Hydroponics Gardening - An Introduction To Hydroponics Gardening
For Beginners (part 4) Environment
By John R. Haughton
1 - Part
2 - Part
3 - Part 4 - Part
THE BASICS OF HYDROPONICS.
The Success or Failure of Your Plants Depends On Their Environment
The environment, or climate, in which your plants are grown is one of
the most important factors affecting your end results. The temperature
and humidity have to be right for the type of crop you are raising,
the lighting has to be of sufficient intensity and duration for the
stage your crop has reached. These and many other factors have to be
considered before you can hope to grow a healthy and productive crop.
Letís look briefly at the various factors involved. Growing
plants indoors means that you have to create similar conditions to
those outside. This may seem obvious at first glance, but is it true?
Ask yourself what the advantages of Hydroponics gardening are. The
outside climate is very varied and does not always work to the plant's
advantage. For example a bad storm or a late frost can damage or kill
tender young plants.
One of the major advantages of hydroponics gardening is that
you can control the climate within the grow room. This means that you
can supply your plants with the ideal conditions for their healthy
growth, throughout their lives. This ensures a good healthy yield and
a bigger profit margin.
So what do you need?
Having decided upon which type of hydroponics system to use, you now
need to promote the right growing conditions. All healthy plants
require a good supply of water and balanced nutrients. They need the
right kind of light, for the right period of time, each day. Your
plants will need some kind of support for their structure, especially
as they mature and grow heavy with harvestable produce. Like outdoor
plants they also need the temperature to be within a certain range.
Too cold and your plants will not thrive, but remain poor stunted
things. Too hot and they may well dry out, then their leaves will
wither and the plants die.
The addition of Carbon Dioxide gas (CO2) may be advisable to
promote Photosynthesis within the green leaves of your plants. Finally
some form of clean fresh air circulation is needed to ensure that your
crop can breathe. Like you, your plants need Oxygen for life. They
breathe it in through their tissues and like you, can become sick if
it is dirty or contaminated. So, taking these factors one at a time,
how can we create the optimum conditions for our plants?
Firstly water and a good supply of balanced nutrients are
essential. Which nutrient to buy and how to use it? This again is a
major question to some people. My advice to you would be to go with a
nutrient that you can understand and are comfortable using. As you
gain experience and confidence you can experiment with other methods
and suppliers at will.
Lighting is another key area that seems to cause newcomers a
problem. The type of light and the number of daylight hours are
determined by the species of plants you are cultivating and their
stage of development. Young seedlings and cuttings, for example, need
much softer light than do plants about to flower. Equitorial plants
will generally need a higher light intensity for a longer period than
will plants from the regions where days and growing seasons are short.
Ask your hydroponics supplier for help in any of the areas you are
unsure of. He will be pleased to assist you.
When looking at lighting you also need to take into account the area
to be covered and whether the lights are to be static or moving.
A Brief Word Of Warning.
Poor quality lighting systems can be very dangerous and accidents are
more likely to occur if the person who sets up the equipment is not
particular about safety. Always buy quality assured electrical
equipment that carries the safety mark for your country. Do not risk
your life or the lives of those you love just to save a few pounds or
IF IN DOUBT CONSULT A PROFESSIONAL ELECTRICIAN
Plants can be supported in a variety of ways, by using frames and
tying the plant stems to them at regular intervals using plastic ties.
Automatic reels can be bought which makes the job a lot easier. They
consist of a spring loaded reel of cord with a hook arrangement that
fixes to the ceiling, or a top runner, and a hook or loop to tie to
the top area of the plant stem. As the plant grows so the slack in the
cord is taken up by the reel. Depending on your growing system the
roots will either be supported or not. If no support is used, for
example in a water culture system, then the plant should be supported
at or near the base of the stem, to stop it lifting if reel supports
And so to the temperature control in your artificial climate.
The optimum temperature for your plants will again vary with both
genus and species. Ask your supplier what this should be. Now you will
need devise a system to maintain the temperature within the optimum
top and bottom limits. This can be achieved by either a series of fans
and/or heaters together with various other pieces of equipment such as
timers, controllers, monitors and CO2 dosers, or by a commercially
produced environmental control system. These ready made systems come
in a variety of price options designed to suit almost every pocket. In
general, the more you are prepared to spend, the more sophisticated
the systems that are available to you.
Fresh air requirements for your grow room are normally provided
using a fan assisted ducting system . This introduces clean air from
the outside, via a filter to remove impurities. An Ozone generator is
often used to improve the supply of oxygen and neutralize any noxious
odors. Another similar ducting system then extracts the dirty air back
to the outside, again via a filter to remove impurities and cut down
on unwelcome odors. Humidifiers can be used, if needed, to increase
the amount of airborne water vapor.
Copyright (C) 2004, 2005 - John R Haughton. --- All Rights Reserved
A partner in a thriving retail hydroponics supply business, Rickie
Haughton is the owner of http://hydroponics-gardening-information.com/
which aims to cater for all levels of expertise in the field of
hydroponics gardening. The website is packed with good content about
all aspects off hydroponics gardening and offers a free hydroponics
Club membership to all subscribers.