Every serious grower has a set of tools that are used every day to monitor and tend to their crops. If you’re thinking about taking the step from curious cultivator to master grower, there are a handful of tools that will be essential to the plant’s success and using them on a daily basis will ensure that the next (or first) crop will be healthy and bountiful. Check out this list of suggestions below for resources to get you growing with the best of them.
There are a few ways to measure the pH of the nutrient solution with effective pH meters that are inexpensive yet simple to use. You may purchase a vial of litmus fluid to test the pH. Simply take a sample of the nutrient solution and put a few drops in the vial. After shaking it to mix it thoroughly, the color of the nutrient solution changes. Compare this color with the gauge that’s included and that’s the pH.
A more effective but costlier method is to purchase a pH meter, which is recommended if there’s more than one crop being grown. It’s a simple meter to use and can be found at any hydroponic supply store. Fast-growing leafy plants generally like a lower PH in the range of 5.2 to 5.9.
The concentration of the nutrient solution is measured in parts per million (PPM). This indispensable tool is used every day to monitor and mix the nutrient solution to make sure there aren’t any nutrient deficiencies. Young, established seedlings or rooted clones are generally started at 500 to 600 PPM. This value is increased to 800 to 900 PPM during the peak foliage growth period. During the flowering period, the PPM is raised even higher to 1000 to 1200 PPM. That’s a lot of nutrient. And it’s needed – every drop. It’s at the flowering time that the plant will need the most resources.
24 Hour Timer
In order to have a healthy crop, a lighting cycle must be religiously adhered to. The norm is to have a cycle that has 18 hours with light and six hours without it. This is accomplished with an automatic timer. It’s important to have a setup that allows the night cycle to be absolutely black. It’s recommended to not even enter the room they’re being grown in to check on them during their night cycle.
Ground Fault Circuit Breaker
Since there will probably be a high energy light hanging over water, the last thing you want is an energized nutrient solution. The ground wire will trip the breaker should the nutrient solution get energized if you’re using a ground fault circuit breaker. Should the calamity that’s a dropped light on the crop happen, the ground fault circuit breaker is essential.
Every grower has had the temptation of pinching off an immature bug for a taste test. This move will stunt the growth of the bud in that local area. This is a big no-no. Use some patience while watching the buds get fatter and fatter. Know a mature bud by pinching it. If it doesn’t bounce back, it’s a good bet that the plant is ready to harvest. If it bounces back, then try the pinch on a different bud in a few days.
TELL US, what tool would you add to this list?