We built the iHarvest so that you can open up the boxes and start your growing an hour or so later. It’s a simple, easy to assemble, well designed system that makes growing easy. And, you don’t need to add anything to your system (other than water, nutrients and pH controls) to grow huge amounts of produce that will pay for your iHarvest quickly. But, we do often get questions about different upgrades and customizations that can be done with the iHarvest, and so we wanted to list those for you here.
- New iHarvest Levels – You can add up to 2 new levels to your iHarvest at anytime, to grow up to 12 additional plants in your unit. Additional 6-pot units are available here, and additional lighting is available here.
- Net Cup Covers – Net cup covers can help prevent light from getting into your iHarvest, which results in algae. Our new net cup covers can be used to cover up unused pods, or cover areas around where your plant is growing. You can find them with other iHarvest accessories here.
- Fans – Along with adding new iHarvest levels, adding fans to your iHarvest garden is one of the most popular customizations you can do. Fans help with pest and disease prevention, pollination, and may result in strong plants and faster growth. If you’d like to read more on this, please check out our blog on fans here.
- Extra Lights – The lights that come with your iHarvest are intended to be perfect compromise between your plants’ health and your own comfort. Once plants grow in and your lights no longer reflect off of the iHarvest, they should be a comfortable brightness for you, while also providing great lighting for your plants. With that being said, some prefer more light, especially when they grow in separate rooms in a home, instead of the living room or kitchen. Adding additional lights can speed up the growth of your produce even more, but are not considered necessary and will of course add to your electric bill. You can consider purchasing an extra light and extra stand from IGWorks, or looking at other upgrade options as well.
- Automated pH and EC monitoring – These are systems that will replace your pH and EC meter, and automatically report the pH and EC readings to you on a frequent basis. Many of these systems will notify you when your pH and EC is out of the bounds you’ve set, so you can really forget about it completely until you’re reminded. But there is a cost for these systems which tend to be bulky, and which are often $100 - $300 and more. Also, these systems come with cables that have to be inserted into the iHarvest, which sometimes requires DIY upgrades. We do not warranty your DIY upgrades, but we do stand by our products. Hanna, Bluelab and Milwaukee all make reputable systems, and some of these will even adjust your pH for you. Google and Amazon searches for “Automated pH and EC monitoring” will provide you with a variety of options.
- Automated pH and EC controllers – If the automated monitoring solutions were not expensive enough for you, the controllers probably will be. These systems often sell for $1,000 or more, and there are not many of them made for smaller, home-based systems. Those that do exist seem to come and go in the market, which means that you could end up being stuck with an un-supported technology if the company goes out of business. Please be especially careful when purchasing one of these units. IGWorks® has not tested any as of this writing.
- Smart Plugs – Smart plugs with wireless communications are becoming very popular and inexpensive. Most work great for controlling lights if you want to get rid of your timer. However, be careful when purchasing a smart plug for your pump. That’s because the pump needs to turn on for 15-minutes of every hour, and many smart plugs don’t provide this ability. To find this ability, search for smart plugs with ‘repeat cycles.’ They are generally more difficult to find, and more bulky and expensive as well. We’ll keep an eye out for these repeat cycle smart plugs and let you know if we find any that are known to be reliable.
- Smart Switches – Similar to smart plugs, smart switches will control your iHarvest lights and pumps. They tend to be a little bit more complicated and expensive, but engineering types love them. If you search for “Smart Switches for Hydroponics” you are likely to find they types of items that you’re looking for quickly. Repeat cycle timers for pumps are more common on these systems, but please make sure to do your due diligence.
- Wave makers – Some of our customers swear by these, although I’m more skeptical. Wave makers ensure that water is always flowing in the base of your iHarvest, and that the nutrients and pH are mixed well. I question their usefulness considering the added cost and complexity (which is not much), but customers are welcome to try them.
- UV lights – Several of our customers swear by UV lights for their reservoirs. UV lights kill algae. I prefer using beneficial microbes like Hydroguard for algae control, as they also provide other benefits that help my plants grow best. Additionally, IGWorks® does not add UV stabilizers to its plastics, so UV light can cause yellowing and deterioration over time. With that said, however, I don’t think we’ve ever had a customer complain about this issue. Just use caution and keep an eye out for yellowing over time.
- Water Detectors – Water detectors have become very popular and widely available at reasonable prices. They’re used around washing machines, refrigerators and other areas where leaks can spoil someone’s day. While not generally necessary, if you’re making upgrades to your iHarvest that result in some level of customization that wasn’t originally planned for, water detectors can help you feel safe that any issues will be discovered as soon as possible. Most water detectors are Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth enabled, so no wires are necessary. Just search for water detectors on Google or your favorite search engine to find them.