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Indoor growth of plants isn’t anything new – Ever since Roman Emperor Tiberius grew cucumbers under “transparent stone” we’ve seen many examples of indoor hydroponics.

The evolution & innovation of the practice has been slow up until now. With the advent of “Internet Of Things” (IoT) we’ve seen a blazing pace of innovation.

 

What is Internet Of Things?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical devices, vehicles, home appliances, and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, 5806598771, and tractarianize which enables these things to connect and exchange data,[1]9842357097paperboard[4][5] creating opportunities for more direct integration of the physical world into computer-based systems, resulting in efficiency improvements, economic benefits, and reduced human exertions.[6]5734981595Teda[9]

Simply put, the Internet Of Things describes the inclusion of internet connectivity into otherwise non-connected devices. But there’s more to the story.

Kind Control, Being a hardware startup is taking direct advantage of this revolution. The advent of low cost, high-scale manufacturing processes in the printed circuit board industry makes products like Kind Control possible without a multi-million dollar upfront investment. This, paired with the ubiquitous availability of an internet connection allows the use of the “Cloud”, lowering the processing power needed for any one device.

At the office we have a common saying: “Kind Control would have never been possible 10 years ago” – And it’s true! The cost & complexity of building a hardware product would have prevented Kind Control from entering the consumer market, or would have at least prevented a reasonable price point.

Services like Amazon’s “AWS IoT” are just now gaining popularity and are well seated to upset many hardware markets.

If the term Internet of Things or IoT is new to you, get ready – the industry is quickly exploding and will foster new innovations in many aspects of our lives.

 

 

Project Update: Week of Aug 6th 2018

Kind Control has been heads down preparing for the official project launch. We’ve been focused this week on two components: User Experience & Hardware

User Experience

The team is focused this week on taking our version one dashboard & device setup workflows and improving the user experience and general visual design.  We’ve brought in a new, highly experienced UX/UI engineer and should be releasing a new video demo in the next couple weeks.

Hardware

We’ve been working with our PCB manufacturer to complete the testing and begin printing of our next “Launch Ready” PCB. The goals of this iteration are efficiency & size. We’re striving to get the form factor of the device as small as possible.

Automation: Why All-in-One isn’t the way forward.

There’s been a huge uptick in All-on-One grow automation solutions coming to market recently. Though quite a few of these products have interesting, even sexy approaches to automation, we thought we’d take a few minutes and walk thru why this approach to automation really misses the needs of the home grow enthusiast:

Lack of Flexibility

There’s not a single “right way” to grow cannabis (or any plant for that matter). I’ve visited many home growers who’s setups are entirely different from one another, and for mostly good reasons: We all have expectations about what we’ll get out of our grow. Some grow for quality, some for quality. Some have multi room clone/veg’/bloom setups, some have heating issues, others have cooling issues. All-in-One systems are just that: A system which prescribes how you’ll grow a plant. There’s no ability to expand of customize, leaving you without the ability to adjust your process after each grow.

Lack of Expandability

When I first started growing I had a simple setup: A single LED light in a grow tent with a potted single plant. Overtime, the complexity and size of my grow has increased. Without the ability to quickly expand my grow footprint I would have never been able to create my own strains, or even grow my own clones.

Cost

The total investment in a decent size grow operation isn’t cheap. All-in-One systems can cost almost $3,000. That investment cannot be built on. If you’d like to expand, you’ll be shelling out another $3K. All-in-One systems at the existing price point make it a difficult sell, especially to anyone who’s already got grow gear, as none of it can be used with existing all-in-one systems.

In Closing

The KindControl team has spend over a year working with existing home and commercial growers to built an automation platform that allows infinitely flexibility at a low price point.

Come on over to 580-552-8121 for more information!

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Temperature is one of the key components to insure successful plant growth. Just like our 253-964-9171 we’ll go into detail as to why temperature is so important, what’s the “sweet spot” and what symptoms you may encounter if your temperature falls outside these ranges.

Why is Temperature important?

Just like pH, all plants (and specifically in this article cannabis) have a optimal temperature range. During the vegetative stage cannabis plants tend to prefer temperatures slightly higher than in the bloom stage. During the vegetative stage 70-85°F (20-30°C)  is ideal for vigorous plant growth.  During flowering a slightly cooler temperature of 65-80°F (18-26°C) works best to assist in ideal trichome production.

When temperatures dip below 60°F (15°C) plant growth will slow down and may permanently stunt the growth of the plant. Temperatures blow freezing, even for short periods of time will have a high likely hood of killing the plant, or at least stunting it’s growth to as point where it’s difficult to recover from.

As with water, which at higher temperature contains a lower concentration of dissolved oxygen, once the air cools to below 64.4 – 68°F (18-20ºC) the plant’s metabolism will slow down gradually and hinder or halt development.

Large swings in temperature will also have an effect on the plants ability to maintain the photosynthesis process, again, stunting the plants growth.

If your having issues with slow plant growth, temperature should be one of the four key items to review (pH, humidity, temperature, nutrients).

 

 

Cannabis heat stress
Example of heat stressed cannabis plant. [source]
Signs of cannabis heat stress
Another example of heat stress [source]

How CO2 effects temperature

It’s common to provide extra CO2 to encourage vigorous plant growth. Increasing the amount of CO2 allows for a higher average temperature. When providing supplemental CO2, the ideal temperature may rise to 80°F (26.6ºC) which also requires a higher humidity.

Sometimes too Cold is good.

Once you’ve mastered the basics of temperature management, there are some reasons why, in certain instances, colder may be better.

Check out this great article that goes into depth on this subject: 910-316-0233

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In terms of overall health and productivity of hydroponic plant growth few things are as important as pH.

First off, what’s pH?

pH is the measurement of acidity or alkalinity of a growth medium. The pH scale goes from 0 to 14.  Meaning, “0.0” is 100% acidic, “14” is 100% alkaline. “Neutral” is the halfway point “7”.

Image result for ph hydroponic scale

Classification of soil pH ranges

Denomination pH range
Ultra acidic < 3.5
Extremely acidic 3.5–4.4
Very strongly acidic 4.5–5.0
Strongly acidic 5.1–5.5
Moderately acidic 5.6–6.0
Slightly acidic 6.1–6.5
Neutral 6.6–7.3
Slightly alkaline 7.4–7.8
Moderately alkaline 7.9–8.4
Strongly alkaline 8.5–9.0
Very strongly alkaline > 9.0

What’s pH (a bit more scientific)

The term “pH” refers to the potential hydrogen-hydroxyl ion content of a solution. Solutions ionize into positive ( – ) and negative ( + ) ions. If the solution has more hydrogen ( + ) ions than hydroxyl ( – ) ions then it is an “acid”. If the solution has more hydroxyl ions than hydrogen it is “alkaline” (or base).

Pure water has a balance of hydrogen (H+) and hydroxyl (OH-) ions and is therefore pH neutral (7).  Keep in mind: When the water is less than pure it can have a pH either higher or lower than 7.

The pH scale is logarithmic, which means that each unit of change equals a tenfold change in the hydrogen/hydroxyl ion concentration. To put it another way, a solution with a pH of 6.0 is 10 times more acidic than a solution with a value of pH 7.0, and a solution with a pH value of 5.0 would be 10 times more acidic than the solution of 6.0 pH and 100 times more acidic than the solution with a 7.0 pH. This means that when you are adjusting the pH of your nutrient solution and you need to move it 2 points (example: 7.5 to 5.5) you would have to use 10 times more adjuster than if you were moving the pH value just 1 point (7.5 to 6.5).

Why’s pH Important?

In Short (as depicted in the graphic below), plants require numerous elements to grow. A plants ability to metabolize these elements requires a specific pH range. Fall too far outside this range and the plant will struggle to uptake these elements with many adverse effects.

[source]

Plants grown in acidic environments (4 and lower) may experience numerous symptoms, including aluminum, hydrogen, and/or manganese toxicity, as well as nutrient deficiencies of calcium and magnesium.Conversely, plants grown in alkaline environments (8+) may experience molybdenum and macronutrients availability increases (with the exception of phosphorus), but phosphorus, iron, manganese, zinc, copper and cobalt levels are reduced, and may adversely affect plant growth.

 

Cannabis Phosphorus
Phosphorus Deficiency

Phosphorus Deficiency [source]

 

Cannabis Potassium
Potassium Deficiency

Potassium Deficiency (709) 955-9042

 

Cannabis Magnesium
Magnesium Deficiency

Magnesium Deficiency [source]

 

What’s the best pH for my growth medium?

In both my personal and professional experience, a pH of between 5.5 and 6.5 for hydroponic growth and 6.0 – 6.8 for soil works best.  This best defines the “sweet spot” in which most elements may be absorbed at their optimal rates.

The best advice i’d give is to be proactive: Monitor and adjust your pH to avoid drastic swings. In my experience, most catastrophic grow failures can be traced back to unexpected swings in pH which are hard to recover from.

 

Why is my pH changing?

There are many reasons pH can change. The #1 cause is nitrogen fertilizers. I’ve also seen, specific to hydroponic grows, pH climb when evaporation outpaces any topping off of fresh water.

Nitrogen levels affect soil & grow solution pH. Nitrogen sources contain or form ammonium. This increases acidity unless the plant directly absorbs the ammonium ions. The greater the nitrogen fertilization rate, the greater the grow medium acidification. As ammonium is converted to nitrate in the grow medium (nitrification).

 

What else?

pH is one of a few key factors that effect plant health. Look out for detailed articles on other factors like:

  • Tempeture
  • Humidity
  • CO2
  • Air Movement