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Air, Down There – Using AirDome With AutoPot

Irrigating and feeding plants power-free, silently, with no waste and absolutely minimal maintenance, AutoPot watering systems tick a lot of boxes for indoor growers.

But unless you’re using fabric pots the one thing the systems can’t do is get a ready supply of oxygen to your roots. AutoPot offer AirDome as a solution to this problem. But is it really worthwhile?

The only way is up:

In an AutoPot system the water and nutrient solution is pulled up from below by ‘capillary action’. For this capillary action to work it’s important that excess moisture doesn’t compact the grow media in the bottom of the pot.

AirDome can help with this. Connected to your air pump, it keeps the lower reaches of your pot nicely aerated, maintaining the upward absorption of irrigation and feeds.

Stimulation:

Roots are your plants main point of entry for water and nutrients. So if those roots grow faster, are bigger, and are better developed then you can expect improved absorption. Better absorption should mean greater growth and, ultimately, higher yields. AirDome helps to stimulate the kind of root development that gives you all of this.

Firstly, the oxygen that AirDome introduces into the rhizosphere helps to stimulate the roots themselves. Simply by allowing them to breathe it can supercharge growth. By aerating the grow media AirDome also gives your rampant roots more to explore in terms of crevices and crannies, and the further they can go, the faster they can grow.

Down there, ‘in the cellar’:

Because AutoPots feed and water your plants from below there’s less going on for certain types of root bothering pests and pathogens to latch onto. But that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. If it does happen the nether regions of your roots, deep in the pot are likely to be a focal point.

Keeping the depths of your pot aerated can certainly make it a less attractive home to pests and pathogens, minimising the chances of anything bad taking hold. The air from your AirDome should also improve root health, increasing resilience to any incoming nasties.

Do’s and Don’ts:

AirDomes are such a no brainer that many AutoPot growers simply won’t set up without them. They’re simple to install, easy to use, and incredibly effective. There’s just a few things to remember if you’re including them in your grow.

  • Keep it fluffy.

Make sure your grow media is a light, and ‘fluffy’. No matter how much air you blow through an AirDome it will not aerate 100% soil or peat-based grow media. There is simply nowhere for the air to go. As with all AutoPot setups it’s essential that your grow media will drain freely, has spaces where root activity can occur, and won’t compact when moist.

  • Warm air only.

Don’t blow cold air or hot air into your rootzone. Consider your roots to be the ‘brain’ of your plant and think about how well you function with brain freeze/melt. Temperatures of between 18˚C and 22˚C are ideal. Temperatures below 5˚C and above 30˚C will potentially damage the roots.

  • Know when to blow.

There’s no point running AirDomes during lights-off and decreased room temperature during hours of darkness may lead to you blowing in cold air. A simple plug-in timer can be used to synch your air pump with your lighting.

  • Give it some base.

You need to make sure the holes in the AirDome are ‘open’ to your grow media. So, after putting the AirDome into your pot place a 1″ / 25mm deep layer of washed gravel or clay pebbles around it, then put your grow media in on top. The spaces in the gravel/pebble base will allow for decent airflow.

  • Go forth and multiply.

Your air pump can be used to supply more than one AirDome. This is easy to set up using 6mm fittings and manifolds. Just make sure that your air pump of choice is capable of producing 1L of air per minute per AirDome.

  • Establish your plants.

If potting up with AirDomes it’s best not to activate them straight away, allow 2-3 weeks for the plants to establish before air is blown into the root zone.

  • No coming back.

It’s always wise to raise your air pump higher than your AirDome(s) to prevent water from siphoning back when the pump is off, or use a non-return valve.