Nutrient controllers have been used for years by the commercial
greenhouse industry, but they have only recently become available
for small scale and hobby growers. Most nutrient dosers are capable
of keeping both nutrient and ph levels at the correct values.
They are a little expensive, but if you plan on growing hydroponically
for anything length of time, you may want to consider it. Your plants
will greatly benefit because they will have a perfectly consistent
nutrient source that will allow them to grow strongly without any
setbacks. Your plants will not go for a few days here and a few
days there with low nutrients or an incorrect pH level. Instead
they will have exactly what they need, all the time.
Nutrient and pH controllers work through the use of set points
and duration doseage times. It's a very simple concept. You program
in the set points you wish for and the controller will dose the
reservoir with a set amount of nutrient or pH adjuster to bring
the reservoir readings to the right level.
There are two delivery systems that are available for these controllers.
One is gravity fed with the use of solenoid valves. The second method
is with a pump delivery system which eliminates the restriction
on placement. (In gravity fed systems, the nutrients must be placed
directly above the reservoir.) Both of these methods work well and
once you have become acquainted with the parts involved, you will
find them very easy to use.
There are several nutrient and pH controllers on our website. They
vary in price and quality.
The system that we recommend (and use ourselves) is the IntelliDose
from Autogrow Systems. It's an extremely easy system to use that
controls your nutrient and pH levels on demand. The system is great
for all sizes of gardens from the small hydroponic garden to a full
scale hydroponic farm. With the IntelliDose you can simply calibrate
your pH twice a month and designate settings, the IntelliDose does
the rest for you.
The professional grower may be interested in the Nutridose
II. This controller is the most industrial of those we offer
and may be used with peristaltic pumps or with solenoid valves.
It also has remote accessing capabilities, but it is slightly more
complicated to use.