Archive for May, 2008

Easy Hydroponics–Piranha, Tarantula, Voodoo Juice

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Hydroponic Gardening – Peas

When I was young, I was like most kids and would not eat peas—until my mother came up with calling them “nice, green peas”. I ate them like there was no tomorrow. With hydroponics, you can turn all your peas into “nice, green peas” that are full of nutrition and taste unlike traditionally grown peas.

Before setting up to grow your peas, you will need to select the variety you prefer, bush or vining. This will help determine how much space you will need, as well as whether or not some type of support will be necessary. Peas grow best in cooler temperatures and require growing material, such as perlite, that does not hold moisture too long. One of the most important things to monitor when you grow your peas is the pH balance, as pea plants are very sensitive to acidity levels. Finally, you will need some type of lighting to keep your peas healthy.

Bush peas can be trimmed back when between six and eight inches high. By trimming the tip and first set of leaves, two branches will sprout. This encourages the plant to grow outward instead of just upward. For vining varieties of peas, you will need to have some type of support in place. An ideal solution to this is to have a rope hanging from one end of the growing area to the other. Each plant then has a string leading upward from the plant. This enables the pea plant to be wrapped around the rising line as it grows. This not only allows for less space being needed per plant, but also enables the available light to evenly fall on the upper and lower leaves.

Temperatures in your hydroponic growing environment need to be on the rather cool side for growing peas. While peas can withstand temperatures as low as twenty-eight degrees Fahrenheit, the ideal growing temperature is between fifty-five and sixty-five degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature falls too low, the flowers will become sterile. Acidity needs to be constantly monitored. Peas grow best when the pH level is between 6.0 and 7.0. If it falls below this level, calcium uptake by your peas will be jeopardized.

Either high-pressure sodium light or low-pressure sodium light can be used as supplementary lighting in your hydroponic growing area. Make sure the lamps are positioned so that the lower parts of your pea plants receive an adequate amount of light. When there is insufficient light, the plants grow taller and spindlier, reducing their strength.

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Encyclopedia Hydroponica

It’s been brought to my attention that a new blog started recently on WordPress which concerns hydroponics, and therefore me. I checked it out, and even though it’s under construction, it shows a lot of promise and deserves your support. Go to click here and see for yourself! Don’t just gawk, but participate!

Thanks for your support of this blog, which has placed consistently high in search engines, thanks to you!

Avocado99

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Hydroponic Gardening – TIPS

When it comes to hydroponic gardening, you can find a great deal of information available for reading. Often, however, there are tips that don’t warrant an entire article, yet they are of importance if you want to grow the best fruits, vegetables and flowers possible. Read on to learn of five important tips that can help make a difference in your hydroponic adventure.

Tip #1 In the trickle irrigation system, you need to take special care in making sure your gravel is the correct size. Lateral movement of the solution along the roots is necessary. For this reason, any gravel that is larger than a quarter of an inch in diameter is not recommended, as it will inhibit this flow. The idea size of gravel is anywhere between one-eighth and one-fourth inch in diameter.

Tip #2 If you are fairly new to hydroponic gardening you may still be searching for the growing method that suits your needs best. One method that does not get mentioned often is called “sack culture”. With this method, you poke holes in a thin bag made of polyethylene. This bag is approximately six inches. You fill this sack with a mixture of vermiculite and peat. Once the ends are sealed, the bag is hung up. Plants are placed in the evenly spaced holes you made previously. A hydroponic solution is introduced into the top of the bag and allowed to make its way down through the planting medium within the sack. Excess solution drains from the bottom.

Tip #3 You may find it desirable to add calcium, nitrogen or sulfur to your hydroponic garden to help it produce better. Calcium nitrate will provide both calcium and nitrate nitrogen in the best forms for your fruits and vegetables. Products such as Sensi Cal Grow are specially formulated to provide added calcium without damaging your plants. If you still need extra nitrogen, provide it through the use of potassium nitrate or potassium sulfate, which will also add any needed sulfur. Magnesium sulfate can also be used if necessary.

Tip #4 Germination of seeds can be a tricky time in your hydroponic gardening experience. To help your seeds shed their shells during germination, you need to keep them moist. Using coarse vermiculite to cover the cubes you germinate your seeds in can do this. Use plain water until germination and then a diluted hydroponic nutrient solution until the leaves develop. It is then important to make sure your water is at the proper pH balance. This can be accomplished by using pH Up or pH Down depending on whether you need more or less pH. Pre-treating your water with hydrogen peroxide will help if Reverse Osmosis water is not readily available.

Tip #5 Running your hydroponic solution through an ultraviolet sterilizer will help rid it of bacteria, fungi and some viruses that can damage your plants. Unfortunately, this can also harm chelates in your nutrient solution. What this means is that elements such as iron may end up being reduced. This will cause harm to your fruits, vegetables and flowers because they won’t be getting the complete nutrition they need. By adding specially formulated products that include the chelated nutrients, you will be able to combat this problem.

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Hydroponic Gardening – pak choi

With oriental cuisine becoming more and more popular, pak choi makes a wonderful addition to your hydroponic garden. This leafy plant, a type of Chinese cabbage, grows quickly, is fairly simple to keep happy and is not prone to insect infestations when grown in a greenhouse. Two of the most important components in pak choi production are light and ventilation. Read on to find out how you can successfully grow pak choi in your hydroponic garden.

Growing pak choi takes approximately thirty-five days from planting to harvest. This allows growers to produce several crops per year. The growing cycle is divided into two parts, with the germination period being ten days in length and then re-locating the seedlings to grow to full size. During the germination period, light is provided to the plants for twenty-four hours a day. It is not recommended that a gardener use incandescent lamps during this stage, but instead use fluorescent lighting. This does serve a major purpose. Incandescent lights emit red waves, which can cause the plants to grow tall and spindly. Fluorescent lights, which emit blue light, will help stalks develop shorter and thicker, providing a strong base.

The nutrient film technique (NFT) is the most popular used for growing pak choi once it has been moved to its final growing area. The proper amount of overall, even light is necessary for the growth of plants. High-pressure sodium lamps are the recommended grow lights for this final growing stage. These bulbs not only put forth the correct color of light, they enable an even distribution of light.

The proper rate of plant transpiration is necessary to prevent tipburn. This is when the tips of the leaves turn brown because they are not getting the proper amount of calcium to the leaves from the roots. This is easily prevented. The best way to help pak choi achieve the proper transpiration rate is to outfit your greenhouse with some type of turbulator fan. This will work with the lighting to allow the hydroponic nutrient solution to move upwards from the roots and through the leaves at a rate that will keep your pak choi healthy.

Hydroponic gardening eliminates nearly all pests in a hydroponic garden. The quick rate at which pak choi matures and is ready for harvest, on average thirty-five days, is not long enough for any pests that may get into the greenhouse to set up colonies of any significance. If you are growing other crops in the same environment and find pest control necessary, using traditional pesticides may end up damaging all your plants. If absolutely necessary, hydroponic supply stores offer specially-formulated pest control products that are much safer.

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Hydroponic Gardening – Cilantro

Cilantro is a parsley-type herb. When grown for leaves only, it is called cilantro but if allowed to continue growing to seed, it becomes what is called coriander. In this article, we will discuss cilantro. Cilantro grown hydroponically does well with the drip irrigation method, somewhat less light than some other crops and a wide variety of pH conditions. This plant is easy to grow, takes up fairly little space and is often ready for harvest in six weeks time.

Cilantro does not relocate well, so it is often best to plant seeds directly into the growing medium you will be using. This plant grows equally well in perlite, vermiculite, coco peat, rock wool or Oasis foam. The main consideration is that the medium allow for proper drainage so your plant does not become over-watered. Using a drip irrigation method will allow better control over the amount of hydroponic nutrient solution your cilantro receives.

Cilantro prefers a pH range of 6.5 to 7.5, but is tolerant of some variation in regards to this. Plants need to be started nine to twelve inches apart, but this distance can be reduced to a mere six inches once leaves start maturing. It takes an average of a week to ten days for seeds to germinate and the leaves are ready to harvest in as little as six weeks. Cilantro grows quickly and is ideal for herb sellers because of this quick turn-around. Each plant can grow to anywhere between eighteen and twenty-four inches in height.

Lighting requirements for cilantro are versatile and the plants can grow under standard fluorescent, high output fluorescent or HID grow lights. As with any use of grow lights, you will need to make sure they are placed at the proper distance to provide enough light, yet not burn the leaves. Standard fluorescents can be as close as two to four inches, but you will need to place other fluorescent bulbs at least a foot above the plants. HID (high intensity discharge) grow lights need to be placed even further away. Ideally, they will be two to four feet above the tops of the plants. With HID grow lights, you will also want to have a fan circulate air and cause the plant leaves to move to prevent over-heating.

Cilantro is a hardy plant that can withstand low temperatures. It needs light but cooler temperatures to remain as cilantro longer. The higher the heat, the quicker this herb flowers. Once this happens, the plant becomes bitter and the flowers need to be left to go to seed, becoming coriander. This plant self-pollinates very well so does not need help. Any pest problems can be virtually eliminated by growing your cilantro hydroponically inside a greenhouse.

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Hydroponics Cats 2–Organic Iguana Juice

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