When you first get started in the field of hydroponics, it can be a little daunting to say the least. With so much equipment to become familiar with and all manner of different rules to follow and mistakes to avoid, it’s safe to say there is certainly quite the learning curve.
But like most things in the world of gardening and plant cultivation, most lessons are lessons you only have to learn once and will benefit from enormously. What’s more, there is so much about hydroponics that comes not down to common sense, but instead to being informed by the professionals as to how you should be going about things. Or in other words, there are some things you cannot learn by trial and error – you have to find them out elsewhere.
So with this in mind, what follows is a quick introduction to 15 simple yet crucially important growing tips fresh from the minds of the country’s leading hydroponics professionals:
1.Unless your plants are in the clone & seed stage, you should be looking to reduce the temperature of the air at night by between 10° F and 15° F.
2.Every three weeks, plants should be flushed using either a 25% strength nutrients water solution or with a specially designed flush product.
3.If you are providing additional carbon dioxide for your plants, you do not have to continue doing so during the night. When the plants are in darkness, they create their own carbon dioxide and do not need supplementary CO2.
4.When the lights are on however, carbon dioxide should be run at a temperature of between 76° F and 80° F.
5.The first watering each day should be carried out immediately after turning on the lights in the morning.
6.As for the final watering of the day, this should be done between 60 and 90 minutes before the lights are turned off.
7.Nutrients should be changed around once a week, or every 10 days at the most.
8.To help mix your nutrients and to provide additional oxygen, it’s a good idea to add an air stone and bubbler to your reservoir.
9.Unless you have noticed a problem indicative of dehydration – very rare with hydroponics – you should avoid watering your plants during hours of darkness.
10.Around 1 hour before the lights come on, it can be beneficial to spray your plants with lukewarm water between 75° F and 85° F.
11.If the temperature of the water goes any higher than 76° F, you’ll need to think about using a water chiller.
12.Conversely, if the water temperature drops to anything lower than 63° F, you will need to add a heater to prevent damage to your plants.
13.Nutrients should always be stored in a cool and dark place in order to retain their full nutritional value and beneficial properties for your plants.
14.If you are finding it difficult to properly control the ambient temperature in the room in which you are growing, consider upgrading to the latest LED growing lights. While most conventional grow lights kick off plenty of heat and trigger inevitable temperature fluctuations, LED lights give off almost no heat at all.
15.Last but not least, if you are the type of person who tends to be somewhat absent-minded and is prone to forgetting things, it’s more than worth spending a little extra to install as many timers and controllers as possible to fully automate your hydroponic growing system. There will still be a little input required at least, but there will be plenty of things you’ll no longer have to worry about remembering.