FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What Are Expanded Clay Pellets?
Expanded clay pellets are inorganic and have a neutral PH, they transport and store water. The gaps between the kernels provide a good aeration (oxygen transport) for the roots. Expanded clay pellets are used as a substrate in hydroculture / hydroponics, or as a soil additive. They can also be spread as a top layer over soil around plants to prevent the growth of unwanted weeds.
What is Coco Pearl?
Coco peat (cocopeat), is made from coconut husks. Raw coconuts are washed, heat-treated, screened and graded before being processed into coco peat products of various granularity and denseness, which are then used for horticultural and agricultural applications including hydroponics.
Is Coco Peat All Need To Grow With And How Important Is The Quality Of My Coco?
Due to low levels of nutrients in its composition, coco peat is usually not the sole component in the medium used to grow plants. When plants are grown exclusively in coco peat, it is important to add nutrients according to the specific plants’ needs. Coco peat from Sri Lanka and India contain several macro- and micro-plant nutrients, including substantial quantities of Potassium.
Coco peat is not fully decomposed when it arrives and will use up available nitrogen as it does so (known as drawdown); competing with the plant if there is not enough. Poorly sourced coco peat can have excess salts in it and needs washing (check electrical conductivity of run-off water, flush if high). It has a similar cation exchange capacity to sphagnum peat, holds water well, re-wets well from dry and holds around 1000 times more air than soil.
What Is Rock Wool And How Does It Work?
Can You Tell Me About TDS?
Can you tell me about pH?
How Effective Is Co2?
There is no question that increasing carbon dioxide levels in the garden has tremendous potential for creating faster, more productive crop plants. The trick is to use Co2 wisely – knowing how and when to add Co2 for maximum results.
The first step is to create such great growing conditions in your garden that your crops will benefit from extra Carbon Dioxide! Careful attention to light levels, temperature, air flow through the garden, exhaust fan capability, air intake, crop spacing, and nutrient supply will result in a first class garden. You will have healthy, vigorous plants ready and willing to take up and use extra Co2 efficiently. Overheated, croweded, and bug-infested plants are so busy just trying to survive that adding Co2 would be wasteful. Whip your garden into shape first – then plan when and where to add Co2 to get the greatest benefits.
Our plants go through several growth stages during their lives 1) seedling/cutting stage, 2) transplant, 3) green growth, 4) transition to flowering and crop production and 5) production stages. Each growth stage has its own “cultural” requirements. Seedlings need different light levels and fertilizer strengths than established crop plants. Extra Co2 is more useful during some growth stages than others. Generally, adding Co2 will help the most, during periods of rapid growth, but a team of Canadian university researches and commercial growers have discovered some surprising and useful facts about carbon doxide’s effects on specific stages of growth and how extra Co2 early in a plant’s life brings unexpected benefits months later.
The researchers and commercial growers discovered that adding Co2 to plants at the seeding/cutting stage for about two weeks produced two benefits; faster early growth and greater final crop yield, even without extra Co2 during green growth and crop production. This is useful information for hobby gardeners since a little extra carbon dioxide for rooting cuttings and seedlings can help plants so much.
If you use tall, clear covers over your baby plants, release a little Co2 under the cover to raise Co2 levels to about 1500 ppM. Remove covers to let in fresh air after a few hours, and be sure plants have only fresh air (no Co2) during dark periods. The two-week period leading up to transplanting is the most effective time for this Co2 technique. If you are already using Co2 for other purposes, try treating your “small fries” with this proven growth and crop stimulator.
Adding carbon dioxide during transplanting stage is not recommended, since plants are adjusting to new growing conditions and can make do with regular Co2 levels (average 300 ppM) in the air.
Once plants are ‘established’ in green growth stage (full light levels, full strength fertilizers, spreading roots and new top growth), it’s time to consider adding Co2 to your rapidly growing green plants. Your decision should be based on the length of time your crop will be in green growth as well as an impartial evaluation of the garden’s growing conditions. Plants with a long green-growth period (30 days and more) would benefit from Co2 enrichment, growing to a desired size more quickly. Growth hormones used along with extra Co2 and increased food strength, results in faster, healthier green growth plants.
Some crops, called ‘long day’ plants produce their crops during summer, while continuing to put out new leaves and stems. Tomatoes and roses are typical long-day crops, which benefit from supplemental Co2 right through the green growth/crop production stages. These plants do not go through a separate transition stage like short-day crops, so additional Co2 can be applied through the life of the plants during the light cycle.
“Short-Day” crops have a definite “transition” stage before flower or crop production begins thus upsetting Co2 applications. Short-day plants produce green growth during spring and summer and flower flower and crop in autumn, responding to the longer nights by beginning crop production. Chrysanthemum and hardy hibiscus are examples of this category of plant.
Since Co2 is most useful when established plants are actively growing, shut off your tank until crops pass through the transition stage and save the extra Co2 for use when crops begin producing flowers. Holding off on extra carbon dixoide while plants go through the transition from growth to crop production should help keep plants bushy and compact while they decide what to do next and reduces ‘stretching’ problems so common in the early transition period. In fact, if your short-day crop has a history of stretching, cut off the extra Co2 two week before the end of the green growth stage.
Once crops are ‘established’ into crop production stage (full light levels, full strength food, plants actively producing) resume Co2 enrichment. If all goes well, you could consider increasing the nutrient strength for periods of maximum growth during this stage. Cut back on Co2 as growth slows and crop is finishing up.
After 7-14 days, your crops tell you how many plants you are gaining from extra Co2. How much is it helping your crop plants?
You can reposition oscillating fans, add Co2 airlines to more oscillating fans or increase Co2 flow rate if growth rate is uneven or if some plants need more Co2. Usually growers become very enthusiastic about adding Co2 at this point since they can see how it is helping their gardens. If little or no effect on growth is seen, check growing conditions for limiting factors. High garden temperatures, poor air movement, bugs, disease or incorrect nutrient mix all interfere with Co2 uptake and growth.
The Co2 generators we use for carbon dioxide enrichment are very efficient burners of propane or nautral gas. By completely oxidizing the fuel, the generator gives off pure carbon dixoide and lots of heat as water vapor! Growers planning to install Co2 generators in their gardens should antipate having to deal with excess heat and humidity from their new equipment. We approach this problem a number of ways.
One method involves placing the generator in a remote location and moving the Co2 through ducting to the air intake where it is delivered to the crop by oscillating fans. A fan attached to the duct draws the Co2-rich air from the generator, helping to dissipate heat and causing some of the water vapor to condense inside the duct. Catching condensation run-offs will help in removing condensation from the duct. Do this by sloping the duct slightly and placing a tray or bucket at the end.
Another method is to suspend the generator over-head, above the garden, and use timers or controls systems to supply Co2 for brief periods during the light hours. With all fans shut off, the Co2 generator goes on and carbon dioxide drifts downward onto the garden. When the generator shuts off by timer or thermostat, the fans are turned back on to cool the garden.
The disadvantages of this method are:
• Periods of high temperatures in the garden with no air movement.
• Limited amount of Co2 supplied to the garden
• Excess humidity levels in the garden
What Is Cloning?
Ho Do I Clone A Plant?
What Would Be Considered Appropriate Lighting For Growing
How Important Is Water Quality In Hydroponics?
What Is The Right Water Temperature For Hydroponics?
You should maintain a constant temperature between 70° and 80°F (21-26 Celcius)in your nutrient reservoir. This is important, especially during the cool months, to help increase plant performance. Do not increase the temperature above 85°F as this may cause root damage. You can use an aquarium heater to maintain the temperature in your reservoir. It takes at least 5 watts per gallon to heat and maintain a constant nutrient temperature (for example, a 10 gallon reservoir requires a 50 watt heater).
How do i Know if My Seed Is Viable?
There are various simple tests for viability. One is to dampen a plain white paper towel and fold it in half, place a few seeds on one half of the towel and fold it in half again over the seeds, enclose it in a ziplock sandwich bag and place it in an environment appropriate to the seed’s germination requirements (light, dark, warm, cool, etc.). After a week or so, check to see if any sprouts have appeared. Some seeds, such as peas, can be tested for viability by placing them in a bowl of water. Those that float are sterile (contain no embryo and are therefore lighter); those that sink are likely to be viable.
What Is A Ballast And Why Do I Need One?
What Kind Of Plants Are Grown By Hydroponics?
How Often Should I Change My Nutrient Solution?
Can I Transfer Plants From Soil To Hydroponics?
Do My Plants Need Oxygen?
Plants need plenty of oxygen to grow. This is why ventilation is important to allow outdoor oxygen to reach your plants.
Is Humidity Important?
Humidity levels can become very high in your hydroponic growing area due to consistent watering and the enclosed environment.There are monitoring devices to help you keep a check on the humidity level. This is another area where correct ventilation and fanning helps. Your plants can either become saturated or too dry, and neither is very healthy.
What Is The Difference Between Aeroponics and Aero-Hydroponics?
There is a very simple definition of the difference between these two methods of growing. Aeroponic systems have plants which roots dangle in the air and the roots are sprayed with nutrient water. In an Aero-Hydroponic system there are roots that dangle, but half of the roots dangle directly into water and the other half are sprayed with nutrient water. The spraying action keeps the standing water moving and circulating at all times which works excellent to get oxygen infused water to the roots. This Aero-Hydroponic method has proven to work incredibly for rooting cuttings and all other stages of growth as well.
Ebb And Flow Hydroponics System - How Do They Work?
Ebb and flow hydroponic systems are built with simplicity and efficiency in mind. A plant tray is placed atop a reservoir where water and nutrient solutions will be added. A water pump is placed inside the reservoir and connected to the tray, constantly pumping in nutrients with the help of a pump timer. The nutrients and water are assimilated by the plants, but in some cases an overflow occurs and the tray gets flooded. If this happens, a drain system allows the overflowing water to come back to the reservoir, recycling the unused nutrients and water. The only disadvantage of this system is that the pH levels of the water get changed when overflow is drained back, so you’ll need to keep a constant eye on it.