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Hydroponics for Beginners: where to start?

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.

6. Aeroponics

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.

Grow box

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.

Lighting

There are several types of lamps: DNaT, MGL, LED.

HPS

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.

Metal halide

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

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.

Ballast

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.

Ventilation

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.

Pots

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.

Substrate

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 

Thermometer

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.

Timer

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.

In custody

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!

An epochal step, Regina invents the maintenance-free chain

Lubricating the motorcycle chain is undoubtedly one of the most tedious operations that we must do to extend the life of the final drive and therefore bring a lot of savings to our wallets. More here yourmotobro.com. An often uncomfortable operation that, if not done well and with the right products, causes a lot of dirt on the rear rim of our bike and beyond.

What Regina has invented is undoubtedly something extraordinary. One of those inventions that mark the world of two wheels, exceptional progress, which will save motorcyclists time and money by optimizing the duration of the entire chain, crown, and pinion assembly to the maximum. Below is the press release.

CERNUSCO LOMBARDONE (LC), 4 SEPTEMBER – Regina presents the innovative and revolutionary Z-Ring High Performance Endurance (HPE) chain , which eliminates the periodic re-lubrication carried out by the motorcyclist every 1,000 km.

Numerous laboratory and road tests show that the HPE chain achieves a useful life at least equivalent, if not greater, than that of a traditional Z-Ring chain regularly re-lubricated.

The hydrogen free Tetrahedral Amorphous Carbon (ta-C) coating , currently considered the most advanced of the DLC (Diamond Like Carbon) coatings , is applied to the surfaces of the bushings and rollers of the HPE chain.  The ta-C coating, combining the high hardness of the coated surface with a low coefficient of friction, reduces the dissipation of energy in the secondary transmission and therefore increases its efficiency.

The elimination of chain cleaning operations and lubricant splashes while driving minimize the environmental impact.

The innovative ta-C coating process was developed with intense R&D work by Regina technicians and is entirely carried out in our factory in Cernusco Lombardone (LC) in Italy.

“The elimination of periodic re-lubrication and the greater efficiency of the transmission raises the HPE chain to an extremely advanced technological level compared to traditional chains with gasket, unthinkable until now and unmatched on the market;” said Paolo Garbagnati, CEO of Regina. “We wish to thank all those who have allowed us to reach this important milestone, including all the passionate motorcyclists who, in a confidential and professional way, have contributed to the project with multiple and extensive road tests.”

The transmission with the HPE chain does not require the use of coated sprockets and sprockets. The HPE chain will be available on the aftermarket from January 2021.