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Our hearts and prayers go out to our community. We have been closed for the past two days due to the fires and mandatory evacuation orders. Our employees and families have been affected and we will be here for them and the community - stay posted for outreach and donation information. Our office is open for business as of this morning and we will be providing information on the situation as things develop. All General Hydroponics employees please contact your supervisor if you haven't already.

Thank you and stay safe.

For emergency informations regarding the fires affecting Santa Rosa visit https://srcity.org/610/Emergency-Information

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If you are debating whether or not you need an air conditioner, chances are the answer is: YES YOU DO. A hot, humid grow room is a bad grow room.  

 An AC's cooling ability is rated either by BTU or tonnage. 12,000 BTU's = 1 ton.

A general rule of thumb is that for every 1 watt of HPS light, the end user will need 3 BTU's of cooling power. Personally, I always go 20% over this to amount to account for environmental fluxes.

Thus a grower running 4x 1000 Watt HPS lights will need a minimum of 14,400 BTU's of cooling.  

So The formula is: (3 BTU's) X (1.2) X (total watts of HPS light) = total BTU's of AC needed.

If you are right at the edge, always size up rather than down.

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The return of Tent Talk.  2016 was a busy year. 

We'd like to share some of the fun side projects R&D did in 2016.  

We automated our propagation rack's watering system. Our racks are now fully self watering. For more on how to take your seedling rack to the next level check out this post.

Few realize that the Wasabi served in most Japanese restaurants is actually horseradish and food coloring. The true Wasabi grows along cold mountain streams, takes over two years to reach maturity and is among the most difficult crops to grow commercially. The difficulty in cultivation translates to the pricetag. Premium Wasabi rhizome sells for $45 a pound in North America. Check out our custom water chilled EuroGrower hydroponic system, where several small Wasabi starts have taken residence. More to come.

The Carolina Reaper is currently the world's hottest pepper, clocking in at over one million Scoville units. R&D are now the proud parents of some seriously hot little pepper plants.  

 

 

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When implemented correctly, C02 enrichment can increase yields by 15-20%. Interested? Below we will discuss the equipment needed, and if C02 enrichment is right for you.

Atmospheric CO2 is approximately 350-400 PPM.  Maintaining adequate air exchange in your indoor grow ensures that CO2 levels are close to atmopspheric CO2 levels.  When a room is enriched with CO2, typically the PPM's are between 1000-1500: that is between 3-4x greater than atmospheric levels!

Safety first. Keep in mind that heightened levels of CO2 can be dangerous.  Limit your exposure. Work in your grow room in short increments of about 10 minutes max.  Or simply turn off your CO2 enrichment, wait till the PPM's are near atmospheric levels, then begin work.  Working during the lights off period is also a viable option; look into green lights that won't disturb the plant's photo-period.  If you begin to feel light-headed or dizzy leave the space immediately!

C02 enrichment works best in a sealed grow room.  What does with mean? There is no air exchange with the outside environment.  This means no intake/exhaust fans.  Make sure your air conditioner does not pull air out of your grow room (most portable AC's for example).  Air cooled lights are generally not recommended, as most are not  completely airtight, and will draw air out of your grow room.  This also means that excess humidity cannot be vented out, and a dehumidifier is usually a must.  

What type of equipment is needed? There are two ways to introduce CO2 into your grow room (I am excluding the gimmicky gadgets like fungal mycelium, or baking soda based devices): using a CO2 generator, which burns propane,  or directly via CO2 tanks.  

Here's how  to tell which method is right for you:

1. CO2 tanks are safer to use, but are more expensive and inconvenient to refill.  Some hydroponic stores offer CO2 swap-outs, otherwise welding supply stores are your best bet.

2. Generators do pose a potential fire hazard if knocked over, or if it comes in contact with flammable material.  Generators usually must be hung securely and at least a foot or more from the ceiling.  

3. Generators are much cheaper to run.  Tapping into an existing gas line is a good option; propane tanks are also cheaper than CO2 tanks and more readily available. 

4. Generators create a lot of extra heat, which will need to be accounted for.  Both generators and CO2 tanks will raise the humidity of the room.  

5. As a general rule of thumb, larger grow rooms will use generators and smaller grows will use tanks.

Now what you have decided which system is right for you, lets break down the components necessary.

A Co2 tank system will require a CO2 regulator, or solenoid: this device attaches to the C02 tank and allows the user to manually control the flow-rate of C02.

Both systems (CO2 tanks or generators), will require a control device that senses the PPM's of CO2 in the room and turns the generator or CO2 regulator on the tank on or off as needed.  We do not recommend attempting to calculate the time needed to fill the room to the correct PPM and attempting to use a timer in place of a CO2 controller.  There are simply to many variables and miscalculations can be costly and even dangerous.  (Imagine walking into your grow room and the PPM's are 4000! What would happen? Here's a hint, not much would be alive).  

Finally, keep in mind that during the lights of cycle, CO2 is not required and the plant will actually use oxygen instead.  Therefore it is helpful to purchase a CO2 controller with a photocell: that can sense when the light is on or off.  

Stay tuned for more Pro-Tips!

By Mike Jones - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9504547

 

 

 

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How to deal with your grow tent getting too cold.

Winter is upon us! As the days grow ever shorter and temperatures steadily drop, indoor growers may experience tent temperatures too low for optimal growth. What should you do? Below are some helpful tips.

  1. Consider ventilating your grow tent from a lung room: a crawlspace, attic or other room in your home that does not get as cold as the outside environment.
     
  2. Dim your intake/exhaust fans with a fan speed controller. Some fine tuning may be necessary here. Remember if you're air cooling your lights, attaching a fan speed controller to the duct fan(s) that cool your lights is also an option as well. We do not typically recommend a thermostat to control the intake/exhaust fans (when temperatures become too cold, they are great for cooling your tent) because we want sufficient air exchange to maintain optimal CO2 and humidity levels. If your grow tent is getting too cold as a result of pulling in cold air, then using a thermostat will simply ensure your intake/exhaust fans are rarely operational.   
     
  3. De-glass your hoods. If you are using air-cooled HID lights in your grow tent, simply passively cooling your lights will drastically warm your grow tent. Not to mention, de-glassing your hoods will also net you 10-15% more available light for your plants. 
     
  4. Create an air diffuser. When cold air is introduced from your intake into your tent, the plants closest to this cold air will suffer if the difference in air temperature between the two is great. In order to not shock your plants, creating an air diffuser is a good option. One easy DIY fix is to simply use flexible ducting. Run a length of ducting from your intake fan long enough to wrap around your grow tent. Next plug the end of the ducting. Then cut small slits every few inches across the length of ducting. Congratulations you have created your own air diffuser!
     
  5. Add more light. Rather than putting a heater into your grow tent (which is usually not a good idea, depending on the size of your tent this could be a safety concern), have you considered adding more light? If you have not maximized your grow space, ensuring even light throughout, then adding more light is a viable option. Why would you pay more to run an expensive space heater when you can kill two birds with one stone and simply put in an HID or T5 fixture, which yields both light and heat?

Stay tuned for more Pro-Tips coming your way, and Happy Holidays!

Robert Scott and his men at Roald Amundsen's base, Polheim, at the South Pole.

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Transform yourself from an average Joe-Schmoe to a seasoned Grow-Pro with Pro-Tips!

Do you know what's growing in your reservoir? When was your last res change? Do you even air-lift brah?

Here are some quick tips to keep your reservoir from quickly becoming a breeding ground for algae, bacteria and protozoa.

1. Always aerate your reservoir: especially if you plan on using it over a few days. We recommend an air-stone paired with a quality air pump. Remember that larger reservoirs will require correspondingly larger air pumps; make sure your pump is up to the job!

2.  Every few weeks, drain your reservoir and clean and sterilize any pumps, air-stones and the inside of the reservoir. Look into home brewer supply stores; items such as PBW and Star San work very well.

3.  Organic nutrients and supplements are great, just remember they must be made to order and usually do not do well if kept in a reservoir over long periods of time.

4. Make sure your reservoir is covered and as light tight as possible.  This will ensure that algal growth is minimized. 

 

     

 

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