It’s important to know what to do to keep your hydroponic growing system healthy and successful. In this article, we will look at a few tips you can use to maintain a healthy growing environment, such as controlling the temperature, humidity, and air composition. We will also look at the different types of growing mediums, as well as the different types of water culture and media-based systems available.
Water culture vs media-based systems
There are several types of hydroponic growing systems available on the market. It’s important to choose the best one based on the type of plants you’ll be growing. These include ebb and flow, media-based, and deep water culture.
Ebb and flow systems are great for home growers because they are relatively simple to set up. In this system, a pump submerges a nutrient solution into a growing tray, and a timer keeps the solution flowing.
Media-based systems use a variety of materials for grow media. Common grow media include expanded clay (hydroton) or polystyrene packing peanuts. You’ll want to be sure your grow medium is organic and non-toxic. Also, the material must be able to maintain a neutral pH.
Media-based systems are super-efficient because the nutrients in the solution are reused. However, they require periodic replacement, and a robust structure is needed. They also need to be protected from power outages.
Choosing the right growing medium
It’s important to choose the right hydroponic growing medium for your needs. The type of media you use will depend on the plant you are growing, your system, and your budget. There are some benefits of each kind of media.
For instance, rockwool is an inert growing medium that gives plants continuous oxygen. It can also help prevent disease, thereby boosting your harvest. This material is also highly absorbent and rehydrates quickly. However, it’s not ideal for growing plants that need high pH.
Another example is vermiculite, a mined mineral rock. It is a light, porous medium that retains water well. In addition, it provides aeration to the roots.
Sand is another popular growing medium. It’s inexpensive and easy to work with. However, it does not retain as much water as other options. Aside from this, sand can be difficult to clean.
Similarly, perlite, a volcanic glass, is lightweight and porous. It can be used alone or mixed with other grow media. When mixed with other media, it allows for better water drainage and aeration.
Controlling temperature, humidity, and the composition of the air
When it comes to growing hydroponic crops, you must know how to control temperature, humidity, and the composition of the air. The right climate and environment can help you achieve a higher yield.
Temperature and humidity affect the rate at which water moves through a plant. For example, a seedling needs a temperature of around 60°F in order to properly grow. However, if the temperature is too warm, you risk bringing on anaerobic pathogens.
Humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air at a given temperature. A high level of humidity may be beneficial in certain cases, but can also deteriorate your plants’ health.
A simple and effective way of controlling temperature and humidity is to use a ventilation fan to circulate air around your grow room. Air circulation will not only keep your plants comfortable, but it will also prevent disease outbreaks in your greenhouse.
You can also choose to install a grow room monitor to check the temperatures and humidity levels inside your system. These are relatively inexpensive and can be used remotely, as well.
Frequency of irrigation
Irrigation frequency is one of the main factors that affects the growth and quality of hydroponic crops. Higher irrigation frequencies can improve the uptake of nutrients and may also improve the plant’s flowering characteristics.
High irrigation frequencies maintain moisture content at the root zone longer. They can also contribute to the improvement of the crop’s overall performance. To determine the optimal irrigation frequency, it is necessary to consider the substrate’s physical properties.
For example, a substrate with high bulk density (as measured by a coefficient) can be irrigated with more water. However, it is important to take into account the substrate’s hydraulic and electrical properties. In addition, a higher drainage percentage can be beneficial for better crop performance, because it enhances water availability and nutrient availability.
A study on the effect of irrigation frequency on plant growth and substrate properties was conducted in Ramat Negev, Israel. The study was funded by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Studies and Research in Agriculture. It investigated the effect of a high and low irrigation frequency on the growth of chrysanthemums grown in soil and rockwool.