Welcome to the hydroponics FAQ for Jason’s Indoor Guide. I have answered literally hundreds of questions, and have organized them here into general categories to make it easier to find the information you are looking for. For each category, I include a complete description of the kind of information you can expect to find. Choose the category that best fits the question you are trying to answer….I encourage you to dig down through this great information, and I guarantee you will learn something! The categories included are….
So many of the hydroponic gardening questions I receive do not fit neatly into any of the categories below. In this section, you will find a wide variety of miscellaneous questions and answers. Topics include cloning, hard water and pH, using fermentation to produce CO2, DC power backup, dealing with fungus gnats, advice on grow media, controlling algae growth, light pollution during the dark cycle, starting seedlings, preventing mold problems, beginning water quality, crop specific advice, and many others. To visit the Miscellaneous Hydroponic Gardening FAQ, Click Here.
You will find all of the frequently asked questions related to hydroponic systems in this hydroponics FAQ. This includes system information for tomato cloning, aeroponic systems that do not use spray nozzles, aquaponic system information, visitor questions about hydroponic system pages, system drainage questions, crop specific system considerations, answers about hydroponic pumps, ultrasonic fog systems, media choices for different systems, system setup questions, information on my next NFT system build, air stone questions, vertical garden systems, and many others. To visit the Hydroponic Systems FAQ, Click Here.
The hydroponic nutrients FAQ is one of the most thorough (and also diverse) sections of the website. In this hydroponics FAQ you will find answers for making hydroponic nutrients in under-developed countries, using nutrients with a soilless medium, discussion on different fertilizers (such as MaxSea, Earth Juice, and Technaflora), crop specific fertilizer recommendations, how to deal with or prevent nutrient buildup in your grow media, discussion on organic nutrients, how to adjust feeding for outdoor crops on hot days, information on EC meters, how to maintain your nutrient solution properly, large scale organic systems, beginning water quality advice, information on nutrient additives, and many other questions and answers. To visit the Hydroponic Nutrients FAQ, Click Here.
In this FAQ, you will find advice on grow box lighting and venting, how to deal with high humidity when you cannot lower it, the importance of good air circulation, fundamental advice for an effective exhaust strategy, tips on keeping your nutrient reservoir cool, how to deal with low night time temperatures, advice for putting your exhaust fan on a timer, best practices for using AC (air conditioning), as well as other questions (and answers) related to temperature and humidity control. To visit the Temperature Control FAQ, Click Here.
This hydroponics FAQ contains all kinds of specific plant growth questions and answers. Some of them include diagnosing (and fixing) a root pest problem, how to grow Ivy on a wall indoors, how to prevent algae growth problems, how to deal with root growth clogging your hydroponic system drain, how to acclimatize your plants to bright sunlight to prevent wilt and leaf damage, natural remedies for pest control, diagnosing several miscellaneous gardens with dying plants, some cloning questions, how to transplant dirt starts to hydroponics, dealing with plants that stubbornly will not flower, diagnosing grow media problems, temperature problems that kill tomatoes, plants that grow stems but not leaves, solutions for a dying root problem, a discussion on transplanting, dealing with powdery mildew (and other mold and fungus problems), and many other answers. To visit the Plant Growth FAQ, Click Here.
This hydroponics FAQ is another very thorough section. Here, you will find answers to the raging debate over LED grow lights, how to properly light a small broom closet, how to effectively use light rails, how to use a 12/12 light cycle to force flowering, a discussion on compact fluorescent lights (CFL’s), why you should never use a 400 watt bulb in a 1000 watt light fixture, setting up grow lights in the far North, grow light distance from your plants, discussions on using fluorescent grow lights, crop specific light cycles and light requirements, lighting requirements for different stages of plant growth (including seedlings), what size area a grow light will cover effectively, and many other answers on the topic of indoor garden lighting. To visit the Grow Lights FAQ, Click Here.
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Go Ask the Expert
Hi everyone, Jason from Jason’s Indoor Guide here. When I got started with hydroponic gardening more than 20 years ago, my first garden used rockwool cubes and B.C. Nutrients….and I remember thinking to myself yeah, sure, there may be a lot of advantages to gardening with hydroponics, for example there are very few pest problems, therefore very little pest control, no weeding, no plowing or tilling the soil, no soil testing or having to add things into the garden soil, no watering the garden….but for someone who just wants to grow their own vegetables and have more control over their food supply and the quality of the food that they eat, the cost of constantly having to buy grow media and hydroponic nutrients makes this an expensive hobby for most people.
I suppose when you take into consideration how much money you save NOT having to buy food at the grocery store, it is surely cheaper to grow your own food hydroponically even with the cost of high quality nutrients. Nevertheless, I didn’t have a whole lot of money to work with and I needed to make my efforts as affordable and effective as possible….and in the last 20 years I HAVE learned a thing or two!
As you browse through Jason’s Indoor Guide, you will notice all of the systems that I use personally are homemade systems. As I got 3 or 4 years of experience under my belt, I quickly adopted a preference to standing water systems and systems that use expanded clay pellets or lava rock, because the media is re-usable and it eliminates a huge operating expense. So once a hydroponic system is built, garden maintenance is minimal- check and adjust the nutrient solution daily, and to change it completely every 2 weeks….and the biggest operating cost is the hydroponic nutrients. (and the electric bill, lol).
And, regarding the cost of the nutrients….I experimented for about 3 years with making different compost teas and nutrient teas, but there is still a lot of expense $$$ associated with making high quality nutrient teas….like kelp meal, liquid seaweed, rock dust, bat guano, un-sulfured molasses, worm castings. You can eliminate a lot of this expense by becoming an expert at making high-quality colloidal humus compost, and use your properly made compost as the basis of your hydroponic nutrient solution.
What is colloidal humus?
Unfortunately, I have been gardening for over 20 years and I have only just recently mastered this difficult skill….and even then, only because I happened to find a very easy to follow, high quality technique and decided to follow the instructions to the letter. I produced more high quality compost in just one week than I was able to use in a whole year! I highly recommend it. It is one of the top 3 things you can do to increase the productivity of your food production efforts, while at the same time decreasing the amount of effort required to grow all of your own food, and decreasing the total cost of operating your food production system.
And when I say decrease operating costs, I mean decrease them to almost ZERO, especially if you are producing your own nutrients.
One final solution to eliminate the cost of your hydroponic nutrients: Imagine a hydroponic system that does not require you to buy any nutrients, does not require you to make your own compost, and does not require you to brew your own nutrient tea. Seriously! No cost and no effort as far as providing nutrients to your plants is concerned. Plus, at the end of the gardening cycle, you harvest all of your garden vegetables, PLUS YOU HARVEST FISH from the system!
This solution is aquaponics. If you are serious about producing all of your own food and being self-sufficient, this is the ultimate solution for reducing expenses (as much as possible), reducing the total amount of work required, and maximizing the productivity of your gardening efforts. I have been gardening for over 20 years, and it is the perfect food production solution in my opinion.
Besides mastering how to make high quality compost, learning aquaponics is one of the top 3 things you can do to increase your garden productivity, reduce your total costs, and reduce your total work. The product that I learned from is called Aquaponics4you. With all of my hydroponic gardening experience, the first time I came across the Aquaponics4you product I knew immediately that it was something very special! Place an aquaponics system outdoors and use the sun instead of grow lights, and you have reduced every garden expense to nearly ZERO!
This is where my advice ends for people growing in water. But some of you out there are in love with soil gardening and organic gardening, and rightly so! It’s a pro-human activity. It is pro-conservation. It is pro-life. It nurtures and promotes life at all levels, from the micro-organisms to beneficial insects, to healthy humans. It’s natural. it’s spiritual. Gardening is written deeply into our DNA, like how you feel watching a bonfire or sitting by the ocean or next to a river.
My friend John at Food4Wealth has more than 20 years experience organic gardening, so he reminds me a lot of myself. He knows organic gardening like I know hydroponic gardening, and over the years he has learned just about every trick there is to organic gardening. He knows what makes the plants grow, and he knows how to do it with as little effort as humanly possible. His garden never needs digging, naturally repels pests, has no weeds, always produces more than his family is able to eat, produces vegetables everyday all year round, and….only requires 8 HOURS of light, easy effort PER YEAR!
Years and years of experience and results can’t be argued with….the Food4Wealth gardening strategy is one of the top 3 things you can do to increase your productivity, reduce your total costs, and reduce your total work….specifically for organic gardeners who love soil gardening. THIS is the most efficient and productive way to do organic gardening, period! And combined with the ability to make a years’ worth of colloidal humus compost in just one week (see World’s Best Compost), this overall organic soil gardening strategy is just unstoppable- foolproof, low cost, and low effort!