Hydroponic Gardening For Beginners

Frequently Asked Questions
What is Hydroponics?
Hydroponics is the method of growing plants using a soilless media which could include a wide variety of examples like: gravel, peat, vermiculite Perlite, old rubber tires, rockwool, and expanded clay aggregates. The minerals that the plant needs are dissolved into the water which is then watered directly to the plants. So, in short instead of the plants searching throughout the soil for their minerals they draw them directly from the water that they are being fed.

What is pH?
A measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution, numerically equal to 7 for neutral solutions, increasing with increasing alkalinity and decreasing with increasing acidity. We recommend that you keep your solution at about 6.5 because that is the point at which the nutrients are the most soluble.

What is PPM?
PPM is very easily defined as Parts Per Million and can be used as the measurement of a number of different things. More commonly in the hydroponics world, this measurement is used to measure the amount of Total Dissolved Solids in your nutrient solution or how much Co2 is in your atmosphere.

What is EC?
EC is a unit of measure to gauge the Electrical Conductivity of a solution. An EC meter applies an electrical voltage to the solution and reads the conductivity that is produced from the motion of mineral Ions.

What is the difference between High Pressure Sodium and Metal Halide?
The difference between these two types of HID (High Intensity Discharge) lights is the color spectrum that is emitted from each. The High Pressure Sodium bulb emits light that is concentrated in the red to yellow side of the spectrum and are weak in the blue-violet end. While the Metal Halide bulb emits light that is very balanced and contains all the energy peaks at wavelengths of the visible spectrum. Visually the Sodium bulbs will appear

very yellow-orange and the Halide bulbs will appear more blue-white in color.

Should I use Sodium or Halide?
The Halide lights have a very balanced spectrum and are excellent for vegetative growth or leafy plants like lettuce and basil. The Halide lights produce between 65-115 lumens per watt which is a measure of the efficiency of the bulb, or how much light you are producing for the amount of electricity you are using. The Sodium lights produce light that is very bright and concentrated on the yellow to red side of the color spectrum. This color is not as balanced as the Halide but makes up for the lacking of a balanced spectrum in the amount of light given off by the bulb. The Sodium bulbs produce between 97 to 150 lumens per watt which is much higher than the Halide bulbs. The Sodium bulbs are superior in life expectancy and efficiency while the Halides a superior in spectral distribution so your decision will be based on what is more important to you.

Why do people use Metal Halides for vegetative growth and High Pressure Sodium's for flowering?
Many people switch between bulbs for different stages of growth for a couple of reasons. First of all, Sodium bulbs have been known to make some plants grow leggy and stretched out because of the yellow to red spectrum that they give off. Metal Halides tend to keep these plants tighter with less space between internodes. So some growers use the Metal Halide lights during vegetative growth to keep the structural growth of the plant nice and tight. But they switch to Sodium lights when the plants begin to flower because the Sodium lights produce so much more light than the Halides. Even though the Sodium's do not have as good a spectrum as the Halides the intense light that is put off by the Sodium's aids in flower development and fruit set. Do not be fooled though, you can use either light throughout the life of a plant and get excellent results.

What size light should I purchase?
The first thing you need to do is figure out what kind of square footage you are dealing with. Do not just figure for the whole room figure out what the plant area is that you need to cover and multiply length x width to get the square footage. Now, you will want to try and achieve at least 30 watts per square foot. So if you have a 4 x 4 area which is 16 square feet and you multiply by 30 watts, you get 480 watts. So for a 4 x 4 area you will need to use at least a 430 watt light. Remember though that the amount of light required will depend on the plants because some plants like lots of light and some like low levels of light.

Do I need a ballast?
Yes. A ballast is required to start the lamp and to increase the voltage required to run the lamp. The ballast is responsible for starting the lamps by providing a high, fast charge of electricity. After the bulb lights, the range of voltage and current are controlled by the transformer which is why the bulbs operate so efficiently.

Are HID lights efficient?
Yes, very efficient compared to standard incandescent bulbs found in your house. For example one 1000 watt sodium bulb produces as much light as about 87 standard 100 watt incandescent bulbs.

Can I interchange bulbs between systems?
No. You should never interchange bulbs between systems unless they are specifically made to do so. Lots of people ask if they can use a 250 watt bulb in a 400 watt system and the answer is definitely not. You could put yourself at risk by doing something like this because the bulb could become unstable and explode. You should also never put Halide bulbs in a High Pressure Sodium system because the ballast's are only meant to run the type of bulb they are rated for and a Halide bulb in a Sodium system could overheat and explode also. There are conversion bulbs manufactured that are High Pressure Sodium bulbs that are meant to run off of a Halide ballast. But once again only put the bulb in a system it is rated for.

Do these lights require any special wiring?
No. All systems manufactured by Greentrees are completely wired and just need to be plugged into any grounded wall outlet. Custom voltages can be built into ballast's per customer request (208v, 240v, 277v). Do not attempt to change the voltage of the ballast unless you are an experienced electrician. Connecting the wrong wires could result in a fried ballast or bulb, and even worse a fire.

What kind of plants can be grown using hydroponics?
Almost any type of plant can be grown using hydroponics some are just more delicate than others. Usually if you can produce ideal environmental conditions the hydroponic plants will be far superior to plants from the same stock grown in soil.

How often should I change my nutrient solution?
There really isn't an amount of time that should be used to determine how often you should change your solution. A good rule of thumb to follow first of all is to top your reservoir off with fresh water without any nutrient added. This is because you will lose water to evaporation and plant uptake

but the strength of the solution does not necessarily drop with the level of the water. So, in some cases as the reservoir water level drops the solution concentration actually goes up or gets stronger. So, add only fresh water and then adjust your pH accordingly. Try and keep a record of how much water you are putting in the reservoir to top it off and once the amount of water added equals half of the reservoir capacity it is time to change the solution and rinse the reservoir and growing medium. For example if you have a 20 gallon reservoir and over the course of 12 days you have added 10 gallons of water, then it is time to change your solution.

Can I transfer plants from soil to hydroponics?
Yes, you can all you need to do is wash the roots of the plant by dipping in water and try to remove as much of the soil matter as possible. Be very careful with the delicate roots so the plant doesn't go into too much transplant shock. After the roots are somewhat clean go ahead and pot the plant in any of your favorite hydroponic media and begin a standard watering regimen with a touch of B-1 in the solution for a week or so to aid in the recovery from transplanting.

Do plants grown using hydroponics taste better than plants grown in soil?
Quite often this is the case because the plants grown utilizing hydroponics have all the essential nutrients readily available to the plant. In soil the important micro nutrients are often locked away in the soil where the plants cannot take full advantage of these minerals. That is why hydroponics is superior because the grower has complete control over what minerals the plants are feeding on and in what quantities. This advantage over soil often produces produce that is far superior in taste, color, size, and nutritional value.

What is the difference between Aeroponics and AeroHydroponics?
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 AeroHydroponic 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 AeroHydroponic method has proven to work incredibly for rooting cuttings and all other stages of growth as well.

Why does an ebb and flow tray system have two fittings?
First of all the common names of those two fittings are a fill/drain fitting and an overflow fitting. The fill/drain fitting is a fitting that is attached to the pump and serves as the inlet for the water filling the tray and also serves as the outlet for the water to drain back into the reservoir. The overflow fitting consists of a number of different plumbing parts and acts as a watering level regulator. The concept is quite simple... you have a tray that is suspended somehow, or sitting on top of, a reservoir. Now the pump turns on and begins pumping water into the tray and the pump will stay on as long as the grower has determined the watering cycle should be (usually 30 min.). As the water level rises in the tray it reaches the top of the overflow fitting which then allows the water to spill back down into the reservoir. So you have now filled the tray with water and you are maintaining that watering level by means of the overflow fitting, which does not allow the water level to rise any higher. Now when the pump is turned off the water begins draining by means of gravity back down through the fill/drain fitting, and through the pump, into the reservoir. The height of the overflow is decided by the containers or growing media being used. You only want the water level to rise and submerge about 50% to 75% of the medium or containers. This is to keep the medium or containers from floating and/or tipping over.

How often do I need to water my plants in an ebb and flow system?
Watering will all depend on the type of plants being grown, the size of those plants, and what type of medium you are using. As you know plants are very particular about being over or under-watered so this is an important question. First you need to determine if the medium you are using is absorbent or repellant. If you are using Rockwool you are dealing with an absorbent medium while Hydroton is a good example of a repellent medium that doesn't hold a lot of water. You want your medium to be moist but not drenched and you want your medium to dry out somewhat between waterings. So, if you watch your plants before and after waterings it will be very easy to tell if you are watering too much or too little. If your plants wilt before you water, but perk up immediately after watering, you may want to water a little more often. If your plants wilt just after watering than you are watering too much, and you should allot a little more time in between waterings. A good general rule of thumb is to start plants being watered about 2 to 3 times a day and increase as plants show signs of needing water.

and are also made to be very soluble so that the plants can easily uptake the nutrients from the watering solution. Now the downfall of the generators is the heat that is produced in the process. and don't keep the roots submerged for too long. The nice thing about generators is the availabilty of propane or natural gas and the price of gas is considerably less than Co2. The combustion of these fuels produces Co2 as a byproduct. The nutrients that we sell are made specifically for plants grown in hydroponics systems that utilize sterile growing mediums. So just remember to water only long enough to fill the system completely. What Co2 system is right for me? The deciding factor in this problem is almost always heat. Co2 regulators are hooked up to Co2 tanks and regulate the amount of gas being emitted through the use of a timer and a flowmeter. You set the Cubic Feet per Hour (CFH) on the regulator and open the solenoid long enough to charge the room with Co2 up to the desired PPM using the timer to control the intervals. You do not want to keep the roots flooded for too long or you will risk drowning delicate roots. What is the difference between Miracle-Gro and other commercially available fertilizers and hydroponics nutrients? Most of the fertilizers readily available are very general purpose mixes that do not work well for all types of plants. Most readily available timers have 30 minute increments so you may have to flood the tray for a little longer than it takes to reach the overflow level. Our fertilizers contain all those trace elements.How long should I water the plants for in an ebb and flow system? In an ebb and flow system you are flooding a tray or pot full of nutrient solution to feed the plant or plants in your system. Roots like oxygen. Those other fertilizers will work to grow plants but they . This is fine as long as you do not keep the roots completely submerged for longer than an hour. Co2 generators burn either natural gas or propane to produce Co2. Co2 regulator type systems do not produce any heat at all but are more expensive to maintain then the generator systems since the price of Co2 is much higher than propane or natural gas. A good rule of thumb for watering in an ebb flow system is to water just long enough to completely flood your tray or pot with nutrient solution and then let the system drain. On the other hand. and keeping them submerged for too long cuts off the oxygen supply and can have fatal effects on your plants. Most commercially available fertilizers are meant for fertilizing plants grown in soil and do not contain all the necessary trace elements. While the generators are on they can raise temperatures in a grow room considerably.

How much electricity will I save running a grow light 240 volt? There is no energy savings from running your lights at 240 volts. Letting water stand uncovered in a container overnight will help dissipate any chlorine in the water before you add it to the reservoir. The History of Hydroponics The word hydroponics comes from two Greek words. you can only run two 1000 watt lights on that circuit. . The growth rate on a hydroponic plant is 30-50 percent faster than a soil plant. "hydro" meaning water and "ponics" meaning labor. and Australia have used hydroponics for crop production with amazing results.cannot compare to the results you will experience with our nutrients. After 24 hours the viable seeds should have sank to the bottom. If you were to wire the circuit up for 240 volts you can run four 1000 watt lights on that circuit. such as Holland. What is the desired temperature range for the nutrient solution? The optimal temperature of the nutrient solution should be in the range of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Fill a shot glass with distilled water and place your seeds in it. The main advantage is the fact that you can run more lights on one electrical circuit. The concept of soil less gardening or hydroponics has been around for thousands of years. Scientists started experimenting with soil less gardening around 1950. Most commercially available fertilizers are like junk food for your plants giving you quick results that do not last very long. Germany. The Benefits of Hydroponics Hydroponics is proved to have several advantages over soil gardening. This makes for a lot less wiring but does not save you on your electricity bill because each light still uses the same amount of watts. For example if you run a 20 amp 120 volt circuit. That is a misconception that many people have. How can I tell if my seeds are viable? This can be accomplished by presoaking your seeds. The hanging Gardens of Babylon and The Floating Gardens of China are two of the earliest examples of hydroponics. Since then other countries. Those still floating are most likely not viable and will not germinate.

Since Rockwool holds 10-14 times as much water as soil and retains 20 percent air it can be used in just about any hydroponic . The plant then uses this saved energy to grow faster and to produce more fruit. topsoil erosion isn't even an issue. It is a light. comparable to the way cotton candy is made. It is produced from volcanic rock and limestone. Different growing mediums work well in different types of hydroponic systems. These components are melted at temperatures of 2500 degrees and higher. blocks or cubes. Hydroponic gardening also offers several benefits to our environment. although the shale has more of a tendency to break down and may not last as long as the Hydroton. The extra oxygen in the hydroponic growing mediums helps to stimulate root growth. Rockwool was originally used in construction as insulation. Unlike the insulation grade. Growing Mediums The purpose of a growing medium is to aerate and support the root system of the plant and to channel the water and nutrients. Plants with ample oxygen in the root system also absorb nutrients faster. The molten solution is poured over a spinning cylinder. The plant does not have to search in the soil for the nutrients that it requires. Scientists believe that there are several reasons for the drastic differences between hydroponic and soil plants. Hydroton is a light expanded clay aggregate. Although. The hydroponic plant requires very little energy to find and break down food. The nutrients in a hydroponic system are mixed with the water and sent directly to the root system. funguses and disease. These grow rocks are very stable and rarely effect the pH of the nutrient solution. Since hydroponic gardening systems use no topsoil. There is now a horticultural grade of Rockwool. if agricultural trends continue to erode topsoil and waste water. such as Hydroton or expanded shale works well in an ebb and flow type system. A fast draining medium. Hydroponic gardening uses considerably less water than soil gardening. Rockwool has become an extremely popular growing medium. The yield of the plant is also greater. fewer pesticides are used on hydroponic crops. Those nutrients are being delivered to the plant several times per day. airy type of growing medium that allows plenty of oxygen to penetrate the plant's root system. horticultural Rockwool is pressed into growing cubes and blocks. then pressed into identical sheets. Hydroponic plants also have fewer problems with bug infestations. Both types of grow rocks can be reused. In general. hydroponics may soon be our only solution. because of the constant reuse the nutrient solutions. Due to lack of necessity. plants grown hydroponically are healthier and happier plants.grown under the same conditions.

pH Most plants can grow hydroponically within a pH range of 5. These three mediums are stable and rarely effect the pH of the nutrient solution. The organic compounds have a tendency to lock together and cause pumps blockage. Although. Many hardware.3 is considered optimal. one for grow and one for bloom. and hydroponic supply stores sell pH-testing kits. The liquids are the slightly more expensive and the easiest to use. hydroponic systems can be fertilized with organic or chemical nutrients. It is also commonly used for propagation. pet. This gives the plants a stable supply of nutrients without the high maintenance a hydro-organic system. Like soil. They come in liquid mixes or powered mixes. using 2 to 4 teaspoons per gallon of water. Nutrients Most of the principles that apply to soil fertilizers also apply to hydroponic fertilizers. and work charitably in wick systems. The pH in a hydroponic system is much easier to check than the pH of soil. pH . These nutrients can be purchased at a hydroponic supply store. They range in price from $4. since Rockwool has a pH of 7. Some hydroponic gardeners simply supplement their hydroponic gardens with organic nutrients. vermiculite and sands are very inexpensive options. they tend to hold too much moisture and should be used with plants that are tolerant to these conditions. or nutrient solutions. using the chemical nutrients as the main food supply.8 to 6. They dissolve quickly and completely into the reservoir and often have an added pH buffer.8 it can raise the pH of the nutrient solution.00. depending on the range and type of test you prefer. Although the gardener must be careful of the pH.8. Most are highly concentrated. Testing pH is easy and essential in a hydroponics system. If the pH is too high or too low the plant will not be able to absorb certain nutrients and will show signs of deficiencies. A hydroponic nutrient solution contains all the elements that the plant normally would get from the soil. usually with at least two different containers. Perlite. The powered varieties are inexpensive and require a little more attention. Most do not have a pH buffer. vermiculite and different grades of sand.00 to about $15. Rockwool cannot be used indefinitely and most gardeners only get one use per cube. Other commonly used growing mediums are perlite.system. 6. although they are not the most effective growing mediums. An organic hydroponic system is considerably more work to maintain. They need to be mixed much more thoroughly and often don't dissolve completely into the reservoir.

The nutrient solution is absorbed by the medium or the wick and passed along to the roots. An active hydroponic system actively moves the nutrient solution. Nonrecovery means just what it says.should be checked once a week. The nutrients are stored in the reservoir and moved into the root system by capillary action often using a candle or lantern wick. usually using a pump. The Ebb and Flow System The Ebb and Flow hydroponic system is an active recovery type system. It is easy to adjust by adding small amounts of soluble Potash to raise pH. The pump should remain on for about 20 to 30 minutes. it tends to keep the growing medium to wet. The nutrient solution is applied to the growing medium and not recovered. The Wick System The wick system is a passive non-recovery type hydroponic system. There are also several pH meters available. which is called a flood cycle. In simpler terms. the nutrient solution travels up the wick and into the root system of the plant. The wick system is easy and inexpensive to set-up and maintain. Hydroponic systems can also be characterized as recovery or non-recovery. The reservoir holds the nutrient solution and the pump. These give a digital reading of the pH in the system. Recovery systems or recirculating systems reuse the nutrient solution. Once the water has reached a set level. Wick systems often uses sand or perlite. Hydroponic Systems Hydroponic systems are characterized as active or passive. The Ebb and Flow uses a submersible pump in the reservoir and the plants are in the upper tray. or phosphoric acid to lower pH. The pH meter cost around $100 and are not necessary in most cases. vermiculite mix and a growing medium. The wick system is not the most effective way to garden hydroponically. Passive systems are usually too wet and do not supply enough oxygen to the root system for optimum growth rates. It uses no pumps and has no moving parts. They work on a simple flood and drain theory. Passive hydroponic systems rely on the capillary action of the growing medium or a wick. When the pump turns on. which doesn't allow for the optimum amount of oxygen in the root system. an overflow pipe or fitting allows the nutrient solution to drain back . the nutrient solution is pumped up to the upper tray and delivered to the root system of the plants. Although.

Again. sending the solution back to the reservoir. This system uses a submersible pump in a reservoir with supply lines going to each plant. using submersible pumps and reusing nutrient solutions. With drip emitter for each plant the gardener can adjust the amount of solution per plant. Oxygen is needed in the grow-tube so capillary matting or air stones must be used. In the early days of hydroponics. As the nutrient solution drains back into the reservoir. the extra solution was leached out into the ground. yet highly effective type of hydroponic gardening. The growtube is at a slight downward angle so the nutrient solution runs over the roots and back into the reservoir. This allows the roots ample oxygen to maximize their nutrient intake. The plants are held up by a support collar or a grow-basket and no growing medium is used. any growing medium can be used with this system. any long period of interruption in the nutrient flow can cause the roots to dry out and the plants to suffer and possibly die. It can also be very unforgiving. with no growing medium to hold any moisture. A drip tray under each row of plants. After the flood cycle the nutrient solution slowly drains back down into the reservoir through the pump. Rockwool and grow rocks are most commonly used growing mediums in Ebb and Flow type systems. Although.into the reservoir. The Ebb and Flow is low maintenance. thanks to the adjustment feature on each individual drip emitter. The NFT system is very effective. During the flood cycle oxygen poor air is pushed out of the root system by the upward moving nutrient solution. many novice hydroponic growers find it difficult to fine tune. Although. Continuous Drip The Continuous Drip system is an active recovery or non-recovery type system. can easily make this system an active recovery type. Nutrient Film Technique The Nutrient Film Technique or NFT system is an active recovery type hydroponic system. oxygen rich air is pulled into the growing medium. The nutrient solution flows over the roots up to 24 hours per day. Continuous Drip systems are often used with Rockwool. The NFT uses a reservoir with a submersible pump that pumps the nutrient solution into a grow-tube where the roots suspended. . The pump remains on for the entire flood cycle.

Only quality hydroponic nutrient formulas contain all the elements required. A The elements required for a nutrient solution are Nitrogen. that is watered by hand. The hands on experience is worth the cost of the system and chances are. But that is beyond the scope of this discussion. Manganese. Molybdenum. Iron. Zinc. Magnesium. Water mixed with these elements is called the "nutrient solution". It is also becoming a popular hobby. exciting and easy to get involved in. Hydroponics is fun. This is a constantly changing industry and there are many books still on the shelves that are already outdated. to make a hydroponic nutrient solution. Should I buy one or build one? This author recommends a little of both. If you would rather get right into building your own. be patient. buy one first! Getting an inexpensive system will allow you to get your feet wet and give you a better understanding of how hydroponics works. It's mostly trial and error so. We will be adding a link to a book on this topic in the future.Buying a System or Building a System This is the most asked question relating to hydroponics. Boron. Potassium. Phosphorus. Calcium. The water must contain the elements required for plant growth that the plant doesn't get from the air. Hydroponics. A nutrient formula can be made from scratch with a little knowledge of chemistry and what chemical form the elements should be in. Building your own system can be very rewarding or extremely frustrating. Copper. local horticultural societies and in government funded research at major universities and NASA. do your research. It is currently being studied in classrooms around the country. . Off the shelf soil fertilizers don't contain all the elements. Sulfur. you will be able to reuse the parts in that system when you set out to build your own. Get all the information you can and don't rely on just one source. gardening without soil hydroponic garden can be as simple as a plant in a pot filled with rock or some other type of inert growing media. Hydroponic gardening is the wave of the future. in the right proportions. If you have an engineer's mind and dream of building your own hydroponic system. and Chlorine.

it runs back into the reservoir. Most hobby growers like to experiment with different types of hydroponic systems. When the pump turns on. When the water level reaches the top of the overflow. the water runs back down through the pump into the reservoir. Most hydroponic gardens have a "hydroponic system" that is automated with pumps and timers to do the work for you. often building them from parts. A pump in the reservoir is connected to the bottom of the tray. Of course you don't need to recover the nutrient solution at all. Drip system Drip systems can use a number of different types of containers but the operation is usually very similar. Here is a few of the most common systems with a brief description. Some drip systems run continuously. It works just like a drip irrigation system in your yard. tubing and fittings. An overflow fitting must be added in the tray to regulate the depth of the flood. The tray must be above the top of the reservoir so gravity pulls the water back down. A system like this usually waters 3-4 times a day. the system becomes more complex with another pump to return the water. . The nutrient solution is stored in a reservoir. Flood/Drain system A plastic tray filled with plants (usually in pots). This may not be the best setup if it's in your extra bedroom. If the nutrient solution is going to be recovered. The pump can be turned on with a timer.Watering a hydroponic garden by hand may be impractical with more than a couple of plants or with a growing medium like rock that will dry out in a few hours. the tray fills with water. The tube may branch off to smaller tubes feeding many plants. When the pump turns off. you can use most of the parts available for drip irrigation systems like drippers. If not. others are on a timer. stakes. on top of a reservoir filled with nutrient solution. the containers should be above the reservoir so gravity can do the return work for you. In fact. A pump in the reservoir has tube connected to it that runs up to the base of the plant. it could just run off.

The trick with this system is to have a high-pressure pump so the water coming out of the small tube sprays. The plants are setup in troughs like rain gutters. The plants are growing in small plastic baskets about 2 inches across. The roots grow down into the tube. Some systems don't use baskets just a cube of rockwool or similar growing material. The trough has a cover with round or square holes cut out for each plant. filled with rock or rockwool. The baskets are placed in the holes in the cover of the trough. The holes are spaced correctly for the crop. The water comes in the trough at one end and drains out the other. The large tube remains halffilled with water. The small tube has holes cut every 6 inches or so to let the water come out. We could go on and on with different types of systems but the basic idea is to keep the roots moist AND exposed to the air. oxygenating the water in the large tube. At the end of the large tube is an overflow just like the Flood/drain system that regulates the depth of the water. Most of the roots will fill the bottom of the trough. The pump has a tube that branches off to smaller tubes to feed the plants. The . The goal with this system is to get just enough water flowing all the time to keep the roots wet and also keep them exposed to the air to get the extra Oxygen. A system like this works best for plants smaller than 24 inches tall. But. The pump should run all the time.Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) system The NFT system starts like a drip system. The tube is filled with water by a much smaller tube running along the inside of the large tube. it has a reservoir with a pump. The plants are growing in small plastic baskets that are placed in holes cutout along the top of a tube. Aeroponic system An aeroponic system looks like an NFT system but works a bit different. Build an ebb and flow hydroponic system! How it works The plants are grown in rockwool blocks or small pots filled with Hydroton. It works quite well when setup and maintained correctly. the plants are watered at the roots.

Or enough to keep the growing media moist all the time. Some pumps only have a rating in PSI (Pounds per Square Inch). Ebb and flow is one of the most reliable and easy to build hydroponic systems. The tray must be above the reservoir so when the pump turns off.nutrient solution is stored in the reservoir and is pumped up to the tray with a submersible pump through the fill/drain fitting. Install the fittings and connect the pump with a 1/2 inch I. To find the HEAD.31. The Fill / Drain and Overflow fittings fit in a 1 inch hole. The amount of solution that goes into the tray is controlled by the overflow fitting. How to build it What you need: Tray Reservoir Fill / Drain Overflow fitting Kit Pump* Tubing Timer * The pump needs to be strong enough to lift the water to the to tray but not too strong or you will have a fountain! Most pumps have a measurement of how high they will pump. tube. that's how high it will pump. When the pump turns off the solution flows back down the fill/drain fitting and out the pump. The tray should only flood to about 80 percent of the height of the growing medium. You can place the tray directly on top of the reservoir or make a stand for the tray and put the reservoir underneath. Some of our trays are drilled and come with the fittings. If you are using rockwool cubes. you want a pump with a head rating of twice the height that you need to lift the water. The pump is controlled with a timer that turns on a few times per day. it should flood about . The pump only needs to run long enough to reach the top of the overflow fitting.D. The overflow fitting may need to be adjusted. multiply the PSI by 2. It is measured in HEAD. The overflow fitting may need to be extended below with a piece of 3/4 inch PVC pipe. the water will flow back down through the pump. If a pump is rated at four feet of head. In most cases.

If the water floods too deep. Once the fibers are spun they are then compressed into a mat which is then cut into slabs and cubes.4" rockwool cubes to start some basil seeds in a small tray but you want to use larger blocks. Since rockwool is born in fire it renders the product chemically and biologically inert and creates the ideal growing medium for hydroponics. Test this before filling the tray with growing media. Since its development in Denmark in the early 1970's. which pulls the lava into fibers like "cotton candy. Rockwool Rockwool is a horticultural growing media made from the natural ingredients Basalt rock and Chalk. the growing medium will float and your plants tip over. The more debris around the screen. as rigid slabs. Or even worse. A set of pints will last about 2 months for a 25 gallon reservoir. The process is very efficient. blocks. rockwool has become the major vegetable and flower production medium throughout Europe and North America. After the nutrient you may need to adjust the pH. this is strong stuff and will last a long time. the tray might overflow! You'll need to add nutrient. the higher the water goes. and cubes known as "bonded" products because the fibers are held together with a "gluing" or .2 inches." If you have ever visited a volcano you have probably seen these fibers flying around in the air surrounding the volcano. Horticultural Rockwool growing media is primarily available in two general formats. In the photo above I'm using 1. I prefer not to use a screen on overflow fittings. producing 37 cubic foot of wool from 1 cubic foot of rocks. just put the blocks right in the tray. These are then melted at 1600 C into a lava which is blown into a large spinning chamber. You may need to add or remove PVC pipe on the top too. A simple thing to do that doesn't cost a lot and your plants will grow much better! Get a pH test kit and some pH down. Follow the instructions on the bottle. The rockwool granulates are just bales of uncompressed fibers. The pH almost always needs to be lowered. All the leaves that drop collect around the screen and changes the flood depth. General Hydroponics Flora is the preferred nutrient. First. just a quart.

Deliberate leaching of the slab with excessive nutrient solution can be used as a management tool to control crop health and maintain optimum growing conditions in the root zone. This is the primary format for the vegetable and cut flower industries.binding agent which renders them stiff and brittle. this encourages rooting within. rockwool possesses a near-zero absorption capacity for water. rockwool is available as a highly refined and consistent hydrophilic or hydrophobic granulate which is basically water absorbent or water repellent. The formed products are available in various sizes and shapes which are adaptable to many applications. This format can be used as a component in various peat moss based soilless media or for ground bed incorporation to improve the tilth of heavy clay or light sandy soils. Of the total amount of nutrient solution applied to a rockwool slab. blocks and slabs. rather than between. After excessive soaking. Due to the unique pore structure of the rockwool. block or cube will drain sufficiently. Organic media such as peat moss and sawdust. The most important characteristic of all formed rockwool lies in the fact it allows growers to quickly respond to fluctuations in the plant's rooting environment. The difference . Due to this zero Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC).4" blocks and fit in a standard 10x20 propagation flat." In addition to this. in a short period of time. The rockwool being an inert media means that rockwool fibers do not modify or restrict the availability of nutrient to the plants. Miniblocks are used for seed and cutting propagation also like the multiblocks. the material can be leached of all fertilizer "salts. Secondly. the slab. possess a 65% water holding capacity and nearly 4-8% of the nutrient solution is absorbed to the colloidal structure of the material and hence is unavailable to the plants. so that 40-50% of the pore space is occupied by air. thus allowing more water to be available to the plants when compared to production in soilless media. We offer various sizes of seeding and propagation cubes and plugs. Multiblocks are a free standing module type growing system. The V-shaped individual "cells" within a multiblock sheet allow effective air pruning. it can safely receive large volumes of nutrient solution without leaving it water logged. only 2% is unavailable for plant uptake. individual blocks. All multiblocks come in 1. Multiblocks are designed for seed and cutting propagation prior to "blocking on" into the larger growing blocks.

The base of the Growblocks are grooved to promote uniform and complete drainage preventing the occurrence of root rot. The Slabs are easy to use just cut holes in the top of the slab set your cubes on top and cut a few slits in the bottom of the slab's plastic for drainage. Slabs are the premium product for vegetable cropping. The special structure provides a uniform environment allowing plant roots to rapidly explore all the available growing volume for a quick start. Just root or sprout in the smaller blocks and transplant into larger blocks once the roots begin to become exposed and the plants will root right into the larger blocks. The Miniblocks come in convenient bags consisting of two strips containing 15 blocks per strip. Growblocks are used for direct sowing or "blocking on" of Multiblock and Miniblock raised plants. or you can stack the cubes on top of each other. These come in a wide variety of sizes ranging from 3" side to 4" wide and up to 4" tall.between the two are the Miniblocks are square and are wrapped in white UV resistant plastic on four sides which helps maintain moisture. Slabs come in 36" lengths and 3" heights and have two different sizes of widths. The 8" slab is mainly for extremely vigorous crops such as cucumbers that require a strong and stable base and a large root capacity. They are available wrapped in UV resistant polyethylene sleeves for ease of use. The blocks are individually wrapped in UV resistant white plastic on four sides and supplied in convenient tear away strips. The 6" slab is suitable for crops that do not tend to require a very large root capacity. . These Growblocks work excellent in all ebb and flow or drip hydroponic systems. Water and nutrient distribution is also more uniform and provides a larger effective rooting volume than previously possible. These blocks may also be transferred into larger Growblocks by tearing off the plastic and sliding them into the pre-cut holes in the top of the Growblocks. All Growblocks are sold in packages containing strips of blocks which vary in the amount of blocks according to the size of the Growblock. If the plant begins to become root bound in one of these Growblocks you can either place the block right on top of a slab and let the plant root into the slab.

The brains of this system is a controller unit assembly which consists of a 3. It is recommended for use alone or mixed with water repellent granulates.5 gallon container. with a timer and relay box mounted on the side. The addition of water absorbent granulate to peat mixes at 20-50% volume increases water holding capacity and aeration. improving plant growth and shelf life. and float switches mounted inside of it to control the level of water in the system automatically.Granulated Rockwool can be used alone in pots or as an amendment to organic based mixes. Each timer pin on the controller has a duration of 15 minutes . Multi Flow Hydroponic System The Multi Flow System is basically an ebb & flow type hydroponic system that uses gravity as its major source of moving water through the system. We sell a 30 lb bale of a 50/50 mix of both absorbent and repellent mixes. The water repellent granulates are substituted for aerators such as perlite and styrofoam. Granulated rockwool will not break up under severe soil mixing the perlite or vermiculite do and it can withstand the heat of sterilization under conditions that melt styrofoam. Water absorbent granulates can be used as a substitute for peat in media where the peat breaks down rapidly such as in orchids and bromeliad production or in cases where disease transmission in peat is rapid. depending on the air/water ration required.

This will continue pumping into the controller while gravity is then pushing the water out to the other pots. The two gallon pots used in the Multi Flow allow your plants to grow strong and tall while giving them a spacious container to produce a large root structure. Once you have done this you plug the power cord of the pump in the reservoir into the controller unit and set your watering times. Once the desired watering level is reached the float switches will then cut the power to the pump in the reservoir. as the water is drained out it actually pulls oxygen down to the roots. the pump turns on inside the reservoir pumping nutrient solution into the controller unit. all the growing containers can be pulled out and moved around according to plant growth. The two gallon growing containers actually sit inside of other two gallon pots which serve as the watering cells. First of all you must layout all of the pots and set them up on a level surface. all you do is pull the plant and growing container out and move . As long as the timer is on the system will maintain this watering level. Then connect the pots together using various fittings and tubing (included). because this system is an ebb & flow system. the pump inside the controller is engaged and the nutrient solution is then pumped back into the reservoir. This will continue until the water level reaches the preset drain depth then the pump will be turned off. Each pin pushed down on the timer will water the system for 15 minutes. So. When the timer reaches the watering time you have selected." you ask? Well its actually very simple. Since the pumps are only pumping a short distance. This is an advantage over most 30 minute increment timers because the plants really only need to be watered to the point the roots are saturated and then the water should be drained out. Also. wear and tear is greatly reduced and will ensure that your pumps last for a long time. Once the timer turns off. "So how does this system actually work. You are not stuck trying to re-layout the system and cut new tubing or relocate a bunch of drippers.which allows for better control over watering cycles. to and from the reservoir.

5 ml 30 ml 0 10 ml 5 ml 3 ml 40 ml 0 .1000 Grow 2.5 ml 2. The measurements will tell you how large all the parts are so you can lay your room out on paper first.4 .800 18 hrs ppm Grow 0. "Versatility" is the key word when describing the Multi Flow. Controller Unit Assembly 16" wide 11 1/2" tall 55 Gallon Reservoir 24" wide 36" tall Individual Pots 9 1/2" wide 11" tall Flora Nutrient Weekly Feeding Program Flora Nutrients Plant Phase nutrient strength Supplements Hours Diamond of FloraGro FloraMicro FloraBloom KoolBloom Nectar light Clones 200 . Dimensions These dimensions will help give you an idea of how large of a system you can fit into your grow room.it to a new location.0.5 ml 2.8 Phase mS Week 1 400 . It is easily expanded to a system consisting of up to 48 pots available with the 6 add on pot expansion. It couldn't be any easier to move your smaller plants directly under the lights and move your larger plants out to the perimeter of the room to promote uniform growth throughout the grow room.5 ml 10 ml 0 5 ml 2.400 18 hrs ppm Grow 0.4 .5 ml 2.8 Phase mS Week 2 18 hrs 800 .0.

8 Phase mS Week 5 1000 12 hrs 1400 ppm Bloom 2.8 Phase mS Week 6 1000 12 hrs 1400 ppm Bloom 2.0 mS Phase Week 3 1000 18 hrs 1400 ppm Grow .8 Phase mS Week 7 1000 12 hrs 1400 ppm Bloom 2.8 .2.0 .2.2.ppm 0.0 .2.2.5 grams .8 Phase mS Week 8 1000 12 hrs 1400 ppm Bloom 2.5 ml 7 ml 18 ml 0 ml 1.0 .0 .0 .8 Phase mS 12 ml 6 ml 3 ml 40 ml 0 6 ml 6 ml 10 ml 30 ml 0 3 ml 7 ml 12 ml 20 ml 0 3 ml 8 ml 14 ml 0 ml 0 3 ml 8 ml 16 ml 0 ml 0 2.8 Phase mS Week 4 1000 12 hrs 1400 ppm Bloom 2.

Flora Nutrient Suggested Application Rates These are starting points your actual usage depends on your particular circumstances.0 . use slightly more FloraMicro. Specialty Mixes for Structural Growth FloraMicro tsp/Gal Cuttings and Seedlings Orchid and Antheriums Lettuce Strawberry Cucumber Tomato 1/2 1 1 1 1/2 1 1/2 2 FloraGro tsp/Gal 1/2 1 1 1/2 1 1/2 2 1 1/2 FloraBloom tsp/Gal 1/2 1/2 1/2 1 3/4 1 .Week 9 1000 12 hrs 1400 ppm Bloom 2. To accurately measure nutrient strength you must obtain a nutrient testing device.0 .8 Phase mS Week 10 1000 12 hrs 1400 ppm Bloom 2.7 days. use less FloraGro and more FloraBloom.5 grams 0 ml 6 ml 20 ml 0 ml 1. To enhance flower and fruit production. In general to enhance vegetative growth.2. To provide more calcium or iron (for green.5 grams Prior to harvest. use more FloraGro and less FloraBloom. leafy vegtables). flush the system with plain water for 3 .8 Phase mS 0 ml 7 ml 20 ml 0 ml 1.2.

Sweet Basil Bean and Pepper Melon and Eggplant Rose and Gerbera Poinsettia General Purpose Mild General Purpose Strong General Purpose Aggressive Strength Foliar Feed 1 1/2 2 2 2 2 1/4 1 1 1 1/4 1 3/4 3 2 2 2 2 1/2 1 1/2 1 2 4 1 1 3/4 1 1 1 1/4 1 1 1 none 1/2 Specialty Mixes for Flowering and Fruiting FloraMicro tsp/Gal Orchid and Antheriums Lettuce Strawberry Cucumber Tomato Sweet Basil Bean and Pepper Melon and Eggplant Rose and Gerbera Poinsettia Mild General Purpose 1 1 1 1/2 1 1/2 2 1 1/2 2 1 1/2 2 2 1 FloraGro tsp/Gal 1 1 1/2 1 1/2 2 1 1/2 3 2 2 2 2 1/4 1 FloraBloom tsp/Gal 3/4 1/2 1 1 1 1/4 1 1 1 1 1/4 1 1/2 1 .

including Europe. . they don't use anything but EC. Some of you may have noticed that some calibration solutions that are marked to read at a certain TDS may actually read different from meter to meter. Most meter manufacturers in the hydroponics industry use one of two conversions. Unfortunately many growers in the United States have become very accustomed to using the TDS scale while in most other countries. This is where the problem begins. EC stands for Electrical Conductivity and is measured in mS/cm or millisiemens per centimeter. there are three different conversion factors to determine TDS and different manufacturers use different conversion factors. 40% sodium bicarbonate. By maintaining the correct level of nutrients in the solution your plants will achieve maximum results. Although they are widely used they should only be used as a guideline and you should always follow mixing instructions on the label of you nutrient. These two measurements are used to determine the strength of hydroponic solution.Aggressive Strength 1 none 4 A quick answer to why we should use EC instead of TDS The debate over EC and TDS has been an ongoing issue for a long time. On top of that. This all sounds very important but there are some major differences between the different meter manufacturers. But the EC is read the same by all meters the only difference is the conversion factor. This measurement is used by growers to get an idea of how much nutrient is present in the solution. TDS stands for Total Dissolved Solids and is measured in PPM or parts per million. There is the 442 conversion (40% sodium sulfate. In other words you could test the same solution with two different meters and get two totally different readings. We all know that they are both a measure of the amount of dissolved solids in your nutrient solution. The problem is lack of consistency among manufacturers when it comes to conversion factors. This is where it may get a little confusing. Some additional information for the geeks like us First of all lets talk about the differences and similarities between EC and TDS. The fact is that TDS is actually a result of a calculation from EC. TDS is acquired by taking the EC value and performing a calculation to determine the TDS value. Because TDS is actually a calculation it is really only a guess at what the nutrient concentration is. Some of you may have not even heard of EC and others may have heard of it but do not even know what it is.

5 1500 2. The 442 conversion is approximately 700 x EC in millisiemens (mS). Use caution when adjusting the strength of the nutrient solution.5 2500 3.0 2000 2. In order for all elements to be readily available to the plant the pH should stay in the range of 6. Always remember that you never want to over compensate for any deficiency because of the risk of over fertilization. That is a difference of 600 ppm which as many of you know could be devastating. Deficiencies may also be attributed to a solution is too acidic or too alkaline so pay close attention to your pH. Then there is the NaCl conversion (sodium chloride) which others say is the closest thing to a hydroponic solution. if you do not calibrate your meter using the correct calibration solution your meter could give you a very inaccurate reading. The solution is simple. With EC. You can see where the confusion comes from because the same solution will read 2100 ppm on one meter and it will read 1500 ppm on the other. Here is a chart showing some sample measurements: Electrical Conductivity (EC) millisiemens (mS) microsiemens (µS) 1. Both meters are functioning correctly they are just calculating the TDS using a different formula.5.0 1000 1.0 3000 Parts Per Million (PPM) NaCl Conversion 442 Conversion 500 ppm 700 ppm 750 ppm 1050 ppm 1000 ppm 1400 ppm 1250 ppm 1750 ppm 1500 ppm 2100 ppm = = = = = Symptoms of nutrient deficiencies This is a chart showing some common symptoms of nutrient deficiency and over fertilization.and 20% sodium chloride) which some say is the closest thing to a hydroponic solution. Symptoms Suspected Element N P K Mg Fe Cu Zn B Mo Mn Over . The NaCl conversion is approximately 500 x EC in millisiemens (mS). no conversion is required so all meters will read the same regardless of the manufacturer. use EC. So.

Younger leaves Leaf tips burn.Fertilization Yellowing of Younger leaves Yellowing of Middle leaves Yellowing of Older leaves Yellowing Between veins Old leaves drop Leaf Curl Over Leaf Curl Under Leaf tips burn. Older leaves Young leaves wrinkle and curl Dead areas in the leaves Leaf growth stunted Dark green/purplish leaves and stems Pale green leaf color Leaf Spotting Spindly Soft stems Hard/brittle stems .

0 4.1 Chelated Iron Manganese 0.25 Ammoniacal Nitrogen 1.0008 .0 0.0 1.05 0.0 0.5 Soluble Magnesium FloraBloom 0-5-4 Available Phosphate Soluble Potash Magnesium 1.0 6.0 1.0 5.3 Ammoniacal Nitrogen 4.0005 0.0 5.0 1.7 Nitrate Nitrogen Soluble Potash Calcium Cobalt Iron 0.1 0.75 Nitrate Nitrogen Available Phosphate Soluble Potash Magnesium 0.5 5.5 Soluble Magnesium Combined Sulfur FloraMicro 5-0-1 Total Nitrogen 0.Growing tips die Stunted root growth Wilting Flora Nutrient Guaranteed Minimum Analysis All numbers are percent FloraGro 2-1-6 Total Nitrogen 0.05 Chelated Manganese Molybdenum 2.5 1.

Deficiency: Older leaves are initially chlorotic but soon develop dark necrotic lesions (dead tissue).. Excess potassium can aggravate the uptake of magnesium. Stem and branches may become weak and easily broken. P Phosphorus: K Potassium: S Sulfur: Deficiency: The initial symptoms are the yellowing of the entire leaf including veins usually starting with the . Stems. Toxicity: Usually not absorbed excessively by plants. zinc and iron.. Deficiency: Plants are stunted and older leaves often dark dull green in color. Fruit and flower set will be inhibited or deformed.Symptoms of Deficiencies and Toxicities by Element Use this chart as a reference ONLY. This is not a guaranteed diagnosis of your plant and you should only use this as a guideline to help you figure out what your nutrient solution is lacking. Plant maturity is often delayed. Element N Nitrogen: Description of Deficiency and Toxicity Deficiency: Plants will exhibit lack of vigor as older leaves become yellow (chlorotic) from lack of chlorophyll. leaves will dry and begin to fall off. Stems and leafstalk may turn purple. Excess phosphorus can interfere with the availability of copper and zinc. Chlorosis will eventually spread throughout the plant. Toxicity: This condition is rare and usually buffered by pH limitations. petioles and lower leaf surfaces may turn purple. manganese. First apparent on the tips and margins of the leaves. If excess is severe. Toxicity: Leaves are often dark green and in the early stages abundant with foliage. Root system will remain under developed or deteriorate after time.

Fruit may be stunted or deformed. Ca Calcium: Fe Iron: Mn Manganese: Cl Chlorine: Deficiency: Wilted chlorotic leaves become bronze in color. Leaf tips may yellow and curl downward. Toxicity: Difficult to distinguish visually. or blotchy leaf tissue due to insufficient chlorophyll synthesis. Deficiency: Young leaves are affected first and become small and distorted or chlorotic with irregular margins. Toxicity: Burning of leaf tip or margins. Growth rate will slow and vigor will decline. Toxicity: Magnesium toxicity are rare and not generally exhibited visibly. Roots become stunted and thickened near tips. Bronzing. Deficiency: Pronounced interveinal chlorosis similar to that cased by magnesium deficiency but on the younger leaves. spotting or necrotic areas. Toxicity: Leaf size will be reduced and overall growth will be stunted. Leaves yellowing or scorched at edges. Toxicity: Chlorosis. Starting at leaf margin or tip and progressing inward between the veins. Mg Magnesium: Deficiency: The older leaves will be the first to develop interveinal chlorosis. . Toxicity: Excess accumulation is rare but could cause bronzing or tiny brown spots on leaf surface. Bud development is inhibited and roots may be underdeveloped or die back. Restricted growth and failure to mature normally can also result.younger leaves. May precipitate with sulfur in solution and cause clouding or residue in tank. Deficiency: Interveinal chlorosis on younger or older leaves followed by necrotic lesions or leaf shedding.

This condition is rare but could occur from accumulation by continuous application. Leaves show various symptoms which include drying. reduced branching. Toxicity: Yellowing of leaf tip followed by necrosis of the leaves beginning at tips or margins and progressing inward. Deficiency: Chlorosis may accompany reduction of leaf size and a shortening between internodes.yellowing and leaf splitting. Deficiency: Young leaves often become dark green and twisted. Some plants are especially sensitive to boron accumulation. Toxicity: Excess may cause discoloration of leaves depending on plant species. B Boron: Deficiency: Stem and root tips often die. abnormal darkening and thickening of roots. and chlorotic or necrotic spotting. Growth and yield will be deficient as well. Excess zinc interferes with iron causing chlorosis from iron deficiency. then progressing to the entire plant. Internal tissues may rot and become host to fungal disease. Reduced leaf size and lower growth rate. Root tips often become swollen and discolored. stunting. Toxicity: Reduced growth followed by symptoms of iron chlorosis. This element is essential but extremely toxic in excess. Leaf margins are often distorted or wrinkled. wilting. thickening. Zn Zinc: Cu Copper: Mo Molybdenum: . Toxicity: Zinc in excess is extremely toxic and will cause rapid death. Deficiency: Often interveinal chlorosis which occurs first on older leaves. Developing severely twisted younger leaves which eventually die. They may die back or just exhibit necrotic spots. distorting. Used by the plant in very small quantities.

Controlling heat in the grow room .

. not very efficient. the blower will turn on at 80 degrees. and it has no restrictions on the intake or exhaust side. 6 feet long and has an 8 foot ceiling you have 288 cubic feet of air in the room (6x6x8=288). If the thermostat had no differential the blower would turn off as soon as it turns on. The best way to setup a venting system like this is to mount one exhaust blower on the inside of the grow room up high to blow the heat out. It will stay on until the temperature drops to 80 minus the differential. So it's best to draw cool air from outside. This means that if the thermostat is set at 80. This is the amount of air the blower will move in one minute without any restrictions on the intake or exhaust. This gives the blower some working time. When you set the temperature at. So if your blower is rated at 265 CFM. So what size blower should you get? Well it just depends on how fast you need to exchange the air. The thermostats plug into the wall and have an outlet for the blower. Of course if the air your replacing it with is already hot. it should take about a minute to replace all the air. then off. but what most beginners forget is that you can't blow the hot air out without a way for the cool air to get in to replace it. like "265 CFM". and another blower on the outside mounted down low blowing cool air in. etc. it doesn't do much too cool the grow room. cool air settles. let's say 80 degrees. Exhaust blowers are rated or sized in Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM) of air. The exhaust blower can be turned on with a thermostat so it only runs if the temperature gets too high. If a blower is rated at 265 CFM but it's connected to a 25 foot long tube like a dryer hose. It's usually about 4 degrees. The differential is the difference between the turn on point and the turn off point. it's not going to move 265 CFM because of the resistance in the hose. If your grow room is 6 feet wide. Sounds simple right? Well it is.The least expensive way of reducing the heat in the grow room is to vent out the heat and replace it with cooler air. Hot air rises. the blower will turn on at 80 degrees and turn off at 76 degrees.. Aluminum tubing with smooth inside walls creates less resistance and the blower runs more efficient. then on.

but it's not the most efficient method. If you're looking to control the temperature you should measure the temperature. The volume of air in the reflector might be 3 cubic feet and you can vent it out in a few seconds. An alternative to moving all the air out is to capture the heated air and vent it. An air conditioner can be used for the supply air and a blower can blow out the heat. This can be done with an air cooled grow light. Sometimes the air coming in is just too hot and can't cool the room. The air in the air cooled system is a separate environment from the grow room. just how much of it you have to move. The problem is the air coming in is too hot. Another advantage with an air cooled system is when you're using a CO2 system too. not the time of day. so why not cool it. This will also get the job done.Some people turn the blowers on with a timer. The blower might be set to turn on at a specific time or multiple times during the day. It doesn't matter if it's hotter. Venting a 288 cubic foot grow room that's 95 degrees takes a lot longer than venting a 3 cubic foot reflector that's 150 degrees. This is not really solving the problem. . or another timer set to go on at the same time. The advantage with this setup is that you're using less energy to move the heat out. When this is the case the blower can be run on the same timer as the grow light. just a cheap fix. Your CO2 cost will be lower since it's not being wasted. The CO2 doesn't get blown out when the blowers turn on.

or pull air as far down a tube as the in-line. In-line fans have round duct connectors on each side so you can use them in-line with duct tubing. We also have in-line fans. Exhaust blowers have a round squirrel cage that rotates. The in-line fans are different from exhaust blowers in the way they move air.Exhaust Blower Specifications Exhaust blowers are used for venting the heat out of your grow room. In-line fans create much more pressure than exhaust blowers and this is very important when you are trying to move air down a tube. The in-line fans look more like a jet engine on the inside. An exhaust blower with the same cubic feet per minute (CFM) rating as an in-line fan will not push. These are also used for venting heat out of the growing area but they are designed a bit different. The duct boosters have an open blade fan on the inside and do not create as much pressure as an in-line fan or an exhaust blower. Some of the exhaust blowers have a round inlet flange for connecting duct tubing so you can pull air off a grow light or from another room. They look similar to the in-line fans but are not designed the same. They also have mounting brackets to hole the fan in place. They have a flange on the front for mounting on a wall or inside a grow box. They pull air in the side of the blower and pump it out the front. We also have a few duct boosters. .

Clones or cuttings can be taken from a favorite plant and repeating the cloning procedure. You will want to soak the rockwool in water that's pH has been adjusted to 5.5. roots are induced from a portion of the stem. Generally you will want to select the plant that is the healthiest and most vigorous of the group. you can grow the strain continually and indefinitely. . This will neutralize the pH of the rockwool.5 overnight.How to take cuttings Cloning Basics Clones are by definition. root. keep in mind that all the clones you take will display exactly the same characteristics of the mother plant so make sure you pick one with desired growth characteristics." In clonal propagation. Also. Now that your rockwool is prepared you must select a plant to take cuttings from. This step is important because rockwool is very alkaline and putting a cutting into untreated rockwool could greatly reduce percentages of rooted clones. "a group of genetically identical cells descended from a single common ancestor. Healthy mother plants will speed the rooting of the cuttings and increase your success rate so choose wisely. it's time to get all your stuff ready to take the clones. or leaf. Make sure you have a sharp and clean razor blade handy. After selecting the best plant from the group. Go ahead and put the black tray insert in the propagation tray and prepare a bottle of cloning solution mixed at 6 ounces per gallon of water with a pH of 6. Getting Started Parts List Rockwool Propagation Tray Tray Insert Humidity Dome Cloning Gel Cloning Solution Heating Mat (Optional) Clean Razor Blade The first thing you will need to do is condition the rockwool that you plan to plant the cuttings in.

a set of leaf nodes where your cut will be made. Locate a spot on the branch between. or next to. Leaf nodes are where the branches come out of the stem. but you will only be growing in a 3 x 3 area there is no reason to get a light big enough for the whole room. Remove the lower 1 or 2 sets of branches leaving the upper set of leaves to be placed above the surface of the rockwool. and small leafy plants like herbs and lettuce. It is important that you do not damage the branch while handling. immediately place in a container filled with your cloning gel. Now that the cut has been made you must work fast because time is against you. . The leaves may get moldy if they are laying on top of other leaves because of the high humidity in the dome. We will be growing tomatoes so we will want to achieve 40 watts per square foot. Width x Depth = Square Feet 3 x 3 = 9 sq. For low light plants. you will only need to achieve about 25 to 30 watts per square foot. you have a 3 x 3 growing area so you must figure out how many watts you will require to light that area. Generally you want to select a branch or stem that has at least 2 or 3 sets of leaves. Place the rockwool cubes in the black tray insert spaced apart just enough so the leaves are not overlapping or touching. For high-light plants like tomatoes you will want to achieve around 40 watts per square foot for optimal growth and fruit production. To prevent an air bubble (embolism) from lodging in the stem where the cut is. You will want to measure only the plant area that you will be growing in. In other words. Using that as an example. After you have dipped the clone in the gel place the cutting in the rockwool cube immediately. Make a clean. ft. Leave at least 1 set of nodes above the cut. When figuring your area don't necessarily go by the actual size of the room. 45 degree slice with your razor blade.Now select a portion of the plant to take the cutting from. neat. if the grow room is 5 x 5. How to Choose a Grow Light How much area are you looking to light? The best place to start is to figure out the square footage of the area you are trying to light.

Air-cooling makes keeping your grow room cooler easy. In recent years switchable ballasts have been introduced in 400 watt and 1000 watt configurations. by exhausting the heat emitted by the bulb before it escapes the reflector. Almost all of the lights we carry have air-cooling flanges and tempered glass as add-ons to your grow light. For our 3 x 3 garden with tomato plants we will go with a small reflector to get the maximum amount of light on the plants.. . Metal Halide is a very balanced spectrum and works very well for leafy vegetables like lettuce and herbs.Watts x Square Feet = Desired Wattage 40 x 9 = 360 watts We will just round the 360 watts up to 400 watts. Smaller reflectors reflect light at a higher intensity because the light does not have to travel as far before it is reflected. For those people who have a large garden with low light plants the larger reflectors may be a better choice. Many growers will use the Metal Halide spectrum for vegetative growth and switch to HPS for the flowering cycle. You want to have an even distribution of light over the entire growing area. Since we will be growing tomatoes which spend most of their time flowering. Then you must factor in the size and shape of your garden. we will be looking to purchase a 400 High Pressure Sodium system. This will be the deciding factor in the amount of light reflected upon the plants and how uniform the light is. we know that we will be in the market for a 400 watt grow light. Horizontal reflectors are the most efficient reflectors and are the most popular. flower volume and fruit weight can increase by as much as 20 percent when using HPS lights for flowering. So. Should I Purchase a High Pressure Sodium or Metal Halide Grow Light? Traditionally gardeners would use the Metal Halide fixtures for vegetative growth and the High Pressure Sodium (HPS) fixtures for flowering. According to some gardeners. A horizontal lamp position increases light up to 40 percent over a lamp burning in the vertical position. Which Reflector Should I Get and Why? The reflector is the most important part of a grow light.. So. we will go with the High Pressure Sodium system. But. which allow you to run a HPS or Metal Halide bulb off of the same ballast.

High Intensity Discharge (HID) Lamp Specifications Color rendering Index (CRI) Color rendering is a measure of lighting quality. (a section of the inside surface of a sphere) of one candlepower. every point of which is one foot away from a source. A uniform source of one candlepower placed in a sphere emits 12. Color Temperature Color temperature is a measure of the color appearance of light not the actual temperature. Initial Lumens Initial Lumens is the measurement of the intensity of the lamp Initially.57 lumens. Sources that appear yellow-white to red-white have a low color temperature (3400K and below) and are described as “warm”. Light sources that appear bright white to blue-white have a high color temperature (3600K and above) and are described as “cool”. Lumen A lumen is the unit that expresses the total quantity of light given of by a source. But generally the higher the CRI the lower the lamp efficiency. regardless of direction. with natural daylight and incandescent lighting both equal to 100. Lamps do get dim over time and replacing them after 60% of the rated life is recommended for best performance. Plants can grow better with a higher color rendering index light source. A lumen is defined as the amount of light falling on a surface of one square foot. Daylight is considered to be around 5500K and plants grown under this light do quite well. The cost of the lamp increases as the color temperature goes up because of the rare materials required to fill the arc tube. It is measured on an index from 0-100. . Lamps with a high color rendering index make objects appear more true to life.

you can see that although the voltage and amperage can change. A kilowatt-hour is 1000 watts of usage for one hour or approximately equals a 1000 watt light running for one hour. This is true but the utility company doesn’t charge you for amperage. There’s a nice formula for this: Wattage / Voltage = Amperage. The point often noted for the money saving argument is that the amperage is half as much when running grow lights on 220 volts instead of 110 volts. the specifications will vary slightly between different lamp manufacturers.Description 1000 watt Sodium 600 watt Sodium 400 watt Sodium 250 watt Sodium 1000 watt Halide 400 watt Halide 250 watt Halide Initial Lumens 130000 89000 50000 28500 110000 36000 20500 CRI 21 21 21 21 65 65 65 Color Temp 2100 2100 2100 2100 3700 4000 4000 Life 24000 18000 24000 24000 10000 20000 10000 The table above is not a product guarantee. If we plug in the numbers for a 1000 watt sodium grow light. they charge you for wattage. This is a common misunderstanding about how electricity works and how the power companies charge you for it. Watts Cheaper 110 or 220 Volts? How much will I save on my electric bill if I run my lights on 220 volts? A quick answer: Probably nothing. the wattage always stays the same. They bill you in kilowatt-hour units. . The numbers above are an average of all our lamp suppliers specifications.

the efficiency lost due to voltage drop may not be significant enough to justify rewiring your grow room for 220 volts. Fluorescent lamps need a ballast to operate. All that power in one fixture! HID systems can be divided into a few categories. This brings us to the "probably" part of the answer. the less the voltage drop. Fluorescent lamps work great for starting seeds or cuttings. Grow lights Grow lights are just lights used for growing plants. High Pressure Sodium. try some cool whites. A lamp like this will keep a small house plant growing. Incandescent lamps are the least expensive and cost about $5 for a good 150 watt grow bulb. Right about now is when I get the question "well why do they make stuff to run on 220 volts then?" Usually large machines and appliances that draw lots of power run on 220 volts (or more) mainly because of the size wire you would need to use to run them on 110 volts would be very large. You’ll find a wide range of lamps to choose from. it’s almost always built-in to the fixture. This allows you to run smaller wire. Metal Halide. The 4 foot size is the most common for gardening. The 2 lamp "shop light" fixtures available at the hardware store will cost you about $10. it’s the voltage drop or the voltage lost when the power travels down the wire. Low Pressure Sodium and Mercury Vapor. a fluorescent or a High Intensity Discharge (HID) system. The only ones useful for gardening are High Pressure Sodium (HPS or "Sodium") and . the load is split between two 110 volt wires. One fixture with 2 lamps in it can cover 2. The lower the resistance on the wire. The gauge and length of the wire will determine the maximum amperage it will handle before it melts! On a 220 volt circuit. If you are running one or two lights in a typical home with the breaker box a short distance away.On 220 Volts: 1100W / 220V = 5A Note that a 1000 watt sodium ballast draws 1100 watts. If you need a nice looking fixture that can get a bit more expensive. One 1000 watt HID lamp can produce the same amount of light as fifty 40 watt fluorescent lamps. They are very bright and very efficient.1000 Sodium Grow Light On 110 Volts: 1100W / 110V = 10A . You can get one of these lamps from a hardware store or large nursery. there inexpensive and work well. There is another factor. 10x20 inch trays and get your seedlings ready for transplant. A grow light can be as simple as an incandescent light bulb that fits in a standard socket. High Intensity Discharge lamps are for serious growing.

The 1000 can cover an area of about 7 x 7. that means one light. I know that some of you have built controllers based on . it's easier to wire them for 240 because you can use smaller wire. Halide lights emit a blue-white color of light. On a 240 volt circuit the amperage is 4. the power cords have three wires. In a 120 volt circuit. The black and white are both 120 volts (180 degrees out of phase with each other) and the green is the common and ground. white and green. For fast growth. actually if you measured the voltage with an accurate meter a 120 volt circuit often will be less than that an can vary. They are often referred to as "110 volt" or "220 volt".Metal Halide (MH or "Halide"). good for flowering plants. In a three wire 240 volt circuit. there is also a black. In a 240 circuit we are splitting the load between two wires.6 amps (1100 watts / 240 volts = 4. A standard 120 volt circuit in your home has a 15 amp rating. figure about 25 watts of HID light per square foot. a black. the white is the "common" or "return" and the green is the ground.17 amps). The problem for most of you is that you just can't go out and buy a timer that you can "plug in" four lights.58 amps). Note: I will be using the term "120 volt" and "240 volt" to describe the two different types of circuits we will be working with only because that's the term the ballast manufactures use. A sodium running with fluorescents in the same area will make the best combination of light spectrum. I have looked at many different lighting controllers for the hydroponics industry and found that most are $200 to $300 for what amounts to a $30 relay in a box with some outlets. The black is the "power" or 120 volts. good for leafy growth. The most commonly used sizes are 400 and 1000 watt.2 amps at 120 volts (1100 watts / 120 volts = 9. a halide is probably the best choice. The 400 can supply enough light for a growing area of about 16 square feet or a 4 x 4 garden. so I setout to build one of these with safety and low price in mind and to get as much of it from Home Depot as I could. a sodium may be a better choice. better than just a halide. I know many of you like to build this stuff on your own. so when running multiple light systems. like we use for grow lights. A 1000 watt light draws about 9. Sodium lights emit a yellow-orange color. If you’re planning on getting only one light. How to Build a Four Light Grow Light Controller for Less Than $80 Anyone that has more than two 1000 watt lights in their home has probably run into the problem of how to supply power and turn them on and off. If you already have some fluorescents. a white and a green.

If you don't understand how this works. don't do it.75 4 connectors. 1000 watt lights.. Warning: Electricity will kill you. with Crimper Pliers Materials: Prices from 8/7/03 6 x 6 x 4 Junction box $10. a relay has a coil that when power is applied. 15 amps / . you could be barbecued in no time. but if you did you could turn them all on with a $10 Home Depot timer! One problem though. 20A 250V.. The one I am using draws 85 milliamps. I don't know if anyone has 704. it makes the connection. That means I can control quite a few of these relays with one 15 amp timer. What you need Tools:      A drill 3/16 drill bit Screw Drivers Wire Stripper. or 176 four light controllers. The difference is that instead of flipping the switch with your finger. The advantage of this is that the coil requires only minimal current. NEMA 6-20 style $21.. On with the project.. A relay works like a light switch. it does not care if you cry "uncle".00 .085 (85 milliamps) = 176.the Intermatic T103 timers will work for four lights but what do you do when you have eight or twelve lights and you want them to turn on at the same time? The answer is a relay. it connects and disconnects two wires. you still need 176 different 30 amp circuits.

16 $2.29 16/3 power cord.95 .99 30 Amp Power Relay $29. 8-32 x 1 inch machine screws and nuts $0.55 14 gauge wire.4 feet of 14/3 SJO wire. more if you want to have the ballasts $2.10 stud. Dryer cord. 8 . 10 gauge $8.32 far from the power source. "Romex Clamps" or Cord Restraints $0. 3 wire. pack of at lease 3.98 5. 18/3 will work too $2.78 at least 15 ring terminals.

.How it Works When power is applied to the small black cord (the relay coil) the power from the dryer cord goes to the four yellow connectors. You will also need a dryer outlet.

The power from the dryer cord is connected to the "LINE" side and the power to the grow lights goes on the "LOAD" side. The "COIL" is the trigger. .Here is the relay. They will be pulled down by the electromagnet the coil charges. Here you can see the contacts.

In a 240 volt circuit you must disconnect both 120 volt wires at the same time. Here I have connected the 16/3 power cord to the coil to using the black and white wires. Notice that the two outside wires on the dryer cord go to the two poles and the inner one is the ground. here is the power coming in on the line side. Just to give you an overview of how it works. When you plug it in you should hear a click and see the contacts close. The black and white from the . We will put one of our 120 volt wires on pole 1 and the other on pole 2. It does not matter what side you connect them to.This is a "double pole" relay.

In this situation. Then drilled two 3/16 inch holes. Assembly First I put the relay in the center of the junction box and made some marks through the mounting holes of the relay. . it does not matter what pole you connect the black or white to.connector go to the load side of the two poles.

this hole should measure 7/8 inch. I prepared four sets of wires as shown above using the ring terminals. it should measure 1-1/8 inch. Since we are using 14/3 wire. The one on the left is for the dryer cord. Also above you can see the knock-outs missing. The one on the left is for the 16/3 power cord. you could make them . I made them one foot long but they can be longer if you have your ballasts far from the dryer plug.I also drilled a hole in the side for the ground screw.

long enough to go from one side of your house to the other. they should not come apart! . When you crimp the ring terminals. Inside the yellow connector is a strip gauge for the wire (above left). the clamp will not hold. If you pull on them. If you cut too much of the black insulation off. test them. Be careful not to cut too deep into the insulation or you will cut the copper.

Assemble the rest of the connectors. The green must go to the green screw.Insert the wires into the connectors. Again. You should have with four sets of these. in this situation it does not matter where you put the black and white. .

If your using Romex clamps. put the clamp on first. . I connected the 16/3 power cord to the coil and the ground screw.After I mounted the relay.

The hole on the left is 7/8 inch. . the one on the right is 1-1/8 inch.Then I connected the dryer cord to one side of the relay and grounded the center wire. The dryer cord comes with these funky clamps. you may have to bend it to get it through the hole.

Now it starts to get tight. I put the four 14/3 cords with the connectors through the box. Now tighten all the screws and pack the wire against the inside of the box so nothing is rubbing the relay. . Notice the four black on one pole and the white on the other. The holes for these should be 7/8 inch. Also they are all grounded.

Put the cover on and your done! . We have a special tool but pliers will work too.Use the cord restraints or Romex clamps to hold the wires in place.







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