7 Proven Tips for NFT Growers!
Ever heard of NFT? It’s one of the best growing methods there is!
It's why they're used by commercial growers worldwide!
Here are our top 7 tips for growing with NFT.
1. Keep your nutrient between 18oC & 20oC
The optimum temperature for your nutrient solution is 18oC- 20oC. To control your feed's temperature, we recommend using:
2. Never turn off your feed pump
NFT systems are designed to run for 24 hours a day, to keep your roots wet.
If you turn it off, your root tips will quickly dry. You’ll end up with lots of cell damage and dead root mass. Your plants will also begin to wilt very quickly.
When you turn your pump back on, you’ll be flooding dead material with your nutrient solution. This can lead to root diseases and Pythium taking hold - just look at the picture of roots - you don't want that to happen.
Rather than turning your pump off completely, to regulate your flow, turn it down to a trickle when plants have just been transplanted. You can then slowly turn the water flow up when plants are rooting well.
It may be worth buying a spare pump in case the one you've got fails. From just £16.75, that's good insurance!
3. Make sure no light reaches your roots
If any light reaches your roots, algae can start growing.
It’ll compete with your roots for oxygen, warm your roots and cause all kinds of other problems.
To prevent this from happening, make sure that no light can leak past your Correx cover. You can replace your Correx cover whenever you need to.
4. Establish plants before adding them to your NFT system
Introduce plants to your NFT system too soon and they'll be too small to cope with the intensity.
Also, if your roots aren't developed enough, your rockwool blocks will soak up too much water, leading to over saturation - some plants never recover from this.
To prevent this, before transplanting to your NFT system, establish plants and air prune roots in 3 - 4" Grodan Rockwool Transplanting Cubes, placed on a mesh shelf.
When roots begin to emerge out the bottom of your rockwool cubes, they hit the air. The root tip dries, forward growth stops and roots start branching off inside the block. Plants will develop a bigger, healthier, more efficient root network.
You know you've got a good root base when lots of root are poking out the bottom of your rockwool block, like tiny little teeth.
At this point, you can transplant them to your NFT system - they'll take to it much faster, and there will a much lower risk of over-saturation.
5. Position your Grodan cubes properly
You'll notice some grooves at the bottom of your Grodan cubes. Make sure that you line them up with the flow of water. Roots will then grow along the planting channels.
6. If aerating your nutrient solution...
In NFT systems, your nutrient solution is already very aerated (thanks to the pump). If you need to aerate your tank as well, make sure that:
a) You're using the right nutrient solution
Some feeds aren’t designed to be aerated – nutrients will precipitate out of your solution, at which point they’re no longer available to your plants.
AVOID anything that uses organic ingredients, such as seaweed and molasses.
These kinds of products are biologically active and don’t respond well to the oxygen in your nutrient solution - they become oxygenated.
b) You lower the strength of your feed
All that oxygen enhances nutrient uptake. To ensure you don’t overfeed your plants, lower the strength of your nutrient solution.
The exact strength depends on what you’re growing, your environment, how hard your water is and other factors.
If you’re using filtered water, you can often go as low as 12 - 14 CF (1.2 – 1.4 EC).
7. Don't layer up your spreader mat
Spreader mats are used to spread water evenly across all channels. More than one layer will slow the water flow and restrict root growth
New to NFT?
No problem. We're here to help. Pop into your local store to see them on display. Our staff will answer any questions you've got.
NFT systems are easy to maintain, cost-efficient and give great yields! It's no wonder they're used by commercial growers everywhere!
To get started all you need is an NFT Gro-Tank, Grodan Rockwool Transplanting Cubes, Grodan Cuttings Seed Cubes, a grow light and your chosen nutrients - our SHOGUN Samurai Hydroponic Nutrients are a good bet!
Enjoyed this article? Make sure you pop back to our blog next week - it's updated every Monday!