I’ve found that a lot of people who get into hydroponics will start out very excited only to become disinterested because their garden starts to fail. When I ask them a few questions it always seems to come down to the fact that they weren’t doing the small things on a daily basis that keep a hydroponic gardening running smoothly.
What Gets Measured, Gets Managed
The above is a quote from the legendary management guru Peter Drucker, but his wisdom applies to anything that can be measured – especially your garden! If you have never kept a grow journal, you are missing out on a huge opportunity for growth…both for your plants and your own hydroponic experience.
If you can’t tell me what your PPM has been over the last few days, you’ve got a problem. If you can’t tell me how much your plants have grown in the last week, or what phase of the growth cycle they’re in, you’ve got a problem. It only takes about 10 minutes to check your garden – and it can pay HUGE dividends.
When I first started to grow plants hydroponically, I thought that putting them under some lights with water and nutrients would be enough. I thought they would “magically” grow to epic proportions like I’d heard in the past. While hydroponics can and does grow healthier, bigger plants at a faster pace than soil gardening, it’s not a cure-all. If you don’t have a clue what’s going on in your garden, it WILL fail just like any other gardening method. The best part about tracking your grows is that you will start to see trends and patterns in growing cycles that clue you in to what’s going on as your plants develop.
Keep a Garden Journal
I would suggest keeping a grow journal for the different plants that you are growing. At the very least, you should be tracking:
- Water level
- Water temperature
- Plant health
Does that sound like a lot of work? It’s not. It takes about 5 minute to do in the morning – just work it into your morning routine! Grab a cheap notebook and keep it near your garden so you never have to worry about having a pen and paper to log your grows. In the future I’ll be coming out with an Epic Gardening garden tracking application but for now you can click here to download my Epic Gardening Excel Grow Journal.