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Winter Hydroponics Indoor Gardening

Winter affects your hydroponics indoor gardening. Winter affects your hydroponics indoor gardening.

Winter is here and it’s a time when hydroponics growers should evaluate their indoor gardening procedures and equipment settings to match the realities presented by colder outdoor weather.

One of the easiest things you see is that excessive heat build-up in your hydroponics grow room is not the same kind of problem in winter as it is in summer. During hot months, hydroponics growers often spend money on air conditioning equipment, vent fans and electricity trying to keep their rooms within the ideal temperature range for high value hydroponics plants.

For rooms without added C02, your temperatures should be between 70-75F. For rooms with added C02, your range should be between 77-84F, depending on how many parts per million C02 your room air is. These are for lights-on cycles. During dark cycles, you could let your room get a little cooler, perhaps 66-70F, as long as you keep your nutrients water at 68F.

In cold weather months, you could use heat generated in your hydroponics grow room to warm the rest of your dwelling. Instead of venting HID bulb heat and other heat directly to the outdoors as you probably do in summer, you could change your venting system to send heat into the rest of your dwelling.

If your hydroponics room is too cold, you could experiment with partial venting or no venting to see how the heat your equipment is generating can be used to keep your room at optimum temperatures.

A big problem during cold weather is that your indoor grow room might be warmer close to the ceiling and way colder near the ground. If you have concrete foundations under the floor where you live, or similar structural conditions, your floors could be significantly colder than the rest of your grow room. You could also have a layer of cold air that begins at the floor and goes up a couple of feet.

Your hydroponics roots don’t like to be cold. In hot months you can offset a too-hot grow room by chilling your nutrients water to 68F. But in cold months, and especially if your nutrients water reservoir, plant pots or root zone chamber is on the floor, your roots might be too cold. This harms overall growth and yield, impedes nutrients uptake and sets up conditions in which pathogens, stress and diseases can weaken your plants, or even kill them.

You can use easy strategies to keep your grow room from having temperature differentials and to protect your root zone. One tactic is to ensure vigorous air circulation inside your hydroponics room so cold air is sucked from the bottom of the room and mixed with warmer air to create a more uniform, warmer temperature environment.

You could insulate your floors or put your plant pots or other root zone chambers on blocks to elevate them off the floor. This cuts down on the vertical height you have for growing in, so be sure to raise your lights and otherwise accommodate the height change. You can also use heating mats under your plant pots, as long as the mats are equipped with precision temperature controls so you don’t fry your roots.

Outdoor gardening in the winter? Yes!

 

If your hydroponics nutrients water drops below 68F, you might consider adding an aquarium heater to keep it at 68F. In situations where you’re growing in a detached enclosure that doesn’t benefit from central heating, you may have to add a space heater or propane heater to keep your hydroponics environment in the ideal range. An added benefit of some propane heaters is that they add C02 to your grow room, but they also add humidity. Make sure to keep your grow room humidity below 58%, especially if you have fat, dense flowers. High humidity + dense flowers = gray mold.

Winter conditions require different protocols in your hydroponics indoor gardening environment when compared to hot weather. In general, you should be able to save money on air conditioning, and may even be able to use increased hydroponics HID lighting to keep your room warm and fuel more growth and yield. Feel free to share your cold-weather hydroponics grow stories and tips using our comments section!

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Have questions about building your indoor grow room?   Get answers here.

Need hydroponics answers?   Get in touch with our grower guru, Erik Biksa.

Looking to escape the cold?   Check out some of America’s sexiest beaches.

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Last modified on Friday, 19 October 2012 13:41

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