We understand that your hydroponic journey will raise a lot of questions, and we will always try our best to answer them. Below you will find a collection of questions that are very common amongst beginner and intermediate growers.
EC (Electrical conductivity) requirements change as the plant grows from seedling into a mature plant. When your plants are young they require less food, so it makes sense that as the plant grows we increase the amount of food to fulfil the plants needs.
Growth/Vegetative requirements: 0.6 - 0.8 EC
Bloom/Flowering requirements: 1.6 - 2.4 EC
The consensus for pH in a hydroponic system & coco coir is that it should be kept between 5.5 - 6.5 throughout cycle, ideally in the growth/vegetative phase pH should be maintained at 5.8-6.2 - if the pH fluctuates too much the plant will be unable to uptake specific "slow" moving nutrients, so having all the necessary equipment like pH pens will save a lot of guess work.
When the plants go into the flowering phase consistency is key ensuring the plant has a constant availability to the nutrients it requires, the preferred range in flower is 6.0 - 6.4 as different elements are required in the bloom phase, if this range was lower or higher the plant would be unable to absorb targeted nutrient, thus stifling development and severely impacting the end result.
The general rule of thumb for vegetating plants is 18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness, once flowering has begun or the plant is of suitable size to flower you will need to change your photoperiod to 12 hours on and 12 hours off, keeping in mind that once your plants start flowering the darkness cannot be interrupted, if light enters the space when flowering, you could reset the plant to vegetate or even worse, they can mutate which will massively impact the end result.
It is best to maintain optimum growth your nutrient solution between 18.5 - 21.5 degrees (C)
If the room temperature falls below 17 degrees during the dark period, then you will require a water heater. If the nutrient solution does goes below 18.5 the plant will stop growing and go into shock.
If the solution is above 21.5 it can become the perfect breeding ground for algae, pythium and a host of other bacterial infections.
There can be a number of reasons for this. Firstly, eliminate the obvious things like lack of water, high temperature or a broken stem.
Root diseases are the most common cause of "sudden death" for plants and can cause many problems from loss of yield to complete death. Pythium is the most common disease. Ignoring the basics on temperature control can present quite a nightmare. Always use nutrient conditioners if you reservoir is prone to temperature rises, these formulations mostly contain quaternary ammonium and copper which will help prevent nasty pathogens from taking hold.
This can be caused by too much food being added to the reservoir/water tank, as the nutrient accumulates there can be an excess of salt buildup, flushing regularly will prevent this issue.
Cyco for example have a great range of pharmaceutical nutrients that are approved for use in consumable crops.
There are some nutrient deficiencies that can also cause leaf tip burn. Again though if the gardener has themselves a pH and EC meter this is rarely posed as an issue.
This can be caused by a number of factors:
- Low oxygen levels due to lack of aeration or too much water.
- Nutrient deficiency
- The pH is too high/low.
- The solution is too hot/cold.
- Too much salt in the water.
All of these prevent the plant from absorbing nutrients in the correct quantities, always use an EC meter and a pH pen to prevent this from happening.
Plants stretch when the light is insufficient or humidity is too high, environment and airflow is key, if the environment has poor airflow this can cause bolting.
Plants stretch when the light is too far away from the plants or there may be too many plants competing with each other for the light.
Excessive humidity for long periods will create undesirable conditions that are perfect for grey mould. Grey mould, once started, will quickly spread and affect your entire crop.
Using a hygrometer device mounted on the wall inside your hydroponic grow room will let you know at a quick glance what your humidity levels are. Humidity levels of just above 50%, is perfect and should not go above this. It is important to keep nutrient reservoirs covered at all times so that they do not contribute to higher humidity levels.
Humidity levels can be easily controlled as with temperature by using inlet & extractor fans to rid the room of heat or humidity. As a general rule it is good to keep your grow rooms dry. This will prevent any mould problems.
Room temperature needs to be maintained between 24.5 - 29 degrees in the vegetative phase.
Room temperature needs to be maintained between 22.5 - 26 degrees in the Flowering phase.
Room temperature needs to be maintained between 20 - 21.5 degrees in the Drying phase.
It is not that difficult to achieve this temperature range in your grow room, especially when the lights are on. In your warmer climates if your temps become too high, inlet & extractor fans pumping the hot air out of the room will control temps well.
You can set up a thermostat to your fan to automate things. When the lights are off you need to make sure that your temperatures do not become too low. Most of all you will want to avoid huge temperature fluctuations between the day and night cycles because this will make your plants poorly formed.
Ventilation needs to be enough to maintain a temperature of about 28 degrees and a humidity of about 55-60% in the centre of the plant canopy.
Generally it’s better to have too much than too little ventilation. As a rule of thumb, during summer give about 120ltrs per second of air going in and the same amount being vented per square metre of floor area.
Try to maintain the temperature inside no higher than outside. In winter, vent according to ambient temperature and humidity.
Operating a hydroponics system without meters is very difficult and it would be very hard to achieve optimum results. Always use meters to attain perfection.
Depending on the type of system you are running and the plants feeding requirements.
For ease of control use a minimum of 45 ltrs per/m2 of growing area, less than this requires frequent adjustments.
Some systems like DWC (Deep water culture) actually have the plants growing in a large volume of water and nutrients, this type of system can be plumbed to an external reservoir that will top up your main system as the solution depletes.
The plant takes a long time to develop and grow its leaf sets, removing the larger ones can be detrimental to some types of plants. It takes a long time to grow those big leaves cutting them off will only be detrimental to the plants overall development.
Pruning has been confused with training so be careful about the information source before attempting a major haircut.
Aerating the nutrient solution is a good idea. It guards against stagnant water, improves plant health and prevents bacterial infections. Aerating a nutrient solution will last far longer than one that is sitting flat.
The time taken to strike roots on clones varies according to the time of the year and the health of the clones and whether the method is manual or assisted About 5-12 days is usual for most manual methods.
Assisted methods include cloning machines that drastically speed up oxygen intake which in turn forces roots to form with 3-7 days.
The best water will have low salts or contaminants. Rainwater is probably best though normal tap water is usually satisfactory and convenient as long as it is under 0.3 EC
Most Australian tap water is valued between 0.0 - 0.3
Reverse osmosis is fast becoming a preferred method as well, the only downside is pH fluctuations (using a pH stabiliser will correct this) and the water after it is cleaned will require re-conditioning with a calcium magnesium additive.
An indoor hydroponic grow room can be set up just about anywhere, from a spare room to a garage or shed.
There are just a few things that you need to take into consideration when picking out the perfect place for your hydroponic grow room.
To get an idea of just what your plants will require, picture a sunny spot of an outside garden on a warm summer's day. Just about any plant will grow well in these conditions. And this is the same exact conditions that we need to recreate in an indoor hydroponic grow room. There are three major categories that we need to focus on in creating a grow room: temperature, humidity, light. Check out this blog topic for more insight
If you had to choose one thing that was the most important in maintaining a hydroponic grow room it would be lighting. Now this will not matter much if you are in a greenhouse located outside, but if you are in a cellar or in a structure with a normal roof you will have to provide the light yourself and recreate light that is similar to the suns rays.
The good news is that with modern day horticulture, technology has created sun light that operates in an efficient and cost effective manner. In fact if you are choosing to set up a hydroponic grow room indoors it is best that you use only artificial lighting and do not bring light in through windows or skylights. Artificial lighting is easily controlled and provides the growers the ability to set the lights on timers to turn them on and off as needed.
By using artificial lighting the grower can simulate the long days of summer for high growth levels, and slowly start reducing the light to simulate fall and induce the plants to start flowering. A hydroponic grow room designed well will produce great results in almost any type of plant that you decide to grow.
High Intensity Discharge (HID) is one of the most efficient types of grow lighting that can be purchased.
There are two types of HID that are used in hydroponics, Metal Halide (MH) and High Pressure Sodium (HPS).
Indoor grow lights are very safe. HID lighting systems are used in retail and groceries stores, gas stations, street lights and even in your back yard as a security light.
Systems that are UL tested help assure safe lighting fixtures.
HID growing lights are the most intense source of grow light available. It is also more efficient and the lamps last up to six times longer than other lamps.
Fluorescent indoor grow lights work best for seedlings, clones and to supply supplementary lighting.
Thats a personal preference, we would use HPS, MH, LEP & LEC for maximum flower development and oil production.