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Hydroponics,Gardening,Fresh,Produce,Fruits,Vegetable,IHidro

I'm not sure there is anything more frustrating than trying to replenish your supply of herbs from every shop in town.  Not only are some very difficult to find but the price tag attached is mind-boggling!  On top of that, if you want "fresh" herbs, check your bank balance and hope they stay in good condition for a whole week!  Herbs do not last for a long period of time and are rather disappointing in both flavor and cost.

Grow Hydroponic Herbs:

Some people have chosen not to grow their own herbs with hydroponics due to limited space, the tubes, buckets, lighting and filtering systems taking up what little space they do have.  On top of that it can be time consuming and that's tough if you have many other commitments.  They look for other solutions or for something that will work well in their living space and their busy lives.

Modern Sprout:

Founders Nick Behr and Sarah Burrows have come up with a really sweet solution with an contemporary and trendy hydroponic system that will surely be embraced by busy folks.

Nick and Sarah had tried just about every form of gardening from containers to hydroponic and found very little was working for them in their small Chicago apartment.  So, they sat down and decided to design the perfect gardening system that is easy to use, looks really nice and is built from materials close to their Chicago area.

The Light Came On:

In April, they started a Kickstarter to find out if they were the only ones who were dissatisfied with indoor gardening. They were amazed at how quickly they were able to discover market interests and they were not alone regarding indoor gardening woes.  They formed a community and in turn this community gave them many great ideas for their design.

Asking questions regarding so many aspects of the design ultimately brought about a great design.  From a slimmer planter to a very simple timer, these were things everyone was looking for.  The planters come in a variety of finishes from chalkboard, white, weathered gray and wood.

Another question they brought to their community was involving a solar panel vs a plug for the air pump. They received an overwhelming "yes" response.  One-third of the backers were already purchasing solar powered planters!

Another high-end product they are implementing are brass valves vs plastic valves.  Again, others thought the brass valves were worth paying a little more for.

Nick and Sarah are now working on their site and hoping to have their initial backers serve as the forum.  They can test items, answer people's questions and get more people interested in their product as well as offer new ideas.  They are hoping to add more inventory to their product, including grow lights, in the near future.

Conclusion:

Living in a small apartment, Nick and Sarah fully understood other wannabe farmers and their frustration with no space.  They are loving their new life as full-time hydroponic farmers!

Whether using grow boxes or planters, solar panels or grow lights hydroponic gardening is constantly changing and offering more alternatives for fresh produce without the pesticides, fungicides or herbicides.

Understanding the value and importance of indoor gardening and wanted fresh produce and herbs available any time of year is what hydroponics is all about.  Nick and Sarah understood busy lifestyles and the need for a system that would allow people to  have their busy commitments and still have access to fresh herbs at their fingertips!

Hydroponics,Gardening,Fresh,Produce,Fruits,Vegetable,IHidro

Although hydroponics allows would-be urban gardeners to grow plants anywhere without the need for light or soil, the method of growing is only now beginning to take off among those who consider themselves part of the growing organic movement. This is because the nutrient solutions used for hydroponic gardening are considered by many to be incompatible with organic growing. Recently, an experiment in Montreal has shown that organic and hydroponic growing methods are compatible.

The Purpose of the Project

Funded by the Canadian government, the Montreal Project sought to compare the success of growing tomatoes in an organic hydroponics system and in an organic traditional soil system. The purpose of the experiment was to help determine the most beneficial way to grow plants on rooftops in the urban environs of Montreal. At the end of the project, the tomatoes grown in the organic hydroponics system were much larger than their soil-grown counterparts. In addition, the hydro organic vegetables were less damaged by aphids than the soil-grown variety.

Organic Materials for Hydroponics

To be organically grown in a grow room or grow box under grow lights or outdoors in a hydroponic system, seeds must get the benefits of nutrients. Typically, the nutrition is provided by chemical solutions, but there are alternatives. Chemical nutrient solutions can be replaced with entirely organic growing solutions, such as an organic compost tea or a mix of 1-1/2 teaspoons of emulsified fish, 1-1/2 teaspoons of liquid seaweed and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of bloodmeal. Perlite and vermiculite, made from lava and mica, respectively, and ordinary sand can be used as the growing medium for hydroponics boxes.

The Feasibility of Hydroponics

Those who champion organic growing often criticize hydroponics, saying that it is too expensive to be a practical choice for the every day person wanting to grow flowers or an herb garden. Many assume that the cost of plant lights, water filters and the other component of a hydroponics system must be very expensive. The Montreal Study found that because higher yields were possible with hydroponic growing, the comparative cost per tomato grown was not much more than that of standard organic growing outdoors. In terms of indoor growing, the cost is even less, as you can continue to grow vegetables and other plants year round when you would otherwise be unable to grow with an organic soil system.

While the Canadian government does intend to continue to study the benefits of hydroponic organic growing, the Montreal Project does prove that hydroponic and organic growing methods are compatible. If you'd like to get started growing plants the organic way without traditional soil, check out the selection of supplies in our grow shop. We have all of the essentials that you need to set up your organic hydroponic garden system.

Hydroponics,Gardening,Fresh,Produce,Fruits,Vegetable,IHidro

Want to take up vegetable gardening at home? If you choose to grow plants in a hydroponics system over a traditional soil-based system, you can enjoy higher yields, conserve water and avoid the hassles of dealing with pests. You can even grow your vegetables indoors in a groom room under plant lights in any season. Just follow these steps to start your grow hydro system.

1. Start your seeds by placing two to three in a starting cube. Leave them under grow lights or in the sun, watering as needed until the roots begin to poke out of the cubes. This should take roughly 1 to 2 weeks.

2. Purchase a flood table, a rectangular plastic container that can hold 10 to 12 gallons of water.

3. Buy 2 drip emitters, which you can find in the irrigation section of hardware stores and at many nurseries. Choose ones with a 2 gallons per hour rating.

4. Create a setup with the flood table placed on a bench or stool, so that the ends protrude over the edges of the bench or stool.

5. Heat a nail over a hot stove using pliers. When it is red hot, drive it through the bottom of the tray in two spots.

6. Use a sharp knife and sandpaper to make the holes large enough to fit the drip emitters through them. Seal with hot glue to keep them in place and prevent leaks.

7. Hydroponic growing requires nutrients, so you'll need to create a planting media mix for your gardening. Try mixing coconut fiber and perlite. For dry climates, use more coconut fiber than perlite and vice versa for more humid environments.

8. Purchase 4-inch square planter pots with holes in the bottom.

9. Fill the bottom third of each pot with your growing media.

10. Place one of your started seeds into each pot and then fill in with media.

11. Water the pots and then arrange them in your flood table.

12. Purchase a plant food of your choosing. Make sure that the nutrition it contains is suitable for the plants that you are growing.

13. Mix the plant food with 5 gallons of water, following the instructions on the plant food packaging.

14. Pour the mixture into the flood tray, not into the plants.

15. Place the bucket under the flood tray.

16. After dripping stops, cover the bucket with a lid.

17. Every day, pour the plant food and water back into the flood tray. If it begins to smell, dispose of it and make a new batch. Even if it does not begin to smell, pour it out and make a new batch every week.

18. Always keep 5 gallons of water in your bucket to pour onto the plants. This will require you to add extra water during the week.

19. Monitor the growth of your plants and harvest when ready.

This method is best for growing plants outdoors, but you can also start an herb garden or garden of flowers and vegetables indoors with grow lights. You'll find all of the supplies that you need to join the ranks of gardeners who are using hydro growing to enjoy lush, bountiful gardens in our grow shop.

Hydroponics,Gardening,Fresh,Produce,Fruits,Vegetable,IHidro

Hydroponic gardening is on the rise in popularity.  Understanding exactly how to successfully grow fresh vegetables and herbs starts with the basics.  In Hydroponics 101, the main heart and soul to a successful hydroponic garden is the reservoir!

Understanding that the reservoir is the single most important part of the hydroponic growing system is a must.  Maintaining your nutrient solution reservoir will dictate how successful your gardening efforts be.

Your Tap Water:

You need to test your water quality before putting it in your reservoir.  Tap water registers around 300 ppm or higher.  Your water's ppm should stay between 0 to 50 ppm before the addition of nutrients.  Start off by checking a small amount of your water quality with your TDS/PPM EC Meter. 100 ppm or higher is acceptable but there is a chance that micro nutrients will show up in your test.

All vegetables are not created equal.  There are so many varieties of vegetables and so are their nutrient and pH level demands.

Your Nutrient Solution:

Your nutrient solution should be checked every day, around the same time of day, to measure the strength of your nutrient and its pH.  Using a digital probe, measure the strength and pH and right this down in a log or notebook.  Keeping track of changes will help you develop healthy plants.

You should run tests on your solution after it has run through your system at least once, twice is best.  Purchase good test equipment because paper strips and test tube kits will not do the trick.

Adjusting the pH Levels:

The best level for pH is between 5.5 to 6.2, do not go over 6.5 and do not go below 5.5.  Although various vegetables need various levels, they all need to be between these levels.  Also note that adjusting your solution's pH will affect its strength. When adjusting the pH use propriety solutions as: pH Up or pH Down.

Check Your Solution's Strength:

Grab your TDS/PPM meter and check the strength of your nutrient solution.  If it's too strong, add water -- if it's too weak, add some fertilizer.  Always re-check your pH after making changes.

A top-up nutrient should only be used 3 to 4 times between full nutrient changes.  Never use full nutrients for top-ups.

It's advisable to have a nutrient reservoir as large or larger than the empty volume of the containers or tubes.  If you have a 20L container, at least 20L of nutrients should be used, though twice that amount is better.  It is a good idea to use the largest nutrient reservoir you possibly can.

Your Nutrients:

Depending on the volume and your plants requirements can vary greatly.  It is a really good idea to nutrient the water every day when you are first starting off.

When your nutrients come to the end of their usefulness, you can simply pour the solution into your plants grown in dirt.

Outdoor Hydroponic Gardens:

Although many enjoy their hydroponic gardens outdoors, keep in mind that any runoff water, including rain will affect your solution.  Rain, for instance, will dilute your solution rather quickly.

Indoor Hydroponic Gardens:

If your garden is indoors, you will have better control over the nutrient solution and other aspects of growth.  You will need plant or growth lights, your grow box or grow room can vary enormously and you will be able to grow herbs, vegetables, greens and even flowers year round.

Conclusion:

Hydroponic gardening is catching on like wildfire.  Whether you live in an apartment or in a cold climate that restricts your outdoor growing.  Hydroponics can offer you fresh produce and herbs whenever you want them.  There is a fountain of information online for you to study up on before starting your own garden.  Visit your local nursery to talk with someone knowledgeable in hydroponics.  Hydroponic gardening is not difficult and the rewards can be awesome!

Nutrition,food,health,life,fruits,vegetables,hydroponics

With the ever growing popularity of hydroponic gardening, along the way come questions regarding the nutritional value of hydroponics vs soil grown vegetables and fruits. Nutritional value has become a very important part of our lives, therefore knowing what you are growing and consuming is an important factor.

Without doubt, hydroponics is an environmental giant but are the nutritional values on the same scale as soil grown plants? Elements and nutrients found in soil have a strong impact on the plants' values. Hydroponics, on the other hand, are grown in water vs soil. It could be said that hydroponics are therefore lacking in important nutrients and elements. That is not the case though because hydroponic growth relies on a liquid nutrients fed to the plants and therefor hydroponic plants are given the same essential elements and compounds as soil grown plants.

Some will say that soil grown plants will always have a higher level of nutrients than those grown in water. If the hydroponic gardener chooses his or her nutrient supplements wisely, they will have plants that are just as robust and loaded with great nutrients as those grown in soil. There are higher-end nutrient solutions on the market that are probably a good investment to ensure the bumper crops within your home are top quality.

Pros and Cons:

Hydroponics, grown the proper way, have exactly the same values as plants grown in soil. Those interested in hydroponic gardening must do their homework and learn how to grow plants the proper way in a hydroponic system. Without the proper lighting, nutrients and water, whether grown in soil or hydroponically the plants will not do well.

If you are just starting off with a hydroponic garden, it is strongly suggested that you get with someone who has been doing this for some time. Your local nursery might have hydroponic systems and people experienced in how to grow plants correctly.

Humidity must be controlled regularly because these plants are using water for their base of growth. Too much water can cause rot and wilting but this can be said with plants based in soil as well. Getting advice and learning from knowledgeable hydroponic gardeners is going to save you from unexpected mishaps and get you on the road to great gardening success.

Some of the Pros for hydroponics is not needing soil which makes for a great alternative for apartment dwellers. Hydroponics can be grown in the middle of a desert as long as you have an ample water supply.

As the water stays within the system, you will save on your water bill unlike soil gardening. Nutrients can be controlled as well as deciding whether you want a lower end nutrient or a higher end, it's your choice. You will not have to worry about pesticides and other chemicals that are sprayed on produce you purchase from the store. Hydroponics is extremely environmentally friendly and cost efficient.

Learn from those with experience and you will have year round wonderful produce for your table and fresh aromatic herbs for your many wonderful dishes. You will have the same high quality nutritional value as you have come to experience in an outdoor garden.

Always include a good amount of vegetables and fruits in your daily diet. These foods are loaded with vitamins and proteins that your body needs to stay healthy. Experiment with a variety of vegetable and fruit dishes for a wonderful change of pace.

vegetarian food, recipe, healthy diet, antioxidants, organic, vitamins, minerals, beans, nuts, seaweed, dry fruits

Roughly 2.5 percent of the US population practices some form of vegetarianism, electing to eat few to no meats and other products that come from animals. While the decision to follow a vegetarian diet may be due to moral beliefs or health concerns, there are some distinctive health benefits to going vegetarian. Some studies have shown that vegetarians are less at risk for heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes and other serious medical conditions than people who eat meat; however, this may have less to do with avoiding meat and more to do with the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that are common staples in the vegetarian diet.

You, too, can get the health benefits of these foods without having to give up meat and seafood altogether. Here are some standard vegetarian favorites that can make a healthful addition to any diet:

- Beans - Beans are high in dietary fiber, which is needed for a healthy digestive system and important for keeping cholesterol levels in check. In addition, beans provide protein, iron, potassium, zinc and B vitamins. To get the most health benefits, purchase dried beans or use canned beans that are low in sodium and that have been well rinsed.

- Nuts - Nuts are smart healthy snack ideas because they have a satisfying crunch like chips, but are much more healthful for the body. Nuts contain omega-3 fatty acids, which play a role in the health of the heart, brain and skin. Nuts are also rich in the antioxidant vitamin E that helps to fight free radical damage. Several essential minerals are also present in nuts as well as heart-healthy plant phytosterols. When choosing nuts to enjoy as snack foods or in recipes, choose varieties that are low in sodium. Also, be sure to stick to the recommended serving size to limit your calorie intake.

- Seaweed - Just as there are many different types of nuts, there are several delicious varieties of aquatic plants that can be added to the diet. Seaweed contains iron, iodine, magnesium, calcium, chromium and vitamins A, C and E, many of the key nutrients that are necessary for maintaining a well-balanced diet. Seaweed is usually used in cooking rather than enjoyed on its own. You can find many free recipes that incorporate seaweed online for experimenting with the aquatic plants in your kitchen.

- Dry Fruits - Easier to eat than whole fruits, dry fruits allow you to enjoy all of the vitamins and minerals found in your favorite fruits without all the mess. Perfect for on-the-go snacking, dry fruits can be eaten on their own, stirred into yogurt, added to savory dishes or eaten with cereal or granola.

Cantinstar has a wide selection of healthy snack ideas that can allow you to reap the benefits of vegetarian foods that everyone should eat.

0 Comments | Posted in News Fruits & Vegetable Gardening Recipes By Karen B. Vance
dehydrated snacks, organic food, healthy diet, growing vegetables, fruits, vegetables, lifestyle, health

Dehydration is a method of preserving foods that involves removing water from vegetables, fruits, seafood and meats to help them last longer. With dehydration, you retain many of the health benefits of the vitamins and other nutrients in foods without having to worry about botulism. Dehydrated foods are easy to store and don't require refrigeration or freezing.

Here is a quick guide to DIY food dehydration to help you get started enjoying the many benefits of dry-food.

Getting Started

  1. Carefully select the foods that you want to dry. Select fruits and vegetables that are fresh and ready to eat. Fish, crab, lobster and other seafood and meats should also be as fresh as possible.
  2. Ready your foods the way you would to enjoy them. You need to do all of the cutting, slicing, mincing, trimming and chopping of your foods prior to dehydration. Foods in thinner 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch pieces will dry more quickly.
  3. If you're dehydrating any fruits, vegetables or plants that include skins or outer coverings, such as grapes or herbs, be sure to wash the foods first.
  4. When you're drying light-colored fruits and veggies, coat the foods with lemon juice or an ascorbic acid product to help prevent drying. Vegetables should also be steamed or blanched to help prevent them from becoming tough during dehydration

Successful Drying

  1. You can dry foods in the oven, in an appliance called a dehydrator or even in the sun. Dehydrators are by far the fastest and most efficient way to dry, so you may want to invest in one if you plant to prepare your own dry-foods frequently.
  2. Before you begin to dry and throughout the drying process, you should get the temperatures of the oven or dehydrator to 130 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit and then maintain the temperatures at that level. Air should also be allowed to circulate through the space to ensure optimal results.
0 Comments | Posted in News Fruits & Vegetable Gardening Recipes By Karen B. Vance

Hydro, Hydroponics, grow plants, grow lights, grow shop, grow room, grow box, herb garden, plant lights,

 

Winter is approaching with the flu in tow.  It is important to start consuming tons of vitamins and minerals and there’s no better or tastier way to get vitamin C into your diet than with kiwifruits.  A medium sized kiwi, about 100 grams or 3.5 ounces will give over 100% of your daily recommended dose!  Another awesome thing about the kiwi is that it’s easily grown in a hydroponic set-up.  Now that you know a little about the kiwi, let’s get right into the ins and outs of this super fruit.

The ideal pH balance for kiwifruits is usually between 5.0- 6.0.  Don’t worry if the pH falls down to 4.5 or rises as high as 6.5. It will not be disastrous for your harvest as kiwis are very resilient. Kiwis also do well in colder temperatures, so keep it at about 35-40°F during the night time and no higher than 55°F during the daytime hours.

As usual, keep an eye out for any abnormalities in the leaves, vines or the flowering fruit and you should be expecting a delicious harvest in about 5-7 weeks. Armed with this information you are ready to grow some delicious, healthy and immunity boosting fruit. Bon appétit!

 

 

2 Comments | Posted in Fruits & Vegetable Gardening Indoor Gardening By Charles R. Sword

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