To water or not to water that is the question. Every indoor grow box owner has asked themselves if they are under watering or over watering their rockwool cubes. Many novice indoor grow box growers believe that adding more water to their plants in their hydroponic systems may help them grow bigger and better. This notion can’t be farther from the reality as overwatering has killed many a novice indoor garden. This article explores the proper watering methodology for rockwool in an inside grow box.
Rockwool is manufactured out of molten rock spun into fibers like cotton candy. It offers an excellent substrate for plant roots since it holds at least 18% air all the time and supplies the plant root zone with lots of oxygen. However, in addition, it possesses a higher water holding capacity (WHC) and can be an inert medium meaning there are no biological properties so it’s recyclable. Rockwool is sterile so you can be certain that you are starting fresh when you germinate your seeds. Seed borne disease like dampening off are nonexistent in rockwool because of the sterility of the medium. All the prior listed benefits enable rockwool to consistently typically the most popular hydroponic growing medium in indoor grow boxes.
As a general rule for watering rockwool: less is more. Determining just how much water is dependent upon many factors such as plant height and lifecycle stage, light cycle, humidity and the sort of hydroponic technique employed in grow boxes. Indoor Grow Systems The four hottest of grow box hydroponic techniques are Ebb and Flow, Drip/Top Feed, Deep Water Culture, and Aeroponics. Rockwool can be utilized in all four systems and it’s most effective in a combination of technique system. Hydroponic superponics systems that employ the fusion of hydroponic technologies offer the absolute most complete solution for growing plants effectively with rockwool. Combining top feed drip with deep water culture enables an inside grow box owner the capability to automate watering from germination to harvest by timing effective watering cycles down to the minute.
The question then arises: how often do I water my rockwool in my combined deep water culture/ top feed drip system? It’s always best to start your watering cycle whenever your lights first seriously in your indoor grow box. The final watering should occur three hours before the lights go off. Only water when the lights are on, the plants do not need to be watered during their dark or resting phase. So to help keep the cubes moist whenever your plants are below 3 inches you water once for 15 minutes every 2-3 days, ensuring the rockwool cube feels about “half-way” dry. As soon as your plants have reached 6 inches, water 1-2x a day. As soon as your plants have reached 9 inches increase watering to 3x a day and when the plants are 12 inches and larger you want to water 15 minute 3-4x a day. Even though the plants roots will be embedded in the deep water culture it’s beneficial to still utilize your rockwool cubes for water delivery.
Here are some other tips to improve success when watering your rockwool in an inside grow box. Use plastic covers over your rockwool cubes to prevent algae formation. Algae at the the top of rockwool cube can cause stem rot. If you’d like more active plants water less as overwatering will inhibit root production. Always soak or “condition” your raw rockwool cubes in plain water with pH of 5.5 for at least 1 hour to remove excess salts and material from the cubes. Conditioning the rockwool is an essential first step and will greatly raise your propagation efforts. The pH of your nutrient solution being absorbed by the rockwool ought to be between 5.5 and 6.0. Stay away from drastic changes in the plant’s environment such as for instance a huge pH fluctuation or adding a lot of nutrient solution. Rockwool drains well, but ensure the rockwool isn’t sitting in standing water as this will impact the rockwool’s ability to make a solid root mass. Finally don’t allow rockwool cubes go bone dry, keep rockwool moist and in consistent temperature, humidity and light intensity and rockwool will reward you with the best tasting end product you’ve ever had.