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Prepping Hydroponics Plants for Outdoor Growing

Transfer your hydroponics plants outdoors. Transfer your hydroponics plants outdoors.

In most parts of North America we’ve experienced colder than normal temperatures and are worried about a late spring. Of course, hydroponics indoor growers aren’t ruled by outdoor weather, but if you’re a hydroponics grower who wants to do an outdoor season this year, it’s time to start planning. Here’s what I mean…

Having an indoor hydroponics grow room gives you an early start on your outdoor season. For example, if it’s safe to plant outdoors where you live on April 2, you can start your outdoor plants indoors on March 2 or earlier.

This gives them time to get way past the seedling or clone stage before you transplant them outdoors. By the time your April 2 transplant date comes around, your plants could be 1-3 feet high.

This gives them a lot of advantages when the springtime sun is available. Their root systems, branching structures and leaves are fully developed to take advantage of the massive light intensity and fresh air they’ll get outdoors.

Speaking of light intensity, you can’t just take your hydroponics plants grown indoors and put them out into the full sun- it will burn them. What you want to do is gradually get your plants adjusted to the much higher intensity of the sun as compared to even the most powerful HID lights.

For example, you could take your hydroponics indoor plants from inside your grow room and then put them into a greenhouse that has shadecloth. Or put your plants outdoors but only in heavy shade. You do something like this for a week or so, gradually giving your plants more time in full sun.

While you’re acclimating your plants to the sun, you look for signs of sunburn. If plants are burning, you’ll see it in their leaves. Sometimes it shows up like severe nutrient burn, not just on the tips of leaves, but all over. Other times it looks like someone burned your leaves with a magnifying glass.

The only solution for sunburn is to better protect your plants from full sun and keep on trying to get them used to direct sunlight. Eventually they’ll be able to handle it, and remember that your plants need at the very least 5-6 hours of direct sunlight per day in whatever outdoor location you’re going to put them in.

Don’t put your plants in an deeply-shaded forest and expect them to do well for you. They need a good dose of full sun every day all the way through to harvest time.

Your indoor hydroponics plants are accustomed to a controlled environment. When you put them outdoors, they’ll be in the natural environment where ideal temperatures, water availability and other factors are less likely to be present as compared to the perfect world you gave them indoors.

If you placed your plants outdoors on April 2, and found out two weeks later that a late frost, typhoon, or other calamity was on the way, you might want to get your plants back indoors for the duration of the calamity. Sometimes this is not practical due to security or logistical concerns. In that case, cover your plants with Plankets. These are insulating blankets made specifically for plants. Plankets are dark green, so you can also use them to camouflage your plants.

Getting your hydroponics plants accustomed to the real world outdoors is often called “hardening off,” because you are “hardening” your pampered indoor plants to make them tough enough to deal with the sometimes-unpredictable outdoor conditions.

Starting from the time your plants are seedlings or clones, one way to literally harden them is to feed them Rhino Skin. It contains potassium silicate that deposits into plant tissues to make your plants tougher inside and out. You also dose your plants with B-52 or Organic B. These B-vitamin formulas are especially helpful at transplant time or whenever your plants are facing extreme stress.

Great information on preparing plants for outdoors


As winter says farewell we’ll talk more about outdoor growing. Issues such as pest control, security, fertilizing, pruning, site selection and other topics are all part of outdoor growing, and the procedures and protocols differ from what you know from indoor growing.

Is it all worth it? When I see plants started indoors in hydroponics during late winter and transplanted outdoors in early spring- and by early autumn those plants are eight feet tall, three feet in diameter, stalks as big around as my wrist and floral clusters the size of footballs- I definitely get the feeling that outdoor growing is worth it!

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Last modified on Friday, 21 September 2012 18:11

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