Carbon dioxide enrichment can increase crop yields by 200 percent.
Though it is often overlooked because we don’t see it in front of us, the air around our plants plays a vital role in how well they will grow. In fact, the air that circulates in a grow room is just as important to a plant as lighting and mineral nutrients. In outdoor gardens air circulation is provided by nature, but in an indoor hydroponics garden the gardener must take charge.
The most successful hydroponics gardeners are ventilation experts, who use ventilation equipment like fans to help clear out excess heat and humidity and to provide plants with ample carbon dioxide.
In closets or other small, enclosed places, a small fan should meet your circulation needs. In rooms around ten feet by ten feet, an industrial-strength fan will need to be added in addition to the
small fan. Any space significantly larger than this will require two or more industrial fans.
Carbon Dioxide Enrichment
Carbon dioxide, or CO2, is an essential nutrient for all plants. To make sure there is enough CO2 for your plants, you’ll need to have an outside source of air coming into the grow room. If this cannot be done, you will need to purchase a CO2 generator.
CO2 generators can enrich a room’s CO2 supply from the normal level of 300 to 600 parts per million up to 1000 to 2000 parts per million. This can increase growth rates in plants by as much as 200 percent. Even the average increase of 50 percent is still astounding.
Most CO2 generators run on propane or natural gas. Many hydroponics gardeners prefer natural gas generators, since they don’t have fuel tanks that need refilling.
Another way to enrich the CO2 content in your air is by purchasing bottled CO2. The gas is released from the bottle via a special valve. It is best to do this from the ceiling of the room, since CO2 is heavier than air and will fall to the ground (hopefully washing over plants on its way down).
The main benefit of using bottled CO2 is that it doesn’t produce any heat. However, it is a much more labor-intensive process than running a gas or propane-powered CO2 generator.