Nov 03, 14
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.
Oct 20, 14
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.
Oct 06, 14
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.
Sep 22, 14
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.
Sep 08, 14
Drip and DWC systems are good options for beginners, but advanced growers may want a more formalized system for growing crops regularly. For larger scale projects, let’s take a look at the Nutrient Film Technique. NFT systems use a very shallow stream of water and dissolved nutrients flowing over the roots of your plants to feed and water them. The partially exposed roots and constant moving water keeps them oxygenated as well . This shallow stream is little more than a film of water flowing via gravity down to the bottom of the channel, which gives the technique its name.