What is meant by ‘automation’ when it comes to growing? Don’t plants just grow on their own anyway? Can I just plant a seed and harvest my plant when it’s ready? What options do I have to tailor the grow cycle to my personal preferences?
In order for Automation to work well for the average grower, it needs to make the growing process easier. Oftentimes, with the simplicity of automation comes a lack of options. Aside from the Mary Model Z, the indoor growing solutions available are either automated and inflexible, or require a great deal of experience, research, and free time to manage.
That’s why, when we set out to design a grow box that works for everyone, the problem we sought to solve was to make it automated enough for the new grower, yet flexible enough to allow experienced growers to experiment. That way, new growers can become more experienced over time, and still have room to experiment and learn as part of the growing process. The following is how we sought to strike this balance in the Model Z grow box.
Automation in the Mary AG platform is based around two main factors: What are you growing, and what is your starting point? Based on these two inputs, the Model Z runs the Automation Recipe that is designed for the best results for your plant. Once you select the Automation Recipe at the start of the grow cycle, you don’t need to worry about the ongoing conditions because they will change automatically.
What are you growing?
There are a large number of plant cultivars which are well suited to grow in a hydroponic system like the Mary Model Z. However, not all of those options require the same conditions for optimal growth. For example, many cultivars require a specific breakdown of sunlight and darkness over a 24 period in order to produce flower. These options are known as photoperiod plants, and many require a day/night ratio 12hrs of light, and 12hrs of darkness.
When starting a grow cycle in the Mary, it is best to select the recipe based on what best describes the cultivar of your chosen plant. Then, select whether you are growing from a seed, or a clone so that your plant is started in the correct phase. Of course, if you are unsure and are starting your grow in the Mary Model Z, you can always reach out direction through the app for some advice on which recipe to select.
While your plant grows, it is important to monitor the progress to ensure that you are providing everything the plant needs, and identifying plant health issues early so that they can be resolved. Growing in the Mary means that a lot of the monitoring is done for you including temperature, humidity, water level, water temperature, and plant height.
If you don’t know what you are looking for, you don’t have to worry. The app will send you reminders for plant care based on the size, age, and type of plant with step-by-step instructions. Reminders will also be sent for any critical levels that require your attention.
With the growing conditions set automatically, based on the cultivar you are growing, and the maturity of the plant, the last pieces of the puzzle are water and nutrients. We have developed a nutrient formula that will provide everything your growing plant needs. The formula is broken down into pre-measured packs that are tailored for each phase of growth.
Each week during the grow cycle, you will be prompted to mix a new nutrient pack with some water. You can then use the app to drain the existing nutrient solution to make it easy to add the fresh solution to the built-in water tank. Not only is this approach easy, it also works with any water soluble nutrient. Have your own nutrients or additives you want to try? No problem, we can offer advice on how to mix as well.
Other automated systems rely on automatic dispensing of nutrients and pH buffers. The downside of those systems is that it introduces a lot more maintenance for the system. For example, most pH testers should be cleaned and calibrated every 30 days for best performance. That is not possible if they are built into the system, because most grow cycles will run 95 -100 days. On top of the extra maintenance, systems with automatic nutrient dispensing will only work with proprietary nutrient solutions. In other words, none of the flexibility of an open system.
By combining this simple and flexible system, with automation that takes care of all light conditions, it is easy to provide your plant with everything it requires for healthy growing. A low maintenance set up like the Model Z means less time worrying and more time growing.