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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!

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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.

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Hydroponics vs Dirt:

Some of the obvious reasons people are turning to hydroponics for their foods are fresh produce, the high quality of nutrients and foods can be grown and enjoyed all year long.

Another really big persuader for growing hydroponically is not having to wash your produce!  Let's face it, how many times have you gone to the supermarket or the local farmer's market and upon returning home, having to washing everything.  From removing unwanted pesticides to that clump of dirt hanging off the roots!

No matter how you slice it, dirt is dirt and there is nothing appetizing about eating dirt!

Not only are novice farmers jumping on hydroponic gardening, so are large and small farms alike.  Large greenhouses are popping up everywhere with state-of-the-art plant rooms, grow lights, extensive watering and filtering systems.

Recycled water uses a tenth of the amount of water needed for conventional gardens.  This nutritionally rich water travels down channels encompassing the young roots of every plant from an assortment of greens to herbs.

About Gotham Greens:

In an area of Brooklyn known as Greenpoint, founders Viraj Puri and Eric Haley along with their director Jenn Nelkin have set gardening on a whole new path with the largest greenhouse, to date, in the urban USA.  This $2 million dollar greenhouse is constructed on the space of a former bowling alley and light manufacturer.

All plants are grown from seeds that are embedded in tiny sponges of fiber created from volcanic basalt.  This greenhouse provides the very best produce on the market to restaurants and high end retailers.

The Tug Of War:

While there are many restaurant owners who enjoy hydroponic produce, they also believe that some foods should fall within the season they are preparing menus for.  Although they enjoy the fresh produce they purchase from hydroponic greenhouses, they aren't ready to give up on plants grown in soil.

Others feel having fresh produce directly at the fingertips is a heck of a lot better than shipped produce that is over 3 days old.

From restaurants to food stores, the biggest plus for hydroponics is without doubt freshness and accessibility.  Endives, lettuces and herbs do so very well in hydroponic gardens that this is a big step forward for this kind of gardening.  Many chefs like working with chervil, an herb in the parsley family.  Unfortunately,  chervil is very difficult to grow and does not travel well at all.  Now chervil is being grown in hydroponic greenhouses and is literally at the reach of chefs.  This is a huge win for hydroponics!

Those unmoved believe that if produce is not grown in soil, the plants lack in flavor.  Yet, due to weather conditions, too much sun or the lack thereof can also affect the final outcome of those plants too.  Management, growing conditions and various species can also dictate the final taste of any grown plant in any condition whether hydroponics or soil.

The More The Merrier:

With the growth of hydroponics and more farmers developing hydroponic greenhouses, the accessibility of fresh produce is definitely on the rise.  People are finding fresh food literally a block away and are willing to pay a little more for this quality of food.

There are those that argue growing hydroponic plants takes a great deal of labor and high-end maintenance and that water cannot replace the richness of soil.  Others cannot tell the difference between a plant grown in soil or grown in water because of the ability and knowledge of the farmers.

The Pluses in Hydroponic Gardening:

Without doubt, we are running out of land mass, people are growing their own foods on roof tops and they are not being affected by pesticides, herbicides, pest controls, etc.  Those same roof top gardeners are learning new techniques and enjoying hydroponic gardening.  They are setting up grow boxes, plant lights, adding vegetables and herbs into their gardens and feeding them all with rich nutrients.

Like anything new, there will always be negative thinkers believing - The Old Way Is The Only Way. With that kind of thinking, we'd still be getting around in a horse and buggy instead of in cars.

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Seafood allergies are caused by the protein that is found in fish. Fortunately, seaweed doesn't contain any fish protein.

Seafood Restaurants:

If eating at a seafood restaurant, you should be cautious because seaweed can become contaminated by fish protein. They can share the same countertops, cookware and utensils. Even if you are not eating any form of seafood, sushi rolls that are vegetarian are being prepared on the same countertops as sushi with fish.

Seafood Allergies:

Some people are only allergic to a specific fish but it is advised that you check with your doctor before moving on to other seafood dishes. Seafood allergies cause your immune system to react to fish protein on a very high scale.

Some of the most common symptoms from seafood allergy reactions are inflammation and swelling. Swelling takes place in skin, lungs and sinuses. If you suffer from arthritis and have a seafood allergy, you could suffer from a good deal of joint pain. Therefore, it is highly recommended you steer clear of seafood.

If you suffer from seafood allergies, you will probably have an allergic reaction to other forms of seafood products, such as gelatin. In case you're unaware of the content in gelatin, it is often made from the skin or bones of fish. Some people cannot take fish oil supplements for the same reasons.

Kelp Allergies:

Kelp is used as an herbal supplement and found in some medications. Should you consume these supplements, there's a good chance you will have an allergic reaction.

Severe allergic reactions are facial swelling, hives and shortness of breath which could lead to anaphylactic shock. If this should happen, contact a doctor immediately. Consult with your doctor and have the clinic test you for a possible kelp allergy. You should probably stay away from ingesting any form of kelp until you receive your medical results.

About Kelp:

Kelp is a type of ocean seaweed that looks similar to a tree, and is harvested in the ocean. It comes in a variety of colors: green, red and brown. Kelp is widely used medicinally for various conditions such as thyroid disorders, digestive disorder, arthritis, and iodine deficiencies.

Always be cautious if you suffer from any form of seafood allergies. Seaweed that is packaged and sold without any contamination of fish protein will not give you a reaction. Do your homework and look into the origins of the seaweed before incorporating it into your diet.

Should you have a condition that is commonly treated by medications containing kelp, make sure your doctor is aware you have seafood allergies. He or she will prescribe something else for your treatment.

Hydroponic Gardening:

Seaweed has amazing benefits, along with other plants on this planet. It would be a shame to limit yourself to just a small selection. Why don't you start your own hydroponic garden in your home for excellent, fresh produce?!

Hydroponic gardens are a snap to setup. Purchase a grow box, plant lights, some water filters and excellent nutrients for your plants. Grow your own herbs or vegetables, and throw in a few flowers along the way!

You can enjoy fresh foods in the dead of winter, by harvesting directly from your indoor garden! Add healthy seaweed to your salads today. Bon Appetit!

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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!

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Without doubt, the white potato is the most consumed potato on most consumers tables. Although the skins of these potatoes offer a certain level of nutrients, as a general rule they are not on the top of the list for good food value.

That said, there actually is a potato out there that is loaded with nutrients and packed full of mega antioxidants. It's the purple potato! I'll bet almost none of you have eaten or even seen a purple potato. It's time you did become acquainted with this perfect little gem, because it's extremely good for you.

The purple potato is from South America and is named for its rich, dark purple skin and flesh. These potatoes are loaded in antioxidant phytochemicals which aid in creating a lower blood pressure.

Vegetables and fruits that are rich in color often reveal the nutritional value and that value is quite high. Nutritionists have stated over and over that the deeper and richer a fruit or vegetable appears, the more dense it is in nutrients. It has always been suggested that your diet should consist of a combination of colors to ensure you are getting the best possible nutrients into your body.

Purple has the characteristics of rich and powerful antioxidants also called anthocyanin. From the flavonoid family, anthocyanin boosts the immune system and offers fighting agents against cancer.

Varieties of Purple Potatoes:

  • Purple Viking
  • Purple Majesty
  • Purple Peruvian

There are other foods that offer anthocyanin including blueberries and pomegranates. These foods, as well as the potato, have the ability to protect the structure and integrity of DNA. Anthocyanin also produces cytokines which are extremely important in prompting a proper immune return.

Other Antioxidant Benefits:

Antioxidants offer anti-inflammatory values that will protect the health of capillaries and strengthen membranes. It has also shown to regulate estrogenic activity, thereby lowering the risk of hormonal related diseases.

Lowering Your Blood Pressure:

A study that was presented in 2012 at the American Chemical Society national Meeting in Denver, stated that consumption of purple potatoes actually lowered the blood pressure of those consuming these potatoes. It is believed the consumption of these potatoes had an effect on the capillaries and blood vessels.

Purple potatoes have a high concentration of chlorogenic acid which lowered the blood pressure in mice.

What About Flavor:

Most consumers are accustomed to eating white potatoes for their flavor and texture. Given the nutritional values in purple potatoes, what do they taste like? Actually, the purple potato tastes very much the same as your standard white and is actually a little creamier in texture.

Cooking Purple Potatoes:

You should cook these potatoes with the skin on, as you should with the white potatoes. Keeping the skin on allows moisture to remain within the potato and prevents the loss of their nutrients.

The skin on these potatoes are loaded with vitamin C along with polyphenols and potassium.

The best ways to prepare purple potatoes are through steaming or baking. If you must have fried potatoes, use a clean healthy oil such as coconut oil or olive oil.

Some folks believe in just taking a big bite out the potato from the onslaught! Now granted, as this potato is a new concept and you are still trying to get over the color, this might not be the best time to just chomp down on its royal rawness!

1 Comments | Posted in Fruits & Vegetable Gardening By Florence B. Harrell

Mint (Mentha) is one of the most popular herbs due to its excellent aroma and wonderful flavor. This herb spreads profusely and is an easy herb for beginners to grow. It is a perennial and is easily recognizable by its sweet aroma and square stems.

Preparing for Growth:

Mint is not particular regarding the soil it is grown in or the amount of light it acquires. Mint thrives on ample amounts of water and actually grows from underground runners.

You will want to mix your soil with a great deal of compost but stay away from manures. Manures will cause weeds and weeding is extremely difficult within a mint patch.

Planting:

Even though many opt to grow mint from seeds, it is advisable to select small plants instead. Choosing small plants will give you the ability to select a specific variety. Mint should be planted 1 to 2 feet apart from each other and mulch in order to retain enough moisture. If you have older mint plants, they can be divided every four to five years.

As mint will take over your garden, it's a good idea to actually plant them in a container that is sunk into the soil approximately 10 inches deep.

Harvest Time:

The best time to harvest mint is in the morning before dew evaporates. In order to dry the mint, cut the stalks above the first set of leaves as soon as buds appear. Hang them upside down in a dark, dry and well ventilated room. They should remain there for approximately 2 weeks or more. Mint can be harvested quite often for your enjoyment.

Diseases and Insects:

Mint is highly vulnerable to fungal diseases. Remove the infected leaves by hand and apply an organic fungicide when fungus first appears.

Aphids, flea beetles, spider mites and cabbage loopers are common pest ailments for mint. You should apply a natural pesticide to prevent further infestation and damage.

Seed Harvest:

Harvesting can begin once the blooms start turning brown and dry and the heads are completely dry. Very gently crush them between your hands and carefully fan away the debris.

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Growing Mint Hydroponically:

Hydroponics is a way of growing plants without soil and is replaced with a special mixture and nutrient water system. The water system supplies the roots with needed nutrients regularly.

You can purchase hydroponic kits at your local gardening center that specializes in hydroponic gardening or online. For those with limited space, these systems are ideal. They take up less room than other gardening venues and produce healthy produce. Due to their versatility, they can be used both indoors and outdoors. As mint loves water and requires plenty of it, this is the perfect plant for hydroponic systems. Mint is also extremely easy to grow making it ideal for the beginner as maintenance is light once its been planted.

What you need to grow mint hydroponically:

Getting Up and Running:

Place the soilless growing medium into the growing kit and follow the directions that came with the kit. Each kit can vary, thereby needing a particular medium. Sand, perlite and peat are only a few soil-less mixtures available.

Next, prepare the nutrient solution and water mixture, then add it to the kit. The brand and strength of the nutrient solution can vary as different solutions require different nutrient ratios. Again, follow the directions supplied with the kit.

Place the mint plants into the kit. Although it is best to purchase seedlings that have been rooted in soilless mixtures, do not remove the planting medium from the roots of the plants. Place the mint plants in separate containers as ideally each plant should be separate.

Ideally, the kit should be placed in full sun. You can place the mints outside during the summer months and then in cooler weather move them inside. Place the hydroponic system under a grow lamp for approximately 12 to 16 hours daily for ideal growth.

Summary:

Hydroponic systems are an excellent alternative to outdoor gardening. You can enjoy numerous herbs and vegetables year round without the hard labor entailed with a garden.

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

There are those that believe there are little to no differences regarding organically grown foods or foods grown conventionally. Others believe organic is a healthier choice, but the price tag is not worth it. Let's look at both sides of the table and alternatives to store bought organic products.

Pesticides

Pesticides are the biggest concern among consumers. Pesticides do absorb into fruits and vegetables, leaving low level of residue. There are certain fruits and vegetables that are more often contaminated than others. Apples, Spinach, Bell Peppers and Potatoes are a few. It is always advised when purchasing fruits and vegetables that all items be washed before consumption. Most people do not have particular problems eating conventionally grown products as long as they wash them off first. If this does concern you, then do some research to see which foods run a higher risk of pesticide treatments vs others.

Fertilizers

Vegetables grown with conventional fertilizers grow quite rapidly, allocating less energy for nutrient development. Soils and fertilizers also play a big role in the overall nutritional value within these foods as well. Composted soil, commonly used in organic gardening, allow plants to grown at a normal pace with an excellent balance of nutrients. Nitrogen is released at a much slower rate when using composted soil.

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Nutritional Value

Studies have shown that organically grown foods offer 40% higher nutrients including zinc, vitamin C and iron. Some vegetables and fruits yield 58% more antioxidants when organically grown. On the other hand, foods purchased from local farmers will offer fresher and more nutritionally sound products because they are not being shipped from somewhere else.

Indoor gardening with Grow tents or Grow room boxes

For those who wish to grow their own organic vegetables and fruits, grow tents and grow boxes have become extremely popular. They take up a great deal less space and various methods have cut down on the high levels of labor.

Hydroponics is a method that will cut back on labor because it requires less water and yields a higher quality then using conventional methods of growth. As hydroponic gardening offers various setups, there's something for just about everyone. From continuous flow solutions to drip methods and passive-sub-irrigation to deep water cultures and setups are quite easy to install.

For those who wish to find an alternative to soil, you may wish to choose a growth medium. Growth mediums replace soil using a base for the plants such as coconut husks or clay pellets.

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Summing Up

Whether you are of the conventional school or the organic school, eating more fruits and vegetables is a much healthier choice. Organic can be a bit more expensive than conventional products, you might want to only purchase organic foods that are more often associated with contaminants such as apples, bell peppers, etc.

Growing your own vegetables and fruits is a nice alternative to the above. It's less expensive and you know exactly what is and what is not in your food. Whatever option works best for you, eat more vegetables and fruits because they are good for you!

2 Comments | Posted in Fruits & Vegetable Gardening By Florence B. Harrell

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Gardening outdoors isn’t your only option. You can use plants indoors, whether it’s in your bedroom, bathroom or living room for your guests to see. The problem with indoor gardening is they need extra care and attention. They don’t get the natural light or water your outdoor plants get on a daily basis. Here are some tips on growing beautiful plants inside your home.

Watch Out for the Lifespan

Plants don’t live forever—they’re organic material just like humans. Instead of trying to revive a dying plant that’s been in your home for years, consider getting a new one. You can put the dying one to some use by adding it to your compost heap for your outdoor plants. Some plants, like chrysanthemums, will only flower once.

Get Right Type of Soil

You need soil that is specific for the type of plant you are growing. This allows the plants to get the right nourishment and plant roots to be able to grow well. If you are in doubt, you could check with your local garden store for soil types for different plants. It will also depend on the state of growing. Seedlings need light mixtures that retain moisture while older plants can deal with heavier soil.

Try to Follow the Outdoor Climates

This can be hard indoors but plants need a certain temperature during the day and night. They can cope with the sudden drops and thrive when they get this, but it isn’t always possible in a home. The plants also need resting periods, especially those that flower during the summer. In the autumn and winter periods, you need to cut back on the fertilising and watering. This gives the plants a similar experience to the outdoors.

Offer Good Humidity Levels

50% humidity is the optimum level for the majority of plants but 30%-40% is acceptable. Try to keep the area for your plants at this level. This is why the bathroom is often a great option for plants—the humidity from the shower or bath can really help a plant to thrive. When out of the bathroom, invest in a humidifier to help grow beautiful indoor plants.

Try to create a natural environment for your indoor plants. This is the best way to make them look beautiful and as they would if they were in your garden.

2 Comments | Posted in Indoor Gardening By Florence B. Harrell

Indoor Gardening Tips

Fall ushers in cooler days and nights, beautiful foliage and wonderful festivities surrounding Halloween and Thanksgiving.  Your garden is now preparing itself for much needed rest.  You probably have some plants you would like to enjoy throughout the fall and winter months.

This is the perfect time of year to start grabbing your favorite outdoor plants and bringing them inside.  Coleus, Hibiscus and Geraniums do very well indoors and are often considered indoor plants anyway.

This also is the time to start paying closer attention to your "indoor" house plants.  As the nights get cooler, rooms are being heated and taking a great toll on your potted friends.  Heat can dry out plants, cause leaves to dry out and can start an onslaught of unwanted pests.

You should remove any debris or dead leaves from the pots while circulating the soil and checking for any insects.  This is a good time to add small amounts of fresh potting soil and/or moss.  As plants start to slow down their growth, the administering of fertilizer should become less frequent.  A light, slow releasing fertilizer is best for this time of year.

Plants with wide or thick and rubbery leaves should be wiped down in order to rid of any possibility of pests.

Indoor plants need fresh air and various level of light, depending on the plant.  This is also the case with plants you transfer from your garden into your house.  To determine what is a "house plant" is almost impossible to do because all plants were outdoor plants at one time.  Here are a few plants that most gardeners have found to be very adaptable in both environments:

Hibiscus:

These plants adapt very well both outside and indoors.  During the winter months they will need some pruning to prevent spindly growth.  A sunny window is the choice environment for Hibiscus.  The sun will cause the soil to dry out more frequently but that's fine because the soil should dry out completely between waterings. Hibiscus are susceptible to aphids, so keep a watch out for these insects.

If you don't have a sunny spot, place your plants in a cool spot with moderate light.  They will drop their leaves and go into dormancy.  Fear not, they will come back in the spring.

Coleus:

Coleus make for great house plants if given proper light and nutrients.  Their ideal temperatures are between 70 and 80 degrees and require several hours of high light.  Although they prefer continually moist soil, watering should be cut back in the winter months.  A great deal of water along with indoor heat can cause problems with pests.

If you have these plants in your garden, they should be brought in at the first hint of frost.  Leave them inside until garden soil stays above 55 degrees. Then you can return them to their flower beds and continue to enjoy them all summer long.

Geraniums:

Geraniums are a favorite with gardeners year round.  You can either allow them to go dormant until spring time or place them in a southern window.  As these plants are commonly grown in pots, both outside and inside, they are easy to transfer.  Once you bring them in, give them a trim and feed them once a month.  Only water when the soil has dried out.  These plants are very easy to care for and should continue to bloom for you year round.

Indoor plants need as much, if not more, attention as your garden plants.  They are indoors and therefore not open to the natural light or elements of the outdoors.  Their feeding and watering needs will alter during the winter months. Understanding this is crucial to their health.  All plants slow down during the fall and winter months, therefore, their tending needs alter as well.

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

Hydro, Hydroponics, grow plants, grow lights, grow shop, grow room, grow box, herb garden, plant lights, gardeners, gardening, vegetables, water filters, water treatment, nutrients, nutrition, seeds, flowers

 

Hydroponic gardening is a soil-less method that allows for the growth of just about any plant with their roots suspended in a mineral-rich solution. There is also the option of the use of an inert medium culture such as coir, sand, expanded clay aggregates, wood fiber, sheep wool, pumice, perlite, vermiculite, rock wool, and many more.

There is recorded evidence of this type of gardening that dates back to the seventeenth century. The benefits of hydroponic gardening are far-reaching and this gardening methodology is fast gaining in popularity. Let us review a few of the reasons hydroponic gardening is advantageous:

 

  • Plants that would otherwise not grow in a certain region can now be grown just about anywhere in the right hydroponically controlled environment.
  • It allows for most plants to be grown in urban settings which would otherwise not be possible because of soil requirements.
  • It is a reusable and sustainable system.
  • Mineral levels can be controlled which not only cuts down on wastes, but also allows for adequate levels being provided to the plants at all times.
  • The versatility of the system allows for easy mobility which is ideal for pest control as well as disease control.
  • Plants thrive in a hydroponic environment therefore higher harvests of crops are normal.
  • Since this system is soilless; the use of harmful chemicals that would often be necessary to control the various issues of the soil is negated. Therefore, pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, et cetera; no longer pose as health risks to individuals.
  • Harvesting of mature plants is a simplified process in comparison to soil-based gardening.
  • Plant growth and harvest are constant.
  • It is a user-friendly system that is independent of weather conditions and users’ gardening experience.

 

 

4 Comments | Posted in Indoor Gardening By Florence B. Harrell

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