Hydro 101


Choose A Method

  • Ebb & Flow gardens flood and drain a tray of plants with a nutrient solution at regular intervals
  • Drip gardens provide a nutrient solution to each plant through tubes & emitters (drip stakes)
  • Aeroponic gardens mist an oxygenated nutrient solution directly to the roots of its plants
  • NFT (Nutrient Film Technique gardens flow a slow moving nutrient solution over the plants roots
  • Organics are possible using many methods, and are often grown in container gardens

Start with Good Water

  • Water quality is essential to plant growth
  • PPM (parts per million) or EC (electrical conductivity) measure salts in a solution
  • Start off with a low PPM or EC and add nutrients specific to your plant variety requirements
  • A Reverse Osmosis system can reduce PPM/EC
  • pH (potential hydrogen) measures acidity of alkalinity in a solution on a scale of 0-14
  • Nutrient "lockout" occurs in too high or low pH levels

Choose A Media

  • Growing mediums act as the root anchor system
  • Coco is made from the husks of a coconut, is PH stable, and provides moisture retention/aeration
  • Expanded clay pebbles provide moisture retention/aeration and are reusable if sterilized
  • Rockwool stone is heated and spun into fibers then compressed, provides an excellent oxygen to water ratio, though flushing/conditioning is recommended
  • Silica helps slow transpiration, provides moisture retention/aeration, and is reusable if sterilized
  • Peat mixes can be altered to varying air/water ratios

The Right Environment

  • Key components include relative humidity, temperature, CO2, and air circulation/exchange
  • Ideal humidity is between 40%-60%
  • Some plants like higher humidity, but that can lead to problems with fungus and disease
  • Ideal temperature is between 68-75F
  • Plants need CO2 to grow - with good air circulation and exchange, a room will naturally have between 300-400 PPM without supplemental CO2


  • Liquid/Dry nutrients can be organic or synthetic
  • Over or under fertilizing can cause burning, curling or yellowing of plants
  • Most nutrient bottles are labeled with N-P-K (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium)
  • Additives/supplements can bolster microbial activity at the root zone, strengthen plant cell walls, increase flower sites, shorten length to harvest, increase size, flavor and aroma of fruits and flowers and more
  • When used together, nutrients and supplements will help you achieve maximum results

Grow Lighting

  • MH (Metal Halide) and HPS (High Pressure Sodium) are types of HID lights used in grow rooms
  • MH lamps = Blue spectrum for vegetative
  • HPS lamps = Orange/Red spectrum for flowering
  • T5 lamps are high-output fluorescents with low heat/energy consumption ideal for cuttings, mother plants, and short growth cycles
  • DE (Double Ended) lighting is a full spectrum HID lamp with a higher par reading than single ended
  • Plants in vegetative stage need 15-18 hrs. of light
  • Plants in bloom stage need 10-12 hrs. of light