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A Guide to Growing Better with GrowPod.

In this guide, we will walk you through the steps of setting up and maintaining a hydroponic grow system, from germinating seeds to harvesting mature plants. Let’s get started!

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Materials Needed:

  • Growing trays (without holes)
  • Plug trays (number of cells vary)
  • Humidity domes
  • Buckets
  • Spray/mist bottles
  • Temperature/humidity meter
  • Handheld pH/EC meter
  • pH/EC meter calibration liquid
  • pH adjuster liquids- pH Up & pH Down
  • Nutrient Salts (fertilizer)
  • Grow media
  • Bleach/sanitation wipes
  • Seeds
  • Reverse osmosis filtration system*

*If choosing not to use RO filtration, we recommend getting water source tested at professional lab before growing.


Fill a bucket with water and, using a handheld pH meter along with pH adjuster liquids, adjust the pH of the water to be between 5.5-6.0.




Soak the grow media in pH-adjusted water for at least 30 minutes.



Sanitize grow trays, plug trays, and humidity domes before each use. Mist them with a 5% bleach-water solution or use sanitation wipes. Allow the trays and domes to dry completely before use.


Place plug trays into grow trays and fill them with pH-adjusted grow media.


To start, plant seeds into grow media. Before handling seeds, sanitize your hands or use gloves to prevent contamination.



  • If the seeds are too small to handle, use forceps for sowing.
  • If there is no seed hole present, plant the seed at a depth of 1.5 times the diameter of the seed.
  • Keep in mind that some seeds may require priming, stratification, or scarification methods prior to germination.

If you have trouble germinating, research more about your plant species’ germination techniques.


Mist inside of humidity dome with water, and cover the grow tray with the dome.



Place the grow tray with the dome underneath the LED grow light. Position the light at a distance of 7-8 inches from the tray. Using the interface panel on the side of the Research Unit, set the lights to 10%. Access the AGEYE Research Unit Dashboard to schedule the lights for a photoperiod of 16 hours (16 hours on/8 hours off).


To optimize germination, maintain a temperature range of 65-75 F and relative humidity between 50-70%. Monitor temperature and humidity levels with a meter regularly.

Check Appendix Table  for optimal conditions of your plant species.


Periodically spray water inside the humidity domes, making sure that water droplets are always visible.



Seeds will typically begin to germinate between 48 hours and 2 weeks, with germination times varying between plant species. Once seeds have germinated, their shells will crack and seed leaves, referred to as “cotyledons,” will emerge. When 80% of the tray has germinated, you can remove the humidity dome.


To find your plant species’ germination schedule, refer to Appendix Table.


To ensure seedling growth, maintain ideal environmental conditions in the growing area. Most seedlings thrive in temperatures ranging from 65-75 F with a relative humidity between 50-70%. However, refer to Appendix Table  before planting to determine optimal temperature and humidity levels for your plant species.

Regularly monitor levels using a meter.


To ensure gentle air circulation around seedlings,

  • Place a fan on a low setting or use a gentle breeze. Avoid placing the fan directly on the seedlings, as this can cause drying or damage. Proper ventilation prevents stale air, excess humidity, and fungal diseases. To achieve fresh air exchange, use fans or vents.
  • To protect delicate seedlings, avoid direct drafts from windows, doors, or air conditioning vents. Instead, maintain gentle, indirect airflow.


Maintain a photoperiod of 16 hours.


To prevent grow media from drying out, perform a ‘bottom watering’ routine.

  • Fill a bucket with water and adjust its pH level to 5.5-6.0 using a handheld pH meter and pH adjuster liquids.
  • Remove the plug tray from the grow tray, then pour a small amount of the pH-adjusted water into the grow tray until it is filled up to about 1/4-1/2 inch.
  • Place the plug tray back into the grow tray so that the bottom of the grow media is immersed in water across the entire tray.
  • Repeat periodically to prevent drying out.



After approximately 1-4 weeks (depending on the plant species), “true leaves” will begin to emerge above the cotyledons. True leaves usually have a more distinct shape and appearance compared to cotyledon leaves.

Once true leaves have developed, it is generally an appropriate time to start feeding seedlings with low amounts of nutrient salts.



Nutrient salt preparation

  • Fill the bucket with water and add a small amount of nutrient salts. Mix the solution until the salts are completely dissolved. Using a handheld electrical conductivity (EC) meter, take a reading.
  • EC is a measure of the total salts present in the nutrient solution. If using a two-part fertilizer (A+B), add part A first, dissolve and take a reading, then add part B, dissolve and take another reading.
  • Aim for a target EC of 500 microsiemens (uS) / 0.5 millisiemens (mS). Once you have achieved an EC of 0.5 mS, use a handheld pH meter and pH adjuster liquids to adjust the pH of the nutrient solution to 5.5-6.0.
  • Use the bottom watering method to feed seedlings (Refer to Step 4). Feed seedlings with nutrient salts once a week, and irrigate them with pH-adjusted water for the rest of the time.


Once seedlings have developed their second or third set of true leaves, and those leaves are approximately 1 inch in length.

Once the root system is dense with roots long enough to reach the water level in your hydroponic system, the seedlings are ready for transplanting.




Before transplanting, set up the reservoir for your hydroponic system. Fill it with water and follow the previous steps for preparing nutrient salts. Aim for a target EC of 1100 microsiemens (uS) / 1.1 millisiemens (mS). Adjust the pH of the reservoir to 6.0-6.5. Access the AgEYE Research Unit Dashboard to monitor the pH and EC levels of your reservoir.


To start, turn on the water pumps and check the water flow.

To ensure that your roots receive oxygen and prevent root rot, access the AgEYE Research Unit Dashboard and set your water pump schedule to cycle for 10 minutes on and 10 minutes off.

AgEYE Research Units use the nutrient film technique (NFT) hydroponics system. This means that a shallow stream of water containing all the dissolved nutrients necessary for plant growth is recirculated past the bare roots of the plants in your water channel.


Transplant your plugs from the grow trays into plant cups. Weave the roots through the bottom of the cup to ensure contact with the nutrient solution. Be gentle when handling seedlings during the transplant to avoid root damage. Finally, place the cups in your hydroponic grow system.


Increase the AgEYE Research Unit Grow Lights to 40% using the interface panel on the side of the Research Unit. Continue the photoperiod of 16 hours or adjust if necessary.

Refer to Appendix Table to find the optimal photoperiod for your plant species.


Maintain optimal environmental conditions for plant growth in the growing area. Most plants grow best in a temperature range of 65-75°F and a relative humidity of 50-70%, although some may prefer slightly different conditions.

Refer to Appendix Table for the ideal temperature and humidity levels for your specific plant species, and monitor the meter regularly.


To ensure gentle air circulation for plant growth,

  • Place a fan on a low setting or use a gentle breeze. Avoid placing the fan directly on the seedlings, as this can cause drying or damage. Proper ventilation prevents stale air, excess humidity, and fungal diseases. To achieve fresh air exchange, use fans or vents.
  • To protect delicate seedlings, avoid direct drafts from windows, doors, or air conditioning vents. Instead, maintain gentle, indirect airflow.


As plants grow, their nutritional requirements increase. To meet your plants’ nutritional needs, adjust the EC of your nutrient solution as they grow. It is important to note that nutritional requirements vary between plant species.

To determine your plant species’ optimal nutrient content, EC, and pH ranges, refer to Appendix Table.


Monitor plant health as frequently as possible. Plant foliage should be uniformly colored, typically a lush olive green, with smooth and firm textured leaves. Healthy plant roots should be white or light cream in color.

  • Scout for any possible plant pests or diseases, and cull any plants that exhibit signs of fungal contamination or other pathogens.
  • Scan for any signs of plant stress, such as abnormal growth or brown/darkening leaves.
  • Additionally, look for chlorosis (yellowing of leaves), which could indicate a nutrient deficiency.


Be sure to clean and sanitize your reservoir and NFT channels between cycles, and minimize the points of contact between light and water in your hydroponic system. Algae will start to develop wherever light is in contact with the nutrient solution in a hydroponic system.

Keep your research unit surfaces clean and sanitized. Use Zerotol 2.0 to manage algae growth. Note that some algae is always present, but managing its growth is critical to prevent interference with nutrient delivery to crops.


Harvest your plants once they have reached the desired maturity.

Refer to Appendix Table  to find the typical duration until harvest for your plant species. Sanitize the plant cups before using them again.


Ensure that your plants are stored appropriately after harvest.

Refer to Appendix Table  for storage requirements specific to your plant species.