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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.