Even though bacteria are often associated with disease, the number of species of bacteria that are either benign or helpful far outnumber those that can cause illness. In nature, most plants often rely on several species of beneficial microbes to increase the availability of nutrients and protect them from disease. Some high quality hydroponic products take advantage of the benefits of beneficial bacteria by producing and distributing “super strains”, which are strains of bacteria that are several times more potent than what you would commonly find in nature. If you use one of these products in your own hydroponic garden, here are the key ways to make the most of your investment.
Use organic nutrients and fertilizers – You don’t necessarily have to be strictly hydro-organic to get the most benefit form you beneficial microbes, but including a good amount of organic material can help your bacteria thrive. The natural environment of these beneficial bacteria is the soil, which is typically rife with organic material. If your nutrient solution is more chemical, the microbes will have fewer resources to allow them to replicate and survive. Typical organic fertilizers include earthworm castings, bat guano, seaweed and kelp. While it is possible to get a hydroponic fertilizer that contains only these ingredients, most commonly they will be combined into an organic tea. You may also try to invest in an organic bloom enhancer to both help increase your yield and provide you with tastier produce.
Include them in your foliar spray – Your root zone isn’t the only area that can benefit from the kind of increased nutrient uptake that beneficial microbes can provide. Many growers also choose to include them in their foliar spray to ensure that their plant is getting the most possible benefit. In addition to increasing uptake, beneficial bacteria can prevent mold and mildew from forming on your leaves.
Limit Pesticide Use – Especially when you are using your bacteria in your foliar spray, try to avoid using chemical pesticides. In addition to killing aphids and other nasties that can ruin your garden, most pesticides have powerful antibiotic capabilities. That means spraying your plants and leaves with them might be able to protect your plants, but it might also be wasting the money you spent for the beneficial microbes. Even if you are strictly using bacteria for your root zone, it is entirely possible for the pesticide mist to find its way into your reservoir. Obviously, you shouldn’t sacrifice your plants to bugs in order to save your bacteria, but you should try to find organic and less harsh ways to deal with pests before your resort to chemical pesticides, especially if you are benefiting from a product that contains beneficial microbes.
Ensure Your Grow Room is Sufficiently Warm – The reason that you can store food in the refrigerator without it spoiling is because cold temperatures slow bacterial population growth to a crawl. In your grow room, however, you want those beneficial microbes to duplicate as much as possible. If you do increase your grow room temperatures, try to ensure that it is still within the optimal range for your plant development.