Growing Hydroponics Refresher

Growing Hydroponics Refresher

Growing Hydroponics Refresher

Hydroponics is a method of growing plants using nutrient-rich water rather than soil. This method can be used to grow a wide variety of plants, including vegetables, herbs, flowers, and fruit. Some plants may be more difficult to grow using hydroponics than others, but in general, most plants can be grown using this method.

It is important to consider the specific needs of each plant when setting up a hydroponics system, as different plants may have different requirements for light, temperature, and nutrients. It may also be necessary to provide additional support for some plants, such as trellising for vine plants or staking for tall plants.

Overall, hydroponics can be a very effective method for growing a wide range of plants, with the potential for higher yields and faster growth compared to traditional soil-based growing methods

Hydroponics systems can be used both indoors and outdoors. Indoor hydroponics systems are often used in controlled environments, such as greenhouses or grow rooms, where the temperature, light, and other growing conditions can be carefully regulated. Indoor hydroponics systems can be a good option for growing plants in areas where soil conditions are poor or where the weather is not suitable for outdoor growing.

Outdoor hydroponics systems can also be set up in a variety of locations

Of course, such as in a backyard, on a balcony, or in a community garden. Outdoor hydroponics systems may be more vulnerable to weather-related challenges, such as extreme temperatures or pests, but can still be a successful way to grow plants. It is important to carefully consider the location and setup of an outdoor hydroponics system to ensure that the plants receive the necessary light, nutrients, and other growing conditions.

Overall, hydroponics systems can be used both indoors and outdoors, depending on the specific needs and preferences of the grower.

To set up a hydroponics system, you will need some specialized equipment.

The specific equipment needed will depend on the type of hydroponics system you are using and the plants you are growing. Some common pieces of equipment that may be needed for a hydroponics system include:

  • A container or system for holding the plants and nutrient solution. This could be a simple tray with a lid, a more complex system such as a nutrient film technique (NFT) system or a deep water culture (DWC) system, or a multi-level system such as a vertical tower.
  • Grow lights, if the system is being set up indoors or in an area with insufficient natural light.
  • A water pump to circulate the nutrient solution through the system.
  • A timer to control the watering schedule.
  • A pH meter or test kit to ensure that the nutrient solution has the correct pH level for the plants being grown.
  • Nutrient solution specifically formulated for hydroponics systems.
  • Net cups, rockwool cubes, or other materials to hold the plants in place.
  • A growing medium, such as perlite, vermiculite, or coconut coir, to help anchor the plants in place and provide some support.

While some of these items can be purchased specifically for use in a hydroponics system, it is also possible to repurpose or modify items that you already have on hand. It’s important to learn as much as you can about the needs of the plants you’re growing and to choose equipment that fits your system.

house hot spots

Keep Your Growing Room Warm

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Keep Your Growing Room Warm

Keep Your Growing Room Warm

So to keep in line with my last post, here are a few ideas to keep your growing room warm for your plants this winter. Many grow rooms are situated in modern homes with central heating.

Even though this year’s autumn has been pretty mild, temperatures are starting to drop, especially at night, as winter approaches. As a result, every indoor gardener will be looking for ways to maintain grow rooms at the ideal range of 25–28°C when the lights are on and 18–21°C when they are off.

Low grow room temperatures can harm your plants; one of the first symptoms is purpling of the stems, which is followed by sluggish or stunted development as nutrient intake and photosynthesis levels fall. Since, let’s face it, nobody wants a subpar harvest after all the hard work you’ve put in over the previous weeks, the outcome will not only be a bad final output but also a lower-than-expected level of harvest quality.

So, the simple way would be to keep the central heating on 24/7. The problem with this is that it would probably be too warm for us humans to tolerate. Individual radiator thermostats are a great idea, as you can control each radiator. including the one in the growing room. If the radiator is set to a certain temperature, it will change how much heat it sends out to match. Don’t forget that heat is given off by your lighting and ventilation, so some sort of control will be required to maintain a certain temperature.

Heat control can be easy to maintain, provided there are no dramatic temperature changes.

Some methods of heat control

By using some of these ideas, you can keep the temperature from dropping too much. thus resulting in poor-growing plants and a smaller harvest. Earlier, I mentioned the lights. Of course, this depends on what lights you are using. Older lighting systems emit a lot of heat and can drastically change the temperature. LED lights burn at much lower temperatures and are more controllable, in my opinion.

Unfortunately, we have a large number of Victorian houses in the UK. These larger stone terraced houses are much more difficult to control, even with central heating systems. Therefore, there should be a couple more safeguards to look at.

  1. Fan speed controllers can be used to reduce the amount of air intake and extraction (making things hotter or cooler)
  2. For older properties you could add extra heating such as electric fan heater with an in built thermostat if possible.
  3. Its always a good idea to Insulate your grow room floor, wall and ceiling (there are many products on the market at good prices)
  4. In a water tank then use a water heater for large volumes of nutrient solution (dont put cold water onto your plants ! remember the 19c rule)
  5. Buy a maximum and minimum temperature gauge and regularly check the humidity readings.
  6. Dont pull in freezing air so obtain your intake air from a different room (Keeps the temperature ambient)
  7. Ensure your nutrients are stored at the correct room temperature
  8. Change round day and night by running your grow lights during the night and lights off during the day.
  9. I hope this will help new growers in particularly.
cold weather

Hydroponics Winter Basics

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Hydroponics Winter Basics

Hydroponics Winter Basics

Winter is now upon us in the northern hemisphere. Here in West Yorkshire, we have already experienced several frosts and a snowstorm. thus making it impossible to do any outdoor gardening.

Most plants that are hardy have already closed down for their winter break. The deciduous trees have lost their leaves, and only the conifers still have green leaves. In my case, my lemons and other citrus fruit are sitting happily in their cosy greenhouse, together with LED lighting to lengthen our dark winter days.

So, indoor hydroponic growers can experience temperature fluctuations during very cold spells of weather. Roots are very intolerant of temperature changes. Changes in growth can make significant changes to the growth rate if the temperature is allowed to drop below 19 °C. So at this temperature, the plant’s root zone could easily be damaged. The growth begins to slow, and the outside of the root can be damaged.

Even plants in the right zone can be harmed by the cold.

Why do plants suffer from cold

The causes of this are numerous and depend on the location, soil, length of the cold, and other elements. Depending on the type of plant and the aforementioned criteria, different plants respond differently to cold. The USDA’s recommendations for plant hardiness are simply that—recommendations.

A plant’s real hardiness will vary depending on its microclimate, exposure, water and nutrient uptake, and general health. There are several reasons why cold might harm plants, but we’ll focus on the most obvious ones.
A plant’s health and hardiness are impacted by every circumstance that it encounters.

Plants that aren’t getting enough water may droop and even die. Negative plant health can also result from too many or too little nutrients. In a similar manner, meteorological conditions can harm a plant’s vitality. Plants are damaged by the freezing of their cells, which also obstructs the movement of water and nutrients.

Many experts believe that the ideal root temperature is between 20 and 21 degrees Celsius. So, to enable the plants to absorb nutrients correctly, Providing a nutrient solution that is strong enough to stimulate new growth is important for the development of a healthy plant. Keeping good oxygen levels and content is imperative for good results.

Concrete floors can be a problem

When writing this blog,

I was thinking primarily about temperature variations in a building with concrete floors. We all know about the cold feeling we get when we walk inside a building with a concrete floor. Particularly in the winter. So, if plants are grown under these conditions, then there is likely to be a large temperature variation. This could be overlooked when starting out your growing season in the spring.

Even a small garage used for growing will suffer variations in temperature in the winter. As a result, many growers use some type of rubber mat to help insulate their precious crop. Personally, I would raise the plants off the floor to prevent them from getting “cold feet” and ruining the crop at a later stage.

Cold can also affect the temperature of the water tank used to mix and provide the nutrients. Growing rooms must be well insulated so the air temperature does not change significantly in a cold spell. As I previously stated, the 19th century standard should not be compromised. Your plants will be open to attacks from many pests and diseases. The weaker your hydroponics plant is, the more likely it is to have been attacked.

Of course, all this will lead to a poor crop and disappointment. So prepare for winter by making your plants as cosy as possible to avoid disappointment and a poor harvest. Heaters are the answer!


zeus 600w led light unit

Lumatek Zeus Pro Lighting

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Lumatek Zeus Pro Lighting

6 reasons to use LED lights in your greenhouse

  1. Providing supplemental lighting for plants: LED lights can be used to provide additional light to plants in a greenhouse, particularly during the winter months when natural light levels are lower. This can help promote healthy plant growth and flowering.
  2. Controlling temperature: LED lights can be used to heat a greenhouse during cold weather, helping to maintain optimal growing conditions for plants.
  3. Improving plant growth and yield: LED lights can be used to improve the growth and yield of certain crops by providing the specific wavelengths of light that they need for optimal growth.
  4. Reducing energy consumption: LED lights are highly energy efficient and can help reduce the energy costs of operating a greenhouse.
  5. Improving the appearance of the greenhouse: LED lights can be used to create a visually appealing environment in the greenhouse, enhancing the overall aesthetic of the space.
  6. Improving safety: LED lights can help improve safety in the greenhouse by providing bright, consistent lighting that makes it easier to navigate the space and identify any potential hazards.

Lumatek Zeus Pro Lighting

Why use LED lighting

Well, in my opinion, the cost of running your lighting has got to be among the main reasons for updating your equipment. So as time goes by, there are thousands of inventors looking for new ways to improve things. In my opinion, this is the next step forward in growers’ lighting.

Indeed, there are many reports from manufacturers that say the LED lights can save as much as 40%. In comparison to the energy used by the old-fashioned lighting equipment that many people still use, Also, the growing area that is lit up using LED will, of course, generate a higher yield per kWh. My own experience is that a friend who is a keen grower of all sorts of plants had a surplus LED light unit. He offered the light at a good price, and so I snapped his hand off. The unit is just plug-and-play and simple to install.

Used LED for the first time

Last winter was the first time that I used the new LED lights in my citrus plants overwintering greenhouse. So, the light emitted from the LEDs was a very bright white light. My older lights were, of course, orange-coloured. Combined with a good greenhouse heater, my plants overwintered perfectly. Consequently, I added two hours of daylight at each end of the day. So giving my lemons and oranges the extra daylight they require.

My plants are put out in the summer, and I then grow my tomatoes and peppers. Incidentally, my friend had bought a new Lumatek LED light unit, which is rated at a tremendous 60,000 hours. I was happy to buy his old LED unit for my first step into LED growing. However, he upgraded to the Lumatek, giving him a 5 year warranty.

Lumatek LED, s highly efficient

One of the first things I noticed about LED lighting was how cool they ran at. The Lumatek also operates at high efficiency with much less wattage. That means less heat release, lower gardening costs (which keeps the wife happy), and lower electric bills.

My friend is certainly impressed with his Lumatek Zeus Pro Led lighting setup. giving Scott, my friend, more powerful grow lights. Another added advantage of Lumatek LED lights is that they can be dimmed. Accordingly, adjust the PPF level. Naturally, to suit the crop and the growth stages. This is without changing or losing efficiency.

Flexible light intensity;

Lumatek LEDs can be turned down to change the PPF level to fit the crop and its growth stage. This doesn’t change how the spectral power is distributed or make them less effective. Of course, LED lighting is the future and is already in the process of overtaking the HPS lighting market. Because of the way that the multiple light strips are designed, the diodes are spread right across the canopy. This spreads out the light, giving it an almost perfect footprint.

So, the type of lighting that the Zeus product emits is as close as possible to natural sunlight. Of course, something that’s most beneficial to your plants Finally, once the Lumatek LEDs are up and running, you won’t ever have to change a lamp again. This should save you more than £1000 per year!

These lights are available from many hydroponic stores online, and callers are welcome.

LED Lighting for a better heat control

August Heat Wave Expected

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August Heat Wave Expected

August Heat Wave Expected

So, I am sure that most people including growers and regular gardeners look forward to long sunny summer days. Of course its time to relax in the garden with your friends and family over a glass of beer or two. Possibly just doing some watering chores and making sure the greenhouse is well ventilated. However according to the weather forecast things are going to hot up in the August of 2021 here in the UK.

So, we have recently witnessed a good week of hot weather and we all know how uncomfortable it can be for us mere mortals. Spare a thought for the plants grown indoors. Good growing conditions require a temperature in the region of 28c! Hence to produce a good crop. However, things can become more unstable if the temperature reaches the 30C+ range outside. Our British homes are built to keep the cold out and the heat in with plenty of insulation. Unfortunately, during heat waves then the homes become stuffy and overheated. Thus making it difficult to sleep on sultry evenings.

Coincidently, plants feel the heat too and often stress out ending in a poor crop of fruit or flowers. The main problem in hot weather is of course the heat given off by the grow room lights. So, many people have their lights fitted with an adjustable ballast. Enabling the heat produced by the lights to be reduced. The ballast wattage can be turned down via its settings to reduce the amount of heat produced by the bulbs.

Importantly, the Lumatek 600w digital ballast provides a stable precise voltage to the lamp and is available online from your local Hydrostore.

LED to the rescue!

Of course the “rescue ship on the horizon! is going to be the LED lighting units. These units although expensive at the moment give off no heat. Therefore giving the grower more control over temperature. Smaller growers are already embracing this marvellous technology. Indeed I recently bought an LED lighting unit from a guy who claims to have had a double delivery. The unit was a bargain and was installed to give my citrus trees extended day light hours through Autumn to Spring. Thus enabling my citrus trees to carry on growing until they were put outside for the summer months.

The temperature was controlled by a greenhouse fan heater and all worked very well. As I have said these LED lighting units are more expensive to buy in the first place! However they pay for themselves because they actually use between 50 and 70% less electricity than the more traditional HPS bulb system.

Good Extraction System also helps

Of course most indoor growing set ups are fitted out with some sort of extraction system. These systems change the air in the growing room replacing warm air with cooler air. So, this combined with a control unit such as a GSE Controller will automate the process. So, as the temperature rises from outside conditions the system will start to work over time to keep the conditions more stable and the plants happier.

An extraction system reduces heat build up by drawing in cool air and then transferring warm air out of the growing area via ducting and a carbon filter. If you introduce a fan controller with temperature probe, your extraction system will automatically react to the temperature you set it too which also allows you to control you grow rooms temperature. Most plants hate to grow in a stuffy overheated environment and can cause growing restrictions leading to a poor quality crop of whatever you are growing.

So with the correct equipment in use then all should be well and the best results will be achieved.