Instantly Better Hydroponic Growing Skills

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November 28, 2015

What’s their secret, those indoor gardeners who have such an incredibly green thumb?  It’s not hard to get stumped over the ins and outs of hydroponic growing. After all, it’s a totally different scenario that growing plants outdoors in the ground, so even the most seasoned backyard gardener can easily experience unexpectedly not so stellar results.  But it’s got nothing to do with the color of your thumb, and everything to do with how you interpret your role as Mother Nature.

Measure, Monitor, and Check

Measuring is one of the most important things when growing. Don’t just measure your temperature in one place. Measure it in multiple places to make sure your climate is the same everywhere in your grow room. In addition, it’s good to know what happening when you’re not looking at the instruments. Get a data logger that can tell you what’s going on when you’re at work or asleep. Make sure your water is the right temperature by measuring it, and at the same time make sure the pH and TDS are correct as well. The same goes for lighting. Get a light meter to make sure it’s evenly distributed. Monitor all these parameters. Correct them when necessary. You will see improvements instantly.

Quality In – Quality Out

Using quality items saves you lots of trouble in the long run. Saving $40 on a pH meter seems like a good idea when you’re in the store. Somewhere down the road when you need to calibrate it or need replacement parts, you’ll discover it wasn’t your best idea.

The same goes for critical items like ballasts, fans or carbon filters. You don’t want them to break or fail in the middle of your grow. Also, your substrate is very important. A cheap bag of soil or media is cheap for a reason. The quality of the components used in substrates make up a big portion of the price. Going into this cheap will hurt your bottom line in the end.

Don’t Skimp on Climate Control

Climate is essential for a plant to survive or thrive. With a bad controlled climate you can be sure the outcome of your grow isn’t what you expected.

I understand an A/C is expensive but it’s even more expensive to buy an extra A/C because your initial A/C can’t cut it. The same goes the exhaust fan if your growing without A/C, bigger is better. Not only will it cool quicker but it also makes less sound because your exhaust fan doesn’t have to work as hard.

The Price of Cheap Hydroponics

Whatcha Doing That For?

Using quality items saves you lots of trouble in the long run. Saving $40 on a pH meter seems like a good idea when you’re in the store. Somewhere down the road when you need to calibrate it or need replacement parts, you’ll discover it wasn’t your best idea.

The same goes for critical items like ballasts, fans or carbon filters. You don’t want them to break or fail in the middle of your grow. Also, your substrate is very important. A cheap bag of soil or media is cheap for a reason. The quality of the components used in substrates make up a big portion of the price.

Going into this cheap will hurt your bottom line in the end.

Prevention is Better than Cure

It is better avoid a bad thing from happening than it is to fix the bad thing once it has happened. So what can you do right now? Run a tight operation. Clean your grow room, and don’t let dead leaves or plant materials lay around in your room. Clean before starting a new grow. It’s also very important when you’ve been outdoors or inside a friends grow room to change your clothes. Another great natural prevention is the introduction of beneficial bugs into your grow room. This truly “bio control” method helps you prevent and fight pest infestations by introducing their natural enemies in your room before they can get to it. Should mites come along they won’t have a chance in getting to your crop. Instead, its dinner time for their natural adversaries.

Too Much is Never Good!

The wisdom of moderation is first taught to us as children, and rings true until the day we die. Too much of anything can be bad for us, and it’s the same way with plants. Moderation is key.

Don’t over water your plants. Don’t overdose them with nutrients. Instead of feeding them half a gallon of water at once, use moderation. Spread that half a gallon out to four different feeds spaced through the day. You don’t drink a gallon of soda all at once. You drink it one glass at a time. The same goes for your plants. Too much is stressing them out.

Moderate.

Spend More Time in Your Garden

Don’t just spend time sitting in your grow room. Look at the plants closely. Use a magnifying glass to see things better. The more time you spend with your plants the better you can “read” them, or see problems before they disaster strikes. For example, a spider mite infestation doesn’t just explode. It starts with one plant and then steadily becomes more and more. When you see massive webs across your plants, you’re too late, and you haven’t spent enough time with your plants. The same goes for malnutrition or crop deformation. It started small, with one plant. When
you’re onto it early, you can still steer things back in the right direction.

Educate Yourself

The thing that sets experts apart from novices is education. They know how to recognize problems, and how to correct them. You’re reading this magazine, so you’re well on your way to a good education. To become an expert, you need to do more. Buy a book on growing plants, take a subscription on Garden Culture, get a DVD and above all read more on the internet.

You’re never too old or young to learn. Even experts with 25 years of experience under their belt can still learn new things as long as they are open for it.

Keep It Dark

How do you feel being rudely awakened in the middle of the night with a big flashlight in your face? That how your plants feel every time you interrupt their rest to work in your grow room or to show your friends.

Just don’t do it. Buy a green LED light to work or look in your grow room when your plants are a sleep.

Also, it’s important to make sure your room is actually dark when the lights are off. Plants can have a lot of stress with light leaking into the grow room, so make sure it’s dark. This is easily done by just standing in your room with the lights off in the middle of the day.

Hydroponic Growing: You Can't Cut Corners

Be Passionate

Good relationships are formed with passion. It isn’t any different with the relationship between you and your crop. Being passionate makes everything much easier, more fun and makes the
learning curve less steep. Grow because you want to grow and focus on things you like to do when growing. Don’t dwell on the stuff you dislike. If you need to do something you dislike – turn on the tunes and dream about better times. Just remember the more you focus on the positive, the better the outcome will be.

This article was written by Mike Nivato, a seasoned hydroponic grower, and industry veteran. It was originally published in Garden Culture Magazine, Issue 1, under the title “10 Tips: Be A Better Grower Instantly!”

 

Credits: Good, Fast & Cheap: BJ Heinley, Perplexed: Zeze, Bart: ZDUB

Amber

Amber

Contributing Writer at Garden Culture Magazine
The garden played a starring role from spring through fall in the house Amber was raised in. She has decades of experience growing plants from seeds and cuttings in the plot and pots.
Amber

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