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The Do's and Don’ts of Aeroponics

Aeroponic growing systems are able to produce higher yields with a shorter growth cycle, but as any other system, they have their own difficulties to navigate. While the HPA Aeroponic system provides many benefits for growers, it is a delicate system, and possible to lose an entire crop cycle due to a small problem. Plants in an aeroponic system tend to thrive under the correct conditions when things are going right, but are not very forgiving when conditions go wrong. Because of this, many aeroponic growers choose to grow small, uniform plants that have a faster turnover. This accentuates the positive benefits of aeroponic growing, while reducing the risks. Whether you choose to follow this method or not, aeroponically grown crops must be kept a close eye on in order to yield the maximum benefit.

Many problems associated with aeroponic growing are related to the DIY nature of the system. It’s hard to find all of the pieces to fit together to create the perfect aeroponic kit, while still creating the perfect environment to grow. In terms of the equipment itself, it’s extremely important to be using a quality system to avoid malfunctions. A common problem with these lower end aeroponic systems are pump malfunctions. If for any reason the pump stops working during a growth cycle, the humidity rate may drop extremely quickly, cutting off the root’s supply of nutrient solution. It’s better to invest in a quality pump that won’t alter the humidity rate of the root box, and allow for consistent growth.

Quality equipment also plays an important role with the root box. Many aeroponic growers that build their own systems find that their box doesn’t completely shield roots from the light, and therefore doesn’t maximize growth potential of the system. There also may be “leaks” in the system that lead to lost nutrient solution and moisture. Investing in a kit that is designed to completely block all sources of light and any moisture leakage will improve the efficiency of the system and lead to better plant growth.

Now that you’ve invested in a quality aeroponics grow kit, it’s important to maintain the hygiene of the system with proper sanitation routines. This is important to prevent build up in the nozzle of the nutrient spray, as well as preventing airborne disease within the system. Clogged nozzles are one of the most common problems in aeroponics, but it’s solved by simply cleaning filters, pumps, tubes, and fillings. Growers also frequently have problems with the system drying out after harvesting, but before cleanup. This leads to the accumulation of nutrient salts on the inside of the plumbing, which then block up the nozzle before the next growth cycle begins. It’s important to catch these problems early and work on prevention, because once the system is infested, it’s extremely hard to get rid of the disease. Clean the filter between sprayings, sterilize your entire system routinely (often recommended on a monthly basis) using warm water, 35% hydrogen peroxide, and a 99% isopropyl alcohol. Avoid using any sort of bleach, which leaves a harmful reside in the system.

Another common issue with aeroponic systems, related to the hygiene of the system, are bacterial and fungal growth. Unfortunately, aeroponic systems can easily provide the perfect environment for bacteria and fungi, so they are extremely prone to these kinds of growths. It’s important to note that bacterial growths can come in both beneficial and a harmful variety, so it’s hard to find a one-size-fits-all solution. Make sure that you are maintaining the proper water temperature to prevent the environment for bad biological growth. If you do find a bad bacterial or fungal growth in your system, adding a very small amount of hydrogen peroxide is a common way to kill bacterial and fungal growth, but it also kills any helpful bacteria that may be present. Depending on the condition of the crops, this may be a method to try if you’re suffering from a lot of harmful bacterial growth.

Remember that no matter what the issue is, it’s important to keep a close watch on your plants. If the growth begins to slow down in growth and vigor, that’s a sign that something could be wrong. Take a step back to analyze the growing environment — temperature, hygiene, humidity levels, seed compatibility with this environment, etc. All of these factors can contribute to the success of the growth, and vastly change the results. With specific problems growers have in their aeroponic systems, they often choose to reach out to forums and online communities to get their answers. This is a great way to receive feedback on your crops, because you can attach photos and get the opinions of other experts who have learned through trial and error systems. Many of these problems lead back to some sort of breach in the system, sanitation issue, or pest infestation/bacterial growth, but there’s always someone who has seen it before.

Now, what problems have you faced with your aeroponic system? And how have you been able to find a solution or diagnosis?

Check out Bifarm's precision aeroponics grow system AeroXPS


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