Frequently asked questions from our customers:

Q: What is hydroponics?
A: Hydroponics is the science of growing plants without soil. The plants thrive on the nutrient-water solution alone. The growing medium merely acts as a support for the plants and their root systems while the solution passes freely. The growing medium, if any, is totally inert. Hydroponics is the fastest growing sector of agriculture and could dominate food production in the future. See hydroponic systems and growing media for more details.

Q: What are the advantages of hydroponics versus growing plants in soil?
 There are so many advantages to growing hydroponically. For starters, expect bigger, cleaner yields that don't require as much fertilizer or water. You can also grow more plants per square foot in a hydroponic garden because roots are directly fed ~ therefore, there is no competition for root space. As a result, you can get higher yields per square foot, per unit of time. Your plants will grow faster because they will be getting all the nutrients they need and in the proper proportions. Their root systems stay smaller, so the plant can concentrate its energy on producing plant mass, rather than roots. See why hydroponics for more benefits.

Q: Isn’t hydroponic gardening complicated?
NO! If you can follow simple directions, you can garden hydroponically. A few simple steps must be followed on a regular basis to ensure that your plants thrive. Once you get used to the routine, it’s a snap. All GYOstuff packages come with a quick start guide to be sure you get off to a good start. If you'd like some 'formal' training before you set your first system up, check out our Hydro 101 and other grow classes.

Q: What plants grow best hydroponically?
Anything can be grown hydroponically, but some plants prove to be more space efficient. Some plants we suggest are tomatoes, sweet peppers, hot chilies, lettuce, spinach, squash, eggplant, cucumbers, broccoli, beans, snow peas, strawberries, herbs and flowers of all types.

Q: What about taste? How will the flavor compare to my outdoor grown, organic produce?
Your own hydroponically grown herbs and vegetables will taste even better. This is due to the fact that the hydroponically grown plants are getting everything they need, when they need it. Don’t be fooled by “hot house” produce grown commercially. The grower’s primary concern is shipability and storage, not flavor. When you grow your own vegetables at home, you can expect nothing less than excellent results. Plus, hydroponically grown produce has the added benefit of a longer shelf life.

Q: Where should I set my indoor garden up?
Good question. See our guide to locating your indoor garden.

Q: How often should I change the nutrient solution?
Nutrient solution uptake will be determined by the type of crop being grown and how heavily they are feeding and the temperature of the grow room (the higher the temp, the more the plants will feed). It is extremely important that you have a TDS meter and a pH meter and that regular testing on the nutrient solution is carried out. View our selection of pH/EC/TDS meters. Not sure which PPM scale to use? Check out our guide to Understanding What PPM Scale to Use.

If you follow a nutrient line's feed schedule, they will typically have it based on changing out the reservoir every week. Topping off with nutrients and water is possible, just be sure to do the proper math and use your meters to prevent over or under watering. See hydroponic feeding tips for more details. View our selection of nutrients.

Q: How much will my electric bill increase?
Your bill will go up a bit, but maybe not as much as you think. Refer to product details for the average electrical costs of the GYO packages. Most of our packages use less electricity than a standard household refrigerator. Usually, lighting consumes most of the electricity required in an indoor garden. Check out the GYO Grow Light Guide to see how much your lighting may cost you to operate. Note that 600 watt HID lighting is most efficient when you compare lumens per watt.

Q: How many hours should the grow light be on?
The indoor garden rule of thumb is 18 hours on/6 hours off for vegetative growth and 12 hours on/12 hours off for fruiting/flowering. Lighting schedules are easy to keep when you use a timer set at the correct intervals. For more on lighting, see lighting your indoor garden. View our selection of lighting timers and controllers.

Q: How long does it take to harvest?
It depends on what you are growing. All plants are different and even every species vary greatly as well. You will get the absolute fastest, most efficient results, due to our better light spectrum and airflow. Most all plants reach desired results around 2-3 months.

Q: How safe are MH and HPS lights?
Many people have used these lights in their homes with no problems whatsoever for thousands of hours. Good safety measures are to have smoke alarms inside and just outside of your grow area. Most importantly, if your grow area is in your basement have a smoke alarm positioned so you will be able to hear it from the upstairs bedroom. For more on lighting, see lighting your indoor garden. As an extra measure of protection, automatic fire extinguishers are available for the indoor garden.

Q: Is it possible to use a metal halide (MH) bulb in my high pressure sodium (HPS) fixture? I’d like to veg w/ a MH bulb and then change to HPS during flowering.
There are conversion bulbs that would burn as an MH in your HPS fixture. The bulbs are slightly more expensive, but they do work well.

Aside from color spectrum, the major difference between an MH and an HPS bulb is that the MH has a firing unit built right into the bulb. The firing unit is what 'ignites' the gas in the lamp when you turn it on. The HPS bulbs don't have a firing unit in the bulb, so they have to have one built into the HPS ballast. So, if you put an MH into an HPS fixture, there are two firing units, the one in the bulb, and the one in the ballast. These will both fire whenever the fixture turns on. If you tried to do it the other way around (HPS bulb in an MH ballast) it wouldn't work at all because there would be no firing unit. I don't think it hurts the ballast at all, but it may burn the bulb out quicker than usual from the double firing. The ballast manufacturers recommend the conversion bulbs to be the best approach. For more on lighting, see lighting your indoor gardenView our selection of grow lights.

Q: What's the difference between warm/cool bulbs?
If you think of it in street light terms, the white ones are cool (metal halide) and the orange ones are warm (high pressure sodium). Plants are very spectrum sensitive, and pick up on different parts of the lighting spectrum - more than our eyes can.

To a plant, the cool white lights simulate the brighter, whiter sunlight of spring and early summer, which is better for vegetative growth (more compact leaf and stem development). The warm orange bulbs are more like mid-summer to fall sunlight, and actually cause the plants to 'want' to produce their fruit, flowers, or vegetables. When you're growing indoors, by starting out with the cool/white light, then changing to the warm/orange light, you'll get a healthier, stronger, more productive plant. For more on lighting, see lighting your indoor garden. View our selection of grow lights.

Q: What are the benefits of using a carbon filter?
Carbon filter/fan combos are the best way to sterilize air and eliminate odors. With a carbon filter, you can either exhaust filtered air or “polish” and recirculate the air. For more on airflow & air exchange, see climate control. View our selection of carbon filters.

Q: Do I really need CO2?
Plants need carbon dioxide for photosynthesis. It's number 3 in the level of "important things to a plant", and that's before fertilizer. Achieving and maintaining the natural levels of CO2 that are in the oxygen around us is the most important thing. Adding more beyond that will speed up the growth of a plant incredibly. The air around us contains about 300 parts per million (ppm), but if you increase to about 1500ppm, the plants will grow MUCH faster. For more on CO2, see climate control. View our selection of CO2 equipment and controls.

Q: What is pH about? How do I test pH?
pH has a range from 0 (acidic) – 7 (neutral) – 14 (alkaline). A proper hydroponic pH range is between 5.5 to 6.2 for most hydroponic crops while most soil-based crops prefer a slightly higher pH (between 6.4 to 7.1). pH must remain within the proper range for good plant health, disease resistance, and proper nutrient uptake. pH is maintained by adding pH Up and pH Down to the nutrient solution. There are electronic meters and paper-based test kits available to test pH. For more on pH, see Nutrient solution pH. View our selection of pH meters.

Q: What are the benefits of cloning?
Cloning can save you time and money. Instead of waiting for a seedling to grow, cut weeks out by taking a clone off a mother plant! View our selection of cloning supplies.

Q: Do you provide technical support?
Yes. Lifetime support. Email is the best way to get the most complete answers.

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