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Hydroponics Grodan Rockwool & Coco Coir

Grodan hydroponics rockwool offers more variety than coco coir Grodan hydroponics rockwool offers more variety than coco coir

Hydroponics growers ask a lot about coco coir versus rockwool for ebb and flow and drip irrigation hydroponics gardens. It’s one of the most frequent questions I get and the first thing I tell hydroponics gardeners is that Grodan, the premier manufacturer of hydroponics rockwool, has stepped up its game to make rockwool even more ideal as a root zone media than it was before.

Rockwool is made via an industrial process that spins basalt into a fibrous mass of remarkable consistency. Coco coir is made from coconut husks that are processed industrially or manually. These two materials are probably the top two hydroponics root zone materials.

Most hydroponics rockwool comes to you with an alkaline pH and you need to adjust it by soaking the rockwool in water that’s been pH adjusted to about 5.7 pH. Coco coir comes to you with a pH that’s about 5.3-6.1. In most cases, this means that you can just start using it with reverse osmosis water that’s adjusted to 5.8-6.1 without having to do a pre-soak or pre-rinse. This gives coco coir a slight convenience advantage over rockwool, especially if you’re a hydroponics grower who has experienced the itch factor associated with rockwool’s tendency to irritate skin.

On the other hand, Grodan has successfully focused so intensely on hydroponics innovations that rockwool inconveniences are easy to ignore. The company now offers what it calls Next Generation hydroponics rockwool styles that exploit the uniformity, neutrality, sterility and controllability that are characteristics of this artificial media.

While properly made hydroponics coco coir boasts advantages such as naturalness, on board beneficial microbes and a small amount of natural nutrition built in, the new Grodan rockwool styles are high-tech root zone media that give you considerably more control over your root zone than has ever been available before.

For example, you can better control water drainage, oxygen content, porosity, root development, electrical conductivity (parts per million) and hydroponics nutrients delivery using Grodan rockwool. The company even makes rockwool designed specifically for flowering crops.

The practical benefits of these new rockwool styles are that you can deliver more precise and optimum amounts of water, nutrients and oxygen to your hydroponics crops so you get faster growth, bigger yields, healthier roots, less root pathogens, and more vigorous crops.

This article is not meant as a free advertisement for Grodan, but credit must be given where credit is due. Grodan has put a lot of scientific effort into understanding what hydroponics growers need and giving us way more professional hydroponics root zone media options that increase the payoff we get from our hydroponics harvests.

Nor is this article meant as a blanket condemnation of coco coir, which definitely has favorable water-holding, aeration and density properties, along with the beneficial microbes mentioned above. Coir is hard to overwater, is a recycled resource that goes easily back into the environment, is anti-fungal, and is relatively easy to use.

On the other hand coco coir can cause problems with your hydroponics plants’ ability to source calcium, potassium and magnesium. This can occur if you’ve gotten cheap coco coir (which has a lot of sodium laid into it and has to be pre-washed before use), or if you’re using most hydroponics nutrients. You’ll even see some manufacturers trying to sell you coir-specific nutrients…but they don’t often work well.

Grodan babe dishes the hydroponics rockwool info you need

If you’re going to use coco coir, make sure you use hydroponics nutrients that are engineered to work well in coco coir and other hydroponics root zone media. You can be sure that those nutrients will provide the right amounts of calcium, potassium, magnesium and all the other elements your plants need so you get your biggest yields.

Contact Grodan and the coco coir manufacturers. Tell them what your irrigation and overall hydroponics system are like and see what they recommend to you. Hydroponics growers are growing massive buds with coco coir and rockwool, but my vote right now is for Grodan rockwool until and if the coir manufacturers can step up their game and give hydroponics growers the kind of controllability and variety that Grodan has provided us with its patented, high-tech rockwool styles.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 31 October 2012 11:29

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