How to Grow Plants Successfully Using Hydroponics:
Successful hydroponics growing is about first learning the ropes and familiarizing yourself with the various techniques and options available to you as a grower out there. It's a little more difficult than just throwing on some Daft Punk music, playing it for your plants, and waiting for them to grow while you "get lucky" with a great crop. You are going to reap what you sew, and the more effort and simple care you put into the process, the better your crops are going to be. That being said, it's not difficult to bring yourself up to speed relatively quickly and master a solid, working understanding of the basic concepts so that you can get up and running. Humboldts Secret Golden Tree is always trying to do our best to look out for our valued growers out there, so we've put together some basic comments that will help launch you into your new world o' hydro. Enjoy, and, yes, Virginia, learning is half the battle.
First things first What is hydroponics?
Folks, basically it's growing your plants without the traditional use of dirt as your planting medium. "Hydro" comes from the fact that you are using a nutrient rich water solution to feed the plants. There's a wide variety of special hydroponics-suitable growing mediums to choose from including fiberglass, sand, kiln-fired clay balls or harnesses that just support the plants and roots basically in the air- a form of hydroponics known as aeroponics (plants suspended in the air and receiving their nutrient water in a spray application), another branch is known as aquaponics.
Okay, that all sounds cool, but where do I start looking for materials to grow my plants?
The hydroponics store-sold kits are pretty expensive, but if you've got ample funds to invest up-front, that's obviously your quickest and easiest option for getting started. We recommend that you start of modestly and work your way up, as you learn, because there's few things more frustrating than having a fancy, expensive set-up and either not knowing what to do with it, or underutilizing it. For example, simple starter multiple plants kits (6-8 plants or so) will run you something in the ballpark of $190 are so. Probably the cheapest starter kits you can get are the single pot bubbling systems, roughly $50-$60ish. We could recommend one solid idea which would be to use a combination system that you improvise by combining these two type of kits described above.
So can you tell me more about the different hydroponics methods?
Yeah, we can talk to you until you're blue in the face, but let's break this down as simply as possible since we are all about simple here. You've got your NFT's (nutrient film techniques) whereby you have a thin stream of nutrient solution flowing over the roots. Then there's "Ebb and Flow" which involves flooding your root system then later draining it. The coolest looking system has your plants suspended in mid-air (various harnessing structures offered by dealers). This is called aeroponics, as we had mentioned above. There are other systems called "drip" systems, and all of these various systems don't use any dirt! Gettin' the picture?
Hmm, so that's quite a few choices, Can you recommend one simple start off point for me?
Sure, let's get you started with the cheap bubbling pot system. Fill up your pots with any medium you like, and position it just above the level of your nutrient solution. Keep the bubbles going so that the whole system will be well aerated and those bubbles popping will keep the tiny splashes going up into your medium that will absorb it and get it to your plants' roots. As far as the mediums themselves, our successful growers are using rockwool in blocks or slabs or cube forms, kiln-fired clay balls, even a combo of rockwool and fired clay balls works very well. Chop up the rockwool for best results if mixing with the heavier, denser medium of fired clay.
Are there any advantages to growing hydroponically?
Heck yes! Your hydroponic crops are going to have better flavor and be more nutrient rich- giving them the 'bang' for the buck that you seek, whether you're growing for private consumption or one of the people later this year cranking up your own grow operations in Colorado. Growing hydroponically gives you total control of what nutrients are going into your plants. Without all the soil, it's not a messy scenario. It's much easier to monitor for pests or plant disease because they are exposed, and there's no soil to camouflage or hide things. Getting back to the nutrient control aspect, that's where Humboldts Secret Golden Tree really steps in. Chose the best nutrient punch using our additive on top of your trusted fertilizer mix for your nutrient solution, and you'll be getting the maximum, best results...every time!