Welcome back to another edition of “Intro to Hydroponics” in our FSG blog series.
The last few months our blogs have featured some information to get you started on your hydroponic journey. In this blog we will discuss flushing and hydroponic system maintenance.
Any hydroponic system is going to need maintenance. To help improve the longevity of your chosen system you must, and no way around it at all, clean your system. PERIOD! You need to think of the pipes, lines, buckets, totes, pumps, and valves all as part of a living circulatory system, and just like in our bodies, we can have a build up that can cause a blockage or clog, or even an infection. So what we do is eat right, take medication, or even have surgery. All this is maintenance to keep in good working order and achieve good performance, and it’s the same for your hydro system.
First off you should be running a “flush” for your plants already. The flush is designed to help push excess nutrients/minerals out of your plants’ substrate. Some methods for doing this use just pH balanced H2O, while other “flushes” can be much more involved. For the purposes of this blog though we will keep it simple. Any flush will have to use your existing system to flow through. So why not kill two birds with one stone by having your flush push excess nutrient/mineral build up out of both your system and substrate? To do this we will need to understand the different levels of flushing.
Flushing can be done at different levels for different purposes. A soft flush is one that will be more regular and maintain the system and substrate in the system. For this kind of flush, you can run just pH balanced H2O through your system, or you can add an enzyme. Enzymes are substances produced by living organisms that act as a catalyst to bring about biochemical reactions. These chemical reactions break down any residuals left from nutrients/minerals. At Fifth Season we offer a wide range of Enzymes. Any of our products that have the root “Zyme/Zym’ in it is an enzyme product. My personal favorite is SLF-100. SLF-100 is a little pricey. So for a back up I recommend “Cannazym” from Canna Nutrients. This one will give you more bang for your buck and it works pretty good too in my opinion.
A soft flush is also what you would use 2-3 weeks before harvest. In your end-of-cycle flush, you can include FulPower humic acids to help transport nutrients/minerals the enzymes have broken down. I would also throw in some Mammoth P Microbes to help process any residuals left in the substrate. So the end of cycle flush recipe is as follows;
- Reverse Osmosis H20 (clean water)
- Ful Power
- Mammoth P (pH balance before this step)
Now what if your system/plants are sick. This is where I would recommend a hard flush to thoroughly clean and disinfect your system. In a hard flush I recommend adding H2O2 in 30-35% concentrations. Add H2O2 to H2O in small amounts. It is very potent and will kill all your beneficial microorganisms. It can also discolor your skin and irritate it if you come in contact with it. So wear gloves. For all maintenance flushes, use a hard flush or extra hard flush. Scrub and disassemble your system after each cycle to improve optimization and reduce the likelihood of any pathogens or disease. Always follow up a hard flush or a maintenance with a soft just H2O flush or light rinse to get any left over H2O2 off of the system. I would also recommend scrubbing the outside of the equipment in your system down with a light cleaning mix of either H2O2 or Agricultural Vinegar.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope you learned something useful. As always come by the shop if you have any questions or give us a call. Cheers everyone and remember to plan before you plant!