0:00 Intro – What to Expect and Why to grow Hydroponically
1:35 – Setup and Recommendation
3:13 – Strain Selection
3:51 – Germination & Sprouting Seeds
4:11 – Making Nutrient Juices & Concentrates
4:54 – Hydroponic Deep Water Culture Bucket Setup
8:44 – How to Use the Cheat Sheet & Feeding
10:24 – When to Swap & Replace your Reservoir
11:29 – Pitfalls and Problems to Avoid
13:38 – Highlights of Hydroponic Grows that used the Methods taught in this Guide
I spent over a year studying and researching hydro to bring you the easiest method to grow in this medium. This formula has been tweaked, optimized and tested on both autos and photoperiods. If you watched my hydro was ugggggggeeee mistake video, my mistake was really saying that hydro was a mistake because after 6 grows, I now know, it’s undeniably the fastest medium I’ve ever grown in. If you want giant autos or the highest amount of yield possible, hydro is the best in my experience.
Now before I begin, understand that being good at soil will not automatically make you good at hydro. Hydro is more like being a mathematical bartender than a gardener.
Your pH and tds meter will be your best friend and proper storage and frequent calibrations are necessary. You’ll be mixing juices and responding to your ph and ppm readings to tell you what to do. This medium requires daily feedings and measurements and cleanliness. If you hate washing dishes, hydro is not for you. Lastly, If you’re tent gets over 90 degrees, you’ll need to figure out a way to chill your water and this is usually expensive.
TENT SETUP: The first thing you need to setup is your tent. LINK TO COMPLETE TENT SETUP GUIDE. If you already have one setup, please scroll down to SEED SELECTION.
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Grow Tents maximize light efficiency by reflecting light so it can be absorbed by your plant. Also, instead of controlling the humidity and temperature of an entire room, you limit it to the size of your tent. This improves energy efficiency and it’ll save more on utility costs in the long run. Now hydro plants start off really slow, but once their roots reach the water, the growth accelerates and they get really big, really fast. For every plant you plan on growing, I recommend at least 4 square feet of space and it’s important to determine the light you get based on the size of your tent.
For lighting, you’ll want at least 30 watts of Full spectrum LED lighting for each square foot of tent space. For example, if you have a 3 x 3 tent, that ‘s 9 square feet, which means you could only have 2 plants(4 sq ft each). You’ll also need at least 270 watts in lighting(30 watts x 9 sq ft). For a 4 x 4, you can have 4 plants(4 sq ft each) and you’ll need at least 480 watts of lighting(30 watts x 16 sq ft). You’ll need an air filtration kit, which brings fresh air into your tent and filters smell coming out and an oscillating fan to help circulate the air within the tent.
SEED SELECTION: Genetics is arguably the most important factor for growing quality buds and you want to pick a proven INDOOR strain. WATCH THIS TUTORIAL TO LEARN HOW TO PICK A STRAIN. Unless you are breeding, Always get feminized seeds and there are two types, Autos and Photoperiods. Hydro is a medium that has great results for both, but if you want the option to clone and grow larger plants, get photoperiods. The only difference in growing them is the light schedule which is detailed on the cheat sheet.
GERMINATION: Once you get your seeds, germinate them. My preferred method uses rapid rooters and a seed starting tray. CLICK HERE FOR A TUTORIAL.
It will take about 3 days for the seeds to germinate and during this time, you want to mix your juice and setup your hydroponic system.
JUICES: Grab an empty gallon container and fill it up with clean water but leave about a cup empty for nutrients. Simply follow the recipe on page two of this CHEAT SHEET and mix these ingredients into the water in order from top to bottom. Make sure you mix this thoroughly between each nutrient and once you’re finished, store these in a cool dark place.
CLICK PHOTO TO DOWNLOAD CHEAT SHEET
This juice was mathematically calculated to have the perfect balance of NPK, secondary and trace elements so I warn you, adding or removing anything will throw off the balance.
HYDRO SETUP: The next step is to setup your hydroponic system. You’ll need a standard 5 gallon bucket which you can get at any hardware store, an air bubbler with airstones and tubing, a 6 inch net pot lid and hydroton. The use of reverse osmosis water is recommended, but I’ll show you how to calculate everything for tap water too.
This is a sterile medium so make sure everything is clean before use. Rinse the fine sand and silt off your hydroton but don’t make the mistake of draining it into the sink or tub. Fill your clean bucket up with about 75% water, then slowly add your juice while measuring your ppm until it hits the target listed on the chart. Keep in mind this target is in addition to your starting water’s ppm. For instance, if your tap water is 182ppm, your target is really 182 plus 50 or 232 ppm. Instead of the 50 on the chart, you’re adding juice until your meter reads 232. For a 5 gallon reservoir, this should be about 150ml of juice or 2/3rds of a cup. The last step are to pH balance it and add about 8 ml of hydrogen peroxide to keep the water sterile.
Now place your airstone or stones in the center of the bucket and make sure your air pump is placed at an elevation higher than the water. Some net pot lids will need to be cut to allow the air lines through.
Setting up your net pot is done when your seeds sprout and show roots poking out of the bottom of your starter plugs. Ideally, you want to put your plant as far down in the pot so that the roots can reach the water as quick as possible. The problem is, you still need to fill this with hydroton and placing it all the way on the bottom may end up completely burying the sproutling. Always use as much hydroton as possible because this will secure your plant in place when it is older. I bury my sproutlings so that only a inch or 2 of the stem is above the hydroton. You dont want light hitting the plug because algae may start to grow on it. Keep a mental note on where the bottom of the your plug is. Be gentle because the hydroton could potentially crush your stems.
Once your net pot is setup, place it on top of the bucket, it should snap. For the first couple of weeks, you want to bring the water level up to be just an inch below the bottom of your starter plug. You DO NOT want the starter plug to be submerged at all and the idea is to let the water bubbles pop and provide water to the hanging roots without oversaturating the plug. This will let the roots search for water and allow them to grow straight down. The next couple of weeks will be slow and plants will likely look ugly as they transition into this hydroponic setting. You could add a humidity dome to help during this process and you probably wont have to do anything in the first two weeks besides set your light. Once the majority of the roots hit the water, thats when you jump to week 3.
Now the rest of the growth is outlined on this cheat sheet which is has clickable links that teach how to set the targets If you goto page two, youll see the recipe for the top off water on the bottom. Every morning, you want to add top off water to bring the water level back to bottom of the net pot. Let this water bubble for a couple of minutes, then measure the ppm with your TDS meter. You want to bring this ppm back to the target levels listed on the chart. To do this, you could either pour juice into the reservoir slowly until it hits your target or you could calculate how much you need to add. Just subtract your current ppm from your target ppm and multiply it by 3.5. This is how much milliliters of juice you will need to add. Keep in mind that youll be mixing the bloom and veg juice in the following percentages for the first 4 weeks of bloom. Eventually, at week 5, this will be 100% bloom juice. After the juice is added, again, wait a couple of minutes and retest you pH and ppm and bring it to target if it’s off. I would highly suggest you actively recording your before and after pH and ppm readings, because this will tell you the ideal time for swapping your reservoir.
As time passes, nutrients and particles that cannot be consumed build up in your reservoir and create dirty water. Knowing when to swap your reservoir is based on responding to pH and ppm abnormalities. When you notice your ppm barely going down, add your top off water but skip adding any juice for the day and retest tomorrow. If your current ppm still isn’t lower than 50 from your target, this is my cue to swap the rez. I always prepare a spare bucket to make it easier to swap. Cleanliness is key so make sure you have clean buckets, if you want happy plants. Also, clean your airstones if you notice gunk building up.
The main pitfalls I see people encounter is root rot. The ideal temperature you want your reservoirs is 68 degrees. With the aid of hydrogen peroxide, I find that going up to 75 degrees is still doable. Unfortunately, temperatures above 80 will leave plants vulnerable to root rot and in this case, you will need to add a water chiller. Another issue with hydro is using a trellis. It becomes impossible to swap out a reservoir and the best solution is to siphon water out by slightly elevating your bucket and using gravity, However, this isnt ideal for maintaining cleanliness. I hope this video broke down the most detailed explanation on how to grow the best quality buds in hydro.
How to Make DWC Top Off Water
How to Make Veg Juice
How to Add Juices
When to Flip Hydro Plants
How to Make Bloom Juice
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