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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

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!

Tasty Fresh Vegetable Recipes from Your Hydroponic Garden

Everyone loves the taste of fresh vegetables straight from the garden, but unfortunately the summer and fall harvest seasons are much too short. The good news is that you can enjoy the same wonderful flavor year round from a hydroponic garden in your home. With a simple grow box, nutrients, and plant lights you can enjoy vegetables that taste as good as anything you can grow in the soil.

One of the most popular vegetables to grow hydroponically is tomatoes. In North America in the wintertime the tomatoes you can buy at the grocery store are usually imported from Mexico, or are grown in giant commercial greenhouses and shipped. The tomatoes are picked before they are ripe, the texture is tough and the flavor is bland. But if you have a tomato garden in your grow room you can wait to pick them until they are so ripe they are about to burst with flavor.

Basil is an herb that also grows well in hydro. It doesn’t take up much space and grows a pretty little plant that is easy to maintain. It is also a very versatile herb that goes well in Italian dishes such as tomato-basil pasta sauce or on a Caprese salad with mozzarella cheese, fresh sliced tomatoes, and sprinkled with basil.

Another plant that grows really well in your indoor garden is pepper. It is happy to grow in a media like clay pellets where its roots can dig in firmly and hold the plant up straight under the weight of the heavy peppers. Just put the grow light about 8 to 10 inches above the top of the plant so the heat from the lamp doesn’t burn the leaves and raise the light as the plant grows. Give it 10 or 12 hours of light and it is happy.

You can make a wonderful roast pepper dish that is easy to make and tastes delicious. From your garden select 3 fresh peppers, a pint of cherry tomatoes, and a half a cup of basil. Cut the peppers in half and clean out the seeds, then fill the pepper halves with tomatoes and place them in a baking dish. If you have any mozzarella left over from your Caprese salad add a little bit to each pepper. Chop up the basil in a bowl and add 8 chopped garlic cloves, cover the tomatoes with the garlic and basil, then salt and pepper to taste.

Cover the peppers with aluminum foil and put the dish in the oven. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and put the dish in to bake for another 15 minutes. Take the peppers from the oven and sprinkle them with about a tablespoon of herb vinegar, then enjoy. This dish is very healthy, with low carbohydrates and full of nutrients.

When you have a hydro grow room you are able to create gourmet meals like this every night. Just grow a selection of your favorite vegetables and herbs, pick up a recipe book, and enjoy fresh-picked veggies on your table all year long.

0 Comments | Posted in News Hydroponics Details Indoor Gardening By Florence B. Harrell

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

Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is most commonly used for flavoring Italian and Asian dishes. Fresh or dried its versatility has graced many a dinning room table. These annuals grow between 18 to 24 inches and are extremely prolific. Lets first take a look at growing basil in your garden or in containers:

How To Grow In Your Garden or Containers

This herb thrives in either garden soil or containers and prefer full sun, regular watering, a fast draining environment and rich soil. Prior to planting, be sure to mix compost or aged animal manure into the soil.

Planting Basil

You can either sow seeds indoors for approximately 4 to 6 weeks before moving outdoors or when the soil is warm and the temperature does not go below 65 degrees F. You should space the plants 4 to 5 inches apart from each other.

Seeds should not be planted deeper than just below the soil surface. Germination will take from 5 to 30 days and you should keep the soil moist. It is suggested you apply organic fertilizer once or twice during the growing season to ensure robust growth.

Be sure and pinch back the flower spikes to promote bushiness and prevent spindly growth. Sow regularly for summer use and then freeze the rest for winter needs.When summer comes to an end, allow Basil to go to seed, this will attract bees and other beneficial insects.

How to Harvest

When the plants reach 6 inches in height they are ready for harvesting. You want to wait until morning dew has dried just above the leaf nodes. Basil's aroma is important for many dishes, therefore do not wash the leaves or you will lose their aromatic oils.

To dry basil, hang the plants upside down in a dark, dry, well ventilated room then store in air tight containers.

If you harvest basil frequently it will encourage new growth from the plants.

Treating Diseases and Insects

In order to prevent fungal diseases make sure your site has good air circulation. Should you notice symptoms of fungus, apply a fungicide.

The most common pests that can plague basil are aphids, slugs and Japanese beetles. Use natural pest controls if any of these pests surface on your plants. Natural pest controls include keeping your garden weeded and clean. Use good composts and mulches in the soil and only use organic pesticides when necessary.

Harvest Seeds

Basil forms seed capsules that contain four seeds. You should allow these capsules to dry before harvesting and then separate them by hand.

Now that we have covered outdoor gardening, let's take a look at growing basil hydroponically. Growing basil year round makes this great herb available for all your fine cuisine. You could collect and freeze basil from your garden, or you can enjoy fresh basil by growing it hydroponically!

What you Will Need

Getting Started

First off, purchase basil seedlings from your local nursery or transplant from your garden early in the year.

Once you have your seedlings, remove them from their containers (if applicable) and rinse the roots completely. Hold the root ball under a gentle flow of water while working the root mass apart with your fingers. Remove any clinging soil, being extremely careful when cleaning the top area of the root ball where it joins the body of the plant.

Select four or five plants for each hydroponic container. Add water, following the manufacturer's instructions for the particular container you have purchased.

Once the plants are in place, put your container in direct sunlight. Southern exposure is really the best, but if you do not have that luxury, buy a fluorescent growing light and place your container under it.

Take your hydroponic nutrient and fertilize the plants. The rate should be 1 teaspoon per gallon of water. If you will be harvesting often from the plants, increase the fertilizer to 25%.

The Sky's The Limit

Growing hydroponic basil is really very easy to do and will give you wonderful crops to enjoy year round. As you become more knowledgeable with hydroponic containers, you'll want to add other plants to enjoy fresh produce even in the dead of winter.

2 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.

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

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.

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

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

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

You would think that growing a houseplant would be easy, yet many people struggle to get it right. Knowing the type of soil to use, how often you need to water and how much water is needed is often enough to do people in. The process can now be made a whole lot easier by using a process known as hydroculture. There is no soil or compost used in this growing technique, with a nutrient solution used to make the plants grow. This is something of a dream come true for those who would love to have houseplants, but have had issues in the past.

What should be pointed out, though, is that the costs associated with growing plants this way is quite expensive. What that means is that the cost of filling your entire home or office with plants may be prohibitive, but once you see how easy it is, you might just become hooked. In order to get started, you will need to invest in a hydroculture unit. Once you have it set up, you will only be required to add water once or twice a year. The unit itself is usually comprised of a plastic container, an outer container that houses the nutrient solution and an inner container that holds the plant. You will also need an aggregate, which is often clay granules, to anchor the plant, and you may also find that the unit contains a water reservoir that shows the current water level.

The aggregate plays a major role in the growing of the plants, as they are able to absorb a great deal of water. It is the proper delivery of water that often causes normal plant growing to fail. The soil can also cause a problem when trying to feed plants properly, but that is taken away with the use of the nutrient solution used in hydroculture. The effect here is that the plants are steadily fed exactly what they need, with very little needing to be done to look after the plant you are growing. Pretty much all that is required is to check the water level, which will probably only have to be topped up every 6 months.

This doesn’t mean that you can simply pot the plant and do nothing else, as you will still need to make sure that the plants are placed in an area that affords enough light and humidity. Plants grown using the hydroculture process are still prone to the same pests and ailments as other plants, so you will also need to be on the lookout for those issues, too. The temperature of the water is also important, so make sure that you always add room temperature water in order for your plants to thrive.

You need to be aware that not every type of plant is a good fit for the hydroculture growing process. It’s best to check with a professional at your local garden center before choosing a plant to grow in this way. They should be able to set you up with your first hydroculture system unit, as well as being able to help you choose the perfect plant for your home or office.

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

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