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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.

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!

Each day, more and more people are finding out just how fun and how profitable it can be growing herbs in hydroponics. The fun part is being able to grow plants in your home grow room any time of the year, and the profitable part is the growing demand for produce picked fresh from a home herb garden.

It is easy now to grow plants in hydro, and gardeners who were used to growing in soil are now finding they can enjoy gardening growing the plants in a nutrient solution under grow lights. There are some differences in the techniques, but the fundamentals of growing plants, flowers, or vegetables, from seeds or from cuttings, are the same. The major differences are providing a light source with plant lights rather than the sun, and controlling the pH and the levels of nutrients with routine water treatment.

There are two drivers of the demand for hydroponically produced food; the quality of the vegetables and herbs in your local grocery store, and the ‘foodie’ movement. With many vegetables now being imported from Mexico and South America, even though they may look good, they may not be of the quality people want for themselves or their families. There may be unhealthy pesticides used when growing the plants, and since they are shipped such long distances the food is picked before it is ripe, causing it to lack flavor and nutrition.

The foodie movement is leading a push to high quality foods with the maximum flavor and nutrients. This has led restaurants and groceries to seek suppliers of fresh vegetables and herbs that are locally produced, without the worry of harmful pesticides or a lack of flavor. Another example of this growing trend is how farmers’ markets are popping up in most cities and towns, and how the prices are higher than you see in your local grocery.

These premium quality products bring a premium price, and a gardener who can grow the best herbs and vegetables will have no problem selling them to this eager market. If you can supply a product that is different from what you can normally find, grown with care, free of pesticides, and picked at the peak of freshness, you will find that customers will begin to contact you to make sure they are the first in line at harvest time.

The best plants to start out with when you are beginning to sell to restaurants and markets are heirloom tomatoes, specialty lettuces, and uncommon herbs. Restaurants, in particular, are always looking for ways to set themselves apart, and a wide selection of produce allows them to update their menus and keep the customers coming in.

In a grow room with a hydro system and grow lights you can offer a selection of products, and grow them fast. A plant grown in a hydroponic grow box will grow between 30% and 50% faster than a plant in soil, and you won’t have to worry about pests or weather affecting your crop.

As the gardener who has the best produce, the quickest delivery times, and the ability to provide a variety of herbs and vegetables, you will find that being a hydroponic gardener can be both fun and profitable.

0 Comments | Posted in Hydroponics Details Indoor Gardening By Charles R. Sword

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Over the past few years, people with sensitivities toward gluten have also developed certain diseases such as celiac disease. Consuming a great deal of gluten can have a pretty negative impact on your overall health.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a "sticky" protein found in many grain products such as wheat, rye, barley and many other grains. It's called "sticky" because it literally hold nutrients together within the plant. This sticky ability is why it is used in processed foods as a filler and a binder. It is a two part protein that consists of peptides gliadin and glutenin.

Why Are People Turning Away From Gluten?

One of the biggest reasons we are turning away from gluten is that we are not eating the wheat that our parents grew up on. In order to produce a bug-resistant, fast growing and drought resistant product, we have to hybridized the grain. ( Hybridized = to breed or cause the production of a hybrid.) Approximately 5% of the protein found in hybridized wheat is considered a "new form of protein" and this is where the problem lies. This new form of protein leads to increased inflammation within your system, causes an intolerance to gluten and can bring about systematic problems.

How Is Wheat Now, Different Then It Was Years Ago?

Wheat has been de-amidated or in other words, amino groups have been removed from the product. This is done in order to allow the wheat to become water soluble and therefore able to be mixed into just about every single packaged food. Unfortunately, this process has shown to create a large immune response in many people. In this fast-paced world that we live in, we are surrounded with fast foods available at a snap and we are eating a great deal more wheat then our ancestors ever did.

So, What Goes On In Our Bodies When We Eat Gluten?

While you are consuming that "whole-grain" pasta that every health nut under sun claims is good for you, or that 12-grain sandwich, it's eventually is going to enter your intestines. (TTG) tissue transglutaminase is an enzyme that breaks down the gluten into building blocks, gliadin and glutenin.

So, what does all of that mean? Let's break it down so it's more clearly understood. Everything you intake must make its way through your digestive system, your lymphoid tissue or GALT which is the term used for the immune system within your gut! Your system literally reviews everything to make sure there are no harmful substances trying to make their way through.

Now, if you do not have any issues with gluten, the entire process moves along very smoothly and there are no problems. Unfortunately, if you have a sensitivity to gluten , your system identifies "gliadin" as a dangerous substance and starts producing antibodies to attack it. Gliadin is a prolamin derived from the gluten of grain. Prolamin is a simple class of proteins. Those with Celiac’s Disease, these antibodies don't just attack the gliadin, they also go after the TTG which originally broke down the gluten.

Symptoms Within the Digestive System Can Cause Serious Conflicts:

The enzyme, TTG, has numerous jobs and one of the most important duties is pulling together the microvilli, or little finger-like projections on the surface of the epithelial cell within our gut.

Your body collects nutrients by absorbing them through the walls of your intestines. The more surface space there is, the more they can absorb. These Microvilli exist in your intestines to increase the surface area and absorb nutrients. When these fingers become blunt, this is an indication of celiac disease.

When the production of antibodies are cut back within your body to defend against gliadin, these microvilli will erode and decrease your ability to absorb needed nutrients and can cause the walls of your intestines to become leaky.

When this leakage takes place, you can develop digestive symptoms such as bloating, constipation, weight loss, diarrhea, malnutrition and fat malabsorption. Malnutrition can be in the form of lack of iron, anemia, low vitamin D or even osteoporosis.

How Does Gluten Cause a Leaky Gut?

In order to absorb nutrients, our system must be accessible to small molecules. Regulating our intestinal attainability is one of the leading functions of the cells that line the intestinal walls.

That said, people who are sensitive to gluten can have their gut cells release "zonulin". Zonulin is a protein that will break the tight junctions of your gut apart. Once this happens, you will experience a "leaky gut". When this occurs toxins, microbes and undigested foods particles escape your intestines and travel throughout your body via your blood stream. Adding to that, this also allows antibodies to escape as well and these antibodies were formed to originally fight off gliadin.

The Link Between Gluten, Inflammation and Auto-immune Disease:

Antibodies often confuse more than TTG for gliadin and attack other organs and systems. From your skin to your thyroid or your brain can be at high risk. This is precisely why gluten sensitivity is often associated with auto-immune conditions and the onslaught of Celiac Disease. Once this has manifested, this can cause a second auto-immune disease as well.

What To Do If You Are or Suspect You Are Gluten Intolerant?

One of the best tests you can run is to remove any form of gluten from your diet for approximately 3 to 4 weeks before reintroducing it back into your diet. You need to run this test for a good amount of time because gluten is a very large protein and takes a long time to get it out of your system. If you can keep out of your diet for a longer time frame, all the better.

Once you introduce gluten back into your diet, should you feel significantly worse then you were before chances are you have a low tolerance to gluten. You may also request that your doctor run a series of tests:

  • IgA anti-gliadin antibodies
  • IgA anti-endomysial antibodies
  • IgA anti-gliadin antibodies
  • Total IgA antibodies
  • Tissue Transglutaminase antibodies
  • Genetic Testing
  • Intestinal Biopsy

Tests are not always accurate because gluten is made up of hundreds of peptides and gliadin that are broken down into 12 different sub fractions. Quite honestly, your body knows more than any test can possibly show. If you rid of gluten from your body and you feel great and then reintroduce it back into your system and you feel terrible, it's time to unload gluten permanently!

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How To Treat Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity:

You should eliminate gluten by 100% from your diet. Even low amounts of gluten from supplements, medications, cross-contamination can cause serious immune reactions. The mentality that gluten is only eaten when out at restaurants is a poor excuse. An article published in 2001 stated that those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, eating gluten just once a month increases the risk of death by 600%.

For some people, just removing gluten from their diets 100% isn't enough. The damage that has been caused must mend. Even those who only show signs of bloating or headaches, these effects can last up to six months and in some cases longer.

Because the damage has already been done, the gut lining must totally heal. Because of years of ignoring gluten sensitivity, other infections could arise such as parasites, bacterial overgrowth and bacterial imbalances, to name a few. In some cases some folks might need to go completely "grain-free" due to damages that have incurred.

Keep in mind, you are not losing any needed nutrients by cutting out gluten. You could very well be saving your own life or the life of someone you love. The wheat products we consume in this day and age are not what our ancestors consumed, nor did they consume as much as we have in recent years.

0 Comments | Posted in News By Florence B. Harrell

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