Pioneering Hydroponics

Since 1976

Hydroponics - A beginners guide

A Beginners Guide to Hydroponics

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Have you thought about switching from soil to growing hydroponically? Hydroponics is basically planting and growing plants without the use of soil, instead plants are grown in water and fed a nutrient-rich water solution. One of the major benefits to plants is the improved oxygenation of its roots, leading to healthier and stronger plants. 

So, what are the main things to consider when you go hydro?

Environment

Getting your environment right is essential for successful growing. The five main factors to maintain are:

1. Temperature – The ideal grow room temperature is 24oC-28oC during lights on periods or 22oC - 23oC during lights off. You must remember that fluctuations in temperature will affect your humidity levels.

2. Humidity – During propagation should be between 70-85%, during the vegetative stage 65 – 75% and 45-65% during flowering. It’s important to be aware though that high humidity can increase the risk of disease and fungus.

3. CO2 level – Plants need CO2 in order to grow. CO2 will naturally be around 300-400 PPM, you can however supplement CO2 for faster growth.

4. Ventilation – Maintaining airflow is key. To do this you need a ventilation kit that includes an extractor fan, filter and ducting.

5. Air circulation – Maintains a good CO2 level in the grow room. It also helps with transpiration and prevents fungal growth. Keep air moving with an air circulator fan

6. Water – People underestimate the importance of good quality water. Water quality should be assessed before nutrients are added with a pH meter. Ideal pH should be between 5.8 and 6.2 for Hydroponics and 6.0 – 6.8 for soil and coco.

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Which technique?

There are 6 main hydroponic techniques to choose from:

1. Deep Water Culture (DWC)

2. Ebb and Flow (Flood and Drain)

3. Drip

4. Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)

5. Aeroponic

6. Wicking


 

People are frequently unsure of which system they should choose. We have made it super simple to choose the system that best suits you. Simply choose how you want to feed your plants and which media you want to use and will point you in the right direction.


Media

Sometimes its personal preference and sometimes it is simply the case that something is just fit for a specific purpose. Whatever the reason for your choice of media, make sure it’s a good quality one.


Media


Rockwool

Rockwool comes in cubes and slabs, it retains moisture and offers excellent support to plants, making it great for young plants and cuttings.

Soil

Soil is a traditional media, it will retain moisture and support plants. Soil usually contains nutrients or additives.

Coco

Coco is made from the husks of coconuts. This buffered medium retains moisture whilst providing plenty of air pockets which roots love.

Clay Pebbles

Clay pebbles are made from fired clay and can be round or irregular shapes. Clay pebbles are reusable, they are free draining and offer optimum aeration. Roots love finding their way to fresh air pockets hidden amongst the pebbles.



Nutrients

Just like any living organism, plants need food (or in their case nutrients) in order to grow and develop. Nutrients comes in various forms and can be organic or mineral.

Nutrients


Base nutrients are needed for growth and development. They are available as one or two part solutions, these can be powdered or liquid form.

Additives are used for more specific purposes such as root development and bloom enhancing. Again, these can be liquid or powder.

Lights

The two most common types of HID (high intensity discharge) lighting are Metal Halide (MH) and High Pressure Sodium (HPS). The difference between these two lights is mainly the spectrum output. MH emit a blue/green spectrum whereas HPS emits more of an orange/red. HPS is great for the bloom stage of growth, while MH is better for vegetative stage.

Lights 

A handy tip: try to ensure lights switch on and off at the same time each day. During the vegetative phase you want to give plants a good 15-18 hour stretch of light each day. The bloom/flowering phase requires less hours of light, 10-12 hours should do it.


Meters and measures

As mentioned earlier, your grow room environment is really important, so to ensure you have the right balance of humidity, temperature, pH etc, you will need specialist meters in order to monitor them. Keeping these under control will make growing easier in the long term and will help you to produce the best possible yields.

PH

An EC and pH pen will measure the pH and EC levels in your reservoir. For plants, getting the right pH and EC levels will ensure they produce optimum results.

Humidity and temperature can be monitored by using a Thermo-Hygrometer. This will display, monitor and record minimum and maximum temperatures and humidity levels. This helps you to prevent plants getting too hot or cold and will help avoid bacteria and fungi caused by high humidity levels.