Are you preparing your growing media correctly?
There are so many different types of media, and each one requires specific preparation. Hydroponic beginners take note: you should not simply pour the growing media straight from the bag into your net cups and start growing. Make sure to follow these guidelines so that your garden can reach its full potential!
To prepare rockwool media, soak cubes for 12 to 24 hours with water that has been pH adjusted to 5.5. Use a container large enough for the water to cover the rockwool. After the soak period is complete, rinse the rockwool with water that has also been pH adjusted to 5.5. This will help remove unwanted lime and anything else that is left over from the manufacturing process. Once the rockwool is rinsed, you can start your seeds or cuttings.
To prepare coco coir, use a container that has enough volume to hold about 3 times the amount of coir you are preparing. Submerse the coco brick in water and let soak, in the end your coir will need to be worked down so that the coir is evenly exposed to the fresh water, and each little bit has had exposure for the residual salts to be removed. After the coir has is fully soaked it is always good idea to rinse with water to ensure that there is minimal salts left in the medium. Once the coco has been rinsed well you can now use without the worry of excess salt.
Growstones come with a slight imbalance in pH due to how they are manufactured. To prepare Growstones, open the bag at the top and poke a few small holes in the bottom of the bag, insert a water hose into the top of the bag and rinse. Let the water drain from the bottom of the bag. Place wet Growstones in a large container and fill with tap water until covered. Soak for 24 hours and discard soak water, then rinse thoroughly (ideally using running water). For best results or for sensitive plants, soak again overnight and then discard the water. Add wet Growstones to your hydroponics system filled with water only (no nutrients). Run the recirculation system for a few hours and then measure the pH of your reservoir, add all of the nutrients, and let run an additional fifteen minutes (Growstones water and nutrients ONLY). Finally measure and adjust pH of solution to between 5.5 and 6.5.
To use Sunleaves Rocks rinse the desired quantity with fresh water to remove any dust. Discard this first rinse water and place rocks in a container and soak for a few hours. Since these products are pH neutral you do not need to adjust your rinse/soak water. After the soak, give the rocks a good final rinse and the products are ready for use.
Boost Growth in Your Indoor Garden Using CO2
In addition to water and light, plants must have carbon dioxide (CO2) in order to transform light into energy. Commercial growers use CO2 to increase plant health and crop yields. Provided all other conditions such as light, temperature, nutrient levels and humidity are under control, you can give your indoor garden a boost with CO2!
Plants grown in CO2-enriched environments have lush foliage, increased branching and more plentiful blooms. The air we breathe contains about .03 percent CO2—that’s about 300 parts per million (PPM). Different plants may require this helpful gas in different amounts. However, in general, most plants need at least 150 PPM in order to keep growing. Plants grown in CO2 levels between 1200 to 1500 PPM can grow two to three times faster than those grown without the extra CO2.
Before you decide on a method of adding CO2 make sure your greenhouse or growing area is well sealed to prevent CO2 loss. There are several ways to increase CO2 levels. For example, running certain types of heaters will raise CO2 levels. Gardeners looking for an economical CO2 supplementation can ferment yeast in the grow room by mixing warm water, brewers yeast and sugar in an open-top container. Either of these methods will produce additional CO2, but the levels are not usually but consistent.
Unlike CO2 injection systems, CO2 generators actually produce the gas via combustion. CO2 generators are a great choice for large grow areas or greenhouses. Over the long term, they can be three to six times less expensive to operate than bottled CO2 injection systems.
While generators can burn any fossil fuel, systems running on propane or natural gas are most common. Along with carbon dioxide, water and heat are by-products of combustion. Careful monitoring of temperature, humidity and CO2 levels in the grow area is critical, as is coordination of all corresponding equipment. An atmospheric controller that will automatically check and regulate these levels is highly recommended to maintain pre-programmed parameters.
It is important to note that you can have too much of a good thing; CO2 can be toxic to plants at levels above 2,000 PPM and toxic to pets and people at levels above 4,000 PPM. Fuel that doesn’t burn completely can produce deadly gases such as carbon monoxide. For best results, be sure to provide adequate air circulation.
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