Hydroponic Growing Tips
Hydroponic gardening can be an excellent way to grow a large
amount of fruits, vegetables and herbs in a limited area. However,
it's much more than just growing plants in a water-nutrient system
You can start enjoying the benefits of indoor gardening at any
There are many variables, all of which depend
on the space available, your budget and how much time is available
to spend on maintenance. There then are some tips that will help to
make your hydroponic experience pleasant and productive.
Having the right environment is critical for your garden. Key
elements to a successful garden room include relative humidity,
temperature, CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) and air circulation/exchange. The
ideal humidity for a garden room falls between 40 & 60 percent. Some
plants like higher humidity, but know that higher humidity can lead
to problems with fungus and disease.
Temperatures in your grow room
should be between 68- 75 F degrees. Temperature changes will lead
to variations in humidity levels. Avoid drastic temperature changes
over a short period of time. Your plants need CO2 to grow. Assuming
you have good air circulation/ exchange, your garden room will
naturally have between 300-400 PPM (parts per million) of CO2;
higher CO2 levels should accelerate growth rates. If you choose not
to supplement CO2 in your garden room, it is important to address
the air circulation/exchange so that your plants will receive fresh
Water: The water you use for your plants will determine how
well your plants will grow, regardless of what you add in terms of
nutrients and supplements.PPM (parts per million) or EC (electrical
conductivity) are the measurement of the salts in a solution.
Neither PPM nor EC readings will tell you what is in your solution /
water, but rather are indicators of the solutions ability to conduct
electricity. Ideally, you want to start of with a low PPM or EC then
you can add nutrients specified to your plants requirements. You can
reduce the PPM of your water using a Reverse Osmosis (R.O.) unit
then build your nutrient solution around what your plants need. pH
(potential hydrogen) measures the acidity or alkalinity of your
solution on a scale of 0 - 14. A solution is considered acidic below
7 and basic at 7 or higher. When working with hydroponics you
typically want your pH to fall between 5.8 and6.2. When growing in
soil or coco you want your pH between 6.0 and 6.8. The most
important rule to remember with pH is to avoid extremes. Nutrient
lockout occurs with high and low pH levels.
Nutrients come in organic and synthetic varieties and are available
in both liquid and dry form. Nutrients can be separated into two
categories, macro and micro nutrients. The macronutrients are
nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium and sulfur. The
micronutrients or trace nutrients include iron, manganese, boron,
zinc, copper, molybdenum and chlorine. If the nutrients are
deficient or are abundant you may see burning, curling or yellowing.
You do not want to over or under fertilize. There are many different
types of nutrients/fertilizers available on the market. You can
purchase organic, synthetic (chemical) or a combination of both.
Most nutrients/fertilizers will have an N-P-K (Nitrogen, Phosphorus,
and Potassium) on the front of the bottle. In the vegetative or
growth stage the "N" will typically be higher. In the flowering or
bloom stage the "P" will typically be higher. You may also consider
implementing additives/supplements into your nutrient mix.
Additives/supplements can bolster microbial activity at the root
zone, increase size, flavor and aroma. When used together, nutrients
and supplements will help you achieve maximum results.
High Intensity Discharge (HID) is the preferred lighting in a garden
room. The two types of HID lighting commonly used are HPS (High
Pressure Sodium) and MH (Metal Halide). HPS lamps deliver more of an
orange/ red spectrum, which is ideal for most plants in the
flowering/bloom stage. MH lamps deliver more of a blue/green
spectrum, which is ideal for most plants in the vegetative/growth
stage. Another type of lighting ideal for plant growth is T5
lighting. T5 lighting is a high-output fluorescent light with low
heat and minimal energy consumption. It is an ideal light for
cuttings, mother plants and short growth cycles. All plants require
light in order to grow and bloom. Most plants grow and bloom
according to the amount of light they are given. In the growth or
vegetative stage plants typically want 15-18 hours of light. In the
bloom stage you reduce the amount of light your plants get to 10-12
hours. You want to make sure the light comes on and of at the same
time everyday (just like mother- nature). The best way to accomplish
this is by putting your light on a timer. Please consult your
nearest hydroponic retail store for more information on which light
is best for you.
Equipment: There are many different meters available for
testing pH, PPM, EC, temperature, humidity, CO2 and light levels.
Single meters are available as are combination meters that test
and/or monitor your environmental conditions The important thing to
remember is your garden will only be as good as the limiting factor.
Water, nutrient, light, temperature, humidity, CO2 & circulation are
the elements to a successful garden room
From a small herb garden for your kitchen, grown in an
attractive compact garden system, to a basement dedicated to plant
propagation or production gardening, there's a system to match every
budget and need. Almost garden environment you can imagine can be
created using today's home hydroponics, grow lighting, and control
systems. There are no limits to indoor gardening but your imagination.