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Benefits Of Using COCO FIBRE
TIps On How to Make COCO FIBRE Work Best for You
Working With COCO FIBRE Summary



Growing media is used in net cups or plastic pots to provide support for plant roots. It protects roots from sunlight while giving them something to hold on to. Growing media helps to ensure that plants get the proper ratio of water and oxygen, both which are critical to healthy plant growth. You can use many different types of media, but all should provide the following: physical support for the plant, free passage of moisture (nutrient solution) to the root zone, proper drainage of moisture and adequate air circulation at the root zone.

Today there are a number of great, environmentally friendly growing media on the market. Many of them can be re-used with microbe colonis alive and thriving within them. Others can be sterilized and reused, and others still can be disposed of by digging them into your yard to amend the soil.

Using a growing medium is not entirely necessary in hydroponics, but utilizing a grow medium maintains a reserve of nutrient solution in the root zone along with a percentage of air pore space. This can act as a buffer and save crops from failure. The growing systems which rely on grow media are Drip Systems and Ebb & Flow Systems. These systems are most frequently used by hobby and beginning growers as they are more forgiving and provide excellent results.

There ARE two types of systems which require very little growing media, NFT and Aeroponics. Both of these usually rely on a very small amount of media in which to root a very young plant, and the rest of the roots are allowed to grow in the enclosed growing chamber of the system. In these types of systems, watering and feeding of plants depend solely upon the flow of nutrient solution past the plants' roots. If water flow is interrupted, even for a short duration, plants quickly die. At the other extreme, if the root zone is continually flooded, roots suffocate of oxygen deprivation and plants quickly die. A good grow medium negotiates these extremes.

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What is the best growing medium?

Different media work better for different growing systems and different plant types. There are many factors to consider such as water and nutrient retention capabilities, what kind of growing system you will be using, and whether or not you wish to reuse the media for subsequent harvests.

Rockwool is always a good choice. A fiber spun from rock, it holds a tremendous amount of water and offers a buffer against drying out in case of electrical outages or pump failures. Between ninety and ninety-five percent of the space between rockwool's fiber is filled with air. Once saturated with water, Rockwool still has between 25-30% air within its medium. This air space makes oxygen, water and nutrient solution easily accessible to plant roots.

Another type of medium, we love is Coco (coir fibres, or husks). As well as Rockwool, Coco also holds about 30% air within it. Coco is Organic and is 100% biodegradable. Trichoderma, a beneficial fungi is naturally present within its core, which protects and helps nourish the root zone of most plants. Coco also has naturally occuring enzymes which are soothing for a plants root zone as well.

Grow Rocks are another type of media which provides great aeration. Grow Rocks hold very little water and nutrient. Consequently, this medium will act only as a support system for plant roots, and provides very little water reserves. This is a great way to go if you're using an automated container garden on a watering timer. Grow Rocks also work well in the net cups used in any type of tray system (i.e. Aeroponic/ NFT). They can be reused over and over again for many, many crops. In well maintained garden, they would be sterilized between every crop. One downside to grow rocks is that they are heavy.

Soil is seeing a resurgence as of late. Not that it ever went anywhere, but with the recent popularization of beneficial micro-organisms and the introduction of coco coir fibre into the mix, many growers are returning to - or just starting up in soil rather than “Hydroponics”. New Soil Mixes use custom blends of organic materials to add aeration, biology, and plant ready minerals into the mix. The everlasting debate between Hydro and Soil and which is the better medium is sill on and kicking. These days many people are reporting larger / better Yields with soil though. Come ask us more about this!

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Rockwool is made of basalt rocks and chalk which are heated up to 1600°C, to create lava. The lava is blown into a spinning chamber, which makes fibers similar to cotton candy. The fibers are packed into mats, from which cubes, blocks and slabs are cut. Rockwool is almost all based on recycled materials, often slag from primary preconsumer ferrous or nonferrous metals producers. One cubic yard of otherwise wasted rock becomes 37 cubic yards of rockwool. Seeds or clones may be started in small rockwool cubes which can then be transplanted to larger cubes which can then be used on top of slabs. The cubes may also be transplanted with other mediums such as grow rocks. Totally biodegradable, it may be plowed into your garden - it will break up into chunks and add aeration to the soil. Grodan Brand is our rockwool selection of choice. It is always been clean, sterile and consistent.

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LECA, Light Expanded Clay Aggregate or Grow Rocks
Grow rocks, are one of the only kinds of growing medium that can be used again and again with a minimum of breakdown. They are a good choice for the grower who plans on many harvests in the future. The brand we sell, Hydroton, is known worldwide for its superior quality. Expanded clay provides excellent aeration as the odd shapes of the rocks allow for the formation of air pockets throughout the root zone. The inside of the pebbles are filled with air pockets as well and they are fairly light weight. The pebbles do not hold much water, so plants must be watered frequently to prevent roots from drying out. They are often used in Ebb and Flow systems.

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Oasis Cubes are small rooting cubes that are similar to floral foam - the material flower designers use to hold floral arrangements in place. Completely pH neutral, Oasis cubes need simply be saturated with water (they hold 40 times their weight) and they are ready for use. They are xcellent for use in all types of propagation,including seeds and cuttings /clones.They have holes pre-punched in them. They come in sheets that fit in a standard black nursery tray

The uniform cell structure of Oasis cubes assures proper drainage and water holding capacity for optimum air/water balance for your seedlings or clones.. The modest cation exchange capability of the cubes helps control availability of grower applied fertilizer.

Oasis cubes are often used as an alternative to rockwool starting cubes. They do have one negative problem. They are not compostable, they are not reusable and are just thrown in the trash at the end of the harvest.

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Benefits of using COCO FIBRE
Coco coir (coir fibre, Coir, Coco, Coco fibre) is a product derived from the husks of coconuts. Visually it looks a lot like peat. Coco, when used properly, represents the best of soil and hydro in a single media. Coco can be extremely forgiving, and growth tends to be very consistant. Coco is pretty damn tolerant of over-and-under-watering. As you will see below Coco has many amazing properties (and some minor obstacles) making it an ideal medium to grow plants in.

Coco is almost a neutral medium, which means that aside from its limited ability to adjust pH to optimum levels, it does not bind nutrients and feed them slowly to the plant over time like traditional “soils” do. (This means that Coco has a relatively low cation exchange capacity (CEC) compared to most “soils”. All the nutrients your plant needs to grow must be provided by you. Coco fiber does, however, create millions of tiny air spaces, which are great for the roots. This is due to the large surface area of the coir particles. Think of coco as a very porous, open cell sponge; it releases water very quickly and as it drains out of the bottom of the containers, it pulls in fresh nutrients and oxygen. The medium holds water, oxygen, and nutrients in a perfect ratio for the roots in these tiny spaces. As oxygen plays an all-important role in respiration (roots pumping nutrient up to the plant), the structure of coco coir further promotes root and plant health. This factor should not be underestimated because healthy roots invariably lead to a healthy plant (and a healthy yield).

Coco also has a remarkable capacity to insulate and protect the plant’s root system in hot weather. This means that coco coir isn’t as prone to overheating, due to excessive ambient air temperatures, as many other mediums, making it ideal for warm climates. Because the root zone is cooler, there is more oxygen availble for the roots to use.

On a less positive note, coir can also contain high levels of sodium (salt). If you’re growing in coir be aware that this can be a potential problem. We suggest you only use High - Grade Coco Mediums like Canna Coco. Canna is unique in their all natural “chemical” based Flush which brings the overall ppms / EC levels contained within the medium down to next to nothing. Canna Coco also has a great consistency of long to short fibres, and is pre-innoculated with their proprietary Trichoderma strain of beneficial Fungi to help ward off pathogens and help with the initial transplanting process.

Finally, Coir has two other very important benefits that make it excellent for plant growth. It has naturally ccuring enzymes which help ease the roots, and allow for some general stress relief and ease of new growth. It is also an amazing home for beneficial microbes of all kinds. It is organic, and as stated above, very porous, providing the needed aeration fro aerobic micrboes to colonize and thrive. Anyone has grown in Coco, used microbes, and looked at their root zone when they were finished can attest to this. Roots are firm and fluffy. Usually with Huge ropey swirls filling up the entire container (it’s hard to even see the coco by the end cause the entire container is filled with roots) with smaller tendrils coming off the larger coils, and if done correctly, fuzzy micro-hairs throughout!

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<Tips on How to Make Coco Fibre Work Best For you
Watering with coco is different than with soil. If you grow in soil, it can be much easier to “drown” the plant with too much water. Coco on the other hand is so light that there will always be more oxygen left and the plant will have a much harder time being oxygen straved. You can let the pot become dryer the first week only to stimulate root development. We suggest watering your medium until fully saturated (with at least 10% ”run-off”) and then letting your plants go from wet to “barely moist”. Coco can be used differently than this - allowing for multiple waterings a day. A grower must only let Coco go from Wet and Fully Saturated to “Moist” (usually a few hours when the lights are on) before watering again. We have had consistenly great results off of the former method - Going from Wet - to “Barely moist”.

Although Coco, has a very good water - to - air ratio (even trumps Rockwool which also claims to have a 70% water - 30% air holding capacity); however coco offers the unique ability of being cut with a further aerating substance like Perlite. Adding perlite can increase your overall oxygen levels within the root zone immensely. We suggest one 1 cu. ft. bag of Perlite to one bag of 50 Liter Canna Coco. This will give you roughly a 60% Coco / 40% Perlite mix, which has ideal aeration levels as well as maintaining an adequate water - holding capacity.

Coir holds a considerable amount of water within. It also evenly distributes the water throughout the medium. This is great for growers using drip systems becuase you only need one to two drippers to create full saturation throughout the entire container. However, since Coco holds onto water and nutrient within its structure it creates a pH Buffer within the medium itself. Coco also has a natural tendency (because of its high levels of Potassium contained within) to hold onto to certain salts. This tendency (which contributes to its mid to low CEC value) tends to make Coco’s buffer rather difficult to bust, thus making it harder to change the pH of the medium. Do not fret though because the Buffer CAN be broken. It just takes flushing copious amount of pH corrected 300 ppm nutrient solution (50% of which should be Cal/Mag) with Final Phase (Flushing agent mixed in) through the medium before you even start to grow in it. In this way you can ensure that the pH of the solution going into the medium and the pH of the solution coming out of the solutiion match. (An example of this would be 6.0 pH going into the medium and 6.0 pH coming out as “run-off”. This is a VERY IMPORTANT concept to grasp when using Coco - based mediums. We have made an “info sheet” that deals with this entitled How to do a Proper Flush.

Another issue (touched on above) a grower should be aware of when using Coco - based mediums is that Coco naturally holds onto to some nutrients (such as Calcium, Magnesium, Manganese, and Sulfur), therefore we will want to FLUSH the medium on a regualr (weekly or bi-weekly) basis or water with very low ppms / EC values. When Flushing, we also suggest collecting and testing the “run-off” to make sure that the ppms have gone down to almost nothing, and that your pH coming out of the bottom of the containers matches the pH being fed to the plants.

Again, this is properly covered in the “info sheet” entitled How to do a Proper Flush. (Subsequently, If you Flush regularly we have found that you can feed your plants as High ppms as any other medium we have used). We highly suggest using a medium that was designed to be used with Coco - fibre based mediums such as Canna Coco, House and Garden Coco, or Pureblend pro Coco / Soil formula.

Coco is most suited to a run-to-waste system. A "runoff" of 10-20% of the volume watered each watering is the most common recommendation to avoid the possibility of salt buildup in the coco media. Drainage helps control ppms / EC and pH levels, and flushes unnecessary salts out of the media. Since not all plants use similar amounts of nutrient, and they also secrete salts, any surplus of nutrient makes the coco brackish and changes the pH. By means of drainage you flush the media every time you give nutrient, which prevents it from becoming brackish. This does NOT mean that you should Not FLUSH as indicated, but by regularly testing the run-off you can do less Flushes. Many seasoned Coco growers will only Flush once every 3 weeks.

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Working With COCO-FIBRe summary
When planting into Coco we suggest the following 3 protocol:

  1. Flush the Medium wih 6.0 pH water.
  2. pH the Medium to 6.0 pH.
  3. After the medium has the correct pH - Add 4-500ppms of Nutrient to “charge” the medium before planting within it. Once it is pre-charged and pH corrected plant into the medium.
3 Potential Problems when using Coco to be aware of:
(As long as you are aware of these potential issues than you can easliy avoid them)
1. Coco holds salts and must be Flushed. The Run-off should be tested to see what ppms/Ec and pH levels are.
2. Can create a pH buffer (at the wrong pH level within the medium) which must be “broken” and re-set to the proper pH level for optimal growth. 6.0 in Vegetative Stage / 5.6-5.8 in the Fruit / Flowering Stage.
3. Coco can still be over-watered (never mind what you have heard). Even if over-watered your plants will still sur vive. They just will not be happy. So, make sure to let the medium dry out a bit before re-watering!

Procedures to Follow when Using Coco-based Mediums
1. FLUSH the medium on a routine basis. Every 1-2 weeks is what we suggest.
2. Check the “Run-Off” for proper pH level and (when Flushing) for a low ppm / EC value.
3. pH the Medium to 6.0 pH to start with in Vegetative Stage. Drop down to 5.6 - 5.8 in Fruit / Flowering Stage.
4. Do NOT over-water the medium. make sure that it at least goes from “Wet” to “Moist” if not all the way to “Barely Moist” before watering the medium again.In general, this should be about one time a day or even once every other day in the vegetative phase and then one to two times daily in the Bloom phase depending on container size, and enviornmental (temp, humidity, and CO2 levels).
5. We highly suggest using a digestive enzyme solution to help break down dead or dying root mass (such as Cannazyme or Sensizym).
6. We also highly suggest using Beneficial Microbes in Coco. (Some suggestions: Roots Excelurator, Piranha, and Vermi - T. Alternatively you could use Great White and Roots Excelurator.

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A combination of perlite and vermiculite is a popular hydroponic medium. Perlite is hard and brittle, providing excellent drainage and root aeration. Vermiculite is soft and spongy, providing good water and nutrient retention. Perlite and vermiculite when mixed together in a ratio of 3:1, are an ideal medium for hand watering as together they hold plenty of moisture but still retains good drainage.

Vermiculite is shiny, gold color flecks that can soak up to 3-4 times its volume in water. It’s sterile and attracts nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorous. Vermiculite is the mineralogical name given to hydrated laminar magnesium-aluminum-ironsilicate, which you probably don't need to know. It resembles mica in appearance and is another volcanic silicate mineral. It's surface mined in places like Australia, China, Kenya, South Africa and the U.S. Unlike perlite, vermiculite is spongy. It's also super light and tailor-made for water absorption.

Perlite looks like tiny, white, crystallized popcorn kernels. Perlite is not a trade name but a generic term for naturally occurring silicous rock. When quickly heated to above 1600°F (871°C), the crude rock pops in a manner similar to popcorn as the water inside vaporizes and creates countless tiny bubbles which account for the amazing light weight and other exceptional physical properties of expanded perlite. Perlite is physically stable and chemically inert. The porous nature of the cellular granules ensures a product that is light to handle, it is free draining and it is well aerated.Perlite will combine well with almost any base soil mix. It will help aerate it and better drain. 50% - 50% mix

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Soilless potting mixes are traditionally made from peat moss and then supplemented with perlite, vermiculite, micronutrients and and macronutrients. Today more options exist than just peat moss, and potting mixes are made from a variety of substances.

The soilless potting mix we carry, Ready-Gro is a mixture or perlite and coir fibe, among a variety of other great organic additions. Coir fiber is a by-product of the coconut harvest and is a renewable resource. It holds 10 times its weight in water and does not shed water like peat moss. It holds and releases nutrients over extended periods. It is also said to provide excellent aeration.

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There are a sleu of good soils out there. We stock Roots Organic, Ocean Forest, Sunshine Pro-Mix and Canna Bio just to name a few. These soils are made of the highest quality Organic base ingredients. They all contain Organic Peat as their base and have other amendments (such as Coco Coir Fibre, Perlite, Pumice, Guanos, Fish and Crab meal, Earthworm Castings, Organic Compost, etc.) added for extra nutrition or for better aeration or drainage. See our “info sheet” on Soil Growers for more information about our various Soil formulas and Products.

You are looking for a medium which will keep the right level of moisture and which will promote strong root growth. The most commonly used for cuttings are Grodan Rockwool cubes which transplant easily into larger Grodan Rockwool Blocks. Great for propagation, they stack neatly together in nursery trays and hold young plants upright and steady. Our favorite method for starting seeds is Ready-Gro Super Plugs, an all natural soilless organic grow plug made of composted tree bark and organic materials. Transplant into any kind of growing medium, including soil.

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Flushing is an integral part of growing healthy happy plants. Flushing a system and plants will remove any excess salts that have built up over time. Flushing will also help restore an even CEC (Cation Exchange Capability) balance to a medium. Most mediums hold on to salts and release them back into the root zone over time, or attract more salts to the salts that have already begun to form, promoting an ever downward spiral towards “nutrient lockout.” Put another way, the more salts in a medium to begin with, the greater the potentiality of attracting ever-more salts until eventually the plants can no longer pull any water (or nutrients for that matter) up at all. Lock out can easily be avoided by Flushing from time to time. Some mediums need flushing more than others. A list of mediums and their unique flushing needs is presented below.

Flushing is fairly easy to do. First drain your Reservoir and then refill with FRESH Reverse Osmosis (or purified) water. Add a Flushing Agent like Final Phase or Clearex and / or pH the solution (always pH - never forget to pH - always pH last - right before watering your plants.) Run at least 3 times your normal watering amount through the plants. Example: if your plants normally take up 3 gallons of water in a watering make sure to Flush 9 Gallons of water through them. (If running a recirculating system, make sure to run for at least 2 waterings.) Then Drain the Reservoir and Re-up the Nutrient solution as normal. You can either wait to feed until the next scheduled time or feed them right away (watching the water running off to ensure that it comes out “dirty” on the bottom; the nutrient run off should be coloring the water.

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Rockwool- Flush every other week. Holds salts with a low CEC. Fairly easy to adjust pH of medium.

Coco - (Coir Fibre) or Soiless Mixes with Coco - Ideally Flush every week (can Flush every other week). Low to Medium - Low CEC. Sometimes has a Buffer (think in terms of armor or shielding) that needs to be broken through before pH will adjust. (Flushing can be long and arduous at first, until buffer is “broken” than pH adjusts.)

Hydroton - Flushing medium once a Month is enough. Virtually no CEC. Super easy to adjust pH of medium.

Soil - Varies on the soil. Usually, the method of Feed, Feed, and then Flush is applied for soil growers. This breaks down to once a week Flushing (because most soils as the plants start growing faster and faster need water every other day). Soil has a Medium to High CEC. Sometimes has buffer which needs to be “broken before pH can be adjusted.

By testing the runoff that is coming out of your drain before it hits the reservoir (after a Flush has been running) one can tell what the pH and TDS (ppms) of the medium is resting at. Ideally, whatever the water is going in should measure the same as the water coming out. An example would be as follows: Fresh Water Flush solution “going in” has a pH of 6.0 and a TDS of 0- 50ppms (R.O. / Purified Water.) The pH of the drain water coming out should be 5.8-6.2 (0.2pH slide in either direction). The TDS of the drain water coming out should be within 50-100ppms (50ppms off from the Fresh Flush water coming in).

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If the ppms of the water coming out the drain are higher by more than 50ppms of the water coming in from the reservoir (Ex. 50ppms going in, 100ppms comin out) then continue to Flush until the ppms are down to their appropriate level. This is the easy one. The pH is a ittle trickier. If the pH of the Flush solution going in and pH coming out (of the run-off being collected at the drain) match (at 6.0 as per our example) then we are sitting pretty. If the pH does not match the pH of the solution going out (through) the drain than we need to play with the solution going in until the pH coming out matches. Back to our example: The pH going in is 6.0, lets say the pH coming out is 7.0; then the medium must be around 8.0. If for example the pH is 6.0 going in, and the pH coming out is 5.5, then the medium is around 5.0.

The concept is what is important to understand here. . .So, in order to correct the pH in the first example (pH going in is 6.0 and pH coming out is 7.0), one would need to lower the pH of the solution going into the system to say 5.0 or even 4.5 and run a good amount of water into the medium and test the run off until the water coming out is the pH we would want it to be (in this example it would match the original water going in at 6.0).

Once the pH of the water coming out (down the drain) matches the water solution coming in, one final test is neccessary. Flush again with the water going in (in our example 6.0 pH) and make sure it lines up and is equal to the pH of the water coming out.) This last step is necessary because the water coming out is not necessarily where the actual medium is at. Once the pH of the water coming in matches the pH of the water coming out, you are done and the medium is “set”.

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“Drain to waste” provides more control over your plants and helps to prevent diseases A very common concern is that the system will waste too much nutrient due to the excessive amount of “waste runoff.” This is simply not the case. A dialed in “Drain to Waste” system will only waste 10-15% of the fed nutrient solution as “run-off.” an example of this is as follows: A given garden uses 5 Gallons of water to feed all the plants within, the “waste run-off” will only be 1/2 to 3/4 of one gallon of solution. If using “Drain to Waste” with Coco, Soil or Rockwool, the frequency of watering is down to a minimum (usually once a day or once every other day.) “Ok”, you might say, “but, what are the benefits?” Click Here to download our InfoSheet, Why should I run “Drain to Waste?

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1. Less chance of Getting Root Rot Most common Root Rot issues spawn from pathogens that produce spores as a way of spreading their colonies and infecting further plants. The disease starts in one (usually the weakest) plant in the garden, and uses this plant as a factory to produce more spores (in an attempt to infect more plants with Larger Stronger colonies.) In a recirculating system, the spores generated from this one plant then drain out of the plant and collect into the main reservoir where they mass produce with the water supply and then infect all the plants in the garden on the next and succesive waterings. With “Drain to Waste” this cannot happen because any water leaving a given plant goes to a drain and not back to the “Main Reservoir” Therefore no spores can infect a reservoir.

2. Always feeding FRESH nutrient rich solution to your plants In a “Drain to Waste” reservoir the nutrient rich solution feeds the plants and the “run-off” gets drained out the bottom of the plants and runs to waste. This ensures that plants get fed only FRESH non-recirculated nutrient every time. The difference between “Drain to Waste” and “Recirculating” reservoirs is as follows: In a recirculating reservoir the nutrient solution starts out complete as per the original recipe contained in the bottles. As the waterings / feedings continue and the plants feed off of the nutrient solution for the course of the week the solution loses key minerals to the plants unique feeding needs. This also causes precipitates to form as certain minerals (now in new molecular arrangements) “lock up” and fall out of solution. Now the orignal recipe is no longer intact. With “Drain to Waste” this is not the case. The Recipe stays intact and the plants always get the complete line of food requirements every time. This provides for Healthier, Stronger, and Faster growth.

3. The ability to do Flushes and Drenches Flushes are very important in a coco-based or rockwool-based medium. Flushes allow for the reseting of the medium as well as a drawing out of un-wanted nutrients from within the plants themselves. Flushes can be very instrumental for good healthy plant growth. Under normal condtions (recirculating system) a Flush will pull the salts out of the medium as well as the plant, draw them into the reservoir, and then keep pumping them back into the plants again and again, until the reservoir is drained and the cycle is repeated a few times. With “Drain to Waste” this is not neccessary. We can run a Flush “to waste.” All salts and excess minerals are drained from the plants and truely Flushed away.

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Drenches are also another nice feature of “Drain to Waste” systems. For example, products like Gnatrol were made to be used in a soil based system and not designed for a recirculating hydroponics system. With a Drench, one can load the Reservoir up with any given product and run it once or twice through the system and then either Flush or change out the reservoir and re-up the regular nutrient regimen and feed as normal. There are many products that are made for a Drench application.


Click Here to download our InfoSheet, “Why should I run “Drain to Waste?”

1. pH doesn’t fluctuate as much
2. System itself stays cleaner
3. Most Large Agricultural Business use Drain to Waste.

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