If you ask people about carbon dioxide, most will tell you that its a waste product that is causing Global Warming and destroying the planet. In reality, CO2 is a planet-saving nutrient that holds the power to multiply food production and feed the entire world with exceptionally nutritious food.
“The benefits of carbon dioxide supplementation on plant growth and production within the greenhouse environment have been well understood for many years,” says the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food.
“CO2 increases productivity through improved plant growth and vigor. Some ways in which productivity is increased by CO2 include earlier flowering, higher fruit yields, reduced bud abortion in roses, improved stem strength and flower size. Growers should regard CO2 as a nutrient.” By elevating CO2 to 1000 ppm to 2000 ppm, we can accelerate plant growth from 35% to 50% and increase yields.
A study performed in July, 2013 found that increased levels of carbon dioxide in earth’s atmosphere have helped boost green foliage across the world’s arid regions over the past 30 years.
Why is Carbon Dioxide Important?
The only way plants can get carbon, the essence of all biological life, is if you fortify your soil with Biochar, or through carbon dioxide in the surrounding air.
Currently the level of CO2 in earth’s atmosphere is around 300-400 parts per million. In prehistoric times, and even in ice ages, the CO2 levels where much higher and most plants are still able to take in much more CO2 then what is available in the environment.
Sunlight, CO2 and water are converted into carbohydrates and O2 (photosynthesis) by the action of chlorophyll in the chloroplasts of the plant. When plants are able to maximize the process of photosynthesis through carbon dioxide supplementation, the result is larger plants with larger yields.
6 Ways to Enrich your Plants with Carbon Dioxide
Let’s start with the easiest and cheapest method of increasing your plant’s exposure to carbon dioxide. This will work for small scale growers, and for larger scale farming operations, we will go over better methods of CO2 supplementation.
1. Carbonated Water Spray Method
Spraying the leaves of your plants with carbonated water is a simple, cheap, and effective way to increase carbon dioxide exposure to increase the vitality of your plants.
Using Excellofizz is one of the easiest ways to add CO2 to your grow space. Just place an Excellofizz tablet inside a small bucket and add 100ml of water, and this will slowly release CO2 for about 5 hours.
ExcelloFizz CO2 Release Tablets
ExcelloFizz CO2 Release Tablets
3. ExHale CO2 Producer
ExHale cultivates CO2 24 hours a day with no need to refill bottles or use expensive CO2 production units. The power of ExHale lies in the mycelial mass inside the vented cultivator. This mycelial mass cultivates CO2 and the one-way breather patch releases CO2 continually for up to 6 months. ExHale comes complete and is cultivating CO2 even before you get out of the checkout line. No need to turn it on or turn it off, simply place ExHale in your grow space and leave it alone to do its job. The ExHale Cultivator is designed for small to medium grow spaces, or more specifically 1 ExHale Cultivator will provide 4-6 plants with the CO2 they need. A continuous shower of CO2 directly onto your plants is the most efficient way to deliver CO2. Placing the ExHale Cultivator slightly above the level of your plants will insure they receive the CO2 they need 24 hours a day for up to 6 months!
ExHale Homegrown CO2
4. CO2 Boost Bucket
CO2 Boost is a safe, easy way to add CO2 to your growing space. CO2 Boost will enrich your CO2 level for 60 days (up to 90 days in some cases) without heavy tanks. Completely natural, 100% organic and odorless!
Simply plug the included air pump into your 15 minute timer, and run it during the lights on period (when plants can really use the CO2), then experience the benefits of increased growth rates by up to 6 times.
- No more messing with complicated CO2 emitters or generators
- No costly start up and maintenance fees
- No hassle of CO2 tank replacement
- No hazardous gas burning
- No plant damaging heat production
If your growing space is properly sealed, you can achieve optimum growing levels at 1200-1500ppms in areas up to 10 x 10 x 10 feet. If your growing area is larger than that we suggest multiple buckets. The manufacturer guarantees CO2 output for 60 days if used constantly. If you coordinate it with a timer to coincide with your lights on/lights off phase, it could last you 75-90 days. Once your bucket has expired use the remaining ingredients as high grade fertilizer!
CO2 Boost Bucket Complete
CO2 Boost Replacement Bucket
5. Compressed CO2 Gas Tanks
The most common and most versatile way of enriching your grow space with CO2 is through the use of bottled CO2. A 20-pound CO2 tank can store and supply a large amount of CO2. With this user-friendly, easy to operate system, you can deliver growth-boosting CO2 to your grow room. With its programmable timer, it will automatically maintain ideal CO2 levels for optimum growth in rooms smaller than 10×10.
CO2 enrichment kit by Flora
6. Carbon Dioxide Generator
A propane or natural gas CO2 generator is the most cost effective way to add CO2 to a large grow space. When propane is burnt, the byproducts are water vapor and carbon dioxide, which are then used to enrich your grow space. Since the burning of propane gives off additional heat and the water vapor adds humidity to the room, if you are already battling these issues, this method may not be for you.
The C.A.P GEN-1 NG and the Titan Selene use glow plugs to ignite the burner so that when the burner is not operating there is no open flame. Top quality components and safety features such as tip-over shut offs and thermo-couplers make these units very safe. Always follow guidelines and operating instructions found within their instruction manuals.
CO2 Air Content Monitoring
After you’ve chosen the CO2 Generating method that’s right to you, it’s important to monitor the content of CO2 in the air. Since CO2 is an invisible gas that you can’t smell or taste, it’s important to monitor the content of CO2 in the air. One of the easiest ways to do this is withthe use of a CO2 Test kit.
CO2 Test Kit
Active Air Co2 Tester Kit
CO2 Monitors & Controllers
CO2 Monitors & Controllers are a huge step forward in CO2 Measurement. They electronically read CO2 levels and turn on your equipment when levels drop below optimal. Since they control your equipment through electrical solinoids they work with equipment like tank regulators and generators only.
C.A.P. CAPPM4 Co2 Gas Detection Monitor
Titan Controls Atlas 1 Carbon Dioxide Controller
Titan Controls Atlas 2 Carbon Dioxide Controller
Now that you understand the available methods of CO2 enrichment, you can harness the live-giving power of Carbon Dioxide to increase your greenhouse gardening. With both increased nutrient content and quantity of foods produced, CO2 supplementation of greenhouses is one technology that we will use now, and into the future, to help feed the world.
Learn More with Books about CO2 Gardening
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