Sunday, June 17, 2012

Hydroponics Part 1

There are many ways to set up a hydroponic garden, but out of all the many ways, they all boil down to six fundamental methods. Those six fundamental methods are the Wick System, Deep Water Culture, Ebb and Flow (Flood and Drain), Drip Systems, Nutrient Film Technique, and Aeroponic.

In a hydroponic system, the main setup is the plants grown in the growing medium/tray and below the growing tray is the reservoir where the nutrient solution is. The difference in the systems is the materials used and how the nutrients are taken up by the plants from the reservoir to the grow tray.

The most straightforward hydroponic gardening system is the Wick system. It is a passive hydroponics where the medium is inert. The nutritional solution is taken up with a wick that goes from the reservoir up to the growing medium. A wick is a piece of thread or string. The most commonly used growing mediums are Vermiculite, Perlite, Coconut Fiber, and Pro-Mix.A downside to the wick system is that the nutrient solution gets depleted before the wick can resupply with more nutrients for bigger plants or those plants that need a lot of water.

Out of the active systems, the deep water culture hydroponic system is the simplest one. The plants are planted in a platform made of Styrofoam and the platform is stuck in the reservoir where the roots of the plants are floating in the nutrient solution. There is also an air pump that connects to the air line and pumps oxygen to the air stone, which provides oxygen to the plant’s roots dangling above. Not many plants can grow well in this hydroponic system. One of the plants that does very well in the water culture system is the water loving leaf lettuce.

With the Flood and Drain system or also known as the Ebb and Flow, a submerged pump in the reservoir pumps up the liquid nutrients into the grow tray and then as it overflows the grow tray the extra nutrients is funneled back to the reservoir through the fill tube. So how is the flood and drain system controlled? The flood and drain system is controlled by a timer connected to the pump. It is typically set to go off a few times everyday based on several factors such as the kind of growing medium employed, the humidity, the temperature, plant type and size of the plants. As the timer connected to the pump goes off, it signals to flood the grow tray with nutrients. Then, the next signal to the timer telling it to turn off, it returns the liquid nutrient back to the reservoir. Although the flood and drain system is compatible with many types of growing mediums such as gravel, Perlite, or Grow Rocks, the preferred growth medium are the ones that can hold more water such as coconut fiber, Rockwool, or Vermiculite because this system is also more prone to power , timer and pump failures. If the flood and drain cycle does fail, the plant roots can desiccate really fast, which is why the preferred growth medium is the one that holds more water.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Micronutrients, Hydroponics, and pH

Plants require the micronutrients calcium, boron, sulfur, magnesium, copper, cobalt, manganese, iron, zinc, and molybdenum in order to grow healthily. They are more prone to fungus, pest, and bacteria, stress, diseases, and may have problems absorbing the nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium nutrients. By providing the plants with all the necessary nutrients that they need, they are able to develop to their full growth and produce potential. Commercially grown food may not be as nutrient as it was back in the day because the fields have been farmed extensively and the micronutrients may have been depleted. If the fruits and vegetables are not getting the micronutrients, then humans and animals who eat them won’t receive the nutrients either and may be nutrient deficient. With this issue and may be some other reasons, many people have chosen to grow their own garden for fruits and vegetables. So remember when you grow plants in soil and in a hydroponic garden, be sure to cultivate the land with micro-nutrients or also termed trace elements .

Hydroponic garden can be a simple and uncomplicated operation unless you decide to go high tech and want to expand. It’s so simple you can start with one plant. A nursery pot or hand water bucket is sufficient to use as your growing medium or any of the growing mediums available. Hydroponic gardening does not need grow lights, electricity, or any other automated things. Just make sure the plants get a form of light required to grow, natural or artificial. However, depending on your resources, you can always go high tech and manage your plants with devices such as the computer. People who garden hydroponically as a hobby do usually use a bit of both. They will also commonly have a growing tray, a reservoir, a water pump, a timer, air pump, and air stone.

pH is an important factor in gardening in soil and particularly important in hydroponics too. If the pH fluctuates, then plants aren’t able to take in the different nutritional substances. The good thing about hydroponics is that pH is much easier to test and control in hydroponics than in soil growing where it is much harder to adjust the pH and takes a lot more time.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Hydroponics and Fertilizer

There are many ways that a hydroponic garden can be grown. When you hear about hydroponics, most people think of plants suspended in water without soil, which is one of the common techniques. You’re probably asking what’s so great about growing and why do people do it? As a hobby? As a new fun innovation? Probably those reasons and the benefits it provides. But, the continued interest in hydroponics is because growing plants hydroponically provides the plants the nutrients in a very efficient way. People can monitor the amount of nutrients and pH to be taken up directly by the roots and the plants do not have spend energy looking for the nutrients in the soil. That means the plants are able to spend more time growing and producing flowers instead of converting the nutrients into a very soluble form. With more time spent growing and producing flowers, you’ll get fruits much quicker. So if the plants aren’t planted in the ground with soil, then what? The plant roots are placed in a growing medium and that material may be vermiculite, perlite, coconut fiber, gravel, Rockwool, and sand. It is just a growing medium. The growing medium does not provide the plants with any nutrients. The plants are given scheduled watering cycles of water and fertilizer. So what kind of fertilizer do hydroponic plants need? Hydroponic plants need hydroponic fertilizer or highly formulated fertilizer for hydroponic use. All fertilizers contain the 3 major nutrients of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. But the difference between regular fertilizer and hydroponic fertilizer is that hydroponic plants need nutrients that contain the other essential micronutrients that are not in regular fertilizer. If the micronutrients are not in the soil or have been depleted due to continual planting that can be a problem for the plants. Organic fertilizer compared to regular and hydroponic fertilizer is different in soil structure and how the plants get the nutrients. Organic fertilizer contains microorganisms that are able to break down the nutrients allowing for the plants to easily absorb the nutrients. In the past, organic fertilizer and hydroponic fertilizer were completely unrelated. However, now some organic fertilizers are able to be used with hydroponic plants.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Plants Taking Up the Nutrients

Getting the nutrients isn’t enough and is just one of the process. The plants also need adequate conditions to be able to take in the nutrients. In order to absorb the nutrients, plants also need oxygen and water so that the mineral nutrients can be dissolved and be sucked in by the plant roots. Other conditions that also affect the plant’s ability to absorb nutrients are if sugar production in leaves decreases, poor light, extreme temperature changes, roots that are wounded, diseased plant, non-optimal soil pH, standing water areas, and roots planted too far in the soil. If there are issues like these, then even having the nutrients available in the soil, the plants may not be able to take it in. However, there is also a stage during the growth period where the plants rest or go into dormancy for a bit in the season and don’t really absorb much nutrients. 

There are two types of fertilizers available, natural and synthetic fertilizers. Composting can create natural fertilizer for the plants. Vermicomposting is one way of producing natural fertilizer.

Now assuming you provide your plants in a good environment, just about all gardens can benefit from earthworm castings and it is a fantastic approach to get your garden blooming and thriving without using chemical substances. For most people, these are the perfect solution as it is an organic means to cultivate healthier gardens and vegetation. 

The Good Thing
The positive is that the water holding capacity and soil physical structure is also enhanced from vermicomposting. Germination, growth, crop yield, and root development are just some of the benefits that red wigglers provide from consuming its own body mass in compost every single day.

Fertilizer Provides the Plants Nutrients

Plants use fertilizer to get the needed minerals to grow. The air supplies the plants with oxygen, carbon and carbon. The other nutrients are mineral elements that are absorbed from the soil. The 3 more important nutrients that plants need are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium because that is what they need the most of to grow. The other main nutrients that the plants need are magnesium, calcium, and sulfur. These 6 are the nutrients the plants need relatively more of. While the next 8 elements I’m about to name, they need relatively less of. These 8 elements are iron, manganese, cobalt, zinc, boron, molybdenum, chlorine, and copper. 

Let’s talk about nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, the 3 main nutrients that usually are the limiting elements that stunt plant growth.

Nitrogen is probably the most important nutrient out of all of them as it has the biggest influence in enhancing plant growth. As the saying goes, everything in moderation or it ends up having some kind of side effect. The lack of nitrogen can result in decreased plant growth, smaller sized leafs, shorter branches, discoloring, early autumn coloration, leaves dropping early, and higher susceptibility to diseases. While on the other hand, the surplus of nitrogen results in overgrowth of the shoot and foliage, decreased growth of the roots, lower amounts of food reserves for the plant, and also higher vulnerability diseases and ecological demands. Nitrogen is a moving nutrient that is always moving about whether being taken up by plants, sweep away from the surface of the soil, gone up as a gas into the air, or seeped through the earth. Nitrogen can be lost when there is a intense rain after applying fertilizer on the soil surface. If you spread fertilizer into the soil or add a bit of water (about ¼ to ½ inches) it will decrease the loss.

The other nutrient, Phosphorus is involved in photosynthesis, respiration, storage and transfer of energy, cell division, and increased cell size. It helps enhance the initial development and growth of roots, and the development of seeds, flowers, and fruits. Phosphorus is typically deficient in soils located in urban areas. Fertilizers can help increase the amount of Phosphorus for plants. Once Phosphorus reaches a certain level it stops being beneficial to the plants and can end up harming the environment. Plants generally are not able to use Phosphorus unless it is added into the soil or watered in as they are a stationary nutrient that barely moves more than an inch.

The 3rd of the main nutrients is Potassium, which helps in lots of the processes for plant growth such as photosynthesis and water regulation. It also plays an important role in disease and illness prevention by being able to handle drought stress and increased hardiness in the winter time. Although Potassium also percolates through the soil like nitrogen, it does so at a much slower pace.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Planting Tips and Info

To avoid mildew, sprinkle the plant life early in the morning time if you find yourself growing plants during a moist climate. Fungus can thrive in damp areas and irrigating early in the day reduces it from growing. Poor land and weak rate of growth can occur due to fungal maladies or even mold.

Roses, begonias, as well as strawberries like soil that is acidic so in the case your backyard contains vegetation such as these, at the start of the autumn time, you ought to compost by using a nice level of about 2-3 in. of fallen pine needles. Small quantities of acid seep into the ground while the pine needles gradually break down.

If you are growing plants, fill the uncovered areas. You should not have the ground uncovered in the places where you grew plants in the yard. On the ground of the fresh vegetation remember to compost the surrounding. As it starts to get bigger, this should make the earth moist and shelter it.

Worm castings happen to be an environmentally friendly substitute for chemical fertilizer. You can buy worm castings made from compost such as veggies, fruits, and other natural wastes. The nutrients the dirt requires and the composition improvements can be provided to your soil from the castings.

Enrich your all-natural yard with worm castings! Worm castings can be your ally. The nitrogen loaded castings helps to oxygenate the earth. That gets your earth usable and free, increases the volume of o2 which will reach the roots of plants, and also boosts water retention capacity. Plants and flowers will receive the best gain with the essential nutrients for the garden's topsoil to the subsoil. Damaging to root expansion, hardpan earth can be loosened up with the nutrient rich soil amendment.

With the food waste, an individual may produce liquid organic fertilizer with it. Collect your fully nutrient mixture and disperse it to the crops by putting some water in the organic material. To encourage development with no bad consequences or worry of chemical run-off, composting can provide you with a wonderful type of tea fertilizer after adding approximately the same volume of water.

To repel bugs, liquid worm tea can be used. To repel bugs, liquid worm tea can be used. You'll be able to deter the insects safely and effectively with the liquid worm castings in case you've got a problem with bugs in the back garden. Spray the plants with worm tea in a spray bottle.

You'll want to do some reading in case environmentally friendly growing is one area which you may be enthusiastic about. Lots of information can be found online as well in publications. To begin your own green garden projects, learn what must be done. In the long run, it really is fulfilling and pleasurable.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Organic Fertilizers

As a growing number of facts are emerging in regards to the side effects associated with synthetic and insecticide toxins, organic fertilizers are becoming more popular. Perform your due diligence to the different stuff which can be done should you wish to find out more on organic fertilizers. Keep your water pristine around the area. From flowing across the soil, if it happens to be pesticides/herbicides or chemical fertilizer, whatever you add to the plants will find a path straight to our water system. Make sure that the garden is actually non-harmful to the environment and all-natural through just applying organic fertilizers and normal h2o. Contrary to inorganic fertilizers, that unleashes nutrients all at once and after that don't have much benefit, all-natural castings is the better plant food to go with because it lets out nutrients gradually. As a result of consuming the dirt and in so doing aerating them in the act, worms create nutritious soil. An excellent all-natural nutrient-rich amendment is without a doubt the castings also known as vermicast which the worms excrete out. Once you learn the techniques, applying organic fertilizers shouldn't be hard to use. So that you can create the perfect benefits for the plants, it may need a few trial and errors to get the conditioner, suitable mix of greenery, and methods to choose. Learn from experienced organic growers and read on your own to get suggestions frequently.