Are you new to the world of hydroponics? If so, you may not be aware that you need to get rid of certain unwanted ingredients in and around the plants before you actually harvest them. In the business, this is known as "flushing," so why is it done, and how should you proceed?
The Case For Flushing Before Harvest
When flushing before harvest, your aim is to eliminate excess salt and other unwanted compounds that are not ultimately beneficial for the plant in question. You will help to ensure that nutrients are balanced, and this should also lead to a much improved final product with a better flavour. Some people think that the product could have a bitter or even chemical taste if this type of pre-harvest flushing is not embraced.
Some flushing products incorporate chelates designed to control how metal ions react. In this environment, the product will help remove harmful residues making the final solution more palatable.
When To Do This
Don't make the mistake of flushing often or too soon before an upcoming harvest. Remember, the plants need access to some of the nutrients that you will be removing in their final growth phase, and there is a risk that they could be deficient instead. You should talk with your hydroponics supplier for advice on the actual time, as it will depend on the growing medium that you're using. After all, some mediums tend to retain higher levels of nutrients.
Flushing The System
Firstly, drain the reservoir dam below the water pump level before removing the remaining water manually. Then, remove any buildup of algae or sediment before reintroducing some water and adding any proprietary flushing solution.
Then, flush the water (and the solution if required) through the system to get rid of any unwanted salts. Remove any flushing solution from the system and clean again.
Once you are sure that the reservoir is completely clean and sterile, dry everything off. You can then refill the system to the correct level and perform your tests to ensure accurate pH levels.
Some growers may choose to leave the flushing solution in place until after the harvest. Talk with your product supplier to get their advice in your case.
With some care and attention at this crucial stage, you can really capitalise on the fruits of your labour. If you need any further advice, talk with your hydroponics specialist for their guidance.
For more information on hydroponic supplies, contact a professional near you.