The following topics will be covered:
* What hydroponics is.
* How to operate a hydroponics system.
* What lighting we recommend for hydroponic growing.
What hydroponics is:
Hydroponics is a form of gardening that is generally done indoors in a controlled environment. It uses a lighting system, an environment (also known as a grow box) and a feeding system (a mixture of water and nutrients)… oh, and of course your plant of choice. When growing with hydroponics there are three primary phases.
The primary piece of equipment needed when hydroponic growing is the grow box. This is your environment. It controls the temperature, the humidity, the light timing, the watering etc. It also protects your plant system from bugs and other pests.
The grow box is made up of a number of components. The box itself which is usually made of a reflective material to enhance the inside light, and a material that doesn’t allow mold or bugs to hide.
You also need a lighting system. Many grow boxes use a lighting system that runs either HPS (high pressure sodium) or MH (metal halide) bulbs, but some grow boxes also use LED and CFL (compact fluorescent) bulbs.
Because the lighting in a grow box will create a lot of heat (and our favorite plants don’t like too much of it) you will need fans. These fans will not only control the air that comes in and out of your box, but can also blow air through a carbon filter to prevent any unwanted smells.
Another primary component of the grow box is the hydroponic system. This system includes a hydro bucket (to hold the plants and the water/nutrient mix), a watering system (with a water pump and a timing system to automate it), mesh pots (to allow the plants to be right above the water/nutrient mix), and a growing medium (to allow the plant to grow roots that will reach towards the water/nutrient mix).
That’s it! Some grow boxes will include more advanced features like heaters, AC units, PH sensors/adjusters, digital ballasts, CFL bulbs (in addition to larger HPS/MH bulbs) etc… but the basics have been covered above.
How to operate a hydroponics system.
There are 3 stages in indoor hydroponic growing.
The first stage is to clip clones off of your mother plant. Some grow boxes will include a section to house your mother plants, and some will require a separate mother/cloning area. This stage is where your plants begin to grow, and they need to be paid quite a bit of attention. Generally the clones will be placed in a small growing medium (such as rock wool).
The second stage of hydroponic growing is vegetation. This is when you grow your plants from small clones into plants that can flower. Generally you will switch your light timing to a 18/6 or a 24 hour timing. This will allow your plants to grow quickly. There are a lot of techniques for indoor vegetation in a hydroponics box, but the most basic is simply to let them grow to a height one third of the height of your grow box (this allows the plants to triple in size when flowering).
The third stage of grow box growing is the flowering stage. You either move your plants to an area with different lighting, or switch your grow box over to a flowering stage. The light timing will also change so that your plants will know it’s time to flower.
Finally it’s time to harvest. After the harvesting, you can dry and cure your product and it’s ready to enjoy.
Recommended lighting for your plants.
Grow box lighting can vary a lot, but it is by far the most important part of the hydroponic grow box system. Without lighting, you have no plants. During your cloning and vegetation stages, CFL or MH bulbs are used to promote fast and strong growing. These lights custom noodle boxes produce a very white/blue light.
During flowering your lighting needs to be switched over to a more orange/warm light. Plus, the timing of your lighting needs to be changed to a 12/12 hour cycle so that your plants know it’s time to flower. The best light for this stage is an HPS light.
Back in the day, really large and hot lights were used, but nowadays it’s sufficient to use a 400 or 600 watt bulb depending on the size of your grow box.
Other lighting can be used in your grow box such as LED lighting. It’s best to stick with the basics at the beginning, and start to experiment as you get to know the strain of plant that you are growing with.
So there you have it, the basics of growing indoors in a hydroponics grow box. You can generally build your own grow box for a relatively low price, but buying a grow box from a reputable manufacturer has a ton of advantages.
First, you get support. This means that if you run into any problems with your grow box, you don’t have to figure them out yourself, or lose a whole crop because of it.
Second, you get a wealth of growing knowledge. You can call your manufacturer and ask their reps about the best ways to grow in the grow box, and better yet, get recommendations on techniques.
Third, you get something professional. If you build your out of wood, or another material not meant to grow plants, you run the risk of serious pest or mold problems. Many grow box manufacturers will produce grow boxes out of household materials and pre-made metal boxes (filing cabinets etc.). These can produce plants, but you’re not going to get a lasting grow box that will produce numerous harvests year after year.
Now, of course we’ve been telling you this information so that we can let you know about a product. BC Northern Lights has been making hydroponic grow boxes for almost a decade. We’ve shipped over 7000 of our grow boxes all over the world, and we are the only manufacturer that builds purpose built grow boxes with 7 days a week support.
Looking for a grow box? Grow your own, grow the best. With BCNL you get all of the grow support and experience you need to have an amazing yield, even if you’re brand new to hydroponics indoor growing.