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SD Hydro at the San Diego County Fair

Events

Come see SD Hydro’s award winning “Farm-Scraper” hydroponic installation at the 2017 San Diego County Fair located at the Del Mar Fairgrounds June 2nd – July 4th. In 2016 the San Diego County fair had record attendance accommodating about 1.6 million visitors during the fair and the organizers estimate that an average of more than 20,000 people walk through the “Farm Scraper” exhibit hall every day.

 

This will be SD Hydro’s second year constructing the a “Farm-Scraper” in the award winning ‘California Grown’ exhibit. Last year the installation was met with much enthusiasm from fair-goers and received an award from the International Association of Fairs and Exhibitions.

 

The California Grown exhibit features educational farming displays showing the past, present and future of agriculture in California. SD Hydro’s display, the “Farm-Scraper”,  represents the future of farming in a world with ever increasing urban populations that will require innovative gardening techniques.

 

This year, to demonstrate alternative  gardening techniques, we are showcasing several hydroponic systems including a vertical hydroponic garden, a deep water culture system,  drip bucket system, a floating raft table and an Aeroflow system.

 

For more information about the San Diego County Fair Fair visit: https://sdfair.com/

 

Product Spotlight: Bluelab Pro Controller & PeriPods

products

 

 

Tired of mixing nutrients? Hate keeping up with pH? Let Bluelab® do it for you!

 

Do you spend your days running from garden to reservoirs perpetually checking pH and nutrient levels and then manually balancing and re-measuring over and over?  There are a million other things you’d rather be doing in your day, right? …. and who monitors these levels when you’re not there? Growers who have many years of experience will tell you, it’s not a matter of ‘if’ … it’s a matter of ‘when’ will pH issues happen.

 

The innovative team at Bluelab® have released the Bluelab® Pro Controller Connect and Bluelab® PeriPodsTM to take care of your investment 24/7. This unique controller can dose nutrients into your reservoir constantly to parameters set by you.  Simply set your required EC, pH and dosing values on your controller, place the probes in your reservoir or sample pot and as your plants feed, pH and nutrients are automatically adjusted to the desired range.

Sounds like a time saver, right?

 

The Bluelab® Pro Controller Connect is easy to customize to your growing needs.   With an easy-to-navigate menu for you to set up and a simple calibration process makes pH calibration easy.  No calibration is ever needed on the EC probe!  Just keep it clean and you’ll be spot on all the time.

 

An optional external alarm and lockout box provides a convenient connection point for an external alarm. It can also be used to stop the controller dosing when feeding out in a drip system or even flooding in a flood and drain system.

 

Bluelab® PeriPodsTM are sold separately giving you the option to customize with a pump size that fits your individual set up. You can choose between the M3 which will dose up to 120 ml (4 oz.) per minute per pump or, the L3 which can dose up to a whopping 1200 ml per minute (40 oz.) per pump – that’ll keep up with the biggest reservoir! The three-pump configuration (one for pH and two for nutrients) are easy-to-use peristaltic pumps that can be calibrated to ensure equal dosing.

 

If that wasn’t enough, it also comes with our Bluelab® Connect stick that enables your Bluelab® Pro Controller (and all your other Bluelab® Connect devices) to wirelessly send real time readings to your computer. See the status of all your Bluelab® Connect devices and make changes to your controller’s settings, directly from the computer.   Also, when connected to the internet, you’ll be able to check your devices live status on your smart phone – anywhere in the world!

 

Fortunately, Bluelab® Connect is designed for gardeners.  Track your progress, repeat your successes and improve your results.

 

Automated, constant control of reservoir pH and nutrient levels is here now.  Ask for Bluelab® Pro Controller Connect and Bluelab® PeriPodsTM

 

This product spotlight was provided by our friends at Bluelab®.

The Eggplant Demystified – Health Benefits, Grow Tips & Recipe

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SDHO-crop-1024x722The eggplant (aka aubergine) is perhaps one of the most misunderstood foods of all time. The staff at SD Hydro harvested these four gorgeous eggplants at our Bay Park location a few weeks ago. No one really knew what to do with them so I decided to take them home and turn them into a delicious dish.

Eggplants belong to the nightshade family of vegetables along with tomatoes, peppers and potatoes.  They are extremely high in fiber, magnesium and potassium; making them an excellent choice for a heart healthy diet and for aiding digestion. The skin of the eggplant is especially rich in nasunin, an antioxidant that helps to protect brain cells from becoming damaged.

Eggplants are quite easy to grow; they thrive in conditions similar to those favored by tomatoes. This means they grow top heavy (so a tomato cage may be necessary), need lots of sunlight and a soil that drains water well. In San Diego, eggplants will grow mid spring all the way though until early fall.

Eggplant is a highly versatile cooking ingredient; it can be stuffed, fried, rolled, mashed, baked and who knows what else. The recipe I decided to try is a traditional Georgian dish called Badrijani. Badrijani is usually served as a side dish or appetizer (though from personal experience it is also a tasty late night snack).

Eggplant Rollups

Product Spotlight: Mad Farmer Be One

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Mad Farmer BeOneAlthough the benefits of vitamin B1 have been long known and often debated, new research is showing that B1 on its own is not very effective.  Instead, it works together with other nitrogen rich elements, specifically Auxins[i]. Through this synergy B1 becomes a useful tool to help reduce shock during cloning, transplanting, topping, skirting and other stressful situations.  Plants do synthesize B1 internally but light is required for this to occur, therefore B1 is found in the leaf tips where light is readily available, but not in the root zone where light does not penetrate. For stress prevention at the root zone we must use a supplemental form of B1.  Mad Farmer’s Be One is the most comprehensive B1 additive on the market, derived from Ascophyllum Nodosum, Humic Acids, Protein Hydrolysate & Thiamine (Vitamin B1). This complete plant tonic can be used in the garden through all stages of growth from starts, until about week four of the bloom cycle.Mad Farmer’s Be One Contains: 

ASCOPHYLLUM NODOSUM (Norwegian Sea Kelp) is one of the most widely used plant nutrients in the world and is composed of over 70 vitamins, minerals and enzymes including; Copper, Zinc, Molybdenum, Boron, Manganese and Cobalt. Ascophyllum Nodosum also contains Cytokinins, naturally occurring growth hormones that promote chloroplast development and heavier harvests. As well as stimulating bacterial growth and a strengthened immune system, the Cytokinins work in conjunction with the Auxins to assist in rapid root development and amplified cellular division.  When used in the reservoir it also reduces osmotic shock and aids in micro nutrient uptake.

 

HUMIC ACID is a powerful organic electrolyte that dissolves minerals and trace elements, such as Silica, increasing the bioavailability of nutrients while simultaneously detoxifying soil of heavy metals. When used as a foliar spray, Humic Acids increase oxygen intake, enhance photosynthesis and aid in the development of essential oils.

 

PROTEIN HYDROLYSATE- The most basic component of all living organisms is protein which is made when chains of amino acids bond together. Protein Hydrolysate supplies your plants with these building blocks, allowing Protein synthesis to occur by providing short chain Peptides and L-Aminos in a readily available, water soluble form.  When used as a foliar spray, Protein Hydrolysate stimulates the opening of stomata, resulting in increased photosynthesis. Used as a top feed, it stimulates micro flora development, stimulating biodiversity in your growing medium.

 

As you can see, Mad Farmer’s Be One is not simply a B1 supplement to be used in stressful situations. Its formula is designed to increase your gardens productivity throughout the entire lifecycle of the plant. With the use of some of nature’s most powerful minerals you can help your boost your plants natural defenses, increase the ability to use available light and. uptake nutrients more efficiently. Simultaneously, you will be ridding your grow medium of pollutants and increasing its biodiversity.  San Diego Hydroponics & Organics is San Diego’s EXCLUSIVE source for Mad Farmer products.  So stop by any one of their 5 locations today and take your garden to the next level with Mad Farmer.

National Heirloom Seed Festival 2013

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San Diego Hydroponics & Organics is proud to have attended the third annual National Heirloom Exposition, held in Santa Rosa, CA at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds.   Hosted by our favorite seed company, Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co, the Expo was a great opportunity to meet new vendors, find new seed companies and learn about heirloom horticulture.  The expo took place Tuesday, September 10th through Thursday, September 12th. The fairground was packed with heirloom produce and tons of like-minded individuals. The Expo included a Produce Hall, a Vendor Hall, two Speaking Halls as well as a beautiful outdoor garden area that displayed many examples of Bio Dynamic gardening. A separate livestock area included activities on Wednesday especially tailored for kids. The food court featured local Farm-to-Market food trucks and stands.

For heirloom seed collectors, the event was like nothing else we’ve ever seen!   We counted at least 25 heirloom seed vendors on site.  Our two new favorite seed companies would be Wild Boar Farms with their beautiful collection of colorful  striped tomatoes, and Kitazawa Seeds because of their expansive collection of heirloom vegetables from Asia.  On the last day of the festival there was an awesome seed trade and barter event held, with no money trading hands, just seeds traded for seeds, teaching attendees the best kind of seed ethics possible.   With the declining total number of uniquely available heirloom fruit and vegetable  seeds, it was refreshing to see a culture that’s embracing the genetic diversity of heirloom seed collecting. Attendees were actively cultivating an atmosphere where seed-saving education, professional networking, and good old-fashioned seed bartering is encouraged.  In the upcoming 2014 season, Baker Creek will introduce a Master Seed Catalog”. This publication will be the largest Heirloom seed catalog ever to be printed and will be a one-stop printed resource to every seed available.

Education was a central theme of the heirloom festival.   One hall was for independent speakers and the other hall featured speakers sponsored by the companies who supported the show.   Diverse educational topics included; “Seed Saving,”  “Compost & Mulch,” “Seaweeds for Food & Health,” “Farming for Chef’s,” “Fermentation for Farming,” “Growing Food in Small Spaces,” “Bio-Dynamic Composting,” and many more.   The second hall was reserved  for talks centered on Biodynamics (which is the combination of growing plants and animals together), it  also featured more intense and technical talks ranging from the many aspects of Biodynamics, from pollinating Bee’s to Wildflowers and Compost.

Biodynamics was the hot term and philosophy of the show, and for good reason.   At the center of a Biodynamic farm is the recycling of materials out of the life of the farm itself rather than importing fertilizers from the outside, organic or not.  Any system on a farm that utilizes the inherent organic materials on-site and creates loops of reusing, re-purposing and recycling is using the principles of Biodynamics.  Here in San Diego two of the most common animals that can join with your home garden are chickens and, thanks to recent legislation, Pygmy goats.   Besides getting fresh eggs that are higher in vitamins and beta carotene than store bought eggs, chickens also provide manure that’s rich in nitrogen.  Many chicken owners simply move their coup across lawns or garden every two weeks to spread the manure in a simple and effective manner.  Pygmy goats provide milk, till dirt labor-free, and just like chickens their manure can be used as fertilizer or compost.   Local rules and regulations for both inside the city of San Diego can be found here for Chickens, and here for Pymgy Goats.   As we know from our experience with aquaponics,  the biodiversity of the system is organized so that the waste product of one part becomes the revitalizing energy for another. This results in an increase in the capacity for self-renewal and ultimately makes the garden or farm more sustainable.

Lastly, before our time was up at the Heirloom Expo, we found several new vendors we’re excited to bring back to the shelves of San Diego Hydroponics & Organics.  This includes a new greenhouse company with products ranging from hobby greenhouses all the way up to full scale high tunnels with automated fans, louvres, and automated blackout materials which are used to create any light cycle a farmer wants for year round harvesting.  Another product we found soon to be on the shelves is HB-101 from Japan.    HB-101 is made from extremely concentrated oils derived from  Japanese Cypress, Pines  and Cedars and can be used as a seed soak, mixed into a regular nutrient recipe as a plant vitalizer, or even as a foliar spray for insect control.  Come into San Diego Hydroponics today for a look at some of the new products and catalogs we’ve found to make next year the best Season yet for your backyard and indoor gardening, whether it’s small scale, hobby or professional!

How to Plant a Resolution Tree

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The New Year is a time for rejuvenation, replenishment, and growth. What better way to celebrate a fresh start than by planting a tree rooted in your intentions for the coming year? A Resolution Tree is just that, a tree that’s roots literally grow through a penned resolution and nurtured with your hope for the future.

To plant your Resolution Tree you will need:

  • Scrap Paper
  • Writing Utensil
  • Tree (Ready for transplanting)
  • Shovel
  • Water
  • Soil (SDHydro Recommends Roots Organic or Fox Farm soils)
  • Compost (SDHydro Recommends Humisoil from Organic Bountea)
  • Mulch or Bark (Optional)
  • Mad Farmer B1 (Optional)

1)Begin with taking a piece of biodegradable scrap paper and writing your 2014 resolution on it then place to the side.

2)Select a tree type and planting location. Determining the type of tree and location where it is to be planted are interdependent. Factors such as the maturing size of the tree, available space and desired purpose of the tree (fruiting, flowering, wind or shade protection, erosion prevention, restoration of native species or a combination thereof) should be considered. Learn the specific needs of your tree (preferred sunlight,  companion plants, and watering needs) then when selecting a location be mindful of maturing root systems, sidewalks and other possible obstructions of growth. It is important that the tree have adequate space to grow, with abundant sunlight and access to water.

3)Clear an area and dig a hole. Remove any weeds, leaves or brush from the direct area to be planted. Give the planted tree about a three-foot circumference of clearance space. Generally you should dig two feet deeper and two-feet wider than the potted soil that holds the current root system of the tree to ensure that the roots are not restricted.

4)Place your piece of paper with written resolution at the bottom of the hole.

5)Add compost or fertilizer into the bottom of the hole then soak. Use at least 1/3 compost per 2/3 soil.  The more compost, leaf mold or rotted manure used the more likely to satisfy the tree’s nutrient needs. The type and amount of fertilizer needed will vary by variety of tree. If the tree you intend to plant is on the larger size (greater than 2 inches in diameter) the roots may benefit from up to a one-hour soaking in a water bath. Pre-soak the hole prior to planting. This is more important with dry soil that does not hold water well but in general prepares the soil to welcome roots.

6)Carefully remove the tree from the container. The goal is as little root disturbance as possible. Either use clippers to cut the container away from the tree or gently squeeze the sides of the plant container between your hands to loosen the dirt and roots from the container wall while simultaneously letting gravity pull the tree free. After the tree is out of the container, stimulate growth by gingerly massaging the root system before putting the tree in the hole.

7)Place the tree in the hole. Position the flare of the tree (where the stem meets the roots and dirt) to be flush with the ground and clear of debris once fully planted. The stem will rot if buried or covered with damp material (such as soil) and the roots will dry out if exposed to air. Before you begin filling the hole with soil, make sure the roots are resting flat in the hole without being smashed or curved upward into a “J” shape (this is why you dug the hole deeper than necessary).

8)Add a small ring of fertilizer around the base of the tree about four to six inches away from the stem. Take care not to use too much fertilizer or you may burn the plant. Consult the instructions of your specific fertilizer for correct quantities.

9)(Optional)Add mulch or bark around the circumference of the tree. Make a ring of wood chips around the tree about three inches thick. This allows the bark to hold water in the soil and protects the topsoil from the sun. Leave a foot clearance from the edge of the bark boarder to the neck of the tree, the space in between the tree stem and the raised bark boarder create a small water-retaining bowl that is great for efficient and effective watering.

10)Water the tree and watch it grow! We recommend using Mad Farmer’s B1 to assist the plant in healing during the transplant process.

FREE Raised Bed Raffle

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bedraffle-homeplate

RAFFLE EXPIRED….

Healthy plants require nutrient rich, well aerated soil, with plenty of drainage. That is hard to come by in San Diego. A great way to start your garden in an area with difficult soil, like clay or sand, is by investing in a raised bed garden. Raised beds are small plots of soil, 3-4 ft wide, laid on top of existing earth. These beds are popular for backyard gardeners because of their space efficiency and near effortless upkeep. Plants are easy to reach from both sides of the bed and building your garden 1-2ft off the ground you will reduce stress on your back. Deep, loose, fertile soil with plenty of room for root zone development and adequate drainage will make your plants healthy and productive.

A raised bed can be created by constructing any size rectangle from rot resistant materials, laying down hardware cloth, then filling with soil. Inexpensive alternatives to building your raised bed from scratch are the Big Bag Bed by Smart Pot or Frame-It-All prefabricated beds, which only need to be filled with a high quality soil.

 

Product Spotlight: Method 7 Glasses

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Spending a lot of time in your grow room can cause a number of problems, including eye damage from High Intensity Discharge (HID) lights. This can cause serious consequences over time, including cataracts and permanent loss of vision.

Method7Glasses1ALL HID bulbs emit UV light, though the amount and type vary between bulbs. If you read the warning labels, they’re very clear: do NOT attempt to look directly at the bulb or you can receive UV radiation damage.   Many grow rooms use reflectors, so you don’t need to look directly at the bulb to be exposed.

Furthermore, high-pressure sodium (HPS) lights are notorious for distorting the natural color rendition of your plants, making everything look yellow instead.  This makes it more difficult to monitor your plants’ health, determine the color of their leaves, and spot pests, diseases, mildews, and mineral deficiencies.   Method 7 glasses compensate for these color imbalances, allowing you to see the normal colors of the plants as if you were in natural daylight.

Method Seven glasses can also prevent the “strobe effect,” a phenomenon that negatively affects indoor gardeners working under HPS lights.   This is caused by the lights slightly dimming and getting brighter as the AC voltage cycles, which can be seen by the lines that appear in photographs and film.  Over extended periods of time this strobe effect can cause headaches and make people feel ill. However if you place a Method Seven lens in front of the camera then the lines will drastically reduce this effect, causing the lines to simply disappear.

Made from high-grade mineral glass, Method 7 rendition lenses add specific elements that are atomically bonded into the crystalline structure.   These elements filter out the wavelength of yellow light, which allows you to see natural looking colors in an HPS lighting environment.  All Method 7 lenses were developed in partnership with Carl Zeiss, whose camera lenses are used by millions of photographers all over the world.

It’s important to protect yourself and your vision, and to effectively monitor the health of your plants. Method Seven glasses will transform the way you see your garden, and provide the visual clarity you need to catch problems that are difficult to see under HPS lights.    It’s simply the best choice for your eyes, your plants, and your lifestyle.

Seasonal Gardening

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The concept of seasonal gardening is an ancient practice that follows the cycles of the Sun and Moon. Awareness of the seasons and what planting tasks are best suited for which time is a tool for gardening success. The Farmer’s Almanac, Biodynamics and the Hawaiian Moon-Planting Calendar are all examples of seasonal gardening that utilize natural light cycles. A balanced system can be created by understanding how light cycles are effected by the sun, moon, gravity and water as well as the specific ways plants react to them. Ideal planting and harvesting schedules can be developed by tracking the natural reactions and effects of water, light and growth. This schedule varies based on location and is used more as a guideline than a science.

transplants-moon-300x300Seasons can be categorized as winter, spring, summer and fall but the season can also be be broken down into cycles. Cycles of light, cycles of growth, cycles of planting and harvesting. Knowing what type of crop correlates with each season and their light cycles is vital for optimum plant growth and successful harvests.

The common belief that summer is warm so plants grow and winter is cold so plants are less fruitful is only partially accurate. While temperature does play a roll, a more relevant factor is sunlight. After the summer solstice on June 21st the Sun sets earlier and rises later, shortening each day throughout winter. Plants store their energy during this time and don’t grow as vigorously. Once the December 21st Winter Solstice passes the light cycle reverts; the days begin to get longer. The increasingly long hours of sunlight correlate with the plant vegetative growth cycle. Light is instrumental in plant growth and in the transition of seasons.

Types of plants can be broken into warm weather and cold weather crops. Crops like corn, cucumbers, melons, peppers, and tomatoes require higher temperature soil and air for vigorous growth and therefore are labeled warm weather crops. Cold weather crops, or crops that require cooler soil and air temperatures include many plants with edible roots and leafs like carrots, onions, beets and potatoes.

After the Summer Solstice warm weather plants begin flowering and producing seeds because there are fewer hours of light each day. The light shift is a signal to plants that they are at a half way point in their life cycle. The sunlight available for photosynthesis has decreased, this shift tells them it’s time to flower and make seed.

In temperate places like San Diego it is never too late to plant but generally best results happen when you plant according to the season. The Sun is the more obvious seasonal gardening guide but the moon is also a large factor to consider. The moon cycle reoccurs monthly and is especially important to consider if you are planting “off-season”. During the full moon there is significantly more light and just as the ocean tides are effected by the moon’s magnetism- all water reacts (even water in the ground and in plant roots). For off-season planting success, be sure to follow the moon cycles and plant during the ideal time of month (a few days before the new moon and the full moon) as to maximize the water and light effects of nature. Properly planted and moistened seed’s can’t help but germinate a few days before the moon is at it’s fullest because of the relationship between the water and moon. Rain is also more common around the full and new moon so by transplanting just before this time, your plants experience less shock..

Timing is always an important factor to keep in mind so that you are prepared and planting with the season. Every move you make should be for the following year which means it’s time to start thinking about what the upcoming season offers. It’s important to fall into the rhythm of nature’s seasons for best gardening results. For instance, from December 21-June 21 is ideal for sowing warm weather seeds and planting your garden beds so the plants can absorb the increasingly long sunlight rays going into summer. While moving through the late summer months and into the early fall is typically a time for harvesting and planting cold crops and perennials such as herbs, flowers, and leafy greens like lettuce and kale. Depending on your location the seasons may vary or seem invisible.

Seasonal growing is a natural balance that is not meant to be conquered but is an intuitive and natural tool. Think of the process as the movement of the ocean; fighting it is an uphill battle. Fall into the pattern of the Earth’s flow and success will surely follow.

Sages- the sacred herbs

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Sages (of the genus Salvia) are herbs or shrubs native to Mediterranean climates across the globe, and consist of many different species and varieties. Sages are members of the mint family (Lamiaceae), and have been used medicinally for thousands of years. Sage plants (mainly white, black, and purple) have many practical, natural, and spiritual uses. Sages have been used to treat fevers, epilepsy, headaches, diarrhea, depression, and a variety of other ailments. Many species of Salvia are high in antioxidants, sources of natural pain relievers, and even proven to help improve memory and cognitive function.

White Sage (Salvia apiana) is a small shrub with distinctive leaves with a white hairy coating. Those small hairs are called Trichomes and give the sage plant its whitish coloring. White sage is found throughout southern California and Baja, as well as in some southwestern deserts. White sage is a commonly used herb both in modern medicine and in spiritual healing. Smudging is the Native American ritual of using smoldering sage to cleanse the soul and purify the mind. The sage smoke is said to help set the mind right, and clarify ones thoughts. The leaves are dried then wrapped in bundles for burning. Bundles are available in many shops, or can be made by collecting and drying white sage leaves. A heat tolerant bowl should also be used when smudging to prevent any damage; an abalone shell is often used in ceremonies. Tea can be made from the leaves of white sage, and it’s said to help women after childbirth and ease a variety of headaches and migraines. Sage tea is used today as an effective headache treatment, and is proven to increase cognitive awareness. Sage is often used to treat bites or stings by making a pack from the leaves, and is an effective antiseptic for minor cuts and scrapes.

White sage is a drought tolerant plant, and can survive in hot areas with little water. If you are growing sage in a garden, keep in mind that in dry seasons it is recommended you water once a week to help the plant thrive. These plants grow best in sandy soil and direct sun; sage is a vital species of coastal chaparral, and can tolerate a variety of stressors. Leaves can be picked when young, and dried by hanging in an arid area, or baking at a very low temperature. With a wide variety of spiritual and medical uses, white sage is a versatile plant and a vital part of both our local ecosystems and our gardens.

 

Black Sage (Salvia mellifera) is another common species in Southern California and Baja. This species of sage has very dark green leaves, which are much smaller than that of White Sage. The Black sage is also a much hardier plant and grows well in stressful environments.  Traditionally, Black sage was used to detox the body and soul, as well as provide natural pain relief. The Chumash tribe of Central California used to make a strong sun tea from the leaves of Black Sage. The tea was then used to rub on a painful area, or used to soak one’s feet. Black Sage contains Aethiopinone and Ursolic acid, which are natural pain relievers used in many modern medicines. In the proper rain conditions, the flowers of this plant produce enough nectar that it can be used to make Black sage honey. This honey has a peppery flavor and is rare in local dry climates.

Black sage plants are a hardy species, and form the staple structure for both hard and soft local chaparral ecosystems. These plants are great for stabilizing soils and preventing erosion, which are great qualities for landscaping plants. The flowers of Black sage also serve as a food source to certain species of hummingbirds and butterflies.

Purple Sage (Salvia officinalis) has shorter leaves with some hairs present, and has purple flowers. Purple sage is one of the most beneficial species when it comes to medical use. Several studies show great promise in the treatment of CNS Disorders (Central nervous system) as well as in the treatment of age related memory loss. Sage has always been valued to clear one’s mind and improve focus, but also has shown to slow the progression of mental decay and memory loss. Purple sage was used to treat stomach issues and skin issues, through the consumption of the sage tea. Purple sage also found a foothold in many European cultures as a culinary herb, especially in England.

Purple sage grows well in average to dry soil, and is drought tolerant. Purple sage does very well in landscaping and gardens as a butterfly and hummingbird attractor.

Sage plants (Salvia) have been used throughout history to help calm the soul, and treat a variety of ailments. Sage has a distinct calming effect. Recent medical research is shown to support the traditional uses of sage, by isolating the exact chemicals responsible for healing, pain relief, and increased mental clarity.  Sage shows significant effects in reducing age-based memory loss, and although treatment is not yet developed, sage shows great promise in modern medicine. Sages also have great culinary applications as seasoning for food, or the making of tea. Teas can be used to calm yourself, awaken your mind, and help treat headaches. Sages grow very easily and are drought tolerant, requiring little water and full sun. Sage plants are a great landscaping plant because of their low-maintenance care, and their anti-erosion properties. With its many benefits, pleasant odor, and beautiful flowers, Sage plants are a great addition to any garden or landscape.

Sage Tea

For a whole pot:        2 ½-3 cups boiling water

            20g (0.705oz) dried sage or 30g (1.058oz) fresh sage

            Add sage and steep/ or mix and filter, to preferred strength

 

For 1 cup:         Boiling water in desired mug/cup

Use 2g (0.0705oz) of dried sage or 3g (0.1058) of fresh sage

Add sage and let steep or mix and filter, to preferred strength

Vegan Slow Cooker Tacos

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This simple vegan meal is great for the cold winter months, throw everything in your slow cooker and dinner is ready! It can be cooked in large batches and frozen or served fresh.

Ingredients

  • Whole Wheat Taco Shells
  • Chopped Onion
  • Chopped Lettuce
  • Sliced Avocado
  • Lime
    Taco Filling:

    • 30 oz pinto beans (we used Eden Organic canned pinto beans but you can also use your crock pot to slow cook dry beans)
    • 1 cup fresh corn kernels
    • 1 chipotle pepper packaged in abodo sauce minced (for spicier filling you can use the whole can of peppers)
    • 6 oz tomato paste
    • 6 oz chili sauce
    • 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1 tsp ground cumin
    • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
    • ½ teaspoon salt

Begin by putting all the Taco Filling Ingredients in your slower cooker and turning on low for 3 hours. Turn the slow cooker up to high for a 4th hour.

Add the Taco Filling to your Taco Shells. Top with Onion, Lettuce, Avocado and a squeeze of Lime. Serve alone or with rice.

Makes 10 tacos.

San Diego Hydroponics T-Shirt Design Contest

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San Diego Hydroponics & Organics is excited to begin 2015 with a T-Shirt Design Contest. You can find complete contest rules and entry form below.

Contest Guidelines

  • SDHydro T-Shirt Design Contest is open to the public.
  • You must be 18 years or older to enter or have written consent from parent or guardian.
  • Each applicant may submit up to three designs.
  • Submissions will be showcased to the public for the duration of the contest.
  • Designs will be accepted through April, 20, 2015.
  • A winner will be selected and announced on April 27, 2015.
  • Contest winner will be awarded $250.
  • San Diego Hydroponics & Organics will retain all rights to the winning design. By submitting your design you agree to these terms.
  • San Diego Hydroponics & Organics reserves the right to make adjustments to the winning design.

 

Design Guidelines

  • The SDHydro logo must be incorporated in your design. Email Marketing@128.199.117.192 for a digital file.
  • Design must be inspired by San Diego Hydroponics & Organics.
  • Design should be free of profanity, vulgarity or anything illegal.
  • Design should not exceed 10” x 10”.
  • Vector art should be submitted in .pdf format.
  • Pixel art should be submitted at 300dpi resolution in .pdf format.
  • Designs must be completely original. By submitting a design you are guaranteeing that you hold the rights to all materials used in your design.

Please include the below information and email along with your design to Marketing@128.199.117.192.
Please use“T-Shirt Contest” in the subject line.

 All entries are due by Monday, April 20, 2015.

Name:
Age: Name of Guardian(if under 18):
Address:
City: State: ZIP Code:
Phone: Email:

I _______________________ (name or name of guardian), have read the official contest guidelines for the 2015 SDHydro T-Shirt Design Contest.
Signature of Participant or Guardian: ______________________________    Date: _______________

Carnivorous Plants

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Carnivorous Plants

As growers and humans we have always had an interest in nature’s extremes, and there is certainly no shortage of these extremes in the plant world. There is perhaps no better example in nature than carnivorous plants. Plants such as the Venus Fly Traps, Pitcher Plants and Sundews have evolved unique ways of supplementing poor soil nutrition by becoming predators. These plants feed off other living things using unique and deadly adaptations.

Venus Fly Traps (Dionaea muscipula)

These small herbs are possibly the most well known of the Carnivorous plants. They consist of a small base of leaves with shoots consisting of a hinged, toothed trap with small pink pads that open like a clam shell. A trigger on the pad acts as a sensor and when activated, shuts rapidly on the intended victim. A native to the eastern coast of the United States, these plants are adapted for harsh marshland soils and lots of sun. They’re normal “diet” consists of ants, small beetles, and of course, flies.

These plants can be notoriously hard to grow and require a daily flushing of distilled water, light or sun cues, and plenty of patience. A good base is recommended like sphagnum moss or sometimes a sandy medium. The plants are used to a summer/winter cue, so timing with sunlight or artificial light is key. These plants need lots of water, and distilled water has shown great results. Traps can take years to present themselves in a mature plant, so patience is key.

Pitcher Plants (Sarracenia purpurga)

A non-motile plant, pitcher plants rely on bait to trap their victims. Modified leaved form a pitcher like trap where digestive juices are produced. The sides of the pitcher are slick and some species have teeth lining their rims to prevent any escape. An irritable odor attracts creatures to its pitcher and they slip down into the pool. With no option for escape, the animal is slowly digested in the pool of juices and the plant is fed.

While some species have an “umbrella” to keep rain from the tropics out of the pitcher, some plants’ pools just become gradually more dilute. These diluted pools still serve a purpose, as they become ideal breeding grounds for many species of insects. Nutrients are also added to the pitcher by tree shrews who have found a convenient use for the pitchers as their preferred bathroom.

Growing them is easier than the Venus traps. Pitcher plants require a sandy, nutrient poor soil, and peat moss is a good medium to grow them in. These plants need full sun, and must not be overwatered. Keeping the tops dry and in full sun will produce the best pitchers in most species.

Sundews (Drosera capensis)

Sundews are small, sturdy plants that offer unique adaptation to their shoots. Small “tentacles” stick off of the shoot, capped with a sticky deposit that ensnares unlucky victims. When an insect makes contact, it is trapped in the sticky mess, as the arms begin to curl up and trap the insect even further. Digestive juices immediately begin to work, slowly breaking down the animal and providing nutrients to the plant. These plants are found in numerous families, and can be found on nearly every continent, quickly becoming one of the most popularly cultivated plants.

Sundews grow well in almost every medium, although a 1:1 sand/peat or LFS/perlite ratio works best. The plants prefer to stay moist and around 50% humidity. Feeding them 2 times per week will help ensure a good growth pattern for these plants. The plant itself is fairly tolerant of a wide-variety of environments, so they are a good choice for a low-maintenance carnivorous plant.

Carnivorous Plants

If you are interested in seeing any of these exotic plants, San Diego State University has a small public display in the Life Sciences North building on the first floor. San Diego

Hydroponics and Organics has kindly donated the lighting system for this display, and the plants have been thriving there for years. These plants are under the expert care of Bob Mangen, the greenhouse master at SDSU. Bob has kept this display for over 10 years, and had pioneered new techniques in caring for these unique plants. Greenhouse visiting hours are Monday-Friday, 9am-11am.

Hungry Caterpillar Vegan Veggie Wraps

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Ingredients:

  • Mission Garden Spinach Wrap (or flour tortilla)
  • Hummus
  • Spinach
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • ½ Cucumber
  • 1 Carrot
  • ½ Avocado
  • Tooth picks

*Feel free to add or subtract ingredients based on what’s in your garden!

1)     Begin by washing all your veggies.  This step is especially important if you are buying your produce and have not grown it yourself.  See notes at the bottom for more details on how to wash your veggies!

2)     Peel carrot and cut into strips length-wise, put to the side. Cut one side of the Bell Pepper, this will be your caterpillar’s face, then cut the reminder into long strips. Cut Cucumber, and Avocado into thin segments as well.

3)     Generously spread Hummus on the Tortilla. I use Mission Garden Spinach Wraps and an Artichoke Spinach Hummus so the caterpillar is green but you can substitute any flour tortilla.

4)     Layer a handful of Spinach on top of the Hummus.

5)     Lay Bell Pepper, Cucumber, Carrot and Avocado in parallel down the center or the Tortilla.

6)     Roll the Tortilla over its self and secure with a tooth pick.

7)     Space four more toothpicks evenly apart down the center of the roll. Cut in between each toothpick.

8)     Place the segments next to each other on a plate and to the endmost one with your saved portion of Bell Pepper.

9)     Using whatever remaining ingredients you have, make a face, feet and antennas for your caterpillar.

 

How to Wash Store Bought Veggies

1)     Mix ½ cup white vinegar with 3 cups water in a spray bottle.

2)     Spray veggies thoroughly.

3)     Rinse well.

Product Spotlight: Trim Stations

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San Diego Hydroponics & Organics is happy to now offer Trim Stations.

Trimming made easy! The most efficient and cost effective platform to process a grow. Trim Station is designed to increase trimming efficiency through ergonomic design resulting in greater yield. Designed by growers for growers, made in California, using recycled materials.

 

The most efficient platform to process a grow. Trim Station is designed to increase trimming efficiency through ergonomic design resulting in greater yield. The Fully Loaded package is a next generation, all-in-one, trimming platform. The Stand has an adjustable neck allowing for multiple posture settings, while Bud Beam affixes to the Stands mounting tab and is a specially designed 5W LED light that floods the trim zone with brilliant illumination. Everything a trimmer needs is now at arms reach within a self contained unit.

For more information on these and other Trim Station products visit Trimstation.com

2014 Customer Appreciation Sale

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Join San Diego Hydroponics & Organics Nov. 7th & 8th for our two day Customer Appreciation Sale. The best way to say ‘thank you’ to our customers is with free raffles, free samples and discounts up to 50% off storewide at all five of our San Diego locations.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to meet representatives from your favorite brands at our San Marcos, Bay Park and Lakeside locations.

Enter to win awesome prizes, like a trip for 2 to Las Vegas, Bulb/Ballast/Hood package, House & Garden premium nutrients, Mad Farmer additives, your favorite Bio Bizz products and more!

Saturday lunch is on us! Enjoy a feast from Tacos & Gorditas from 12-3.

Soil 30% off
Vermifire/Vermisoil 50% off
Hydroton/Hydrocorn $20+ tax (44% off)
Grodan up to 35% off
Bulbs 40% off
Hortilux 1000w HPS 50% off
Ballasts 30% off
Digital Ballasts 40% off
Harvest Pro 1000w Ballasts 40% off
Hoods 30% off
Nutrients 30% off
General Hydroponics 35% off
Mad Farmer 35% off
H&G 30% off
Botanicare 35% off
Cutting Edge Solutions 35% off
Fans 30% off
Pesticides 30% off
Cloning Gear (Cloning Gels, Powders and Liquid, Domes, Propagation Trays, Scalpels, Mad Root Trays) 30% off
Pots/Saucers 30% off
Water Filters 30% off
Trayhuggers 30% off
Reservoirs 25% off
Pumps 25% off
Grow Tents 25% off
Atmosphere Controllers 25% off
Can Original 25% off
Can Lite 30% off
Phresh Filters (only filters, not silencers or inline filters or 12″ filter) 30% off
Blue Lab 25% off
Green Trees 25% off
Timers 30% off
Ducting & assesories 25% off
CO2 tanks 20lb-$115
35lb-$199
50lb-$359.99
Method 7 25% off (except RX)
Pumps 20-25% off
Sprayers 20% off
Turbo Klone 25% off
Indoor Garden Guide 50% off
Books 30% off

*Some exclusions may apply. Ask a clerk for details. Sale prices may be subject to change.

Coolaroo Product Spotlight

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San Diego Hydroponics & Organics is happy to offer Coolaroo Shade Fabric in 50%, 70% & 90% UV Protection and Coolaroo accessories. Shade cloth is perfect outdoor fabric. Designed to breathe, it allows cooling breezes to flow through, significantly reducing temperatures beneath. Coolaroo’s knitted construction prevents tearing and fraying and the special Coolaroo process ensures colors remain vivid for years.

Coolaroo Shade Fabric is manufactured of High Density Polyethylene which is knitted instead of woven, allowing heat and humidity to rise through fabric while reducing ambient air temperatures up to 33%. Specialized fabric is stain resistant and will not mold, mildew or fade. Ideal for shade protection over gardens, patios, decks, pergolas, and lanais. It also can be used for privacy, or a wind screens.

Coolaroo Shade Fabric is available in forest green, black, and tan. SDHydro sells Shade Fabric by the foot or in prepacked rolls of various sizes. Call any of our locations for details.

 

Coolaroo also offers Coolaroo Butterfly Clips and Tie Wraps to secure your Coolaroo Shade Fabric.

Terpinator Product Spotlight

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Some types of plant oils have terpenoid, or compounds that contain very interesting odor molecules. Terpenoids are molecular compounds that consist of repeating units of a 5-carbon structure called isoprene. Many plants incorporate aromatic compounds that produce a plethora of odors that have been long thought to affect our physiology through odor activation (aromatherapy).

Two of these odor molecules are limonene and myrcene. These occur in a wide variety of oil producing plants, and can be described to smell like lemons and grapefruit, respectively. Many researchers have been aware of the power of odor chemistry to affect our moods, for example, many people describe a feeling of “sunny happiness” when smelling limonene. These types of compounds end up in the glands that inhabit the “skin” of plants, and can create biological affects in our bodies when ingested. For example, the plant oils in mint can cause a feeling of relaxation when taken as a cup of tea.

Terpinator has a relatively neutral PH of about 6 and should not affect your PPMs.  This product can be used from vegetating state all the way through flush.  We recommend 15 – 30 ml/Gal for the last 4-6 weeks of flowers, all the way through flush.  Terpinator has been tested at a very high concentrations with a large variety of nutrients and mediums – never with any results of burning or negative effects.  Therefore, it can be used through the entire cycle of growth without concern.

 

Directions:

You can use Terpinator during the entire life cycle of the plant.

Vegetating phases of growth:
Add 5-10 ml per gallon of water.

Reproduction and fruit set stages of growth:
Add 10-30 ml per gallon of water.

Compatible with any brand of fertilizer products.

http://www.terpinator.com/

Red, White, & Blueberry Popsicle Recipe

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You will need:

  • Sparkling Lemonade
  • Cranberry Juice
  • 1 cup Strawberries (washed & chopped)
  • 1 cup Blueberries (washed)
  • Plain or Vanilla Greek Yogurt
  • Popsicle Mold
  • Popsicle Sticks

Begin by dropping enough blueberries into the mold to fill the tip of the popsicle. Using a popsicle stick, gentle press the blueberries down. Be careful not to squish the berries. Then fill with sparkling lemonade until the blueberries are covered. Freeze for 3 hours or until frozen solid.

After the lemonade and blueberries have frozen solid, remove from freezer. Spoon the chopped strawberries on top of the frozen lemonade, push down gently with a popsicle stick. Fill the mold with cranberry juice to cover strawberries. Use tin foil or plastic wrap to cover mold. Insert popsicle stick into each popsicle. Place back in freezer for 3 hours or until frozen solid.

Once the second layer has frozen, remove from freezer. Take off tin foil or plastic wrap and spoon Greek yogurt around the base of the popsicle stick. Replace in freezer. Popsicles will be ready to eat in 3 hours.

Frame-It-All Product Spotlight

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So quick and simple to assemble with just a screwdriver and hammer, Frame-It-All raised bed gardens are all-season, weather proof and durable. Gone are the tattered, rotting wood frames or hulking ugly railroad ties that overpower the aesthetics of your yard. With Frame-It-All’s simple assembly you won’t waste hours measuring lumber, aligning seams and measuring angles.

The “green” composite timbers, manufactured with 40% wood fiber and 60% recycled polyethylene never rot, splinter, become infested and contain no harmful chemicals. The patented joint stakes and brackets enable you to create a frame of any angle and as many different heights as you wish. They are perfect solutions to maximizing the use of even the smallest space by building up, rather than digging down.

Forget the back breaking effort needed for spadework, heavy duty tools, rototillers and soil testing. You can locate the raised beds in the most desirable spot and minimize the need for weeding, watering equipment and protection. You never need to tread on the soil so it’ll it never become impacted. You can also create a raised garden bed on a cement surface or deck, just saw off the spike of each of the base joints stakes.

Frame-It-All Anchor Joints feature a 10.25″ serrated stake that is hammered into the earth and remains secure even when the land shifts due to frost or other climate changes. For creating tiered raised beds, you can also add Stacking Joints through a specially designed connecting hole in the top of the Anchored Joint.”

Seasonal Gardening

Articles, Gardening, Lifestyle

The concept of seasonal gardening is an ancient practice that follows the cycles of the Sun and Moon. Awareness of the seasons and what planting tasks are best suited for which time is a tool for gardening success. The Farmer’s Almanac, Biodynamics and the Hawaiian Moon-Planting Calendar are all examples of seasonal gardening that utilize natural light cycles.  A balanced system can be created by understanding how light cycles are effected by the sun, moon, gravity and water as well as the specific ways plants react to them. Ideal planting and harvesting schedules can be developed by tracking the natural reactions and effects of water, light and growth. This schedule varies based on location and is used more as a guideline than a science.

Seasons can be categorized as winter, spring, summer and fall but the season can also be be broken down into cycles. Cycles of light, cycles of growth, cycles of planting and harvesting. Knowing what type of crop correlates with each season and their light cycles is vital for optimum plant growth and successful harvests.

The common belief that summer is warm so plants grow and winter is cold so plants are less fruitful is only partially accurate. While temperature does play a roll, a more relevant factor is sunlight. After the summer solstice on June 21st the Sun sets earlier and rises later, shortening each day throughout winter. Plants store their energy during this time and don’t grow as vigorously. Once the December 21st Winter Solstice passes the light cycle reverts; the days begin to get longer. The increasingly long hours of sunlight correlate with the plant vegetative growth cycle. Light is instrumental in plant growth and in the transition of seasons.

Types of plants can be broken into warm weather and cold weather crops. Crops like corn, cucumbers, melons, peppers, and tomatoes require higher temperature soil and air for vigorous growth and therefore are labeled warm weather crops. Cold weather crops, or crops that require cooler soil and air temperatures include many plants with edible roots and leafs like carrots, onions, beets and potatoes.

After the Summer Solstice warm weather plants begin flowering and producing seeds because there are fewer hours of light each day. The light shift is a signal to plants that they are at a half way point in their life cycle. The sunlight available for photosynthesis has decreased, this shift tells them it’s time to flower and make seed.

In temperate places like San Diego it is never too late to plant but generally best results happen when you plant according to the season. The Sun is the more obvious seasonal gardening guide but the moon is also a large factor to consider. The moon cycle reoccurs monthly and is especially important to consider if you are planting “off-season”. During the full moon there is significantly more light and just as the ocean tides are effected by the moon’s magnetism- all water reacts (even water in the ground and in plant roots). For off-season planting success, be sure to follow the moon cycles and plant during the ideal time of month (a few days before the new moon and the full moon) as to maximize the water and light effects of nature. Properly planted and moistened seed’s can’t help but germinate a few days before the moon is at it’s fullest because of the relationship between the water and moon. Rain is also more common around the full and new moon so by transplanting just before this time, your plants experience less shock..

Timing is always an important factor to keep in mind so that you are prepared and planting with the season. Every move you make should be for the following year which means it’s time to start thinking about what the upcoming season offers. It’s important to fall into the rhythm of nature’s seasons for best gardening results. For instance, from December 21-June 21 is ideal for sowing warm weather seeds and planting your garden beds so the plants can absorb the increasingly long sunlight rays going into summer. While moving through the late summer months and into the early fall is typically a time for harvesting and planting cold crops and perennials such as herbs, flowers, and leafy greens like lettuce and kale. Depending on your location the seasons may vary or seem invisible.

Seasonal growing is a natural balance that is not meant to be conquered but is an intuitive and natural tool.  Think of the process as the movement of the ocean; fighting it is an uphill battle. Fall into the pattern of the Earth’s flow and success will surely follow.

Simple Spinach Pesto Salad

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Ingredients:

  • 3 Cups Spinach
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 2 Celery Stalks
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 15oz Can Garbanzo Beans
  • 1/3 Cup Pesto
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)

Wash spinach, cucumber, and celery. Remove ends of cucumber & celery and slice into half circles. Drain garbanzo beans and mix in large bowl with spinach, cucumber, celery, pesto, and lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Garden Salad with Fresh Tahini Dressing

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Made with fresh greens from San Diego Hydroponics & Organics‘ garden and ingredients from People’s Organic Co-op in Ocean Beach, this salad and dressing are easy to recreate with produce from your own garden!

For the salad we used:

  • Kale
  • Arugula
  • Nevada Lettuce
  • Coastal Lettuce
  • 1 Heirloom Tomato
  • 1/2 Cucumber, Sliced
  • 1/4 c. Dried Cranberries
  • 1/2 Apple, Chopped
  • 1/3 c. Chopped Walnuts

 

For the dressing we combined:

  • 3 tbsp Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 2 tbsp Tahini
  • 1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar (can be substituted with coconut vinegar)
  • 2-2 1/2 tbsp Agave Nectar (can be substituted with maple syrup)
  • 1 1/2-2 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2-1 tsp Fresh Ginger, Finely Chopped
  • pinch Sea Salt
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil (can be substituted with walnut or hemp oil or may be omitted for oil free)
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper

Should make about 2/3 cups.

 

Product Spotlight: Method 7 Glasses

Articles, products

Spending a lot of time in your grow room can cause a number of problems, including eye damage from High Intensity Discharge (HID) lights. This can cause serious consequences over time, including cataracts and permanent loss of vision.

 

ALL HID bulbs emit UV light, though the amount and type vary between bulbs. If you read the warning labels, they’re very clear: do NOT attempt to look directly at the bulb or you can receive UV radiation damage.   Many grow rooms use reflectors, so you don’t need to look directly at the bulb to be exposed.

 

Furthermore, high-pressure sodium (HPS) lights are notorious for distorting the natural color rendition of your plants, making everything look yellow instead.  This makes it more difficult to monitor your plants’ health, determine the color of their leaves, and spot pests, diseases, mildews, and mineral deficiencies.   Method 7 glasses compensate for these color imbalances, allowing you to see the normal colors of the plants as if you were in natural daylight.

 

Method Seven glasses can also prevent the “strobe effect,” a phenomenon that negatively affects indoor gardeners working under HPS lights.   This is caused by the lights slightly dimming and getting brighter as the AC voltage cycles, which can be seen by the lines that appear in photographs and film.   Over extended periods of time this strobe effect can cause headaches and make people feel ill.  However if you place a Method Seven lens in front of the camera then the lines will drastically reduce this effect, causing the lines to simply disappear.

 

Made from high-grade mineral glass, Method 7 rendition lenses add specific elements that are atomically bonded into the crystalline structure.   These elements filter out the wavelength of yellow light, which allows you to see natural looking colors in an HPS lighting environment.  All Method 7 lenses were developed in partnership with Carl Zeiss, whose camera lenses are used by millions of photographers all over the world.

 

It’s important to protect yourself and your vision, and to effectively monitor the health of your plants. Method Seven glasses will transform the way you see your garden, and provide the visual clarity you need to catch problems that are difficult to see under HPS lights.    It’s simply the best choice for your eyes, your plants, and your lifestyle.

FREE Raised Bed Raffle

Articles, Gardening, Newsletter

Healthy plants require nutrient rich, well aerated soil, with plenty of drainage. That is hard to come by in San Diego. A great way to start your garden in an area with difficult soil, like clay or sand, is by investing in a raised bed garden. Raised beds are small plots of soil, 3-4 ft wide, laid on top of existing earth. These beds are popular for backyard gardeners because of their space efficiency and near effortless upkeep. Plants are easy to reach from both sides of the bed and building your garden 1-2ft off the ground you will reduce stress on your back. Deep, loose, fertile soil with plenty of room for root zone development and adequate drainage will make your plants healthy and productive.

A raised bed can be created by constructing any size rectangle from rot resistant materials, laying down hardware cloth, then filling with soil. Inexpensive alternatives to building your raised bed from scratch are the Big Bag Bed by Smart Pot or Frame-It-All prefabricated beds, which only need to be filled with a high quality soil.

For your chance to win a Frame-It-All raised bed garden with soil, seeds, propagation materials and nutrients enter here.

 

How to Plant a Resolution Tree

Gardening, Grow Tips, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

The New Year is a time for rejuvenation, replenishment, and growth. What better way to celebrate a fresh start than by planting a tree rooted in your intentions for the coming year? A Resolution Tree is just that, a tree that’s roots literally grow through a penned resolution and nurtured with your hope for the future.

To plant your Resolution Tree you will need:

  • Scrap Paper
  • Writing Utensil
  • Tree (Ready for transplanting)
  • Shovel
  • Water
  • Soil (SDHydro Recommends Roots Organic or Fox Farm soils)
  • Compost (SDHydro Recommends Humisoil from Organic Bountea)
  • Mulch or Bark (Optional)
  • Mad Farmer B1 (Optional)

1)Begin with taking a piece of biodegradable scrap paper and writing your 2014 resolution on it then place to the side.

2)Select a tree type and planting location. Determining the type of tree and location where it is to be planted are interdependent. Factors such as the maturing size of the tree, available space and desired purpose of the tree (fruiting, flowering, wind or shade protection, erosion prevention, restoration of native species or a combination thereof) should be considered. Learn the specific needs of your tree (preferred sunlight,  companion plants, and watering needs) then when selecting a location be mindful of maturing root systems, sidewalks and other possible obstructions of growth. It is important that the tree have adequate space to grow, with abundant sunlight and access to water.

3)Clear an area and dig a hole. Remove any weeds, leaves or brush from the direct area to be planted. Give the planted tree about a three-foot circumference of clearance space. Generally you should dig two feet deeper and two-feet wider than the potted soil that holds the current root system of the tree to ensure that the roots are not restricted.

4)Place your piece of paper with written resolution at the bottom of the hole.

5)Add compost or fertilizer into the bottom of the hole then soak. Use at least 1/3 compost per 2/3 soil.  The more compost, leaf mold or rotted manure used the more likely to satisfy the tree’s nutrient needs. The type and amount of fertilizer needed will vary by variety of tree. If the tree you intend to plant is on the larger size (greater than 2 inches in diameter) the roots may benefit from up to a one-hour soaking in a water bath. Pre-soak the hole prior to planting. This is more important with dry soil that does not hold water well but in general prepares the soil to welcome roots.

6)Carefully remove the tree from the container. The goal is as little root disturbance as possible. Either use clippers to cut the container away from the tree or gently squeeze the sides of the plant container between your hands to loosen the dirt and roots from the container wall while simultaneously letting gravity pull the tree free. After the tree is out of the container, stimulate growth by gingerly massaging the root system before putting the tree in the hole.

7)Place the tree in the hole. Position the flare of the tree (where the stem meets the roots and dirt) to be flush with the ground and clear of debris once fully planted. The stem will rot if buried or covered with damp material (such as soil) and the roots will dry out if exposed to air. Before you begin filling the hole with soil, make sure the roots are resting flat in the hole without being smashed or curved upward into a “J” shape (this is why you dug the hole deeper than necessary).

8)Add a small ring of fertilizer around the base of the tree about four to six inches away from the stem. Take care not to use too much fertilizer or you may burn the plant. Consult the instructions of your specific fertilizer for correct quantities.

9)(Optional)Add mulch or bark around the circumference of the tree. Make a ring of wood chips around the tree about three inches thick. This allows the bark to hold water in the soil and protects the topsoil from the sun. Leave a foot clearance from the edge of the bark boarder to the neck of the tree, the space in between the tree stem and the raised bark boarder create a small water-retaining bowl that is great for efficient and effective watering.

10)Water the tree and watch it grow! We recommend using Mad Farmer’s B1 to assist the plant in healing during the transplant process.

National Heirloom Seed Festival 2013

Articles, Events, Newsletter

San Diego Hydroponics & Organics is proud to have attended the third annual National Heirloom Exposition, held in Santa Rosa, CA at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds.   Hosted by our favorite seed company, Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co, the Expo was a great opportunity to meet new vendors, find new seed companies and learn about heirloom horticulture.  The expo took place Tuesday, September 10th through Thursday, September 12th. The fairground was packed with heirloom produce and tons of like-minded individuals. The Expo included a Produce Hall, a Vendor Hall, two Speaking Halls as well as a beautiful outdoor garden area that displayed many examples of Bio Dynamic gardening. A separate livestock area included activities on Wednesday especially tailored for kids. The food court featured local Farm-to-Market food trucks and stands.

For heirloom seed collectors, the event was like nothing else we’ve ever seen!   We counted at least 25 heirloom seed vendors on site.  Our two new favorite seed companies would be Wild Boar Farms with their beautiful collection of colorful  striped tomatoes, and Kitazawa Seeds because of their expansive collection of heirloom vegetables from Asia.  On the last day of the festival there was an awesome seed trade and barter event held, with no money trading hands, just seeds traded for seeds, teaching attendees the best kind of seed ethics possible.   With the declining total number of uniquely available heirloom fruit and vegetable  seeds, it was refreshing to see a culture that’s embracing the genetic diversity of heirloom seed collecting. Attendees were actively cultivating an atmosphere where seed-saving education, professional networking, and good old-fashioned seed bartering is encouraged.  In the upcoming 2014 season, Baker Creek will introduce a Master Seed Catalog”. This publication will be the largest Heirloom seed catalog ever to be printed and will be a one-stop printed resource to every seed available.

Education was a central theme of the heirloom festival.   One hall was for independent speakers and the other hall featured speakers sponsored by the companies who supported the show.   Diverse educational topics included; “Seed Saving,”  “Compost & Mulch,” “Seaweeds for Food & Health,” “Farming for Chef’s,” “Fermentation for Farming,” “Growing Food in Small Spaces,” “Bio-Dynamic Composting,” and many more.   The second hall was reserved  for talks centered on Biodynamics (which is the combination of growing plants and animals together), it  also featured more intense and technical talks ranging from the many aspects of Biodynamics, from pollinating Bee’s to Wildflowers and Compost.

Biodynamics was the hot term and philosophy of the show, and for good reason.   At the center of a Biodynamic farm is the recycling of materials out of the life of the farm itself rather than importing fertilizers from the outside, organic or not.  Any system on a farm that utilizes the inherent organic materials on-site and creates loops of reusing, re-purposing and recycling is using the principles of Biodynamics.  Here in San Diego two of the most common animals that can join with your home garden are chickens and, thanks to recent legislation, Pygmy goats.   Besides getting fresh eggs that are higher in vitamins and beta carotene than store bought eggs, chickens also provide manure that’s rich in nitrogen.  Many chicken owners simply move their coup across lawns or garden every two weeks to spread the manure in a simple and effective manner.  Pygmy goats provide milk, till dirt labor-free, and just like chickens their manure can be used as fertilizer or compost.   Local rules and regulations for both inside the city of San Diego can be found here for Chickens, and here for Pymgy Goats.   As we know from our experience with aquaponics,  the biodiversity of the system is organized so that the waste product of one part becomes the revitalizing energy for another. This results in an increase in the capacity for self-renewal and ultimately makes the garden or farm more sustainable.

Lastly, before our time was up at the Heirloom Expo, we found several new vendors we’re excited to bring back to the shelves of San Diego Hydroponics & Organics.  This includes a new greenhouse company with products ranging from hobby greenhouses all the way up to full scale high tunnels with automated fans, louvres, and automated blackout materials which are used to create any light cycle a farmer wants for year round harvesting.  Another product we found soon to be on the shelves is HB-101 from Japan.    HB-101 is made from extremely concentrated oils derived from  Japanese Cypress, Pines  and Cedars and can be used as a seed soak, mixed into a regular nutrient recipe as a plant vitalizer, or even as a foliar spray for insect control.  Come into San Diego Hydroponics today for a look at some of the new products and catalogs we’ve found to make next year the best Season yet for your backyard and indoor gardening, whether it’s small scale, hobby or professional!

Product Spotlight: Mad Farmer Be One

Articles, Gardening, Grow Tips, products, Uncategorized

Mad Farmer BeOne

 

Although the benefits of vitamin B1 have been long known and often debated, new research is showing that B1 on its own is not very effective.  Instead, it works together with other nitrogen rich elements, specifically Auxins[i]. Through this synergy B1 becomes a useful tool to help reduce shock during cloning, transplanting, topping, skirting and other stressful situations.  Plants do synthesize B1 internally but light is required for this to occur, therefore B1 is found in the leaf tips where light is readily available, but not in the root zone where light does not penetrate. For stress prevention at the root zone we must use a supplemental form of B1.  Mad Farmer’s Be One is the most comprehensive B1 additive on the market, derived from Ascophyllum Nodosum, Humic Acids, Protein Hydrolysate & Thiamine (Vitamin B1). This complete plant tonic can be used in the garden through all stages of growth from starts, until about week four of the bloom cycle.

 

Mad Farmer’s Be One Contains:

 

ASCOPHYLLUM NODOSUM (Norwegian Sea Kelp) is one of the most widely used plant nutrients in the world and is composed of over 70 vitamins, minerals and enzymes including; Copper, Zinc, Molybdenum, Boron, Manganese and Cobalt. Ascophyllum Nodosum also contains Cytokinins, naturally occurring growth hormones that promote chloroplast development and heavier harvests. As well as stimulating bacterial growth and a strengthened immune system, the Cytokinins work in conjunction with the Auxins to assist in rapid root development and amplified cellular division.  When used in the reservoir it also reduces osmotic shock and aids in micro nutrient uptake.

 

HUMIC ACID is a powerful organic electrolyte that dissolves minerals and trace elements, such as Silica, increasing the bioavailability of nutrients while simultaneously detoxifying soil of heavy metals. When used as a foliar spray, Humic Acids increase oxygen intake, enhance photosynthesis and aid in the development of essential oils.

 

PROTEIN HYDROLYSATE- The most basic component of all living organisms is protein which is made when chains of amino acids bond together. Protein Hydrolysate supplies your plants with these building blocks, allowing Protein synthesis to occur by providing short chain Peptides and L-Aminos in a readily available, water soluble form.  When used as a foliar spray, Protein Hydrolysate stimulates the opening of stomata, resulting in increased photosynthesis. Used as a top feed, it stimulates micro flora development, stimulating biodiversity in your growing medium.

 

As you can see, Mad Farmer’s Be One is not simply a B1 supplement to be used in stressful situations. Its formula is designed to increase your gardens productivity throughout the entire lifecycle of the plant. With the use of some of nature’s most powerful minerals you can help your boost your plants natural defenses, increase the ability to use available light and. uptake nutrients more efficiently. Simultaneously, you will be ridding your grow medium of pollutants and increasing its biodiversity.  San Diego Hydroponics & Organics is San Diego’s EXCLUSIVE source for Mad Farmer products.  So stop by any one of their 5 locations today and take your garden to the next level with Mad Farmer.

 

 



[i] Auxins area class of plant hormones that are vital to plant growth, their development processes and are found in things like sea kelp.

 

The Eggplant Demystified – Health Benefits, Grow Tips & Recipe

Articles, Gardening, Grow Tips, Lifestyle, recipe

     The eggplant (aka aubergine) is perhaps one of the most misunderstood foods of all time. The staff at SD Hydro harvested these four gorgeous eggplants at our Bay Park location a few weeks ago. No one really knew what to do with them so I decided to take them home and turn them into a delicious dish.

Eggplants belong to the nightshade family of vegetables along with tomatoes, peppers and potatoes.  They are extremely high in fiber, magnesium and potassium; making them an excellent choice for a heart healthy diet and for aiding digestion. The skin of the eggplant is especially rich in nasunin, an antioxidant that helps to protect brain cells from becoming damaged.

Eggplants are quite easy to grow; they thrive in conditions similar to those favored by tomatoes. This means they grow top heavy (so a tomato cage may be necessary), need lots of sunlight and a soil that drains water well. In San Diego, eggplants will grow mid spring all the way though until early fall.

Eggplant is a highly versatile cooking ingredient; it can be stuffed, fried, rolled, mashed, baked and who knows what else. The recipe I decided to try is a traditional Georgian dish called Badrijani. Badrijani is usually served as a side dish or appetizer (though from personal experience it is also a tasty late night snack).

Eggplant Rollups

Walnut, Garlic & Pomegranate Eggplant Rolls (Badrijani)

Ingredients:

  • 2 small – medium sized Eggplants
  • Olive oil
  • 1.5 cups Walnuts
  • 1 cup Cilantro
  • 4 Cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbs. Pomegranate seeds
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Serves 4 -6

Directions:

1. Cut the tops and the bottoms off the eggplants and cut lengthwise into 1/2″ slices.

2. Fill a bowl with water and add a generous amount of salt. Place the eggplant slices into the salt water mixture and let sit for 30 minutes. This step will draw out bitter flavor from the vegetable.

3. Meanwhile, combine the walnuts, cilantro, garlic and 1 tbs of water into a food processor. The end result should be a paste-like consistency. Add more water if necessary.When the mixture is the proper consistency, fold in the pomegranate seeds. Set aside.

4. Next, remove eggplant slices from water and pat dry with a paper towel. Add 2-3 tbs of olive oil to a frying pan and turn stove to medium heat.

5. After the oil has heated, place the eggplant slices into the frying pan and fry both sides until golden brown. NOTE – the eggplant will absorb the oil very quickly. You will need to continually add oil throughout the frying process. After each slice in done, set aside on a paper towel to cool.

6. When the eggplants pieces have cooled to room temperature, take one and evenly spread the walnut mix onto one side; roll  into a spiral.Repeat this step with each piece of eggplant.

7. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Can be served cold or at room temperature.

Harvest Sale 2013! October 18, 19 & 20

Events, News, Uncategorized

House & Garden 30% off
General Hydroponics 40% off
Ocean Forest/Happy Frog Soil 50% off
All Other soil 30% off
Hortilux 1000w Bulbs 46% off
Other bulbs 40% off
Digital Ballasts 40% off
Hydroton & Hydro Corn $20+tax
Normal ballasts 30% off
Grow Tent 25% off
Myron L Pens 25% off
T5 lights 30% off

Grafting in the Garden

Articles, Gardening, Newsletter

Vegetable grafting is the big craze in home gardens this year! Though the process is centuries old it is only recently that this method has become popular among home gardeners. By bonding the rootstock of one plant to the top portion of another you can create a “Frankenplant” resistant to stress, resilient to disease, and eminently more productive.

What is grafting?

Grafting in its simplest terms is the bonding together of two plants’ vascular tissue. The rootstock of one plant is bonded to the top portion, or scion, of another with the intention of retaining the desirable characteristics of both. For hundreds of years this process has been used to grow woody plants and during the last century farmers in Southeast Asia have begun using it in the cultivation of food crops. It is only within the last few years that home gardeners have started to use this method to grow durable and bountiful vegetable plants.

What kinds of plant can be grafted together?

While it is possible for inter-species grafting to take successfully, plants of the same species will readily bond. Grafting is however very common between genera, allowing us to graft things like a tomato and eggplant together. It should be noted that grafting does not produce hybrids, rather two distinct plants bonded together at one point.

What are the benefits of grafting?

Plants are grafted especially to have increased resilience against stress and soil borne disease, like bacterial wilt and nematodes. It will produce the delicious fruit variety of the scion but with a carefully selected rootstock can produce 50% more yield.

How is grafting done?

There are various methods of grafting but the simplest for novice gardeners is tube grafting. A rootstock is chosen for qualities like fruitfulness, the ability to grow in certain types of soil and genetic fitness. A scion is chosen for the qualities of its fruit, like taste, color or size.

The seed of the rootstock is planted a day or two before the scion so that the root stock is stronger and bigger than the scion. When they are roughly 4” tall and the rootstock is topped and a small slice is made down the center. The scion is cut from its roots, inserted into the slit of the rootstock and a grafting tube is then used to secure the two together. The new plant must then be kept in humidity and temperature controlled environment until it is able to fully heal. Keeping the incision free of bacteria is imperative to the success of a graft.

The portion of the plant below the point of grafting will continue to display characteristics of the rootstock while the portion above will receive nutrients from the stock. Typically the rootstock’s limbs are trimmed back and what’s left for harvesting is the delicious fruit of the scion.

 


Product Spotlight: Mad Farmer Root Pouch

Articles, products

 

What is a Root Pouch?

Root Pouch is a fabric planting container made from recycled plastic water bottles. They have several different fabric densities, colors, and patterns depending on what the need and decor is. They are safe to use in growing edibles as well as decorative plants. Perfect for drip systems, overheads and hydroponic flood trays, as well as the use for the home grower.


Why fabric pots?

Root Pouch fabric is a mixture of PETE (recycled plastic water bottles) and natural fibers that creates a mesh like surface. Once roots reach the fabric it signals the plant to send out new roots, instead of circling and strangling the plant like other containers. Thus creating super dense, fibrous healthy root systems for plants. Root Pouch containers achieve a superior root system over the traditional plastic pot. These natural fibers mixed into the netting of the fabric will retain moisture much more evenly around the pot.


Why Root Pouch over other fabric pots?

Root Pouch is the only fabric pot on the market made from recycled plastic water bottles and mixed with natural fibers, such as jute and cotton. It has always been a frustrating feat to want to purchase and use earth friendly items, but when they are usually far more expensive then their less earth friendly counterpart it is sometimes difficult to do. Root Pouch decided to keep their prices low and affordable. Growing in Root Pouch not only takes the water bottles out of the landfill, but it also diminishes the use of the traditional black plastic pots (that also end up in the landfills), lessening the carbon footprint. 


Root Pouches are not only earth friendly and affordable but they also create an ideal environment for the plant to grow in. Their handles and stitching are industrial strength and make planting and growing in them that much easier.


Does the recycled material leech contaminants into my plants?

No. Root Pouch uses recycled plastic water bottles (known as PETE) in the making of their fabric. PETE is a plastic resin made from water bottles that have the recycled symbol surrounding the number 1, which is FDA-approved as safe to drink and eat out of. PETE is used along with natural fibers because of its strength, thermal-stability and its resistance to UV rays.

DIY Vinyl Record Hanging Planter

Articles, Lifestyle, Newsletter

 

There are endless ways of re-purposing items around our homes to create unique gardens. For this DIY I used scratched vinyl records to create retro-inspired hanging planters. These planters are easy to make because of the low temperature malleability of vinyl but for the same reason should not be hung in direct sunlight or in places of extreme heat.

The materials you will need are:

  • Oven
  • Cookie Sheet
  • Oven Safe Bowl
  • Oven Mitt
  • Drill
  • Quick Link
  • (4) 2ft lengths of Chain (I used Black Everbilt Jack Chain from HomeDepot)
  • Vinyl Record (Some records have high sentimental or monetary value- Be certain that you want to destroy the record you use.)

 

1. Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Place oven-safe bowl upside down on top of cookie tray in the oven.

3. Center your record on top of the upside-down bowl.

4. Let the record heat up for 2-3 minutes. The vinyl should start to droop.

5. Remove tray from oven, be sure to wear oven mitts.

6. Flip record upside down and mold into the desired shape and let the record cool completely.

7. Drill four holes as evenly as possible apart 1” from rim of record.

8. Hook jack-chain through holes. I was able to pry the chain open by hand but for heavier chain this may require pliers.

9. Connect chains at top with quick link.

10. Hang and add plant.

RECIPE: Chunky Vegan Chili Stew (Gluten Free, Oil Free)

Articles, Lifestyle, Newsletter

Warm summer weather is synonymous with gearing up for backyard barbeques which means loads of hot dogs and ketchup. In fact, Americans eat nearly 20 billions hot dogs a year – mostly during July 4th festivities. This year, think about adding a healthy side dish to your summer spread to offset all those dogs! This chili recipe is vegan, gluten free and contains no oil. Its loaded with protein and fresh veggies you can grow in your own backyard.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 celery stalk
  • 4 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans black beans
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1/2 cup frozen edamame, thawed
  • 2 1/2 tbs. chili powder
  • 1/2 tbs. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 cup water
  • salt and pepper

 

*Tip: If you do not have all of these chili spices on hand it can get pretty expensive buying them individually from the grocery store. Some markets, such as Sprouts and food Co-operatives, sell spices in bulk. Buying spices in bulk allows you to get just the right amount of spices needed for a recipe. Additionally, other larger super market chains, such as Ralph’s and Vons, will have most of these spices for $0.99 in the ethnic food section. This tip has saved me tons of money on spices and has allowed me to experiment with a lot more recipes (especially Indian dishes).

 

Directions:

1. Roughly chop the celery, carrots and onion.

2. Drain the liquid from one can of black beans into a soup pot and add 1/2 cup of water. Turn heat to medium high. Add the celery, carrots, onion and bay leaves.

3. Saute’ the vegetables for about 15-20 minutes, or just until soft. While sauteing, sprinkle vegetables with salt and pepper.

4. After the vegetables are soft remove the bay leaves and add the 4 cans of diced tomatoes, garlic and spices (chili powder, paprika, cumin, garlic powder) to the pot. Stir well and let simmer for 5 minutes.

5. At this point, add in both cans of black beans (one full and one strained). If liquid levels are looking low, add another 1/2 cup of water to the pot. Continue cooking at a simmer for 20 minutes.

6. After 20 minutes add the corn and edamame to the chili. Cook for another 5-10 minutes at a simmer.

7. When chili is done, take off the heat and serve. The chili can be served with toppings such as sour cream, cheese, green onion and red onion.

Serves: 8-10

RECIPE: Munchie Bites (gf, raw, vegan)

Lifestyle, Newsletter, recipe

This recipe introduced me to dates and I am in love. They are nature’s candy. So amazing! (And inexpensive-but full of sugar so be careful.) I was overwhelmed by how many different varieties of dates were offered at the store but at  $1.99-3.99 a pack (each container has enough for two batches) I was happy to try a few. I’m certain that any of the dates would work for this recipe-but I noticed the softer and larger dates were easier to de-pit and sweeter so that’s what we used for the recipe. These bars are a sweet treat that are packed with fiber (click here for detailed information about the health benefits of the ingredients we used).

Munchie Bites Recipe
(gf, raw, vegan, energy bars)
*makes 12 bites or 6 snack size bars

1 cup raw cashews (try hazelnut or walnuts!)
½ cup pitted dates (try substituting other dried fruit: cherries, figs or prunes)
1/3 cup almond butter (or other nut butter)
2 T chia seeds (bulk spice section of People’s Organic Food Cooperative)
1 T honey (or agave)
1 T hemp seeds (buy in bulk from the coolers at People’s Organic Food Cooperative)
¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut (bulk section of People’s Organic Food Cooperative)
¼ cup raw pepitas (bulk section of People’s Organic Food Cooperative)

Food Processor or Blender
Parchment paper and hemp twine
9” x 5 “ loaf pan

We bought all the ingredients from People’s Organic Food Cooperative in Ocean Beach but you can get everything from any natural/health food store.

 

1. Blend 1 cup raw cashews (or other nut) in the blender or food processor for 20-30 seconds.

2. Add ½ cup dates (after removing the pits) , 1/3 cup almond butter, 2 T chia seeds, 1 T honey and 1 T hemp seed into the food processor and blend with the cashews until everything is well combined.

3. Line a 8” x 4” or 9” x 5” loaf pan with parchment paper so that it hangs over the sides.

4. Transfer the blended mixture into the loaf pan, using a spoon to press, flatten and smooth it out.

5. Sprinkle and gently press pepitas and coconut into the surface of the bars.

6. Fold the sides of hanging parchment into the loaf pan, use your hands to press down and even out the surface of the bars one last time.

7. Refrigerate 1 hour (or freeze for 20 minutes) before pulling the wax paper lining out of the loaf pan to slice the bars.

8. Wrap each bar in parchment paper (we just re-purposed the sheet we lined the loaf pan with) and secure with a piece of hemp string.

9. Refrigerate the remaining bars.

SD Hydro Named 2013 Recycler of the Year

Events, Lifestyle, News, Uncategorized

San Diego Hydroponics & Organics Recognized by the City for “GREEN” efforts.

 

SD Hydro’s Earth-friendly nature has been noticed by the City of San Diego. We have been selected by the City of San Diego’s Environmental Services Department as one of the “Recyclers of the Year” in the 2013 Waste Reduction and Recycling Awards Program!  This award is given to local businesses who have the most innovative and comprehensive recycling programs in San Diego. Our recycling and waste reduction program includes post-consumer recycled paper products, the minimization of plastic bags at checkout, bulb recycling, growing food in-store that is passed along to customers and staff, as well as community outreach and education efforts.

Here at SD Hydro we work hard to implement environmentally responsible practices in all aspects of our store. For instance, if you’ve ever used our bathroom the thought may have crossed your mind that our TP situation might need some consideration. But actually we choose to forgo the 7-ply paper bliss in the name of reduced waste and eco-friendly toilet paper. Too much information? Just keeping it real and letting you know that your sacrifice was not in vain-I’m sure we must have saved a tree or two by now.

SD Hydro representatives will be attending a special media event to receive recognition by Mayor Bob Filner for our green efforts on Earth Day, April 22, at the San Diego International Airport.

This recognition is a big deal for us as a company and for some of the staff on an individual level. It acknowledges and validates the time, energy and money (in addition to friendly fights between employees) spent on appropriate recycling etiquette.

We rarely have an appropriate opportunity to brag about how awesome we are and this just happens to be one of those times so we wanted to take a moment and give ourselves a big pat on the back! GOOD JOB TEAM AWESOME!

 

DIY Succulent Terrarium

Lifestyle, Newsletter

For this DIY project we have decided to highlight succulents. Not only do most varieties of succulents thrive in San Diego’s warm climate, but they are nearly indestructible. When it comes to my outdoor garden, I seek out plants that are low maintenance but still aesthetically pleasing. Succulents satisfy both these criteria. There is an almost endless variety of succulents to fit any decor scheme or outdoor space. As a bonus, they are especially easy to clone yourself.

Succulents have adapted to dry dessert regions with thick leaves to retain water during droughts. For this reason, succulents do not need to be watered as often as other plant varieties. This attribute makes them perfect for the novice or busy gardener; skipping a water every now and then won’t kill your succulents.

 

Most succulents need direct sunlight and grow well in a wide range of temperatures, even in temps as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit. In the summer water succulents about once a week. Make sure the soil is completely dry between waterings. In the winter reduce waterings down to about once every other month.

Materials Needed:

– Jar or container

-Soil Mixture – We used Sanctuary Soil’s Victory Mix then added in Growstones for better drainage.

-Activated Carbon -Can be found at a pet supply store.

-Drainage material – We used Growstones and seashells

– Succulents in 2 inch pots – Armstrong Garden Center had a great selection.

 

Directions:

1. Place a layer of drainage material in the bottom of your container. We used a mixture of Growstones and seashells. Rocks and pebbles also work well.

2. Next, add a layer of activated carbon over the drainage materials. We purchased our activated carbon from Pet Kingom for $9.99. The carbon removes impurities from your terrarium.

3. Make sure the soil you choose is well aerated. We mixed in smaller Growstones to the soil for better aeration. Succulents require a lot of aeration near their roots, so this step is extremely important.

4. Finally, add a layer of your soil and then plant the succulents in the container. Fill in any gaps with soil. I found that the succulents were delicate, and I used a paint brush to remove any excess dirt that had accumulated on the leaves.

5. Lightly water the soil so that is damp all the way through. Do not over water, you don’t want an excess of water at the bottom of your container.

Energy Dense Super Foods

Glossary, Lifestyle, recipe, Uncategorized

Below is a list of ingredients full of fiber, that if worked into your diet, will add that extra punch of energy you need to be energized all day long. Each ingredient has its own benefits but we used all of them in one awesome energy-packed snack bar. Check out this recipe for our Munchie Bites if you’d like to try them for yourself!

 

 

Dates: for extra energy in thirty minutes eat a date. Rich in vitamins and minerals they have the added benefit of fiber (dates are a solution to both constipation or diarrhea. Versatile!) They do have a lot of sugar in them-which is a great natural sweetener so don’t overdo it.

Chia Seeds: a complete protein that provides energy and a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids, good for weight loss, hydration, balancing blood sugar, feeling full and fiber. (also got information from here)

Hemp seed: they carry many of the same benefits of Chia seeds-also being one of the few complete plant based proteins-(meaning it contains all 8 essential amino acids that your body needs to ingest and cannot produce), they contain essential fatty acids and are associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Coconut Improves digestion, boosts energy and endurance while killing viruses, bacterium and fungi. It relieves symptoms and lowers the risk of diabetes, heart disease and inflammation.

Cashews Rich in omega-3 fatty acid, raw cashews lower the risk of cardiovascular disease; they have healthy monounsaturated fat which is linked to lowering “bad” (LDL) cholesterol.

Almonds: The protein, folic acid, mono-saturated fats and potassium in almonds aid in a healthy heart, blood pressure regulation and an uncomplicated pregnancy (folic acid reduces risk of birth defects). Almonds also boost energy levels, contains nutrients for brain development and are good for hair and skin.
(caution: those with kidney or gallbladder problems should avoid eating almonds)

Pepitas: Loaded with essential minerals, vitamins, amino acids, carbohydrates and healthy fatty acids such as Omega-3 which reduce inflammation, while lowering risks of heart disease, cancer and arthritis. Pepitas also produce chemicals associated with improving mood, sleep, anxiety, depression and appetite.

Aquaponics 101

Articles, Gardening, Newsletter

What is Aquaponics?

Aquaponics is a form of hydroponic gardening that uses fish waste as a source of natural fertilizer to grow plants. In this symbiotic relationship, the waste produced by the fish provides a food source for growing plants, and the plants naturally filter the water for the fish. This means that there is less maintenance required for the aquaponics grower, since the system is self-cleaning and does not require outside nutrients. Aquaponics is a great way to grow your own organic, pesticide-free kitchen herbs and leafy greens, which in turn will save you money on your grocery bill!

Here are some useful tips you will need to know in order to get started…

  • How Many Fish and What Kind?: You will generally need about 1lb of fish per 10 gallons of water, but this ratio can be changed by the amount of plants compared to fish in your aquarium. Any type of fish are suitable for aquaponic systems, but the most popular fish used are talapia, koi, perch, trout, and salmon.
  • Introduction to Cycling: Cycling a tank involves preparing the bacteria living in your aquarium to work in a symbiotic relationship with the fish and the plants. Here at SD Hydro, we like to get our system up and running, fill it with water, make any pH adjustments prior to adding fish and then we add the plants when the tank is stable. We let the system run like this, with no fish, for two weeks. During this time, the plants are starting to grow and they are creating the necessary bacteria your fish will need to survive. When the plants begin to yellow from lack of nutrition, you can apply a seaweed extract, such as Neptune’s Seaweed Plant Food, straight into the fish tank or as a foliar spray directly on the plant. After two weeks time your plants will be starving for nutrition and this is the ideal time to introduce your fish to the aquarium.
  • What do I Feed My Fish?: Feed fish high quality fish food pellets. The frequency in which you should feed your fish is dependent on the water temperature and is discussed more below. If you want a more sustainable feeding option, you can grow duckweed in your aquarium for the fish to eat.
  • What is the optimal pH Level?: The ideal pH for your system is between 6.2 – 7.2. Be sure to check the pH regularly and to adjust as is necessary. Try to only adjust your pH by .2 each day so you don’ t shock your fish. You can adjust the pH up with up with calcium or potassium carbonate. It is rare you will need to adjust the down as the nitrification process naturally lowers the pH.
  • What are the Ideal Water Conditions?: All fish have an ideal temperature range in which they can thrive. If the water temperature is too hot, or too cold, you fish will experience stress and could die. Most fish can live in a temperature between 50-85 Degrees Fahrenheit. During colder months, feeding should be cut down substantially and your fish should not be expected to breed. Large fish tanks may require the use of a tank heater, such as Sunlight Supply’s Aqua Heat, to maintain an ideal temperature. It is crucial to change out 20% of your aquarium’s water every week in order to maintain ideal bacteria levels.
  • Stress Factors: Cycling a system can sometimes take 8 months to a year to create ideal conditions. Don’t be discouraged if plants and fish are stressed at the beginning. There are many ways to stress your fish. Common stress factors include handling your fish, pH fluctuations and less than ideal temperatures.
  • What Plants Grow Best: The waste produced by the fish is high in Nitrogen, which is the most important nutrient plants need during their vegetative state of growth. Because of this, leafy greens, such as lettuce and kale, are the easiest plants to grow in an aquaponics system, since they are always in a state of vegetative growth. Most fruit bearing vegetables will also grow well (we grew bell peppers!). Root vegetables, such as onions and carrots, are extremely difficult to grow aquaponically, and we do not recommend trying to grow them.

 

For more in depth information on Aquaponics (such as the importance of the Nitrogen cycle and the role of beneficial bacterias) check out SD Hydro’s new book, The Indoor Gardening Guide, available at all five store locations for the low price of $12.99!

DIY Hydroponic Vertical Garden

Articles, Gardening

 

Have you ever wanted to have a hydroponic garden, but you just don’t have the space or the funds? Well, here is your solution! We made a space effective vertical hydro set-up that requires minimal purchases; the whole thing only cost us less than $70 to make!

Our friends over at Aztec brewery donated these beer bottle for us to use in this system. One of our hydro experts owns a glass cutter, which is how we were able to cut the bottoms off of these bottles. Check out this YouTube video on How to Cut Glass Bottles with String yourself at home.

Materials Needed:

3  Glass Bottles (or 3 similar plant holding vesicles)

Wire Cutters

From Home Depot

  • 10 Foot Double Loop Chain ($5)
  • 1 – 1/8″ Quick Link ($2.24)
  • 2 – 1/8″ ‘S’ Hooks ($1.18 4 pack)
  • 18 Gage Wire ($3)
  • 5 Gallon Pot, with no holes in bottom ($10)

From SD Hydro

  • Eco 132 Submersible Pump ($11.79)
  • 5 Foot- 3/8″ Poly Tubing ($1.30)
  • 3″ – 1/4″ Poly Tubing ($0.13)
  • 1 – 1/4″ Vari Flow Valve ($.50)
  • 3 – 3″ Net Cups ($1.26)
  • Growstones ($28, or since you only need about 3 cups of stones, ask your local hydro store for samples. Most of the time they will be more than willing to give you some from their store-use supply).

Directions:

Attaching the Bottles to the Chain
Attaching the Bottles to the Chain

1. For the first step you will need your 10 foot chain, wire, wire cutters, and the bottles.

2.  Fold the chain in the middle, so that there are two 5 foot lengths.

3. Cut a 2 1/2 foot piece of wire. Take one your bottles and have someone hold it at the desired height. Remember that you will have three bottles. Wrap the cut piece of wire around the neck of the bottle and through the chains (See picture to the right).   I wrapped the wire around about 4 times to make sure the bottle would be secure.

4. Next, cut a 3 foot piece of wire. Wrap the wire around the top of the bottle in the same fashion as you did with the bottom (See picture below).

5. Repeat with the other two bottles, working down the chain. I left about 1/2″ inches of space in between the bottles.

 

6. Now that all the bottles are attached to the chain, its time to start working on the pump. Gather the reservoir, the tubing, the pump and the valve for the next steps.

 

Drip System with Vari Flow Valve

7. Attach the 1/4″ piece of tubing to the vari flow valve. This is going to be your drip system.  Attach the drip system to one end of the 3/8″ tubing. Then, attach the open end of the 3/8″ tubing to the submersible pump.

 

8. Fill up your reservoir with water. Attach the submersible pump to the side of the reservoir at the highest possible point. The tubing that is attached to the pump should go up the back of the bottles. The end of the tubing should stop about two inches above the top bottle. You may need to work with the tubing a bit to make the drip system stay in place.

 

9. At this point, you can plug in your pump. Make sure the bottles are all lined up so water is dripping from the top bottle, through the bottom two, and into the reservoir. If this is all working well, it is time to add your plants!

 

Submersible Pump
Adding Growstones
Mad Roots

 

10. Place a net cup in each of the bottles. Take your plants (we took cuttings of plants we had in the store and rooted them in our EZ Clone) and place inside the net cups. Fill in the excess space with Growstones.

 

11. At this point, your system should be up and running. Let it run for a couple days before adding any nutrients or intense lighting, as the plants need time to recover from the transplanting process. After a couple of days, add the recommended amount of  hydroponic nutrients to your system to ensure your plants survive and thrive.

 

 

Product Spotlight: Growstones

Articles, products

 

What are Growstones?

Growstones are both a growing medium and a soil aerator made from 100% recycled glass.  They can be used in the propagation process, in hydroponics and aquaponics systems, and as an alternative to perlite in soil.

 

Are Growstones safe to use in my aquaponics system?

Yes! Growstones are safe to use in aquaponic systems. We verified this fact with Growstones. Be sure to give the stones a thorough rinse down beforehand in order to remove fine dust particles.

 

The Growstones on the left are for hydroponic and aquaponic systems. The stones on the right are for soil.

Why do we recommend them?

  • Sustainable: Growstones can be reused over and over again until they loose their physical integrity. Sterilization of used media between crops is recommended. This can be accomplished  by flushing the used Growstones with a diluted bleach solution or with hydrogen peroxide.
  • Made in the USA: Growstones are made in New Mexico and are never shipped long distances.
  • Eco-friendly: Growstones are made from 100% recycled glass. Other comparable growing mediums and soil aerators, such as perlite and hydroton, are stripped minded from finite resources that will eventually become depleted. Growstones are also 100% non-toxic and chemical free.
  • Superior Water Retention and High Air-Filled Porosity: Because of their porous surface, Growstones are able to retain water and aerate roots better than similar growing products. Ideal substrates have small and large pore spaces. When the substrate is irrigated, water is held in the small pores but quickly drains through the large pores, allowing fresh air to flow through the soil. Thus, Growstones allow for more oxygen flow to your roots, which enables the plants to break down sugars for energy when there is no sunlight available. Roots that have optimal access to oxygen are able to continue growing even during dark cycles.
  • Silica: Growstones release Silica in a form plants can uptake. Silica is important to plant growth because it helps to strengthen the cells walls, which in turn protects plants from pests, drought, heat and cold and will allow the plant’s structure to bear more fruit.  Growstones are made from 98% vitreous soda lime glass, which contains high levels of plant-soluble silica. This silica is released from Growstones and made available to your plants throughout your entire grow cycle.

You can purchase Growstones at all 5 SD Hydro locations, or at our online store!

Bell Pepper and Winter Greens Salad Recipe

Articles, Gardening, Lifestyle

The recipe of the month is a Bell Pepper and Winter Greens Salad. Our goal was to use all locally grown ingredients. Everything in the salad was either grown in our shop or came from a local farm!

We wanted to showcase our winter crop harvest.  Leafy green vegetables, such as chard, kale, and lettuce, are perfect crops to grow during the San Diego Winter season. This salad has all of these tasty greens that we grew right here in the Bay Park shop. We also hit the Hillcrest Farmer’s Market to get the rest of our ingredients and were able to support six local farms!

As a challenge, we gave ourselves a budget of $10 to feed our team of eight using this recipe. Below is a breakdown of our food expenses and the recipe:

Grocery Bill: Hillcrest Farmers Market (Sundays)

  • Suzie’s Farm $2.75
    • Spring Mix
    • Kale
    • Sprouts

  • Archie’s Acres $1.50
    • Jim Bacon Avocado

  • Valdivia Farms $2
    • 2 Heirloom Tomatoes

  • Proios Family Farms $1.50
    • Red Onion
  • Sweet Tree Farms $0.10 Cents
    • Pink Lady Apple
  • TOTAL: $7.85!!!!!!!!

 

We were able to buy all the food we needed at the farmers market. Everything else was home grown! We were able to feed 8 people for only $1 a person while at the same time supporting organic, sustainable, and local food systems!

 

Bell Pepper and Winter Greens Veggie Salad (RAW, VEGAN)

  • 4-5 small Bell Peppers (Hydroponic Window Farm)
  • 5-6 leaves of Swiss Chard (Aquaponics)
  • 4-5 leaves of Nevada Lettuce (Outdoor Soil Garden)
  • Handful of Basil (Outdoor Soil Garden)
  • 4-5 leaves of Kale (Suzie’s Farm)
  • Handful of Spring Mix (Suzie’s Farm)
  • Handful of Sprouts (Suzie’s Farm)
  • 1/2 Red Onion – to taste (Proios Family Farm)
  • Jim Bacon Avocado (Archie’s Acres)
  • 2 Large heirloom tomatoes (Valdivia Farm)
  • 1 Pink Lady Apple (Sweet Tree Farm)
  • 2 Oranges (From Jen’s Front Yard)

Directions:

  • Chop all ingredients for the salad to desired size. Mix all together.
  • Squeeze fresh OJ on top.
  • Enjoy!

Product Spotlight: Hang Time Drying Racks

Articles, Newsletter

For centuries it has been common for cooks to harvest fresh herbs from the garden and hang them to dry, preserving them to season dishes during the colder months.  With these Hang Time Drying Rack from Sunlight Supply you can continue this tradition, with six levels of space to carefully cure your garden’s bounty of fresh herbs, flowers, or plant materials.

The Hang Time Drying Rack is made from durable polyester netting with wire frames to reinforce the shelving, allowing them to provide an excellent pop-up, sturdy surface to put inside a closet, grow room, or grow tent. To use, simply take it out of the bag, hang it up and let it drop down.  No assembly is required.  For best results, keep your ventilation system turned on to quicken the drying period without dispersing odors into the outside environment.

Drying racks also allow you to avoid the two biggest threats to damp produce, fungus and rot, as these dry racks are made of a breathable mesh material that allows for quick drying and maximum ventilation.   The carabineer clips also allow you to hang it from almost much anywhere you’d like, which enables you can take this drying system with you quickly and easily if you ever need to travel or change harvesting locations.  Once you are done, simply shake off the drying rack and place it back into its storage container.

Benefits of the Hang Time Drying Rack:

·      Medium is 24″ diameter and large is 32″ diameter.
·      Use to easily dry flowers and herbs.
·      Carabineer clip to make hanging simple.
·      Durable polyester netting.
·      Wire frames to make shelves rigid and sturdy.
·      Easy to use, snap together buckles to quickly add or remove shelves.

How to Dry & Preserve Herbs For Later Use

Articles, Lifestyle

Drying and storing garden herbs is one of the best ways to enjoy their flavor throughout the year, and it allows you to save money instead of buying prepackaged herbs at the supermarket.  Just about every herb can be dried and preserved for later use, however some leafy herbs store better than others.  This process works best with herbs that don’t have high moisture content, such as bay, dill, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, and thyme.  Herbs with broad, flat leaves and high moisture content, such as cilantro, parsley, chervil, and basil do not dry as well and are often best when used fresh.

Harvesting Herbs

The best time to harvest herbs is when the oils responsible for their flavor and aroma are at their peak. The longer after their peak you wait to harvest most herbs, the less flavor they will have.  Proper timing will vary depending on the specific herb you are harvesting and its intended use. Herbs grown for their foliage, such as chives, should be harvested before they flower, as flowering can cause the herbs to develop an off-flavor.

Some general guidelines to follow include:

·      Harvest herbs just before the plant flowers to ensure flavors are at their strongest.

·      Harvest plants early in the morning, after the dew dries from the leaves, but before the heat of the afternoon sun.

·      Herb flowers have their most intense oil concentration and flavor when harvested after flower buds appear but before they open.

·      Harvest tarragon or lavender flowers in early summer and then shear the plants to half their height to encourage a second flowering period in the fall.

Preserving Herbs

The most commonly used method for curing herbs is by allowing the leaves or entire stems to air-dry at room temperature.  If the herbs are dirty, first rinse away any debris, shake off the excess water, then spread the herbs out to dry on paper towels or dishcloths and pat them gently until dry.  Remove any dead or damaged foliage, then tie each bunch together into small bundles with string and hang them upside down in a dark, well ventilated room where temperatures typically range between 70-90°F. Be sure to make small, loose bundles and allow for good air circulation around each bunch.  Herb leaves should dry in three to four days under proper conditions.

With herbs that have large leaves and high moisture content, such as basil, mint, lemon balm, and lemon verbena, strip away the leaves from the stems before drying them. Spread these leaves in single layers for quickest drying. Herbs with smaller leaves, such as thyme, oregano and marjoram can be dried with the leaves still on the stems, then strip away the leaves after the drying process is complete.

In humid weather, it may be necessary to place the herbs on a cookie sheet and dry them in an oven at 125°F for several minutes before storing them in an airtight container. Food dehydrators can also be very useful for drying herbs. Follow the directions provided with the dehydrator.

Storing Herbs

After the herbs are completely dried, store them in airtight jars in a cool, dry place away from sunlight. If entire stems were dried, remove the leaves and crush or crumble them before placing them in jars.  Be sure to label and date your containers.  It is very important to have the herbs completely dry, otherwise, they may mold. It is best to use dried herbs within a year. As your herbs lose their color, they are also losing their flavor.

Drying and storing garden herbs is one of the best ways to enjoy their flavor throughout the year, and it allows you to save money over buying prepackaged herbs at the supermarket.  Just about every herb can be dried and preserved for later use, however some leafy herbs store better than others.  This process works best with herbs that don’t have high moisture content, such as bay, dill, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, and thyme.  Herbs with broad, flat leaves and high moisture content, such as cilantro, parsley, chervil, and basil do not dry as well and are often best when used fresh.

How to Beat the Heat This Summer

Articles

Summer is definitely here in San Diego!  Even though we have some of the best weather in the world there is still a certain time of the year when we have to battle the heat in our grow rooms.  There are a few different ways to manage temperatures in a grow room;

  1. Run your lights during the coolest part of the day – at night!
  2. Use air conditioners.
  3. Cool your lights directly using air or water cooled systems.
  4. Have a proper ventilation system.

There is more than one right way to cool your grow room because every grow room is going to have its differences; the size and shape of the room, the configuration of the room, how many lights used, outside temperatures,  and how well that room is insulated in order to hold consistent temperatures.  Proper temperatures can be kept by using these methods alone or together in different variations.

A good place to start is with the ventilation system.  This is probably going to be the least expensive starting point plus it is a good idea to have a proper ventilation system set up for any indoor garden even when running a closed system with CO2.  The ventilation system is used to remove warmer air and replace it with cooler “fresh” air. Keep it simple, use an exhaust fan that removes air at the top of the room (because heat rises) and use an intake fan that blows in the “fresh” air at the lower part of the garden.  Now this method is only going to help cool your room if the intake fan is pulling in air that has a lower temperature than your garden.  So find a way to pull your intake from the coolest side of the house.  If possible bring this air from under the house, basement or garage, as long as the air you are bringing in your garden is relatively cooler than your garden or outside temperatures.

Air conditioners or water cooled systems are still needed in some situations.  Especially when living inland where temperatures are a lot higher and cool “fresh” air cannot be brought into the grow room.  Using an air conditioner is a more traditional way to cool your grow room.  There are a few different types of air conditioners.  There are window units that sit in a window or a hole in the wall where air is taken in through the front of the unit, cooled, then pushed back out into the room.  The problem with these units is that they are not completely air tight and some air is taken out of the grow room without proper filtration (so pollen, strong odors, etc.. may escape the room).  Portable AC’s are good if they have an intake and exhaust hose for cooling the motor of the unit. The major downfall of portable units is that they take up floor space that can otherwise be used for plants.   The mini split style is very efficient, does not remove any air from inside the grow room and the only floor space taken up is from the outdoor part of the unit.  One drawback of the mini split unit is that it is more expensive than the other styles.

Water cooled systems are an efficient way to control heat because water holds temperature more efficiently than air.  Therefore, less cooling power is needed to maintain a certain temperature with an equal volume of air and water.  Yet we still need to cool the air in the room.  You can use one water chiller to cool a reservoir which can cool your lights (cooling the lights will limit the amount of heat created from your grow room) and use the same water to cool the air in the room.  Fresca Sol makes a light fixture that you pump water through which can reduce the heat from your bulb up to 93%.  The cold water can also be pumped through a product called the Ice Box (the water gets pumped through a radiator style metal grate and as the air passes over the cold metal the air is cooled).  Multiple Ice boxes and Fresca Sol fixtures can be used with one reservoir as long as the chiller is able to keep your water cold.

One of the main benefits with an indoor garden is the opportunity create the perfect environment.  With the proper planning and equipment anyone can beat the heat no matter how hot it is outside.

What size AC unit do I need for my garden?

Gardening, Uncategorized

Air conditioning is one of the most important tools when growing indoors, particularly during the hot summer months. Using an air conditioner provides your garden with an accurate way to offer temperature control, and can also substantially lower humidity levels as an added bonus. The investment into an air conditioning system will remove many of the hassles that afflict indoor gardens.

Product Spotlight: Mad Farmer Silica Shield

Articles

Soluble Silica – The Key To Success In The Garden    

Silica is an amazing supplement that works wonders in both indoor and outdoor gardens. It is compatible in both soil and hydro gardens. With the simple addition of silica into your regular nutrient regime, your garden will experience a diverse array of benefits.

Silica is a very vital but an often over looked component to complete plant health. Silica helps to build and strengthen cells walls of plants, creating strong sturdy stalks and branches that can support the weight of dense, ripe fruits. The addition of silica will also increase the thickness of leaf structure, creating strong leathery leaves that are harder for insects to bite through.

Silica is also great for increasing resistance to environmental stress. This is exceptionally important for outdoor growers that face adverse conditions such as extreme levels of heat or cold, drought, wind, fungi or bug problems. Using soluble silica as a foliar spray creates a protective “shield” that is effective in warding off fungal diseases and sucking insects such as aphids. The use of silica in general will create a healthy plant immune system that can tolerate a harsh environment much easier than those without silica.

Silica Shield by Mad Farmer is an exceptional silica product. At 8% silicon dioxide, Mad Farmer’s Silica Shield ranks among one of the most highly concentrated silica products available on the market. With 3% soluble potash, it is also providing potassium to plants. It can be used as either a foliar spray or as a feed. It is formulated in the USA using the finest quality ingredients available.

Description:

Mad Farmer’s Silica Shield provides plants with additional levels of silicon and potash. Silicon helps promote cell division, which strengthens plant tissue by fortifying the cell walls. This increases the rigidity of stems and stalks, which allow the plants to bear more weight and support dense, heavy fruit.  Additionally, silicon helps to increase tolerance to adverse environmental stresses such as insect and fungi damage, drought, and extreme temperatures. Silica Shield is compatible with all nutrients and mediums and is proudly made in the U.S.A.

Ingredients Explained:

Potassium Silicate – A soluble liquid supplement that provides potassium and silicon that benefit plants in many ways.

Directions For Use:

1.    Shake well before using.
2.    For best result use with every watering.
3.    May be used as a foliar feed or added to the nutrient mix for application.
4.    May increase the pH of the nutrient solution. Use Mad Farmer Get Down to lower pH levels.

Available Sizes:

•    1 Quart
•    1 Gallon
•    2.5 Gallon
•    6 Gallon

For more information about Silica Shield, visit: http://madfarmerproducts.com/silica-shield/

Plant Success’ Great White And Orca-Premium Biological Inoculants

Articles, Gardening, products

By Helene Isbell Plant Success has established itself as a trusted brand in the hydroponic and gardening industry as a leading supplier of beneficial inoculants. Great White and Orca by Plant Success are names that have become synonymous with premium quality mycorrhizae and are increasing in popularity as growers experience their benefits with first hand […]

Frequently Asked Questions About Organic Food & Farming

Articles, Gardening

Organic certification is a process of certifying that a certain product has passed performance and/or qualification requirements stipulated in regulations for producers of organic food and other organic agricultural products. Achieving certification generally involves complying with a set of production standards for growing, storage, processing, packaging and shipping that include

PAR Watts

Articles, Gardening

By Sunny Datko Plants see light differently than human beings do. As a result, lumens, lux and foot-candles are not exact measures for plant growth because they are used for human visibility.  Since plants use energy between 400 and 700 nanometers and light in this region is called Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR), we could measure […]

PAR & The Light Spectrum

Articles, Gardening

By Sunny Datko Light is essential to our vision and plant growth but the ways our eyes and plants react to this light are entirely different processes. While the overall physics and science of lighting can be complex we’re going to reduce it to its bare elements here and primarily concentrate on the important plant/light […]

Relative Humidity in Your Indoor Garden

Articles, Gardening

By Sunny Datko What is Relative Humidity? The humidity of the air is basically the amount of water in the air.  The warmer the air, the more water vapor it can hold. This means the maximum amount of water that air can hold is directly related to the temperature of the air. As the amount of water […]

Gardening with Rockwool

Articles, Gardening

Rockwool has long been among the most popular hydroponic growing medium on earth. Horticultural rockwool has been used for hydroponic growing in Europe since 1969 and produces 50% of their greenhouse grown vegetables. Yields have been recorded of up to 160 tons per acre, crop after crop, with greenhouse tomatoes grown in rockwool. Originally used as insulation, it was called “Mineral Insulation” and was later developed for gardening in Denmark. The main distributer of Rockwool is a company called Grodan, which means, “to grow the Danish way”.

What is Plant Transpiration?

Uncategorized

What is Transpiration? Water in the roots is pulled through the plant by transpiration (loss of water vapor through the stomata of the leaves). Transpiration uses about 90% of the water that enters the plant.  The other ten percent is used in photosynthesis and cell growth. How Does Transpiration Work? Water moves from the soil […]

Photosynthesis & Respiration

Uncategorized

By Sunny Datko Plant physiology (phys`i*ol”o*gy) is the study of the functions and processes occurring in plants and the ways that plants control or regulate internal functions. It examines the biological and chemical processes of individual plant cells, and how the plant responds to conditions in the environment.  In essence, plant physiology is a study […]

Beginner’s Guide to Transplanting Plants

Articles, Gardening

By Sunny Datko Transplanting Guide At some point in the growth of your plants, you will have to consider moving your young, developing plants on to the next stage: a bigger pot, cube, or basket.  This is called transplanting.  Transplanting is often considered the second most stressful event of a plant’s life, cloning being the […]

Seed Starting Guide

Articles, Gardening

Whether you want to plant your own garden or grow a small pot of herbs for your kitchen, you can save a tremendous amount of money by starting your plants from seed. Seed can be purchased at local garden centers and can be harvested from the fruits and vegetables that you buy from the grocery […]

Inverse Square Law for Light

Articles, Gardening

To really understand light and lumens, we must first realize that artificial light cannot keep its strength as it moves further away from its original source. In fact, light emitted from even the best bulbs will decrease, exponentially, as the distance increases between light source and garden.

Magnetic vs. Digital Ballasts

Articles, Gardening

The ballast is a power supply for arc discharge lamps. It’s basically a box containing all of the electronics and controls that make the light work. Its purpose is to provide the lamp with high voltage during start-up, and then to stabilize the arc by limiting the electrical current to the lamp during operation. All fluorescent and high intensity discharge (HID) lamp types require the use of a ballast. If electrical current were to flow into the light bulb at full voltage, the bulb would burst, so the controlling factor offered by the ballast is necessary for the correct function of any fluorescent or HID light.

Trichoderma & You

Uncategorized

Trichoderma fungi are found naturally occurring in many soils and play an important role in the prevention and control of root pathogens. It actively takes over the root zone and makes it difficult for pathogens to compete for space on the roots and for nutrients. Trichoderma is not just one species of fungi – the genus Trichoderma contains many species and strains, of which some are specific to certain pathogenic fungi such as Pythium.

Product Spotlight: EcoPlus Water Chillers

Articles, Gardening

Whether your garden is an ebb and flow, top-feed drip, aeroponic, nutrient film technique (NFT), or deep water culture (DWC) system, maintaining your reservoir temperature is crucial for getting the best results. Your plants will benefit most by maintaining a consistent temperature of 60-70ºF. Large fluctuations in water temperature can cause stunted growth and lower yields. Temperatures that are too high will most likely lead to pythium or other unwanted root pathogens. Temperatures that are too cold will lead to decreased nutrient uptake.

pH & Soil

Articles, Gardening

The pH scale measures how acidic or basic a substance is. It ranges from 0 to 14. A pH of 7.0 is neutral. A pH less than 7.0 is acidic, and a pH greater than 7.0 is basic. Each whole pH value below 7.0 is ten times more acidic than the next higher value. For example, a pH of 4.0 is ten times more acidic than a pH of 5.0 and 100 times (10 times 10) more acidic than a pH of 6.0. The same holds true for pH values above 7.0, each of which is ten times more alkaline—another way to say basic—than the next lower whole value. For example, a pH of 10.0 is ten times more alkaline than a pH of 9.0.

CO2 Enrichment & Plants

Articles, Gardening

The dry matter in a plant is made up of 90% carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. The majority content, which is carbon, is taken into the plant through carbon dioxide (CO2) available from the air. The average air that we inhale contains 0.003-0.004% of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is an odorless, non-flammable, colorless gas. It is believed that the prehistoric plants that developed eons ago had environmental conditions with very high levels of carbon dioxide in it. In today’s plants, due to their evolution, these more modern incarnations have maintained their capacity to harness more CO2 than the current environment now has.

Recirculating vs. Drain to Waste Systems

Articles, Gardening

There are two forms of hydroponic systems – there are re-circulating and drain-to-waste systems. In a recirculating system, the runoff from the nutrient solution is collected, replenished and reapplied to the substrate. In a drain to waste system, the runoff is drained into the ground or routed to a holding reservoir. Many gardeners choose to use the drain to waste system because this method offers more control over the composition of the nutrient solution being applied. In a recirculating system the solution will gradually become unbalanced, unless the solution is tested for each nutrient. A rapidly growing vine crop such as tomato can remove a considerable amount of nutrients in a day. In a “drain to waste” system the grower can increase the feeding time and be confident a balanced solution is reaching the crop.

Growing Indoors with Fluorescent Lights

Articles, Gardening

Fluorescent lights work by placing an anode and a cathode at opposite ends of a glass tube. Inside the tube are a partial vacuum and a small amount of mercury vapor. When energized, the mercury vapor is ionized and emits ultraviolet radiation. The inside of the tube is coated with a phosphor – a powder that “fluoresces” (gives off light) when stimulated by ultraviolet radiation, thus producing visible light. The chemical composition of the phosphor determines the spectrum or color of the emitted light.

5 Benefits of Earthworm Castings

Articles, Gardening

Earthworm Castings are the excrement left behind by worms after they finish digesting the organic matter that makes up their diet. They are made in a container filled with moistened bedding and redworms. With food waste and with assistance from microorganisms, the worms will convert bedding and food waste into compost. Worm composting can be done year-round, indoors in schools, offices and homes. It is a natural method for recycling nutrients in food waste without odor. The resulting compost is a good soil conditioner for houseplants, gardens and patio containers.

How to Grow Hydroponically – Overview of Grow Systems

Articles, Gardening

One of the first choices you’ll have to make in your life as a gardener is settling in on the system that you’re going to use to grow your plants in. It can often be difficult to choose which type of system to use because there are so many different systems available. In this article we will take a look at various grow systems, including drip systems, ebb & flow, deep water culture (DWC), Nutrient Film Technique (NFT), Aeroponics and Aquaponics. There are hundreds of variations on these basic types of systems, but all hydroponic methods are a variation (or combination) of these.

Product Spotlight: Gardening with Sanctuary Soils

Articles, Gardening, News

San Diego Hydroponics & Organics is excited to announce its partnership with Sanctuary Soil and Feed, Inc.  Based in Central California, Sanctuary Soil provides premium quality earthworm castings, custom soils, potting mixes and soil amendments. With Sanctuary Soil products, you will always get the best soil mixes and earthworm castings in convenient, easy to manage bagged products.  We […]

Inorganic Growing Media Breakdown

Articles, Gardening, Grow Tips

Inorganic growing media is derived from natural sources, and through refinement become very valuable and often reusable products. Due to the ease of use, ease of reuse, and physical longevity of the substrate, inorganic growing media has a permanent place in both horticulture and hydroponics. Perlite One of the most common inorganic substrates is perlite. […]

Choosing The Right Soil For Your Garden

Articles, Gardening, Grow Tips

Deciding what type of soil to choose for your garden can be a little confusing.  With so many blends to choose from this process may get technical, but with the proper knowledge, it can also be fun and exciting After all, your soil choice will determine the quality and yield of your harvest. To help […]

Celebrating Community Gardens From The Ground Up

Articles, Events, Lifestyle

The San Diego Community Garden Network is a local non-profit organization whose mission is “to create a healthy community garden movement in the County of San Diego by assisting in the formation of community gardens through education, technical assistance and by linking gardeners.” On May 19, 2012, San Diego Hydroponics & Organics will be participating […]

Beginner’s Guide to Cloning Plants

Articles, Gardening

Cloning is the process of taking a cutting from your plant and getting that cutting to grow into a new, full-grown plant that is a genetically identical to the original. Though it may sound intimidating, it’s actually a relatively easy process. Cloning simply requires some patience and understanding. In this article we will break down the process step by step so you can also reap the benefits of cloning…

Deep Water Culture (DWC)

Gardening

by Sunny Datko What is Deep Water Culture (DWC)? Deep Water Culture (DWC) is a hydroponic method of plant production by means of suspending the plant roots in a solution of nutrient rich, oxygenated water. With this system, the roots of the plants are submerged in the nutrient solution. The plant is then held in […]

Organic Gardening: Protozoa & Nematodes

Articles, Gardening

Soil, or at least healthy soil, is teeming with life. Soil life lives in a symbiotic and mutualistic way, offering their services to help the whole system work. Bacteria and fungi build the soil structure and help make nutrients in the soil available to plants, and also store valuable nutrients in their bodies. Protozoa, nematodes and other larger members of the soil food web consume these microbes, and in doing so release the nutrients to the plants. This process allows natural systems to maintain themselves with the help of the soil food web […]

What is Air Pruning?

Articles, Gardening

Air pruning is a technique designed to encourage the plant to grow a denser system of root hairs, increasing nutrient absorption and enabling the plant to grow more rapidly. Air pruning works by exposing the root tips to relatively dry air, causing the apical cells at the very tip of the root to dehydrate, or become air-pruned. This stimulates the growth of secondary roots that branch out from them within the growing media…

Fish Farming & Aquaponics

Gardening

In aquaponics, the nutrient-rich water that results from raising fish provides a source of natural fertilizer for the growing plants. As the plants consume the nutrients, they help to purify the water that the fish live in. A natural microbial process keeps both the fish and plants healthy. This creates a sustainable ecosystem where both plants and fish can thrive. In this symbiotic relationship, fish waste provides a food source for growing the plants; and the plants supply a natural filter for fish.

Aeroponic Cloning Machines Explained

Articles, Gardening

Aeroponic cloning machines are becoming a big hit in indoor gardens, and it’s easy to see why these machines are gaining in popularity. Cloning machines allow you to root your cuttings without the expense of buying growing media or the time necessary to prepare it. Many growers say cloning machines have helped them save time and money, and made their gardening […]

Tips on Flowering Plants Indoors

Articles, Gardening

What is the Flowering Stage? During flowering, plants will put their full energy into a reproductive effort in preparation for the coming winter. In nature, long nights signal the plant that winter is coming and that it is time to flowers and produce seeds. The plant “senses” the longer nights by a direct interaction with […]

What is Mycorrhizal Fungi?

Articles, Gardening

What Are Mycorrhizal Fungi? The word “mycorrhiza” (plural: mycorrhizae or mycorrhizas) comes from the Greek language and literally means “fungus roots.” Mycorrhizal fungi attach themselves to plant roots and actually help plants to make use of water and organic nutrients in the soil. They live on the roots of nearly 95% of Earth’s plant species, […]

5 Benefits of Fulvic Acid

Gardening

Fulvic Acid offers many physical, chemical and biological benefits to your garden. It gets its name from the Latin fulvus, meaning yellow, describing its color.  Its natural buffering, chelating and extremely high ion-exchange properties make mineral elements easier for plants to absorb. This results in increased plant vitality, resistance to environmental stress and improved crop […]

Cal-Mag and Plants

Articles, Gardening, Grow Tips

Calcium and magnesium are common inputs in many gardens. They are the building blocks and catalysts that allow plants to flourish. They can be found in the soil naturally, in many fertilizers, and in tap water.  Many gardeners tend to supplement their feed regimen with extra calcium and magnesium (“cal-mag”), especially those using reverse osmosis […]

Mad Farmer Nutrients

Articles, Gardening

Mad Farmer is a line of plant enhancements, additives and nutrient controls formulated specifically for hydroponics. With no dyes and food grade ingredients, their products are clean, stable and concentrated. Mother of All Blooms (MOAB) supplies your flowering plants with extreme levels of food grade phosphorus and potassium to produce dramatic results in your garden. […]

Cutting Edge Solutions Review

Articles, Gardening

If you’re a new indoor gardener, Cutting Edge Solutions is an excellent way to start growing. Their products are very simple to use, pH stable, and effective for a wide variety of plants. Sonoma Gold Grow and Sonoma Gold Bloom formulations are organic all-purpose fertilizers to be used during the vegetative and flowering cycles, respectively.  However […]

Roots Organics Nutrients (from Aurora Innovations)

Articles, Gardening

Founded in Eugene, Oregon by a group of conscientious, organic gardeners,  Aurora Innovations has developed their Roots Organics line to provide superior results when used in potting soil and soilless potting mix gardens.  Roots Organics products are 100% organic and sourced from only the highest quality ingredients, with natural inputs and sustainable practices that reduce our […]

Why have the NPK numbers changed on House & Garden products?

Articles, Gardening, Grow Tips

Why are we not seeing a guaranteed analysis on the new bottles? A guaranteed analysis numbers are representative of the amount or percentage of a certain element per unit of volume. These percentages are obtained through certifying agencies that do not always use the same instrumentation, the same scale, and the same procedure. To complicate things […]

5 Tips to Prevent Pythium

Articles, Gardening, Grow Tips

Pythium (or “root rot”) is a destructive root-parasitic pathogen that directly attacks the root system of the plant, causing normally healthy white roots to turn brown and mushy. When the infection is severe, the lower portion of the stem can become slimy and black. In recirculating systems, this infected root mass will also contaminate the other plants that reside in that system.

Growing Green While Going Green at SD Hydro

Events, Lifestyle

At San Diego Hydroponics & Organics, we take environmental awareness to heart. As a business, it is important to be conscious of the footprint we leave upon the Earth. April 22nd is Earth Day, and in support of this cause, SD Hydro is making an increased effort to go green and lessen the impact we […]

Guide to Organic Pest Control

Articles, Gardening, Grow Tips

Contrary to what most people believe, “organic” does not automatically mean “pesticide-free”. It means that these pesticides, if used, must be derived from natural sources, not synthetically manufactured. All pesticides, whether they are organically or synthetically derived, have some degree of toxicity, and therefore potential to harm human health and the environment. To reduce their use, many organic farmers focus on a system of integrated pest management (IPM), which is an eco-friendly technique of controlling pests through the use of long term prevention and environmental balancing strategies.

Organically Speaking 101

Gardening, Grow Tips, Lifestyle

As the Green Revolution continues to evolve and influence modern society, the word “organic” is becoming recognized as an important yet controversial term on ingredient labels of popular products.  As responsible and progressive consumers, many of us face the decision whether to go organic or not. While an organic lifestyle has adopted an eco-saavy, or […]

Starting Plants From Seeds

Articles, Gardening, Grow Tips

With spring right around the corner, ‘tis the season to get ready for planting! One of the first steps towards growing your own garden is germinating your seeds. There are several ways to start seeds, whether it is with a paper towel, starter plugs, rockwool, or directly into soil or soilless medium. The process for […]

2012 Red Hot Chili Peppers Ticket Raffle

Events

San Diego Hydroponics & Organics is bringing you yet another opportunity to win great prizes! All summer long we will be raffling off tickets to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers play live in concert. It’s free to enter the contest, so don’t miss out on your chance for you and a friend to see […]

How To Take Clones/Cuttings

Articles, Gardening, Grow Tips

It is best to take clones off of a plant in the vegetative stage.  When you take a clone off of a flowering plant more energy ill be used to switch back into the vegetative stage.Your mother plant or “donor” plant should be a healthy, established plant so you can take healthy clones.  You do […]

Preparing Your Planter Beds

Articles, Gardening, Grow Tips

Planting your own garden can be a very rewarding experience. Digging in the dirt not only leads to a bountiful harvest of healthy homegrown produce, but it may actually be good for your health. Scientific research proves that specific bacteria that thrive in soil release natural anti-depressants that are said to increase serotonin levels, making […]

Starting plants from seeds

Articles, Gardening, Grow Tips

With spring right around the corner, ‘tis the season to get ready for planting! One of the first steps towards growing your own garden is germinating your seeds. There are several ways to start seeds, whether it is with a paper towel, starter plugs, rockwool, or directly into soil or soilless medium. The process for […]

What is Fulvic Acid: Mad Farmer NUTS

Articles, Gardening

Mad Farmer NUTS is an organic fulvic acid extract that offers numerous physical, chemical and biological benefits. Its natural buffering, chelating and high ion-exchange properties make it easy for plants to absorb mineral elements. This results in increased plant vitality, resistance to environmental stress and improved crop quality and yields. In prehistoric times, the Earth’s […]

Aqua Flakes A&B – Hydroponic Nutrients

Articles, Gardening

Designed specifically for recirculating hydroponic systems, Aqua Flakes A&B contains increased levels of macronutrients and micronutrients to ensure an optimal absorption rate by your plants. In a re-circulating system, the water passes through a magnetically driven pump, which can remove certain elements such as iron and magnesium. To maintain a properly balanced nutrient solution in […]

Plant Nutrients: Algen Extract by House & Garden

Articles, Gardening

Algen Extract from House & Garden Nutrients is a cold processed seaweed extract that contains a full range of essential nutrients and natural growth hormones that plants require for healthy, vigorous development. Harvested from the cold, clean waters of the North Atlantic, Algen Extract can be absorbed immediately and promotes accelerated growth under all conditions. […]

House & Garden Nutrients: Shooting Powder

Articles, Gardening

Shooting Powder from House & Garden Nutrients is the absolute best in the field of bloom boosters. Designed to create extraordinary bud density, Shooting Powder triggers the plant to produce rich, tightly packed flowers with a significant increase in harvest weight. This flowering booster actually generates a new flowering cycle after the regular flowering phase, […]

Roots Excelurator by House & Garden Nutrients

Articles, Gardening

The top showpiece of the House & Garden nutrient line, Roots Excelurator is the most effective plant root stimulator available. Promoting explosive root development and protecting the plant against root disease, Roots Excelurator works by forming a film around the roots that acts as a protective membrane, keeping harmful diseases and germs out of the […]

Multi Zen & the Art of Garden Maintenance

Articles, Gardening

An enzyme is an organic substance made up of amino acids, proteins, or RNA. Enzymes carry out specific chemical reactions by acting as catalysts, speeding up reactions tremendously and lowering the amount of activation energy required by the plant for these processes. Therefore delivering enzymes to your plants promotes increased growth and helps sustain beneficial […]

Using House & Garden’s Drip Clean

Articles, Gardening, Grow Tips

Salt buildup in the root zone can cause numerous difficulties, reducing plant growth and vigor by altering water uptake and causing toxicities or imbalances. Only House & Garden’s Drip Clean uses ionic bonding to safely remove excess salt molecules from the soil or growing medium, preventing salt buildup and allowing plants to thrive. Originally designed […]

Foliar Feeding with House & Garden’s Magic Green

Articles, Gardening, Grow Tips

House & Garden’s Magic Green is the leading foliar spray fertilizer that provides essential nutrients and protects the plant against external threats such as insects and mold. With every spray, Magic Green forms a protective film on the leaves to prevent insects and mold from damaging the plant. This product will nourish your plants from […]

What is Chelation?

Articles, Gardening

The word chelate (pronounced: “key-late”) is derived from the Greek word “chele” which literally means “claw”, a rather fitting association because chelation is a process somewhat like grasping and holding something with a claw. Chelation occurs when certain large molecules form multiple bonds with a micronutrient, protecting it from reacting with other elements in the […]

Terra Preta Soils: The Benefits of Biochar

Articles, Gardening, Lifestyle

Thousands of years ago, the Amazon Indians created Terra Preta soils, which are, in every which way, the most amazingly productive form of agriculture. It is 300% more productive than the very best modern efforts – and this without any chemical fertilizers, equipment, and application costs. The indigenous farmers in these regions simply dug a […]

Living Christmas Tree Programs

Articles, Lifestyle

For this holiday season, celebrate the gift of life with a living Christmas tree. Each year, thousands of Americans embrace the tradition of choosing a Christmas tree for their home and decorating it with their families. Part of that custom includes going to a Christmas tree lot where countless trees are cut down to decorate […]

Bountea Hydrate vs Reverse Osmosis (RO) Filters

Articles, Gardening

It’s not easy making sense of all the different water filters out there. There are many options available, however only the Bountea Hydrate inline water purification system produces water that is optimal for plant growth and development. Producing between 3 and 5 gallons per minute, it’s an appropriate size for most indoor gardens. Unlike reverse […]

Tap Water vs Reverse Osmosis (RO) Filters

Articles, Gardening

Serious gardeners have long realized how important pure water is to the success of their crops. Using purified water allows you to push your plants to their limits, increasing growth capability and yield. After all, water is the very essence of hydroponics and therefore the most important component to a healthy garden. If you look […]

Bountea Hydrate Filter vs Tap Water

Articles, Gardening

Most of us can agree that it is smart to drink only the healthiest and highest quality water available. This principle should also be applied to the water that we use to water our plants – the very plants that we will one day consume. The water that we use to feed our gardens ultimately […]

Compost Tea Recipe by Organic Bountea

Articles, Gardening, Grow Tips

What is Compost Tea? Compost tea is an organic liquid fertilizer made by steeping, or brewing, compost in water. Regular applications of compost tea can boost the number and diversity of microorganisms in the soil, improving soil structure and increasing the health and vigor of plants. Some of the many benefits of compost tea include: […]

BeThe Chronicle-Issue 010-Harvest Issue

Articles, Newsletter

In this issue from 128.199.117.192: Benefits of Silica  -  Amino Treatment  -  Free Chart  -  Holiday Deals -  Visit Amsterdam How would you like to increase your plants’ resistance against common fungal diseases, such as powdery mildew and gray mold? Are you looking for an environmentally friendly way to protect your plants against stress, heat, […]

The Chronicle-Issue 009-Chula Vista Grand Opening

Articles, Newsletter

Website – Price Match Policy – Knowledge Base – Locations & Hours – Contact Us SAVE UP TO 30% THIS WEEK! SD Hydro's newest location is now open.  Conveniently nestled just east of the 5 Fwy between Palomar & Main Streets.  We hope all of you South County residents take advantage of our new outpost, […]

Nitrogen Boost By House And Garden Nutrients

Articles, Gardening, News

House & Garden is excited to announce the release of the latest addition to their product line, Nitrogen Boost.  Nitrogen Boost is carefully formulated to provide growers with a safe, high-quality form of pure nitrogen.  Using Nitrogen Boost will provide your plants with the necessary nitrogen to optimize plant growth, enhance blossoms in ornamental plants, […]

Using Nitrogen Boost for Nitrogen Deficiency

Articles, Gardening, Grow Tips

Plants require a nitrogen boost for vigorous vegetative growth and development.  Nitrogen helps plants achieve rapid growth, increasing seed and fruit production and enhancing the quality of leaf and forage crops.  Nitrogen deficiency can actually delay flowering by increasing the time to first bloom and reduce the overall size and quality of the yield. How […]

The Benefits Of Silica In Your Garden

Articles, Gardening

How would you like to increase your plants’ resistance against common fungal diseases, such as powdery mildew and gray mold? Are you looking for an environmentally friendly way to protect your plants against stress, heat, and other problems? Did you know that silica applications can do all this and  it could increase the weight and […]

Amino Treatment by House and Garden Nutrients

Articles, Gardening

Amino Treatment is a groundbreaking new product from House and Garden Nutrients containing high quality silica and amino acids specifically formulated to encourage root development, vegetative growth, fruit formation, and flower production.  Amino acids are the basic building blocks for proteins and enzymes, which are essential to the structure and the metabolism of plants. Adding […]

Labor Day 30% OFF Sale-All 5 Locations

Events

It’s Labor Day, Treat Yourself Right This weekend SD Hydro will be offering a 30% store wide discount* to all Loyalty Card Holders. Get ahead this summer, these prices usually only exist on our customer appreciation days.. San Diego County Locations Pacific Beach/Bay Park | Lakeside | San Marcos | Carlsbad | Chula Vista **Some […]

Chula Vista 30% Off Grand Opening Sale

Events

San Diego Hydroponics is expanding! Join us! Chula Vista Grand Opening Sale & Vendor Week Where: 645 Marsat Ct. #101, Chula Vista, CA 91911 When: August 30 – September 2, 2011 What: HUGE Sale! Save up to 30% storewide – stock up on the latest and greatest gear! What else: Vendors and industry experts with […]

Can I use too much/too many beneficials?

Gardening

Roots Excelurator, Sea Green, Mycos, Great White, etc… Is mixing many better than using one? When using beneficial bacteria strains, beneficial fungal strains, and living microbial communities in your growth medium you are initiating a symbiotic relationship between the living rhizosphere of your plant and the living biology you have inoculated your medium with such […]

Slightly Stoopid Raffle Winner

Events

Congrats TJ Majeske!!
You’ve won 2 tickets to
Slightly Stoopid
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Enter our next raffle to win tickets to Cypress Hill Smokeout!

Enter Our Next Raffle

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The Chronicle -Issue 008- Thousands of New Products

Newsletter

Website – Price Match Policy – Knowledge Base – Locations & Hours – Contact Us Now you can find more!! That’s right, now there’s even more to choose from at San Diego Hydroponics online. Each category has been expanded and we’ve added over 3000 new products to our selection. Take some time and look around, […]

SD Hydro Online has Expanded! 3000+ NEW Products

Specials

We’ve expanded our store with over 3000+ NEW products for all your gardening needs. Now there’s even more to choose from at San Diego Hydroponics online. Each category has been expanded. Take some time and look around, let us know what you think. We’re always looking for new ways to improve your online experience with us.

20% OFF June Sale

Events, Specials

This month SD Hydro will be offering a 20% store wide discount* to all of our online fans. We want to actively reward those who support us & is there a better way than putting money back in your pocket. Come and take advantage of our biggest sale ever! *Items Excluded Due To Minimum Advertised […]

Free Air Cooled Hood

Events

Summer is just around the corner and in an effort to help keep your gardens cool San Diego Hydroponics is offering a FREE air cooled hood with the full price purchase of a Global Greenhouse digital ballast and matching enhanced spectrum bulb.  Package details listed below. 400w Hortilux package Price Contents $189.99 $94.99 $101.95 $386.93 […]

The Chronicle -Issue 007- Save 20% in June

Newsletter

Website – Price Match Policy – Knowledge Base – Store Locations – Contact Us Subscribers Save 20% In June This month SD Hydro will be offering a 20% store wide discount* to all of our online fans. We want to actively reward those who support us and is there any better way than putting money […]

Ask-a-Grower Podcast #29-Supernatural

Podcasts

Hi folks, we are here with Miles from Supernatural. You may have seen that quirky looking bottle on hydro store shelves. They’ve been around forever.
Why don’t you tell us a little bit about Supernatural, Miles?

Basically, Supernatural were a one part, we’ve been around forever. Now don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t mean we haven’t made any changes or advancements. Our products are better than ever. It’s one part, it’s simple, it’s great for new-growers, it’s PH buffered – you
don’t need a PH pen – as long as your water is drinkable; it’s got tons of Cal-Mag, it has ammonia free calcium nitrate in it. It’s buffered so it
will start lower on the PH scale and it will slowly rise. And if you use soil, it will slowly rise in the soil. If you use hydroponics it will slowly rise.

Ask-a-Grower Podcast #27-Organic All Phase-The Other Tomato

Podcasts

Hi. Welcome to Ask-a-Grower.
We are here today at SDhydroponics at our 2011 version of Customer Appreciation
Days.
We are going to talk to Larry of The Other Tomato. They have a new product; actually
it’s an old product that started to get some buzz around here in San Diego. We wanted
to get him in here for an interview.

Ask-a-Grower #178-Is Roots Excelurator worth the price?

Ask a Grower

I currently am putting together my list of nutrients to buy for growing in medium. I read Root Excelurator claims it’s second to none, but is it worth the price. I was under the assumption a rooting formula should have at least 3 necessity chemicals (forget them). I just wanted to hear your opinion if there may be a better alternative for much less that does the same thing. I was also considering inducing Humboldt’s White Window after 3-4 days of cloning. [Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower Podcast #24-HumCo Hydroponics

Podcasts

Transcription Introducing HumCo Hydroponics We’re here with HumCo Hydroponics at the Maximum Yield Indoor Garden Expo 2011. We will talk about HumCo Buckets with Adam. Adam, can you tell us something about the buckets? Yes. We have HumCo buckets that are made out of post consumer recycled green buckets – so the green is green. […]

Ask-a-Grower Podcast #23-Organic Bountea

Podcasts

Transcription Introducing Organic Bountea We’re here with Seth from Organic Bountea: www.bountea.com Can you tell us a little bit about Bountea? I’d love to. Bountea is a compost tea system with complementary nutrients. It’s a complete growing system for your plants. How many products do you have? Officially we have 9, but we have quite […]

SD Hydro at the Healing Arts fest

Uncategorized

Last weekend San Diego Hydroponics packed up the Twist of Fate and headed to the Healing Arts Festival, the Alternative Healing Network’s event that was planned to coincide with San Diego’s long running Roots Fest. This eclectic combination of music and arts drew in folks of all ages and cultures.  We shared our space with […]

Ask-a-Grower Podcast #22-Horti-Control

Podcasts

Transcription
Introducing Horti-Control
Welcome back to SD hydroponics and organics. We’re here at the customer appreciation sale at our San Marcos location, 2011. We have Chris Witton from Horticontrol. You may have seen Dust Shrooms out there, so these are the guys.

25% Off Mothers Day Sale This Weekend

Events

Come On Down…
This weekend SD Hydro will be offering a 25% store wide discount* to all Loyalty Card Holders.  Get ahead this spring, these prices usually only exist on our customer appreciation days..

*House and Garden Nutrients and Global Greenho…

The Chronicle -Issue 006- 25% OFF This Weekend

Articles, Newsletter

Website – Price Match Policy – Knowledge Base – Store Locations – Contact Us It’s Mother’s Day, Treat Your Ladies Right This weekend SD Hydro will be offering a 25% store wide discount* to all Loyalty Card Holders.  Get ahead this spring, these prices usually only exist on our customer appreciation days.. **House and Garden […]

SD Hydro @ seedleSs clothing’s 4/20 Snoop Dogg concert

Events

Snoop Dogg, seedleSs, SD Hydro, all under one roof? On 4/20? That’s right! This year’s event was another great success that will go down in San Diego history. Presented by Rock Hill and seedleSs, the house was packed with a pumped crowd of fans eager for the performance by the iconic rapper and his crew. […]

The SD Hydro OG OB Discount

Articles, Events

Bring in your California ID with zip code 92106 or 92107 to any one of our stores and you’ll receive 25% OFF your purchase.* SD Hydro Loyalty Card Needed to redeem (free). *15% Manufacturer discount restrictions apply to House and Garden Nutrients & Global Greenhouse Lighting Stores in Pacific Beach, Carlsbad, Lakeside, San Marcos,  & […]

Ask-a-Grower #174-What are some safe and effective pest control methods?

Ask a Grower

I’m growing a variety of exotic hot peppers (ghost pepper, exotic habeneros etc) outdoors on my porch. The last season I had some issues with aphids and large green worms, right now the pepper plants have dropped almost all of the leaves and are getting ready to sprout new ones for the new season. I am wondering what kind of sprays or other methods there are to control or even remove the parasites that will not kill both the pepper plants or me. [Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower Podcast #19-Light Rail-Gualala Robotics

Podcasts

Welcome back to Ask-A-Grower, folks. We are here with Gualala Robotics and we’re here talking to James Hamilton, the owner and inventor. James can you tell us something about the history of Gualala?
Gualala Robotics was started in 1986, actually started by my uncle with what was then called the Light Rail One. Our first store was Berkeley Indoor, 844 University Avenue in Berkeley. He was sort of disillusioned with the hydroponic industry and I was looking for something to do, so he sold it to me. Then I came up with what was then called Light Rail Two. We started with a few accounts; went to 12 accounts and so forth.

Ask-a-Grower #171-How do I identify different pests?

Ask a Grower

Can you please describe your pests in more detail. How big are they? Where do they look like they are coming from? (Foliage or root zone) What color are they? Do you see any other bugs that could be their larvae? For you see any damage on the plants? The wings are longer than the black body. And so small I need a magnifying glass. I got a few hundred on the yellow & blue stickies in 20×15 room. They fly and bump into my hoods. I seem to catch a bunch and used azatrol in a hand sprayer all over. Any potential damage or signs to look for? [Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower #169-Can I buy House and Garden part A or B seperately?

Ask a Grower

I came in wanting to buy a CoCo A&B 20L and accidentally walked out with a Bio 1 Component Soil and a CoCo B. My cousin already opened it (Bio) up and will sell it on craigslist. Is it possible to buy just the CoCo A 20L from you guys online or on the phone and have him pick it up in the store. I’m currently out of town. Otherwise I can wire him the money and do it that way. You can only buy both sets online. [Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower Podcast #14-Aurora Innovations-Roots Organics & Soul Synthetics

Podcasts

Transcription
Introducing Aurora Innovations

Welcome to Ask-A-Grower folks, we have Aurora Innovations in the house. Ron, tell us something about Aurora.

I’d love to. We actually started out as one of the last American ballast-making companies. That was a big thing for us for a while. The source of the name, Aurora Innovations comes from – Aurora for the light and Innovations for the obvious reasons. Eventually there was just no competing with China, when it came to ballasts. Essentially, in similar fashion, we started with a soilless mix – about 10 years ago – and quickly added a soil that ended up blowing up in Northern California.

Ask-a-Grower #167 – What is the process for taking clones?

Ask a Grower

What is the process for taking clones? I bought rapidgrow blue powder, rockwool cubes, a tray and dome, and a heat mat. I know how to take the cuts and get everything set up but don’t quite know how much water I should be giving them. I usually soak the cubes prior to inserting the cut and close the dome for at least 7 days…after that I looked in and all the cubes were one dry so I gave them some water…please help. [Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower Podcast #13-House & Garden Nutrients Hydros A&B

Podcasts

Transcription Introducing Hydros A&B: We’re sitting around San Diego Hydroponics talking about the House & Garden’s base nutrients, we have moved onto the Hydros A & B. The Hydros A & B are basically base nutrients designed specifically for drain to waste. Not too much more to say about it…. All the base nutrients from […]

Ask-a-Grower Podcast #12-House & Garden Nutrients Cocos A&B

Podcasts

Transcription: Introducing Cocos A&B We are at San Diego Hydroponics talking about House and Garden nutrients, we are onto the base nutrients and we’re talking about the Cocos A & B. If you have ever grown with the coco before you know it takes an extremely precise nutrient formulation to get it just right with […]

Ask-a-Grower Podcast #11-House & Garden Nutrients Aqua Flakes A&B

Podcasts

Transcription: Introducing Aqua Flakes A&B We’re sitting here at San Diego Hydroponics, and we’re talking about House and Garden Nutrients. We’re moving on to some other base nutrients…and we’re moving on to Aqua Flakes A&B. Aqua Flakes A&B is specifically for re-circulating hydroponics. They have increased levels of macro-nutrients and micro-nutrients. Basically, in a re-circulating […]

Ask-a-Grower Podcast #10-House & Garden Nutrients Soil A&B

Podcasts

Transcription Introducing Soil A&B: We are sitting here this morning at San Diego Hydroponics, talking about House & Garden products, talking about Soil A & B now.   Soil A / B is a base nutrient, this one contains lime.  The soil A & B has lime in it, as opposed to the One Component Soil […]

FREE GNAT STIX IN EVERY ONLINE ORDER!!

Specials

Get Your Free Pack Of Gnat Stix Now Use this promotional code at checkout: Gnat Stix Formerly known as Bug Stix. Gnat Stix are the single most effective treatment for fungus gnats in house plants! Simple, easy to use sticky traps kill adult flies for months as they emerge from the soil. Controls even the […]

The Chronicle -Issue 005- New Podcast Series

Articles, Newsletter

Website – Free Worm Tea – Knowledge Base – Store Locations – Contact Us What’s New At The Shop? What are the the Ask-A-Grower Podcasts?  They are information packed interviews with our industry’s leading minds and manufacturers.  In our efforts to bring you truly the best material, SD Hydro has been actively embracing new technologies […]

Ask-a-Grower Podcast #9 – House & Garden Nutrients 1-Component Soils

Podcasts

Transcription Introducing the 1-Component Soils Alright, so we are sitting over here at SD Hydroponics, talking about H&G Nutrients. So moving onto the base nutrients and we have are our one component soil mixtures. H&G has two one component soil mixtures, the Bio One Component and the One Component Soil.  One Component is basically all […]

Ask-a-Grower Podcast #8-House & Garden Nutrients Shooting Powder

Podcasts

Transcription Introducing Shooting Powder: We are here this morning at San Diego Hydroponics in Lakeside talking about Shooting Powder. Shooting Powder is the secret of every successful gardener. It’s an amazing high phosphorous high potassium stimulant from House & Garden. Basically you use Shooting Powder the last 3 weeks of flowering, unless you are on […]

Ask-a-Grower Podcast #7-House & Garden Nutrients Top Booster

Podcasts

Transcription Introducing Top Booster: We are here continuing our talks about House & Garden products, and we have moved onto Top Booster. Top Booster is the flowering stimulator, it basically triggers the plant into thinking it   the end of its life cycle has begun. Top Booster contains high levels phosphorous and potassium, as well as […]

Ask-a-Grower Podcast #6-House & Garden Nutrients Bud-XL

Podcasts

Transcription Introducing Bud-XL Here with the group talking Bud XL now for House & Garden. This is a fascinating product, this one.  Definitely, if you want bigger fruits you’re gonna want to have a piece of this. Bud XL is a great enzyme product. Used at 3.8 mil, as soon as you start to see […]

Ask-a-Grower Podcast #5 – House & Garden Nutrients Multi Zen

Podcasts

Transcription Introducing Multi Zen So we are here this morning talking about House & Garden products and we are going to move on to Multi Zen. Multi Zen is House & Garden’s enzyme product. It’s an extremely useful growth stimulator, and basically eccelerates and simplifies the growth process, as well as strengthening the plants natural […]

Ask-a-Grower Podcast #4 – House & Garden Nutrients Algen Extract

Podcasts

Transcription: Q: What Is Algen Extract? It’s a concentrated growth stimulant which promotes leafy green growth. Algen Extract is premium liquid blend of Norwegian sea kelp, it’s the fastest growing plant on the planet at about one foot per day.  It’s super strong and highly concentrated. Algen Extract delivers straight into your garden high, high […]

Ask-a-Grower Podcast #3 – House & Garden Nutrients Magic Green

Podcasts

Transcription: Introducing Magic Green We are continuing our talks about the House & Garden products and we are moving onto Magic Green. Magic Green is a truly unique product from House & Garden. It’s a foliar spray. You’re going to want to use this foliar spray every 2 weeks at about 5-10 mills per gallon. […]

Ask-a-Grower Podcast #2 – House & Garden Nutrients Drip Clean

Podcasts

Transcription: Introducing Drip Clean We are here talking about Drip Clean, one of House & Garden’s top notch products, probably one of the only ones on the market like it. The only to ensure you no salt build up and mineral deposit build ups in drip lines, and keeps everything tasting amazing. Q: Is Drip […]

Ask-a-Grower Podcast #1 – House & Garden Nutrients Roots Excelurator

Podcasts

Transcription: Introducing Roots Excelurator So we are here this morning talking about House & Garden products and we are going to start with Roots Excelurator.  Roots Excelurator is the top showpiece in the House and Garden nutrient line. It’s a root stimulant that actually works by forming a membrane around the roots. It’s full of […]

Ask-a-Grower #157 – How much will 1 light cover?

Ask a Grower

What is the grow area one light will cover? I know it depends on the reflector/bulb wattage, so here is my scenario…my grow area is 5ft long x 2ft wide with an 8ft ceiling height. Would a 600watt HPS with air-cooled rectangle shaped reflector be enough for the 5ft of length? Or should I use 2 400watt HPS with similar reflectors side by side to cover the length? I plan to use 1sqft of space per plant, 2 rows of 5 plants totaling 10 plants. [Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower #149 – Dilution rate for Plant Success Mycorrhizae

Ask a Grower

I just bought plant success soluble and was wondering what the dilution rate was for a 10 gallon rez with fox farm nutes for week 3. I currently used 2 tablespoons for 10 gallons and as per the box it says to use 3 tsp. per 12 gallons = 2.5 tbsp. for 10 gallons. It came with a scoop which is 1 tsp. and read somewhere for hydro it’s going to be 2 tsp. (2 scoops) for 10 gallons. Is this correct and if so I got 4 tsp. of this stuff extra in there. Will it hurt what bad it will do? [Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower #148 – Foul water versus harvest quality

Ask a Grower

We are constructing hydroponic salad production in Iceland. We use trays and watering system to water plants and seed to full grown plant for 36 days .We change trays for spacing three times . Do we need to use drain and constant running water for oxygen or can we water the roots and /or overhead spray without having a foul water and harvest quality plants? All trays are sterilized after each twelve days run. [Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower #143

Uncategorized

This is a follow up question on the House and Garden Magic Green. I want to give my babies the best so is it a good idea to mix a spray bottle with the H&G Magic Green, Liquid Seaweed, Dutch Master Saturator and Dutch Master Liquid Light all in the same bottle and apply it at the same time? [Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower #140

Ask a Grower

Is there anyway sdhydroponics can carry the parts to the various trench, Aquaponic & Aeroponic systems that are available so that a guy like me can either fab a system or rebuild an old system without running around to the local specialty shops for parts? [Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower #137

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I’m new to growing and I need to grow some flowers between 6-12. I need the whole set up. I prefer to have them in a close confined area where I can control the smell due to allergies. Where do i start? [Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower #136

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I am currently using the Lucas formula with G.H base nutrients; I am in the 4th week of flowering. Considering switching to house and garden nutrients. Can I switch my A&B nutrients during a cycle or should I finish with G.H? [Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower #134

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I asked for the fluids for my Hanna pen and 2 times they gave me the Hanna HI 7032 and I can’t calibrate the meter correctly. The stuff is expensive you know. Also, I was told I can’t use the less costing solutions because they mess up the meter, I found this is NOT true. It is only ph calibrated water. What gives? [Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower #133

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I am coming from out of town and was hoping to pick up a few things at your Beach Cities store. Just want to make sure they are in stock. 1-HORTILUX SUPER HPS EN™ 600 watt HPS Bulb, and 1- 600 watt Sun System Harvest Pro Elite HPS Ballast. I will be in town Friday the 7th hopefully they are in stock and we can do business. [Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower #128

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I am just getting started with my garden in my small space closet and I’m trying to have 3 plants, one in vegetative stage, one in flowering stage and one in Blooming stage. What are some things I can do to get started? I have the Ph kit, a 250 watt hanging lamp and regular type fluorescents; 8 bulbs of those together. Maybe if you could just help me know what to use, keep or new things to get. [Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower #124

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I’m growing hydro and the top of my plants are turning light green and some wilting is present. The bottom leaves are healthy green. Is it a deficiency or what could be causing this? [Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower #122

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I’m in canna coco I use H & G PH at 5.8, I started using silica blast and my PH jumps to 6.4, should I bring PH down or leave it at 6.4? It was a freebie so not using it, no problem, your input is appreciated. [Read answer here]

Grow Tips: Add acid to your roots

Articles, Gardening, Grow Tips

When fulvic acid is added to your root zone, it attaches to the most important and neglected trace elements and other nutrients your plants need so they can give you lush vegetative growth and massive yields. Mad Farmer’s N.U.T.S. stands for Nutrient Up-Take Solution and is an organic, cold water extracted fulvic acid derived from […]

Grow Tips: Early flowering with Top Booster

Articles, Gardening, Grow Tips

By giving the plant the impression that the final phase of its life cycle has begun, House & Garden’s Top Booster forces the plant to create flowers and fruits in order to ensure its survival. The early triggering of the final flowering period allows the plant more time to develop larger and more robust yields.  […]

Grow tips: Get more from your veg.

Articles, Gardening, Grow Tips

Wanna give your plants an extra burst of life during the vegetative stage? Consider using House and Garden’s Magic Green. Magic Green is a foliar spray that delivers micro-nutrients and beneficial bacteria directly onto your leaf’s surface, giving your plants a noticeable boost in vigor and strength. Aaaaaahhhh Magic Green, give your plants a little […]

Fungus Gnat Control – Gardening Pests Part 5

Articles, Gardening

The problem with fungus gnats is their larvae. The adults are just annoying and make your garden feel like a jungle. The larvae live in the medium and feed on your roots ultimately hindering growth. This can also cause root rot as the roots are damaged, giving harmful bacteria a place to live.  Adult Gnats […]

Controlling Whitefly – Gardening Pests Part 4

Articles, Gardening

Getting rid of Whiteflies Whiteflies are a common pest and there are a few ways to deal with them. It is actually the larvae that feed on the plant Once they hatch from the eggs and they feed, the larvae leave behind a sticky residue, called honeydew, which adheres to the leaves and provides a […]

Getting Rid Of Aphids – Gardening Pests Part 3

Articles, Gardening

Getting Rid Of Aphids? What type do you have? Standard top feeding aphids or root aphids. Now the standard aphids that live on the leaves are pretty easy to deal with, however, the root aphids are possibly the worst pests I’ve ever dealt with. Don’t worry though, there is a solution. I can tell you […]

The Chronicle -Issue 004- FREE Shipping Nationwide

Newsletter

Website –  Free Worm Tea –  Blog –  Locations FREE Nationwide Shipping Is Here!! Click Here To Get Started Take advantage of FREE nationwide shipping on hundreds of growing items throughout our store. At SD Hydro Online you will find the lowest prices on an enormous selection of major from all of the leading brands. […]

FREE NATIONWIDE SHIPPING!!! ALL ORDERS OVER $50

Specials

Please click the link above for more details. Free Shipping!!
Do you love free shipping?  We do, and we’re offering it from our website all week +10% off store wide!
Spend $50 or more and the shipping’s on the house.

Thrips – Gardening Pests Part 2

Articles, Gardening

THRIPS!! Now we come to the next pest.  The Thrip. These little deviants can be a pain but are, in my opinion, easy to deal with. Thrips look a lot like many other insects but with one main difference. These little pickpockets jump. So if you approach your garden and see slender white bugs pulling [Read More]

Killing Spider Mites – Gardening Pests Part 1

Articles, Gardening

Gardening can be a satisfying and altogether great experience. Whether or not you are selling your herbs and veggies to local markets or consuming them for personal use, bottom line is they equal money. Pests can literally go into your pockets and steal from you in a matter of days. S.D. Hydro has decided that […]

Buy 3 GGL 1000w HPS Bulbs & Get the 4th FREE

Specials

Click Above to Get four $99 Lamps for under $268* Get a FREE 1000w GGL HPS Lamp when you purchase 3 at our regular price.  Act now, as we’ve also discounted our entire online store 10% too.  Stock up now, offer expires 1/14/2011 Lamps built Humboldt Tough! Using state of the art lighting science, premium

Ask-a-Grower #120

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I just bought the Grodan, Big Mamma 8×8 cubes from your new Carlsbad store. I was told not to wash or soak the cube before planting because of the chance of mold. But, I always thought you were supposed to soak the cube before transplantation. What should I do? Also, do I need to cover the cubes? [Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower #118

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I am super new to the indoor gardening world. I just set up my closet with a Global Greenhouse 600 watt digital ballast and an Easy Cool reflector. Do you have any recommendations for a good, reasonably priced nutrient line? [Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower #117

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I’m at war with spider mites. I have tried all the safe alternatives, but they are just not working. Heat and humidity levels are perfect and i have great ventilation, any recommendations? [Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower #115

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Recently, it seems like everyone has an indoor garden going. I am a beginner and I have no clue where to start. Can you recommend a self contain unit small enough to fit in a closet? By self contained, I mean i just want to be able to add water and electricity. [Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower #95

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I’ve been wanting to start my own little garden, but I dont have outside space. My friend recommended hydro, but i don’t know what type of lighting to get what are some good products that won’t break my wallet? [Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower #92

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I took my clones from a little cup and I had them in fox farm for 2 weeks. my question is how long do I wait before I add plant food-nutrients-whatever. I am a first time grower. I have a 3×3 hydrohut with a 250 watt halide light. i have 3 gallon grow bags. [Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower #90

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So I have began to propagate cacti from seed indoors. I am at month 3 now, and they’re doing OK under a floro. As they mature I am worried since my yard gets ZERO sun. I want to set up the closet in my office to be their home until I move in a few years. What Setup would you recommend? [Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower #88

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I was told there is a solution I can purchase from you that you spray on the plant to help with spider mites and such and the solution actually puts like a wax film on the leaves, I was also told it can used in dread locks… I was wondering if you could please tell me the name of the solution and the cost. [Read answer here]

The Chronicle –Issue 003– SD Hydro Website 2.0

Newsletter

San Diego Hydroponic’s Website 2.0 is here!! Click Here To Save 10% On Every Product Through 2010 It’s here, the new website has arrived. Our goals were to make a store that was simple and streamlined that offered lot’s of good info. We’re rolling things out slowly, so not all of the products in our […]

Aquaponics – The World’s Most Productive Food System

Gardening

Aquaponics appears to be the world’s most productive food system in terms of water use efficiency. That can be expected to be a political ace for aquaponics science and technology as the world’s fresh water supplies come under increasing pressure. Depending on where it is practiced, much aquaponics takes only about half the volume of […]

The Chronicle –Issue 002– Free Roots Excelurator

Newsletter

Issue #001 : The SD Hydro Chronicle Here we go! Many of you have been asking for more from us and the Chronicle is our way to give you all kinds of free growing tips, discounts, & upcoming event info.  Our mission is to help our one of kind community achieve their fullest results and […]

Ask-a-Grower Question #77

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Ok, so I put in 1 teaspoon of MOAB per 5 gallons for the first 8 days of bloom‚ Now I just topped off my 70 gallon reservoir with 40 new gallons and general hydroponics 3 part system, I also added as suggested by sales employee at your store. the Hygrozyme, and Uncle Johns Blend, along with budswell guano mix.. SO MY MAIN QUESTION IS: Do I now refrain for 3 weeks of adding MOAB to resevoir? Adding 1-2 teaspoons per gallon the last 2 weeks of bloom and going without MOAB during week 2,3, and 4. Then add in MOAB for week 5 and 6, then flush for 7.? One more question..is it too much or overkill to add both Uncle Johns Blend and Hygrozyme during bloom? [Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower Question #71

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I want to start a grow room for vegetables, I have a room that I want to use for flowering them, size 5ft by 8ft, I was thinking a 600 watt? With what size can fan? I only think I can get 20 vegetables in the room at a time to flower? Also my friend will be doing the vegging in a hydro tent using a T-5 light, does that sound right? And I am thinking all soil. [Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower Question #70

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I am curious about the Advanced Nutrients line of fertilizers. I want to switch over from Fox Farm and am blown away by how many products AN has. I want to start with the grow, micro, bloom or the SensiGrow A&B. What is the difference between the two lines and what do you guys recommend as far as Advanced Nutrients are concerned? Also is there anything that you recommend adding from their line that is reasonable in price. I will get into all the expensive stuff later. Just want to start basic and add on. [Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower Question #59

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I am looking to get a few products and would like your suggestions on what to get. I am wondering what Ballast I could get for a 1000w hps bulb and what fans I should use to vent the room which is 4x4x8. Also which bulb would be better, a blue or red spectrum for flowering? I heard red is good for flowers but I was reccommended blue by a fellow grower so I am confused. I have about $300-$400 to spend on a Ballast bulb and hood. The fans I will afford seperately and am hoping to get away spending minimal on fans because I have a 10,000 btu a/c running. Please let me know what you would suggest. [Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower Question #54

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How much mad farmer oxygenator per gallon to treat a 100 gal res with a flood and drain hydro system? I use gh nutrients and am having a bad root rot problem with all the plants. Also, how often do I add the oxygenator and for how long do I use it? If it kills both bad and good bacteria do I need to add beneficial bacteria after using the oxygenator, at the same time, or not at all? [Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower Question #47

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I’ve been having trouble with dead and dying leaves. The once hearty plants with healthy leaves are consistently getting dry areas and show signs of damage within weeks as the edges of the leaves turn brown and eventually die. I thought at first it was over fertilizing but when I cut back or stopped the problem continued. I changed from a 6 inch exhaust to an 8 inch exhaust fan and a floor fan for circulation but I am wondering if I am still not getting enough fresh air flow. Have any suggestions? [Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower Question #46

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I have a room aprox 10 x 20 that is dedicated to growing. I only have one light it is a Magnum xxxL 6″. My question is since I have more space than I am using would it be a good idea to use a tent. I am local here in San Diego and although I purchased the stuff I have somewhere else I am planing on using you guys for all future purchases. [Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower Question #42

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I am dealing with spider mites and I have tried using safer brand insect killing soap and aza max. These products have not worked due to the fact that the mites are still alive and multipling. the heat and humidity perfect. is there some other product you can recommend but I am already in the flowing stage is the thing. I’ve also tried using lady bugs to deal with the issue still no improvement. I would appreciate the help. [Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower Question #41

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I have a small closet (3x3x9) / using a 600w and three plants in there. Very new to the gardening world and am just trying to find a basic nutrient package that’ll cover all the bases at a low fee…any recommendations? [Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower Question #38

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Do you guys carry square 3 gallon garden pots. Between 3-4 gallons will do. They are the ones for planting not for hydro, not sure if it makes a difference. Please let me know the price and the deminsions of the square pots. I am coming from out of town and am looking for 7 of them. [Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower Question #37

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How to make worm tea? What ratio of worm castings to molasses to water do you use to make worm tea? And then what is the dilution ration for the tea that you have made? I know the free gallon of tea that you have at the store you dilute 1:5. [Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower Question #35

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I know MH or HPS are a brighter light and offer spectrums suitable for growth. However, everyone seems to be leaning toward T5 systems to clone and vegitate in. I has always been my belief to supply MH for growth and HPS for bloom. I would like my plants to reach 2 ft in growth and 2ft in bloom. What do you think? [Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower Question #31

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I live in Alberta Canada. I have reseeded grass in a old exisiting lawn and 25 spruce trees that are 20 ft tall. The area is three acres and there is a lot of gravel down about 18 in. I can water the trees forever and the tree wells will not hold water. Will mycorrhizal fungi help retain moisture? Can I purchase your products in Canada? [Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower Question #29

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I got a sample from one of your associates. I read when to use it on regular flowering items for blooms. BUT, how would I use it on my MINI Roses. They can bloom not just in summer but almost all year out here in East County S.D. I’d love to try it on them. I don’t want to fry them out but see the need for maybe more than once or twice in a bloom….or for each bloom…? …the mini’s bloom in spurts say 8 to 12 rotations on blooming cycles per season. [Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower Question #27

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Would a light rail 5.0 with 2 added bars and 9 600s with a 16 foot track be good lighting for a 10.6′ x 20′ room also do you think its a waste to use t-8 lighting as side lighting down the long wall. Is there a 240v 40+ amp thermal shut off with 15 min delay? I need something to pre wire to my 50amp timers ? Also i would like a quote.. .

2 -light rail 5 auxiliry trolleys..
4-sets of mounting hard ware..
2- 4′ light rail5 track with pins. ..
[Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower Question #24

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Do you guys carry Advanced Nutrients products? If so, can the Connoisseur Part A & Part B nutrient be used with the Bud Candy and Liquid Carbload, or is this over doing it. I just dont want to buy more nutrietns than I have to but I also want good stuff. They will used in a soil mediuim, and any info would be great! [Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower Question #16

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My indoor tomato garden gets very hot, and since summer is approaching what are some things besides an air conditioning unit I could do to reduce the heat and be cost efficient and light efficient because opening my door to the garden room loses light and I would like to keep it closed but also dont want to have a 95 degree garden. [Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower Question #20

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Is there a way to get rid of mold late in bloom I have a 456 cfm fan that comes on 15 minutes an hr that works ok but not good enough to reduce it totaly. I also have a spider mit problem im battling also late in bloom is there a way to eliminate them? [Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower Question #17

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I recently purchased the hydrofarm waterfarm drip system. And am trying to do a recirculating system. I was wondering if i bought the megagarden off of you guys,- would 4 of the square baskets that go inside the buckets for the waterfarm, fit into the mega-garden growing area and if so would there be sufficient growth room for the roots. Im looking to purchase two megagardens and use those for vegetation cycles and the waterfarm drip for flowering. OR.. I was thinking putting 8-10 of the square waterfarm baskets in trays, however i heard they do not allow roots to spread far once they hit the bottom of the tray?, and may cause root damage when moving them in they trays. So in the end, would 4 square waterfarm baskets fit in the mega garden? Or would it be better to use a 10 inch tall tray with an air pump. [Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower Question #12

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My plants are looking good and the fruit smell great but it does’nt seem like the roots are filling out in the containers, maybe the strain but at week 6 I think the roots should be fuller. Is there something that would cause that. I used the house and garden line exactly as instructed. I only have 2 more weeks to completion.The roots are 2″ from the edge of pot. It seems like they were almost bound last time. Not sure though. It’s widow. [Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower Question #9

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Having trouble getting any weight out of my plants, running a 48 bucket system with BC nutes, I have 4 600s with digital balasts and a light mover I’ve ran 4 diferent strains went tall went short averaging a little less than 1oz per. What am I doing wrong Im going to move the buckets closer because the two outer edge rows really suck, I’m going to pick up 4 more new hps bulb I’ve got 6months on the ones I have, any sugesstions to improve? [Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower Question #8

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I have digital 600 watt ballasts should I still use hortilux bulbs or less expensive bulbs? When I purchased them I was talked into less expensive bulb they said the digital ballasts achieved the same results. Is that true? [Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower Question #5

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I am interested in upgrading from my 400 watt MH ballast to a 600 watt digital ballast. I like the fact that I can use both MH and HPS bulbs with them. I have an Sun Light Supply- super sun reflector already and would like to know if I can run 600 watt MH and 600 HPS bulbs through it, once I get the digital ballast. I am not sure if my refelctor will accept the hps bulb and would like to know what options I have, or what I need to look for before I buy. [Read answer here]

Ask-a-Grower Question #4

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Do you guys carry neem oil. Its supposed to help kill and prevent mold etc. Also looking for 6in premium ducting for venting out heat, think it has a black coating in the inside of the ducting. I usually go to the beach cities store by. Let me know coming from out of town and would like to pick up some supplies. Prices would be great. [Read answer here]

Growing Indoor Plants

Gardening

Whether you have lots of light or very little light, one can grow an indoor plant in the home or office. However, there are elements to need think about before selecting a house plant, such as light exposure, space, temperature and humidity in the room. A huge selection of indoor plants is readily available. Do […]

Drip Feeding Hydroponics?

Gardening

This article touches on the construction of a DIY drip feeding system. Drip systems are common in European hydroponics cultivation. Each plant is fed individually through feeding tubes which are connected to a pump hooked onto a timer that activates at pre-set times. Drip systems reduce the possibility of bacteria or fungal infection. Most home […]

Energy Efficiency- T5 Lighting

Gardening

T5 lamps are the latest and most energy efficient lighting technology obtainable in the fluorescent lighting industry. They use 45% and 12% less energy than its T12 and T8 predecessors. The T5 lamp provides peak light output at 35 °C (95 °F) air temperature. (By contrast, the T8 and the T12 lamps provide peak light […]

Organic Bountea

Gardening

What makes Bountea so effective? The Bountea Growing System will totally revitalize your soil ecology.  No matter what soil type, the microbes, minerals and trace elements in Bountea ensure your soil becomes increasingly fertile with every application. Unhealthy Soil Unhealthy or dead soil is low in humus and has little or no microbial life. Plants […]

Solar for Hydroponics

Gardening

Is the rising cost of electricity threatening the viability of your operation? Many are asking if solar is the solution. Can solar produce enough electricity? How is it stored so it is available when needed, night or day? What does it cost? How long will it take to pay for itself with electric savings? Will […]

New Loyalty Cards

News

Next time you come into the store, ask about how our Loyalty Cards can save you money. Here are some of the advantages Your discount will be “locked in” and available hassle free at ANY of our stores regardless of who is helping you as your card will guarantee you the lowest discount possible Free […]

Go Green: Conserving Water with Hydro

Gardening

Hydro versus Soil?!? Which conserves more water? Hydroponics is  a closed system, which means that all of the water used is recirculated.  The water used for soil gardening either seeps into the ground or evaporates leaving no possibility for it to be collected and reused. Generally hydroponic systems use only 5 to 10 percent of […]

Cutting Edge Question and Answer

Gardening

1) What is the best temperature for my reservoir? The most beneficial temperature for your nutrient solution is around 52-68°F. In order to achieve this range you can get an inline water heater or a submersible water heater for colder conditions. An inline water chiller works in extreme heat conditions. 2) What is the optimal […]

Nutrient Strength Monitoring

Gardening

TDS – ( PPM / EC NUTRIENT STRENGTH MONITORING )

Along with pH, nutrient strength readings and monitoring are probably the 2 most important basic techniques you can employ in your chase for the best crop possible.

Whereas pH monitors the acidity or alkalinity of a solution, TDS ( Total Dissolved Solids ) measures the relative concentration / strength of nutrient salts in your nutrient solution. TDS – or Total Dissolved Solids normally uses 1 of 2 scales, PPM ( Parts Per Million ) or EC ( Electro-Conductivity ). Both scales are accurate and convenient for monitoring the strength or concentration of your nutrient solution.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO MONITOR THE STRENGTH OF YOUR NUTRIENT SOLUTION?

I like to think of pH and TDS readings as a kind of dashboard for my plants performance. TDS is like the tachometer on your car. It tells you how far or fast you’re pushing your plants with a nutrient solution. Plants respond to TDS just like a car does in real life to a tachometer. The higher the revs, the faster the car accelerates, BUT, if you push your cars revs into the red zone for too long bad things start to happen – FAST! It’s the same thing with plants. Having a higher nutrient strength results in faster growth and development – but only up to a point – go past your plants red line and into the red zone and bad things start to  happen – really fast!

SO WHERE IS MY PLANTS REDLINE? HOW HIGH CAN MY NUTRIENT SOLUTION GO?

The optimal nutrient strength for your plants will depend on 3 things – the age of your plant, the type of plant and individual variations amongst plants.

For example most older ( more than 4 weeks old ) fast growing plants can safely handle nutrient strengths up to  1200 PPM ( 2.4 EC ) once they are past the seedling or juvenile stage. Some individual plants can handle much higher concentrations than this – up to and over 2000 PPM ( 4.0 EC )!

The other way to get your plants to safely handle larger amounts of nutrients is to use a 3rd generation nutrient that incorporates ionic channelling technologies, such as Dutch Master GOLD NUTRIENT. These technologies allow for a typical plant to handle much higher nutrient strengths than normal. A plant that could handle only 1200 PPM ( 2.4 EC ) on a regular nutrient can easily handle 1600 PPM ( 3.2 EC )  with an ionic channelled nutrient like Dutch Master GOLD. Currently only Dutch Master GOLD NUTRIENT has this ionic channel technology.

The best way to tell if you have reached your plants maximum nutrient concentration ( the red line ) is when you start seeing the very tip of your leaves turn brown or yellow. This often looks like a small burn ( which it is ). Once you see this you know you have reached your plants maximal nutrient strength.

Once you know your plants red line or nutrient strength limit, it is a good rule of thumb to not let the nutrient concentration get more than 150 – 200 PPM beyond this ( 0.3 – 0.4 EC ).

HOW DO I MONITOR MY NUTRIENT STRENGTH AND WHAT DO I DO WHEN IT CHANGES?

Monitoring your nutrient strength is easy as many manufacturers give you precise schedule values for their nutrients. Dutch Master has made this easy for you with the industry’s easiest and most powerful Nutrient Calculator! Simply enter your tank size and your base nutrient and the calculator does all the rest! It really is that easy!

Monitoring your nutrient strength should be done on a daily basis for hydroponic systems as your nutrient strength can tell you a lot about what is happening with your plants. As your plants use water or food, your nutrient strength will change to reflect that. When your plant is using a lot more water than nutrient then your TDS value will increase. When your plant is using a lot more food than water then your TDS value will go down.

Mostly these values fluctuate ( go up and down )  by not more than 100 to 150 PPM ( 0.2 to 0.3 EC )  however when they do, you need to take action. If your solution ( or runoff values for hand watering ) changes by more than 150  to 200PPM (  0.3 to 0.4 EC ) then you need to either replace the solution in your reservoir, or replace the nutrient solution in your reservoir and perform a flush. Typically you will need to do the latter as nutrient solutions tend to rise over time.

.

HOW DO I PERFORM A FLUSH IF MY PPM / EC IS TOO HIGH?

Performing a flush is an easy task to do. You simply run your preferred flush solution, pH adjusted, through your system and monitor the runoff of this solution returning to the reservoir or out of the bottom of your pot. Keep running the flush solution until that runoff or return solution is approximately the same TDS ( PPM / EC ) value as your pH adjusted flush solution. After your flush is completed simply dump your flushing solution and make up a new full strength reservoir as per your feed schedule or nutrient calculator recommendations.

MAKING SURE YOUR NUTRIENT METER IS ACCURATE IS VERY IMPORTANT!

Now that we know the basics of monitoring and taking corrective action based on our nutrient strength readings, we must also learn about one vital aspect.

I have seen more people kill their plants or cause major problems with an incorrectly calibrated TDS meter than almost anything. As much as a TDS meter gives you power over your plants, an incorrectly calibrated one can cause a lot of problems. The most common but least understood problem is battery voltage. A meters battery will slowly lose charge as the meter is used over time – pretty straight forward, right?  Wrong!  Once the meters battery loses voltage past a certain point, it begins to affect the meters readings in a negative way. As the battery voltage lowers so too will the meters readings. Quite often this reading will be many hundreds of PPM’s lower than what the real reading is. End result? Quite often people will severely over feed their plants and when they burn, who gets the blame? The poor old nutrient manufacturers! Your meter should be calibrated weekly and the battery changed every month or the first time you notice that you have to calibrate your meter up when using your calibration solution

HOW DO I CARE FOR MY METER?

Calibration and care of your TDS meter is vital if you are to get accurate readings. An incorrectly calibrated or poorly maintained TDS meter can cause as many, if not more, problems as using no meter at all! Calibrating and maintaining your TDS meter is simple and takes virtually no time at all! For greatest accuracy calibrate your meter at least weekly in a good quality calibration solution. Make sure that you purchase a calibration solution that is applicable to your meter. Meters using the PPM scale should use a PPM calibration solution and meters using EC should use an EC calibration solution. Try and obtain a calibration solution that is close to the median range of your feeding solution. This is normally between 1000 and 1400 PPM ( 2.0 to 2.8 EC ).

Also ensure that the probes of your TDS meter are clean. You can purchase TDS probe cleaning solution from your local hydroponics store. A good rule of thumb is to clean your probes just before you calibrate your meter.

pH??

Gardening

Correct pH control is a critical but often overlooked aspect when growing in hydroponics or soilless mediums like Coconut Coir or Sunshine mix.

In its simplest context, the pH of your solution determines how much of the mineral elements you supply your plant is accessible and ready for uptake by the plant.

SO WHAT IS pH?

The term pH, refers to a scale from 1 t o 14 that measures the acidity or alkalinity ( concentration of hydrogen or hydroxyl ions )  of a solution.  1 is extremely acid and 14 is extremely alkaline with 7 being neutral ( equal concentration of hydrogen and hydroxyl ions ). This scale is what’s known as a logarithmic scale meaning that for every one point increase or decrease in pH reflects a 10 fold change in acidity or alkalinity. For example a pH 6 is 10 times more acidic than a pH 7 and a pH of 5 is whopping 1,000 more acidic than ph 7!

You can see then how quickly things can change or get out of control in a hydroponic solution.

Plant nutrients are available across a range of pH with the optimal pH being 5.5 for Hydroponics and Coco Coir and a slightly higher pH of 6.3 for soil based systems. These 2 pH values represent the values that allow the plant to take up the maximal amount of all mineral elements. Go too far above or below and certain elements begin to become unavailable to the plant.

Get this simple control wrong and your plants will suffer suboptimal nutrition at best and at worst your plants will suffer from multiple nutritional deficiencies or even die in extreme cases.

SO HOW DO I CONTROL THE pH?

The best way to control pH is via the use of a common acid ( pH down ) and alkali  ( pH up ). The best ones to use, and ones which are available at all good hydroponic or gardening stores is Phosphoric Acid for pH down and Potassium Hydroxide for pH up. These are chosen because they do not add harmful elements to your nutrient solution. Phosphoric acid adds Phosphorus and Potassium Hydroxide adds Potassium both essential plant nutrients.

WHAT’S THE IDEAL WAY TO CONTROL pH AND IS TIMING IMPORTANT?

Once people realise how important pH is to their crops success, their natural tendency is to over manage the pH of the solution. In our desire to keep the pH at the most optimal value many gardeners adjust their pH when it moves even the smallest amount from the ideal value. However, in doing so many gardeners actually sabotage their own results – in the most unlikely way.  When gardeners over control their pH they inadvertently add large amounts of either phosphorus or potassium. This can cause the nutrient solution to become unbalanced and elements to begin to be locked out as the nutrients interact with each other in undesirable ways as the concentrations of particular elements become too high. This is most often seen with the use of too much pH down which can cause Phosphorus induced zinc deficiency. The common symptom of this deficiency is small or underdeveloped flower s – not what we want to experience!

The best way to control pH is to start with a well balanced nutrient like Dutch Master GOLD NUTRIENT that doesn’t shift pH excessively. GOLD NUTRIENT’s unique technology allows it, in most situations, to remain within an ideal pH band.  Once you have set your initial pH to either 5.5 ( Hydro or Coco users ) or 6.3 for soil users then there is no need to adjust it until it either falls below 5 or above 6.2. pH will naturally fluctuate from day to day as the plants draw on different ratios of elements. In most cases, with a good nutrient like GOLD NUTRIENT, the pH will stay within this range and will not need to be adjusted often. Generally the pH of a solution tends to rise during the grow cycle ( as the plants take up more nitrogen which causes the pH to rise ) and to fall during flowering when the plant has a preferential draw on Phosphorus.

As the mineral elements in a nutrient solution are quickly used by the plant, it is a good idea to replace your nutrient solution at least once every 2 weeks ( in hydro ) or to flush at least 2 times a week ( in soil ).

The other important time to replace your nutrient solution is if it raises or lowers by a full point or more within 24 to 48 hours. This either indicates the plant is under stress, or more commonly the plant is rapidly depleting the nutrient solution of either nitrogen ( when the pH goes up ) or Phosphorus ( when the pH goes down ).

HOW DO I MEASURE pH AND WHAT IS THE BEST WAY?

pH can be measured using colormetric strips ( that run a particular color when dipped into the nutrient solution ), pH indicator solution ( this also turns a particular color at different pH values and is matched to a color chart )  or a pH meter. The first 2 options are very inexpensive and are great for those on a tight budget but the best and most accurate way is to use a well ( and often ) calibrated pH meter. A good digital pH meter can be bought for under a hundred bucks these days and is a great investment, along with a good calibration solution to keep it accurate.

As we can see pH is very, very important but controlling it is a simple and relatively stress free procedure.

pH  METER CALIBRATION & CARE .

Prior to calibrating your meter it’s a good idea to place a small piece of foam, soaked in pH buffer 4.0, into the end of your pH meter probe cap. This will ensure that your probe remains suitably hydrated and will maintain its full life.

Calibration and care of your pH meter is vital if you are to get accurate readings. An incorrectly calibrated or poorly maintained pH meter can cause as many, if not more problems as using no meter at all! Calibrating and maintaining your pH meter is simple and takes virtually no time at all! For greatest accuracy calibrate your meter at least weekly using good quality calibration solutions and a 2 point calibration check. Calibration solutions for pH meters are called buffer Solutions. It is vitally important to use both pH buffer 4.0 and pH buffer 7.0 to ensure that you have the greatest meter accuracy and to ensure that your pH probe is not worn out.

To calibrate, first begin by decanting a small amount of pH buffer 7.0  into a small receptacle just big enough to immerse your pH meter probe into.

Never dip your meter directly in the bottle of buffer solution or return any used buffer to the bottle. This avoids contamination and inaccurate readings. Now dip the probe of your pH meter into your small receptacle and calibrate to pH 7.0 according to your meters calibration directions. Next, rinse off your probe and receptacle in some clean water, shake the excess water and fill your small receptacle with pH buffer 4.0. Now dip the probe of your pH meter into the receptacle. Your meter should read within 0.2 pH points of 4.0 ( pH 3.8 to  pH 4.2 ). If your meter does this then congrats – you just calibrated your pH meter! If your meter reads either above or below the figures listed then we need to re perform the calibration sequence but in Reverse. To do this once again insert your probe into the pH 4.0 Buffer solution and perform your meters calibration sequence. We have now just calibrated the meter to pH 4.0. Now rinse your pH probe and the receptacle in some clean water and shake the excess off. Next, decant some pH buffer 7.0 into the receptacle and dip your pH probe into the receptacle and once again calibrate the meter ( this time to pH 7.0 ). Now rinse the probe and the receptacle again and recheck at pH 4.0. This time your meter should read within 0.2 pH points of 4. If it does not, then it means your pH probe has come to the end of its life and needs to be replaced. In most instances this means you will have to replace your meter if the probe is not detachable.

Article Material Courtesy of http://www.dutchmaster.com.au/?language=english&page=growers_guide&topic=ph_info

Independence Jam Raffle Winners

Events

San Diego Hydroponics would like to thank all those who came out and fun with us at the Independence Jam. As always we appreciate your support and in an effort to meet your growing needs, we’ve opened yet another location in Carlsbad. Come visit us today. As many of you know we had a raffle and we’ve posted the results below. You can claim your prize at any of our four locations.

ticket # 311658 – 6” Dust Shroom

ticket # 311615 – 250 ml. Roots Excelurator

ticket # 311589 – 250 ml. Roots Excelurator

ticket # 353322 – Yield Master Supreme reflector

ticket # 353268 – CO2 regulator with timer and Halo

CO2 Boost Bucket

Gardening

CO2 Boost is a safe, easy way to add CO2 to your grow room, grow chamber, or any enclosed gardening area.

CO2 Boost will enrich your CO2 level for 60 days (up to 90 days in some cases) without heavy tanks.

Completely natural, 100% organic and odorless!

Simply plug the included air pump into your 15 minute timer, and run it during the lights on period (when plants can really use the CO2), then experience the benefits of increased growth rates by up to 6 times.

No more messing with complicated CO2 emitters or generators, just plug in CO2 Boost and watch your plants grow. No costly start up and maintenance fees! No hassle of CO2 tank replacement!

No hazardous gas burning! No plant damaging heat production.
If your growroom is properly sealed, you can achieve optimum growing levels at 1200-1500ppms in areas up to 10 x 10 x 10 feet.

If your growing area is larger than that we suggest multiple buckets.

The manufacturer guarantees CO2 output for 60 days if used constantly.

If you coordinate it with a timer to coincide with your lights on/lights off phase, it could last you 75-90 days.

Once your bucket has expired use the remaining ingredients as high grade fertilizer!

Higromite

Gardening

In prehistoric times 26 million years ago….seas and lakes were populated by diatoms, tiny single-cell creatures rich in silica.

Over time, these skeletons accumulated at the bottom of the lakes in which they lived.  Periodic volcanic activity added layers of alumna-rich ash to the mix and the Higromite material was born.  It is extremely porous and absorbent which allows for the efficient movement of air, water, and nutrients within your growing environment.

Key Benefits of Higromite

– Increased quality & quantity of yields

– Accelerates blooming and optimizes maturation

– High in Silica and inert

– Reduces the frequency of the watering cycle

– Increases porosity by establishing air & water passageways

– Allows the soil to absorb and hold water

– Promotes deeper roots and increases the number of fine root hairs

High Silica Content

Higromite is comprised of about 70% silica (Si).  Silica is essential for healthy plants and roots. The crystalline mineral silica is an often forgotten element in agriculture. When plants contain enough silica, they are able to maximize energy resources from the sun. However, it can only be absorbed gradually by the plant via the microbial processes in the soil.  Thus, it is important to “feed” the soil a rich organic diet.

Your plants will receive this slow release of silica from Higromite resulting in healthier, more robust plants.

Plant available silica has also been shown in studies to stimulate Systemic Acquired Resistance (SAR) in plants which increase their resistance to disease.

Moisture Release

Higromite has a total capillary porosity of about (68%).  The non-capillary pore space is made up of relatively large pores (18%) that conduct water under saturated conditions.  When drained, they are filled with air providing the oxygen that is necessary for root growth.

The capillary porosity is made up of small pores (50%)that hold water against the force of gravity, retaining much of it for plant use.

The high overall capillary pore space contributes to excellent hydraulic conductivity and moisture retention & release.

In the lab, increasing levels of energy are applied to samples to simulate dry down cycles.

Water released between saturation, 0 Tension and 0.03 Bars, reflects free drainage.  Of greater importance is the water that is released from 0.03 bars to 2 bars, which is considered plant available water.

Higromite can be used as a supplement to expanded clay, coco, rock wool, and other mediums depending on the application.

When Higromite is used as a supplement with Coco, it helps to reduce the common problem of compaction and increases moisture retention.

High CEC (Cat ion Exchange Capacity) – Due to its high CEC, adding Higromite to your soil can greatly improve the soil’s ability to hold onto the nutrients.

Higromite can also be applied to “lasagna gardening” techniques. When lining the bottom of a pot with Higromite, the root tips get the extra moisture they need in the later stages of growth. Expanded clays do not retain as much moisture as Higromite making it far superior.

Higromite can be applied as a top dressing to potted plants. The rocks provide an additional growing layer that protects against pests and helps retain moisture.

It also adds a nice decorative appeal that is pleasing to the eye.

Aeration

The multi-faceted shape of the Higromite particles allows air penetration within the pot. This is particularly important to plant health and discourages root rot.

Capillary Action

The wicking action of Higromite ensures that the whole root system can take advantage of the water and nutrients you give it.

Inert

It does not break down like other media on the market today and can accompany your plant from seedling to specimen. Higromite can be re-used depending on the application.

Stability

Higromite eliminates the common problem of expanded clay floating in Ebb & Flow system buckets.  Higromite’s ability to retain moisture helps it create a stable growing environment in these applications.

Why Silica

Gardening

Silicon is a highly essential micro nutrient.

It has been known to heighten growth and prevent disease in plants for centuries. It is present in significant amounts in the epidermal cells of plants; and acts as a barrier and repellent against invading insects and fungi. Silicon has also been found to accumulate around diseased parts of the plant, implying that it is not only preventive but also highly curative too.

Silicon is abundant in the root cells where plants are most likely to be exposed to pathogens and parasites.

Presence of this element makes the cells harder and highly resistant to disease or attack. In fact, silicon protects the plants against pathogens, such as pythium, fungal spores, aphids, sucking insects and powdery mildew. Apart from directly resisting plant infections, silicon stimulates creation of other disease resistant elements, such as polyphenolic compounds.

Silicon improves plant resistance to water deficiency.

Heavy concentrations of silica in the outer cells of plants reduces transpiration of moisture. It also resists wilt and negative impact from excessive occurrence of many essential nutrients.

Concentrations of chlorophyll as well as utilization of carbon dioxide is directly affected by the presence of silica in plants.

That is why silicon deficiency is reflected in malformation of young leaves and either deformed or no fruits at all.

Silicon is also instrumental in ameliorating mineral imbalances and diseases caused by abiotic stresses.

For example, silicon can prevent manganese and iron toxicity as well as prove beneficial for aluminum toxicity.

Plants absorb silicon better through the leaves.

That is why soluble silicon is one of the best ways of providing plants with supplemental silicon. Potassium silicate is a great source of soluble silicon and provides small amounts of potassium too. Supplemental silica is approved by the USDA as a supplemental fertilizer for agricultural use. To learn more about the role of silica in plant health click here.

Bio Bizz

Gardening

Since 1992 BioBizz has been producing custom soil mixes, natural plant nutrients and additives for organic gardeners.

From its legendary origin in Amsterdam to the present day, BioBizz is the most experienced and recognized supplier of premium plant food in its field. The BioBizz distinguished line of pro-environmental fertilizer is ideal for biological production of flowers, fruits, vegetables and herbs as well as safely caring for ornamentals, trees and turf. Used on soil, coco-fibre, hydroponics and hydro-organics.

Our mission

Our philosophy is based on respecting our partners, distributors, our consumers, our suppliers and the environment itself. We prefer quality over quantity and we believe in that our products prove themselves. With superior products, service and support and expertise in the organic and hydroponics industry.

Why organics??

Because factory-made chemical fertilizers take away from the soil rather than building it. After rendering soil useless in the name of a temporary fix, these industrial chemicals are washed into earth’s water tables killing and mutating fish, algae, and coral reef. Residuals from these chemicals and pesticides can be found in the produce itself. Eating organic fruits, vegetables or herbs- grown without the use of chemicals or pesticides- may boost the immune system of animals and help them recover from disease. We also, believe that agriculture should come “back-to-earth” and out of the laboratories.

Why BIOBIZZ??

BIOBIZZ Products were formulated and refined in Holland over the last 12 years. They have continued to maintain popularity in the Netherlands while gaining support from users worldwide. The clean smell and ease of use is appropriate for easy and instant organics, indoor or outside. The original BIOBIZZ mantras of K.I.S.S (Keep It Short and Simple) and Back to Basics still ring true to diehard bio and organic growers all over the globe.

How to use BIOBIZZ products with the grow schedule??

BIOBIZZ has been trying to develop a simple but serious grow schedule. Our main goal was to make a schedule that everybody can use and understand. Education is the key to our and the consumers success. We had to force ourselves to make one standard, but extra information is always given on request.

The schedule: is designed for use with BIOBIZZ products. These basic directives will show you step by step how to get the most from BIOBIZZ (your) products and the best from you plants. The schedule is defied in eleven week in which two week of growth followed by nine weeks of flowering.   The dosage of nutrients is measured in millilitres per litre (the European schedules). For examples week: 3rd week grow schedule on All-Mix, 1 ml Bio-Grow, 1 ml Bio-Bloom and 1 ml TopMax per 1 litre water.

Why do you give Bio-Grow in the bloom/flowering phase??

That is a good question. Bio-Grow contains a lot of sugars and vitamins B, C and E. When plants start to flower they are using a lot of their vitamins and sugars. If those vitamins and sugars are not replaced the plant can stress out or even die. Bio-Grow was not only developed as a growth and soil activator but also as a plant tonic in flowering phase. That is why we recommend using Bio-Grow in bloom/flowering phase.

Can I use Biobizz products on hydro or coco’s?

Yes, you can use Biobizz products on hydro systems and coco’s. It is just a different approach and usages of the Biobizz products. The Biobizz has two liquid product lines: Liquid organic plant food and the Organic bio-stimulants.

Come check out our OMRI certified nutrient selection at San Diego Hydroponics and Organics.

N.F.T.

Gardening

NFT is an ultra-resource efficient method of growing plants by providing a highly oxygenated, slowly moving film (stream) of dissolved minerals to the roots in a flat bottomed, gently sloped channel (the Hydroponic Nutrient Film Technique Lettuce Systemgully).

Plants are placed at intervals along the gully and grown with their root ends constantly moistened by the nutrient film.

The nutrient film is shallow enough for most of the root mass to have direct access to oxygen from the surrounding air.

The nutrient solution is recirculated through a reservoir that is highly aerated and continuously monitored for pH and nutrient strength. Nutrient strength and pH are adjusted on demand with the use of automated monitor/dosing computer equipment. This provides constant balance and optimum conditions for thriving plant growth.

* Clean, mineral rich, pesticide and grit-free lettuce.

* NFT lettuce requires only a fraction of the labour.

* Boasts 30% more production per acre than the best traditional soil methods.

* NFT uses just one tenth the water.

There are a few critical aspects of NFT system design that cannot be ignored.

1. Water Quality

Source water quality must be a constant, not a variable. Before even considering hydroponics water must be analyzed beforehand to determine qualities.

Upon analysis water must be as pure as possible going in. If too many mineral elements are present, i.e. high sodium, heavy metals or pathogens, it must be treated with Reverse Osmosis Membranes and/or Ozone.

If source water mineral, such as sodium, is too high, reservoir will need to be dumped much more frequently which is wasteful, costly and unnecessary.

2. Gully Features

Gully must be flat bottomed to achieve a broad nutrient film (stream).

Slope must be a minimum of 1″ in 40″. No runs longer than 60′ (18 metres).

1 litre a minutes flow rate per gully maximum. ¾ litre per minutes for short runs.

2 feeder tubes per gully, in case one blocks.

3. Reservoir Features

Reservoir should be sized so that when the system turns off the reservoir needs to be able to hold 2000 litres.

Returning nutrient must fall into the reservoir. All reservoirs must be equipped with venturis for oxygenation. Ethylene, a by-product waste gas of plant metabolism, can choke a recirculating system. A venturi that operates off pump pressure creates a spa like effect in the reservoir, agitating ethylene out of the solution and introducing fresh air into the tank are.

N.F.T. systems are very susceptible to power outages and pump failures. The roots dry out very rapidly when the flow of nutrient solution is interrupted.

Hydroponics

Gardening

Researchers discovered in the 19th century that plants absorb essential mineral nutrients as inorganic ions in water.

In natural conditions, soil acts as a mineral nutrient reservoir but the soil itself is not essential to plant growth. When the mineral nutrients in the soil dissolve in water, plant roots are able to absorb them.

When the required mineral nutrients are introduced into a plant’s water supply artificially, soil is no longer required for the plant to thrive.

Almost any terrestrial plant will grow with hydroponics. Hydroponics is also a standard technique in biology research and teaching.

Some of the reasons why hydroponics is being adapted around the world for food production are the following:

* No soil is needed

* The water stays in the system and can be reused- thus, lower water costs

* It is possible to control the nutrition levels in their entirety- thus, lower nutrition costs

* No nutrition pollution is released into the environment because of the controlled system

* Stable and high yields

* Pests and diseases are easier to get rid of than in soil because of the container’s mobility

Today, hydroponics is an established branch of agronomy. Progress has been rapid, and results obtained in various countries have proved it to be thoroughly practical and to have very definite advantages over conventional methods of horticulture. The two chief merits of the soil-less cultivation of plants are, first, much higher crop yields, and second, hydroponics can be used in places where in-ground agriculture or gardening is not possible.

Start your indoor hydroponics garden today!

Global Greenhouse Lighting Ballasts

Gardening

Upgrade To Digital

These blissfully silent ballasts are highly efficient, produce very little heat.

All of this while firing the bulb brighter, giving 15% to 20% more lumen output than a standard electro-magnetic core ballast.

All of this because the ballasts fire at a higher frequency, minimizing the wear and increasing lamp life, 3 to 4 times.

Light weight with a built in mounting bracket, Global Greenhouse digital ballasts universally work with all reflectors, sockets, and lamps on the market. 3 year, no hassle manufacturer’s warranty.

* Fires both HPS and MH lamps!

* 15% – 20% more lumen output

* Higher Efficiency means very little heat

* Works with any socket, reflector, or lamp on the market

* Light weight with built in mounting bracket

* Generator Friendly

* Sunlight Supply “S” style hood side lamp plug (two round prongs and one flat prong)

* Includes a 120v/240V power cord.

* Ballast side power plug is the “square hortizontal plug” style

Nutrient Success

Gardening

The primary nutrients in plant foods are Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium also called Potash (K).

In addition to nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium, plants require a lesser amount of secondary nutrients and trace quantities of other elements.

Secondary nutrients are calcium, sulphur, and magnesium. Trace elements are small quantities of boron, chlorine, cobalt, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, and zinc.

Plant foods are measured in an N-P-K format

N is Nitrogen

P is Phosphorus

K is Potassium (Potash)

A 7-4-3 plant food contains:

7% Nitrogen

4% Phosphorus

3% Potassium

A 30-15-15 plant food contains:

30% Nitrogen

15% Phosphorus

15% Potassium

The percentage of the solution not used by nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium is secondary nutrients, trace elements, and/or inert material.

An all purpose nutrient with secondary nutrients and trace elements will get you through all stages of growth. But during different stages of life, you can adjust the nutrient levels to optimal quantities.

Regardless of the nutrient you choose, during the first 1-2 weeks of life and the first 1-2 weeks of flowering, use half the amount (or less) of nutrient solution the manufacturer recommends.

That is, if the nutrient package says to mix one tablespoon of nutrient to every gallon of water, you should add less than half a tablespoon of nutrient to every gallon of water for the first 1-2 weeks after germinating or cloning, and when flowering is initiated.

This is not essential when flowering, unless the plants have just been transplanted, but it is for seeds and clones. Some growers don’t add any nutrients to the water for the first 1-2 weeks.

They then use a 50% solution for 1-2 weeks, then go to a 100% solution.

During seedling/vegetative growth the plants need lots of N (nitrogen).

They also need a fair amount of P (phosphorus) and K (potassium), 7-4-3, or 30-15-15, or something with a similar ratio of N-P-K, and secondary nutrients, and trace elements will work.

During flowering the plants need more P (phosphorus) and more K (potassium) than they did during vegetative growth.

They need some N (nitrogen) but not as much as they did during seedling/vegetative growth. They also need secondary nutrients and trace elements.

If you used:

— Something like 7-4-3 for seedling/vegetative growth, then try using 4-8-7 (or similar ratios of N-P-K) for flowering.

— Something like 30-15-15 for seedling/vegetative growth, then try using 15-30-30 (or similar ratios of N-P-K) for flowering.

Two and three part nutrient solutions, that allow you to custom blend the amount of the different components, are recommended.

Organic nutrients are available but they can be harder to find.

Do not give your plants extra nutrients thinking it will make them grow faster. Too much will kill your plants. If you under fertilize, plant growth will be slowed but they will stay alive much longer than if they got too much. Follow the mixing instructions on your soil nutrient package, if you aren’t sure, use less rather than more.

Stop all plant food at least 14 days before harvesting when growing in soil. The last few times you water the plants, don’t add any nutrients.

You can repeat this water only ‘feeding’ several times in the 2 weeks prior to harvest. When growing in a hydroponic garden, stop all plant food at least 7 days before harvest.

This is so N-P-K and other elements can be removed from the plants before harvesting. This will ensure that your plant doesn’t taste like plant food, and you are ingesting a minimal amount of N-P-K, secondary nutrients, or trace elements. See when to harvest your crop for more info.

Raffle Winners for San Diego Expo

Events

Please check your ticket to see if you won. You can claim your prize at our Napier Store. (MAP)

If you didn’t win OR weren’t there OR want to win some more, enter our SECOND CHANCE RAFFLE.

1.             Full Line of House and Garden Nutrients (qt size)  –  353008

2.             Full Line of Biobizz Nutirients  –  353176

3.             4′ x 4′ Tray Hugger  –  353013

4.             GGL Athena 600W Digital Ballast  –  353021

5.             8 x 24 Phresh Filter  –  353053

6.             Can Filter 100  –  353039

7.             Mad Farmer pH Up (1Gal)  –  353123

8.             Mad Farmer pH Down (1Gal)  –  353076

Fresca Sol Water Cooled Light

Gardening

The Fresca Sol is the industry innovator featuring water cooled fixture engineered to take 93% of the heat produced from your HPS bulb and transfer it through water to a designated cooling reservoir.

Increased control over your growing environment is achieved using the Fresca Sol water cooled light. This product is a great addition to any type of system or application where heat is a problem for one reason or another.

The Fresca Sol unit will eliminate 93% of the heat from your 250, 400, 600 or 1000 HPS, and transfer it through water to a designated cooling reservoir.

This unit allows you to combine your existing ballast and bulb with our water cooled light to achieve real cool results. With low thermal emission and less exhaust, this results in a higher concentration of CO2.

The Design:

The Fresca Sol endplates are made from dependable billet aircraft aluminum, proving to withstand high temperatures. The tubes are made of durable borasilicate (Pyrex) glass, creating a very tough and reliable product.

The Features:

You can adjust your Fresca Sol fixture to 5’’ inches away from your plants rather than 18’’ to 24’’ inches! This increases the amount of light reaching your plants by nine times!

In addition you can also exchange the heat from your bulb through water plumbed into your designated reservoir. Examples of water reservoirs are pools (in-ground and out of ground), Jacuzzis, or even a horse trough. Providing a heated pool year round is yet another benefit that also leads to lower electric bills and saves you money while increasing yields.

Now Available:

The Fresca Sol is now packaged and sold with a socket and wing reflector. Additional optional features for your system such as the “No Flow No Go” sensors, “over heat” sensors as well as relays that control your lights and pumps for a fool proof system that shuts down at the first sign of a problem. In addition, we will have pumps, hoses and clamps available for purchase on our site, making your experience with San Diego Hydroponics a one stop shop!

Specifications:

  • 1 6” round 21” long and 25” long with socket
  • 2 Radiating heat is cut down by 93%
  • 3 Minimum 50-gallon reservoir per 1000-watt fixture
  • 4 Can be ran in a horizontal or vertical sequence (Not to exceed four in one line)
  • 5 Light can be put less than 6” from the top of your plants instead of 18” to 24” with an air-cooled system.
  • 6 resulting in 9 to 16 times more light actually hitting your plants.
  • 7 Dry weight is 11 pounds. It is 19 pounds when full of water.
  • 8 Works very well with a heat exchanger, chiller unit, or just a larger reservoir such as a pool or Jacuzzi.
  • 9 Low Thermal Emittance
  • 10 Spectrums increased by 5% to 10%
  • PH MUST BE 7.5-8.0
  • Run the pump 24 hrs
  • Never put cold water on hot light
  • Use small amount of pool chlorine to keep clean from algee
  • Recomend to use filter before lights in system

Serenade Garden Disease Control

Gardening

SERENADE Garden provides protection against a broad spectrum of the most common fungal and bacterial garden diseases, yet is completely non-toxic to bees and beneficial insects.

It is so safe you can confidently harvest and eat fruits and vegetables the very same day they are treated. Unlike sulfur-based disease control products, SERENADE Garden is non-irritating to skin and lungs. And, unlike neem oil-based products that can injure plant foliage, there is no weather or timing restrictions limiting its application.

What is the active ingredient of SERENADE Garden and Lawn Disease Control?

SERENADE Garden is made from a unique, patented strain (QST 713) of Bacillus subtilis. Farmers have used this biological pesticide for years to treat plant diseases in food crops. Bacillus subtilis penetrates and destroys the disease spores, but does not harm beneficial insects or wildlife. This ingredient is also approved by the EPA, meets USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) standards, and is listed by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) for use in organic gardening.

Which plants can SERENADE Garden and Lawn Disease Control be used on?

Vegetables, fruits and nuts, in addition to annual and perennial bedding plants and flowers, roses, potted flowers, foliage plants, trees and shrubs located in residential greenhouses.

SERENADE Garden Lawn Disease Control can also be used on houseplants. It is best to take them outdoors, spray them and then return them to the house.

When is the best time of day to spray?

SERENADE Garden can be applied anytime – there are no known phytoxicity issues. Temperature does not affect the efficacy of SERENADE Garden. It is recommended that you spray your plants after rain, as heavy rains can wash off any foliar treatments and leave your plants vulnerable to disease.

On what parts of the plant do I apply the spray?

SERENADE Garden is approved as a foliar spray. Spray leaves, stems and new shoots to provide complete coverage of the entire plant. SERENADE Garden can safely be sprayed on flowers, fruits, and vegetables. You can even harvest the treated flowers and vegetables the same day you apply.

SNS-217™ Spider Mite Control

Gardening

Spider mites destroy plant cells by sucking out their contents

SNS-217™’s unique formula works by providing a barrier which is harmless to the plant, but fatal to the mites.

The natural salts from fatty acids derived from Rosemary extracts disrupt the insect cell structure and permeability of its membranes. Cell contents then leak from damaged cells and the spider mites quickly die.

Some of the components of SNS-217™ are also absorbed by the plant and then suppress the life cycle of the mites.

SNS-217™ Spider Mite Control kills the spider mite eggs as well by coating the eggs with a oily shield that disrupts the respiration to the egg; therefore no hatching will occur, they will just dry out.

Our Product has been tested in our lab on delicate new growth, clones, tomatoes, roses and other plants.

Uses

SNS-217™ Spider Mite Control can be used on a wide variety of plants, vegetables, and even trees. When applying the product take caution not to spray any buds on the plant, in doing so this could result in burning the buds sprayed. SNS-217™ Spider Mite Control can be sprayed on fruits, vegetables, and plants varying from; apples, apricots, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cherries, chives, corn, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, parsley, fuchsia, roses, flowers, houseplants, etc.

SNS-217™ is fully bio-degradable and is not toxic to animals and under directed normal use, should not affect the plant’s metabolism.

Our Sprayer

SNS-217™ Spider Mite Control comes in a ready to use 32 ounce (946.3 ml) spray bottle with a unique any direction sprayer.

Our unique sprayer allows you to spray at any angle you choose. Since spider mites hide on the under side of leaves this sprayer will have no problem at all getting those hard to reach spots.

One thorough application is usually enough, but heavy infestations may require two, as the eggs can be a bit hardier, so we recommend an additional application in these cases.

When it’s hot, and dry, mites are just a breeze away from your plants.

Just one spray every few weeks will protect your crop from this near invisible pest.

Whether you grow indoors or out sooner or later the mites will find you, get them before they get your plants!

Aquaponics-Taking Aquaculture & Hydroponics into the Future

Gardening

Combining plant and fish culture in the same system results in a more natural, environmental friendly food production process than traditional agriculture or aquaculture.

Instead of using synthetic fertilizers and the few inches of topsoil remaining on our land to grow agricultural crops, in aquaponics, the waste from the fish are used as fertilizer for the plants. The plants in turn purify the water for the fish, allowing valuable resources to be recycled and utilized more efficiently.

There is no effluent discharge requiring costly filtration or wastewater treatment, and although it is an aquatic system, it only utilizes 3% to 5% of the water that traditional land based agriculture requires for irrigation. This means that you can operate an aquaponics system in resource limited regions, from dry infertile lands to urban settings, without the need for cultivable land or vast water resources.

This also means that we do not have to rely so much on food coming from far places, but are now able to produce food locally.

For people worried about the quality and the freshness of their food, aquaponics provides a means to assure a continuous supply of safe and nutritious food that can be grown right at home.

Resources on Earth are being strained beyond sustainable limits. Aquaponics offers an economically viable, environmentally sustainable and socially responsible alternative to producing superior quality food locally and more in tune with nature. At Morning Star Fishermen we are learning and teaching others how to move from linear consumption or production processes, to cyclical ones, specifically designed and tuned for perpetuation of basic resources and life supporting systems.

Tilapia – Saint Peter’s Fish

• Native to Africa and the Nile River Basin in Lower Egypt

• Omnivore [eats organic material, not other fish]

• Breeds prolifically indoors or outdoors in small areas

• Healthy [low fat – low calorie, protein is more easily digested than poultry or beef protein]

First fish taken into space [with astronaut John Glenn in 1998]  READ MORE >>

The Genus Tilapia

This Tilapia is endemic to warm waters throughout the world. The aquaculture, or fish farming, of Tilapia is recorded in human history as far back as ancient Egypt. Tradition holds that the Tilapia was the fish that Jesus used to feed the five-thousand on the Sea of Galilee – thus one of its common names, “St. Peter’s Fish.”   Tilapia is also referred to as “The Wonder Fish.”

Vegetarian Diet

Tilapia eat algae and plants, they are not carnivorous. Tiny combs located in their gills enable them to constantly filter and to remove microalgae from their water environment. Because they are low on the food chain, they cannot build up pollutants and other toxins in their bodies – unlike the carnivorous predator fish species. Therefore, Tilapia is a healthier food for humans.

Efficient Digestion

Tilapia convert a greater proportion of their feed into growth than most other fish species. The acid content of their digestive tract is one of the strongest known and efficiently digests most microorganisms.

Strong Immune System

Tilapia are hardy fish that can thrive in salt, brackish, or fresh water.  When well fed and kept in warm water, there are no known diseases that can cause a large kill of the Tilapia stock.  Their strong immune system guards against the infections that often wipe out whole populations of the more delicate species used in aquaculture.

Rapid Growth

Tilapia can grow from fingerling to eating size in about 10 months in an average aquaculture station. Commercial growers have created optimum environments that can grow Tilapia to market size within just six to seven months.

Easy, Uncomplicated Aquaculture

Tilapia is more easily grown than other foul fish species for either commercial or non-profit enterprises.  They may be grown in open ponds cages submerged in ponds, aquariums, or tanks on land.  Tilapia’s wide range of tolerance of environmental changes, including, water quality,temperature, salinity, population density, make them ideal candidates for aquaculture. Many other fish used for aquaculture, such as fresh water trout, are much more delicate and prone to disease when stressed by even relatively minor changes in their environment.  With the proper training and approach, Tilapia aquaculture can provide a reliable harvest that is inexpensive to grow. fish tank with aquaphonic vegetables on top

Nutritious, High-Protein Food Source

Tilapia is becoming more popular every year, as a commercially-grown fish, as consumers discover how good the fish tastes.  Farm-raised fish, are commanding more in the marketplace, because they are free of the industrial contaminants found in many open waterways.

No cultural or taste barriers

Tilapia have scales and are considered a kosher food, unlike catfish, which are prohibited by some religions. Tilapia also has an excellent flavor, with none of the oily, fishy taste that some people object to in many types of seafood.

Easily Marketable

Tilapia have a viable market in all economies – first, second, or third world. Therefore, those people that learn Tilapia aquaculture have more than a protein-rich food source for themselves – they also have a cash-generating crop that can be sold in their local food market. Therefore, Tilapia can do more than feed the people that learn Tilapia aquaculture.  Tilapia can help lift them out of poverty!

Cloning with Rockwool

Gardening

Described here is a cloning method  that has proven itself with more than a 99.9% success rate.

Cuttings are rooted in rockwool cutting cubes. Cutting cubes can be distinguished from germination cubes by their larger square size (1.5×1.5×1.5 inches), a plastic wrap covering the sides, and a deep narrow hole approximately 1/8 inch in diameter in the center for inserting the stem of the cutting. Germination cubes generally have no plastic wrap, are slightly narrower at the base, and have a broad dimple on top that’s usually only about 1/4 inch deep and around 3/8 inch in diameter.

The hole in cutting cubes usually extends about half way through the cube, or around 3/4 of an inch. I usually poke a 1/8 inch diameter pointed stick in the hole to deepen it to a point about 1/4 inch from the bottom of the cube (don’t go through the cube). That allows for approximately 1-1/4 inch of stem to be contained in the cube. The more stem surface that comes in contact with the cube the better the chances are for more roots to form along the stem.

Pre-treating Cubes

Treat the rockwool by soaking it overnight in a 5.5 pH. I recommend a rooting concentrate called K-L-N by Dynagrow.

Rooting Products

There are various products on the market used to promote rooting. They can be found in powder, liquid, and gel forms. Olivias, Clonex, Dip and Grow, are just a few common brand names you might see.  A good product will produce roots quickly while preserving the health of leaves on the cutting.

When using a product like Clonex Gel it’s best to pour off a small amount into a shallow test tube or other similar small narrow container suitable for dipping stems into, then discard what’s left over after use.

A narrow shallow container, just a little deeper than the length of stem you’ll be dipping into it, will ensure that you won’t be using more product than you need to, because of its cost. Dipping stems directly into the product container can contaminate the entire contents.

Taking Cuttings

My cuttings are about 2.5 to 3.5 inches tall, plus another 1 inch or so below the surface of the cube.

The stem width of my cuttings, at the cut, average 3/32 to 1/8+ inch. If the node spacing on your cutting is such that there isn’t about 1-1/4 inches between nodes, trim off the lower nodes (leaf & shoot) with a razor blade so that there is enough stem to go into the 1-1/4 inch deep hole in the cube. You can do this before you remove the cutting from the mother plant.

To remove the cutting from the mother plants, use a new razor blade and hold a small piece of wood behind the stem to serve as an anvil for making a clean cut.

Make a diagonal cut on the stem about 1/4 inch below the lowest node site, if you needed to remove nodes. If you didn’t need to remove any nodes, and have about 1-1/4 inch of stem to work with, make the cut about 1-1/4 inch below the first node, this will put the first node just about even with the surface of the cube. After making the cut, dip the 1-1/4 inch stem in the rooting product for about 15 to 30 seconds, tweaking it to dislodge any air bubbles that may be present. Then gently push it into the hole.

You want the rockwool to hug the stem and actually come into contact with it, but quite often the diameter of the hole in the cube will be larger than the diameter of the stem.

In such cases I use large tweezers. Spread them open, place one pincer on one side of the stem and the other pincer on the other side of the stem, then poke both pincers into the rockwool about 1/2 inch from each side of the stem, then squeeze them together, thus bringing the rockwool closer to the stem and closing up the gap in the large hole.

The Rooting Environment

Leave the cube in a suitable propagation container at around 80 to 85 degrees F, with about 30 to 40 Watts/sq ft of fluorescent lighting on for 24 hours a day. The cube should not sit in standing water. The environment should be humid & warm. The container can be anything that lets light in, but in order to retain humid conditions inside the container Mondi dome should be relatively sealed from the outside environment to prevent humid air from escaping and drier air from entering. One can gauge humidity inside the container by how much condensation he can see on the leaves, or the walls and ceiling of the container.  You don’t need to spray the cubes, as long as the container is kept humid no water will be lost from the cubes, you don’t want them to sit in standing water.

It is strongly suggested that you don’t move the cuttings to check for roots until the eighth day, roots hairs can be extremely thin and are torn easily if the stem is twisted in the hole.

Also, keep in mind that the longer you have humid conditions the more likely it is to develop mold or fungus, rooting quickly is the best way to avoid lengthy humid conditions, and you will root quickly if you don’t disturb the cuttings prematurely.

Acclimatizing Freshly Rooted Clones

When you first see the cutting is rooted through the cube bottom you can stop spraying and start watering the cube, let the solution drain from the cube. This is a critical time, and the first sign of roots doesn’t mean they can be introduced to a new drier environment. I suggest you wait until the day after you’ve first seen roots before you attempt acclimatizing the clones. Open the tent a little to allow humidity to escape, and check the clones every 20 minutes for the first hour or so. If you notice any wilting, immediately spray the leaves and container interior and close it to return the cuttings to a humid environment, then try again the next day. If, after the 1st hour you have no wilting, open the tent a little more, and check every hour. After about 4 to 6 hours with no wilting you’re ready to rock ‘n roll.

If you have some rooted and some not, you can keep them all in humid conditions for a couple more days.

In some cases I’ve used a large drinking glass or clear plastic cup to cover only the cuttings that still need humidity while leaving the lid of the rooting chamber ajar for the cuttings that can handle the drier air. The point of this is that you want to get away from the high humidity as soon as you can to avoid any threat of mold or fungus.

Tips

Don’t forget HUMIDITY, HUMIDITY, HUMIDITY. But don’t overdo it for too long or you risk mold and damping off.

Once clones have rooted and are growing without the humid conditions, you may need to store them for a while before transplanting them to their new home. I usually put the newly rooted cube in a very shallow round container about a 1/16 of an inch deep. Cutting off about 1/16 inch from the bottom of a plastic drinking cup works great. I water the tops of cubes and allow the shallow container to fill with solution. This holds some solution and keeps the roots from air pruning so they can still develop further while waiting to be transplanted, it also buys you some time so you won’t need to check the cuttings as often. The solution will be used fairly quickly in the drier air so there’s no danger of drowning roots. Just make sure the container is very shallow. It also serves to contain the roots, and they will grow in a circular direction inside the container. When time comes to transplant you’ll have nice long roots with no air pruning having taken place.

Grow Bags

Gardening

Grotek Grow Bags– are an excellent way to grow your plants without the use of temporary pots. Grow Bags also help with storage space….just put the medium in the bag and grow.

Smart Pots-The patented Smart Pot is for the gardener who wants a container that will grow the best possible plant. It is a new and unique advancement in container technology that is better than any other method of container gardening. It is-

* Better than Standard Black Plastic Containers

* Better than Ceramic (Clay) Containers

* Better than Raised Beds

* Better than Decorative Containers

The patented Smart Pot is a soft-sided, fabric container that has the rigidity to hold its shape and can even support large trees. In fact, the Smart Pot was originally developed for and has been used by commercial tree growers for over twenty years.

The Smart Pot is an aeration container. It has a unique ability to air-prune and enhance a plant’s root structure. A highly branched, fibrous root structure is the key to growing a better plant – with more flowers and fruits, and more resistance to insects and diseases.

C.A.P. Grow Pot– is a competitor of the smart pot.

Vegetables for Container Gardening

Gardening

1. Beets – Fresh beets have a whole different taste than pickled ones. These can be grown in as little space as a cake pan and are better picked small and tender, about the size of a silver dollar.

2. Spinach – Fresh spinach is good both cooked and raw and it is another vegetable that can be grown in a small container. The leaves are best picked young and tender. One of the best things about spinach is that it doesn’t have to grow fruit so it doesn’t need a large container to support it. This is a cool weather plant and does not like hot summer days.

3. Leaf Lettuce – Like spinach, leaf lettuce can be grown in a small container and doesn’t need hot summer days to mature. Pick when leaves are young and tender. Start pots at different times so you have a continuous supply. There is also a variety of miniature head lettuce that can be container grown.

4. Patio Tomatoes – They are coming up with more and more types of tomatoes that are suited to container growing. Traditional tomatoes take a huge amount of dirt and grow to be 3 or 4 feet tall and wide if not supported. Patio tomatoes are more compact and were bred to retain a small size and be grown in a pot. Here is a variety of cherry tomatoes that can be grown in a container.

5. Radishes – Like beets, radishes don’t need a huge pot to grow and mature fairly quickly. These are fun to grow and make a great addition to any salad.

6. Green Peppers – These take a fairly good size pot and are definitely warm weather plants but they are not difficult to grow. They can be used in a variety of dishes and freeze well. If you are feeling a bit experimental, there is a new variety of mini peppers that you can buy. They are small and colorful.

7. Green Beans – While I would normally not recommend growing green beans in a container, they have come up with several varieties of dwarf green beans that are recommended and actually as you can plant 16 green bean plants in a square foot I would imagine these would do fairly well in a container.

8. Squash – Again, while squash is not something you would normally consider a container plant, new varieties are very compatible. This mild summer Patty Pan squash is only 2 ft high and 2 ft wide. It may be too big for an apartment but then maybe not.

9. Eggplant – Eggplant is a mainstay in Mediterranean cooking. It’s compact size makes it an ideal choice for container growing.

10. Garlic Chives – This is one of my favorites. It’s a beautiful flower and every part of the plant is edible.

11. Swiss Chard – This link is to a rainbow variety that will perk up any spot. Fresh Swiss Chard has a sweet buttery flavor that is delicious. The grocery store variety loses SO much of the flavor that it barely resembles the garden variety. Try it fresh and sauted in a bit of olive oil with a hint of garlic.

12. A pot of Herbs – You can mix and match herbs in a container. Basil, thyme, sage, tarragon, rosemary will all grow fine. My choices to put together would be basil, thyme and sage. Basil is an upright annual plant while sage is kind of sprawly. Thyme is a low grower so the three together make an interesting potted arrangement. All but basil are perennial.

Grow Potatoes in a Trash Bag

Gardening

Step 1: Prepare the Seed Potatoes

About a week before planting, place seed potatoes in a warm spot. When the sprouts that form are about 1/4″ to 1/2″ long, the potatoes are almost ready to plant. Cut large seed potatoes into chunks about 2″ wide. Each piece should have at least two sprouts. After cutting the seed potatoes, let them sit at room temperature for two or three days.

Step 2: Prepare the Bag

Use a pair of scissors to cut several drainage holes in the bottom of a 30-gallon black plastic trash bag. Roll down the sides of the bag and fill about one-third of the way up with potting soil. Place the bag in an area of the garden that receives full sun.

Step 3: Plant the Potatoes

Dust the seed potatoes with agricultural sulfur to protect against fungal diseases. Plant the seed potatoes by burying them, eyes pointed up, about 2″ deep in the soil. Water well.

Step 4: Add More Soil

When the potato plants get about 6″ to 8″ tall, it is time to add more soil and straw to the bag. Add enough soil so that just the top few leaves poke through the dirt. As the potato plants grow, continue to unroll the bag and add more soil. Keep the potatoes well watered but not soggy.

Step 5: Harvest the Potatoes

One clue that the potatoes are almost ready to harvest is that the leaves will yellow and the foliage will die back. At this point stop watering and leave the potatoes alone for two or three weeks so that their skins toughen up. To harvest, slit open the side of the bag to release the potatoes.

Little Helpers: From Shooting Powder to Bushmaster

Lifestyle

As gardeners, we always try our best to replicate our plant’s natural environment to the best of our abilities. Sometimes there is only so much we can do. And for the rest of the times, we have specialized additives and products designed to assist us on our quest. The products below range in use from […]

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Hydroponic Lettuce Production using NFT

Gardening

The nutrient film technique (NFT) was developed during the late 1960′s by Dr Allan Cooper at the Glasshouse Crops Research Institute in the U.K. With the NFT system, a thin film of nutrient solution flows through plastic channels, which contain the plant roots with no solid planting media. The root mat develops partly in the […]

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Little Helpers: From Shooting Powder to Bushmaster

Lifestyle

As gardeners, we always try our best to replicate our plant’s natural environment to the best of our abilities. Sometimes there is only so much we can do. And for the rest of the times, we have specialized additives and products designed to assist us on our quest. The products below range in use from aiding a plants ability to receive light to reducing the time needed to flush nutrients prior to harvest.

Dutch Master’s Liquid Light- Stimulates the stomata; causing them to open and engage photosynthesis. The opening of stomata increases transpiration and gas exchange, which in turn, equates to an increase in light absorption by your plants. Best used with Dutch Master’s Saturator.

Bushmaster- Bushmaster is a kelp based product designed to stunt vertical growth and pulls nodes into tight flower clusters.  If your flowers are spread out or you just want to shorten the flowering period, this is the product for you.

Gravity Bud Hardener- Gravity radically intensifies the density of your flowers. A big helper, especially when co2 is limited.

Shooting Powder- Proven to restart aggressive flowering, Shooting Powder induces a second surge of flower production during the last three weeks of the flowering cycle, resulting in a 30% increase in yield.

Purple Maxx Snowstorm- A combination of organic compounds that not only encourage plants to stack their flowering sites closer together, but also stimulates increased essential oil production.

Final Flush- Nutrient supplementation causes your fruits and flowers to be saturated with chemical buildup. Final Flush safely reduces the time required to flush your plants before harvest. Cut flush times by a full week.

Farmer’s Markets

Lifestyle

In the past few years the number of farmer’s markets in San Diego have quadrupled. Today there are about 50 farmer’s markets in business in the San Diego area.

Most of us have had the opportunity to check one out one or two of them around town. From Ob to Julian you can find a few markets open every day. They all have wonderful produce and crafts. If you have never been you should check one out. They are a good time and a great opportunity to learn about new foods, buy food straight from the farmer, or just have fun people watching.

One other thing they all have in common, is that not a single one is made up of 100% local farmers. It blew my mind when I heard it; Fifty farmer’s markets and not one for just local farmers.  The reasoning behind this is equally mind blowing: price of water.

Farmers from other parts of the state have the luxury of cheaper water for agricultural purposes. It’s not the first time Southern California has battled Nor Cal over cheaper fruits but it is the most blatant, at least until October.

Farmers from Central and Northern California use their advantage of cheaper overhead to under cut our local farmers. In the market place these foreign farmer’s prices are only slightly cheaper to the individual consumer. But in the big picture, they leverage the local grower into bankruptcy.

Local farms are a huge part of our local economy and environmental. Preserving local farms is not only important to our economy, but also to our eco system.

San Diego Hydroponics is in the process of submitting our application for a Farmer’s  Market right in front of our Napier Store. The market will be the first and only 100% local farmer’s market in San Diego.

If you want to become involved and have a booth in our upcoming farmer’s market, send us an email at asksdhydro@gmail.com

At San Diego Hydroponics & Organics, we are doing our best to take care of all of our growers.

Hydroponic Lettuce Production using NFT

Gardening

The nutrient film technique (NFT) was developed during the late 1960’s by Dr Allan Cooper at the Glasshouse Crops Research Institute in the U.K.

With the NFT system, a thin film of nutrient solution flows through plastic channels, which contain the plant roots with no solid planting media. The root mat develops partly in the shallow stream of recirculating solution and partly above it. It is extremely important to maintain this basic principle of a nutrient film because it ensures the root system has access to adequate oxygen levels. The key requirements in achieving a nutrient film situation are described by Cooper (1996) as being:

1. To ensure that the gradient down which the water flows is uniform and not subject to localized depressions, not even a depression of a few millimeters.
2. The inlet flow rate must not be so rapid that a considerable depth of water flows down the gradient
3. The width of the channels in which the roots are confined must be adequate to avoid any damming up of the nutrient by the root mat. If inadequate, it is to be expected that yields will be directly proportional to channel width.
4. The base of the channel must be flat and not curved, because there will be a considerable depth of liquid along the center of a channel with a curved base, merely because of the shape of the base (Cooper 1996).

A principal advantage of this system in comparison with others is that a greatly reduced volume of nutrient solution is required.

This may be more easily heated during the winter months to obtain optimal temperatures for growth, or cooled during hot summers to avoid bolting and other undesirable plant responses.

Lettuce in NFT

Lettuce has been grown in NFT for many years. Some of the earliest systems used ordinary wide span greenhouses with concrete floors in which narrow gullies were cast for the NFT solution. Other early installations used selected profiles of long run roofing steel with baked epoxy finishes. Over recent years, systems have become more intensive. Some of these systems attempt to make better use of greenhouse space by using various vertically spaced gully systems or horizontal systems with movable gullies to permit spacing to be adjusted as the lettuce grow. Rectangular PVC gullies are usual for these systems. One experiment compared gullies between 60 and 150 mm wide and found that 80 mm wide gullies, 40 mm deep with a slope of 1.5% were best. A flow rate of 0.2 liters/min was optimum when these gullies were 3.1 m long.

The slope of the channels in an NFT unit need not be severe.

A drop of 1 in 50 to 1 in 75 appears suitable, although 1 in 100 is not sufficient. Depressions in the channel floors must be avoided because ponding of immobile solution will lead to oxygen depletion and growth retardation. Some NFT system designs are constructed with adjustable stands so optimum slope can be obtained for each stage of crop growth. Although this is effective in eliminating ponding, this design increases capital costs. In long run installations it is possible to introduce the nutrient solution at two or three different points along their length to ensure good aeration.

Types of NFT Systems and Gullies

There is a huge range of NFT system designs, with most incorporating the use of some type of PVC gully supported by benches in both outdoor and greenhouse situations. Many growers take advantage of both square and round diameter downspout and incorporate these into systems of their own design. Most large commercial growers purchase PVC gullies in bulk and can reduce costs in this way. The most commonly used type of PVC gully is the rectangular, white 150 x100mm channel (Figure 5). Over recent years there has been the development of a number of other, smaller types of channel designed specifically for lettuce and other small crops such as herbs and strawberries. Channels such as these usually have prepunched holes for planting seedlings into and removable lids which aid in cleaning of the system. The choice of gully system or material is often based on availability, cost and grower preference.

NFT and Rockwool

In this system, plants are established on small rockwool slabs which are then positioned in channels containing recycling nutrient solution. This system has the advantage of the rockwool block acting as a reservoir of nutrient solution in case of pump failure and helps to anchor the plants in the NFT channel.

Short Run Hydroponics

Despite what shape or size the NFT channel may be, the length of the “run” is of great importance. There has been a tendency to construct very “long runs” of gully to reduce the number of emitters required in a system. Excessively long run channels can cause a number of problems including temperature rise or fall of the nutrient solution over the length of the channel, reduction in nutrient and oxygen levels and a reduction in growth from one end of the channel to the other. Channel length can vary from 3 meters to well over 20 meters in some systems. The use of short run channels <3m is not widespread but is an alternative type of system to the traditional long run type of hydroponics.
The theory behind the use of short run channels is that even a small plant such as a lettuce, has a huge root surface area capable of absorption of oxygen and nutrients. Therefore, solution entering the top of a gully and flowing past even a small number of plants actually passes over several square meters of root surface. Nutrient flowing down a short run channel (less then 3 meters in length) will only pass a limited number of plant root systems before it is returned to the tank, remixed, oxygenated, temperature adjusted and returned back into the system. Therefore, no differences in nutrient, pH, temperature or oxygen loss will exist along the length of a channel as it might with very long run gullies.

Methods of Compost Tea Production

Gardening

Bucket-Fermentation Method

“Passive” compost tea is prepared by immersing a burlap sack filled with compost into a bucket or tank, stirring occassionally. Usually the brew time is longer, from 7 to 10 days. This is the method that dates back hundreds of years in Europe, and is more akin to a compost watery extract than a “brewed” and aerated compost tea.

Bucket-Bubbler Method

The equipment setup and scale of production are similar to the bucket method, except that an aquarium-size pump and air bubbler are used in association with microbial food and catalyst sources added to the solution as an amendment. Since aeration is critical, as many as three sump pumps may be used in a bucket simultaneously.

With homemade compost tea brewing, a compost “sock” is commonly used as a filter-strainer. Ideally, the mesh size will strain compost particulate matter but still allow beneficial microbes—including fungal hyphae and nematodes—to migrate into solution. Single-strand mesh materials such as nylon stockings, laundry bags, and paint bags are some of the materials being used; fungal hyphae tend to get caught in polywoven fabrics. If burlap is used, it should be “aged” burlap.

Trough Method

Large-scale production of compost teas employs homemade tanks and pumps. An 8- or 12-inch-diameter PVC pipe is cut in half, drilled full of holes, and lined with burlap. Compost is placed in this makeshift trough. The PVC trough is supported above the tank, several feet in the air. The tank is filled with water, and microbial food sources are added as an amendment. A sump pump sucks the solution from the bottom of the tank and distributes the solution to a trickle line running horizontally along the top of the PVC trough filled with compost. As the solution runs through the burlap bags containing the compost, a leachate is created which then drops several feet through the air back into the open tank below. A sump pump in the bottom of the tank collects this “tea” and distributes it back through the water line at the top of the trough, and so on. Through this process, which lasts about seven days, the compost tea is recirculated, bubbled, and aerated. The purpose of the microbial food source is to grow a large population of beneficial microorganisms.

Commercial Tea Brewers

Commercial equipment is available for the production of brewed compost teas (see a list of suppliers below). Usually there is a compost sack or a compost leachate basket with drainage holes, either of which are used to hold a certain volume of compost. The compost-filled container is placed in a specially designed tank filled with chlorine-free water. Microbial food sources are added to the solution. A pump supplies oxygen to a specially-designed aeration device which bubbles and aerates the compost tea brewing in the tank.

Using Hydrogen Peroxide in Your Hydroponics Garden

Gardening

There are no doubts about the benefits of using hydrogen peroxide properly in a hydroponics system.

This becomes especially true if your nutrient reservoir is kept above 72 degrees. Warm water holds less dissolved oxygen, and therefore encourages the growth of more viruses, fungi, and anaerobic bacteria. Using hydrogen peroxide adds oxygen to you water and cleans the water of pathogens. Benefits include healthier root systems, increased nutrient uptake, thicker stems, and bigger leaves.

One expert claims it should be used on all soil gardens as well as in hydroponics sytems. Knowing as much as I do about beneficial fungus and micro-organisms and the benefits they provide to living plants, I am shy in taking this advice. However, when this first line of defense fails and plants become sick I often resort to using hydrogen peroxide treatments on my soil grown plants.

The chemical formula for hydrogen peroxide is H2O2.

You may notice it is simply water with an extra oxygen atom. In fact, as hydrogen peroxide breaks down in a solution the result is oxygen and water. Its application helps deliver oxygen to over watered plant roots and helps to sterilize the growing media by killing harmful anaerobic (not oxygen compatible) bacteria and pathogens that cause disease. This includes bacterial wilt, pythium fungi, fusarium fungi, and others.

Using 3% Hydrogen Peroxide

In your Hydroponics Garden

hydrogen peroxide for hydroponics I avoid using hydrogen peroxide you commonly find at drug stores. This is because such low percentage (3%) solutions are unstable, and chemicals are added to the peroxide to keep it from breaking down before it can be used. I did a little research because I did not know what chemicals were used for this, or if the plants uptake these chemicals, or if there was a health risk associated with any of these stabilizing chemicals.

Hydrogen peroxide is usually stabilized with acetanilide.

Acetanilide is a synthetic compound that was first used for its fever reduction and pain killing properties in the late Nineteenth Century. For many years it was utilized as an alternative to aspirin to treat various ailments, but large scale medical use stopped when the toxic side effects of consuming acetanilide became apparant. This was enough to convince me to use 35% hydrogen peroxide instead.

Using 35% Hydrogen Peroxide

In your Hydroponics Garden

hydrogen peroxide for hydro systems Firstly, 35% peroxide is caustic and should be treated with the same caution as a strong acid. 35% strength hydrogen peroxide should be readily available at any quality hydroponics supply shop. The stronger concentrations do not use the added stabilizers.

The recommended dosage is to add 1 ml to each gallon of water.

At every nutrient change treat your fresh water using hydrogen peroxide. The general idea is to let the hydroponics system circulate the hydrogen peroxide solution for about a half hour to let the peroxide work against pathogens and to let the solution stabilize before adding your nutrients.

The beneficial effects of using hydrogen peroxide last about 4 days.

There are some gardeners who add a little peroxide to their nutrient reservoirs every 5 days in between nutrient changes. If you decide to do this, stick to the guidelines and always make sure your solution is thoroughly mixed before exposing your plants roots to it. Another option is to top off your nutrient reservoir with peroxide treated water whenever it is low.

Raffle Winners For Carlsbad Grand Opening

Events

Please check your ticket to see if you won. You can claim your prize at our Carlsbad Store.

If you didn’t win OR weren’t there OR want to win some more, enter our SECOND CHANCE RAFFLE.

1.             Grotek Six Pack Nutrient Pack  –  331086

2.             Grotek Six Pack Nutrient Pack  –  311492

3.             General Organics Nutrient Pack  –  310856

4.             General Organics Nutrient Pack  –  311411

5.             General Organics Nutrient Pack  –  311048

6.             General Organics Nutrient Pack  –  311244

7.             General Organics Nutrient Pack  –  311371

8.             General Organics Nutrient Pack  –  310880

9.             Soul Synthetics Box Set  –  310817

10.    Soul Synthetics Box Set  –  311324

11.    Greentrees 6 Bucket Setup w brain and res  –  311553

12.    4×4 Trayhugger  –  311421

13.    2×4 Trayhugger  –  311516

14.    Stealth 100 GPD RO System – 310841

15.    Galaxy 400w Ballast  –  310753

16.    Galaxy 1000w Select a Watt Ballast  –  311417

17.    Sunblaze 24  –  311213

18.    Sunblaze 44  –  310732

19.    Sunblaze 48  –  311170

20.    GG 4’ 4 lamp t5  –  311562

21.    6” Ice Box  –  311126

22.    Best Coast Water Cooled Dehumidifier  –  311166

23.    Super Sun Reflector  –  311349

24.    Yield Master 4” Reflector  –  311027

25.    Yield Master 6” Reflector  –  310956

26.    Magnum 6” Reflector  –  311535

27.    Magnum 8” Reflector  –  311173

28.    Blockbuster 6” Reflector  –  310979

29.    Blockbuster 8” Reflector  –  310763

30.    Titan Co2 Regulator  –  311397

31.    HF .2-2 CFH Regulator  –  310815

32.    Grow Lab 145  –  311564

33.    GG Digital 1000 Hercules  –  311168

34.    GG Digital 400 Ballast  –  310727

35.    Root Excelurator 250 ml  –  310852

36.    Root Excelurator 250 ml  –  311175

37.    Root Excelurator 250 ml  –  311402

38.    Root Excelurator 250 ml  –  310731

39.    Root Excelurator 250 ml  –  310944

40.    Algen Extract 1L  –  311499

41.    Bud Xl 1L  –  310095

42.    Bud Xl 1L  –  310772

43.    Bud Xl 1L  –  311178

44.    Bud Xl 1L  –  311542a

45.    Get Up Gal and Get Down Gal  –  310811

46.    Get Up Gal and Get Down Gal  –  311458

47.    Aerogarden Classic  –  310876

48.    Portable Air Conditioner Analog  –  311573

49.    Air Conditioner  –

50.    Air Conditioner Tune Up and Filter Change  –  311006

51.    Air Conditioner Tune Up and Filter Change  –  311302

52.    5 trays of Preforma Rooting Blocks1  –  311059

53.    Gal of CE Organic Grow and Bloom  –  311150

54.    Gal of CE Organic Grow and Bloom  –  310978

Inoculate with Mycorrhizae for Successful Gardening

Gardening

Mycorrhizae live on the roots of plants and form a symbiotic relationship.

They extend microscopic straw-like filaments called “hyphae” into the soil where they extract, transport, and dramatically increase a host plant’s supply of nutrients and moisture. Pockets of nutrients and water in the soil which were once unreachable by standard root systems are now made accessible through the “super-mining” effects which mycorrhiza gifts to your plants.

Mycorrhiza also releases a glue-like substance into the soil (Glomalin) which improves water storage and capacity, leading to lower watering costs.

Although ideal for use on all plants, mycorrhizae is especially beneficial toward:  Tomatoes, Herbs (Thyme, Basil, Sage, ect), Pumpkins, Beans, Bulbs (all), Squash, Cantaloupe, Carrot, Celery, Corn, Cucumber, Garlic, Leek, Lettuce, Melon, Onion, Peas, Potato, Strawberry, and Grape Varietals.

Mycorrhizal fungi are ancient in origin and the benefits are boundless.

Pound for pound mycorrhiza provides plants with the greatest possible benefit for the smallest amount of input.  With a single inoculation, mycorrhiza is capable of transforming the ordinary garden into something Xtreme!

We recommend Plant Success Great White.

Turbo Klone

Gardening

What is the Revolution?

It’s a fresh idea that’s putting a new spin on cloning!

A cloner that gives you more sites, keeps temperatures low and provides more oxygen.

The central technology behind TurboKlone is simple:  A fan that offers a one-two punch!

1. The fan blows fresh air into the growing chamber

2. The cool air from the fan keeps temperatures low.

The air from the fan mixes with the fine spray of water from the manifold, maximizing the concentration of dissolved oxygen. High levels of dissolved oxygen create ideal conditions for roots to flourish.

As the fan spreads cool air across the reservoir it combats any excess heat caused by the pump.  In the past, growers were forced to either put their pumps on timers or risk killing their roots due to excess heat.  But TurboKlone’s technology lets you keep those pumps running all day long and your roots growing super strong.

* SITES:  Why have less when you can have more?  TurboKlone gives you up to 60% more sites in the same amount of space than other machines.  Why pay more when you can pay less?  It’ll cost you just $6.25 per site with the T48 and nearly $10.40 per site for a machine of similar size.

* STRUCTURE/CLEANING:  Instead of having flat walls like a Tupperware tub, the TurboKlone is curvy and has rounded edges giving you a stronger, more durable product.  Bonus!  Those sexy curves also let you clean the system quickly and easily. You don’t have to worry about unwanted root-killing bacteria hanging around in tight corners.

* CONVENIENCE/FUNCTIONALITY:  Each Klone site has a finger recess that makes it easy to remove and replace Klone Collars.   And we’ve taken the guess-work out of water measurements by adding a fill-line inside the tub so you always know how much H2O you need to add.  You’re welcome!

* CONTROL/OPTIONS:  Seems like there are two camps when it comes to using a humidity dome: some say it isn’t necessary, others say they wouldn’t clone without it – especially in the first five days.  We let you make the call.  You can purchase our cloning systems with-or-without a humidity dome.  And if you have buyers remorse, you can always buy the dome by itself later.  It’s nice to be in charge!

* SIZE:  Waste not, want not.  Especially when it comes to space.  The TurboKlone has a dimensional footprint equal-to if not less-than other machines.   BUT in that same amount of space, you get way more klone sites!

Grey Water Recycling

Lifestyle

With the average household water bill on the rise, along with the growing environmental movement, a trend toward consumer scrutiny of wasteful spending and wasted resources is on the rise. Even more importantly, only 1-percent of the Earth’s water is accessible for consumption leaving about 500-million people without access to clean water. Grey water recycling is one method for individual members of the global community to make a positive impact through conservation.

Common uses of recycled grey water include flushing the toilet ; lawn and garden irrigation; fire breaks; the wash cycle of your laundry; and man-made ponds. It is important to check with your local water management board for specific regulations and advisories.

If the decision is made to pursue grey water recycling, it is imperative to monitor the ingredients of your household products, such as soaps and detergents. Environmentally friendly products are recommended in order to insure safe outdoor applications.

Water conservation is only one of the many benefits of grey water recycling.  Additionally, grey water recycling supports plant growth  in areas that normally could not sustain plant growth. Also, lessening that water taken straight out of the ground replenishes and recharges the hydrologic cycle. It maintains a healthy water table and ground water supply, and gives soil an opportunity to maintain fertility by forcing it to break down and decompose bacteria and readily available nutrients.

It is time we began expanding and maximizing our natural resources. With the ease and availability of grey water, it is difficult to justify continuing to waste the Earth’s precious fresh water resources.

Going Organic

Lifestyle

The Benefits of Organic Foods—Organic growing offers a viable and beneficial alternative to poor-quality conventional food.

Most people have noticed that the quality of our food has been on the decline for years. As we lose control over how and where our food is produced, organic farming is on the rise —

offering nutritional assurance and quality control to the everyday gardener. Organic foods offer incredible benefits to individuals as well as the environment.

The number one reason that people are going organic is that organically produced food offers much better quality than it’s counterpart. Increased pressure for food to be produced on a large scale at the cheapest possible cost has created a situation for businesses to increase their profits while the customer suffers the consequences. However, consumers do not have to accept this fate. Many people are reaping the benefits of organic foods grown in their own home gardens or purchased from their local organic farmer – cutting out the middle man and improving the quality of what they eat.

On average, an item produced organically provides twice as many nutrients as those produced using conventional methods.This is because chemical pesticides are aimed at killing all organisms – including those that provide essential benefit to plants, such as microorganisms. On the other hand, organic soil contains a natural army of microorganisms. These live beneficial bacteria serve a major function as part of the healthy organic growing cycle. They decompose the earth surrounding the plants and carry a plethora of enzymes, vitamins and minerals to the roots and, ultimately, into our produce. This process results in food that provides maximum nutrition and flavor.

In addition to improved nutrition, organics offer prevention from the exposure to harmful chemicals used in the mass production of conventional foods. A person can ingest over 30 pesticides while eating conventionally produced fruits and vegetables. This consumption of pesticides leads to toxic build-up which has been linked to a wide-variety of health problems including cancer, birth-defects, digestive disorders, Alzheimer, and more. Furthermore, conventional methods rely on fertilizers containing an abundance of antibiotics and hormones which had, at one time, been consumed by livestock and are now being recycled into our food. Other additives are included in order to increase the size and rate of production in conventional foods. These chemicals enter our systems, altering the balance of our own health and natural hormones. The growth-hormones used in genetic alteration do not just cause the cells in our foods to multiply, they also increase the cell division in our own bodies, thus increasing the speed of by which viruses and bacteria can take-over in the form of illness. The FDA has mandated that all genetically altered foods are specially coded with a five-digit number starting with “8” to set them apart from natural products — a fact not advertised openly to consumers. These methods offer little substance or quality can expose people to harmful byproducts. Although the long-term health impact of consuming the toxins now found in conventional foods has not yet been recorded, the fact that they pose a high risk for detrimental, long-lasting consequences is undeniable.

The benefits of going organic extend beyond individuals to the environment at-large. The same problems that conventional methods pose for people translate into devastating effects on the environment as well. Experts estimate that carbon emissions could be reduced by 25-percent using organic soil. In organic soil, the same microorganisms that carry the nutrients to our food also serve as consumers of carbon – taking it out of the environment and converting it to positive energy. Finally, organic soil has hugely increased water retention which offers sustainability during both droughts and floods. Moreover, organic soil produces clean water run-off as opposed to the pollutant waste-water that flows from conventional farming into the drains and out to the ocean – harming the entire ecosystem.

Going organic in no longer for a small, niche market of elite. The average person can easily produce their own organic foods or take advantage of the booming growth of local farmer’s markets where goods can be purchased at a reasonable cost. Anyone can make the change toward organics with a few simple adjustments to their daily lives. These small changes can make a very big difference. Going organic is an investment in both personal and environmental health.

Growing Wheatgrass

Gardening

Wheatgrass juice is the juice extracted from red wheatberry seed sprouts.

This strain of wheat has been used for thousands of years all around the world for its healing properties. The juice from Wheatgrass is high in Chlorophyll, it contains 70% chlorophyll, active enzymes, amino acids, vitamins and other important nutrients.

Science has proven that chlorophyll arrests growth and development of unfriendly bacteria.

It is, in essence, liquid energy from the sun. It is the life force that nature uses to explode plants into greenery every Spring, plant blood. Chlorophyll cleans the blood, increases the function of the heart, improves colon functioning. It is practically identical to human blood except that magnesium is in its nucleus instead of iron.

Step 1

Sprout the seeds in water for 6 to 12 hours. (Optional: Use a LITTLE bit of food grade H2O2 in the water to increase the amount of seeds which will sprout.)

Step 2

Mix organic top soil with peat moss (50/50 mix) and place in a seed trays. The soil/peat moss mix should be 1 1/2 to 2 inches deep.

Step 3

Drain the seeds and spread them over the soil. The seeds should be touching each other but not overlapping.

Step 4

Lightly sprinkle peat moss over the seeds to cover them.

Step 5

Water the tray being careful to not distrub the peat moss and seeds.

Step 6

Keep the trays in indirect sunlight for about 7 to 10 days and continue watering as needed.

Step 7

When the grass is about 7 inches tall, harvest and juice it.

Mold is your only foe and a little mold won’t ruin your harvest (just cut above the mold).

Many people who are into growing things love to grow wheatgrass. If you are so inclined, I highly recommend giving it a shot.

Community Gardens

Lifestyle

Community gardens are popping up everywhere all over town; transforming vacant and abandoned lots into beautiful and productive gardens. If you haven’t heard of them yet, you’re not alone. Even though these gardens are literally popping up in our own back yards, little is known about these really awesome and innovative ideas.

Some community gardens are products of city or community projects. However, most community gardens are the result of every day citizens and community groups, banning together, and constructing beautiful gardens.

They come in all shapes, sizes and even purposes. Some gardens are focused on sustainability while others concentrate on organics. Some even focus on serving the community and bettering the lives of their neighbors by providing childcare and fresh produce for the community. Whatever their emphasis, community gardens make our communities better

Think about the possibilities community gardens create. They provide access to fresh and health foods. They bring the community closer together and allow them to share seeds, techniques and ideas. Just the act alone, of transforming empty lots into amazing gardens, goes a long way toward bettering the community. But, community gardens go far beyond that. The gardens serve as an education for gardeners of all ages. They allow us to understand where our food comes from and illuminate the dangers of mass produced and genetically engineered, commercial produce.

I’ve been a San Diego resident all my life and I have seen the community ban together and pass some pretty frustrating legislation in the past. Its time we ban together and really start doing some positive things like creating community gardens of our own.

If you’re interested in bettering your world one community at a time, rent a plot or volunteer at a garden near you.

The city of San Diego makes creating our own community gardens easy. Here is a link to the application:

http://www.sandiego.gov/development-services/industry/pdf/infobulletin/ib550.pdf

Growing in Coco

Gardening

Coco coir (coir fibre, Coir, Coco, Coco fibre) is a product derived from the husks of coconuts.

Visually it looks a lot like peat. Coco, when used properly, represents the best of soil and hydro in a single media. Coco can be extremely forgiving,and growth tends to be very consistant. Coco is pretty damn tolerant of over-and-under-watering. As you will see below Coco has many amazing properties (and some minor obstacles) making it an ideal medium to grow plants in. Coco is almost a neutral medium, which means that aside from its limited ability to adjust pH to optimum levels, it does not bind nutrients and feed them slowly to the plant over time like traditional “soils” do. (This means that Coco has a relatively low cation exchange capacity (CEC) compared to most “soils”. All the nutrients your plant needs to grow must be provided by you. Coco fiber does, however, create millions of tiny air spaces, which are great for the roots. This is due to the large surface area of the coir particles. Think of coco as a very porous, open cell sponge; it releases water very quickly and as it drains out of the bottom of the containers, it pulls in fresh nutrients and oxygen. The medium holds water, oxygen, and nutrients in a perfect ratio for the roots in these tiny spaces. As oxygen plays an all-important role in respiration (roots pumping nutrient up to the plant), the structure of coco coir further promotes root and plant health. This factor should not be underestimated because healthy roots invariably lead to a healthy plant (and a healthy yield).

Coco also has a remarkable capacity to insulate and protect the plant’s root system in hot weather.

This means that coco coir isn’t as prone to overheating, due to excessive ambient air temperatures, as many other mediums, making it ideal for warm climates. Because the root zone is cooler, there is more oxygen availble for the roots to use. Watering with coco is different than with soil. If you grow in soil, it can be much easier to “drown” the plant with too much water. Coco on the other hand is so light that there will always be more oxygen left and the plant will have a much harder time being oxygen straved. You can let the pot become dryer the first week only to stimulate root development. We suggest watering your medium until fully saturated (with at least 10% ”run-off”) and then letting your plants go from wet to “barely moist”.

Coco can be used differently than this – allowing for multiple waterings a day.

A grower must only let Coco go from Wet and Fully Saturated to “Moist” (usually a few hours when the lights are on) before watering again. We have had consistenly great results off of the former method – Going from Wet – to “Barely moist”. Although Coco, has a very good water – to – air ratio (even trumps Rockwool which also claims to have a 70% water – 30% air holding capacity); however coco offers the unique ability of being cut with a further aerating substance like Perlite. Adding perlite can increase your overall oxygen levels within the root zone immensely. We suggest one 1 cu. ft. bag of Perlite to one bag of 50 Liter Coco. This will give you roughly a 60% Coco / 40% Perlite mix, which has ideal aeration levels as well as maintaining an adequate water – holding capacity.Coir holds a considerable amount of water within. It also evenly distributes the water throughout the medium. This is great for growers using drip systems becuase you only need one to two drippers to create full saturation throughout the entire container.

However, since Coco holds onto water and nutrient within its structure it creates a pH Buffer within the medium itself. Coco also has a natural tendency (because of its high levels of Potassium contained within) to hold onto to certain salts.

This tendency (which contributes to its mid to low CEC value) tends to make Coco’s buffer rather difficult to bust, thus making it harder to change the pH of the medium. Do not fret though because the Buffer CAN be broken. It just takes flushing copious amount of pH corrected 300 ppm nutrient solution (50% of which should be Cal/Mag) with flushing agent mixed in through the medium before you even start to grow in it. In this way you can ensure that the pH of the solution going into the medium and the pH of the solution coming out of the solutiion match. (An example of this would be 6.0 pH going into the medium and 6.0 pH coming out as “run-off”. This is a VERY IMPORTANT concept to grasp when using Coco – based mediums.

A grower should be aware of when using Coco – based mediums is that Coco naturally has a good amount of Potasium in it which when released into the medium competes with some nutrients (such as Calcium, Magnesium, Manganese, and Sulfur), therefore we will want to FLUSH the medium on a regualr (weekly or bi-weekly) basis or water with very low ppms / EC values.

When Flushing make sure to Flush with 300 ppms of solution made up of Cal/Mag + Nutrient. When Flushing, we also suggest collecting and testing the “run-off” to make sure that the ppms have gone down to almost nothing, and that your pH coming out of the bottom of the containers matches the pH being fed to the plants.

COCO HYDROPONICS

We highly suggest using a medium that was designed to be used with Coco – fibre based mediums such as House & Garden Coco A+B (which by far is our personal preference). At the very least it is a good idea to “cut” in some of this nutrient Coco is most suited to a run-to-waste system. A “runoff” of 10-20% of the volume watered each watering is the most common recommendation to avoid the possibility of salt buildup in the coco media. Drainage helps control ppms / EC and pH levels, and flushes unnecessary salts out of the media. Since not all plants use similar amounts of nutrient, and they also secrete salts, any surplus of nutrient makes the coco brackish and changes the pH. By means of drainage you flush the media every time you give nutrient, which prevents it from becoming brackish. This fdoes NOT mean that you should Not FLUSH as indicated above, but by regularly testing the run-off you can do less Flushes. Many seasoned Coco growers will only Flush once every 3 weeks.

On a less positive note, coir can also contain high levels of sodium (salt).

When planting into Coco we suggest the following 3 protocol:

1. Flush the Medium wih with a flush + 300ppm Nutrient Solution (made up 150ppms of CalMag/ Solution (Like MagiCal) and 150ppms of Nutrient) 6.0 pH water.

2. pH the Medium to 6.0 pH. (Make sure you run enough Solution (listed above) at 6.0 through medium!)

3. After the medium has the correct pH – Add 500ppms of Nutrient to “charge” the medium before planting within it. Once it is pre-charged and pH corrected plant into the medium.

3 Potential Problems when using Coco to be aware of:

(As long as you are aware of these potential issues than you can easliy avoid them)

1. Coco holds salts and must be Flushed with 300ppm solution (made up of 150ppms CalMag + 150ppms Nutrient. The Run-off should be tested to see what ppms/Ec nd pH levels are.

2. Can create a pH buffer (at the wrong pH level within the medium) which must be “broken” and re-set to the proper pH level for optimal growth. 6.0 in Vegetative Stage / 5.6-5.8 in the Fruit / Flowering Stage.

3. Coco can still be over-watered (never mind what you have heard). Even if over-watered your plants will still survive. They just will not be happy. So, make sure to let the medium dry out a bit before re-watering!

Procedures to Follow when Using Coco-based Mediums

1. FLUSH the medium on a routine basis. Every 1-2 weeks is what we suggest.

2. Check the “Run-Off” for proper pH level and (when Flushing) for a low ppm / EC value.

3. pH the Medium to 6.0 pH to start with in Vegetative Stage. Drop down to 5.6 – 5.8 in Fruit / Flowering Stage.

4. Do NOT over-water the medium. make sure that it at least goes from “Wet” to “Moist” if not all the way to “Barely Moist” before watering the medium again.In general, this should be about one time a day or even once every other day in the vegetative phase and then one to two times daily in the Bloom phase depending on container size, and enviornmental (temp, humidity, and CO2 levels).

5. We highly suggest using a digestive enzyme solution to help break down dead or dying root mass (such as Multi Zen or Hygrozyme)

6. We also highly suggest using Beneficial Microbes in Coco.House and Garden Roots Excelurator with Great .

Watt vs Lumens

Gardening

We often tend to think of a light bulb’s brightness in terms of watts, because we have used the same kind of bulb—incandescent—for more than a century. But this is misleading.

Watts measure the amount of electrical power that a light bulb consumes, but do not directly indicate the brightness of the light that the bulb emits. Brightness is in fact measured in lumens.

Why It Matters

As new types of bulbs move onto the market, it becomes more and more important to base buying decisions on output in lumens rather than energy consumption in watts. Fortunately, though, we can expect that as long as traditional incandescent bulbs remain available, marketers will continue to describe the light output of other kinds of bulb, such as compact fluorescents and LEDs, in terms of the light produced by an incandescent bulb of a particular wattage.

What is a Watt?

A watt is a unit of power. According to Dictionary.com, it is “equivalent to one joule per second and equal to the power in a circuit in which a current of one ampere flows across a potential difference of one volt.” In layman’s terms, a watt is the result of multiplying amperes by volts. In the case of electric light, it is the amount of power used in one hour by the bulb. A 100 watt bulb uses 100 watts of power every hour it is on, a 60 watt bulb uses 60 watts, and so on.

What is a Lumen?

The rating of a bulb in lumens tells you, quite simply, how bright it is. The PC Magazine Encyclopedia states that “Lumens define ‘luminous flux,’ which is energy within the range of frequencies we perceive as light.”

Lumens and Watts

Most of us are so used to thinking of bulb brightness in terms of watts that we forget that this only works when we’re talking about the same kind of bulb. A traditional 75 watt incandescent bulb will always be brighter than a 40 watt bulb. But an18 to 25 watt compact fluorescent can deliver the same brightness (1,100 lumens) as a 75 watt incandescent bulb—making it much cheaper to use.

What Are The Advantages and Disadvantages To Using Hydroponics and Growing Indoors?

Gardening

There are many advantages and disadvantages to gardening indoors using hydroponics. Let’s start off with some of the advantages:

Bigger, Better, Faster

Growing hydroponically allows for bigger, healthier plants that usually grow faster and produce more fruit. When growing indoors and using the proper lighting, most plants will go from seed to flower in as little as 3 months or less.

Harvest fresh fruit and vegetables year round

Since you are growing indoors with the aid of artificial lighting, you can decide when to grow. You are not dependent on the seasons to decide when you can plant and harvest.

Total Environmental Control

Too hot in your room – vent out your light. Too cold – add a heater. Too humid – bring in some fresh air. Indoor gardening allows you to provide optimal conditions for your plants to grow in. Being indoors also helps avoid mold, pests and other adverse creatures.

Ease and Simplicity

Hydroponics is actually derived from Greek meaning “water” and “labor”. Hydroponic systems do all the work for you. Simply set the timer and the system automatically delivers water and nutrients to the plants.

There are also a few disadvantages to gardening indoors:

Cost

Gardening indoors is more expensive than traditional gardening. The initial costs are much more significant and maintenance costs will also be a factor.

Time

Hydroponic gardens will not take up all of your time, but you will need to pay more attention to the system then you would to plants growing outdoors. You will need to check your pH frequently, change out your nutrients once a week and perform general maintenance on your garden to achieve optimal performance.



How Do I Start From Seed?

Gardening

It is always a good idea to soak seeds over night.

This will make sure that the seeds absorb enough water to germinate quickly. If seeds are left to soak for too long they will begin to germinate; this can be dangerous for the seed as the radical (root) can be damaged when planting the seed. If the radical is damaged then the seed will die.

Once the seeds have soaked for 8 – 12 hours they can be planted out into either peat pellets, rockwool cubes, rapid rooter plugs or oasis cubes.

Be sure to soak the peat pellets in water before planting the seed. This will only take a few minutes. Rockwool needs to be pre-soaked at a pH of 5 or treated with a Rockwool Soak before planting seeds into it.

Once the seed has germinated and the cotyledons (first pair of leaves) have emerged the seedling will require light.

Fluorescent lights are the best for this purpose. A grower can use a 2’ – two bulb T5 fluorescent fixture, a 4’ – four bulb fluorescent fixture with 6500k bulbs or a compact fluorescent 150w or 200w daylight bulb to supply light for the seedlings.

It is not recommended that a HID light be used for young seedlings or clones unless it is positioned high enough above the plants so as not to dry them out.

Seeds and seedlings should only be given water until the first true leaves have developed. Once the first true leaves have expanded out then a mild strength (¼ strength) grow nutrient solution should be given to the seedlings. Giving seedlings too strong a nutrient will cause the seedling to go into shock, burn the young developing roots and possibly kill the seedling. Once the grower has started feeding his seedlings with a mild strength nutrient it is advisable the grower use a root enhancer such as House and Garden Roots Excelurator. This will help create a strong, healthy seedling.

A seedling is ready to be planted out when it is 2-3 inches tall and the roots are coming out the bottom of the rockwool cube or peat pellet. When transplanting a seedling it is important to plant the seedling with the least amount of stress as possible.

Vegetative Stage

Once the seedling has been transplanted it then enters the vegetative stage. This stage is to ensure the development of a strong and healthy root system while the leaf canopy begins to expand. A healthy, well developed root system is required for fast growing, high yielding plants. Most of the plants nutrients and water is taken up through the root system; the plant also stores sugars in the roots. Without the support of a good root system the plant will not be able to perform at its peak.

To create a healthy root system, a grower should ensure that the ppm levels and the pH of the nutrient system are correctly balanced.

Over-feeding by the grower to try and push the plant or to try and get a bit extra out of the plant will only result in a damaged root system and a stunted or slow growing plant. For soil growers, a pH of 6.3-6.5 is ideal. The ppm of the nutrient solution should be between 500 – 700 for early vegetative growth and 800 – 1000 for late vegetative growth. Soil growers should also use Rooters Mycorrhizae in the growing medium. Mycorrhiza needs to be mixed into the soil prior to planting. Mycorrhizae fungi works well with organic nutrients, as conventional nutrients can damage this fungi, especially if the grower tries to push his plants to a maximum. For hydroponics growers the nutrient solution should be balanced to a pH of between 5.8 and 6.2; pH 6 being ideal. Rooting enhancers such as House and Garden Roots Excel should be used through out the vegetative cycle. Fast growing roots require phosphorus so a nutrient with good phosphate levels should be used. Looking after the plants root system also ensures the maximum development of the leaf canopy. A healthy disease and insect-free leaf canopy will make maximum use of the lighting system it is growing under. For plants that are phototropic, such as strawberries, the plant will remain in vegetative state as long as the light duration is long days short nights e.g. 18 hours of lighting and 6 hours of darkness. Some plants e.g. Tomatoes, will begin flowering once they have reached a specific maturity. Tomatoes will flower after being in the vegetative state for about two months. Plants that are phototropic will begin flowering once the day length shortens or when switching from an eighteen hour light cycle to a twelve hour light cycle.

How do I control the amount of CO2 in my growing area?

Gardening

There are several ways in which a grower can control the level of CO2 in the growing area, assuming of course that the growing area in enclosed.

Unless you are using a digital CO2 monitor/controller or complete environmental controller, you will first need to determine how many cubic feet per hour (CFH) your CO2 device dispenses.. However, if you are using a CO2 Enrichment System in conjunction with bottled CO2, then the output amount can be varied depending on the flow meter setting.

If you are using a C02 tank with an Enrichment System you will need to use the following formula in order to determine the proper C02 level and flow rate for your needs:

  1. Determine the size of the room in cubic feet (CF). This is done by multiplying the length by the width by the height of your room. If your room measures 10’ long by 10’ wide by 8’ high, then your total CF is 10 x 10 x 8 = 800 CF.
  2. Determine what your desired level of C02 is and subtract the existing amount of C02 that’s already present in your room. Most growers will prefer about 1500ppm (parts per million) of C02. Plants will respond to up to 2000ppm, but this amount is generally not used since plants will utilize such high levels only if every other aspect is in perfect balance (which is extremely difficult to achieve). In general, there is about 500ppm of CO2 already present in the atmosphere if you live in a big city, around 300 if you’re in a less populated area. Assuming that there is 300ppm present where you live, you would have to add an additional 1200ppm in order to reach your target level of 1500ppm.
  3. Determine how many CF of CO2 you need to inject. Multiply the volume of your room by the amount of C02 necessary to raise the C02 ppm to the target level: 800 CF x .0012 = 0.96. We will round 0.96 up to 1. Therefore, in order to raise the ppm level in your room to 1500ppm, you will need to inject 1 CF.
  4. Determine the flow meter setting. Assuming that after 3 hours C02 levels will return to normal due to plant use as well as leakage, we will divide the 1 CF of C02 into three 1 hour increments. 1 CF divided by 3 = 1/3 CF or 0.333. Therefore, every hour an 800 CF room needs 1/3 CF of C02 in order to bring it back up to 1500ppm, and so your flow meter should be set to 0.333.

If you will be using a CO2 generator to supply CO2, refer to the following chart to choose the correct size.

NOTE: This chart assumes that you will only have to raise the ppm in your room 1000ppm, not 1200ppm as in our previous example (multiply numbers by 1.2 to achieve values for 1200ppm).

The first row in the chart represents the total CF of your grow room.

The first column in the chart represents the cubic feet per hour that the generator puts out.

Each intersection will give you the amount of time needed to increase the ppm in your room by 1000. For example, a CD-18 generator will take about 4 minutes to increase the ppm by a 1000 in a 1200 cubic foot room.

NOTE: It is usually recommended that you choose a generator that is large enough so that it can fill your room within 10 minutes or less. If it takes more than 10 minutes for a particular generator to fill your room it is recommended that you choose the next size up.

Timing System

One Timer:

There are three types of timers which can be used: 15-Minute Increment Timer, Digital Timer and Repeat Cycle Timer.  Timers with increments of 30 or longer are less desirable, since we want to inject CO2 quickly and have more precise control. If you are not using an exhaust fan, you can get by with just one timer, otherwise you will need two; see below.

Two Timers:

If you are using an exhaust fan in conjunction with CO2, you will need to synchronize the two so that the fan doesn’t come on at the same time as the CO2 and suck it out of the room before it has a chance to be used by the plants. Because of the precision required to this, you would need to use either digital timers or repeat cycle timers. In this situation, you would set the fan timer to come on long enough to vent the room completely, usually 15-30 minutes provided the fan has been sized properly. The CO2 timer would be set to come on right after the fan turns off. You would program the timers to repeat this cycle every hour during the light cycle.

Digital CO2 Monitor/Controller:

Using a digital monitor/controller offers the most precise control by enabling you to set the desired CO2 ppm level and the controller will automatically turn on and off your CO2 equipment to maintain that level. The controller can also be plugged into  an Off-Switcher can be used as in the previous example (just substitute the repeat cycle timer with the controller in the previous example) in order to synchronize your exhaust fan with the CO2 equipment.

Complete Environmental Controller:

A complete environmental controller has the capability to control not only CO2, but also temperature, humidity, water pumps, lighting systems, etc.

What Are The Benefits Of Adding CO2 To My Grow Room?

Gardening

Many growers overlook the huge importance of CO2 to fast growing plants.

CO2, along with light, are the two most important sources of food for plants. Plants take light and CO2, and through a process called photosynthesis, produce food for themselves. The nutrients that growers feed their plants are kind of like the salt and pepper, whereas the light and CO2 are like the meat and potatoes. The nutrients are necessary for photosynthesis to occur, but they are mainly a catalyst to allow the reactions to take place. In fact, if you were to analyze any plant, you would find that it consists of over 90 percent water, a few percent nutrients, and the rest is carbon.

Normal CO2 levels are between 300 to 500ppm (parts per million), depending on whether you live in an urban or rural area (we have almost 600ppm of CO2 here in Los Angeles!). Increasing these levels to 1500ppm can often have dramatic effects on your plants, including faster growth rates and increased yields. This is why it is so important to always have fresh air circulating into your grow room, or better yet, add supplemental CO2.

Grafting Plants

Gardening

The main idea behind grafting is to simply take a variety of plant with a desirable above ground characteristics, and connect it to the roots of a variety with desirable under ground characteristics.

Grafting is a propagation technique where the living tissue of two different plants are joined, and fused together into one plant. The top part of a contributing plant can be stems, leaves, flowers, and/or fruits, this part is called the scion. The bottom part of the plant contributes the roots and support, this part is called the rootstock (or understock).

Although grafting usually refers to joining only two plants together, you can join as many as needed. Multiple grafts are commonly done with fruit trees. For instance in order to get multiple varieties of apples from one tree, or to get multiple varieties of citrus like lemons, limes, oranges, tangerines and grapefruit from just one tree. Grafting is not limited to trees, grafting vegetables and/or any other plant follows the same principle as grafting fruit trees.

Why Graft Your Plants

Besides just for the obvious fun of it, there a other reasons that grafting your plants may be useful. Some of these benefits include;

  • To Take advantage of a particular rootstocks, Some rootstocks varieties may have superior growth habits, disease and insect resistance, drought tolerance, or may even be better adapted to a particular climate than that produced naturally by an ungrafted plant. Where the scion (top) of another variety may have a desired fruit size, flavor, or even plant size etc..
  • To Optimize cross-pollination, Not all plants are self pollinating, some require pollination from another variety for good fruit set, and some plants have either male or female flowers but not both. To ensure good fruit set on the female flowers, a male plant must be growing nearby. Grafting a section of a male plant to a female plant can increase good cross pollination.
  • To Increase the growth rate of seedlings, Grafting seedling onto a more mature plant can increase the growth rate of the seedlings because the root system is already established.
  • To Perpetuate clones, Clones of some species of plants can’t be reproduced from vegetative cuttings easily, because the percentage of cuttings that successfully root is quite low. But many of them can however be grafted onto seedling rootstocks.
  • Creating new Varieties Some varieties of plants don’t actually come from seeds. Some are difficult and/or just about impossible to reproduce strictly from cuttings or other techniques.

Grafting limitations

All kinds of plants can be grafted including fruits, vegetables, trees, bushes, flowers, but not all plants can be grafted together. The only real way to tell if it can be grafted is simply to try. But generally speaking plants that are closely related graft together best, and form a good graft union.  A poor graft union usually results in plants that either grow poorly, break off or just eventually die.

Types of Grafts

Although there are many different so called types of grafts (Cleft Graft, Bark Graft, Side-Veneer Graft, Splice Graft, Whip and Tongue Graft, Saddle Graft, Bridge Graft and Inarch Graft) they all basically really come down to two types of grafting techniques, top grafting and side grafting. With top grafting the scion is matched to the new stem (plant) by placing it directly on top of the rootstock stem. In most cases the scion and understock are of exact or nearly equal size. Another type of top grafting consists of splicing the scion to the side of the stem of the new rootstock (even of different sizes). In which case several scions may be attached to a single rootstock, or stem of a rootstock. The different names (types) are just given to explain the different types of cuts used to match the two stems together.

With side grafting, a partial cut is made into the stem of the scion plant (leaving the rootstock attached),  then placing it onto the cut-off stem of the rootstock. At that point both the top (scion), and the bottom (rootstock) still have their root systems attached. Once the graft has successfully formed a good union, the root system of the scion (top) is severed from it’s original root system, leaving the scion to now live solely on the new rootstock.

Taking Care of the Graft

Both preparation, and post-graft care should be taken to insure success. It’s usually better to do the grafting in the morning or late afternoon when it’s cooler so they don’t wilt, and to avoid water stress. Also if you can, it’s best to do your grafting on cloudy days, in the shade, and/or in a cool greenhouse. You should keep the grafting area and cutting utensils as clean as you can (like cleaning off the cutting blade in-between cuts) to help prevent plant diseases from getting in the graft.

All graft cuts must be smooth and straight so they will fit and line up correctly.

It’s a good idea to practice by cutting some extra twigs of the same size as the ones you intend to graft. Once you have made the matching cuts, it’s important not to let the cuts dry out. You shouldn’t try to cut more plants than you can graft together in a few minutes in order to keep the cuts from drying out, and the plants from wilting. Although, you can wrap the cut ends in a wet towel, or place them in a cup of cool water temporary if necessary. When attaching the graft, you want to make sure the stems are lined up correctly in order to form a good union, also you’ll want to wax over the cuts to help prevent diseases. Once complete you’ll need to secure the graft, this can be done a number of ways (like wrapping, tying, clamps etc.) depending on the size, and what type of graft your doing.

After grafting, it’s best to keep the plants in a warm but shaded place, about 80-85 degrees F. Also you should try to keep them in a place with high humidity (hopefully 95% relative humidity if possible) until the grafts heal. Regular misting is helpful as well to keep humidity high (just not real wet). It will likely take about a week for the graft to heal. Once the grafts heal, set them out in direct sunlight again a little longer each day in order to slowly acclimate them to the direct sunlight again. Continue to mist them if needed to prevent wilting. Once the grafts have healed and formed a good union, and shortly after growth starts (usually about 2 to 6 weeks depending on the plants), you’ll want to remove the binding material such as string, cord or even some types of nursery tape to prevent Girdling (basically choking the plant) because they wont easily expand with the plant growth.

Richard McAvoy

Professor & Extension Specialist – Greenhouse Crops.

Growing Container Tomatoes

Gardening

Growing container tomatoes is one of the best things to consider in making the project perfect. Tomato plants are easier to grow compared to other ornaments.

Having a tomato plant in a container can give some advantages.

Making use of pots can utilize spaces. Basically, plants need sunlight so has it around the patios, courtyards or window sills. Because tomato plant is expected to have 6 hours of exposure to sunlight, having it with pots can help you relocate your plants easily. One thing that can be prevented in using pots is the presence of weeds. It is useful for some that gives a little time for gardening.

In most cases majority of the varieties of tomatoes grow easily in containers however, others may not.

Due to various types of tomatoes, one should choose the smaller type. Naturally grown tomato measures from 1 up to the maximum of 2 ft. Another thing is that when you happen to grow tomatoes in pots they will surely cause them to ripen quickly. Selecting smaller kind of tomato can avoid you from hassle of handling your plants, you can easily manage steps that are applicable in your gardening.

If you want to be assured regarding tomatoes in containers, you have to put in consideration the variety that requires less water.

When you plant a tomato you have to remember that the soil must be moist to have it healthy. Using containers is a tough challenge in keeping the soil moist.

The secret to make this stuff successful is choosing the right pot for your plant.

Correct drainage is also essential so check your pots and make sure that it has holes in the bottom part. Some additional stuff like rocks can also help in your growing tomato plants as well as to the pot’s drainage. Containers or pots must be filled with the right soil to maintain moist.

Tomato plants grow very good with soil that is less with the combination of sphagnum peat, perlite and the vermiculite.

Adding a little amount of organic fertilizer is also good. Tomato plant is noted as heavy feeder plants that require fertilizer that has a lower action. In doing so, you can have it fertilized from two to four weeks.

It is an achievement to have growing container tomatoes around your garden. You can a have fresh products that can be directly taken from your backyard.

Well, the taste of your very own tomato plant is different from what you purchase around the supermarket. People living with a smaller space can experience the same advantages just like owners with greater spaces. Outdoor garden is made possible with the use of containers that can do something for the little space.

Deep Water Culture System

Gardening

Deep water culture system, commonly known as bubbler, is one of the easiest and preferred hydroponic growing system.

In deep water culture, plants are suspended above the nutrient solution while the roots are submersed in a highly oxygenated nutrient solution to promote rapid plant growth.

Here is what you need to build a deep water culture system:

– Reservoir (you can use fish tank, bucket or any water proof bin)

– Tubing

– Aquarium air stones

– Growing net pots

– Styrofoam (as floater to hold the plants)

– Air pump

– Growing mediums (recommended to use grow rocks or rockwool)

– Hydroponic nutrients

– Cutter or scissors

Step-by-step guide for building deep water culture system

1. Styrofoam is used as floater to support the plants above the nutrient solution. You have 2 options:

(a) Cut the Styrofoam with exact measurement of your reservoir and float the whole piece on top of the nutrient solution, or

(b) Cut the Styrofoam as individual floaters for the plants; so the individual floater will each supports a growing net pot.

2. If option (a) is used, transfer the measurement of reservoir’s length and width onto the Styrofoam. It should be cut about 1/4 inch smaller than the actual measurement. However, if the reservoir used is narrow at the bottom, it should be cut about 2 to 3 inch smaller.

3. Outline the growing net pots onto the Styrofoam. Cut out the marked area so that it securely holds the net pot halfway down the Styrofoam.

4. Fix the air pump at the bottom of the reservoir. Connect the tubing and air stones to the pump.

5. Transfer the germinated seeds into the growing net pots filled with growing mediums such as grow rocks or rockwools.

6. Fill the reservoir with hydroponic nutrients specifically for your plants. Prepare the nutrient solution following the instructions given by the type of fertilizer used.

7. Now, you can place the growing net pots into the holes on Styrofoam. Rest the Styrofoam on top of the nutrient solution.

8. Switch on the air pump to provide aeration to the nutrient solution.

Monitor the nutrient solution; make sure your plants are getting sufficient oxygenated nutrients to ensure rapid and healthy growth.

The nutrient solution needs to be replaced every once a week with pH reading maintained between 5.5 and 6.5.

When replacing the hydroponic nutrients, make sure you wash the reservoir to get rid of any algae, mold, and / or other salt debris.

The highly oxygenated environment in a deep water culture system will promote the growth of algae and mold inside the reservoir. Thus, you may consider blocking the light from penetrating the reservoir by painting it black. This will help preventing algae issue.

To achieve a healthy supply of oxygen in deep water culture system, you can either use aeration devices (like air stones in the example above), or the water from several buckets can be connected and re-circulated continuously through them using spray nozzles.

NPK?

Gardening

N – Nitrogen

Nitrogen is a unique element, as plants are able to take up nitrogen in the form of an anion (a negatively charged molecule) or a cation (a positively charged molecule). Plants are able to take up nitrogen in as NO3 or Nitrates and NH4 Ammonium. Plants require or consume more nitrates than ammonia, thus its not. A well balanced nutrient solution will have less than 10% of available nitrogen in the form of ammonia. Nitrogen has many functions in the plant; it is found in proteins, chlorophyll, protoplasm and plant hormones.Source – All premixed nutrients will have adequate nitrogen levels. If a customer wishes to give his plants extra nitrogen in the vegetative stage then he can use Cal-Mag Plus at a rate of 1-2 teaspoons (5-10ml) per gallon. This will supply the plant with 25 – 50ppm extra nitrogen, this will be more than adequate. Using Cal-Mag will also supply the plant with extra Calcium, Magnesium and Iron. If a customer wishes to use an organic source of nitrogen then they can use Mexican Bat Guano. Note that only 1% of the 10% of nitrogen in Mexican Bat Guano is readily available to the plant, the other 9% will slowly be released over a few weeks as the organic nitrogen is broken down. Bat Guano cannot be used in NFT or aeroponic systems; it will also have a limited affect in ebb and flow and drip systems. Bat Guano is ideal for soil growers.

Deficiency – Growth is slow, sparse and spindly the older leaves turn yellow and will eventually dry out and die. The complete leaf will turn yellow, with no green veins.

Toxicity – The plants will produce excess foliage that will be dark green. The plants will also be softer, disease and insect outbreaks will be severe (this will be due to a weaker softer plant). The root system will also be underdeveloped. High nitrogen levels can also retard flowering and fruiting, decrease in yields as flowers don’t set and lower fruit quality. Nitrogen deficiency and toxicity is rear and will not be a problem if growers use premixed nutrients and follow the directions for these nutrients.

P – Phosphorus

Phosphorus is a very important nutrient for plants. It is required by seedlings, newly rooted clones and flowering and fruiting plants. Phosphorus is essential for the development of healthy roots, stimulation of flowering, ripening of fruits and seed production. Phosphorus is also required for the hydrolysis of starch to sugar and for the synthesis of starch to sugars (also known as energy transfer).

Source – Again, premix nutrients will have adequate phosphorus for general plant growth. Plants will need extra phosphorus when the plants begin flowering and fruiting. This is why growers must change from a vegetative formula to a flowering formula. The flowering formulas will have higher phosphate and potassium levels to help stimulate flowering, fruiting and seed production. This all culminates in higher yields and better tasting produce. Taste is increased because of higher synthesis of starch in to plant sugars. For a customer to really boost their yields of flowering and fruiting crops it is advisable for them to use a blooming enhancer. Bloom Booster, Hydroplex, KoolBloom and Bud XL are all products that will boost phosphorus and potassium levels. Bloom Blaster and Monster Bloom must be applied at a rate of 1 teaspoon (5 grams) per 5 galloons of water. Kool Bloom ¼ teaspoon per gallon or 1¼ teaspoons per 5 gallons of water. PK13/14 must be applied at a rate of 1¼ teaspoons (5ml) per gallon of water. For organic growers, in the soil, Jamaican Bat Guano can be used at a rate of 2-3 (10-15 grams) tablespoons per gallon of water.

Deficiency – Plants are stunted and the leaves turn dark green to purplish color. This is due to a buildup of Anthocyanin pigments. These symptoms occur in the older leaves first. Plant maturity will also be delayed and yields will be low. Seed production is also severely affected.

Toxicity – Phosphorus toxicity is very difficult to diagnose. Excess phosphorus will cause deficiencies of calcium, iron, copper and zinc. This will cause confusing signals as other minerals may be showing signs of deficiencies even when adequate amounts of these minerals are present.

K – Potassium

Potassium is the catalyst in plants. It is important for the manufacture and transport of plant sugars/carbohydrates, increases the chlorophyll in leaves, regulates the opening and closing of the leaf stomata and aids in disease resistance, water uptake and ripening process of fruits. Potassium is also found in the juice of fruits which contributes to an increase of fruit taste and fruit quality.

Sources – The sources of potassium are the same for Phosphorus above.

Deficiency – Symptoms occur in older leaves first with yellow blotches and in severe cases dead spots will occur. Branches and stems will weaken and eventually becomes brittle. Flowering and fruiting is diminished and yields are low and poor in quality.

Toxicity – leaf margins may burn in sever cases, but often it will effect the uptake of magnesium and magnesium deficiencies will occur.

Ca – Calcium

Calcium is as important as N, P and K. Calcium is required in the roots, stems, leaves and fruits of plants. It is found in every cell wall and is required for the absorption of nitrogen.

Sources – Most nutrient solutions will have adequate calcium for general plant growth. If a customer is using RO water then they should consider using Cal-Mag Plus. An application rate of 1-2 (5-10ml) teaspoons per gallon of water is sufficient to rectify any deficiencies.

Deficiency – Flower bud development is retarded, thus reducing yields, fruit size is decreased. Roots die, leaving the plant open to root rot attack. Young leaves show symptoms before older leaves. The leaves can be deformed, and have yellow blotches which later turns into dead spots.

Toxicity – No visual symptoms; may cause magnesium deficiency.

Mg – Magnesium

Magnesium is found in the chlorophyll molecule. If a deficiency of magnesium occurs then magnesium is transported from the lower leaves to the new leaves. Magnesium uptake is affected by the concentration of Potassium. If high levels of potassium are applied then the amount of magnesium should increase e.g. at the second week of flowering when blooming enhancers are used then Cal-Mag Plus should be applied.

Sources – Most nutrient solutions will have adequate amounts of magnesium. If a grower is using RO water then Cal-Mag Plus should be used.

Deficiency – Older leaves, lower half of the plants’ leaves show signs of yellowing. The yellowing occurs between the leaf veins which remains green.

Toxicity – There are visual symptoms for magnesium toxicity.

Si – Silicon

Accumulates mostly in the epidermal cells of a plant. It is also found in other cell walls. Silicon helps creates hardier, heavier and stronger plants. It has also been known to increase the plants resistance to fungal attacks.

Sources – Silica Blast and Pro-Tekt (both potassium silicate) and Pyrosol are the main sources of silicon. Growers should take care when using these products as they will increase the pH of the nutrient solution, thus the grower will need to add pH Down to bring the pH back to 6.

Deficiency – Deficiencies of silicon have been known to reduce yields.

Toxicity – Not known.

Purified Water for My Plants?

Gardening

Walk into any hydroponics shop and you will most likely see that they sell Reverse Osmosis water purification systems.

You may ask yourself why someone would spend money on a water filter to grow plants. Most people give straight tap or hose water to their house and garden plants and they do just fine. But, what about more prized flowers and fruits? What if you only want give your vegetables the best and most pure ingredients? Most importantly, what if you were interested in pushing your plants to the max and achieving explosive growth? Serious gardeners have long realized how important pure water is to the success of their important crops. After all, water is the root of hydroponics and therefore the most important component to a healthy garden. Water acts like a carrier that bathes your root zone with nutrients, additives, and promoters.

If you look at the top nutrient manufacturer’s feed charts, you will notice a common theme. They all require using 0 PPM (parts per million) water as a starting base for the nutrient solution.

Without this ultra pure base, it is much more difficult to dial in the PPM’s of your formula while making sure you have the proper amounts of each component vital to healthy growth. When the feed chart says bring the nutrient solution to 1200 PPM and you are starting with water that is at 500 PPM, what do you do? It is hard to even guess what that 500 PPM is composed of, nonetheless try and adjust for it in the nutrient formula you are trying to perfect.

The first step is to determine how bad your water is and what type of system would be most beneficial to your garden.

Free water reports are available from your municipality or water company, although water quality fluctuates greatly throughout an area and over the seasons. Test kits can be ordered online and are quick and affordable. Some hydroponics shops do water testing and there are many labs that can do an analysis. A key indicator of water quality for plants is total hardness as expressed in PPM of calcium and magnesium or in Grains per Gallon (GPG). With too much hardness, the nutrient formula can be thrown out of balance and deficiencies and lockouts can quickly become a major problem. Any water source over 50 PPM of hardness should be purified. This translates to 3 GPG and is considered soft water, which few people have straight from the tap.

Organic gardeners using compost teas or bio-extraction solutions should use purified water.

Anyone gardening with living micro-organisms such as beneficial bacteria, fungi and nematodes, mycorrizae, and trichoderma, must have chlorine and contaminant free water in order for those helpful microbes to survive and flourish. Unfortunately, it’s rare someone’s water source is perfect for their prized plants.  Letting city water sit out overnight may get rid of some free chlorine but doesn’t affect the chloramines or other contaminants. Water from well or spring sources is often too high in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, sulfur, and iron. This water may be fine to drink but for hydroponics may be too heavy with these minerals and may contribute to nutrient lockup.

Gardeners that start using pure water never go back to untreated water.

There are still plenty of people that haul 5 gallon jugs of water to their garden. They will go through these lengths to pamper their plants and make sure they only get the best. If you do the math, a water purification system from a hydroponics shop pays for itself quickly with the money and energy saved hauling water. There are several customized filtration systems available for gardening and hydroponics on the market.

Following is a table that shows the most common contaminants in your water, their sources, and what harmful affects they can have on plants. After looking it over and realizing how many things can do damage to your crop, you may want to grab yourself, and your plants, a nice glass of pure water!

Contaminant Source Effects on plants
PPM of TDS Well/Spring

Municipal/

City

Water with high PPM of TDS (total dissolved solids) has unknown contaminants that is the key cause of nutrient lockout and deficiencies in plants.
Chlorine Municipal/

City

Biocide that kills beneficial bacteria, fungi and micro-organisms. Any healthy organic or bio-hydro garden is chlorine free. If you are using or brewing compost teas or bio-extract solutions, removing the chlorine is essential.
Chloramines Municipal/

City

Biocide that’s a combination of chlorine and ammonia and is much more stable than chlorine. It will not dissipate by bubbling or even by boiling off. Can only be removed by proper filtration. Toxic to beneficial bacteria, fungi, micro-organisms, fish and amphibians.
Hardness Well/Spring

Municipal/

City

Dissolved calcium and magnesium that forms scale on equipment and tubing. Too much of either of these in your water and you are locking out key nutrients to your plants. Your plants will be unable to feed properly and will exhibit deficiencies.  Pipes and equipment can eventually get clogged and fail. Mineral hardness is the key cause of water problems in hydroponics and other gardening systems.
Fluoride Municipal/

City

A hazardous waste product that is present in all municipal water. This is a toxic substance to humans and plants. Thirty-four enzymes in plants are affected by fluoride as is seed germination. Enzyme additives will not do their job properly with fluoride in the water.
Volatile Organic Compounds Municipal/

City

Some VOC’s are known or suspected carcinogens. Trace amounts of these can end up in the plant’s tissue, flowers, and fruits.
Iron / Sulfur Well/Spring

Municipal/

City

Water containing iron or sulfur may have a metallic taste and an offensive odor. Nutrient lockout, algae growth, and equipment staining can be results of too much iron on the water.
Pesticides/Herbicides Well/Spring

Municipal/

City

Local agricultural areas may be leaching harmful contaminants into the ground water. These can end up in your water supply and in your plants.
Bacteria Well/Spring Local water sources may be affected by animal and human waste. These toxic substances can be found in trace amounts in fruits and flowers and can be harmful to humans.
Nitrates Well/Spring

Municipal/

City

Runoff from agriculture, animal yards, etc. Toxic substances that contribute to over-nitrification and algae growth. Causes “blue baby syndrome”.
PH Well/Spring

Municipal/

City

Water that has either too high or low PH will not allow nutrients to be absorbed properly and can be corrosive to equipment. Adjusting PH may be difficult due to fluctuations in levels.

Guano

Gardening

The 100% Natural Organic Soil Amendment

The word guano originated from the Quichua language of the Inca civilization and means “the droppings of sea birds”. It is a misnomer to refer to bat dung as guano. As the word is used today, guano describes both bat and sea bird manure.

The most famous guano was that used by the Inca.

The guano would collect on the rainless islands and coast of Peru. Atmospheric conditions insured a minimal loss of nutrients. There is very little leaching of valuable material, nor is there a considerable loss of nitrogenous matter. For this the Inca would guard and regulate the treasured soil enricher. Access to the guano deposits were restricted to chosen caretakers. Disrupting the rookeries could result in punishment by death.

Guano became a very important part of the development of agriculture in these United States.

During the peak of the guano era, drastic steps were taken to maintain a supply for the U.S. farmer. “On August 18, 1856, Congress passed an act to authorize protection to be given to citizens of the United States who may discover guano, under which any citizen of the United States was authorized to take possession of and occupy any unclaimed island, rock or key containing guano. The discoverers of such islands were entitled to exclusive rights to the deposits thereon, but the guano could only be removed for the use of the citizens of the United States.

“Nutrients in guano are as different as there are a variety of producers, food sources and environmental constraints.

Sea birds eat strictly small fish and are not scavengers. Bat guano is available from one species that thrives on fruit, while another feasts on insects. Guano can be fresh, semi-fossilized or fossilized and will be a factor, among others, on the nutrient content when used.

Guano is provided in the ready to use condition, thoroughly aged to the vintage state of a good natural fertilizer.

Guano can be used inside or outdoors for all living plants. Guano supplies fast and slow release nutrients to the biological system. Apply the pure guano in smaller amounts than ordinary barnyard or poultry manure. Applied as a top dressing and worked into the soil or mixed with water and applied, guano will have a dramatic influence.

Hydroponic growers, in contrast to normal fertilization, are finding that guano and water are a natural alternative to chemical solutions.

Use nitrogen guano for growth, phosphorus guano for budding and all guano for your plants general health and well being. Guano can be blended with topsoil before laying sod or grass seed and while planting trees and shrubs. Add guano to your container growing mix for a supercharged potting soil.

How can an ocean plant help my garden?

Gardening

How an ocean plant can help your garden?

Oceans contain every natural element known to man.  And while sea water is being experimented with as a irrigation alternative in some parts of the world, dried seaweed applications such as Kelp Meal, are proven growth supplements currently in use with verified results. Kelp Meal is an outstanding organic fertilizer full of minerals and vitamins that plants on terra firma can fully benefit from too.

Kelp, or sea weed, has a cellulose structure that filters sea water and looks for nutrients.

This constant filtration of minerals allows the plant to grow at incredible speeds, sometimes at rates of up to 3 feet a day. This makes kelp an abundant, renewable resource and provides food for many of the creatures found in the sea. And though not every ocean animal eats seaweed, most prey on smaller forms of life that do. This helps form the basis of a food pyramid that extends all the way up to mankind.

Kelp is a 100% natural source of over 70 vitamins and minerals ands can be applied to any soil or plant without worrying about harmful chemicals or waste byproducts.

Kelp Meal is a great way to feed your garden and an ecologically friendly choice for fertilization. Let the bounty of minerals found in the ocean work for you in your garden.

House and Garden Bud- XL

Gardening

House and Garden will change the way you think about nutrients!

Each base nutrient is specifically formulated for the different conditions that exist in growing mediums to ensure that medium and nutrients are used to their full advantage.

Bud-XL has the unique ability to extract sugars from the leaf of the plant and transfer them to the fruit.

The fruit is thus made sweeter and its taste improved. Bud-XL also increases the size and robustness of the flower, resulting in an increase in fruit production and greater turnover.

Bud-XL uses enzyme processes to extract sugars from the large bracts to store them in the fruit or flower of the plant.

This leads to bigger, sweeter and more robust fruits. The flower becomes larger and its color improves.

Directions for use:

Use Bud-XL starting the third week of your flowering phase. Prepare your nutrient container as follows: First add the base nutrient to your container (e.g.: Soil A&B, Coco A&B, Hydro A&B). Adjust the pH-value of the nutrient container. Finall, add Bud-XL.

It is recommended that you start adding Bud-XL to the nutrient solution after the first flowers are formed.

This is the period that the big bract loses its function. By adding Bud-XL you ensure that the plant’s energy is no longer used for keeping the bract, but is directed to forming flowers and fruits. Simultaneously, Bud-XL extracts sugars from the bract and transports them to the flower or fruit.

Advantages of Bud-XL Flowering Stimulator:

* Bud-XL is a very powerful flowering stimulator.

* Bud-XL uses the best nutrient components in the purest form that is available on the market.

* Bud-XL has a constant high quality.

* Bud-XL is packaged in a light-proof packaging to ensure its quality.

* Bud-XL has a sealed lid to guarantee that the product stays fresh.

* Bud-XL is easy to use.

* Bud-XL is very pure ensuring clean piping.

* Bud-XL is highly concentrated and therefore very economical to use.

Nitrozime Marine Algae Extract

Gardening

Nitrozime Marine Algae Extract is a plant nutrient supplement derived exclusively from a natural form of marine algae known as Ascophyllum Nodosum Seaweed.

Cytokinins are natural plant growth hormones and Nitrozime provides plenty of them to plants, assists in all stages of the growth process and helps plants root more quickly.

During the vegetative growth stage, plants produce taller, lusher, stronger growth.

Apply it during fruiting and flowering for more numerous, larger and more fragrant flowers. Nitrozime contains highly concentrated hormones extracted from the North Atlantic sea plant Ascophylum Nodsoum. This plant lives in an environment of extreme stress which causes production of a phenomenal level of hormones.

When added to the nutrient solution or used as a foliar spray, these extra hormone levels greatly increase cell division and elongation, producing greener, more lush plants that translate into higher yields during flower production.

Nitrozime contains powerful natural growth enhancers, micro nutrients and bio-stimulants that will stimulate the growth process of the plant. Use with a saturator to help penetrate waxy leaves.

HOW IS THE CYTOKININ HORMONE LEVEL CONTROLLED?

Nitrozime is produced using the strictest quality control methods possible. The test used to determine hormonal activity is state-of-the-art and approved by government regulators.

FROM WHAT PLANT IS NITROZIME DERIVED?

The plant from which it is extracted is Ascophyllum Nodosum and is found in the Northern Atlantic Ocean and the Norwegian Sea. This plant grows on rocks in sea water, which is as cold as -20oC in the winter and as warm as 32oC in the summer months.

HOW DOES NITROZIME WORK?

Plants progress through a cycle of growth stages. Using the example of wheat, the plant starts out as a seed, germinates, goes through the seedling stage, through the three, five and seven leaf stages, and finally forming a head and producing new seed. When a plant is under stress at any given stage of growth, reduced levels of cytokinin growth hormones are produced. If this reduction occurs at certain key stages of growth such as the tillering stage, yields can be affected. By making available extra hormone to the plant at these stages, you can influence the crops final yield. Timing of the application is essential. If you apply a hormone to a plant, the result will be stimulated growth of the type which the plant is currently undergoing. If the plant is forming roots, more root growth can occur. If tillering is underway, more tillers will be formed. If stem growth is in progress, that is what will occur. If flowering is in progress more flowering will occur.

WHAT ABOUT NITROZIME AS A SEED TREATMENT?

Nitrozime is very effective as a seed treatment. Many gardeners and researchers have been experimenting with Growth Plus as a seed treatment because it contains certain hormones which can help promote early seedling vigor, and up to 40% increase in root mass. More root mass leads to a healthier and a more vigorous plant.

WHY USE NITROZIME?

Crops under normal growing conditions achieve only 30-40% of their genetic potential. Growing conditions such as low or high moisture levels, hot or cold temperature variations, soil imbalance and nutritional deficiencies contribute to plant stress and result in underperformance of the crop. Plants under stress are unable to produce sufficient cytokinins, the natural plant growth hormones which are necessary for plant growth, nutrient mobilization and distribution, germination, cell division, root development, flowering and seed formation. These naturally occurring hormones have a very pronounced effect on the growth of plant cells and regulate delicate physiological plant processes. After many years of research and field testing, the natural cytokinins in Nitrozime can be put to productive use on your plants. Natural cytokinins such as those found in Nitrozime will help control and regulate: germination – root development – nutrition uptake – plant tissue composition – tillering – flowering -seed and fruit set. Nitrozime has been proven to effectively relieve stress, provide a more vigorous and healthy plant, which increases yields and profits.

Got CO2?

Gardening

Elevating carbon dioxide levels can increase growth speed a great deal, perhaps even double it.

It seems that the plant evolved in primordial times when natural CO2 levels were many times what they are today. The plant uses CO2 for photosynthesis to create sugars it uses to build plant tissues. Elevating the CO2 level will increase the plants ability to manufacture these sugars and plant growth rate is enhanced considerably.

CO2 is most usable for flowering, as this is when the plant is most dense and has the hardest time circulating air around its leaves.

If your strictly growing marijuana vegetatively indoors, (transferring your plants outdoors to flower), then CO2 will not be a major concern unless you have a sealed greenhouse, closet or bedroom, and wish to increase yield and decrease flowering time.

The basic CO2 tank system looks like this:

20 lb tank $129

Regulator $159

Timer or controller $10-$125

Fill up $20

For a small closet, one tank could last 2 months, but it depends on how much is released, how often the room is vented, hours of light cycle, room leaks, enrichment levels and dispersion methods.

This method may be overkill for your small closet.

It is generally viewed as good to have a small constant flow of CO2 over the plants at all times the lights are on, dispersed directly over the plants during the time exhaust fans are off.

Opportunities exist to conserve CO2, but this can cost money. When the light is off you don’t need CO2, so during flowering, you will use half as much if you have the CO2 solenoid setup to your light timer. When the fan is on for venting, CO2 is shut off as well. This may be up to half the time the light is on, so this will affect the plants exposure times and amount of gas actually dispensed.

Environmentally, using bottled gas is better, since manufacturing it adds to greenhouse effect, and bottled CO2 is captured as part of the manufacturing process of many materials, and then recycled.

Fermenting, CO2 generators, and baking soda and vinegar methods all generate new CO2 and add to greenhouse effect.

CO2 generation from fermentation and generators is possible. A simple CO2 generator would be a propane heater. This will work well, as long as the gases can be vented to the grow area, and a fan is used to keep the hot CO2 (that will rise) circulating and available below at the plants level. Fire and exhaust venting of the heat are issues as well. A room that must be vented 50% of the time to rid the environment of heat from a lamp and heater will not receive as much CO2 as a room that can be kept unvented for hours at a time. However, CO2 generators are the only way to go for large operations.

Excellofizz is perfect for the grower who has been considering the use of CO2 but has been hesitating due to the high cost factor, or for growers in a small area.

Excellofizz is ideal for small indoor gardens. It allows for a simple and economical way of providing somewhat accurate CO2 to your plants with no equipment needed for dispensing or monitoring, especially in situations where venting is limited. Excellofizz emits the proper CO2 levels for indoor plants by reacting and giving off pure CO2 gas and also absorbing oxygen from the air. Simply place one of the Excellofizz pucks into the container provided. Pour 2-1/2 ounces of water into the container and leave the lid open slightly. Excellofizz will then slowly react, emitting the proper amount of CO2 gas for approximately 8 hours into the photo period. Excellofizz will then continue to increase CO2 levels after the reaction has completely subsided by absorbing oxygen from the air. Excellofizz is also fragrented with eucalyptus which is also known to repel mites and kill airborne bacteria.

Each puck, when reacted, will emit enough CO2 gas in a 10′ x 12′ area to raise the level by approximately 1600ppm. This will give a total of 1900-2200ppm for optimum growth. Many growers with smaller areas will break the pucks into two or more pieces to get more use out of the Excellofizz kit. Each Excellofizz Kit comes with 15 pucks.

The basic CO2 tank system looks like this:

20 lb tank $129

Regulator $159

Timer or controller $10-$125

Fill up $20

Worst case = $395 for CO2 tank setup synced to a exhaust fan with a thermostat.

For a small closet, one tank could last 2 months, but it depends on how much is released, how often the room is vented, hours of light cycle, room leaks, enrichment levels and dispersion methods. This method may be overkill for your small closet.

It is generally viewed as good to have a small constant flow of CO2 over the plants at all times the lights are on, dispersed directly over the plants during the time exhaust fans are off.

Opportunities exist to conserve CO2, but this can cost money. When the light is off you don’t need CO2, so during flowering, you will use half as much if you have the CO2 solenoid setup to your light timer. When the fan is on for venting, CO2 is shut off as well. This may be up to half the time the light is on, so this will affect the plants exposure times and amount of gas actually dispensed.

Environmentally, using bottled gas is better, since manufacturing it adds to greenhouse effect, and bottled CO2 is captured as part of the manufacturing process of many materials, and then recycled. Fermenting, CO2 generators, and baking soda and vinegar methods all generate new CO2 and add to greenhouse effect.

CO2 generation from fermentation and generators is possible. A simple CO2 generator would be a propane heater. This will work well, as long as the gases can be vented to the grow area, and a fan is used to keep the hot CO2 (that will rise) circulating and available below at the plants level. Fire and exhaust venting of the heat are issues as well. A room that must be vented 50% of the time to rid the environment of heat from a lamp and heater will not receive as much CO2 as a room that can be kept unvented for hours at a time. However, CO2 generators are the only way to go for large operations.

As long as the plant has the opportunity to take in new CO2 at all times, from air that is over 200 ppm CO2, the plants will have the required nutrients for photosynthesis. Most closets will need new CO2 coming in every two or three hours, minimum. Most cities will have high concentrations of CO2 in the air, and some growers find CO2 injection unnecessary in these circumstances.

Grow Tents

Gardening

The growing tents at San Diego Hydroponics have all the details covered.

Every feature is designed to make the difference so you can grow healthy, flourishing plants in the safest environments. If you want a hydroponic grow chamber made with the most solid, nontoxic materials, we have it.

Grow Closets in Every Size

Find a grow tent in every size, from one foot across to room size. The GrowLab Horticultural Grow Rooms and Secret Jardin tents we offer are practical and outfitted with the most important features for growing healthy plants.

Add a fan and lighting system and you will have a truly affordable, desirable grow room.

These tents have thick black canvas and highly reflective silver interior. It includes a bracket for supporting exhaust fan and filter.

Organic Fertilizers

Gardening

Naturally occurring organic fertilizers include manure, slurry, worm castings, peat, seaweed, humic acid, brassin and guano.

Sewage sludge use in organic agricultural operations in the U.S. has been extremely limited and rare due to USDA prohibition of the practice due to toxic metal accumulation, among other factors.

Processed organic fertilizers include compost, bloodmeal, bone meal, humic acid, amino acids, brassin and seaweed extracts.

Other examples are natural enzyme digested proteins, fish meal, and feather meal. Decomposing crop residue from prior years is another source of fertility.

Earth Juice Products

The Earth Juice line of liquid organic fertilizers are derived from an array of 100% natural, organic ingredients and formulated for vegetables, ornamentals, shrubs, trees and lawns. Used by professionals and hobbyists worldwide.

Non- burning formulas promote vigorous growth, and provide abundant yields.

They are highly concentrated, easy to use, dust free, and contain no salt-building chemicals or hidden NPK boosting synthetics. Designed for soil and soilless medias and for indoor or outdoor use, these trusted liquid concentrates fulfill the concerned gardener’s need for a convenient alternative that will provide brilliant gardens of thriving plants, naturally. All the Earth Juice products may be used solely or together for custom formulas.

House & Garden Multi Zen

Gardening

House & Garden has formulated Multi Zen specifically to ensure your crop achieves its maximum potential harvest after harvest. In addition to being an aggressive growth stimulant, Multi Zenís unique formulation boosts the plant’s natural immune system, disposes of contaminants within the growing medium, and breaks down nutrients making them more readily available within the root zone.

Derived From: A complete array of vitamins, minerals, and organic compounds.

Ingredients Explained: Multi Zen is easily the most concentrated enzyme product on the market. House & Garden’s superior formulation promotes a healthy and beneficial micro-organism colony, increases flower sites, and thickens stalks for extra durability to support bumper crops.

Application: Administer to nutrient solution from early on in the vegetative stage throughout the third week of flowering.

Greenhouses

Gardening

A greenhouse  is a building where plants are cultivated.

A greenhouse is built of glass or plastic; it heats up because the sun’s incoming electromagnetic radiation warms plants, soil, and other things inside the building. Air warmed by the heat from hot interior surfaces is retained in the building by the roof and wall.

The glass used for a greenhouse works as a selective transmission medium for different spectral frequencies, and its effect is to trap energy within the greenhouse, which heats both the plants and the ground inside it.

This warms the air near the ground, and this air is prevented from rising and flowing away. This can be demonstrated by opening a small window near the roof of a greenhouse: the temperature drops considerably. This principle is the basis of the autovent automatic cooling system. Greenhouses thus work by trapping electromagnetic radiation and preventing convection. See solar greenhouse (technical) for a more technical discussion of solar greenhouse workings.

Many vegetables and flowers are grown in greenhouses in late winter and early spring, then transplanted outside as the weather warms.

Started plants are usually available for gardeners in farmers’ markets at transplanting time.

The closed environment of a greenhouse has its own unique requirements, compared with outdoor production.

Pests and diseases, and extremes of heat and humidity, have to be controlled, and irrigation is necessary to provide water. Significant inputs of heat and light may be required, particularly with winter production of warm-weather vegetables. Special greenhouse varieties of certain crops, like tomatoes, are generally used for commercial production.

Greenhouses protect crops from too much heat or cold, shield plants from dust storms and blizzards, and help to keep out pests.

Light and temperature control allows greenhouses to turn unarable land into arable land. Greenhouses can feed starving nations where crops can’t survive in the harsh deserts and arctic wastes. Hydroponics can be used in greenhouses as well to make the most use of the interior space.

Peppers Grown Using Hydroponics

Gardening

One of the advantages to growing your own produce is being able to have a fresh supply of produce that would normally be too expensive when you buy them in the grocery stores.

Whatever type of pepper plants that you grow it’s important to consider the spacing, in order to maximize yield, but not so close that they are crowded. Pruning also improves air circulation around the plant which helps to reduce disease. Indeterminate varieties will need to be continually pruned (about every two weeks), because they continually grow new stems and leaves. Greenhouses usually keep them to 2 main stems growing upward from each plant. Indeterminate varieties can grow to a height of up to 4 meters (13 feet), and as mentioned will need to be supported. They are usually trained to grow on trellises made of twine. The twine is hung from the overhead support wires, and is used to support each stem. But be sure that the twine is not tied too tight to the stem, or the stem can be damaged when it expands as it continues to grow.

Flowering and Fruit Set

Though there are many varieties of pepper plants, they are generally a warm weather plant. Flowering and fruit set, as well as fruit size, are all related to temperature and fluctuations in the day/night time temperature. The optimum temperature for flowering and fruit set in sweet bell peppers is about 65-70 F°, while the optimum 24-hour temperature (24-hour average temperature) for yield is about 70-75 F°, and is more important to good fruit development.

Unlike tomatoes, pollination of the pepper flowers occurs successfully without any outside pollination assistance from bees (in the correct temperature range), although additional pollination assistance from bees or other pollinating insects, as well as hand pollination has shown to improve flower set, and eventual yield and quality of the pepper fruit.

Deformed fruit is usually caused by inadequate pollination, this inadequate pollination can also be a result of temperature, but it can be caused by the light intensity being too strong also.

The fruit themselves should be shaded adequately, either by the leaves or shade cloth for best results. However, the plants generally do not have trouble continuing to set flowers in less than ideal conditions. The root zone temperature is important also, if the root zone becomes to warm (above 72-75 degrees F°) the plants will tend to abort setting fruit, and the flowers will just drop off.

Healthy Nutrient Solution

Gardening

There are many things that can cause problems in your nutrient solutions, other than just the elements themselves.

Algae grows in many different colors, furry growth on the growing media and in the nutrient solution,  strings of jelly and slime, bad odors, fungus and insect larvae are all problems that can affect the nutrient solution and media in hydroponic systems.

The growing media provides the prefect environment for bacteria and fungi, it contains everything they need to thrive, nutrients, moisture, and usually even some organic material.

As well as the right temperatures for their growth. Bacteria, fungi and algae are all carried in water supplies, by the wind, as well as on the growing medium itself. They can also be transplanted into the hydroponic system on the roots of the plants themselves.

Identifying Nutrient Solution Problems

Cloudy nutrients are a clear indicator that something is wrong, as well as what looks like a fur  floating on in and on top. These are most likely to be caused by fungi in the nutrient solution. Nutrients can also become cloudy because of bacteria, but bacteria usually causes a slime and/or jelly like mass in the system, it may also have a bad smell.

Bad odors tend to be strong, hard to get rid of and are usually a result of bacteria multiplying out of control in the nutrient solution.

When bacteria and/or fungi are present in the system they tend to use the oxygen in the nutrient solution that the plants need, this winds up smothering the root systems of the plants. This kills the roots, and when the roots start to die they produce more dead organic material in the system, that perpetuates even more growth of bacteria and fungi as it decomposes.

Microbial growth in the nutrient solution itself is a result of having organic materials somewhere in the system, in order for it to feed on.

There are both good (beneficial), and bad (harmful) microbes, most of these are harmful to plants. The beneficial microbes don’t hurt the plants but feed on the harmful microbes. That keeps the harmful ones from growing out of control. The microbes which produce the bad smells, slime and other undesirable problems are not the ones you want to be growing, their growth results in stagnant, oxygen starved nutrient solution, and thus root death. Once the roots begin to die undesirable microbes (known as pathogens) begin to set in, this makes disease control very difficult. They can also clog drippers, emitters, as well as other parts of the system. Cleaning and disinfecting the whole system without damaging the plants will be extremely difficult and time consuming.

The organic mater that these microbes feed on can come from rotting root systems, vegetation from a old previous crops that was not removed, and the growing medium cleaned and sanitized.

It can also come from leaves, twigs, flowers, and even stems form the current crop that made it’s way down into the growing medium. Even from leaves, twigs, flowers, stems, dust and dirt from near by plants that made there way into the system, carried by the wind. This organic mater gives the fungi and bacteria a food source, thus results in it’s rapid population growth.

Prevention of Nutrient Solution Problems

Start with a clean, sterilized system and equipment, introduce only healthy seedlings/plants into your hydroponic system, remove any sick plants as soon as you notice them. Use a good quality water source that’s filtered to get rid of pathogens. Change the nutrient solution from time to time to help prevent buildup of unwanted microbes, and flush the system in between changes to help with flushing them from the system and growing medium. Oxygenating the nutrient solution is easy and inhibits non beneficial microbes, while providing much needed dissolved oxygen to the nutrient solution. The easiest way to Oxygenate the nutrient solution is by adding an aquarium air pump, and air stones.

Adding beneficial microbes to the nutrient solution can help sway the balance of beneficial/harmful microbes.

Researchers have found that having a layer of inert, porous, clay material in the bottom of the nutrient reservoir will help provide a place for the beneficial microbes, bacteria, fungi to breed, colonies and multiply, particularly when you are not using much growing medium in the hydroponic system for them to colonies in.

Beneficial Organisms

Gardening

The effects of micro-organisms on a plant can be profound.

These organisms, such as bacillus, mycorrhizae and trichoderma all form symbiotic relationships with the plant and are found in soil. Bacillus is used world wide for the control of loopers, fungus gnats, insect pests and opportunistic fungi pathogens. Tricoderma is a fungi that feeds off pathogenic root rot and damping off fungi; it also stimulates the plants root and immune systems, which helps the plant to fight off fungi attacks. Mycorrhizae is a beneficial fungi which colonizes the root surface; this helps keep the pathogenic fungi from getting a foot hold on the plant’s root system.

Mycorrhizae also helps the plant take up nutrients that are out of reach of the plant’s roots.

All of these beneficial organisms feed off plant exudes from the root system and some nutrients in the growing medium.

How to use beneficals in your system.To get the maximum benefit from beneficial micro-organisms, the gardener should always provide food for these beneficals.

Providing these organisms with food (e.g.: Liquid Karma, Earth Juice Catalyst and Sweet) ensures that they will grow and multiply in your garden, however, the harmful micro-organisms will also use this food to multiply.

This is one of the reasons why your water and growing medium should be well oxygenated. Harmful pathogens tend to thrive in anaerobic conditions whereas beneficial organisms thrive in aerobic conditions.

General Hydroponics Multi Flow System

Gardening

The Multi Flow System is basically an ebb & flow type hydroponic system that uses gravity as its major source of moving water through the system.

The brains of this system is a controller unit assembly which consists of a 3.5 gallon container, with a timer and relay box mounted on the side, and float switches mounted inside of it to control the level of water in the system automatically.  Each timer pin on the controller has a duration of 15 minutes which allows for better control over watering cycles.  Each pin pushed down on the timer will water the system for 15 minutes.

This is an advantage over most 30 minute increment timers because the plants really only need to be watered to the point the roots are saturated and then the water should be drained out.

Also, because this system is an ebb & flow system, as the water is drained out it actually pulls oxygen down to the roots.

Controller Unit AssemblyFloat SwitchesTimer “

So how does this system actually work,” you ask.

Well its actually very simple.  First of all you must layout all of the pots and set them up on a level surface.  Then connect the pots together using various fittings and tubing (included).  Once you have done this you plug the power cord of the pump in the reservoir into the controller unit and set your watering times.  When the timer reaches the watering time you have selected, the pump turns on inside the reservoir pumping nutrient solution into the controller unit.  This will continue pumping into the controller while gravity is then pushing the water out to the other pots.  Once the desired watering level is reached the float switches will then cut the power to the pump in the reservoir.

As long as the timer is on the system will maintain this watering level.

Once the timer turns off, the pump inside the controller is engaged and the nutrient solution is then pumped back into the reservoir.  This will continue until the water level reaches the preset drain depth then the pump will be turned off.   Since the pumps are only pumping a short distance, to and from the reservoir, wear and tear is greatly reduced and will ensure that your pumps last for a long time.

Multi Flow Schematic

The two gallon pots used in the Multi Flow allow your plants to grow strong and tall while giving them a spacious container to produce a large root structure.

The two gallon growing containers actually sit inside of other two gallon pots which serve as the watering cells.

So, all the growing containers can be pulled out and moved around according to plant growth.

You are not stuck trying to re-layout the system and cut new tubing or relocate a bunch of drippers, all you do is pull the plant and growing container out and move it to a new location.  It couldn’t be any easier to move your smaller plants directly under the lights and move your larger plants out to the perimeter of the room to promote uniform growth throughout the grow room.   “Versatility” is the key word when describing the Multi Flow.  It is easily expanded to a system consisting of up to 48 pots available with the 6 add on pot expansion.

Community Supported Agriculture

Lifestyle

community supported agriculture

As a gardener I take great pride in everything I harvest. I know  pretty much everything about my garden; I even know the names of most of the plants. I remember all the scary moments and I think I remember every time I saw the first signs of fruit production. The combination of watching my own food grow right in front of my eyes and the pride I feel knowing exactly how it was produced is indescribable. And being able to share my harvest with my friends and family is somehow even better.

Never Enough

Unfortunately for most of us, no matter how big our garden is, there is no way we can feed ourselves and our families all year long. And a trip to the grocery store is exactly that, a trip. Barely anything is grown locally. Actually, almost everything is a product of Mexico or Honduras or Chile. Fruits and vegetables look different and they taste different. They are too big and many of them are even genetically modified.

What’s missing is peace of mind. Who grew it, how did it get here, and what hormones did they use to make it so big? It’s crazy to think that we know absolutely nothing about the food we eat everyday but we don’t. As a rule, most people try to avoid hormones and pesticides in their diet. But if we shop at a major grocery store, this is exactly what we get. Yet we keep eating without thinking of the short or long term ramifications.

Finally Some Options

But at least we are starting to have some options. There is a movement going on throughout the world and it’s called Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). Community Supported Agriculture is system where consumers form partnerships with farmers and eliminate the middlemen. It’s pretty much the best way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food, directly from farmers in their area.

The partnership formed between the consumer and the farmer is pretty unique. Farmer’s sell “shares” of their crop to consumers in advance. Typical shares average about 400 dollars for the entire 22 week season. These shares are paid for upfront and the money is spent on items like seeds, fertilizers, and equipment. What makes this relationship unique is that the farmers and consumers all share in the risk if something were to go wrong with the crop.

This is a great relief for the farmers and gives them incentives to produce environmentally responsible food for the community without the risk of losing their farms if the crop doesn’t turn out. Additionally, farmers get money throughout the season, not just at the end of the harvest. This money is spent throughout the year in the community and is kept in the community, resulting in a better economic situation for local merchants and the community as a whole. .

As a consumer there are tons of advantages. Financially it’s great. On average, CSA members pay about 20 dollars a month and receive about 2.5 times more produce than they would at the super market. But the financial aspect is really the least exciting part. The food is fresh and produced in an ethically and in an environmentally correct manner. Not only are you supporting your local farmer and your community, but you’re eliminating the need to transport food half way across the world.

On average produce travels 2,000 miles from the farm to the market. Because of this, agriculture is geared toward cultivating crops better suited for shipping and maintaining longer shelf lives. CSA’s are different. Local farmers grow crops bred for taste and that’s it; food goes from the farm to your home in a matter of days not weeks.

Seeing Is Believing

The best thing about CSA’s is the opportunity to visit the farms personally. Most CSA’s offer the opportunity to come and check out the farm or even lend a hand. It’s an opportunity to get a first hand look at the place that feeds you. Something you would ordinarily never be able to do.

Living in San Diego, our options are pretty much unlimited. Surprisingly, San Diego County is home to more certified organic farms than any other county in the nation. We have it all; dairy, exotic fruits, peppers, honey, and so much more. Whatever your preference San Diego has a farm from you. This means unbelievable options are just a few miles away.

Click here to find a CSA in your neighborhood!

Community Supported Agriculture

As a gardener I take great pride in everything I harvest. I know everything about my garden; I even know the names of most of my plants. I remember those tough times and I remember those amazing periods of growth. The combination of watching my own food grow right in front of my eyes and the pride I feel knowing exactly how it was produced is indescribable.

Unfortunately for most of us, no matter how big our garden is, there is no way we can feed ourselves or our families all year long. And a trip to the grocery store is exactly that, a trip. Barely anything is grown locally. Actually, almost everything is a product of Mexico or Honduras or Chile. Fruits and vegetables look different and they taste different. They are too big and many of them are even genetically modified.

What’s missing is peace of mind. Who grew it, how did it get here, and what hormones did they use to make it so big? It’s crazy to think that we know absolutely nothing about the food we eat everyday but we don’t. As a rule, most people try to avoid hormones and pesticides in their diet. But if we shop at a major grocery store, this is exactly what we get. Yet we keep eating without thinking of the short or long term ramifications.

But at least we are starting to have some options. There is a movement going on throughout the world and it’s called Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). Community Supported Agriculture is system where consumers form partnerships with farmers and eliminate the middlemen. It’s pretty much the best way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food, directly from farmers in their area.

The partnership formed between the consumer and the farmer is pretty unique. Farmer’s sell “shares” of their crop to consumers in advance. Typical shares average about 400 dollars for the entire 22 week season. These shares are paid for upfront and the money is spent on items like seeds, fertilizers, and equipment. What makes this relationship unique is that the farmers and consumers all share in the risk if something were to go wrong with the crop.

This is a great relief for the farmers and gives them incentives to produce environmentally responsible food for the community without the risk of losing their farms if the crop doesn’t turn out. Additionally, farmers get money throughout the season, not just at the end of the harvest. This money is spent throughout the year in the community and is kept in the community, resulting in a better economic situation for local merchants and the community as a whole. .

As a consumer there are tons of advantages. Financially it’s great. On average, CSA members pay about 20 dollars a month and receive about 2.5 times more produce than they would at the super market. But the financial aspect is really the least exciting part. The food is fresh and produced in an ethically and in an environmentally correct manner. Not only are you supporting your local farmer and your community, but you’re eliminating the need to transport food half way across the world.

On average produce travels 2,000 miles from the farm to the market. Because of this, agriculture is geared toward cultivating crops better suited for shipping and maintaining longer shelf lives. CSA’s are different. Local farmers grow crops bred for taste and that’s it; food goes from the farm to your home in a matter of days not weeks.

The best thing about CSA’s is the opportunity to visit the farms personally. Most CSA’s offer the opportunity to come and check out the farm or even lend a hand. It’s an opportunity to get a first hand look at the place that feeds you. Something you would ordinarily never be able to do.

Living in San Diego we can pretty much have whatever we want. San Diego County is home to more certified organic farms than any other county in the nation. This means unbelievable options are just a few miles away. From dairy to produce San Diego has a farm for you.

There are just so many affordable and exciting options that it would be a shame not to check them out.

Click here for a CSA in your neighborhood.

Customer and farmer have made a bond and eliminated the middle man.

Getting the consumer 2.5x more in the grocery store.

Most of the money is paid upfront to pay for seeds and fertilizers

Picked the day they are sold.

Diverse crops to please clientele

Pay in advance for a share of the farmers yield

Food contamination scares and carbon emissions concerns

Cuts down the cost of organic food

400 dollars per share. For 22 weeks. 20 per week. Every share can feed a family of 2-3 people.

Farmers get a good detail because community shares in the risk and they get money up front and throughout the season not just at the end of the season. This way they are able to buy tractors and shit

Personal connection with farmers and the farm

Members are allowed to check out the farm and help out

Better sense of community

Here in San Diego our options are almost unlimited. San Diego County has the most certified organic farms in the United Stated. We have it all; dairy, exotic fruits, peppers, honey, and so much more. And now we finally are starting to have access to it.

Community Supported A

Soil & Amendments

Gardening

A Guide To Understanding Soil

We have all walked down the store aisle wondering, “Hmm, which soil should I choose this time?” With all the different mixtures out there, it can be confusing.  What are all the amendments in these mixtures and what do they actually do? I have a few answers that may help you along your way.

San Diego Hydroponics carries a large selection of soil mixtures to choose from. Here’s the breakdown on these soil mixtures and what their amendments do.

FOX FARM has a few different soil mixtures that seem to be popular with the local folk. The first is Ocean Forest, which is what I call the ‘old stand by,’ it has been around for a long time and it is the most popular soil amongst local farmers here in San Diego. Its ingredients include:

Forest Humus: A natural forest compost containing organic matter from the forest.

Sphagnum Peat Moss: Sphagnum is actually live moss taken from a peat bog, whatever that is. Peat moss can hold large quantities of water, about twenty times its dry weight, making it a very useful amendment.

Fish Emulsion: A product rich in Nitrogen, which will keep your plants nice and green.

Crab Meal, & Shrimp Meal: Both products are both rich in Nitrogen and phosphorus to give you a more balanced feeding.

Earthworm Castings: Earthworm Castings are well known to increase vigor and provide an excellent source of plant food.

Fossilized Bat Guano: Bat Guano is bat feces, which is high in phosphorus.

Sandy Loam, Perlite, Granite Dust: Sandy Loam is composed of sand, silt, and clay and helps retain water. Perlite is a volcanic glass that holds water while, at the same time, aerating your soil. Granite Dust is a good source of potash, in laymen’s terms: potassium and  also provides calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and trace elements and micronutrients.

Norwegian Kelp Meal: Dried raw seaweed tends to contain about 1% Nitrogen, a trace of Phosphorus, and 2% potash, along with Magnessium, Sulfur, and numerous trace elements.

Oyster Shell: Oyster shell is an organic pH stabilizer.

We also carry another FoxFarm product called, Happy Frog. Happy Frog also contains, forest humus, sphagnum peat moss, perlite, earthworm castings, bat guano, and oyster shell. However, it also has three amendments that Ocean Forest does not have: Humic Acid, Mycorrhizae, & Lime. Humic substances are formed by the microbial degradation of dead plant matter, which help to break down nutrients making them more readily available for the plant. Mycorrhizae is a beneficial bacteria which helps to prevent bad bacteria such as pythium or root rot.  It also increases the plants uptake of water and nutrients. Lime helps to stabilize PH.

Roots Organics is another soil company that we carry. It is relatively new but the locals seem to like it a lot because they keep asking for it.

Roots Organics Greenfields is an ocean nutrient based potting soil mix for both the vegetative and flowering phases of mature plants. Its ingredients include coarse peat moss, compost, perlite, worm castings, bat guano, fish meal, crab meal, kelp meal, Pumice, a volcanic rock that increases aeration, Fishbone meal a natural by-product of the fishing industry. Fish bones are cooked and ground to create a high phosphorus fertilizer perfect for flowering and fruiting plants. Soy bean meal, a substance high in nitrogen and Feather Meal, a common by product of the poultry slaughter industry, which is also high in nitrogen, but releases more slowly than other amendments.

Roots Organics Natural & Organic Potting Soil is an indoor & outdoor gardening medium whose ingredients include: peat moss, perlite, pumice, compost, mulch, worm castings, bat guano, kelp meal, fishbone meal, soybean meal, feather meal, and oyster shell. It also contains  Glacial rock dust, which has trace elements from glaciers. Prilled rock phosphate, a slow release phosphorus amendment. Greensand, an element mined from deposits of minerals that were originally part of the ocean floor. It contains about 3% total potash, along with iron, magnesium, silica and as many as 30 other trace minerals. It may also be used to loosen heavy, clay soils and improves plant health. Leonardite is a low rank coal derived from terrestrial plant matter which contains Fulvic Acid, Humin, and Humic Acid. Alfalfa Meal, which is high in nitrogen and Coco Fiber allows for more aeration while also retaining water.

Roots Organics formula 707 is designed for greater water holding capacity. It contains less perlite and pumice. Ingredients include coarse peat moss, coco fiber, compost, perlite, humus, worm castings, bat guano, fishbone meal, soybean meal, feather meal, and kelp meal.

I hope this information will help make your soil choice easier when you come into the shop. Thanks for reading.

Sean

House & Garden Algen Extract

Gardening

Algen Extract is a concentrated solution of Norwegian Sea Kelp (Ascophyllum nodosum).

Plants in all phases love Kelp for the many benefits it provides. Micro nutrients, micro-biology and macro-nutrients are all present in Algen Extract.

Algen Extract growth stimulator is a product designed for use with sprouts that have rooted well.

It ensures better leaf color. It stimulates the formation of root hair, leading to increased uptake of various trace elements. Great for a foliar spray as well as root applications. It can also be used as a leaf wash incase of chemical pest control and dusting.

1-2 ml per Liter of water.

Give Algen Extract the start of the first week, until the end of the fifth week.

For the mother-plants, apply this product once a week.

Mother Plants

Gardening

Mother plants are stock plants specifically raised to provide cuttings for starting new plants.

The cuttings, also known as clones, are genetically identical to the mother plant, and if grown in a controlled environment will develop into daughter plants with the same superior characteristics as the mother plant. Since cuttings take time to develop roots, the clones must rely on stored water and carbohydrates in the stems and leaves to provide the energy necessary to develop vigorous new roots. Therefore, the nutritional status of the mother plant is critical to the rooting and recovery time of the tender clones.

The nutritional requirements of mother plants are significantly different from those of production plants raised for optimal yields.

Mother plants require a balanced nutrition specifically formulated to slow down excessive vegetative growth and increase the carbon to nitrogen ratio in the shoots. If a mother plant is fertilized with too much nitrogen, it will grow quickly, but it will produce soft tissues with poor carbohydrate reserves. About 25 to 30% of a plant’s energy is used to change nitrates into an organic form of nitrogen used for vegetative growth. So an over abundance of nitrates will deplete the sugars in the shoots and leaves, reducing the amount of fuel available for new root growth.

A good mother plant fertilizer must also be formulated to strengthen the plant’s cell walls and improve its water holding capacity and stress tolerance.

Excess nitrogen fertilization, as found in many standard formulas, produce large plant cells with thin cell walls. Cuttings taken from the new growth of overly vegetative plants tend to be weaker and more susceptible to wilting and fungal infection. Again, reducing the amount of nitrates in the mother plant fertilizer to the low to medium range will be helpful, but the ideal mother plant fertilizer should also be formulated to stimulate the uptake of calcium.

Calcium is taken up through the roots and transported to the new growth, where it forms the calcium pectate “glue” that bonds the cell walls together.

A calcium-rich mother plant with stronger cell walls can take up water and nutrients more efficiently, allowing more sugars and nutrients to be stored for future use.

The use of bio-organics in a mother plant formula can dramatically improve the mother plant’s uptake of calcium and other essential nutrients.

In conventional hydroponics, calcium ions are dissolved in the nutrient formula and are taken up into the roots through simple osmosis. But if organic biostimulants with a blend of specific amino acids are added to the nutrient solution, calcium ion channels in the roots are opened, allowing calcium to be taken up thousands to millions of times faster than simple osmosis!

The calcium is then used to build strong, new cell walls and to improve the plant’s natural resistance to environmental stress and disease.

Higher levels of calcium also tend to restrict the transport of excess nitrates to the shoots, producing plant cells with smaller, but thicker cell walls, ideal for vigorous clones.

Other bio-organic compounds are known to stimulate the production of important plant protection agents. For example, in a ten-year study of biostimulants, researchers at Virginia Tech discovered that a combination of seaweed extracts and humic acid stimulated the plants to produce increased levels of vitamin E and other important anti-oxidants. Specific enzymes are produced that protect the cell walls, the chloroplast membranes and the mitochondrial membranes during times of heat and drought stress. Since cuttings from mother plants are under extreme stress, the heightened levels of plant protection agents accumulated in the mother plant will help sustain efficient metabolism and ensure the survival of the clones until they can develop their own root structure.

Seaweed extracts can also be used as a foliar spray for mother plants.

Nitrozime is a seaweed extract rich in cytokinins, the growth hormones that stimulate cell division. Research shows that when cytokinins are applied to shoots, nutrients are attracted towards the growth hormones and are drawn into the leaf tissues. Cytokinins also help keep the plant tissues in a juvenile state and stimulate the development of more lateral buds.

Therefore, it is beneficial to start spraying Nitrozime on the mother plant a couple of weeks before cuttings are to be taken.

Foliar sprays, when used in conjunction with a well formulated mother plant fertilizer, can be thought of as “stage zero” of plant propagation from cuttings.

Dutch Master Saturator Gold

Gardening

It’s a scientifically known fact that foliar feeding can dramatically increase the results you get from your garden.

How much of an increase you get is directly related to how much of your foliar spray actually gets inside your leaves. 5 Years ago, SATURATOR proved once and for all that regular wetting agents just don’t cut it when it comes to delivering what your plant needs – inside your leaves.

As a result, SATURATOR became the industry standard for foliar delivery and is recognised the world over as one of the only proven ways to get what your plant needs inside your leaves.

Since then we have been hard at work researching and developing ways of making SATURATOR even better. Well, we didn’t just make it better; we made it – A WHOLE LOT BETTER! Welcome to the next generation of foliar delivery agents – GOLD SATURATOR! GOLD SATURATOR introduces a radical next generation technology that gives GOLD SATURATOR a unique Dual Action Delivery that takes the nutrients or supplements that you spray on to your plants and delivers them deep inside the active leaf tissue where it is explosively released with high energy uncoupling, saturating the cells with your foliar payload!

We achieve this via our proprietary Protrans Technology, a unique and exacting technology that piggybacks your foliar applied elements using custom designed high-energy proteins.

The Results…. A new and exciting Second Generation Foliar Delivery Agent that performs totally superior to regular SATURATOR and DOUBLES THE POWER OF LIQUID LIGHT!

GOLD SATURATOR should be used with any mineral / carbohydrate / amino acid based specialty fertiliser foliar product to make it penetrate more effectively!

USAGE INSTRUCTIONS:

For best results, use the online Nutrient Calculator for an individualized interactive feeding program to suit your needs.

To use GOLD SATURATOR, simply follow these easy guidelines!

1. Add 60 ml / 2 oz of GOLD SATURATOR together with the required amount of foliar product (according to product usage directions) you wish to spray, to 1 litre / 1 quart of water in a spray bottle. For a 500 ml / ½ quart spray bottle add 30 ml / 1 oz of GOLD SATURATOR and for a 250 ml / 8 oz spray bottle add 15 ml / ½ oz of GOLD SATURATOR.

2. Do NOT adjust pH.

3. Gently shake the spray bottle with the solution in it to make sure it is well mixed.

4. Make sure your lights are switched ON and are a minimum of 18 to 24 inches from the tops of your plants then spray your plants until the leaves are evenly coated with the spray solution and a small runoff occurs. MAKE SURE YOU AVOID SPRAYING THE GLOBES / BULBS. You only need to spray the top surface of the leaf because GOLD SATURATOR will deliver absolutely everything inside the leaf using the top surface only.

5. Left over solution may be stored in the spray bottle, in a dark, cool environment, for up to a week. However, it is preferable, for optimal results, to mix fresh solutions just prior to spraying.

The Benefits of Beneficial Organisms

Gardening

The Benefits of Beneficial Organisms

The effects of micro-organisms on a plant can be profound. These organisms, such as bacillus, mycorrhizae and trichoderma all form symbiotic relationships with the plant and are found in soil. Bacillus is used world wide for the control of loopers, fungus gnats, insect pests and opportunistic fungi pathogens. Tricoderma is a fungi that feeds off pathogenic root rot and damping off fungi; it also stimulates the plants root and immune systems, which helps the plant to fight off fungi attacks. Mycorrhizae is a beneficial fungi which colonizes the root surface; this helps keep the pathogenic fungi from getting a foot hold on the plant’s root system. Mycorrhizae also helps the plant take up nutrients that are out of reach of the plant’s roots. All of these beneficial organisms feed off plant exudes from the root system and some nutrients in the growing medium.

How to use beneficals in your system.

To get the maximum benefit from beneficial micro-organisms, the gardener should always provide food for these beneficals. Providing these organisms with food (e.g.: Liquid Karma, Earth Juice Catalyst and Sweet) ensures that they will grow and multiply in your garden, however, the harmful micro-organisms will also use this food to multiply. This is one of the reasons why your water and growing medium should be well oxygenated. Harmful pathogens tend to thrive in anaerobic conditions whereas beneficial organisms thrive in aerobic conditions.

For plants in soil – Most gardeners who grow in soil will use organic nutrients to feed there plants.

Mycorrhizae suits plants that are being fed organic nutrients; chemical nutrients, especially when the concentration builds up in the growing medium, will destroy the Mycorrhizae. It is best to apply Mycorrhizae into the soil before planting.  Bacillus and tricoderma can also be used on plants grown in soil. One pouch of Subculture should be mixed into 8 cubic feet of soil. A maintenance application should be reapplied every 4-6 weeks at 1 teaspoon per 10 gallons of water. A weekly application of Liquid Karma or Earth Juice Catalyst will help keep your plants healthy and also provide the beneficial organisms with essential foods to keep them multiplying. This program can also be used for plants being grown in coco fiber that are fed organic nutrients.

For hydroponic systems – Mycorrhizae does not do well in hydroponic systems as it is sensitive to the nutrients that are used for hydroponics.

Both these products contain bacillus strains which are well suited to hydroponics even in systems that have high salt contents. Subculture should be applied at a rate of 1 teaspoon per 10 gallons of water/nutrient solution (1 pouch per 50 gallons). The first application of Hydroguard should be 15ml per gallon and maintenance applications at 5-10ml per gallon of nutrient solution. For coco fiber, rockwool and Ready-Gro mediums, both Hydroguard and Subculture should be reapplied 21 days after first application and thereafter every 21 days. For hydroponic systems that use Hydroton rocks, perlite, NFT or aeroponics, the Subculture and Hydroguard should be reapplied every 7 days.

Foliar Sprays – Both Hydroguard and Subculture can be used as a foliar spray to help control mildew that attack the leaves, stems, flowers and fruits of plants.

Serenade is another product which contains only Bacillus subtilus. These bacteria will effectively control most leaf fungi pathogens.

Fungus Gnats – Bacillus thuringienses sub-species israelensis (the active ingredient in Gnatrol) is used for the control of fungus gnats. This bacteria produces a parasporal crystal which is toxic to the larvae of fungus gnats.

Please note: Even though you are dealing with a biological organism, always wash your hands with an anti-bacterial soap when finished, and when using these products as a foliar spray use a mask. Keep these products away from children and animals.

Essential Enhancers Explained

Gardening

In today’s indoor gardening marketplace, there are many additives available to the gardener. So many, in fact, that some of the most essential additives often get overlooked or are not fully understood. No matter how many enhancers a grower uses on their plants, there are a few additives that every gardener should always use to help achieve maximum success. This month’s article will take a closer look at these essential must have additives.

Humic Acid

Humic acid is one of the major components of humic substances or organic matter. Humic acids are predominately derived from leonardite ore, of which less than half can be successfully converted to humic acid. Humic acids are also created by microorganisms that decompose dead cells. Due to its molecular structure, humic acids provide many benefits to plants, soil structure and microorganisms. Benefits include: organic chelation of inorganic salts such as calcium, magnesium, iron and other micro nutrients, enhanced soil water retention, increased seed germination rates and stimulated soil microorganisms. Humic acid absorbs ions relatively easily. Potassium hydroxide is used to treat leonardite in the production of humic acids. This saturates the humic acid with potassium which is easily exchanged for other cations in the soil, thus chelating many plant essential nutrients. Once chelated, these nutrients are easily absorbed by the plant’s roots. Due to the insolubility of humic acids at lower pH, it is more suited to soil gardens than hydro gardens.

Products which contain humic acids:

* Bio Bizz Root Juice (30% Humic Acid)

* Top Max (30% Humic Acid – This is a bloom stimulator and should only be used in the flowering cycle)

* Liquid Karma (20% of Liquid Karma is made up of humic acids, fulvic acids and seaweed extracts)

Products which contain Leonardite Ore (for soil only)

* Diamond Black (100% Leonardite Ore)

* Rare Earth (18% Leonardite Ore)

* These two products need to be mixed with soil prior to planting. Once in the soil mix, micro-organisms will break down the ore into humic and fulvic acids. This will be a slow, continuous release of humic and fulvic acids until harvest.

Fulvic Acid

Fulvic acids are organic acids that arise naturally in decomposing organic material called humus (humic acids). As with humic acids, fulvic acids also chelate inorganic nutrients and heavy metals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, cobalt, lead and potassium. Once the calcium and iron ions have been chelated they cannot react with phosphate, sulfur or oxygen and precipitate out of solution. Fulvic acid greatly increases the absorption through the cell membrane, across the cytoplasm and directly to the nucleus of cells. Once inside the plant cells, fulvic acids become catalysts that makes sure the cells get precisely the amount of nutrients they need and chelate harmful toxins, reducing them into a harmless form. Fulvic acids are soluble in a wide pH range, thus making them ideal for hydroponics.

The positive effect that fulvic acids have on the growth and development of plants is due to the chelating of inorganic nutrients, increasing the nutrients ability to pass through cell membranes, increasing micro-organism activity around the root zone, an increase in photosynthesis and transpiration and increased enzyme activity within the plant.

Products which contain fulvic acids:

* Liquid Karma (20% of Liquid Karma is made up of humic acids, fulvic acids and seaweed extracts)

* FulMag (3% fulvic acid)

* Diamond Nectar (less than 1% fulvic acid)

Seaweed Extract

The benefit of seaweed extract on plants has long been known by farmers. Seaweed extracts supply plants with a rich source of micro nutrients, some of which are not found in inorganic nutrients, growth simulators, hormones and enzymes. Seaweed extract is known for its rich source of plant hormones such as auxins and cytokinins.

Auxins are the plant’s growth hormone. Auxins are mainly responsible for cell elongation in the stem and lateral root development.

Cytokinins are found in the growing points of plants; the meristem. This hormone is produced by the plant in the root system and then transported directly to the growing points. Cytokinins are responsible for cell division, shoot elongation, flower bud initiation, lateral shoot development (releasing the plant from apical dominance), increased leaf size and plays a role in chlorophyll synthesis.

Seaweed extract can be applied via the root system or as a foliar spray. Seaweed extract used in conjunction with other additives has a complimentary effect on the efficiency of these additives.

Seaweed products:

* Top Max (15% Seaweed extract – This is a bloom stimulator and should only be used in the flowering cycle)

* Maxicrop

* Bio Bizz Alg-A-Mic

* Liquid Karma

* Age Old Liquid Kelp

* Nitrozyme

How often do I need to replace my bulbs?

Gardening

We recommend that HPS bulbs should be replaced at least every 12 months (8 months or less is ideal).

MH bulbs should be replaced every 9 months (6 months or less is ideal) for maximum efficiency. The use of a light meter would be the best and most accurate way in which to measure your bulbs output as well as to help with bulb replacement timing.

What does an air stone do?

Gardening

An air stone helps to provide oxygenate the nutrient solution.

This oxygen is extremely beneficial to the root zone and helps to promote fast, healthy growth as well as prevent disease. This is one of the main reasons that plants growing in a hydroponic system grow so much faster than plants in soil. If you are growing in soil you can still reap some of the rewards of oxygen by simply oxygenating your water before applying it to the soil.

Why Do I Need a Reverse Osmosis System?

Gardening

Walk into any hydroponics shop and you will most likely see that they sell Reverse Osmosis water purification systems.

You may ask yourself why someone would spend money on a water filter to grow plants. Most people give straight tap or hose water to their house and garden plants and they do just fine. But, what about more prized flowers and fruits? What if you only want give your vegetables the best and most pure ingredients? Most importantly, what if you were interested in pushing your plants to the max and achieving explosive growth? Serious gardeners have long realized how important pure water is to the success of their important crops. After all, water is the root of hydroponics and therefore the most important component to a healthy garden. Water acts like a carrier that bathes your root zone with nutrients, additives, and promoters.

If you look at the top nutrient manufacturer’s feed charts, you will notice a common theme.

They all require using 0 PPM (parts per million) water as a starting base for the nutrient solution. Without this ultra pure base, it is much more difficult to dial in the PPM’s of your formula while making sure you have the proper amounts of each component vital to healthy growth. When the feed chart says bring the nutrient solution to 1200 PPM and you are starting with water that is at 500 PPM, what do you do? It is hard to even guess what that 500 PPM is composed of, nonetheless try and adjust for it in the nutrient formula you are trying to perfect.

The first step is to determine how bad your water is and what type of system would be most beneficial to your garden.

Free water reports are available from your municipality or water company, although water quality fluctuates greatly throughout an area and over the seasons. Test kits can be ordered online and are quick and affordable. Some hydroponics shops do water testing and there are many labs that can do an analysis. A key indicator of water quality for plants is total hardness as expressed in PPM of calcium and magnesium or in Grains per Gallon (GPG). With too much hardness, the nutrient formula can be thrown out of balance and deficiencies and lockouts can quickly become a major problem. Any water source over 50 PPM of hardness should be purified. This translates to 3 GPG and is considered soft water, which few people have straight from the tap.

Organic gardeners using compost teas or bio-extraction solutions should use purified water.

Anyone gardening with living micro-organisms such as beneficial bacteria, fungi and nematodes, mycorrizae, and trichoderma, must have chlorine and contaminant free water in order for those helpful microbes to survive and flourish. Unfortunately, it’s rare someone’s water source is perfect for their prized plants.  Letting city water sit out overnight may get rid of some free chlorine but doesn’t affect the chloramines or other contaminants. Water from well or spring sources is often too high in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, sulfur, and iron. This water may be fine to drink but for hydroponics may be too heavy with these minerals and may contribute to nutrient lockup.

Gardeners that start using pure water never go back to untreated water.

There are still plenty of people that haul 5 gallon jugs of water to their garden. They will go through these lengths to pamper their plants and make sure they only get the best. If you do the math, a water purification system from a hydroponics shop pays for itself quickly with the money and energy saved hauling water. There are several customized filtration systems available for gardening and hydroponics on the market.

What size water pump do I need for a reservoir that hold “x” number of gallons?

Gardening

The size of your pump doesn’t depend on the size of your reservoir; rather it depends on how far you need to pump your water and how much water you need to pump.

You want to avoid overworking your pump, so in choosing the proper pump you will want to choose one with at least 20% more power than need. To find out your appropriate pump size you will need to determine how much water is necessary to fill your tray. If your tray is in the shape of a rectangle or square then you will need to apply the following formula to determine its volume:

Length (ft) x Width (ft) x Average Depth (ft) x 7.5 = ? US gallons

This will give you the total gallons that your tray can hold. It is a good idea to always get a pump that is at least 20% larger than necessary to avoid overworking it.

After you’ve determined your volume requirements you need to find out how far “up” the water needs to be lifted in order to reach the tray.

Simply measure the distance between your pump and the entry point in your tray; most systems will have a distance of under 3’. This vertical distance will have an adverse affect on the pump and this affect must be accounted for. In essence, the greater the vertical distance the water must travel, the stronger the pump needs to be. The following chart will show you how vertical distance affects the pumps. Note the loss of power of each pump as the vertical height increases.

Pump Size (GPH)

Height Lifted

1ft     3ft     5ft     7ft     9ft

120     120     70     40     x     x

170     170     130     70     x     x

205     205     170     120     40     x

300     300     250     200     160     110

500     500     350     280     200     150

700     700     520     350     280     200

How often should you change your reservoir?

Gardening

We recommend that you change your reservoir once a week.

This entails “dumping” your reservoir and re-filling it with fresh water and nutrients. The reason for this is that as the plants feed, the nutrient solution will fall out of balance. Also, bacteria grows at a geometric rate. If you change your solution every week you will decrease the possibility of bacteria becoming a problem.

While it is possible to go longer between changes if you are using reverse osmosis water instead of tap water, you still have the bacteria issue to contend with, so unless you are using something to inhibit the bacterial growth, you should still change your reservoir weekly.

What kind of maintenance is involved with a hydroponic system?

Gardening

As with soil-based production, producing crops in hydroponic systems always requires maintenance. The following list may seem like a lot of work; however, as you become experienced most tasks and checks will only take a few minutes each day.

Daily

* Check reservoir for water levels, pH and TDS fluctuations.

* Check grow room temperatures and humidity percentages.

*  If you use CO2, the CO2 system should be checked to ensure that it is working correctly.

* Check watering system. If a pump fails it should be replaced immediately. If drippers are blocked they should be cleaned or replaced immediately.

* Check plants for disease and insect infestations. It is always best to stop disease and insect outbreaks early. The longer an infestation is left the more difficult it will be to cure, yield losses will be high and crop failures are possible.

* Check plants for leaf discoloration and deformities that may be caused by such problems as nutrient deficiencies or nutrient burn (over feeding), as well as leaf curl from lights being to close.

* Crop hygiene is extremely important. Cut off and discard diseased leaves. If a plant is badly diseased, it is always better to throw out one or two plants to control disease outbreaks than it is to destroy a complete crop. The same applies to insect infestations, especially spider mites.

* General maintenance – failed light bulbs, light movers, fans, loose ducting, leaks etc. should be replaced or repaired.

Weekly

* The growing medium should be flushed once a week to stop nutrient lock up.

* Complete reservoir change should done weekly to prevent nutrient imbalances and bacteria build-up.

* Foliar spraying for disease and insect pests should be done weekly to prevent outbreaks.

End of each crop

* The hydroponics system should be completely sanitized at the end of each crop. This will minimize disease carry over to the next crop.

* The grow room should be sanitized with insecticides and fungicides. Walls, floors, ceilings and equipment should be wiped down to remove insects/eggs and fungi spores. The cleaner the grower is in his growing room the fewer problems he will have in the following crop.

Should I top-off my reservoir with plain water or nutrient solution?

Gardening

In the summer or in hot grow rooms, plants, in general, will take up more water than nutrients, thus causing the nutrient solution to become more salty.

In the winter time or in cooler grow rooms, the opposite will occur. Nutrient uptake will also be determined by the type of crop being grown e.g., tomatoes are heavier feeders than lettuce. It is extremely important that the grower has both a TDS meter and a pH meter and that regular testing on the nutrient solution is carried out. If the grower notices after a few days that the ppm level in the reservoir is high and the water level has decreased than the grower should top up their reservoir with either plain water or a weak nutrient solution until the optimum ppm level is reached. If the grower has noticed a drop in ppm levels then a full strength nutrient solution should be used to top off the reservoir.

Another factor to consider is the source water. You will generally find that if you are not using reverse osmosis water, you will usually have to top-off with plain water, since tap water has a lot of sodium and minerals that increase the ppm levels.

Here is an ideal scenario:

Purchase a Reverse Osmosis System, Auto Shut-off Kit and some R.O. Tubing, which can be found in the Water Treatment section of our website, and a ¼” Grommet and a ¼” Float Valve, which can be found in the Plumbing section. Also purchase a Rubbermaid trash can and a couple of cinder blocks from your local hardware store. Hook up the R.O. system and shut-off kit according to the instruction manuals. The float valve that comes with the shut-off kit should be installed in the trash can, which should be placed on the cinder blocks for elevation. Drill a hole close to the bottom of the trash can and insert the grommet. Install the second float valve in your reservoir, a little higher than where you want the water level to be. Then, run a length of R.O. tubing from the grommet to the float valve.

Now, turn on your R.O. system and go spend the time you’re going to save doing something fun!

After a period of time, both the reservoir and the trash can will be full, and the R.O. system will stop. It will only come on when the levels in either receptacle begin to fall. Once you add nutrients and enhancers to the reservoir, you will find that the PPM level actually drops each day as the plants take up nutrients and the water is replenished through the float valve (this is especially visible with healthy, actively growing plants). You will also find that you use far less pH adjusting solutions due to the improved water quality. You should only have to add small amounts of nutrients and pH adjusting solution every once and a while between reservoir changes. And, you will always have plenty of pure, fresh water available in the trash can.

What Is pH, Why Do I Have to Worry About It, and How do I Maintain It?

Gardening

ph-test-indicatorpH stands for “Potential of Hydrogen” and is the symbol for the hydrogen ion (H+) in liquids. pH has a range from 0 (acidic) – 7 (neutral) – 14 (alkaline).

For hydroponics, we are aiming for a pH between 5.5 to 6.2 (slightly acidic); this is suitable for most hydroponic crops. For soil, we recommend a pH between 6.5- 6.8. Ensuring that the pH remains within this range will help maintain good plant health. Keeping the pH in this range ensures that nutrients are readily available to the plant. Once the grower goes above or below this optimal range certain nutrients start becoming unavailable to the plant.  pH is maintained by adding either pH Up or pH Down.

What is pH Up and Down?

Up is potassium hydroxide and pH Down is phosphoric acid (commercial growers will sometimes also use Nitric acid and Sulfuric acid). Customers who use tap water will normally need to use pH down to balance the pH of their nutrient solution. Tap water tends to have a lot of carbonates which tends to buffer tap water at a higher pH. Customers who use RO water will need to use pH Up as the reverse osmosis strips the tap water of all the carbonates, thus leaving the water with no buffering ability. The nutrients the growers use to feed their plants is acidic, and once the grower has applied all the required nutrients and enhancers the reservoir pH can be below 5. This is too low for plants; thus pH Up needs to be used in order to raise the pH to at least 6. Customers using both pH Up and Down should take care when using these products as both are very concentrated. Only small amounts should be used at a time until the customer becomes familiar with the products.

Second Chance Raffle

Events

If you missed our Grand Opening party last weekend, you’re not out in the cold.

If you’d like a second chance we have a few MORE prizes that we’d like to give away. We just need a name and an email address so we can catch up with you.

Hope to see you soon. Happy Growing!

Raffle Results

Events

Thanks to all y’all that came down today to our Grand Re-Opening of our Beaches store off Morena. So many people!

As many of you know, the second day of our biggest sale of the year is tomorrow. Just for walking in the door you get a raffle ticket that could win you one of the following prizes.

For full list of winning tickets go here.

Click here for the list of prizes.

Raffle Winners for Customer Appreciation June 2010

Events

so-many-ticketsThanks for helping to make this year’s Customer Appreciation Party the best ever. We had a lot of fun and we hope you did too. This year we held the largest raffle with over 115 prizes! Unbelievable!

Please check your ticket to see if you won. You can claim your prize at our Beaches store off Morena.

If you didn’t win OR weren’t there OR want to win some more, enter our SECOND CHANCE RAFFLE.

(http://sdhydroponics.com/articles/raffle-winners-for-customer-appreciation-june-2010)

Here’s a complete list of winners for our Beaches store Customer Appreciation Party. Downloadable list.

Prizes Ticket#
PRO GRIP ROPE RATCHET 399277
SUNBLAZE 2’ 4 LAMP 399335
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 399358
PRO GRIP ROPE RATCHET 399380
PRO GRIP ROPE RATCHET 399390
PRO GRIP ROPE RATCHET 399392
26.4lb/12 KG FLAME DEFENDER 399399
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 399452
SUNBLAZE 4’ 4 LAMP 399472
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 399551
PRO GRIP ROPE RATCHET 399584
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 399606
13.2lb/6 KG FLAME DEFENDER 399629
PRO GRIP ROPE RATCHET 399638
PRO GRIP ROPE RATCHET 399678
PRO GRIP ROPE RATCHET 399701
PRO GRIP ROPE RATCHET 399715
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 399789
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 399843
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 399866
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 399883
MAX BAG 1 GAL 3 BAG KIT 399884
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 399887
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 399896
SUNBLAZE 2’ 4 LAMP 399909
4.4lb/2 KG FLAME DEFENDER 399935
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 399939
SUNBLAZE 2’ 4 LAMP 399940
PRO GRIP ROPE RATCHET 697430
GGL DIGI 600W IV BALLAST 697441
House & Garden ROOT EXCELURATOR 250 ml 697448
House & Garden ROOT EXCELURATOR 250 ml 697495
PIONEER 4’ 4 LAMP 697496
House & Garden ROOT EXCELURATOR 250 ml 697498
House & Garden ROOT EXCELURATOR 250 ml 697501
CAN FILTER 75 697504
1000W Harvest Pro Ballast 697506
CAN FAN 6’ H.O. 697514
TRAYHUGGER 3’X3’ 697536
PRO GRIP ROPE RATCHET 697544
PRO GRIP ROPE RATCHET 697551
House & Garden FULL NUTRIENT LINE 697554
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 715420
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 715441
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 715442
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 715453
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 715474
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 715505
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 715513
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 715531
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 715541
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 715559
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 715561
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 715591
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 715607
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 715610
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 715633
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 715649
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 715660
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 715671
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 715691
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 715692
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 715696
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 715744
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 715754
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 715766
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 715774
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 715801
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 715816
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 715825
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 715842
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 715849
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 715860
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 715894
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 715947
Max Bag 5Gal 3 Bag kit 715953
Yield Master 6″ Hood Sun Master 716012
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 716031
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 716037
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 716073
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 716080
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 716084
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 716086
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 716100
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 716120
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 716153
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 716244
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 716253
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 716304
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 716355
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 716421
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 716429
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 716446
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 716452
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 716467
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 716469
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 716472
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 716514
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 716529
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 716540
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 716557
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 716566
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 716594
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 716599
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 716616
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 716738
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 716763
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 716845
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 716879
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 716882
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 716892
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 716922
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 716956
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 717003
DUTCH MASTER ~ Nutrients 717150

How Often Do I Need To Calibrate My pH/TDS Meters?

Gardening

hanna-phep-meter-71350

pH Meter

Always remember to keep the pH probe moist when not in use. It is best to use pH Electrode Storage Solution; if you have run out of storage solution you can use pH 4 solution as an alternative. For the Hanna HI98129 black combo meter, place storage solution in the well of the cap that the pH electrode (not the TDS electrode) rests in. It is not advisable to store the EC/TDS/CF/PPM probe in any storage solution.

TDS Meter

The best way to store your TDS meter is to keep it clean and dry. TDS meters do not require any storage solutions. DO NOT store the TDS meter in distilled water.For long term storage, make sure that the batteries are removed from the meter as leaking batteries will corrode the circuit board rendering the meter useless. None of our meters’ warranty covers leaking battery damage. For long term storage of the pH meter it is best if the probe is stored in sufficient storage solution; if the solution evaporates then the pH probe will dry out.

How often do I need to calibrate my pH/TDS meters?

All pH and TDS meters need to be continuously calibrated; as time passes by and the more you use your pH meter, it will continually lose calibration. As the meter’s batteries get older it will also lose its calibration. Keeping the meter calibrated will help keep your plants in good health and at optimal growth. All pH and TDS meters must be recalibrated every time you change the batteries. It is good practice to calibrate your meters once a week, especially if the meters are being used daily.