BetterGrow Hydro Blog

Deep Water Madness

Deep Water Culture is a very simple Hydroponic system where your root system is submerged in your nutrient solution with an air pump creating oxygen for the root zone.  This was the first system I ever used and although it sounds simple, I was unaware of the many problems this type of system was to present me with. I used organic nutrients mixed with synthetic which was my first mistake.  Anaerobic bacteria was growing my reservoirdue to me mixing a microbial compost tea with a sugar based product. Also reservoir temperature control is a must, if it gets too warm many things can happen such as root rot etc.  In Deep Water Culture Systems it is important to keep the temperature of the nutrient solution low and to use a clean synthetic nutrient regiment.

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Vertical versus Horizontal

Hi, my name is Nick; I have been growing hydroponically since 2005. The last couple of years I have been growing in a vertical garden. Today I will be talking about the pros and cons to vertical gardening in The Cage. The Cage consists of a 72 site vertical hydroponic system, which is used as a drain to waste, or a recirculation system.

The pros:

1. A cage has 72 plants within a 16-foot area with 1200 Watts of light. An average flat garden has about 20 plants in a 16-foot area, with 1000 Watts of light.

2. I have also noticed growing vertically that water flows from the top to bottom, so there is no salt build up like traditional flat gardens.

3. Since the majority of flowers have a vertical growth pattern, vertical lighting is the best way to maximize the plants potential for maximum yield. More light penetration equals much more yields.

The cons:

1. You have less root space in my experience in a vertical garden, but not really an issue due to the high yields you get from your plants.

2. You need a bottom fan to circulate air properly throughout your room.

3. In vertical gardens the spacing between your plants are substantially closer to each other, then with a traditional flat bed garden, so it is much harder to work with your plants.

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Being Green – Conserving Water with Hydroponic Gardening

By design alone, hydroponic gardens can use up to ninety percent less water than in traditional soil gardens.

How do we achieve such impressive conservation you ask? Well, my Eco-friendly amigos, the nutrient rich water being supplied to your robust tomato plants, is stored in a reservoir, and while being constantly aerated, it is re-circulated within your garden until the nutrients have been depleted (up to 2 weeks), all of which can later be pumped on to your outside garden or lawn, thereby utilizing every ounce of that precious H20!

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How to – Properly check your room temperature?

Atmosphere is an important variable in hydroponic gardening that needs to be controlled.  Invest in a quality thermometer that has min/max, Hygrometer, and a temperature probe. Place the probe right at the plant canopy when plants have reached desired height, until then it is advisable to keep the probe near the plants base to ensure you are maintaining desired root zone temperature. If you are using CO2, keep your temperature at 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit and relative humidity at 50%-60%. If you are not using CO2, keep your temperature around 75-78 degrees Fahrenheit, and 40%-50% relative humidity.

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Tips & Tricks

Having problems getting the tubing for your hydro system to fit on the barbed elbows and tees? Try this simple solution –Spray down the fitting with a little streakless alcohol based window cleaner (Windex, etc.). The cleaner will act as a natural lubricant and since its alcohol based, it will evaporate quickly, leaving your connection clean and watertight!

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Organic “VS” Synthetic

One of The Benefits of using Synthetic nutrients over Organic nutrients is the ability to measure nutrient solution concentration. With organic nutrients, using  a tds/ppm/ec  meter will give an inaccurate reading due to the fact that tds/ppm/ec is a measurement based upon the electrical conductivity of salts.  Another downside to using organics is that the thickness of the nutrient solution can be a lot different from that of a clean synthetic based mix. All those natural components in your Organic fertilizers can clog pumps, drip emitters, sprayers etc. Synthetic Fertilizers tend to push your plant to perform at its fullest capability, that is one reason I tend to use synthetic based nutrients in my programs, but this also can lead to over fertilization, salt build up and other issues if not used correctly.

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