Soil/Hydroponics Growing Medium
If you are using an aeroponic or deep water culture system then you are limited to, Rocks or rocklike media and Rockwool (best with a Perlite mix). If you are using a drip or ebb and flow system or even growing in a garden, soil is king in my opinion (not all soils are created equal). If you are using a drip or ebb and flow system or even growing in a garden, soil is king in my opinion (not all soils are created equal). They all work well once “dialed in”. Soil: Less Nutrients needed, more forgiving to watering and pH. Coco Coir: Holds water well. Leaches more easily than soil. Rockwool: Plants can grow a bit faster than in soil. Rocks/Rockish: Plants grow fastest, you will need to water all the time.
Soilless is another name for hydroponics. Aeroponics, are form of hydroponics was created by NASA.
I reuse my soil/hydroponic medium & I have noticed that each crop my yields go down and my plants look less healthy. What is causing this?
Even if you are flushing your media (with leaching solution) there will still be residual root matter and most likely trace-chemicals in it. You can use beneficial microbes and enzymes to help breakdown organic matter left from roots that might be infecting or suffocating your new crop’s roots. You can bring in new media. Cut your soil with new media.
I water my plants from the top of the container & I noticed that after a couple weeks the soil/hydroponic growing medium starts compressing, how do I prevent this?
All loose media will pack down a little. If you notice that once the media settles it is no longer light and fluffy then you know oxygen isn’t getting into the root zone. Try using more Perlite on the next round.
Not really. One method of curing this is using plastic sheet covers. This is an easy solution if you are having an algae problem. The coco coir rolls also work great in tray. The coir mats are reusable if you clean them. If you are worried about the algae right now, know that it does not usually create a huge problem. But if you do want to clean it, use a Tablespoon of 35% hydrogen peroxide in a gallon of water. Fill a spray bottle and spray the tray (it’s fine if the plants are in it).
It is great to wet media prior to planting. With soil you can use a drop of soap in a gallon of water to help break the surface tension and wet the soil. If you are using smaller media like Rockwool and Oasis Cubes, you should pH test and wet the media first.
Fill a cup with warm, distilled water and add a few pinches of the soil. Stir for 30 seconds then dip your meter in it.
I hand water my plants and I have to water too often. What can I do so I do not have to water as often?
Coco Coir is a heavy water retaining media. If you use guano top dressing it will create a vapor barrier that will slow the top of the soil drying out in the pot. You can also use vermiculite and peat moss.