Hydroponic Garden- 10 Essential Items For Your Next Grow- by Jimbo Slice
When you are starting out it is best to keep things simple. Starting with the basics helps you benchmark, compare, and improve on each and every grow.
Grow Lights - You want to make sure your plants get enough lighting without wasting light. Grow lighting requirements are based on the size of your growing area and the number of plants in your grow. Dimmable lights ballasts allow you to adjust light output based on where you are in the grow cycle. Make your lights adjustable so you can maintain the optimal distance from the plants at all times.
Pump- Typically, you will need one to two pumps depending on your set-up. Pumps supply nutrient solution to the plants at various timed intervals. Make sure you have a pump strong enough to deliver adequate nutrient solution to all of your plants during the watering cycle.
Timer - An inexpensive yet crucial element to automating your grow. Typically timers are used with both lighting and watering schedules, as well as your ventilation/filtration system, fans and so forth. There are some good yet inexpensive digital and regular timers available online and at your local hydroponic store.
Growing Medium - Since you are not using soil you will need a growing medium. Growing medium is largely a matter of each individual grower's preference. If you are just starting out it is wise to use an inexpensive grow media such as hydroton clay balls or rock wool. Some hydroponic systems such as aeroponics system spray nutrient solution directly on plant roots, and therefore do not require a grow medium. A grow medium should hold plenty of moisture and oxygen without becoming waterlogged. Other options for growing media include perlite, coco coir, and grow cubes. Grow cubes are easy to work since they are pre-cut to various sizes and are made from peat, rock wool, or silica.
Hydroponic Nutrients - No soil, no nutes. So, you need to add these into your water solution. There are myriads of nutrients available for increasing yields, treating plants for stress, preventing fungus, and on and on. Use these whenever necessary but start with a very basic nutrient system that will provide for all cycles of the plant growth and build from there.
pH Test Kit - These kits some with come with everything to test, adjust and maintain perfect pH levels of your nutrient solution.
TDS meter- You want to make certain your plants are getting as much nutrient solution as possible-based on strength of nutrient solution-but not too much. TDS meters help you accomplish this by measuring PPM and adjusting the strength of your nutes accordingly.
Grow Buckets- The size and number of grow pots you use depends on the number of plants, grow area, and yield requirements. Some hydroponic systems use a tray system with 3”-4” holes cut in the trays which contain net pots. Other systems employ larger stand-alone buckets that can be automated with a simple ebb and flow system or be watered manually. Larger buckets mean larger root mass.
Clean water- Unfiltered tap water will usually not have low enough PPM (part per million) measurement to be sufficient for a hydroponic grow. For smaller grows a filtration pitcher or filter on your water tap will work fine in removing impurities from the water. RO systems produce larger quantities efficiently are good for larger grows.
Plants- Seeds, clones, bulbs, or small plants.
A 5-Step Quick Start Guide To for Your Next Indoor Grow- by Jimbo Slice
Here's a quick start guide to help you plan and set-up you next hydroponic garden. Follow these basic steps to get started.
Measure- Measure your grow room space so that you maximize its potential. Take into factor room for plant sites, reservoirs, and other components you will be using such as fans, lights, and air filtration systems. If you are you are vegging and flowering simultaneously then you will want to have two distinct and separate growing areas. Give yourself plenty of access to your plants and reservoir. Include room for your filtration equipment such as RO equipment, reservoirs, pails, and buckets.
Check- Check to make sure you have plenty of power and outlets to run your hydroponic system. You will also need plenty of power cord extensions and power strips with multiple outlet power cords. Ideally you will want to have your water source water close to where your reservoir and RO system is located. It also helps to have drainage nearby to make replenishing your nutes easier.
Clean- Wipe down and sterilize your growing area before and after growing. I personally use Simply Green, which is non-toxic. Most indoor growers use grow tents, which are discreet, easy to keep clean and suppress smell and light. Many tents come with silver reflective Mylar material which not only reflects more light to your grow it is also a breeze to wipe down to keep clean. Make sure to have a waterproof tarp on the floor in case of accidental spillage. Keep dry towels, mops or a shop vac on hand for accidental spillage.
Set-up- Set up your air circulation system to include plenty of fans and blowers. Attach 6” or 8” ducting to light reflector kits for cooling and intake and outflow ports on grow tents for proper ventilation. It’s very important to keep your grow area well ventilated and within optimal temperature range.
Assemble- Assemble your hydroponic system. Simple hydroponic systems such as flood and drain can watered by hand and drain to a flood tray. An automated system will require pumps, aerators, connector tubing, flood trays, lights, cooling fans and more. Some automated systems come 100% assembled or require very little assembly. Custom grows typically require more set-up time depending on your grow space and goals.
Plant- Fill your net pots or grow buckets with your growing medium of choice. Hydroton clay rocks are easy and inexpensive and allow you to easily transfer your existing plants from their existing grow medium into it. Mix up your nutrients exactly according to direction making sure it is not too strong. Plug in the pumps and lights and away you go!
Hydroponic Grow- 5 Important Tips You Need to Know to Grow- by Jimbo Slice
Ideal temperature range- It is very important to keep temp consistent thoughout your grow, This means you need to control your growing environment. Use plenty use plenty of fans for air circulation. Also, ventilate your grow area by pulling in fresh air and removing 'used' air with fans. blowers and ducting- wherever possible. Most herb strains do best around 70F-80F during light cycle and 64F-72F during dark. Growers that reside in warmer climates will want to invest in air conditioning and water chillers in order to maintain ideal growing environment.
Light and light cycles-For vegetative cycle: 18 hours on/light, 6 hours off/dark is best and most economical. Be sure to have plenty of light for your grow but not too much that you waste electricity and risk over-heating or burning your plants. Adjustable chains or yo-yos help have the grower level the light system in order to keep them the optimum distance from the plants. For early cuttings and clones it is best to use fluorescent lighting. For the vegetative growth cycle metal halide and HPS lights are best. The flower or ‘bud’ cycle is when you change to a 12/12 light to dark cycle. This simulates the autumn season for the plants and will continue until the buds are ready to harvest. For the flowering or bud cycle of the grow HPS grow lighting is recommended.
For smaller closet or cabinet grows use a 150watt to 250watt lighting system. A 400watt bulb is enough for 10 sq. feet of space or less. Be sure keep lights cool enough to keep them close to the plants without burning them. Some light systems have a glass pane, which keeps lowers heat output. Many lighting systems come with intake and out-flow ports to attach a duct and fan system to keep it cool. For larger grow tents and grow room set-ups use 400watts -1000watts per 10x10 square feet of growing space. Some growers use fewer and larger plant sites with multiple lighting systems thereby increasing light output to each plant. Run your lights to save money since it is cheaper at this time.
Growing Media- Rockwool cube, peat, coco coir, perlite, and clay pellets are various grow mediums. Oftentimes young clones or cuttings will start in one type of media, then be transplanted with that media into a different grow media. For example clones often come in rock wool cubes which can then be put directly into another type of grow media such as hydroton clay rocks.
Circulation- Install plenty of oscillating fans to keep air circulated. For larger rooms with 1000watts lighting systems or more 2-3 fans may be required. Many lighting systems use an inline fan and duct system to cool lighting. Make sure your grow tents has plenty of intake/outflow ports for your cooling ducting.
Nutrient Solution- Ideal pH is between 6.5 and 7.5. Ideal ppm for rooted clones, established seedlings, or mature plants in vegetative and flowering phase is between 1000 ppm and 1800 ppm and plants growth phase, grow medium plant strain.