Growers Guide for hydroponic, coco & soil

how_to_grow_indoorsGrowers Guide

Flairform Growers Guide provides expert information for growing indoors or outdoors in hydroponics, coco fibre or soil.

With over 200 images and diagrams, Flairform Growers Guide explains complex and often misunderstood issues in a detailed but very simple way. Topics include system types, indoor lighting, ventilation, nutrients, additives, pH control, conductivity, pruning, pest & disease control, nutrient deficiency, foliar spraying, cuttings and much more.

*Now available in Australia*

System types
Hydroponic System Types

Good system design is vital for producing consistent and reliable growth. What works best for you will depend on factors such as climate, plant type, water quality, growing medium availability, maintenance requirements, set-up costs, and whether you are growing indoors or outdoors.

- Recirculating Systems

- Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)

- Flood & Drain (Ebb & Flow)

- Aeroponics

- Satellite Systems

- Run-to-waste Systems (Soil culture)

System components

System components such as nutrient reservoirs, growing containers, feed circuit plumbing, pumps and timers are important for ensuring plants are properly fed.

- Nutrient Reservoirs

- Growing Containers

- Feed Circuits (Plumbing)

- Feed Outlets

- Feed Circuit Blockages

- Nutrient Pumps

- Timers

Hydroponic media (substrates)

There are important pro’s and con’s to consider when choosing a hydroponic medium.  This is a guide to 5 of the most popular hydroponic media.

- NFT (no media)

- Rockwool

- Coconut Fibre (Coir / coco)

- Perlite

- Expanded Clay

Artificial lighting

If you want to grow all-year-round, in many climates it will be necessary to grow indoors under artificial lighting. This requires careful practice because it is difficult to replicate the performance of sunlight.

- Lighting Setup

- Lamp Selection

- Optimizing Light Intensity

- Light Cycles

- Hints for Setup & Ongoing Maintenance

- Electricity & Safety


Ventilation is a key consideration especially when growing indoors under artificial lighting. The combination of lighting and plants generates excessive amounts of heat and humidity which will harm plants if not properly controlled.

- Equipment Overview

- Location of Inlet, Exhaust & Oscillating Fans

- Growroom Layout

- Controlling and Optimizing Ventilation Systems

- Humidity (overview)

- Air temperature (overview)

Water quality for gardening

Poor quality water can cause toxicity problems, disease, pH problems and the blockage of drippers and plumbing.
Instead of using your regular water supply you may need to find an alternate source such as rain or bore water, or treat your regular supply using methods such as reverse osmosis.

- Common problems with water

- Water sources

- Long term storage of water



Nutrient formulations

There is much commercial hype surrounding nutrient brands. Despite this hype, it is actually quite simple to make a calculated decision when choosing a brand.

- Which nutrient brand is best?

- Plant nutrient needs

- 1, 2 or 3-part nutrients?

- Grow & Bloom nutrients

- Plant nutrient labelling

- Nutrient concentration

- pH buffering capacity

- Nutrient solubility

Nutrient additives

Nutrient ‘additives’ are necessary for supplying substances that are not compatible with concentrated nutrient formulations. Additives provide benefits such as flowering enhancement, disease prevention, root initiation and increased fruit weight.

- Nutrient additives (overview)

- “PK” Flowering additives

- Silica additives

- Humic & Fulvic acids

- Nutrient disinfectants (Sterilizing agents)

- Plant growth regulators (PGR’S)

- Seaweed (kelp) additives

- Calcium, magnesium, iron additives

Nutrient management

The performance of a nutrient solution is not guaranteed by simply using a quality brand. This chapter addresses the key procedures required to obtain maximum nutrient performance.

Flairform Dosage Chart    (PDF download)

Dosing procedures for nutrients & additives

Oxygenation (aeration) of nutrient solution

Nutrient disinfection

Minimise exposure of nutrient & roots to light

Nutrient temperature

Feed frequency and volume

pH measurement & control

To ensure the long-term stability of nutrient solutions, it is important to maintain the pH between 5.0 and 6.5. This helps ensure all nutrients are available for root up-take. It also minimizes the risk of plumbing blockages.

- What is pH?

- Optimum pH of nutrient solutions

- Adjusting nutrient pH

- Measuring pH with 'indicators'

- Measuring pH with pH Meters

- Calibrating pH meters

- pH meter maintenance

- Accuracy problems with pH meters

- Buying a pH meter

Conductivity (EC)

It is important to control the concentration of your nutrient solution. Burning of roots or foliage can occur if the concentration is too high. If the concentration is too low then deficiency symptoms can occur. This chapter explains how to successfully use conductivity as a tool for controlling nutrient concentration.

What is Conductivity (EC)?

Units of measure for EC

Using EC to control nutrient concentration

Calibrating EC meters

Maintaining EC electrodes

Buying a conductivity meter

System hygiene

Regular up keep of the growing system and surrounding area is necessary to prevent the accumulation of harmful materials and minimize pest and disease problems.

General hygiene

Discarding old nutrient solution

Flushing root zone

Nutrient disinfection

- System clean-up between crops: 

- Disease prevention

- Precipitate removal

Pruning & shaping plants

To achieve a maximum yield it is essential to maintain a plant's shape and remove any unnecessary or damaged growth. This is most important when growing indoors under artificial lights.

Pruning & Shaping Plants

Plant support

Pest & disease control

Check foliage and roots regularly for signs of pests and diseases. Problems can multiply rapidly if left unattended.
There are several preventative measures that can be used to minimize the chances of attack or outbreak.

Disease control

Pest (insect) control

Nutrient Deficiency Symptoms

Monitor plants closely for symptoms of nutrient deficiency. These symptoms can provide a valuable forewarning of serious problems within the growing system. Be aware that there are many factors that cause nutrient deficiency symptoms in a plant. The nutrient itself is usually not the cause.

Nutrient deficiency symptoms
Foliar Sprays

Foliar sprays are useful for delivering fertilizers, fungicides, pesticides and PGR’s to plants.

- Wetting Agents
Foliar Fertilizers
Best Practice for Foliar Spraying
Cuttings & Seedlings

Reproducing your own plants from seeds or cuttings provides control over the supply and quality of “seedlings”. Although seeds are easier to plant, cuttings have the capacity to replicate your favourite ‘strain’.

Cuttings (clones)


Mother (Donor) Plants

Transplanting cuttings & seedlings

Media (substrates) for cuttings & seedlings

Background information

Endeavour to improve your understanding of topics such as plant processes, temperature and humidity. This will empower you to better manage your own operation and become a better grower.

Plant components

Plant processes

- Factors affecting the EC value

- Measuring total dissolved salts in solution

- Glossary

- System checklist

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