In our second Growers Corner blog, we interviewed one of our customers, who talks you through how to get the most out of growing in your RAIN™ automatic watering system.
What attracted you to the RAIN™ system?
I was introduced to the ALIEN® RAIN™ system by a friend who had previously run plants in it. He told me how good they were. I also wanted to try something different after running NFT trays for most of my life as a grower.
What do you like most about growing in the RAIN™ system?
The short bursts of feed from the RAIN™ lids, flushing is quick and only takes about an hour, leaving the coco to dry back before harvest.
What medium do you use in your RAIN™ system?
60/40 and straight coco in my 30L ALIEN® RAIN™ pro system. I will also try running it with 8" Rockwool cubes and straight clay pebbles.
How often do you feed?
When I first transplant plants into the ALIEN® RAIN™ system, I feed them for three mins every seven days. This allows a dry back period to help fill the 30L bags within the system with roots. As soon as I find the plants are taking up their feed, I increase the watering frequency accordingly. When my plants are in full flower, I can feed them up to 6-8 times a day and get roots from the top to the bottom of the medium.
What duration do you use for 'Run Time'?
I use a run-time of 15 seconds when plants are fully established and drinking. I feed little and often to avoid over-saturation of the medium, creating less stress on the root system. Too much water can reduce oxygen availability at the root zone, damaging the root structures and reducing water uptake.
Do you recirculate the nutrients or run to waste?
I've used the RAIN™ system as a recirculating and run to waste system, and I prefer to run to waste. In my opinion, the system washes away salt build-up in your medium and removing this as a problem (by setting the system up to "run to waste") ensures that salt build-up toxicity doesn't occur. The return pump in the brain pot is both quiet, reliable, and a fantastic bit of kit. If you are not running to run to waste in this system, I feel you're not taking full advantage of why it was designed, but the choice is there for the grower to suit their personal preferences.
Do you use organic or mineral-based nutrients?
I use a mix of Canna Coco A&B food, mineral base feeds and additives. I use Nurture's Nutrient Amplifier, which is organic and hydroponic friendly. I have no problem with any blockages, just a slight build-up in the filter, which I service and clean regularly. This should be standard practice for anybody running these systems.