7 Ways To Maximise Your Hydroponics Crop
From being able to grow more in a smaller space to saving on water, there are tons of benefits to hydroponic growing. In fact, as our population rises and food becomes more in-demand, it’s set to become the farming of the future for our planet. If you’re already growing crops using hydroponics, you’re ahead of the game!
But wrapping your head around a new growing method isn’t always easy. The ideas that we’ve had about how to grow plants have to be adapted, and there are plenty of little tips and tricks to learn. Luckily, our team has got your back. Whether you’re new to the world of growing hydroponics or have been soil-free for years, we’ve put together our top 7 tips to maximise your crops. Enjoy!
1. Control Your Lighting
Lighting is essential to plant growth (but you probably knew that already). To photosynthesise as they would out in the natural sun, you need to pick your lights carefully. A normal bulb stolen from your kitchen won’t cut it! Choose from the following types of light to help your plants grow strong and healthy:
- Fluorescent lights
- LED lights
- CDM lights
But picking your lights is just the first step here. You also need to make sure your plants are getting the right amount of light for their different growing stages. For example, during flowering stages a lot of plants need more intense light or they simply won’t produce flowers.
Every plant is different, though. Strawberries actually need at least 12 hours a day in darkness to flower, which you probably wouldn’t guess if you didn’t already know! The fact that you need different lighting for different stages of growth and for different plants means lights that you can control are essential. Take a look at this Dimlux Maxi Controller to make sure you can easily shift your lighting so that it’s just right for your plants.
2. Add CO2 to the Air
To photosynthesise, CO2 is essential. Most plants need a minimum concentration of 330 mg/l of CO2 in the air just to grow normally! If you think yours aren’t growing quite as well as they should, it could be worth investing in products to add extra CO2 into your environment. Install a CO2 Controller to monitor levels in your grow space, and give your plants an occasional boost with a CO2 Fusion Spray.
3. Pick the Right Nutrients
Every plant needs nutrients and as hydroponic crops aren’t in soil, adding in the right amount is vital to healthy, large yields. When setting up your hydroponics system, make sure you include a water reservoir that you can easily add your plant additives into, and choose which you add based on your plant's needs.
Flowering plants, for example, need additional nutrients. Adding in products like Hesi Bloom Complex is crucial if you want them to flower. There are also nutrients for strong roots, healthy leaves, quicker growth, and much more! Take a look at our full range of plant nutrients and additives to find the right products and maximise your hydroponics crop yield.
4. Test Your Water Supply
If you’re not satisfied with the crops you’re growing, it could be down to the water you’re using. Despite what a lot of people think, not all water is created equal and you do have to be careful with what you supply to your plants!
Before introducing new water to your system, test it with a pH meter or pH strips to make sure it’s neither too acidic nor too alkaline. A pH of between 5.5 and 6.5 is ideal for plant growth, although be sure to check for your particular plants. You should also keep your water temperature at between 20 - 24 degrees celsius for strong and healthy crops.
5. Replace Your Bulbs Regularly
If you’ve had the same bulbs in for over a year now, it could be time to change them! For maximum crop levels, your bulbs need to be working at their best and giving off a good intensity of light. But, even if they look the same to your eyes, over time the light intensity can weaken. Even LEDs start giving out less light the more you use them, so if your plants aren’t growing as they should, consider switching up your bulbs.
6. Increase Your Light With Reflectors
Changing your bulbs isn’t the only way to improve the intensity of their light. To maximise your crop yield and improve growth, consider installing light reflectors in your grow space. These are designed to reflect light, making your bulbs more effective and helping the light reach further. In our opinion, these should be used in every hydroponic environment!
7. Clean Your Hydroponics System Regularly
All of these tips are great for maximising the growth of your crops, but none of them will work if your systems are dirty. A dirty hydroponic system is a hub for diseases and pests, compromising the health of your plants and reducing the likelihood of a large yield. To make sure you don’t fall victim of an unclean system, be sure to frequently clean your nutrient solution reservoir by following these steps:
- Empty the reservoir of water
- Fill it back up with a diluted bleach solution, diluted white vinegar, or a reservoir cleaner
- Clear out any solid materials
- Empty the reservoir and flush it with water before using
It’s also important to keep your grow space clean, scrub down grow trays and buckets between uses, and remove any plant debris to keep pests away.
Get More Expert Advice to Maximise Your Hydroponics Crop
If you’re growing hydroponics and need some expert help, feel free to get in touch with our team at Genesis Hydro today! Or, follow us on social media to stay up to date with all the latest industry news and get plenty of tips and tricks to improve your hydroponics system.