So, dear friend, one day you woke up early in the morning… Read 150 watt led grow light reviews. And decided to change something in your life, open up new facets and join the “secret brotherhood” of growers…
First, you need to soberly assess your strengths and understand with which way of growing to connect your fascinating hobby. Remember that growing in hydroponics for a beginner is difficult, time consuming, and quite expensive process. Most choose to grow plants using soil or substrate for a start. However, if you feel strong enough and do not want to waste your time on trifles, in this article we will tell you where to start and what equipment you need to purchase.
Varieties of hydroponic systems
Some introductory information from the series “This is interesting”. There are 6 types of hydroponic systems in total:
1. Periodic flooding
This method is as simple as a “felt boot” and consists of the flow of liquid from one pot to another. Like everything else in our world, this method has its pluses and minuses, we note the most important thing: system availability and low costs. However, constant monitoring of the quality of solutions is necessary, since the risk of water contamination by pathogenic microflora is very high.
2. Deep sea culture
Refers to active systems, according to its structure, it is not far from the “felt boot”. The main set includes a compressor that supplies oxygen to the solution, thereby feeding the root system of plants, which are located in special pots and fixed in the tank lid. The advantages include the simplicity and economy of this method, which is great for beginners who are just discovering the mysterious world of hydroponics. But let’s not forget about the “dark side” – a large amount of moisture and lack of regular cleaning can lead to root rot and loss of the entire crop.
3. Drip irrigation
We will not dwell on this method in detail, since each grower has his own “chips” in the organization of this system. Let’s not only the main plus – a properly organized system practically does not require human intervention in the irrigation process. However, this is the “Achilles’ heel” of the system – it needs regular cleaning from blockages.
4. Nutrient layer technique
To organize, you will need to visit your local Garden and Vegetable Garden store, since all the necessary components can be found there. The roots of the plants are placed in an irrigation canal and the nutrient solution is pumped in on a continuous or periodic basis. The remaining nutrient solution flows back into the reservoir, and then the cycle repeats. The advantages include active oxygenation and rational use of the nutrient solution. The disadvantages, where no one is perfect without them, include blockages. And also any technical malfunctions associated with the operation of the pump can lead to loss of yield.
5. Wick system
Cheap and cheerful, and most importantly simple, and works. All that is needed is a pot of substrate and a wick dipped in the nutrient solution. Under the influence of the laws of physics, the liquid rises up the wick. The obvious advantages are that there is no need to use technologies (pump, sensors), which allows you to save a lot. The downside is the lack of nutrient recirculation, due to the (unexpectedly!) Lack of a pump. Slow growth rates, which can discourage a beginner from associating their hobby with hydroponics.
A relatively young method of growing plants without using a substrate. The roots are in the air and are regularly sprayed with a nutrient solution in the form of an aerosol. The cup is used on an industrial scale and allows you to achieve excellent results in growing, but no one will forbid you to grow in this way and at home. The obvious advantages are unlimited access to oxygen for plant roots, maximum absorption of nutrients, and rational use of space. The disadvantages are the inability to use thick nutrient mixtures and blockages in the system.
Equipment for growing hydroponics at home
Now that we have become acquainted with the main types of hydroponic systems, we turn to the second part of the Marlezon Ballet. The required minimum of equipment for growing at home.
He is a grow box, he is a box for growing, he is a wardrobe … A special space in which heavenly conditions are organized for any plant. Of course, you can make it from fantasy and sticks or from a closet. However, why reinvent the wheel when everything has long been invented for us. Now on sale, there are various grow tents, which are an excellent ready-made solution, without the need to cover the insides of the cabinet with foil or foam. The grow tent has all the necessary technical openings for the organization of ventilation and the location of the necessary equipment. The tightness of the grow tent protects the plant from dust and adverse factors.
There are several types of lamps: DNaT, MGL, LED.
HPS – high pressure sodium lamps, the use of which is more expedient in large grow boxes or grow rooms. Since this lamp emits a large amount of heat during operation, it should be located at a considerable distance from the plant. The height of the room in which it is used is at least 1.5 meters. This type of lamp works most effectively during the flowering period, however, it can be used throughout all stages of the plant’s life.
MGL – high pressure metal halide gas discharge lamps. They are used during the growing season of the plant, the formation of the stem and leaves. They emit a bluish light that mimics the spring sun and hints to your plant that it’s time to grow.
In the first couples, a beginner can use only one type of lamp in order to gain the necessary valuable growing experience; for this purpose, a HPS lamp is well suited. The main thing to remember is the DNaT and MGL lamps in no case should be taken with your hands, you must use gloves when working with them!
LED – the main advantage of such lamps is that during operation they do not heat the air around them, in contrast to the same HPS and MGL, which need additional ventilation for cooling. They are quick to install, do not require additional control, consume less electricity and are highly efficient. But, in this barrel of honey there is still a little tar … The cost of such lamps is much higher and, since they provide a sufficiently directed stream of light, you will need more lamps for high-quality lighting of the plant.
It is a ballast that will ensure the stable operation of the lighting. There are many types of ballast, some are suitable only for DNaT lamps, others only for MGL. There are options that are suitable for all types of lamps. Manufacturers do not recommend placing ballast in the grow box or in the immediate vicinity of the lamp, because during operation the ballast heats up and significantly increases the temperature in the grow box, which can negatively affect the well-being of the plant.
If physics is not taught at school, the world will be filled with magic. Although from the entire course it is enough to remember one simple truth: cold air remains at the bottom, warm air remains at the top. Based on this, at the initial stage, the easiest thing will be to acquire “passive” supply ventilation, that is, just a hole for fresh air will be enough. And also a fan (or fans, here already based on the volume of cultivation) for blowing, an ordinary small fan with a clip will do, which can be conveniently placed in a grow box.
When a young grower gets the initial experience in growing, it will be necessary to get an exhaust fan to remove superheated air from the grow box to maintain an optimal temperature in the range from 22 C to 26 C. One of the most popular are Soler & Palau fans, which are distinguished by low noise levels and high performance. The highest skill level of a grower will be the availability of additional lamp cooling equipment and a charcoal filter.
Yes, as super progressive as hydroponics is, you still need good old pots. Of course, their configuration will differ depending on the hydroponic growing method you choose. The pots can be used in several growing cycles, however, cleanliness must be carefully monitored and be sure to wash them before each new planting.
Yes, hydroponics means plants splashing merrily in the nutrient solution, however, using a substrate is possible, and in some cases even necessary. For germinating seeds, mineral wool comes out on top. Then, by popularity are: coconut fiber, expanded clay, perlite and vermiculite. Remember that the substrate can affect the pH level, so purchase it only from trusted stores, and also pre-prepare it before you start using it. Remember three basic rules:
- Ideally, neutral response
- Lack of interaction with solutes
- Easy wetting and unhindered access of oxygen and nutrient solution to the plant roots
Temperature is your friend and enemy at the same time. You always need to know its meaning to maintain comfortable conditions for the plant. The thermometer must have a function to remember the minimum and maximum values to maintain balance during your absence. And then suddenly you leave for Goa, and there will be no one to look after the plant.
It is necessary to save you unnecessary problems and automate processes in the grow box. The timer can be configured to turn on and off, in a certain period, light, ventilation, and other devices. Choosing it – do not save, it must be powerful and able to withstand all electrical appliances connected to it.
Additional electrical equipment
Power surges and power outages are the most common causes of plant death, because all processes in the hydroponic system occur quickly, unplanned blackouts can adversely affect the health of your plants. Therefore, immediately purchase relays, surge protectors, tees and a couple of kilometers of cable that you will certainly need.
So you got to know what every grower needs, a minimum of “Must have” devices. The list is endless. Also, how endlessly you can improve in the art of cultivation. If you have any questions, for detailed advice, you can contact the managers of our store. We wish you successful experiments and a big harvest!