What Other Equipment Do I Need?
So now your grow room is up and running. Lights are on and the environment is set and hopefully your plants are thriving! From this point not much can go wrong, however if a few problems were to present themselves how would you deal with it?
Most growers immediately jump in the car and are off to the closest garden center or hydroponics shop to buy a plethora of different nutrients etc.. But what if you knew a little more before starting? Hopefully the person you frequent for supplies is on point with providing the entire solution instead of just telling you to buy bottles.
The crew at A-Grade Hydroponics for example do not just sell you a grow kit, lighting and a few bottles, and off you go… They actually tailor a solution that is based around each client’s needs/concerns when growing. If the customer is a new grower we generally provide continuous consultation, which includes our recipe for success. Lets say the customer we are dealing with though has a Grow buddy/grow room already up and running.
The items listed below will almost certainly be needed during a grow:
Bluelab pH pen
A pH pen can be your best friend when growing as sometimes going by what the bottle says will not necessarily give you the same pH reading, most growers are checking their pH consistently throughout the week so growing without a pH pen can be quite challenging, so rather than go blind I’d highly recommend you put one in your toolbox.
An EC/PPM Meter checks the nutrient concentration available to your plants, most bottles have a recommendation as regarding dosages and what the EC should be at that dose, one thing a lot of people are unaware of is that the starting EC of tap water is different in each country, so just like the pH pen an EC pen or truncheon is highly recommended.
Air-Pump & Air-stone backup
Air pumps and air stones generally have a short life span. Having an air stone fail in a system can be fatal to the plant as the nutrient solution becomes toxic and with no extra oxygen present things quickly go downhill – I always have backups for every pot system running.
Water Pump backup & plumbing/irrigation fittings
Just like air pumps and air stones the same scenario can happen with water pumps, irrigation fittings and plumbing. Having backups ready to swap out will allow you time to clean the blocked fittings and have them ready for the next change over.
Pippettes, syringes & scalpels
Pipettes and syringes can be quite handy when trying to accurately dose concentrated additives, scalpels come in handy when pruning and propagating (Never use scissors to clone as they will crush the cell walls)
Hydrogen peroxide (H2o2)
A great sterilizing agent! Most commonly used to reset the medium if there is a pythium or bacterial problem. Can be used to sterilize equipment pots, reservoirs, water pumps etc
Also can be used when flushing the plants H2o2 is just water with an attached oxygen molecule, so it is completely safe to use with plants. (Note after flushing with H2o2 remove solution and make a fresh nutrient mix up)
Nutrient conditioners are excellent products! Used as a preventative, we fill our reservoir up with plain water to the desired level, and then we add our nutrient conditioner and leave it for a few hours (using a small water pump to move *Note turn off all air pumps and air stones as they will cause frothing)
Now we add our nutrients to the solution, what this does is coat our feeding lines, pots and plant root system with a protective layer of quaternary ammonium – this will ensure things like pythium and fungal infections. Nutrient conditioners are suitable for use with all hydroponic mediums and systems.
The one thing that all hydroponic growers have in common is that now and again a deficiency usually presents itself during the some stage of the plants life. Why do we get deficiencies? The reason we encounter these issues is likely due to an inconsistent pH and EC range.
Stabilizing pH can be quite difficult if the food you are using is unstable. There are many nutrient brands on the market and most of the top ones should keep the pH and EC stable at the dosages recommended, however there are is a huge amount of nutrition that is not stable, better brand include house & garden, Cyco, General Hydroponics, Rock and Green House seed company-powder feeding. Below I will list a few bottles you should have in your toolbox to correct deficiencies, problems etc
"To fix cal/mag/iron deficiencies adjust pH to 5.8-6.0"
I personally foliar feed as well as adding to reservoir, these bottles have saved my plants many, many times and in my opinion are essential backups.
- Cal/Mag - General Hydro
- Humiboosta (Cal/mag/iron & fulvic base) - HY-GEN
- Dr Repair - Cyco
- B1 Boost - Cyco
Plants looking hungry or sad?
Using a good fulvic/humic base, allow the plants to absorb more nutrients and is very popular with organic soil growers. Having these bottles handy will give you and your plants ease of mind when it comes to the plants ability to uptake nutrients.
Foliar sprays to increase photosynthesis
Halo Harpin protein is an alpha beta protein extracted from the Arabidopsis plant, that when misted on plants causes an overloading of calcium within the chloroplast in turn activating the stress Spray in Vegetative stages for JURASSIC growth! defense pathway.. One of our new favorites!
The rest of the items needed which require less of an explanation as their action is fairly direct:
- pH Up – HY-GEN
- pH Down – HY-GEN
- Budlink Silica – HY-GEN (should always be used as part C in a nutrient program)
- Co2 dispersion (TnB Naturals)
- Grow cubes, sponges and coco soil backups
- Cloning gels or solutions – Clonex, Ozi Magic
- Propagation domes/humidity cribs
- Organic oil and pest control sprays & sticky traps
- pH and EC calibration solutions
- Sterile latex gloves
- Method 7 glasses (To protect your eyes from the harsh intensity of HID lamps)
Lamps, fans, ballasts, pots etc.. To grow flawlessly, you can see having back-ups of nearly everything consumable can be an advantage.
If you have all items on standby and are always prepared, growing will be a lovely experience – growing without them, can be done quite easily for some gardeners but for others it can be quite a nightmare.
So start accessorizing your grow room today!