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Ask Erik: RAW! More Free Time: Grow Room Automation

automating your grow is now easier than ever automating your grow is now easier than ever

Q: Discovering growing for profit has been a real blessing in my life. Finally, I have an outlet where I can be creative, learn new things and reap some very nice rewards. What I have found is that I always get my best crops when I put the most time in. However, I want to be able to get away from the garden once in a while to enjoy some other things in life that I am now financially able to pursue, and for more than just a few hours.

A: As the saying goes “success can be an excellent test of one’s metal”, meaning that even success comes with challenges, and if not met accordingly, all of the hard work you put in to get up the hill can get flushed away.

Sounds like you are seeking more balance in your life which is a healthy thing; for both you and your garden. Sometimes a little more time away from the grow room can lead to new perspectives when you return. For example, it’s hard to see where to improve a situation if you are always in the middle of it. A look from the outside can reveal lots more sometimes, and that’s how having more free time can actually help to benefit your grow.

Depending on the scale of you operation, you could consider hiring a helper, but I am guessing if you haven’t already done so it’s something you are aiming to avoid? (for more info. on hydroponic hiring, be sure to check out Erik’s three part series on the subject in Ask Erik:RAW!)

Ask Erik: RAW! - Build Your Growing Team, Part 1: Assembling the Band of the Hand

Ask Erik: RAW! - Employees Part 2: Get Out of the Field and Into My Barn

Ask Erik: RAW! – Employees, Part 3: Creating Winning Team Members in Your Grow Force

If your time is valuable to you, as it should be, you might set aside some funds from your next successful harvest to better automate your growing enterprise. Just like any modern day factory, automation saves big on manual labor requirements; potentially freeing you up to do other things. Because it’s still not quite feasible for most of use to have our own robot to do our bidding, you should look at what you can incorporate in the way of time savers and controllers to your existing grow. Not only can you free up some time for other things, but you can potentially grow heavier yields by providing a more consistent environment for your crop.

Here’s a quick list of just some of the things growers have successfully automated:

-lighting (intensity and photoperiod)

-waterings

-nutrients, pH and water levels

-temperature

-humidity

-carbon dioxide

Most growers are going to have accomplished 4 of 6 or maybe even 5 of 6 parameters on this list. Where most of us fall short is nutrients, pH and water levels. We spend our time mixing reservoirs and performing daily monitoring of solutions, adjusting concentrations, pH levels, etc. We can wind up virtual slaves to the crop as a result, because healthy plants are always hungry.

There are two easy solutions for this. You can also use the two in combination for the ultimate in good growing results while freeing up some of your time:

pH & PPM Perfect feeding programs: Advanced Nutrients offers a feeding system that requires absolutely no adjustment of pH levels and uses special buffers that make what you presently know about nutrient levels obsolete. Just add the components to R.O. water, apply and you are done. A reservoir or growing medium will monitor and balance it’s own pH for a week or more without any help from the grower. PPM or pH monitors are not required and it’s virtually fool proof if you follow the chart.

GroBots and the Evo: PurGro is in the business of automating and integrating all of your growing gear. It also goes several steps beyond because you can actually change, monitor and receive alerts from your grow room in real time. Imagine doing your growing chores from the ski lift this season? It’s totally possible.

Cheers, Erik Biksa

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Need an expert’s advice about your hydroponics lifestyle? Email our hydroponics guru, Erik Biksa.

Looking to hire workers for your indoor grow room? Read these tips to find competent and trustworthy employees.

Have a strange problem in your grow room? Read this article on unusual pests & diseases and learn to combat them.

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“If you have the budget, you can go robotic; no matter what your needs are”.
Last modified on Wednesday, 25 July 2012 18:13

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