Air Circulation: What You Need to Know

Jul 14, 14 Air Circulation: What You Need to Know

Most of our world is a layered mass of solids and liquids.  Stacked on top is a thin layer of invisible gas we call air.  While mostly inert nitrogen, air contains the elements needed by almost every living thing and plants use both oxygen and CO2 depending on the day/night cycle.  Plants breathe using the stomata, or pores, underneath their leaves.  Over time these pores can get clogged by dirt, dust, or other air-borne particles pretty easily.  Usually, rain and wind wash and dry the leaves to keep them clean while moving fresh air around them, but in a greenhouse or grow room you have to replicate the effect using ventilation systems and sprays.

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How to Sprout Stubborn Seeds

Jun 23, 14 How to Sprout Stubborn Seeds

After a month of waiting, none of your seeds have sprouted and you just don’t know what went wrong. In fact, the radicle (the root tip which appears first) hasn’t even shown and you’re starting to think all of your seeds have gone bad. While infertility is a possible reason, let’s hold to hope that it’s something else. Seeds can remain dormant for multiple reasons, but the typical cause is that conditions have either not made the outer shell permeable or the internal embryo hasn’t yet developed.

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How to Promote Root Growth

Jun 11, 14 How to Promote Root Growth

Proper care for your plants is always the best method for root growth.  Water and fertilizer in the right amounts after a transplant will help a plant overcome transplant shock smoothly and are essential whether you use a root booster or not.  Most plants prefer to grow a strong root system before they put effort into growing above the crown roots (the thick roots just beneath the soil at the base of the stalk).  Roots support the plant, uptake nutrients and water, and keep the plant from falling over.  Sometimes you’ll end up with a plant that doesn’t have the root support it needs.  This can be deliberate, such as during a transplant when roots have been severed during unearthing, or it can happen as part of disease, like root-death due to rot.

We’ve seen that proper nutrients can promote normal plant growth, but sometimes a root boost is needed to get back what’s been lost.  Let’s take a look at the current options shall we?

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Macronutrient Deficiencies: How to Identify and Treat

Jun 04, 14 Macronutrient Deficiencies: How to Identify and Treat

Like any living thing, nutrients are the essential building blocks for healthy and fruitful plants.  Basic nutrients like carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen are all taken in through water and air; the rest rely on uptake through nutrient solution. Macronutrients—or primary nutrients—consist of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K).  These three elements supply the plant with the necessary resources for rapid growth and proper development of the leaves and stalk and are the major components of both organic and inorganic fertilizers.  They aren’t the only nutrients needed (micronutrients like magnesium and zinc are also essential) but they are today’s focus.  Having too much or too little of each can severely damage your plants, and each has its own identifying marks and treatment methods. Remember that just showing signs of a deficiency doesn’t mean you aren’t feeding your plants enough; it means the plant isn’t taking in enough and that can be due to fungus, pests, or pH imbalances in your solution.

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What are the Differences Between Organic and Inorganic Fertilizers?

May 28, 14 What are the Differences Between Organic and Inorganic Fertilizers?

As we push towards a healthier environment the idea of organically sustainable produce has become a gigantic selling point for both farm and home-grown plants. Growing plants organically requires methods that don’t use harsh chemicals.  This means the fertilizers come from animal and plant matter like guano or compost heaps and the pest-control methods are more traditional (lady bugs, lemon-based fungicides, etc).  However, hydroponically grown plants typically use inorganic mineral fertilizers which have so far prevented them from being given an “organic” label.  Hydroponically grown plants do not use soil which means that traditional organic fertilizers can’t be broken down and their nutrients can’t be absorbed by the plant. The jury is still out on how much of an impact there is on flavor, though many prefer the flavor of organically grown vegetables.  For my part I can say that in high school I worked on a hydroponic farm and to this day it grew the best tomatoes I have ever had.

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