Q: What is growing media?
A: Growing media is the general term for the substrate or matter one decides to grow their plant/s with. Letís dig into the various media.
Soil- Also referred to as dirt, can be a various mixture of dirt, sphagnum peat moss, sand, bark, or any particulate typically found in ground soil. Soil Manufacturers have various high-quality blends suited for the various water demands of the plant phylum.
Coir- Or coconut coir, usually shredded and monsoon treated coconut husks. Available in various forms: from a fine shred, nice chunky cubes, or in compressed bricks. New advances in technology have allowed the creation of coconut growing containers, net cups, hydro-blocks, and growing mats.
Rockwool- Also known as stone-wool, Is a highly durable, common hydroponic media. It is created by melting natural rock and extruding it into threads like cotton candy. Which is then formed and shaped, pressing it into sponge-like; blocks, plugs, mats, cubes, even into loose fiber bales.
Clay Pebbles- Also known as expanded clay pebbles and hydroton. It is created by heating very special clay to a high temperature, causing the clay to puff like popcorn. A highly durable, chemically inert, and pH neutral media that can be reused. Very good drainage.
Perlite- A generic term for naturally occurring siliceous rock. It is chemically inert, and has a pH of approximately 7. It is a very porous and airy media, making it suitable to use alone or to add as an amendment to soil helping provide greater drainage.
*If you are unsure of your media needs and need help with your decision, please feel free to contact us by phone or email.
Q: Is water quality important?
A: Yes, of course, generally municipal water is considered hard. Meaning levels of Magnesium and mainly Calcium are at levels above 70 ppm. This can cause serious problems in hydroponic systems. Some nutrient manufacturers have addressed this issue creating blends of nutrients designed for use with hard water. Alternative options include: using purified/distilled water, installing a rain-barrel to collect rain water, or purchasing a reverse osmosis filtration unit. We can help you with any option you decide.
Q: What is the optimum pH and water temperature?
A: Good question, the optimum pH for plant growth is between 5.6 and 6.5. This is the range in which availability and absorption of the 16 atomic elements required for plant growth is at its greatest. When pH is out of this range, N-P-K, or the macro nutrients, are less available to the plant, while the absorption of the micronutrients can become toxic and harmful. Also, various plants, trees, fruits and vegetables like different pH conditions. Research and find what is best for what you are growing. Purchase pH up or pH down to control and tailor the pH of your nutrient solution.
Water temperature is also very important. Plants do not like rapid temperature changes in the root zones, between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit is best. Warm your solution with hot water if too cold, or add a reservoir heater to your hydroponics system when temperatures dip to low. In the summer, warming water is the problem for hydroponic systems, water chillers can be incorporated to prevent water temperatures from reaching fatal levels.
Q: Do plants need fresh air?
A: Yes, fresh air, not just re-circulated air, affects the rate at which plants transpire or breath. A higher transpiration rate directly translates into a greater rate of nutrient uptake, faster metabolism and growth rate. A good ventilation system will exchange air while cooling the overall ambient air temperature.
Q: What is Hydroponics?
A: Hydroponics is a method of growing plants using a nutrient rich solution to bathe the plantís roots instead of soil. Plants may be grown with just their roots in the nutrient solution, or in addition to an inert media. There are a variety of techniques and systems for your various needs. It is loved industry over for itís high growth rates and higher output compared to standard growth methods.
Q: Where is the Hydroponic method best suitable?
A: The answer: Anywhere! Indoors or Out, Greenhouses, Backyards, even in the International Space Station! As long as conditions are permissible for plant growth it will work. All you need is enough light, water, and proper temperature range.