Mar 07, 14
Your plants face multiple problems on a regular basis: too much water, not enough water, too much sunlight, not enough sunlight, etc. Besides the usual difficulties, there are also pests and diseases to contend with, both of which can greatly hamper your plants’ productivity and even kill them. Fortunately, there are a few ways to protect your plants, which we’ve gathered below.
Plants, like humans, are able fight off disease better when they’re stronger and healthier. So what does this mean for your plants? For starters, it means having proper airflow and not over or under-watering your plants. As we mentioned in an earlier blog post, too much water causes saturation, preventing the roots from uptaking the necessary nutrients.
*The products mentioned below can be used on all plants, whether indoor or outdoor.
Botanicare BCSIBQT Silica Blast
One way to strengthen your plants is through additives that contain potassium silicate found in Botanicare’s Silica Blast or in General Hydroponics’ Armor Si. The potassium silicate found in these products will thicken the stem and leaves, making them a less attractive target for pests and better equipped to fight off disease.
*If you’re growing vegetables, make sure you don’t overdo it on the potassium silicate. Using too much can impact the taste of your vegetables.
Another additive that will strengthen your plants and prevent disease is Hygrozyme. Designed to speed up natural chemical reactions in plants, Hygrozyme breaks down old root mass, promoting new root growth and allows your plants to absorb more nutrients, making the plant stronger.
The Guano Company GUST128 Super Tea Mix
Composed of all organic materials, such as earthworm castings, bat guano, and soluble seaweed, composted tea is great for plants as it serves as a vegetative and root stimulator. This nutrient solution promotes balanced growth and lush vegetation and can be used during all stages of the growth cycle.
Nothing is more maddening than coming out and seeing some bug-eyed creature happily munching on your plants. Spider mites, white flies, gnats, aphids, caterpillars, and grasshoppers are a few of the pests you’ll probably encounter in your garden. All of these are incredibly destructive and will ruin your hard work. The good news is that you can keep these creatures under control without using harsh chemicals. Below are some organic methods to control those pesky pests.
Liquid Ladybug is an all-natural miticide that controls all sorts of pests, from aphids to fungus gnats to thrips. Available in an assortment of volumes in either concentrate or ready-to-use, Liquid Ladybug is an excellent choice when you need to control a wide variety of pests.
Got a problem with caterpillars or grasshoppers? These are particularly devastating as they eat the leaves of your plants, but can be controlled with AzaMax. Safe to use on all plants in all stages of the growth process, the active ingredient in AzaMax is Azadirachtin which is a naturally occurring insecticide from the neem tree.
Seabright Laboratories HGSLWFT Sticky Trap
A great option for controlling flying insects such as gnats, white flies, and aphids are sticky traps. Non-poisonous and weather-proof, these traps hang in your garden at plant height and attract these winged pests with their bright yellow and blue colors. Once the trap is covered in either insects or dust, simply throw it out and replace it.
For more organic pesticides, including products that eliminate pests indoors, visit our pests and fungicides section.
What do you use to keep away the pests and keep your plants disease-free? Let us know in the comments below, or hit us up on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or Google Plus!
Feb 28, 14
My approach to watering plants is similar to wrapping Christmas presents: there’s no such thing as too much. When my mom would send me out to water her garden, each plant looked as if it had had its own torrential downpour. There were massive puddles, and the water would take a good 30 minutes to soak into the soil. I mean, it’s summertime in Texas; surely these things need three gallons of water each, right? Not quite. In fact, over-watering your plants can be as detrimental as under-watering.
So how do you keep from over-watering your plants? We’ll throw some tips your way to maintain that perfect balance of moisture.
Too Much = Certain Death
While “certain death” may seem a bit extreme, it isn’t far from the truth when it comes to watering your plants. So what actually happens when your plants have too much water?
- The soil becomes saturated
- Saturated soil prevents the plant from drawing much-needed oxygen
- The roots begin to decay, also referred to as “root rot”
- Your plant is more susceptible to fungal diseases
Pythium, Rhizoctonia, and Phytophthora are the culprits behind root rot. While root rot is difficult to reverse once it has set in, Hygrozyme, an enzyme that breaks down old root mass and stimulates new root growth, can certainly help. Not only does Hygrozyme eat dead roots that provide protein for your plants, it also helps prevent disease and helps plants absorb more nutrients from the soil.
Time to Water?
Interestingly enough, the signs of over-watering your plants resemble the signs of a lack of water. When there is too much water, the leaves will wilt and droop, turn yellow, and will fall off the plant. So how do you know when your plants need water? Well, there are a few ways.
The Finger Test
The simplest way to find out if your plants need water is to put your finger in the soil at the base of the plant, up to your second knuckle. If there’s soil stuck to your finger, your plants don’t need water. However, if your finger is relatively clean, it’s time to water.
The Dig Test
A little more complicated and requiring a tad more effort is the dig test. The point here is to determine how long it takes the water to soak the soil. Before you start watering, check the moisture level about 6 to 12 inches below the surface. Start watering and take note of the time. After a few minutes (depending on the flow rate), shut the water off and check the moisture level again. If the soil is saturated, then you’ll know just how long to water your plants without overdoing it.
Luster Leaf LL01880 Rapitest
If you’re a little leery about sticking your fingers in soil, try a moisture meter. Often not requiring batteries, these simple, yet effective tools and test the moisture levels of your soil, taking the guesswork out of watering.
Watering Tips for Potted Plants
That Catnip you have growing in your kitchen windowsill can also fall victim to over-watering. Below are some tips to practice with your potted plants.
- Make sure to moisten the entire root ball when watering. This can be tricky because as the root ball dries, it pulls away from the edges, and as it’s moistened, it expands. In order to accomplish this, fill the space between the surface of the soil and the rim of the pot with water. Let the water soak in, and repeat. This should sufficiently moisten the root ball.
- Make sure the drainage hole at the bottom of the pot drains properly. If not, this will cause the saturation mentioned earlier. If necessary, expand the holes with a knife.
- If you have containers underneath your pots to catch the water, empty those out when the plant is done draining. Otherwise, the root ball will absorb too much water from the container and the roots will drown.
- Forget to water your plant for a few days? No worries. It’s ok to submerge your potted plants in water for a bit. Use the kitchen sink, or a bucket. Leave them in there for an hour or so, remove them, and then let the excess water drain.
*A good rule of thumb is to give your plants an inch of supplemental water whenever nature isn’t feeling too generous with the rain.
Were there any watering tips we forgot to mention? Let us know in the comments below or holler at us on Google Plus, Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn!
Feb 21, 14
For all you gardeners out there, you know the frustrations of growing outdoors: the unrelenting heat withers your plants and makes it almost impossible to enjoy working in your garden, the weather can change in the blink of an eye, bringing a heat wave or torrential downpours, or that giant garden spider that’s made itself nice and cozy around your Rosemary bushes. With all these variables, it’s no wonder outdoor gardening can be so maddening and why moving your growing indoors isn’t as crazy as it sounds. While this isn’t a comprehensive how-to, we’ve gathered the high points of starting your first indoor grow.
So what exactly is hydroponics? Hydroponics is the art and science of indoor growing using all sorts of growing mediums, from growstones, clay rocks, rockwool, soil, coco, and soilless mixes. The beauty of hydroponics is that there’s no one way to grow and there’s no limit on what you can grow. Some choose to grow vegetables to have purely organic vegetables, bypassing all the pesticides, while others grow indoors as a hobby. Plus, hydroponics gives you the control to grow whatever you want whenever you want. Whether it’s 15 degrees with three feet of snow or it’s 110 degrees with 90 percent humidity, your indoor grows aren’t affected.
Where to Start?
First decide what you want to grow. Do you want to grow non-flowering herbs like cilantro or basil, or are you looking to grow flowering plants like vegetables? Your set up will depend on what you choose to grow. For example, if you want to grow vegetables or flowers, you’ll need a 400-watt HID grow light fixture, with both HPS and metal halide bulbs for the different growth stages. For those non-flowering plants, like basil and cilantro, you can stick with T5 grow lights for the whole growing cycle. Commercial growing will need a bigger coverage area, produced by multiple 1000-watt HID fixtures.
*Note: Since hydroponics can be a bit overwhelming, we’ll save many of the details, such as coverage area, for a later time.
As we know from elementary school science, plants need light to grow. If you’re growing indoors, you have to supply your own sun in the form of HID (high intensity discharge) grow lights, which include high pressure sodium (HPS) and metal halide bulbs. There are also LED grow lights, which, just like their household counterparts, use less electricity and last longer than other types of bulbs.
Plants go through stages: a growth stage, also called a vegetative stage, and a flowering stage, also called the budding stage. Both of these stages need different color temperatures in order to flourish: the vegetative stage requires color temperatures of 5000K or higher as this produces the blue part of the color spectrum, while the flowering stage needs a color temperature of around 2000K, which produces light in the red spectrum ideal for this stage.
Just like the sun doesn’t shine 24 hours a day, neither should your grow lights. For the growth cycle, it’s recommended to have between 18 and 20 hours of light, while that amount decreases to only 12 hours during the flowering cycle. The easiest way to control your lights is with timers. Timers streamline the entire growing process and eliminate forgetting to turn your lights on and off.
XtraSun XT8AC 8-Inch Reflector
Now let’s talk grow light reflectors. While there are many different types of reflectors, from parabolic to wing reflectors, to all-in-one reflectors, to air cooled reflectors, and each one offers its own advantages. Wing reflectors, for example, feature adjustable “wings” which increase light coverage, therefore helping to reduce the number of areas without light. Not to mention they’re usually cheaper. All-in-one reflectors, beside the bulbs, include everything you need, like the ballast. All you have to do is plug it in and go. Air-cooled reflectors have ducts on each end for cooling hoses and are determined by the diameter of these ducts, ranging from four to eight inches in diameter. These types of reflectors are usually for the serious grower as they require the proper ducting for cooling. The type of reflector you need depends on the size of your grow area.
HydroFarm EMSYST Emily’s Garden
Before getting too hot-to-trot over setting up a professional grow space, it’s best to start small. Try an all-in-one hydroponics kit, like the Emily’s Garden. This kit comes with everything you need to start a small, successful grow: growing medium, seed starter cubes, even nutrients. While this may seem like child’s play, it’s a great way to get your feet wet with the world of indoor growing.
Jump Start JSV2 2-Ft. Stand
For great beginner experience with grow lights, check out the Jumpstart T5 reflectors. Available in heights from two to four feet, these reflectors include the bulbs and the fixtures and are adjustable as the plants grow taller.
*Note: For more information about indoor growing, check out our hydroponics books.
What do you plan on growing in your indoor garden? Tell us in the comments below, or give us a shout on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, or LinkedIn!
Jan 21, 14
Almost one year ago, Internet lighting retailer 1000Bulbs.com expanded their inventory to include a wide range of grow lights and hydroponic supplies. In the months since then, the company has experienced considerable success with hydroponics, becoming not only a one-stop shop for lighting, but for hydroponic and grow supplies as well. While 1000Bulbs.com has always carried grow lighting, such as HID and metal halide bulbs, its offerings now include all-in-one grow lighting systems, garden and growing accessories, reflectors, hydroponic systems, nutrients, grow media, and more.
To ensure quality customer service, 1000Bulbs.com has brought in two indoor gardening experts to provide guidance on product selection and maintain strong relationships with vendors. With over 30 years of combined experience, these experts are able to answer any questions that customers may have regarding hydroponic and grow supplies.
Currently, 1000Bulbs.com works with seven major suppliers that provide over 50 brands of grow lights, hydroponic supplies, and accessories that will cover any and all needs of casual vegetable gardeners and indoor gardening enthusiasts alike. These major suppliers include Hydrofarm, Advanced Nutrients, Can-Filters, Heavy 16, Sunlight Supply, California LightWorks, and CANNA.
Whether someone is an expert or just a beginner, 1000Bulbs.com carries a large assortment of hydroponic systems for all levels of growing and gardening. Among these hydroponic systems are deep water culture, drip, ebb and flo, wick, and aeroponic systems. Quality hydroponic nutrients and supplements are also an essential component of any indoor grow project. With 24 brands to choose from, 1000Bulbs.com offers a large selection of nutrients to help cultivate their plants through all stages of the growth cycle. The company also offers grow media, such as soil, rocks, rockwool, stonewool, coco, clay rocks, and more, for use in hydroponic systems.
For their grow lighting needs, customers will find grow lighting for all types of reflectors from trusted brands such as GE, Ushio, SunPulse, Hortilux, Ultra Sun, and Plantmax. 1000Bulbs.com offers metal halide grow lights, high pressure sodium grow lamps, incandescent, and compact fluorescent grow lights in a variety of lumen outputs and color temperatures to care for both the vegetative and flowering stages of plants. As a more energy-efficient option, a number of LED grow light fixtures are also available. Using less energy and running much cooler than their HID and CFL counterparts, LED grow lights are long-lasting with projected life ratings of up to 80,000 hours.
Customers will be able to round out their setup with 1000Bulbs.com impressive selection of gardening and grow accessories. From measuring cups and syringes to light meters and thermometers, 1000Bulbs.com offers any tool that will aid in successfully monitoring and growing herbs, fruits, and vegetables.
About 1000Bulbs.com: 1000Bulbs.com is an award-winning Internet-based lighting retailer. The company offers everything from simple, household light bulbs to cutting-edge specialty lighting systems. Nationally recognized for growth, innovation, and customer satisfaction, 1000Bulbs.com is an influential force in the lighting industry. Follow @1000Bulbs on Twitter for the latest company announcements.
Feel free to leave a comment or reach out to us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Google Plus!
For the seventh consecutive year, internet lighting retailer 1000Bulbs.com has been honored by the Dallas 100™ Awards, placing 44th amongst 100 of the fastest-growing privately held companies in the Dallas area for the year 2013. Co-founded in 1990 by the SMU Cox School of Business and the Caruth Institute for Entrepreneurship, the Dallas 100 Awards are now in their twenty-third year of recognizing the growth of independent companies and the entrepreneurs behind them.
In order to qualify for the Dallas 100, a company must meet criteria based on a number of factors such as legal status, location, sales history, credit report, and character. The guidelines for this year’s awards are as follows:
- Are independent, privately held corporations, proprietorships or partnerships (not subsidiaries or divisions of a parent company) as of May 1, 2013. Must have at least 3 years history and not be a non-profit organization,
- Be headquartered in the Dallas Metroplex area,
- Have sales of more than $500,000, but less than $75 million in fiscal year 2010,
- Have a three-year sales history which reflects growth during the three-year sales period, and
- Have a credit report and character satisfactory to the Dallas 100, determined at the sole discretion of the Dallas 100.
Founded in 1995 as Service Lighting and Electrical Supplies by CEO Kim Pedersen, 1000Bulbs.com now has one of the largest selections of lighting products in the country. Having recently expanded to include home décor lighting, designer furniture, antique model replicas, automotive lighting, and hydroponic supplies, 1000Bulbs.com now has over 30,000 products on its website. “We’ve come a long ways, but have much further to go,” says Pedersen. “We’re consistently striving for the best experience for our customers and not resting on just being a good retailer.”
Since first being recognized by the Dallas 100 Awards in 2007, 1000Bulbs.com has increased its annual sales by 83 percent, continuing to establish itself as an influential force in the retail lighting industry. Now employing over 200 workers, 1000Bulbs.com occupies more than 220,000 square feet of office and warehouse space in Garland, Texas.
1000Bulbs offers everything from simple, household light bulbs to cutting-edge specialty lighting systems. Nationally recognized for growth, innovation, and customer satisfaction, 1000Bulbs.com is an influential force in the lighting industry. Follow @1000Bulbs on Twitter for the latest company announcements.
Feel free to leave a comment or reach out to us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus!
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