Frequently Asked Questions
What are plant protection product residues?
One or more substances present either in or on plants, plant products, edible products of animal origin or elsewhere in the environment resulting from the use of plant protection products, including their metabolites and degradation or their reaction.
What is the Maximum Residue Limit (Maximum Residue Level - MRL) ?
It is the maximum amount of residue expected when applying a plant protection product according to Good Agricultural Practice. Good Agricultural Practice is a way of applying an approved plant protection product to a crop, which ensures efficiency in use, having as main parameters the dose per area (g or ml of plant protection product per acre or hectare), the number of applications of the plant protection product, the volume of spray (liters of water per acre or hectare), as well as the last operation before harvest (days). MRL is expressed in mg of substance per kg of plant product weight or ppm (parts per million) and always refers to a specific pair of substance and plant product. It is linked to the process of authorizing the marketing of plant protection products at European and national level and is defined at either European level of a Member State and applies to the Member State's transactions with all other countries.
Why we use water filtration systems to water our plants ?
Using water filtration allows you more control over the big picture. It gives you a clean base to work from and build up with your nutrient. Water filtration eliminates chlorine, bacteria, fungi, mold, rust, and many other negative contaminates from your water system. I say get one! Also, if you’re using beneficial microbes or bacteria and you are on city water, it must be filtered. This is because the chlorine and other chemicals will kill off most of what you want to benefit from.
How do I protect water pump from clogging up?
Water filters are perfect. The filter must be placed with accuracy on the pump and you should replace it or clean it frequently. When you change the container (once a week), make sure to clean it thoroughly from the remaining sediments.
How do I measure small amounts of nutrients (i.e. 2ml) ?
Use a dropper. Go to a local drugstore. They all sell eyedroppers (with a measurement) for medicine.
Should I use hydroponic nutrients or organic ?
It’s a matter of style. You choose what is best for you. I’ve been told certain media types, such as Rockwool, work best with hydroponic nutrients. But I’ve seen people have perfect results using organic fertilizer with Rockwool as well. In a larger picture, Hydroponic nutrients have been formulated and engineered for max potential, and easy plant assimilation/uptake. But in a larger picture, Hydroponic nutrients are plaguing the environment. Hydroponic nutrients sometimes have ingredients that will not break down, and are toxic. Also, the salt that runs off strips soil of future growing potential.
How do I stop nutrient sediment setting to the bottom of the reservoir after mix the nutrients?
More water circulation. Two ways to do this: One, get an air pump and air stone (bigger the better). When the water is oxygenated it will create a small current to move the water around. The other way to fix this is to buy another water pump to simply circulate the water in your reservoir. Also if you use coir or soil, some of this could be draining back into the reservoir if you have recently planted.
Why do I have incoming water in the air pump? How do I remove them?
A siphon is created when the air pump is on the container surface. Just upraise the pump to avoid that.
Is there such a thing as too much oxygen in the reservoir?
No. The plants love oxygen. If you see foam, buy a lid cover. Remember DWC systems have roots suspended, submerged, directly on air stones.
How much should I water when I water?
When you’re watering, the general rule of thumb is that you are looking for a 15-20% run off from the bottom of the pot compared to how much water you have fed it. Simply, if you know how heavy a watered pot should feel, then water the first pot until desired level, while counting (one, one-thousand, and so on). Use this timed amount to water the rest of the group.
How do I know when to water ?
Use the biggest plant to measure this (because they drink the most water). Pick up the pot. Does it feel light? If you don’t know what it is suppose to feel like then buy a moisture meter for about $10-15 (available at any garden supply store, monstergardens.com). Don’t base it on your friend’s setup. Every environment has humidity, heat, airflow rate, light intensity, plant age, pot size, media type, plant health difference. Yes it’s complicated.
My plants have tip burn to foliar feed?
Flush, Flush, Flush your pots, using plain water. If you have nutrient leaching solution, use this (with their recommended dosages). Flush plants from the top and let the nutrient leech out the bottom to the reservoir. Clean your reservoir last. Feed your plants only a bit of sugar, B vitamins, humic and fulvic acid are okay too. Remix your nutrient/reservoir 2-4 days later, depending on burn. Do not spray your plants with anything for at least a week. Remember your plants take 2-3 days to react. If you see burn and flush, your plants will still burn a day or two. This 2-3 day rule also pertains to foliar feeding.
When is the best time to foliar feed ?
When they go off. This ensures all of the nutrient spray has been absorbed before the light is able to react with it. When you spray with the light on, or when your plants are still wet when the lights turn on there is a negative reaction. The plant cannot uptake the nutrient at the rate it is metabolizing. But the larger reason is the intense light being magnified through the water, therefore burning the leaf. Liquid Light by Dutch Master requests that you spray the solution with the light on. This product has been engineered for this. Also the product is very light too begin with (it’s hard to burn). But DO NOT use this product outside or with 1000 watt lights. Only 600 watt and below with Liquid Light (it too has its limits in the light).
How can I control the heat from the lighting? ?
With cool hoods:
If you have a 12 foot ceiling you are blessed. I feel air cooled hoods are well worth the extra cost. If you want to have the best possible efficiency, buy an air cooled hood, AND a hood cover.
With insulated ducts:
If you have non insulated ducting and their length is more than 1.5 meters, you will definitely have heat loss. By insulating the heat pipes you will definitely see an improvement in the efficiency of the heating system around 75%. Maintaining the correct position of the ducts: Whenever a duct can have a slope of 45 ° or 90 ° the flow of hot air is dramatically reduced. Leave your ducts straight, if possible.
How much would I benefit from adding a light mover?
The maximum light spreading benefit a light mover will bring to you is 12-24”. Anymore movement than 24”, and you’re just diluting the light over a longer distance. I believe light movers bring a higher yield (not a huge difference but enough to notice). Light movers will also safe guard you from hot spots.
How do I know if it need CO2 ?
The only case that needs enrichment is when there is a "closed root system". This practically means that there is no incoming or outgoing air. Enrichment systems are only needed in microclimates, which are really hot. Most growers believe that by installing a CO2 appliance on the roof we create an ideal environment. However, you must prevent the high concentration of ppm carbon dioxide in your room with a fan. The choice of such a system is a purely subjective matter.
My ballast makes more noise than it used. How do I fix this problem?
The vibration noise is usually due to bolts coming loose over time. I would go through and tighten all of the bolts inside and out. The magnetic coil ballasts vibrate during normal operation. You could have loose bolts inside the ballast compartment (holding the capacitor, magnetic coil) or it could just be the hood cover. Magnetic coil ballasts might not be as efficient as the digital lights, but they last a lot longer.
What temperature should my ballast run at ?
Different ballasts can have varying temperatures depending on the design. Some of the newer ballasts are air cooled so they will always run cool. If your ballast is running higher than 150 degrees, you might need better air exchange around the ballast to keep it cool (so that the equipment does not become damaged).
Do my fans that cool my lights need to be on when lights are off?
Depends. If you have another fan bringing fresh air into the room with the correct CFM rate then you will be fine. If you need your “grow light” fan to keep the air movement optimal, then I suggest running it all of the time.
Here is a usefull rule for air movement!
If you do not know what the CFM rating is, (you need this for the correct air exchange) use this method: Multiply your room length by the width. Then, multiply the height of the room. This is your air volume. Divide the air volume of the room by the CFM rating on your fan. You want a complete air exchange at least every 5 minutes
How do I attach duct work to my air cooled reflector & fans ?
Clamps work well, but they can sometimes slip off when you raise or lower your hoods. I strongly suggest using duct tape. The best I’ve found is the silver tape that stretches (usually has black writing all over it). If you use duct clamps, use tape as well to ensure long term effectiveness.
How many hours of light does mother’s plant need?
If you want to speed up the growth to cut cuttings, you need 22-24 hours of lighting. If you want to slow down the growth between the growing cycles, reduce to 18-22 hours of lighting..
How many hours of light do my clones need ?
Again, a good rule of thumb is 18+ hours of light to keep your plant in the vegetative growing state. I would strongly suggest using a 24 hour light cycle for fast vegetative results.
How many hours of light do seedlings need?
18-24 full hours of light is best. You do not need high intensity light until your seedling grows its second set of leaves.
When should I give my seedlings light?
Low intensity light is ok in the very beginning (until the plant grows its second set of leaves). But you are not getting the maximum benefit until your plant is in a similar environment to what it will be flowered in. I suggest keeping a light period above 18 hours. For the fastest transition to full growth, I would leave the grow light on 24 hours.
How do I eliminate the hot spots under my lights?
Hot spots occur when the light being reflected is unbalanced. This could be because the hood is too close to your plants. The best solution (other than raising your hood) is to have a fan blowing right over the hot spot to lower the temperature between the plant and the light. A more expensive way to fix a hot spot is to implement a light mover into your system. Light movers work great.
Do i need more light for my plants?
Yes there is. If you are noticing the leaf tips closest to the light are burning then you should raise your light up more.
The plants on the outer edge of my tray are not doing as well as the plants directly under the light. How do I fix this problem?
Though your hood is made to spread the light footprint, the most intense light is still in the middle. You can move the plants around to help balance the footprint of light. Move the large plant to the outside and the smaller ones to the middle. You can also purchase a light mover. I do not recommend having the light mover move more than 18” in each direction (over 18” in movement and your max benefit of light dwindles)
How often should I clean the glass in my air – cooled reflector ?
Clean the glass monthly. The glass already decreases the light off the bulb by about 8%. If the glass is dirty the inefficiency is a lot worse. If you have air-cooled hoods with one side of your hood open to the room, maybe put a fabric filter on the open end to keep dust or pests from entering in the hood.
How bad will a power outage hurt my plants?
If a power outage occurs a couple times during a cycle it will not make a dramatic difference. TIP: In your Mother room you never want the lights out for too long. Buy an LED light with an emergency battery backup. Set it high up in the Mother room. If the power goes out the emergency units sense the power interruption and will turn the light on until the power is restored. Some of these emergency power light backups can run for 2 days until the battery dies. The great thing is that the power is usually not off more than a few hours. Once the power is on the emergency light units will automatically recharge the battery in the unit.
Why do I need to put my lights on a timer?
This helps to ensure the light turns on and off when they are supposed to. You can manually flip your lights on and off, but what if you become sick? Or what if you are away unexpectedly, and the light cycle is interrupted. Light cycles being interrupted will adversely affect your plants.
When should I use a light meter?
Not everyone needs one, but the more tools you have the better your knowledge and in turn, results. If you buy a light meter: When you get a new bulb check the lumen output, write it on the box. Then you can take a reading every 6 months to gauge when to replace the bulb, for a newer more efficient one.
How often should I replace my bulbs?
An HID bulb can lose up to 30% of its efficiency over two years; up to 10% after the first year. The spectrum can also change over time, due to the intensity change. A frugal grower might replace their bulbs every two years. A commercial grower will change the bulbs annually. The (type A) overly conscious grower might replace them every 6 months.
Is LED lighting OK to flower complex plants?
The new LED technology is growing fast. It seems to finally be catching up with the more complex needs of fruiting and flowering plants. I personally feel LED technology is on the brink to being efficient enough to gain the general confidence of the indoor growing community. Every year I see LED with a better light intensity, and added energy efficiency to match. I would not feel the need to be replacing your 600 watt and 1000 watt (HID’s) for flowering yet, but you might see some competition soon. Check out plasma lights, this technology is VERY promising.
Why are Digital Ballasts becoming the norm? ?
Digital lighting has given the indoor gardener a great advantage compared to their old magnetic coil ballast counterparts. The new Digital Ballasts weigh less, run MH and HPS bulbs, use both 120v and 240v, and run at cooler temperatures, have a higher lumen output, greater power efficiency, and have dimming functions (on some models). The only advantage I’ve seen with the older magnetic ballasts is that most of them are still running. If you’re old school, you might even have a Diamond magnetic light still powering a grow.
I cannot get a wetting agent, what could I use as a substitute?
Feel free to use soapy water (very small amount of soap). I would not repeat this method more than twice in a grow cycle the soap can build up. Use a mild soap such as Ivory, Castile, do not use Dawn.
What is the best way to provide a plant with a beneficial nutrient and/or additive?
If using beneficial microbes (teas, fungi, bacteria), always use reverse osmosis tap water (it takes chemicals out that will kill the beneficial flora). To get fast delivery of the additives and/or beneficial supplements, you can foliar feed them (if the label states you can) or mix into a watering can for immediate watering to plants. Even if you have an Ebb & Flow, top feed them, you will see faster results.
When is the best time to foliar feed ?
When the light goes off or the sun goes down. This ensures all of the nutrient spray has been absorbed before the light is able to react with it. When you spray with the light on, or when your plants are still wet when the lights turn on, there is a negative reaction. The water also acts like a magnifying glass when the light shines through to the leaf. Liquid Light by Dutch Master requests that you spray the solution with the lights on. This product has been engineered for this. Also the product is very light to begin with (it’s hard to burn). But DO NOT use this product outside or inside using 1000 watt lights. Only 600 watt lights and below for Liquid Light (it too has its limits in the light).
Would my plants get the most benefit out of foliar feeding in the grow/vegetative stage or the bloom/fruit & flowering stage?
Healthy plants get more benefit from foliar feeding in the “grow/vegetative” stage. You can foliar feed in the bloom/fruit & flowering stage until the second or third week. Foliar feeding past 3 weeks in the bloom/fruit & flowering stage is not recommended and can cause fruit and/or flowers to rot.
How do I get the most benefit using foliar sprays?
Using a wetting agent makes a big difference. Wetting agents reduce surface tension allowing the foliar spray to saturate the leaves and be absorbed into the plant tissue instead of just dripping off of the plant.
Does foliar feeding increase flower or fruit production ?
Yes. Foliar spraying is the fastest way to get nutrients to your plants. Be careful not to foliar flowering plants past their 3rd or 4th week. I’ve seen 20% increases in growth and flower production due to a regular foliar feeding regiment. Be careful with new products. I recommend only using a 50% ratio of the stated dosage, until you feel comfortable with increasing the use of the product. Also, if you have a burn issue due to foliar feeding, know it can take up to 3 days to see the results of burn.
What causes pH fluctuation and how do I fix ?
Your pH will fluctuate for a number of reasons. The largest factor is that the nutrient is mixed with outside elements every time you water (your plants, trays, pots). If your pH fluctuation is happening too frequently, you should try a larger size reservoir. Remember as your reservoir water level drops your PPM increases. This is because your nutrient is becoming concentrated by water loss (Your plants do not eat all of the nutrients, during water loss the PPM goes up proportionately). If you have an automatic topping off float valve, it’s your water (the new water topping off is not pH adjusted). If you tend to have undesirable city or well water to begin with, this could also be the cause. Check the regular tap water at your house PPM level with the TDS meter. This is a good test for water quality when wanting to know if there is a lot of anything present. Good water will read 0-150 PPM. I’ve seen tap that is as high as 450 PPM, with a super basic level of 8.5! In any case it is good to buy a water filtration system if you experience any regular fluctuation of pH or if you notice there is a high PPM right out of the tap. Try to get a 3 stage RO (reverse osmosis) system.
When should I adjust my pH ?
It is important to check your pH level every time you water your garden. If you are using a timer to automatically water, you should check it daily. When growing in soil you do not have to adjust is as often as when growing hydroponically. Typically when growing hydroponically, you want your pH range to be between, 5.5 - 6.5, depending on your crop and/or genetic type. When adding nutrient to your reservoir it is important to pH AFTER all the nutrients have been added. This is because your nutrients will increase your pH level. So if you pH as the last step, you know and have control over what the pH is..
How important is adjusting my pH and why?
The majority of growers, especially indoor gardeners should be adjusting their pH. You can grow without adjusting it, but are faced poor results. In some areas, the water is so bad out of the tap; you might have to adjust the pH just to have a decent harvest. Soil is a bit more forgiving than other media types, for pH adjustment. This is the best way to assess if pH adjusting should be a concern. Obtain a pH reading kit (has strip and a liquid) or a pH meter. Test the water right out of your tap. If it is above 6.5, you should be adjusting your pH level regularly. Once you incorporate pH balancing into your routine your will see the difference. IMPORTANT: When you add nutrients/supplements to your reservoir, your pH levels will RISE. When you are adjusting your final reservoir mixture, pH balance LAST.