Hydroponics Gardening - An Introduction To Hydroponics Gardening For Beginners (part 4) Environment
By John R. Haughton
Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5
THE BASICS OF HYDROPONICS.
The Success or Failure of Your Plants Depends On Their Environment
The environment, or climate, in which your plants are grown is one of the most important factors affecting your end results. The temperature and humidity have to be right for the type of crop you are raising, the lighting has to be of sufficient intensity and duration for the stage your crop has reached. These and many other factors have to be considered before you can hope to grow a healthy and productive crop.
Letís look briefly at the various factors involved. Growing plants indoors means that you have to create similar conditions to those outside. This may seem obvious at first glance, but is it true? Ask yourself what the advantages of Hydroponics gardening are. The outside climate is very varied and does not always work to the plant's advantage. For example a bad storm or a late frost can damage or kill tender young plants.
One of the major advantages of hydroponics gardening is that you can control the climate within the grow room. This means that you can supply your plants with the ideal conditions for their healthy growth, throughout their lives. This ensures a good healthy yield and a bigger profit margin.
So what do you need?
Having decided upon which type of hydroponics system to use, you now need to promote the right growing conditions. All healthy plants require a good supply of water and balanced nutrients. They need the right kind of light, for the right period of time, each day. Your plants will need some kind of support for their structure, especially as they mature and grow heavy with harvestable produce. Like outdoor plants they also need the temperature to be within a certain range. Too cold and your plants will not thrive, but remain poor stunted things. Too hot and they may well dry out, then their leaves will wither and the plants die.
The addition of Carbon Dioxide gas (CO2) may be advisable to promote Photosynthesis within the green leaves of your plants. Finally some form of clean fresh air circulation is needed to ensure that your crop can breathe. Like you, your plants need Oxygen for life. They breathe it in through their tissues and like you, can become sick if it is dirty or contaminated. So, taking these factors one at a time, how can we create the optimum conditions for our plants?
Firstly water and a good supply of balanced nutrients are essential. Which nutrient to buy and how to use it? This again is a major question to some people. My advice to you would be to go with a nutrient that you can understand and are comfortable using. As you gain experience and confidence you can experiment with other methods and suppliers at will.
Lighting is another key area that seems to cause newcomers a problem. The type of light and the number of daylight hours are determined by the species of plants you are cultivating and their stage of development. Young seedlings and cuttings, for example, need much softer light than do plants about to flower. Equitorial plants will generally need a higher light intensity for a longer period than will plants from the regions where days and growing seasons are short. Ask your hydroponics supplier for help in any of the areas you are unsure of. He will be pleased to assist you.
When looking at lighting you also need to take into account the area to be covered and whether the lights are to be static or moving.
A Brief Word Of Warning.
Poor quality lighting systems can be very dangerous and accidents are more likely to occur if the person who sets up the equipment is not particular about safety. Always buy quality assured electrical equipment that carries the safety mark for your country. Do not risk your life or the lives of those you love just to save a few pounds or dollars.
IF IN DOUBT CONSULT A PROFESSIONAL ELECTRICIAN
Plants can be supported in a variety of ways, by using frames and tying the plant stems to them at regular intervals using plastic ties. Automatic reels can be bought which makes the job a lot easier. They consist of a spring loaded reel of cord with a hook arrangement that fixes to the ceiling, or a top runner, and a hook or loop to tie to the top area of the plant stem. As the plant grows so the slack in the cord is taken up by the reel. Depending on your growing system the roots will either be supported or not. If no support is used, for example in a water culture system, then the plant should be supported at or near the base of the stem, to stop it lifting if reel supports are used.
And so to the temperature control in your artificial climate. The optimum temperature for your plants will again vary with both genus and species. Ask your supplier what this should be. Now you will need devise a system to maintain the temperature within the optimum top and bottom limits. This can be achieved by either a series of fans and/or heaters together with various other pieces of equipment such as timers, controllers, monitors and CO2 dosers, or by a commercially produced environmental control system. These ready made systems come in a variety of price options designed to suit almost every pocket. In general, the more you are prepared to spend, the more sophisticated the systems that are available to you.
Fresh air requirements for your grow room are normally provided using a fan assisted ducting system . This introduces clean air from the outside, via a filter to remove impurities. An Ozone generator is often used to improve the supply of oxygen and neutralize any noxious odors. Another similar ducting system then extracts the dirty air back to the outside, again via a filter to remove impurities and cut down on unwelcome odors. Humidifiers can be used, if needed, to increase the amount of airborne water vapor.
Copyright (C) 2004, 2005 - John R Haughton.
--- All Rights Reserved ---
A partner in a thriving retail hydroponics supply business, Rickie Haughton is the owner of http://hydroponics-gardening-information.com/ which aims to cater for all levels of expertise in the field of hydroponics gardening. The website is packed with good content about all aspects off hydroponics gardening and offers a free hydroponics Club membership to all subscribers.