Basic types of automated hydroponic systems – choose the best hydroponic system

Growing mini gardens indoors using Automated Hydroponic Systems has been a trend these days. Having a green space in our homes gives us the fragrance of comfort and relaxation that we need to cope and thrive in facing this worldwide pandemic, or the COVID-19 outbreak. Hydroponics has been a helpful strategy to prevent the taxing and highly maintenance required by most plants.

Continue reading “Basic types of automated hydroponic systems – choose the best hydroponic system”

How to control the temperature in the greenhouse – ways to create an optimal microclimate for plants

Temperature influences the growth of greenhouse crops. The plant has three important temperature points (cardinal) — minimum, optimal, and maximum for the best growth.

Each plant species has an optimum temperature range. Also, the same plant has different optimum temperatures for vegetative growth and flower development.

What is the best temperature for greenhouse crops

Most crops grow better if the day is warmer than the night, given satisfactory humidity and airflow. However, if the night is too warm or too cold, it damage crops than the day temperature. Therefore, the day and night temperatures difference (DIF) is essential for horticultural ornamental and greenhouse crops for growth habit and flowering time.

If the temperature is below the minimum level, growth slows, flowering is delayed, and the color of leaves and flowers intensifies.

Seed germination, growth and development, and photosynthesis are greatly affected by temperature — above the maximum level and cause premature smaller flowers, smaller leaves, reduced stem diameters, and diminished coloring.

Typically, the optimum air is 60-70°F, and for plants, the optimum is 50-75 °F. Heating the bottom of the benches that support the plants increases the rate of germination. Each crop varies in its heat requirements for germination.

The growth rate increases until 95 °F are reached. When the maximum temperature exceeds 95 °F, the growth rate drops quickly and stops completely because enzymes are deactivated.

Many plants rely on temperature sensing to control flowering time as well. For example, winter annuals germinate in the summer, overwinter, and flower in the spring. These types of plants typically require a cold treatment (of varying lengths and intensity) before flowering.

Here are some examples. However, the greenhouse owner can maximize the operation by identifying the correct temperature for each crop.

Sources:

– State extension vegetable & small fruit crops specialist, West Virginia University.

– Vegetable crops production guide for the Atlantic provinces.

– Growing cannabis indoors: getting started.

Are temperature and humidity exclusive

No, they are not. Every time you adjust the temperature, you’re going to affect the humidity and vice versa.

Monitoring and managing both are crucial for managing pests and disease.

It is not just the air; plant temperature is also essential for higher yield. Plants affect how slow or fast a crop can grow. At optimum, the plant can get rid of its moisture.

Consistency throughout the Greenhouse is important to be managed equally. Otherwise, little pockets of high humid, hot air in certain parts of the greenhouse create microclimates.

How can growers maintain the temperature and humidity in their greenhouse

Heating devices will maintain the temperature within that range during periods of cold weather. However, do not undersize your heating capacity. You may not need all your heaters much of the year, but if you undersize your system, you may lose your entire crop during the coldest nights of winter.

The basic heating system

It consists of a fuel burner, heat exchanger, distribution system, and controls. Heat delivery to the crop is by convection and radiation.

– Heating by hot water or steam. Hot water or steam can be produced using boilers—then hot water or steam transported throughout the greenhouse in pipes.
– Heating by hot air. The most popular fans used in Greenhouses are the HAF (Horizontal Airflow Fans). Fuel is burned to heat air that is then distributed by fans around the greenhouse.
– Moveable night-time insulation. Cloth or film curtains can be positioned above the crop or near the roof to retain heat near the crop. The insulating material used during the night can be the same material used for shading during the day.

High temperatures can be detrimental to plant growth. It can cause such problems as thin, weak stems or, as in tomatoes, stick trusses, reduced flower size or, as in tomatoes, flower fusion and boat formation, delayed flowering, poor pollination, and fruit set. Also, flower bud and fruit abortion. Therefore, having a cooling system is also essential.

Passive cooling systems

– Shading. Shade cloth or shade paint/whitewash, besides regulating the light intensity, can also help cool the greenhouse.
– Ridge Vents. Vents in the roof of a greenhouse that allows hot, interior air to escape.
– Roll-up Side Walls. This can be used in flexible glazing (polyethylene film) single-bay greenhouses where the side walls can be rolled up several feet, allowing a natural horizontal flow of air over the plants.
– Cooling Towers. Water-cooled pads at the top part of tall towers cool the surrounding air. The cooled air then drops, displacing warmer air below.
– Removable Roof. Recent greenhouse designs can include a roof that retracts entirely for natural ventilation.

Active cooling systems

– Fan and Pad. “Evaporative cooling” where air from the outside is pulled through porous, wet pads. The heat from the incoming air evaporates water from the pads, thereby cooling the air—this helps increase the relative humidity in the greenhouse.
– Fogging Systems. This system gives better uniformity since the fog is distributed throughout the greenhouse and not just near one end, as with the fan and pad system.
– Air Conditioning. Too expensive for most greenhouses.

Future optimal microclimate Greenhouses — Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA)

CEA can range from simple shade structures, growth chambers through greenhouses to full indoor or vertical farms. Using advanced technology and data, light, temperature, relative humidity, carbon dioxide (CO2) around the leaves can be monitored for the plants to thrive. To deliver sustainable solutions for high-value crops.

Within a crop production environment, plants can be grown using different methods. By far, the most popular method is hydroponics. An automated hydroponics system can measure water conditions: pH, electrical conductivity, temperature, level, and flow.

Indoor farming, Vertical farming, Greenhouse, Protected cropping, and Automated Plant growing system are different growing environments for CEA. Control systems can be very simple or very complex.

An automated plant growing system is a computer-controlled system that manages the environment in which plants are grown. This is done to find a solution to some of the challenges growers face, such as reducing labor needs and improving efficiency.

Hydroponics is the cultivation of plants by using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil. To make sure plants grow optimally with sufficient CO2 concentration, a hydroponic CO2 controller is an ideal solution.

Hydroflow CO2 Controller is a CO2 controller for grow rooms. It regulates the CO2 level automatically and precisely.

CO₂ controller for grow room and greenhouse
CO₂ controller for grow room and greenhouse

The Best An automated hydroponic system is a closed-loop system that provides all the nutrients required for plant growth. It uses recirculating water, air pumps, and misting nozzles to provide an optimal environment for plant growth.

The Grow Room Climate Controller is an excellent way to control the climate in your grow room. The Greenhouse Environment Controller is also an excellent choice for your greenhouse environment.

Fully automated plant growth systems are the most advanced CEA environment. It continues to grow your plants for months without any further maintenance, completely self-regulating water, nutrient concentration, pH level, light. The system will also give feedback on CO2 level, humidity, and temperature with grow room climate controllers and the Internet of Things (IoT) network. This helps farmers to grow plants and vegetables in remote areas, deserts and save labor.

How to make your own hydroponic system – recommendations for beginners and professionals

Have you ever wonder if you could grow crops over winter or in a site with very limited horizontal space? Or even to areas with no arable land? Hydroponics can make all of these possible. Good news is: you can even create a hydroponic system yourself.

Hydroponics as a non-conventional method for crop production

Hydroponics is an increasingly popular method of growing plants in a liquid nutrient solution with or without using an artificial media (soilless cultivation). This system of production was seen to be viable in different vegetable crops, also works for several ornamental crops. You can create this system if you add some effort. And this be done correctly if you are following a proper guide.

This method of crop production was first created during WWII, to produce fresh food for the troops. The U.S. Army had used hydroponic culture and by 1950s, it was adopted by commercial farms in different continents including America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Nowadays, commercial farms and even small-scale growers can use this system of food production. It is commonly being established by commercial installer of hydroponics but there is also a growing demand for Do-It-Yourself (DIY) hydroponics.

Hydroponic system

Advantages and disadvantages of hydroponic culture

Advantages

– Year-round growing season. Hydroponic culture makes it possible for the regions with cold climate and extremely low winter temperature to grow crops all year-round since the system is enclosed with controlled environmental conditions particularly the temperature, nutrient and light. In building your own hydroponics, you can purchase an environment controller to have.
– Higher plant density. Hydroponically-grown crops can be sustained in higher density as compared to that of the conventional growing method in soil which has to consider limited population to prevent competition of roots for needed resources. For growers who creates their own hydroponic system, they can design the population of their crops and well as how to expand it.
– Plants can grow anywhere. It is also an advantage to create your own hydroponic culture which can be easily incorporated in buildings and houses.
– Efficient water consumption. Having your own hydroponic system can help you save more water. Crops can immediately reach and utilize water with lesser loss resulting to evaporation as compared to that of in-ground application. This constitutes to around 80-90% savings in water consumption of the plants. Furthermore, nutrient solution can also be recycled in this system until it becomes unusable and has to be disposed.

Disadvantages

– High cost to set up. In creatingyour own hydroponics, be prepared as it is generally expensive as compared to the traditional garden. Depending on the type and size of the system to be used, the cost varies.
– High dependence on electricity. To create hydroponic system, it will be highly dependent on the electricity, power outages will definitely have a huge impact in the entire system. If prolonged, it can be detrimental to the plants.
– High maintenance requirement on creating hydroponic system. As for the maintenance and monitoring of your own hydroponics, it is expected to require a lot of technical expertise. Management of the nutrient solution is also very detailed considering the need for regular flushing and replacement on top of cleaning the system parts to avoid clogging.

Different Growing Systems

In creating your hydroponics, it is important to have knowledge on the different growing systems. It encompasses the method on how nutrient solution is applied. Is it through liquid or aggregate? Open or closed? And Passive or Active?

– Wick System. This uses simple passive system where nutrient solution is drawn up to plant roots though a wick in the growing media. It is ideally used for smaller scale production.
– Deep Water Culture. This system uses simple active system where plant roots stay submerged in the nutrient solution and where plants are suspended in a platform. The oxygen for root consumption is being supplied by the air pump or air stone.
– Ebb & Flow (Flood & Drain) System. This system uses a submerged pump to have temporary flood with nutrient solution for grow tray which later on will be drained back into reservoir.
– Drip System. The peculiar element of this system is the drip lines that supplies the nutrient solution to the base of each plant. The time controls the submersed pump and the nutrient reservoir is separated. It adopts an active system of nutrient application.
– Nutrient-Film Technique (NFT) System. This system is being largely used for commercial production specially for short harvest crops. This utilizes active system with no timer required.
– Aeroponics System. It uses active system of nutrient application and is considered to be the most technologically-advanced among the different systems. In this method, the plants are suspended with roots hanging below. The mist only provides less nutrients as compared to the other system, advance timer is require to ensure the higher frequency of misting.

Nutrient solution for hydroponics

To create your hydroponics, it is also important to have a knowledge on the nutrient solution for your crops. The sole source of nutrients to the plants which can either be in concentrated form or soluble forms that comes available in different mixes.

Different Types of Nutrients needed by Hydroponically-Grown Crops

– This includes Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium.
– Secondary Nutrients. This includes Magnesium (Mg), Calcium (Ca) and Sulfur (S).
– These are essential nutrients needed by crops in smaller quantities including Zn, Fe, Cu, B, Mo, Mn, Cl and Ni.

Nutrient solution for hydroponics

Factors to consider in managing the nutrient solution

– Water quality. It must be ensured that the quality of the water is high. For hydroponics, it is safe to use tap and well water with less than 140 PPM while water with more than 300 PPM of dissolved solids should be filtered with reverse-osmosis filter.
– Most plants grown in hydroponics required a pH range of 5.5 to 6.5 since most nutrients are available on this level. pH however fluctuates from time to time hence, close monitoring should be done at least daily. Should the pH needs to be adjusted, solutions such as pH UP or pH Down that is commercially available in the market can be added to the solution.
– Electrical Conductivity (EC). The ability of the solution to conduct an electrical current indicates the nutrient concentrations. Generally, nutrient solutions should have an EC value of 500 to 2000 PPM wherein plants grow best within 800 to 1200 PPM.
– Dissolved Oxygen. The amount of oxygen content in the water is an important property to consider in hydroponics since plants also breath air through their roots.

Make your Own Substrates for Hydroponics

Generally among vegetable crops, media such as peatmoss rockwool, perlite, vermiculite, sawdust, bark, sand among others are commonly used.

– This material had already established its used in the production especially in greenhouse growing.
– Organic Substrates. It was found that incorporation of maize stem, which is a worldwide available organic material, in the medium can induce earlier fruiting in soilless production.

Commercially Available Technologies To Help in Making Your Own Hydroponics System

Fully Automated Growing System  for Crop Production by Grow Director

Building your  build hydroponic system requires a lot of details but, managing it calls for more technical know-how. Nowadays, commercially available controller for the greenhouse systems are useful in managing the components of the production site up to the smallest detail. Grow controller of GrowDirector makes it possible to have a smart automated process of controlling the needs of your automated growing system.

It is reliable and easy to use environmental controller can be all use for an indoor, greenhouse, soil or hydroponic system. It makes contolling easy as well by having direct access, monitoring and control of growing parameters using the grow room controller’s touch screen, web, or smartphone application. In making your hydroponic system, make sure to have this technology available.

Remote Controlled System

The entire system once connected with GrowDirector to the internet, it can be monitored or remotely control without the need to download a software. This can be done by two ways, either thru an application or through your browser.

Build your own hydroponic system

– – Notification. Upon connecting the GrowDirector to the internet, it can send you any kind of notification through an email or the like should any issues arise.
– Preventive maintenance. GrowDirector notifies the grower should an issue arise  and before the damage becomes irreversible. When an anomaly is detected, the monitoring system process knows and it sends a notification alert to the user in real-time.
– Lights. For the lights,  4 universal outlets (socket box, up to 2 boxes can be connected total of 8 outlets) are availble which supports up to 1,200W for US and Canada and up to 2,300W for the EU for the total outlets.

GrowDirector The Automated Home Growing Controller
GrowDirector The Automated Home Growing Controller

CO2 Controller for Grow Room and Greenhouse

An innovative technology in growth automation is the new CO2 controller for grow room. It is ready to be used as soon as it is unboxed. Just plug-in the lego-like plugins and watch how your plants grow at its finest.

Highly Sophisticated CO2 Sensor

In making your own hydroponics, this highly innovative tehnology helps in accurately detecting and measuring the levels of CO2 in the grow room through the use of advanced features such as an infrared source, an infrared detector and an interference filter. The sensor is ideally used for greenhouse CO2 controllers and hydroponic CO2 controllers to detect and measure.

Carbon dioxide levels

Too low or too high concentration levels of Carbon dioxide can result in adverse effects on plant’s growth, which is why GrowDirector is perfect as a CO2 meter for grow room. Notification will be sent right away by this sophisticated device if there is a problem with the conditions around your plant.

Kit Inclusion

The kit comes with 10 built-in relays which once connected, you can control numerous devices and other equipment. The relay of each device controls the external relay and this, in turn, supplies electricity to the equipment.

The Basics of GrowDirector 2.0

The easy to use controller CO2 allows you to handle your entire plant environment directly from your mobile application or desktop. 8 different sensors can be used to manage the system which allow you to make decisions from anywhere at any time.

Automated Hydroponic System- Superior Kit

For a more sophisticated hydoponic system, GrowDirector offeres this Hydroponic Superior Kit and GrowDirector software which makes a fully automated hydroponic system for indoor plant growth that gives you real-time feedback and control over your plants.

This encompasses management of temperature, humidity, pH, EC and more, or check on progress, track plant development and make informed decisions, the hydroponic environmental control system gives you all necessary updates. By responding to real-time sensor readings, you can easily take full control of your plants and hydroponic needs using the mobile application.

Environmental Controller for Greenhouse and Grow Room-Base Kit

If the plant growers would be staying far from his greenhouse during a certain period, the greenhouse environmental controller (Base Kit) with the GrowDirector software is a grow room climate controller can be the solution as it is designed to give plant growers complete control over their plants from a distance.

Real-time monitoring of your plants and managing your plants when your away can be done through automatation of your plant-care routine and make adjustments to factors like light, temperature and humidity. When you are out, greenhouse controller provides you with important details and allows you to make quick and important decisions to impact the overall health of your plants.

The Environmentally-friendly Base Kit

The GDA software, working alongside our Environmental Base Kit work, makes it possible to experiencethe best control of the system from the distance. With environmental controller, humidity and temperature in greenhouse can be controlled anytime from any distance with the specially adapted application. This allows gives the grower an opportunity to see the plants flourish.

All of these innovations can offer a lot of convenience in creating and maintaining your own greenhouse.

How to do hydroponic farming at home: a beginners guide

Hydroponics presents a method of soilless agricultural production in system where the plants have a constant nutrient supply. In the recent years, these methods became quite popular in among different groups of people, whether they are just amateurs that want to produce fresh food in their homes or agricultural professional that want to utilize this method to set up a large-scale food production in environments that are usually not suitable for growing food.

Continue reading “How to do hydroponic farming at home: a beginners guide”

GROWING INDOOR CANNABIS

The cannabis indoor grow room is where everything happens. The germination, early growth, vegetative and flowering phases of your beloved cannabis plants will all take place here. Any problems you encounter and solutions you discover will happen here. Whether your harvest will be a success or a failure will largely depend on how you build your grow space.

 

The grow rooms.

Before you take the first steps towards growing and cultivating your own marijuana, make sure you have a plan or know what you are doing.
You will want space and requirements necessary for indoor cannabis plants to grow – lighting, ventilation, nutrients, water, etc.
Remember that grow room climate controller is a bigger investment. That includes work! You will definitely want to follow the “measure twice, cut once” guideline.
The size of your grow room depends heavily on how much marijuana you want and how much space you have available. It also depends on the type of cannabis you want to cultivate.
If you do not want to set up a grow room (extension room), you can set up automated grow box sets instead.
The average consumption of many medical cannabis patients is between 1 and 2 grams per day. This means that for personal use, you need to get around 30 or 60 grams per month.

Grow Tent
Tent for growing

Place of the grow room – cultivation room

The location of your grow room is important for several reasons. First of all, because you want some discretion and privacy in your growing operations. You also want to make sure that you are in control of the place.
There is no point in trying to grow your home unless the environmental controller is assured.
Below we will list some helpful tips regarding the location and planning before we dive into a few hypothetical possibilities.

 

Construction of your indoor cultivation room

Cover all of the walls in the grow room with something that reflects light, such as white plastic wrap or paint. However, the best material for this is tight-fitting mylar.
Secure your grow lamps (plant light. To do this, connect them to the ceiling with a hook, ring, or roller. Make sure that the electrical parts are securely connected and protected from damage.
Next, install the devices for air circulation and extraction (fan & ventilation system). This could be an exhaust fan, an intake fan, or a fan exhaust.
Avoid too long windpipes that have curves; they negatively affect the performance of ventilation. Try to keep the tubes as short and straight as possible so that your air flows as efficiently as possible.
You also need to set up the controller automation, the substrate (the medium the plants will grow on), and decide whether you want to grow on soil or hydroponics. Automated hydroponics is much less susceptible to bacteria than soil, which makes them a better choice in some cases.
However, the soil is easier to regulate in terms of pH and Ec, making it a better choice for beginners.

Automating Your Grow Room

For any grower, newbie, or master, achieving the perfect growing conditions is essential. However, manually adjusting and keeping tabs on the temperature, nutrient level, irrigation, and more can quickly become a full-time job. Grow room controllers help automate many routine growing tasks, making growing easier and more precise.

Grow room environmental controllers can improve your growing operation by making it easier to monitor and control indoor growing conditions. Basically, grow room controllers allow you to automate your growing process. They eliminate the risk of human error during the grow, allowing you to ensure that you are free from common grow room problems.

Grow Director automation systems give growers the ability to monitor and control essential aspects of cannabis plant health including moisture, nutrients, CO2 level, lighting, heat, and more. And what’s even better, you ensure optimal growing conditions without being physically present.
Indoor grow room controllers vary in design and functionality. While some control a single function in the grow, some handle multiple operations.

They include controllers for;

 

• CO2
• Humidity
• Irrigation
• Lighting
• pH
• Nutrient
• Temperature
• Ventilation

All-in-one grow automation

 

However, the cost of purchasing, setting up, and monitoring individual controllers is high and the operational cost will only increase as your growth expands, that’s why all-in-one multi-function grow room controllers are popular.
They are a comprehensive solution that allows you to manage multiple crucial aspects of your grow room climate from a single location. Grow room controllers offer greater consistency and repeat, precise control of the growing conditions which eventually improve product consistency.
Grow room automation systems are essential for a variety of growing environments including indoor grow rooms. They give data that provides insight and important stats to boost your growth ambitions. By choosing automation systems, you can easily scale your growth to a whole other level.
All your monitoring issues go to auto-pilot and you get customizable alerts and bank-level security in one. When dealing with plants as sensitive as cannabis, you need to meet specific and precise conditions for better growth. An indoor grow room environment controller ensures that you get the maximum harvest out of your efforts.

 

Grow room environmental controllers
Grow room environmental controller

 

Science-based growing

 

The Grow Director’s environmental systems can be customized to each grower’s requirements and are adaptable to their changing needs, enabling them to operate their cannabis facilities as desired. The tools allow growers to make science-based grow management decisions with all your equipment in one.
The grow room automation systems provide better data, tighter control, increased energy savings, and reduced waste. And with the conditions laid out, you can tweak your indoor growing conditions for a booming harvest. With experience, a grower can learn to diagnose grow problems and amplify their skills as a good grower with automated hydroponic systems to help scale production and keep an eye on quality control at all times.