A-Grade Hydroponics Top Tips!
In this tutorial Jason gives you some crucial growing tips that a lot of growers overlook, by implementing them you will eventually form good habits in the grow room allowing you to grow the best possible crop, grow after grow!
TIP 1 – RUN-TO WASTE! (RTW) FOR COCO & ROCKWOOL GROWERS
If we feed the maximum dosage of food each day, this is called run to waste. Now the one thing some of growers can potentially overlook is the amount of food the pot may be holding.
Following a nutrient regime seems simple, you just add the recommended dosage to water confirming with your pH and EC pen the solution is within range and feed, for the most part plants thrive from this kind of input, but eventually at some point in the grow (usually flower) a deficiency or slowed growth (or no growth) can occur, they key is in the pot.
For example, if we feed our plants 1.6 EC each day consistently throughout the entire grow, there is only so much of that food that is being consumed on a daily basis, so, your input dose may be 1.6 but the plants may only consume 0.5-1.0 EC, the rest doesn’t just dissipate it is withheld, and bound between roots.
Because of this there is an accumulative effect of elements eventually causing the pH in the rootzone to become extremely acidic locking out access to the other elements. The fix, is to flush more frequently and actually collect a sample of the run off solution to test. If the EC is high you will need to first remove the excess buildup (Kleanse works great and works much quicker than just plain water) then resume feeding at 50% strength.
Always keep the pot EC under 1.8 and you will a very happy grower.
TIP 2 – RECIRCULATING! FOR HYDRO GROWERS
Unlike above, this method relies on a nutrient rich reservoir solution. The plants grow directly in this solution and the most commonly used substrates for this method are rockwool, LECA and perlite. The trick here is to not push the solution too hard, daily pH & EC checks are required.
The ideal scenario for hydroponic growing is an EC around 1.2-1.7 depending on the requirements of the plants, and instead of the system changing pH and EC daily, their value will ideally remain the same and the solution will be consumed evenly, slight tweaks of 0.1 EC per week seem to be the best way to manage this.
If you make a solution with an EC of 1.6 and the next day you check and the reading is EC 1.2 your plants have consumed 0.4 of that nutrient solution, this generally for hydroponic growing means, the nutrient strength is too high, so by lowering the solution by 0.2 may be all that is needed for the solution to be consumed evenly, meaning the EC, the pH and the water are all equally consumed, this is how you know your hydro system is on point.
TIP 3 – PRUNING & TRAINING! FOR ALL GROWERS
Plant training! In veg your plants can become monsters, try not to let the monster emerge when growing indoors, it’ll only mean light starved flowers and hours of trimming. Ideally, you would train throughout the vegetation phase as this will “set-up” our flowering phase.
If using HID systems (HPS & MH) you will need to remove all growth under the main canopy that receives the most light. Leaving this growth to develop will result in undesirable outcomes, usually fluffy and undeveloped due to lack of light. If you get down under the canopy you can see the shade, anything that exists in this space should be removed, i.e. thin stems, weak growth patterns and lacklustre in vigor.
Note: For HID systems I advise on training no more than 4-6 branches on each plant, for LED you can go up to 8 (4-8 main branches per plant) by doing this technique, plant uniformity and flower consistency are improved with less of the smaller flowers and excess vegetation)
For quality LED and CMH systems, both of these lighting applications are full spectrum, meaning they have every visible colour in the wavelength, training under these lights is still just as important but because of the presence of green and yellow light, the lower flowers are actually penetrated with an insane amount of light thus developing the flowers nicely, I would still remove any growth that looks weak or potentially sucking energy from a flower that could become much larger. The most important message here is to look after you plants in veg, set them up right, and they will reward you in flower.
TIP 4 – WRITE IT DOWN, DATA IS RECORDED, NOT MEMORISED
Whenever we do something in the grow room, this information should be recorded simply to allow a grower to retrace their steps and re-correct. Without that information you’re just guessing or loosely remembering ‘what you did’ so, if the mindset is the same grow after grow, the results will reflect.
Changing things does not mean you have to relearn how to grow, it could be a simple as recording pH and EC to start with and then build from that and expand the detail involved, eventually you will call on the information and it can save you big time!