Exclusive From Hydrofarm: Active Aqua Grow Flow System
Hydrofarm’s Active Aqua Grow Flow System is a complete ebb & flow (or flood and drain) system for indoor growing use. Ebb and flow is a simple, dependable and affordable form of hydroponics. Anyone can grow amazing plants this way, and let’s not forget that hydroponics uses a fraction of the water that conventional (soil) growing does. This system is great for growing tomatoes, peppers and many types of vegetables as well as herbs, flowers and foliage.
The Grow Flow 12-site Complete Kit includes twelve 2-gallon bucket modules which you fill with the growing medium of your choice. Expanded clay pebbles are recommended for this system. Always make sure your growing medium is clean, so rinse it well before using. The medium anchors the plant roots and holds the water/nutrient mixture.
Each growing module is fitted with an individual inner bucket, which makes it easy to lift and move plants. The system is customizable, so you can set up an indoor garden that perfectly suits your needs and space requirements, and you can modify it by adding or removing buckets as your needs change. You can connect up to 48 buckets to your controller with Grow Flow Expansion Kits (available separately).
About the controller: the Grow Flow System’s easy-to-program controller allows you to set the fill/drain cycles as desired; the controller takes it from there. Since your pumps are only pumping a short time each day, the system is extremely energy efficient. There’s an adjustable ladder level control that allows you to set the water levels in your growing modules.
The Grow Flow is the only unit on the market with fail-safe overflow protection. If the float valves stop operating for any reason, the LED indicator lights up on the control panel and the emergency shut-off valve automatically shuts down the system, preventing any spillage or damage to your growing area.
Maintaining the Grow Flow is pretty simple. The nutrient solution in the reservoir should be changed every 7-10 days. The growing modules are engineered with concave centers, so the buckets drain fully, eliminating any worries about stagnant water in the root zone.
You’ll want to start your plants from seeds if at all possible. Introducing soil-started seedlings into your hydroponics system is inviting pests and diseases—and one of the advantages of hydroponics is being able to keep these invaders out of your garden.
Hydrofarm’s Jump Start line has the seedling flats, grow lights, heat mats and thermostats to get your seedlings off to a healthy and vigorous start. Starter plugs will set you up for easy transplanting later. Soak them with water (check the pH for balance) before planting your seeds, and cover the flat loosely with plastic sheeting or a dome.
Once the seeds sprout, they’ll need light. Remove the covering and place your grow light over the trays, keeping the light on for 18 hours a day. You’ll know it’s time to transplant your seedlings into your Grow Flow system when you see that the first true leaves have formed.
You can place the seedlings in their starter plugs right into your Grow Flow. Be sure to adjust the water level using the ladder control so that the water meets the roots, but doesn’t reach the stems.
Keep your grow lights on for18 hours a day, being sure to let the plants have a rest period of 6 hours of darkness in between.
You’ll want to choose the right nutrient solution for your tomatoes—you can select a growth-focused nutrient while the plants grow, then switch to a bloom-focused nutrient once the plants flower.
Once they flower, here’s an important tip: Because there are probably no bees in your hydroponics room to pollinate your tomatoes, you’ll want to do this by hand to ensure that you get fruit. Take a small paint or makeup brush and touch the stamens and then the pistil in each blossom. Do this daily until you see that fruit has formed.
Then sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labour. Literally!