A Guide To Indoor Growing With Hydroponics
With so much information already out there, it can be easy to get bogged down and confused with the concept of indoor growing with hydroponics. Various techniques and systems available can make it seem like a bit of a minefield but it doesn’t have to be so!
Read on to discover all our best tips and tricks to creating a grow room and using a hydroponic system to grow your own plants.
Firstly – What Is Hydroponics?
Hydroponics is simply a method of growing plants without soil, and using nutrient solutions for feeding. Some advantages of growing indoors hydroponically include:
- Faster growth all year round
- It saves space
- Saves on water usage
- Less diseases & pests
Which Hydroponic System Do I Choose For Indoor Growing?
You have a few different systems to choose from here. The main difference between each one is how exactly they deliver the water, oxygen and nutrients to your plants.
- Deep Water Culture (DWC)
- Ebb and Flow (Flood and Drain)
- Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)
Your choice of growth media mainly depends on the type of hydroponic system that you want to use. Some systems will work with any, and some are more specific. To really get the best out of your plants, you should know which growth media works best with which hydroponic system.
When looking for nutrients you’ll see that there are hundreds to choose from. So how do you decide what to use? Some nutrients have been designed specifically for a certain growth media or hydroponics system, so that should always be your first point of call. Most however will work within hydro, soil or coco set-ups.
There are also various supplements and additives that will help to give all round nutrition and support for your plants.
Finding the Right Hydroponic Kit
Now you have an idea of what you want to do, you need to gather all necessary equipment to get a grow room set up and ready to go.
Key equipment to think about include:
These basics will ensure that your plants have everything they need to get off to a good start.
It is also important to think about keeping your grow room safe to protect not only your plants but yourself and the area you are growing in, too.
Indoor Growing With Hydroponics
So now it’s time to actually get growing, right? If you’re starting right from the beginning, propagation technique plays an important role in how well your plant is going to do in the future.
Seeds can be planted directly into the medium in which you will be growing in, or can be placed into a starter cube. These cubes are perfect for new seedlings.
An identifying feature of a propagator is the plastic cover, which works as a humidity dome, keeping the temperatures optimal, and helps seeds to sprout. You can get either heated or unheated propagators, which are useful depending on the temperatures you need to hit.[caption id="attachment_2207" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Propagators under T5 propagation light canopies[/caption]
Things to Check Whilst Growing
When growing hydroponically there are certain measurements that you need to keep an eye on, to ensure that your plants are getting exactly what they need.
This includes regularly checking the pH of your nutrient feed is at the optimal levels (and not too acidic or alkaline) so your plants can take up everything they need. Alongside this, the EC tells you the quantity of nutrients available to your plants. Checking the EC gives you an idea of whether your solution is too concentrated with nutrients, too weak or just right.
It is best to check plants regularly for any signs of deficiencies as this helps you to spot and identify potential problems much more quickly than just noticing when it gets too big of a problem. Things to look out for include:
- Discoloured leaves, including full colour changes or colour spots
- Leaves curling at the tips
- Leaves browning and dying off
- Weakness in the plant stems
Deficiencies can actually be caused through over or under watering, so it’s always best to have a proper look at how your system is running first, and then look at potential nutrients being deficient. You also don’t want to overload your plants with too much nutrient without knowing fully what is going on, because that too can have a negative effect.
Example: Nitrogen deficiencies
Flushing can be a great help when dealing with deficiencies or problems with your plants, as it can help to remove excess nutrients or blockages. It is also an important aspect of indoor growing, as otherwise the taste of your plants at the final yield may be compromised due to the build up of nutrients.
Pests & Disease
Though you will find less pests and disease when growing hydroponically compared to growing outside in the natural elements, they can still appear and cause havoc with your plants if you don’t fix it quickly.
First you need to be able to spot and identify pests to know what it is you're dealing with, and what needs to be done.
However it goes without saying that prevention is always better than cure. Steps you can take to avoid any problems when indoor growing include:
- Keeping your grow room clean, and sanitising all surfaces regularly
- Use a product that acts as a barrier against pests or disease
- Give your grow room and equipment a complete clean in between different grows
If you do encounter the problem of pests or disease, there are products that you can use to rid of them without harming your plants in the process.
For more information on anything mentioned, please feel free to pop into any of our four stores in Manchester, Burnley, Huddersfield or Flint, or contact us online through our social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
This page will be constantly updated with all information relating to indoor growing within hydroponics so keep it bookmarked!