Expanded Clay Pellets

Hydroponics Gardening And Grapes

LECA stands for Lightweight Expanded Clay Aggregate and is an extremely coarse growing medium. Some of its common trade names include Geolite, Grorox and Hydroton. LECA is made of expanded clay pellets that hold water by virtue of its Cutaway view of tomato roots as they penetrate a 50 50 mix of coco-coir and perlite. Layer of perlite on bottom is to allow complete drainage in this top-fed hydroponic planter. Cutaway view of tomato roots as they penetrate a 50 50 mix of coco-coir and perlite....

Sand And Gravel Culture

General Hydroponics Power Grower

Although sand can be used as a growing medium with success, it has poor aeration qualities due to the small interstitial spaces between the grains. Remember, when choosing a soilfree medium for hydroponics, to look for good water holding capacity combined with good drainage qualities. This combination will ensure that your choice of mediums will allow the roots to feed, exhaust CO2, and ingest Oxygen properly. Provided proper nutrient and water circulation is met, you'd be surprised at what...

Starting Hydroponic Business

You Are What You Eat 6 Hydroponics To The Rescue 7 It Starts With A Seed 8 A Brief History Of Hydroponics 11 Current Research 13 What All Gardeners Can Learn From NASA 13 It's All About The Roots l4 Coconut Coir. 17 Perlite 17 LECA 17 Perfect Starts 18 Rockwool 19 The Nutrient Film Technique NFT 23 The Organic Composition Of Plants 27 Selecting A Hydroponic Nutrient 31 Maintaining Nutrient Concentration And pH 34 Nutrient Solution Microbiology 37 Supercharge Your Garden With CO2 38 High...

Maintaining Nutrient Concentration And pH

Nutrients Table Vegetables Ppm

For optimal growth to take place, the nutrient concentration and pH must be consistently balanced over time to insure plants have what they need, when they need it. In any circulating hydroponic system, with every pass the nutrient makes past the root system, an exchange is taking place. As a result, as time goes by, your nutrient solution changes in concentration. Therefore, so does each plant's ability to uptake essential elements. The easiest way to keep on top of your nutrient solution is...

Air roots vs water roots

Water Roots Soil Roots Air Roots

Plants that are grown in soil and granular or fibrous growing mediums that maintain a high percentage of air to water develop air roots below left . The tiny root hairs serve to steer growth in the direction of water and food. Note that plants grown with their roots completely submerged in water develop water roots shown below right . Observe the absence of root hairs, which are unnecessary in this situation. While air rooted plants can easily be transplanted to a hydroponic system, water roots...

The Dutch Bucket Method

Dutch Bucket

This method is aptly named because it was first introduced in Holland and is now extensively used by commercial growers there for roses, tomatoes and cucumbers. The Dutch Bucket method allows the grower to use just about any growing medium, including coco-coir, perlite, LECA stone, gravel, and even sand. The Dutch Bucket is basically a 2.5 gallon bucket with a special drain fitting that maintains a small reserve of nutrient at the bottom as a precautionary measure. This method is best suited...

PVC Pipe Gardens Growers Guide

Pvc Pipe Hydroponic Systems

Since this system is a pure water system, the only growing medium you will require is that to start your seeds or cuttings. Once you have viable plants, they will be placed into 3 plastic net cups with a handful of LECA stones to give the roots something to hold on to and keep them from falling over inside the cups. Start your seeds or cuttings in your preference of starter cubes or sponges. Transplant to net cups once roots are clearly visible from the bottom of the cubes. Set plants in cups...

Making Your Own Nutrients

It has come to my attention over the years that there are many interested in making their own nutrients so I have provided a few recipes. If you are reading the Acrobat version, you will find a nutrient calculator spreadsheet included with your download. Otherwise, please consult the table on the next page which details the salts required to make three hydroponic nutrient solutions for use with vegetative, fruiting and flowering crops. The weights shown in the following tables are based on...

The Dutch Bucket Garden Growers Guide

Growing Broccoli Buckets

As a simple rule of thumb, a medium that holds a lot of water offers more protection against pump failure than one that holds little. The drawback is a wet medium has little room for fresh air and is a good breading ground for fungus and disease. If you have the luxury of an adjustable cycle timer and can check up on your plants frequently, I prefer to use a 60 perlite 40 coco-coir mix and adjust my timer so that the medium never gets soaking wet but never dries out completely. This setting is...

The Spare Closet Garden

Design Layout Self Watering Garden

If you live in an area where space outdoors is tough to come by, here are some ideas for creating a closet garden. In the example shown, the six inch PVC system is custom fit inside this available space. You will find that this configuration works well for maintaining a steady supply of salad greens, herbs and flowers by virtue of the two-level arrangement. On the lower level, a fluorescent light of 40 Watts is used to start seedlings and root cuttings that are kept inside the 10x20 humidity...

The Prefabricated Greenhouse

Prefabricated Greenhouse

In this 4x12' lean-to style house, PVC chambers were mounted like giant window boxes to facilitate short stature crops like lettuce and basil without cramping or casting shade on other plants inside. In this 4x12' lean-to style house, PVC chambers were mounted like giant window boxes to facilitate short stature crops like lettuce and basil without cramping or casting shade on other plants inside. More and more companies are catching on to the market demand for affordable, hobby-style...

Selecting A Hydroponic Nutrient

How Make Hydroponics

Most nutrients list the amounts of N-P-K represented in percentages. For instance, a 10-10-10 solution would contain 10 Nitrogen, 10 phosphorus, and 10 potassium by weight. If you do the math, you will see this concentration adds up to only 30 . That's because the remaining percentage of ingredients in the nutrient usually consists of other nutrients, filler or chelates used to assist the nutritional process. While you can use hydroponic nutrients for other methods of gardening, you can't use...

Brief History Of Hydroponics

Truly a wonder of modern science, hydroponic gardens now produce bountiful harvests of fruit, vegetables, grains, herbs and flowers in places never before able to sustain growth. Hydroponic gardens grow the healthiest crops with the highest yields and vitamin content, thanks to their perfectly balanced nutrient solutions and growing environments. Modern hydroponic methods provide food for millions of people worldwide, supplying us with superior quality produce, even out of season. Even with all...

Nutrient Solution Microbiology

Beneficial Bacteria The Reservoir

All bodies of water possess a dynamic balance of microbiological activity. In hydroponics, we strive to keep the nutrient solution as sterile as possible, but nonetheless, nutrient solution is by its very nature the perfect place for things to grow. Some microbes require dissolved oxygen to live aerobic , and others do not anaerobic . As a general rule of thumb, aerobic bacteria are good, and anaerobic are bad. Put simply, the byproducts of anaerobic respiration are acids that wreak havoc with...

Aerospring Growers Guide

Hydroponically Grown Strawberries

Aeroponic basil, from seedling to skyscraper in 45 days - here's all you need to know 1. Start your seedlings or cuttings in a Perfect Start sponge, rockwool or oasis root cube. Place into a 3 net cup and backfill with LECA stones to provide physical support. 2. Fill your Aerospring with 10-15 gallons of water, add your choice of nutrients according to directions on label do not use regular plant food - it must be for hydroponic use This is where the 4 access port comes in handy 3. Using an...

The DoItYourself Greenhouse

If you are at all handy with a hammer and saw, consider building your own greenhouse. You can find many plans on the web by doing an internet search for greenhouse plans. It's a project that will take two people a weekend or so to complete and it can give you 10 to 20 years of service if you use quality materials. Erecting any kind of structure on your property may require review by the zoning board, especially if you are building on a concrete slab. If a review or variance is required, the...

The Rockwool Slab Drip System

Greenhouse tomatoes growing in plastic sleeved rockwool slabs and fed by drip irrigation. The simplest and most common hydroponic method is using drip irrigation to deliver nutrient enriched water to plants grown in rockwool slabs. Many commercial tomato and pepper growers use this technique since it is relatively low-maintenance and can generally deliver foolproof results although it does produce runoff. In this photo, taken at Nipomo Mesa Farms in Santa Maria, CA, rows of tomato plants are...

It Starts With A Seed

Diagrams Seeds And Seedlings

If you think of a plant as being like a movie script, or perhaps even a computer program, you can better see how its life unfolds according to a predetermined chain of events. We call this chain of events the stages of growth, and each of these stages can be triggered by internal or external stimuli. For plants, it all starts with a seed, which after sprouting becomes a seedling, and eventually becomes a mature plant capable of reproducing itself by creating All plants start from seeds. While...

The Dutch Bucket System

Coco Bricks Hydroponic

The Dutch bucket can be used with just about any growing medium. Shown here from left to right is coco-coir, LECA stone and perlite. The Dutch bucket can be used with just about any growing medium. Shown here from left to right is coco-coir, LECA stone and perlite. This simple to construct stand system allows you to expand your dutch bucket garden easily. This simple to construct stand system allows you to expand your dutch bucket garden easily. Staggered 12 bucket system shown here with two 36...

The Nutrient Film Technique NFT

Nutrient Film Technique

The Nutrient Film Technique, or NFT, was pioneered by Allen Cooper at the Glasshouse Crops Research Institute in Littlehampton, England. In this growing technique, plants are placed atop an inverted 'V' shaped channel, sealed on all sides into a box-like tunnel, through which a thin film of nutrient solution passes along the bottom. A pump and reservoir combination situated below the channels collects and recycles the nutrient back through the system. Roots grow down along the channel,...

The Lettuce Raft System

Lettuce Raft System

Each day I respond to more and more emails from people looking for the simplest, most inexpensive means of growing hydroponically. I often recommend the Hydroponic Planter from the previous chapter, however, this simple and inexpensive method just isn't complicated enough. So after giving it some careful thought, a worthwhile solution presented itself. The raft system is simple, inexpensive 20- 30 complete and complex enough to satisfy any first timer's appetite for a fun project that actually...

The Professional Greenhouse

Over the years I have worked with several people who had the pleasure of being able to afford a professionally designed and manufactured greenhouse by one of the many custom builders in the states. What makes these glass houses professional level is a they are built of structural steel and or aluminum and glass rather than wood b sometimes insulated glass is used, if required. The higher rigidity of aluminum and steel versus wood allows thinner sections to be used in the construction, which...