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More often then not, going to the grocery store is depressing due to the high costs for produce and the low quality. Many times vegetables look like they are on their last leg and flavor is nonexistent. It's no wonder we opt for processed foods and every unhealthy food just because it's cheaper!

Starting your own indoors hydro garden is not only inexpensive, but a nutritionally perfect solution. Many gardeners have turned from store produce, opting to grow their own. They have discovered the wonderful world of hydroponics for the very best, highly nutritional vegetables and herbs you will ever experience.

What Is Hydroponics:

This is a method to grow plants, from vegetables and herbs to flowers, using rich nutrient solutions in water vs traditional gardening with soil.

Here are some of the advantages of gardening with hydroponics vs soil:

  • No soil is needed
  • The water in the hydroponic system recirculates meaning the use of less water
  • Greater nutritional value
  • Pests and diseases are a great deal more controllable
  • Healthier plant growth
  • High yields
  • Enjoy fresh vegetables and herbs during the winter months

Starting Your First Hydro Garden:

As hydro gardens are grown indoors, you must first decide on the space available for your herb garden or vegetable garden. Grow boxes come in small to large sizes so there will be a perfect fit for you.

What vegetables and/or herbs are interested in growing? Common sense dictates that you choose produce that you are now purchasing and consuming.

You need to evaluate your sunlight and whether you can place your grow box in a sunny window or use artificial light from a plant light. The plants you choose will help you decide the light you will need for a healthy garden.

Grow Box:

A grow box is a structure with a base to grow various plants in small spaces. You grow plants with their roots in a nutrient solution or with a medium such as perlite, coconut husks, mineral wood and perlite (to name a few). The nutrients are absorbed by the plants' roots. Grow boxes are either partially enclosed with a base structure or completely enclosed with a frame and walls.

Talk With An Expert:

Once you know your space, your natural light offerings, what you want to grow, it's time to get with an expert in hydroponics. Visit your local gardening shop that offers hydroponic systems and accessories. They will be able to guide you to the best choice of grow box and grow lights that work with your chosen plants. They will familiarize you with water treatments and filters essential for healthy plant growth.

Grow Rooms:

Grow rooms are more sophisticated and also come in a variety of sizes. Your herbs and vegetables are grown in a controlled atmosphere. You are flexible regarding their light source from artificial grow lights, natural sunlight or a combination of both. The downside to grow rooms is the amount of heat that develops in this environment. As they become excessively hot, you must provide good ventilation (such as a fan) to prevent harming your plants.

Water Filters and Treatments:

Your water supply must always offer a proper pH balance in order to assure healthy plant growth. Your water filter should deliver pH balanced mineral water by cleaning the water and removing contaminants.

Purification should remove chlorine, chemicals, metals, sediments and other contaminants that would otherwise alter your happy plants.

Water treatments provides more oxygen in your water and reservoir. It will promote constructive Microbes in your root zone, prevent slime buildup and odors and allow for better absorption of nutrients.

In Conclusion:

Take your time and make a list of everything essential for starting your first hydroponics garden. Get professional advise and make sure you have all the equipment and supplies you need to start growing your favorite herbs and vegetables.

You will discover how easy it is to grow fresh, healthy foods to enjoy all year round.

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Parsley is a member of the carrot family and is an excellent source of various vitamins and minerals. This fabulous herb is grown as an annual and depending on your taste you can grow flat leaf varieties or curled leaf varieties. Flat leaf varieties are excellent for stews and soups where curled leaf varieties are best for garnishing dishes or salads.

The Right Environment for Growing Parsley:

Parsley needs a well draining soil and plenty of water. This herb also requires afternoon shade especially if you reside in a hot climate. The beds should consist of compost and manure, mulched into a depth of approximately six inches.

Planting Parsley:

The best options for growing parsley are a nursery stock or seeds at the beginning of the growing season. When there is still a slight chance for light frost, sow the seeds outdoors approximately 1/4 inch deep. The seeds will germinate within 14 to 21 days, then soak in warm water for 24 hours before actually planting.

Parsley demands a good fertilizer with one application of slow releasing organic fertilizer in the spring and then monthly to ensure a healthy growth.

Is Parsley Prone to Insects and Diseases?

You can cut down on the chance of diseases by making sure your plants have good air circulation. Apply a good organic fungicide early if you see signs of disease. As a general rule, parsley is rarely pestered by pests! An occasional butterfly leaving larvae might occur as they love parsley. As butterflies start off as caterpillars, you will find one or two from time to time, just pick them off. All in all, parsley is a robust, healthy plant and you shouldn't run into many of the problems other plants are haunted by.

Harvest Time:

Once your plants have produced leaves with three branches you should start harvesting. You will want to cut and collect the plants during the summer when they are plentiful. You can bag them and dry them for the winter months. To dry parsley simply tie the cuttings in small batches and hang them upside down in a dark, well ventilated area or room. Once they are dry, remove the leaves and stems and place the rest in storage. Crush only small amounts that you are going to use immediately.

About Seeds:

Parsley loves to cross pollinate so you might want to isolate large areas by the second year. Dig up the roots in the fall season before the danger of a hard frost. You should trim the tops of the plants approximately by 2 inches. Take the plants and store them in leaves, sawdust or sand. Their roots will store well for approximately 3 to 4 months in an atmosphere of 32 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the plants are dry, harvest the seed heads and separate them by hand.

Along with butterflies, this wonderful herb also attracts "beneficial" insects such as ladybugs! You might want to read up on beneficial insects so you aren't destroying them.

Growing Parsley Hydroponically:

  1. Parsley grows very nicely hydroponically! In order to go this route, you need to know how to hydroponically grow! Hydroponic gardens do not consist of soil, the only medium is a nutritional solution that gives plants oxygen, excellent nutrients and water!
  2. The nutritional solution drips into the plants and drains regularly, allowing your plants to receive the proper nutrients they require.
  3. So if you are interested in hydroponically growing plants, you'll need to learn how to go about it.
  4. The first step will be to plant the seeds and steps that need to be followed for absolute success!
  5. Parsley is opposed to germination unless they are exposed to moisture within a 12 hour period. Keeping the seeds in warm water, will discourage any opposition and not harm the parsley seeds.
  6. Soak rock wood cubes overnight then plant the seeds within the cubes, this will help germination.
  7. Place the rock wool cubes mix in a flat low box and then plant the seeds in the box approximately an inch apart, assuring there are two or three plants in each rock wool cube.
  8. You should sprinkle a fine thin layer of moist soil over everything about one-fourth inch high. Keep the soil temperature around 70 degrees and water regularly. Sprouts should start appearing after 2 weeks of planting.
  9. Once there is an appearance of leaves you need to place a florescent light approximately 2 inches above the plants and provide them with nutrients.

How To Transplant Your Parsley:

Start by setting up your hydroponics container and filling it with hydroponic fluids. You must prepare your hydroponics garden before you start your transplant process. Depending on the hydroponics system and planter you choose there are various steps you must take to prepare before transplanting your plants. Always follow the instructions in your manual and then test it.

Clean Your Plants Before Transplanting:

Hydroponics planters require the removal of soil from the plants. Carefully remove your plants from the rock wool cubes and then gently clean the roots with water. Each plant must be carefully placed allowing enough space for the sprouts to grow. There should be at least 2 to 3 inches between each plant.

Maintenance:

Good drainage and proper refilling of fluid is extremely important. Maintaining constant care will allow your plants better, faster growth and stronger plants. You must pick off leaves once the parsley reaches 2 to 3 inches in growth from the stem. Done properly new leaves should replace the old ones.

Summary:

Parsley is a popular and wonderful herb. Taking a little time to grow fresh parsley, you will experience the very best flavor and aroma.

Follow instructions, whether you are growing your parsley in your backyard or hydroponically. You will have a treasure trove of one exceptionally amazing herb for all your culinary needs.

Bon Appetit!

0 Comments | Posted in Plants & Flower Gardening Indoor Gardening By Florence B. Harrell

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The technique of growing plants through hydroculture is catching on in leaps and bounds. These plants are grown without compost or soil, instead replacing these components with a nutrient solution. Due to this method's growing popularity, hydroculture has come a long way in foolproof houseplant development and growth.

With a little practice and starting off small, you will be up and running in no time at all and will discover what a fantastic method of growing plants this truly is!

Hydroculture is more expensive than your ordinary soil and compost, therefore it might not be in your plans to grow all your plants this way. Picking plants that are special to you will pay off in the long run, because you will experience healthier plants that will grow with minimum care. You will also be thrilled with your accomplishments!

Hydroculture is also ideal for an office environment where plants get little to no attention and suffer enormously. Watering is only required infrequently and feeding takes place twice a year. We've all passed by windows, corners in hallways or on a desktop somewhere and stared at these poor plants that are one root in the grave. Hydroculture is the perfect remedy and takes little to know maintenance.

Is There a Specific Unit Right for Me?

Although there are several variations, all units are based on the same principle. These units have an outer container that holds the nutrient solution, an inner pot that holds your plant, an aggregate or clay granules that hold the plant while providing capillary action and air space and formulated fertilizer.

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The Clay Granules:

These aggregates play an important role in the development of your plants. The normal type of aggregates are a very light grade of expanding clay granules. These granules are very similar to those used in concrete mixes for construction sites. They are approximately 4 inches (12 mm) in diameter, with a dense outer layer, while the inner core is a honeycomb structure. These granules service as an excellent anchor and provide the ability to absorb water which helps to create a capillary action which keeps these pebbles moist.

Fertilizer Technology:

This technology has contributed enormously in making hydroculture a "home suitable" method of growing plants. Soil serves as a cushion against poor feeding, where there is little margin for error when plants are in a nutritional solution alone. This is due to an enormous breakthrough by introducing an ion-exchange fertilizer that releases just the right amount of food over an extended period of time.

Ion-exchange fertilizer has a complex chemical base as it bonds to tiny plastic beads and to major plant foods. Trace elements are then exchanged for impurities in the water such as calcium, calcium, chlorine and fluoride. This exchange goes at a rate that is far more suitable for the growth of the plants then you can possibly imagine.

The fertilizer comes in a batches or loose granules. A batch is placed into the base of a compatible post while the granules are spread over the pebbles and washed into the post. If applied at recommended rates, this should be more than acceptable for at lease six months.

Caring For Your Plants:

Growing and caring for hydroculture plants is relatively simple and trouble free. Periodically checking the water level indicator is the only routine maintenance required and that takes little to no time!

Like conventionally grown plants, these plants require proper lighting, humidity and heat. When provided with these basic requirements, they should be fine. Keep in mind they can also suffer from pests and diseases just like soil grown plants. Fear Not -- they can be treated with insecticides equivalent to soil plants, including systemic types.

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Watering:

We all know that over watering is one of the biggest failures in growing healthy plants. Watering hydroculture plants has got to be the easiest step. Your water indicator will show you maximum and minimum levels. Before adding more water, you should wait two or three days, allowing air to penetrate between the aggregates. Your plants' roots must be able to aerate and that will not happen if you continually add water.

Always use tap water at room temperature. Rainwater or soft water will not contain the chemicals necessary to trigger the ion-exchange process. If you only have soft water, add a few drops of liquid plant food to start the process and that should do the trick. Again, I cannot emphasis this step enough, always use tap water at room temperature!

There's a darn good reason for keeping water at room temperature. Roots can become chilled with this method of growth, especially if the water is too cold. Should the roots become chilled, this is one of the biggest reasons for failure in hydroculture system. You will know if your water is too cold because the leaves will turn yellow and the plant will start dying. Understand, air temperature is not as critical as root temperature.

Potting:

Potting should only happen when a plant becomes to large for the container it's in. You can either transfer to pots or buy a larger container. If you wish to buy a larger container, be sure and buy appropriate amounts of aggregates and recharge the fertilizer. Wash the pebbles before placing them in the containers. Place the filler tube at one corner and insert the water indicator and then place pebbles around the tubing.

Converting Plants:

Although this is not recommended for beginners, if you wish to try there could be a great deal of satisfaction once you succeed. Start in late spring or early summer so your plants have several months of warm weather ahead of them. Wash the roots, removing all traces of soil, but show caution not to damage the roots.

Once the roots are clean, place your plants in pots with open slatted sides, these can be purchased from your hydroponics supplier. Be careful not to cause much damage to roots when placing the pebbles around them.

Now the pots can be placed in the outer containers. Two critical issues are warmth and humidity. Keep your plants as warm as possible yet shaded from direct sunlight to reduce moisture loss.

Spray with a light mist at least twice a day or cover them with a polythene tent for approximately one month. During this period, try to maintain a minimum temperature of 70 degrees (21 F). After approximately two months, the transition from soil to water roots should be completed.

What Plants Are Suitable:

Some plants are very successful in a hydroculture environment while others are not. Experimentation may be the only way to find out which works and which doesn't. Ivy does not do well, but almost all Ar-aceae plants within that family work well. Philodendrons, sscindapsus and aglaonemas are excellent choices.

Buying your plants from your hydroculture's store will give you the option to grab plants that very suitable for this method of grown..

Talk with your plant shop that specializes in hydroculture growing and you will not go wrong. Start off with plants that are relatively easy to grow if you are new to this method. You can always move up as you become more experienced.

If you have any questions or you are confused somewhere in these instructions, go talk to the experts who are advanced in hydrocultural growing. They will be happy to take the confusion out of growing plants in a hydrocultural method!

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