Posts published on August 2010

SNS-217™ Spider Mite Control


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.


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


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


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.


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


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


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


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


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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Little Helpers: From Shooting Powder to Bushmaster


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


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

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