Poinsettia Care for Winter-Long Blooming

Dec 15, 14 Poinsettia Care for Winter-Long Blooming

December 12th is honored as National Poinsettia Day, and with it just having passed us, I imagine a quick glance around your home will reveal at least one of these beautiful plants sitting in splendor on a window sill.  It may surprise you to learn that these beautiful holiday plants are actually small trees, not flowers.  The blooms on these plants are very small and unattractive, but it’s the bright red bracts (modified leaves) that attract insects for pollination and entice us to decorate our homes with this festive shrub.  With proper care, they won’t just give you a beautiful winter, but they can grace your home with vibrant colors next year too.

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Differential Temperature (DIF) Technique

Nov 17, 14 Differential Temperature (DIF) Technique

All plants grow at different rates based on soil and food supply.  Nutrition and climate can also affect the size of plants, giving you more or less space to work within.  Agricultural chemicals like plant boosters are used to artificially encourage or discourage growth, but it’s possible to get the same results by simply managing your plants’ lighting and temperature through temperature differential (DIF) control.  By creating a temperature difference between the night and day grow cycles you can effectively control the size and yields of your plants.

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How pH and Plant Nutrition are Linked

Nov 03, 14 How pH and Plant Nutrition are Linked

We’ve mentioned water and soil pH many times before in previous hydroponics articles.  But we’ve never really covered why pH values are important or how they affect your plants.  So today, let’s break out some light chemistry and go over what a pH value is and how you can balance it for healthier plants.

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The Future of Hydroponics Through Technology

Oct 20, 14 The Future of Hydroponics Through Technology

Throughout the years, NASA has developed wonders that have helped in our daily lives.  Whether it’s the aluminum foil used in cooking, titanium frames for eyeglasses, or the advancements in aerodynamics that have reduced fuel costs in trucking, NASA’s quest for reaching the stars has made our daily lives easier.  As part of their long term goals, NASA looks to farming as a way to save money on cargo loads to the International Space Station (ISS) and as a way to make a more self-sufficient station in space.  This race to the moon, Mars, and the frontier of space promises even more advancements in a technology that dates back to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

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Plastic or Fabric: Which Plant Pot is Better for You?

Oct 06, 14 Plastic or Fabric:  Which Plant Pot is Better for You?

Setting up a new hydroponics garden can leave you with the grocery store question of “paper or plastic,” although it’s actually a question of what kind of pot you should use for your plants.  Yes, fabric and plastic pots are just containers to hold whatever grow medium or soil you want to use, but the pot you choose has a direct effect on the health and well-being of your plants.  Knowing the pros and cons of each pot material and how they affect your plants can make a world of difference depending on your plant’s needs and growing environment.

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Ebb & Flow Hydroponic Systems

Sep 22, 14 Ebb & Flow Hydroponic Systems

A look back has seen us cover hydroponics systems that are either simple or advanced.  Let’s add a nice middle ground to the mix.  Ebb and Flow systems are simple, reliable, and low cost but require a little more work and maintenance than a drip system does.

Ebb and flow systems (or flood drain systems) are simple setups that use a flood and drain system to keep the growing medium moist.  Since the water pump does not run constantly, these systems are quieter and consume less power than nutrient film or direct water systems.  The trade-off is that water use is less efficient than in other systems.  Since the roots are not in constant contact with the solution, there is more water waste here than in other systems – which can, of course, be mitigated by recycling your water.  A growing medium is also required, which means regular cleaning and inspection for fungus or disease is necessary – this becomes an intensive task since the roots of every plant in the system tend to interweave.  Even so, the system is cost effective and perfect for short plants or leafy vegetables.  Ebb and flow systems are also really easy to build.

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