speed up the germination process. Few of them are:
- lava rocks
- rockwool cubes
- coconut fiber
- sphagnum moss
- oasis cubes
- soilless mix
- expanded clay pellets
Stop overdoing: I know you want bigger and faster yields but that does not mean you have to overdo it. When it comes to hydroponics, the less you do better the results i.e. under feed them, under light (for a reason), under do the whole process and you will get the result. Over do and you are screwed.
At night hours: During the night cycle of growth, make sure to switch off the lights. A serene atmosphere with complete darkness is what the plants crave at night times especially during their fruiting and flowering stage. So make sure to completely shut down lights at night time. Even the slightest lumens can put a stop to their growing process.
Using light movers: If you are planning to use light movers, make sure you use 1000w or 600w lights. Less than these numbers (i.e. 400w or 250w) will underlight the indoor environment especially when the light is hovering back and forth a distance of 6 feet. It is recommended to use a 1000w while using a light mover.
Noise: Extraction motors such as LTI/RVK are quite silent but the airflow ain’t. If you are having trouble with noise then use a carbon filter at one end of extractor and a silencer at the other end. Voilaa….this will cut down noise pollution while keeping the indoor environment odor free.
Water temp: Many people use water heaters for warming their plants. These heaters are meant only for cold climates. They only remove the chillness from it and not heat it. This means that the water will seem colder than hot. BEWARE!!! Do not feed your plants with warm or hot water. Nothing kills the plants than hot water.
Digital meters: Adjust the digital pH and CF meters regularly. Use buffer 4 and 7 for your pH meter and conductivity standard for your CF meter. If you do not calibrate regularly, these meters can skew that can lead to wrong readings leading to plant health problems.
Seedlings: Many people are in a hurry and want the plant to deliver yields ASAP. Plants are systematic and work in a methodical manner. One of the many mistakes people do is transfer young plants before even they show good root development. If there are no roots showing, wait till they grow and only then transplant the plants to the hydroponic system. If you make the transfer early, the rootball can become saturated which will hinder proper plant growth.
Combining the pH level: One of the mistakes people often do is they blend the pH up an pH down solution together directly leading to a high concentrated level. Your plants are unable to tolerate this. You need to handle pH solutions with utmost care as they are highly dangerous. Use one pipette respectively and use color code the pipette to the bottle.
Lighting system: Currently trending are LED lights. However, if you are on a budget, you can use MH/HPS grow lamps. They work efficiently and are powerful for plants in their flowering and fruiting stage. Bottomline, the more light you give, better the process of photosynthesis and best the yields. Approx. coverage with:
- 400w is 1m2: 5-10 plants
- 600w is 1.5m2: 7-14 plants
- 1000w is 2m2: 15-20 plants