How to Use Rockwool as Medium and The Benefits It Offers
Many people use rockwool as a growing medium for hydroponic gardening. That’s because there are numerous benefits for growers if they learn to use it correctly. Hydroponic systems help a large amount of growers of plants and flowers all over the world. For one, they produce results several times faster than soil. It also allows people to plant and grow all year around.
That is very important for those that live in places where there are cold temperatures most of year. Because in hydroponics, whatever growing medium you are using replaces soil or dirt, what you use is just as important. A lot of hydroponic users are now turning to rockwool for growing plants and flowers. That’s because rockwool offers a lot of advantages and far better results. Still, there are a few things to consider before you use this method.
Advantages Of Rockwool
One of the many benefits hydroponic growers take away from using rockwool for growing is yields. Those that use rockwool tend to yield crops at a much higher and faster level than other methods. Perhaps that may explain why this medium is one of the most common methods used in hydroponics today. Rockwool is primarily composed of limestone and/or granite. Once it is heated and melted, it is then woven into threads.
The melting basaltic rock is spun just like cotton candy. After it has been spun, the material is formed into other sizes or shapes. Those include cubes, flocking, blocks and slabs. Rockwool is non-degradable, porous and sterile. One of the reasons it works so well is because it sucks up water quickly and easily. However, because of that, you have to be real careful about letting it become saturated. If not, you can end up suffocating or killing the root of your plants or flowers. In addition, it can lead to the root rotting or stem rot.
For small growers, rockwool is very beneficial since it offers a wide range of situations and systems. Another great advantage is that it is very easy to use and set up as well.
How To Use Rockwool
Although there are numerous benefits to using rockwool, it does require attention and care. There are a few things you should consider before you begin using rockwool.
First, before using it, make sure the rockwool has been pH balanced. The best way to do this is by simply soaking it in a pH balance water solution before using it. Whether you are choose large cubes, slabs or pots of granulated rockwool, the preparation is very important. You have to sit the rockwool down on an even, flat surface. The drainage holes have to also be setup correctly since not doing so can have negative results. Make sure your containers or pots have plenty of drainage holes as well.
The next step is the irrigation program or method you set up. The amount of holes vastly depend on how many plants you have in a slab. Since a rockwool slab can hold about four plants, you will need about four drippers. Doing this will make sure that the entire slab will get enough irrigation even if one of the drippers becomes clogged.
Keep in mind that one of the biggest cons that hydroponic growing systems and using rockwool presents is maintenance. While this method yields results a lot faster than soil, it requires more servicing. In the same way, mineral wool or stone wool (as rockwool is also known) needs upkeep and attention.
There are a lot of advantages to using hydroponics and growing in rockwool slabs or cubes. No matter which method you choose, chances are that you will run into problems at first. However, like most things in life, experience, trial and error is what counts. You need to monitor your setup and see which method yields the best results for you.