Hydroponics Simple System

Getting Started In Hydroponics

This e-book will take you on a journey, almost like going down a garden path, and help match the right system to your situation. Along the way you will discover the most powerful system, the easiest to build system, and the most forgiving system for maintenance. And the book will help you choose which system is right for you. You'll discover. The quickest, easiest hydroponics system to build. You can get started in hours rather than days and the system is built from common materials so you can save money. 5 ways you can get started in hydroponics on a pauper's budget. You don't have to get the most complex system to get incredible results. The e-book has 2 plans that can be built out of common materials you may already have. You can get the rest at Home Depot. Which crops to grow and which to stay away from. You can grow just about anything with hydroponics but some plants will take over, stealing light and space from smaller plants. This e-book will give you insights on which plants are the easiest. and tastiest. Forbidden Hideaway. The last chapter in the book shows you how to create a space in your home to grow plants that nobody will know about. To the outside world you are an ordinary neighbor. But inside the Grow Box a different world exists that makes plants grow like crazy. Read more...

Getting Started In Hydroponics Overview

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Contents: Ebook
Author: Simon and Stella
Official Website: www.hydroponics-simplified.com
Price: $35.00

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My Getting Started In Hydroponics Review

Highly Recommended

I usually find books written on this category hard to understand and full of jargon. But the author was capable of presenting advanced techniques in an extremely easy to understand language.

In addition to being effective and its great ease of use, this eBook makes worth every penny of its price.

Hydroponics and pH Level

Most people are familiar with the term pH, even if it is only a dim memory from high school biology. Few bother to investigate what it means, because it is unimportant to them in their daily lives. Becoming involved in hydroponics, however, demands that you acquire a working knowledge of pH. The term sounds scientific and difficult but, in fact, pH simply means the relative acidity or alkalinity of a solution. In hydroponics, we are interested in determining the pH level of water before nutrient is added to it, making adjustments if necessary, and then checking the level of the nutrient periodically.

Reminders for Outdoor Hydroponics

I am firmly convinced that placing a chair beside your system every so often and sitting there to get the feel of your plants is advantageous. Plants give off many visual messages. It is up to you to learn how to interpret those messages. You can do it by studying the appearance of your plants and becoming totally familiar with each kind. When left to itself, nature does a haphazard growing job. It is essential that you do not leave everything up to nature after you have seeded your soilless garden. Ten or fifteen minutes care a day, or at worst an hour a week, will pay huge dividends in your crops.

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. This design is brand new for the fourth edition. After two years of research and experience in the greenhouse, I've developed a novel way to build a great garden with Dutch buckets. Since the buckets are mass produced, we'll focus on how to build the integrated drain stand and manifold that makes growing with them easy, and storing them off season even easier.

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 for large, long-term crops such as vine tomatoes, cucumbers and roses. Each bucket is fed nutrient solution independently by a single or double dripper, and it drains through the bucket into a common drain tube made from 1.5 inch PVC pipe. The system's reservoir is positioned below the level of the drain pipe, and gravity carries the solution back to it. A pump then re-circulates the nutrient solution back to the drippers to start the feeding cycle over again. The inset photo details how each...

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, receiving oxygen directly from the inside of the trough, while receiving water and nutrients from the thin film of nutrient being carried along the bottom of the channel by gravity. The enclosed channels maintains 100 humidity to protect against dehydration. Excellent results can be obtained with this system. However, maintaining the nutrient film becomes difficult once the roots form large mats at the bottom of the channel. The resulting puddling can create stagnation in the root zone, depleting roots...

Nutrient film technique NFT

Nutrient Film Technique

Figure 22.5 Nutrient film technique layout. The nutrient solution is pumped up to the top of the gullies. The solution passes down the gullies in a thin film and is returned to the catchment tank. The pH and nutrient levels in the catchment tank are monitored and adjusted as appropriate. Figure 22.5 Nutrient film technique layout. The nutrient solution is pumped up to the top of the gullies. The solution passes down the gullies in a thin film and is returned to the catchment tank. The pH and nutrient levels in the catchment tank are monitored and adjusted as appropriate. containers, on which the plants sit, are drip fed with a complete nutrient solution at the top with the surplus running out through slits near the bottom on the opposite side. When this method was first developed the NFT systems were copied, i.e. the water was recirculated, but it was soon found to be difficult where the quality of water was poor and there was a risk of a build-up of waterborne pathogens and trace...

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 plant foods designed for soil gardening for hydroponics as these prodcts don't contain the proper balance of nutrients for this application. I personally favor the two and three part nutrient formulas because they always outperform the single part, general purpose formulas. The two and three part products allow you to custom blend your solution for each crop, and stage of growth for better performance. Hydroponic nutrients come in all flavors powders and liquids, single part, two-part, three-part...

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 works quite well. In concept, the raft system does exactly as it says. Plants are grown in Styrofoam rafts that float in a shallow pool of nutrient. To keep the nutrient from stagnating, a small air pump is used to deliver oxygen to the solution and eagerly awaiting roots.

Hydroponic Technology

A hydroponic system should be designed to fulfill the specific requirements of plants with the most reliable and efficient method(s) of nutrient delivery. The three major plant-requirements that a hydroponic system must satisfy are Hydroponic systems can be either active or passive. An active system includes a mechanical means for re-circulating the nutrient solution, while a passive system relies on capillary action, absorption, and or the force of gravity to replenish roots with nutrient. Besides being generally more efficient, and therefore more productive, a nice feature of active hydroponic systems is how easily they can be implemented in an automated greenhouse. The automation system does not have to be complicated to provide outstanding results. Just as a fan may be connected to a thermostat to control temperature, a timer may be connected to a pump to deliver nutrients to the plants as necessary. If such a system is designed properly, a large nutrient reservoir could feed the...

Types of hydroponic systems

A hydroponic system should be designed to fulfill the specific requirements of plants with the most reliable and efficient method(s) of nutrient delivery. The three major plant-requirements that a hydroponic system must satisfy are Hydroponic systems can be either active or passive. An active system includes a mechanical means for recirculating the nutrient solution while a passive system relies on capillary action absorption and or the force of gravity to replenish roots with nutrient. Besides being generally more efficient, and thus more productive, a nice feature of active systems is the ease at which they may be implemented within an automated greenhouse. Just as a simple fan can be connected to a thermostat to control exhaust, a timer may be connected to the pump(s) of an active system to cycle on and off as necessary. If this system was designed properly, a large nutrient reservoir could feed the crop for a couple of weeks before needing a refill. In this scenario, as long as...

Your Choice Of Hydroponic Methods

In all hydroponic methods, the plants absorb the nutrients directly from the mineral mixture dissolved in water and fed directly to the roots. You can grow your plants in sand, gravel, perlite, vermiculite, coarse sponge rock and similar material they can even be grown directly in solution. The following are the most popular methods.

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 its advantages, the American consumer is sometimes wary of hydroponically grown produce. Many years ago, hydroponic products were admittedly of poor quality, and this association still persists for some people. This old association is rapidly changing because hydroponic produce has evolved into a superior quality, premium product. In fact, modern day hydroponic cultivation has become so effective, NASA itself has devised an advanced method of hydroponics for use in outer space. While it may...

Perfect Startstm soil free starting sponges

The latest breakthrough in hydroponic mediums are these molded starter sponges made from organic compost and a flexible, biodegradable binder. Available in many shapes and sizes, they solve the problem growers face when wanting to use an organic medium in a hydroponic system. Namely, they do not fall apart as does rockwool and vermiculite when used to start seeds. The starting sponges exhibit perfect air to water holding capacity and when used in conjunction with their high density foam startingtrays, force roots to grow directly downwards instead of spiraling around as do many other types of starting trays.

The nutrient film technique

Work on the Nutrient Film Technique, or NFT for short, was pioneered by Allen Cooper at the Glasshouse Crops Research Institute in Littlehampton, England. Plants are placed atop an inverted 'V' shaped channel, sealed on all sides, through which a thin film of nutrient solution passes along the bottom. Roots grow down along the channel, receiving oxygen directly from the inside of the trough, while receiving water and nutrients from the thin film of nutrient below. The enclosed chamber maintains 100 humidity to protect against dehydration. Excellent results can be obtained with this system, however, maintaining the 'film' becomes difficult once the roots form large mats at the bottom of the trough. Puddling results in stagnation, depleting the roots of oxygen and fresh nutrient. Efficiency, on the other hand, is excellent because the closed trough prevents limits evaporation, while a pump reservoir combination below collects and recycles excess nutrient.

Stocking your hydroponic garden

Soilfree Basil

Once your seedlings or clones have established a root system and hardened off, they can be transplanted into your system. If you used rockwool as a starting medium, this process involves nothing more than placing them into your system and turning it on. If you used a loose starting medium like perlite or cocopeat, you will need to gently remove the medium from the young roots by either rinsing or soaking them in a pail of warm water OR use a porous open-weave mesh to keep the cocopeat from falling into your system and clogging it. I have experimented with aquarium filter cloth - just a very fine layer between the cocopeat plug and the mesh baskets seems to work best. To transplant into the hydroponic planter described later in this book, dig out a

Starting Hydroponic Business

You Are What You Eat 6 Hydroponics To The Rescue 7 It Starts With A Seed 8 What Is Hydroponics 10 A Brief History Of Hydroponics 11 Current Research 13 Hydroponic Mediums l6 Hydroponic Technology 20 The Dutch Bucket Method 22 The Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) 23 Selecting A Hydroponic Nutrient 31 Duration (Photoperiod) 4l Color (Photosynthetic spectrum) 42 Choosing A Grow Light 44 Hydroponics As A Business 45 Growers Guide To Popular Plants 50 Getting Started With Seeds 51 Successful Seed Starting 52 Making clones of your favorite plants 53 Stocking Your Hydroponic System 54 The Stages Of Growth 55 Planning Your Hydroponic Garden 62 Eight Hydroponic Systems You Can Build 63 Hydroponic System Plans Quicklist 64 The Hydroponic Planter 65 The Lettuce Raft System 68 The Dutch Bucket System 77 The Dutch Bucket Garden Growers Guide 82

Hydroponic System Plans Quicklist

The Lettuce Raft System The most popular design which has been carried over and improved upon from the third edition. This system requires a little more skill and experience with power tools. Suitable for indoor and outdoor use and for growing any type of plant from lettuce to tomatoes. No Redwood or plam trees please Be sure to support taller, heavy plants with trellis or vine lines. Use with a 250W-400W grow light indoors. 4. The Dutch Bucket System An extremely versatile system suitable for growing anything, just about anywhere. It utilizes a growing medium which helps to make it a bit more user friendly than the pure water hydroponic systems described above and below. Excellent for tomatos, peppers, cukes, watermelons, just about anything can be grown, including root crops like onions and carrots. It's length makes use with a grow light tricky unless you use a light mover - consider modifying the design to make it more of a rectangular or square shape if...

Eight Hydroponic Systems You Can Build

Before we actually get started, there are a few more important considerations. The first is to decide the actual location for your garden. As we just learned, growing hydroponically outdoors is great because the sun is free and there's often plenty of space. But you may not be able to grow outdoors because you are in an apartment building or congested urban area. In this case, you have the option of growing indoors using High Intensity Discharge (HID) lighting. Whichever way you go, if you pay close attention to the guidelines discussed in this publication, you should succeed without difficulty. If you want to grow indoors, plan on investing in an HID light. (see this book's lighting section for information on what kind of light will work best for your needs). I use a 400 watt metal halide lamp with reflective hood to light nearly four small gardens simultaneously, with excellent results. You may choose to substitute high output fluorescent instead, but you'll get more light output,...

Chapter Cropping in soil with drip irrigation

The drip irrigation cropping system is similar to but better than the conventional soil cropping system because it can be used to control crop growth through a regulated supply of water and nutrients. In addition, the system allows reduced relative humidity in the greenhouse because not all the soil is irrigated and because it is compatible with the use of white polyethylene film as a light-reflecting mulch. Resources, including energy, are thus used more efficiently with this system. Introducing drip irrigation and fertigation has made it necessary to consider the fertilizer needs of a crop in terms of the concentration of fertilizer (and therefore the concentration of nutrients) in the irrigation water rather than on the basis of the cropped area. Base fertilizers are not normally applied when drip irrigation is used the exceptions are peat and lime, which might be desirable for the benefit of soil structure and soil pH adjustment.

Planning Your Hydroponic Garden

The first step in creating the right hydroponic garden for your needs is to create a plan. First, consider the space you have available for your intended garden. Don't forget that if you plan to grow indoors in a tight space, you will also need sufficient room to access your garden and to perform routine maintenance such as pruning and nutrient changes. For this purpose, leave yourself ample space to work. Don't try to fit too much garden in too small of a space. Remember, a hydroponic garden will give you a significantly higher yield than a soil garden of equal size. If you plan to grow indoors, you also need to consider access to direct sunlight. Most plants need a minimum of 4 to 6 hours of direct sunlight and a total of at least 12 to 14 hours of light each day. Most plants will not benefit from more than 18 hours of light a day. A south-facing window is a good place to start (assuming you live in the northern hemisphere). To provide supplemental lighting, or if your indoor garden...

Soilfree hydroponic mediums

In most hydroponic gardens, soilfree mediums are used primarily for starting seeds and when rooting cuttings. The less medium a system requires, the easier and less expensive it is to operate. This is a major consideration for those who wish to make a profit from their hydroponic gardens. Modern day soilfree mediums have come a long way since the use of river gravel and sand. A perfect medium is one that is able to hold a nearly equal concentration of air and water. As you have leaned, your plants need both oxygen and nutrients to reach their roots. The determining factor in water air holding capacity of a medium are the small spaces between each granule or fiber. The name for these holes in the medium is interstitial spaces. Fine sand features very small interstitial spaces which cannot hold much air and water. On the other hand, coarse gravel has large interstitial spaces which can hold lots of both. The next factor we must concern ourselves with is that water has weight and always...

The Hydroponic Planter

This is by far the simplest hydroponic garden you can construct in this book. It's made from a common plastic deck planter, some LECA and an aquarium air pump, air stone and and tubing. The diagram at right details how the roots grow down through the LECA into the nutrient solution which is kept aerated by the air pump. Due to its open top design, it's better suited for use indoors as rainwater can cause it to overflow and dilute the nutrient solution at the same time. A 150-250W HID lamp will provide plenty of light for this little hydroponic garden to flourish.

Hydroponics To The Rescue

In order for any plant to reach its full genetic potential of producing the beautiful foliage, flowers or fruit its programmed to create, it must be provided with everything it needs in just the right proportions, and, at just the right time. With the science of hydroponics, this is possible by applying proper watering and feeding regimens, environmental control and plenty of quality lighting. While the literal meaning of hydroponics is nothing more than feeding plants while irrigating (U.S. farmers call it fertigation), its definition has expanded to include all the aspects mentioned above as they apply to growing the perfect plant. While the definition of the hydroponics has expanded, misinformation also persists. Many people still believe hydroponically grown plants are fed steroids or other dangerous chemicals to force them to grow so well. In fact, hydroponic growers are simply allowing plants to reach their full genetic potential by carefully providing for their needs as nature...

Hydroponics a quick overview

Truly a wonder of modern science - hydroponic gardens produce bountiful harvests of fruit, vegetables, grains, herbs and flowers in places never before able to sustain growth. Hydroponic gardens produce the healthiest crops with the highest yields and vitamin content thanks to their perfectly balanced nutrient solutions. Modern hydroponic methods provide food for millions of people worldwide and supply you, me and the food service industry with superior produce. In fact, hydroponic cultivation is so effective, NASA has devised an advanced method of hydroponics for use in outer space. The science of hydroponics began with experimentation into determining the elementary composition of plants. These experiments have been dated as early as 1600 A.D., however, records show that plants have been cultivated in soilfree mixtures of sand and gravel even earlier. The hanging gardens of Babylon and the floating gardens of the Mexican Aztecs are perfect examples of early hydroponic gardening....

Stocking Your Hydroponic System

Backyard Grape Growing

Once your seedlings or clones have established a root system and have hardened off, they can be transplanted into your system. If you used Perfect Starts or another plug or cube type starting medium, this process involves nothing more than placing them into your system and turning it on. If you used a loose starting medium like perlite or coco coir, you'll need to use a basket liner to keep the loose material from falling into your system and clogging it. I have experimented with aquarium filter cloth and have found that a fine layer of filter cloth between the coco coir and net cups seems to work well. There are now coir cup liners made from coco fibers as well. To transplant into the hydroponic planter systems described later in the book, dig a small hole in the LECA, place the new plants into the hole and gently fill in the LECA around the roots. To place your plants into net cups and try to get the roots as close to the bottom as possible. Fill in around the roots sponge cube with...

Hydroponics

HYDROPONICS IS SIMPLY A method of growing plants without the use of soil. Instead, seeds (or seedlings) are planted in a growing medium, such as sand or cinders, that is periodically flooded or otherwise supplied with the nutrients necessary for plant growth. Hydroponic installations can be indoors or outdoors, in a greenhouse or on a patio. Light, air and water must be in sufficient supply, just as in the standard dirt garden. Because of the way that they are fed, hydroponic vegetables grow bigger and faster than those in an ordinary garden. Water and fertilizer can be used over and over again. Problems of insects and disease can be kept to a minimum. A good nutrient solution, of course, is the key to hydroponics, and regular, careful feeding produces

Hydroponic Mediums

In most hydroponic gardens, soilfree growing mediums are used primarily for starting seeds and when rooting cuttings. The less medium a system requires, the easier and less expensive it is to operate. This is a major consideration for those intending to make a profit from their hydroponic gardens. Modern day soilfree mediums have come a long way since the use of river gravel and sand in early systems. A perfect medium is able to hold a nearly equal concentration of air and water. As you have learned, your plants need both oxygen and nutrients to reach their roots. The water air holding capacity of a growing medium is determined by the small spaces between each granule or fiber. These holes in the medium are known as interstitial spaces.

Outdoor Hydroponics

Few books on hydroponics deal with the idea of moving a soilless garden outside. To my way of thinking, though, the whole point of hydroponics is to get the best possible year-round results. There is a great temptation for the home grower to lean back and say, Outdoor gardening Who needs it I'm going to keep my garden in the basement all year. No wind, no bugs, no problems. It really isn't necessary to move your garden outdoors in summer, but if you don't, you'll be missing the opportunity to grow plants of tremendous proportions and yield. It is possible, for example, to root ten to twelve staking tomato vines in a single sixteen by twenty-four inch planter outdoors, spread them on a six foot wide trellis and let them grow to heights of seven to nine feet. There is ample nutrient in the planter for all and ample light from the sun. This is how to get yields often to twenty pounds per plant from each crop, much higher than indoors. If you are truly interested in results, it seems...

What Is Hydroponics

Without water, life on earth would not exist. There would be no hydroponics, much less a culture to practice it. Water is a vital part of every living cell. In plants, it provides turgor pressure on cell walls to keep leaves from wilting. And it transports nutrition and energy stores in the form of dissolved salts and sugars throughout the plant. This book is about water, focusing on how to distribute it, maintain its quality, and enrich it with the nutrition vital to plant life. In nature, fire and water act together to recharge the soil with nutrients. When forests burn, wood is turned to ash. Wood ash is rich in Potassium, one of the plant kingdom's fundamental foods. When the rains come, lifeless leaves and fallen branches are helped along their path to decay. Animals and insects hasten this process through their consumption of plant materials and excretion of organic wastes which filter down into the soil below. The organic matter in the soil is biologically decomposed into the...

Hydroponic Herbs

Pvc Greenhouse

Not long ago, herbs grew in every garden and were sold by every greengrocer, but all we seem to use today is parsley as a garnish. Whatever happened to fresh chives, tarragon, basil and sage We used to know that herbs were natural flavour secrets that would give a lift to the simplest budget dish or the most complex gourmet creation. Perhaps we have forgotten because we have become accustomed to dried herbs whose flavours and fragrances have been destroyed by processing. One of the real joys of hydroponics is the rediscovery of fresh kitchen herbs. Once you have used them, you'll never want to be without them again. Finally, it is worth remembering that for most people hydroponics is a new and exciting science. There is still much to be learned. Don't be afraid to experiment, particularly if you find that something in this or any other book is unsuitable for you. What works for me may not work for you, and what I believe may not hold true in your particular case. What this book seeks...

Hydroponic Benefits

The word Hydroponics was coined by Dr. W.F. Gericke in 1936 to describe the cultivation of both edible and ornamental plants in a solution of water and dissolved nutrients. The simple meaning is derived from the Greek Hydro, meaning water, and Ponos, meaning labor. In this method of cultivation, plants are provided with the nutrients required for growth by a nutrient solution, which is simply water that's been enriched with dissolved essential elements. In a hydroponic garden, this nutrient solution can be circulated around the roots by either the passive force of gravity, or by the active force of an electromechanical pump. Some systems bathe the roots in nutrient solution and use an air pump to oxygenate the solution from below, this helps to prevent stagnation and provides roots with much needed oxygen. Plants grown hydroponically are generally healthier than their soil-grown counterparts. They receive a near-perfectly balanced diet, and rarely come in contact with soil borne pests...

Soil and Hydroponics

Scientifically speaking, plant growth in any rooting medium, including soil, is hydroponic, since the elements absorbed by plant roots must be in a water-based solution. The concentration and movement of the elements within this solution depend on the nature of the surrounding medium. For example, in soil, the soil solution and its elemental composition are the result of many interacting factors an ever-changing, dynamic system of complex equilibrium chemistry (Lindsay, 1979 Tan, 1998 Peverill et al., 1999 Essington, 2004), in which the soil, soil microorganisms, and the plant root (Carson, 1974) each play unique and specific roles that alter the availability and eventual absorption by the plant root of the elements required for growth (Barber and Bouldin, 1984 Barber, 1995 Wignarajah, 1994). The complexity of the chemistry of the soil (nutrient) solution is significantly simplified when the support medium is an inert substance, such as sand, gravel, perlite, or rockwool, and becomes...

Chemicals or No Chemicals

Are chemicals used in hydroponics Most people would say no, but the real answer is yes. We will be using a mixture of N2 and 02, commonly called air, and lots of H20. To this is added small amounts of N, P and K (nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium) and balanced trace elements. The serious point being made here is that the world and everything in it is made up of one chemical or another. What we do avoid in hydroponics is putting the wrong chemical in the wrong place at the wrong time. In the midst of this we are presented with hydroponics, an environmentally sound growing method where water and nutrients are recycled until they are used up by the plants. Nothing is wasted, and nothing ends up in our rivers and lakes. Your healthy hydroponic plants will tell you that you are doing something right.

Micro nutrients are absorbed in smaller quantities

Most nutrients are listed with 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 find this concentration adds up to only 30 - this is because the remaining percentage usually consists of a filler of chelating materials used to assist the nutritional process. Use only nutrients specifically designed for hydroponics, as conventional formulas prepared for plants grown in soil do not contain the proper balances. I personally favor the two and three part nutrient formulas as they always outperform the general purpose nutrients. The two and three part formulas allow you to custom blend for each crop and stage of growth.

When growing outdoors

Protect the reservoir from heat and direct sunlight. Maintain solution temperatures between 68 and 75 degrees F. You may want to bury the reservoir to take advantage of the cool and consistent soil temperatures. You can use aluminum foil to reflect sunlight and keep the reservoir from getting too hot. In really hot climates, you can create a cooling loop, buried in the soil to dissipate heat by having the nutrient pass through it on its way to the injectors (not applicable for the hydroponic planter design). You may need to use a larger pump to overcome the extra resistance inside the additional tubing. Keep any electrical equipment protected from the rain - use only equipment suitable for outdoor use. Hire a licensed electrician to install the proper wiring and outlets to power your outdoor garden.

Making a market for your garden

Many gourmet restaurants and markets will purchase high quality hydroponic produce, provided it is available in good supply and on a regular basis. If you are interested in making a profit from your garden, you should first investigate the local marketplace and determine just what it is that you should grow. Don't try to compete with everyone else, identify a unique opportunity for a high profit plant by interviewing the owners and operators of these establishments. I have found that growing culinary herbs is the best way to make extra income from your garden. Of course there's always the tomato and pepper plants which are a staple food for most, but both require much more space and considerably more time to harvest. Growing fresh cut flowers can also be very profitable, however, it is a harder market to penetrate and flowers take longer to grow than herbs. The reason herbs make such a great product to produce and market is simple the most popular culinary herbs are all leafy plants...

The First Step To A Great Garden Is Planning

Consider the space you have available for your intended garden. Don't forget that if you plan to grow indoors in a tight space you will also need room to access your garden and perform routine maintenance such as pruning and nutrient changes. For this purpose, leave yourself ample space to work. Too many people try to fit too much garden into too small a space. Remember - a hydroponic garden will give you a significantly higher yield than a soil garden of equal size. If you plan to grow indoors, consider the location for its access to direct sunlight. Most plants need a minimum of 4-6 hours direct sunlight and a total of at least 12-14 hours of light daily. Your garden will not benefit from more than 18 hours of light daily however. A south facing window is a great place to start (assuming you live in the northern hemisphere) and to provide supplemental lighting, or in the case of providing exclusive lighting indoors, consider purchasing a High Intensity Discharge lighting system. HID...

Growers guide to popular plants

The following table outlines the favorite conditions for these plants to thrive in your hydroponic garden. Adhere closely to these parameters and you will be happily surprised by the results. Always use a high quality hydroponic nutrient and maintain a healthy growing area by allowing plenty of light, air and moisture to reach your plants. Seed packets will contain more information on the particular strain you wish to grow.

Youll Want To Have The Proper Tools

To construct the hydroponic planter you'll need a magic marker, scissors and a some aquarium safe silicone sealant. Add a sharp razor and hacksaw to the list to build the AeroSpring - you'll also be happy to have an electric drill with a 2 7 8 holesaw attachment to make cutting the grow sites easier. The hybrid PVC systems are pretty much going to necessitate the electric drill and holesaw - especially if you plan to build the heavy duty design that utilizes 6 PVC pipe for grow chambers. While PVC is easy to cut with a hacksaw, cutting perfectly circular holes into the tubing is going to be next to impossible without this tool. If you don't own a heavy duty 3 8 or 1 2 drive electric drill, you can most likely borrow or rent one. You will most likely need to buy the 2 7 8 holesaw - at this size they usually consist of two parts - an arbor which holds the drill bit (for drilling the pilot hole) and the actual holesaw which looks like a half a beer can with a saw toothed edge for cutting...

Problems with your plants

Just as your garden faces infiltration by bugs, so it does from disease. However, the wonderful thing about soilfree garedening is that there is no soil to harbor disease. Instead, you have only to contend with the nutrient solution. To avoid the growth of algae and disease causing organisms that may propagate within your nutrient tank, there are a few precautions you can take to avoid this scenario. First off, keep you nutrient temperature below 80 degrees F. Better yet would be to keep it from 68-72 degrees F., but in many cases this is difficult due to extreme ambient temperatures and strong sunlight heating up your reservoir. You can insulate your reservoir by keeping it out oif direct sunlight and covering it with reflective insulation such as Celotex board or foil-backed fiberglass. In extreme conditions, burying the lower part of the reservoir, or even the entire reservoir can keep it perfectly in check as the temperature of the earth remains much cooler and more constant....

Aero Spring parts list

A cycle timer is one that turns on for x minutes and off for x minutes and then repeats this cycle as long as it is plugged in. We used an NFT-1 cycle timer that is specifically manufactured for hydroponic applications. It turns on for 1 minute and then off for four minutes. This is effectively a 20 duty cycle which keeps the roots wet and the pump from running continuously which would heat up the nutrient solution quickly.

Approaching your prospective customers

Now that you have a great product, nice package and an idea of what is important, here is what to do and say. Start off with the smallest store you can find, the smaller the better since the chances that the person you encounter will be an owner or someone who is in charge is much higher and if they express a sincere interest, you can realistically supply a smaller operation alot easier than a large market. Start small but always think big. You will want to speak to the owner or buyer so identify who they are and approach them by simply introducing yourself with your name and telling them that you would like just a moment of their time to discuss your gourmet produce. You will certainly have a sample with you (freshly chilled from your cooler ) so have it in hand and get it into his hers as soon as you introduce yourself. by putting the product directly in front of the customer, you can let your product do most of the talking, especially if you are a little nervous at first. Explain...

Final assembly and system operation

Once all of the plants roots extend below the baskets and into the nutrient solution, your crop will really take off After the roots reach the bottom of the chambers, you may lower the standpipes so the nutrient level is just below the baskets. After the roots get real strong, you can even remove the standpipes entirely and run the system as a hybrid Aeroponic Nutrient Film Technique system. Access holes in the chambers and on the reservoir should be covered with an opaque plastic sheeting to keep light from causing algae growth - REMEMBER - keep light and heat away from your nutrient solution

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 supported by strings in a method called air-layering. As the fruit is harvested off the bottom of the plant using this method, the growing vines are coiled around each other

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 usually will not survive the move to soil or a drier medium.

Its All About The Roots

Hydroponic Slime

Root systems vary in size from those of a seedling, perhaps a few inches long, to those of a 300' redwood that can grow larger in size than the visible tree itself Regardless of the physical size of the plant, roots serve three essential functions (1) the uptake of water and nutrients (2) storage for manufactured materials (3) providing physical support for the plant above ground. Hydroponics is all about healthy roots The absorption of water and nutrients takes place just behind the root tip through tiny root hairs. These root hairs are extremely delicate and usually die off as the root tip grows further into the medium. The method in which the roots absorb water and nutrients is called diffusion. In this process, water and oxygen pass into the root structure through membranes in the cell walls. An interesting point is that diffusion actually takes place at the ionic level, which in laymen's terms means nutritional elements are passed by the electrical exchange of charged particles....

What All Gardeners Can Learn From NASA

Root Growth Pressure

Hydroponics is NASA's solution to providing space travellers with a self-sufficient food source. The Administration has sponsored a research program titled Controlled Ecological Life Support System (CELSS) in order to further develop the technology and carry it into the future. The picture at right is of Epcot NASA's Space Agriculture expo as seen from a tour of the Epcot Center attraction. The lighting used in these examples is high-pressure sodium or HPS, which is the choice for most commercial growers due to its strong lumen per watt efficiency. High Intensity Discharge (H.I.D.) lighting, which includes the

What to Plant Outdoors

Pruning Tomatoes

Tomatoes are the prime choice for outdoor hydroponics. They recapture the flavour long gone from supermarket produce, and the theoretical maximum yield is very high, twenty pounds per vine. In your first season, though, you're doing fine if you get about half that much. A fast growing, medium-sized staking variety produces more and better quality fruit than the larger hybrids. Tomatoes are grown quite close together in hydroponics, four to six inches. A good arrangement in a sixteen by twenty-four inch unit would be to set a row of five plants along the rear edge and fan them out against a wall on strings or trellises. Intercropping and outcropping were described in Chapter 7, and the outdoor season is the time to take full advantage of your hydroponic growing area. In the planter where you have placed your five tomato vines, don't forget to plant pole beans in a corner. They will frame your garden with cheerful foliage while taking up little room in your planter. The remainder of the...

Expanded Clay Pellets

Hydroponics Gardening And Grapes

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. Layer of perlite on bottom is to allow complete drainage in this top-fed hydroponic planter. porosity and surface area. These mediums are pH neutral and reusable, making them ideal for hydroponic systems. While lava rocks appear to have some of the same qualities, they should never be used in hydroponic systems because they alter the pH and leave behind a heavy sediment that can harm equipment. For the same reason, you should always rinse new LECA stones to remove the dust caused by movement during shipment.

Sand And Gravel Culture

Gravel Culture

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 mediums plants can be grown in. I once grew a plant in Styrofoam packing peanuts and we've all seen weeds growing from the cracks in cement sidewalks. Recent research has revealed the importance oxygen plays in the root zone. Oxygen is necessary for the plant to perform respiration, which provides the energy needed for the uptake of water and nutrient ions. These studies have proven that increased absorption of oxygen by the roots results in This gravel culture system is an easy and inexpensive way...

Inert Soil Definition

The word hydroponics has its derivation from the combining of two Greek words, hydro meaning water and ponos meaning labor, i.e., working water. The word first appeared in a scientific magazine article (Science, Feb 178 1) published in 1937 and authored by W.F. Gericke, who had accepted this word as was suggested by Dr. W.A. Setchell at the University of California. Dr. Gericke began experimenting with hydroponic growing techniques in the late 1920s and then published one of the early books on soilless growing (Gericke, 1940). Later he suggested that the ability to produce crops hydroponically would no longer be chained to the soil but certain commercial crops could be grown in larger quantities without soil in basins containing solutions of plant food. What Dr. Gericke failed to foresee was that hydroponics would in the future be essentially confined to its application in enclosed environments for growing high cash value crops and would not find its way into the production of a wide...

PVC Pipe Gardens Growers Guide

Pvc Pipe Hydroponic Systems

Depending on your crop and stage of growth, you will want to choose a good quality hydroponic nutrient. Do not use fertilizers designed for soil gardening as they do not contain a complete balance of nutrients required for growing in water. While you can successfully grow more than one type of plant in this system (ie vegetative, reproductive) for best results, choose one or the other this way you can target your nutrient solution to best satisfy its requirements.

It Starts With A Seed

Diagrams Seeds And Seedlings

Note that when plants reach their reproductive stage, external genetic material is introduced which may ever so slightly, or even drastically influence the program of the next generation. This is how plants breed outdoors in their natural state. By growing plants indoors, breeders can control which plants exchange genetic material with each other to influence the outcome in a particular way that is beneficial for the breeder. For instance, if a tomato grower likes a particular tasting tomato, but finds it grows too slowly, he may cross it with a more rapidly maturing variety to speed up the process in future generations. I don't want to get too deep into the subject of breeding at this point, but I must stress that even with the most advanced hydroponic methods, garbage in garbage out. So choose your stock carefully Even with the most advanced hydroponic methods, garbage in still equals garbage out, so choose your seeds and cutting stock carefully

Maintaining Nutrient Concentration And pH

Nutrient Availability

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 to take a measurement of PPM or TDS (Parts Per Million and Total Dissolved Solids). This measurement is also commonly referred to as the EC or the Electrical Conductivity of a solution, because that is actually what you are measuring. There are a number of methods of measuring PPM. My favorite is the digital PPM meter that is submerged in the nutrient solution for a reading to be taken. Digital PPM meters are calibrated using a solution that has a known PPM value and you must calibrate them every...

Fungi Algae And Disease

Grey Mold Cucumber

Botrytis, or gray mold, is the most common fungi that plagues garden plants. It's a problem I know all too well. In July 2002, during a solid two weeks of rain, I lost an entire crop of cucumbers to this fungi. Although the humidistat in my greenhouse made sure the exhaust fans were running day and night, the moist cool air they were drawing in did little to keep moisture off the plants. Since it was the middle of July, I had my Dutch bucket system's watering cycles set for sunny skies and hot, dry air. With the sun blocked by clouds, and the air at nearly 100 humidity, transpiration slowed to a crawl and this unfortunate combination of events resulted in over-watering. Since Botrytis is present in the air at all times, the combination of these two conditions caused an explosive outbreak. It was a painful lesson to learn. So if you encounter similar conditions, keep this in mind.

Ultra Peattm aka Coco Peat Coco Coir

Our favorite loose growing medium is Coconut Fiber or Cocopeat. It represents a major step forward in organic soilfree potting mediums. It has the water retention of vermiculite and the air retention of perlite, however, it is a completely organic medium made from ground up coconut husks Why coconut husks The coconut husk serves its seed two purposes 1. Protection from the sun and salt while floating around the oceans and 2. A hormone rich, fungus free medium to solicit germination and rooting upon landfall. Ground up and sterilized, cocopeat offers plants the perfect rooting medium and protection against root diseases and fungus infestation. Cocopeat is a completely renewable resource, unlike peat moss which is rapidly becoming depleted from overuse.

Getting started with seeds

Book all use GroRox as a growing medium and only the hydroponic planter design uses a significant quantity. We have had excellent results with both 1 rockwool cubes and loose cocofiber as a starting medium, vermiculite and pearlite work very well too. Just recently, a new starting medium was introduced that is being called soil free sponges (I'm sure a neato trade name will be soon to follow ) - we've been testing them here for FutureGarden.com and have found them to be a real winner. The sponges are made from organic compost that is molded into small squares and cone shapes using a biodegradable binder. The advantage to using these sponges are that they allow the hydroponic grower to utilize an organic medium for starting seeds and rooting cuttings without the risk of it breaking apart and falling into the reservoir like cocopeat and perlite will do. See the chapeter on hydroponic mediums for more info. Avoid using soil as it is not sterile and may contain diseases and or pests that...

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 First Line Of Defense

Tools used around the garden should be cleaned with a 10 bleach solution after every use to prevent transferring disease causing pathogens. Never share tools between indoor and outdoor gardens, and make sure you store your outdoor and indoor tools in separate areas Excessive humidity and condensation allow mold and mildew spores to flourish, so be sure to keep the air circulating quickly enough to remove excess humidity. When plants are grown too close together, moisture from transpiration can build up between leaves and provide the perfect breeding ground for molds and fungi. If you spill water (or nutrient solution) on the floor, clean it up immediately. Hard, smooth surfaces provide no cover for pests and allow the easy removal of mold and mildew. Avoid using carpets and cloth indoors, they are both excellent substrates for culturing fungi and harboring insect eggs and larvae. You may be tempted to share your indoor garden's HID lights with potted plants. Don't. The healthy indoor...

If you plan to grow indoors

Invest in an HID light (Metal Halide for leafy plants - HPS for flowering & fruiting plants). I use a 400 watt metal halide lamp with reflective hood to light nearly four gardens simultaneously and with excellent results. Since HID lights aren't exactly cheap, you may choose to substitute high output fluorescents instead, but in the long run, you'll get more light output and certainly more yield with an HID lamp. Either way you grow, try to get at least 20 watts per square foot of garden for best results. I prefer 30-40 watts per square foot of garden as the extra light makes a BIG difference. On the following page I briefly describe each system you can build. I recommended the lamp sizes based on the growing area of each respective garden. If you were to illuminate more than one garden at a time, you can use this simple formula to determine your lighting requirements. Multiply your growing area width by its length and the result by 20-40 watts (depending on crop) - the result is...

Making clones of your favorite plant

Select a healthy growing tip from a plant you wish to clone. The tip should be approximately 3-6 long and include no more than three sets of leaves including the tip. Using a sterile razor, sever the tip and immediately place into a room temperature bath of dilute nutrient solution or prepared cloning solution such as Olivia's. Saturate a rockwool cube, some cocofiber vermiculite or one of the new soil free sponges with the cloning solution or 1 2 strength nutrient if you are using a cloning gel or powder (powder shown at right).

Theory of operation

Hydroponic Gardening With Pvc Pipe

The rapid cropping systems that have evolved from simple PVC piping are truly unique and exceptional hydroponic gardens. Extremely cost effective and durable, they are the leading means of high yield rapid cropping using hydroponics. The systems operate by circulating a deep flow of nutrient solution within the PVC pipes whereby the plants are suspended in baskets which protrude into the PVC pipes at specific spacing (depending upon crop type) and the roots grow down into the circulating nutrient below. Either four or six inch diameter PVC pipe can be used depending upon crop type and budgetary constraints.

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 chemical and biological balances within the nutrient solution, which in turn harms the root system. Warm, stagnant water holds little dissolved oxygen, making it an ideal breeding ground for anaerobic bacteria, many of which (Fusarium, Pythium) cause crop failure as they take up home in the fragile root system and proliferate. The foul smells associated with warm stagnant water (sewers, swamps) is caused by these bad bacteria. Methane gas (swamp gas) is a highly flammable natural gas that is...

Approaching Prospective Customers

Backyard Hydroponics

Realistically supply a smaller operation a lot easier than a large market. Start small but always think big. You will want to speak to the owner or buyer, so identify who they are and then approach them by simply introducing yourself with your name and telling them that you would like just a moment of their time to discuss your gourmet produce. Make sure you always have a sample with you (freshly chilled from your cooler). By putting the product directly in front of the customer, you can let your product do most of the talking, especially if you are a little nervous at first. Explain how you grow in a pure environment that is completely free of chemical pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. Let them know your crop is so healthy because it is fed the finest hydroponic nutrients and purest water. Assure them that you are (most likely) just down the road, and you can deliver frequently. Once you have established contact, here's the most important part of your business presentation If at...

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 town which will usually ask your closest neighbors if they object. For this reason, I visited my neighbors before breaking ground to fill them in on my plans. Needless to say, I wound up with several additional mouths to feed. Little did they know I'd be feeding them anyway. After all, it's a hydroponic greenhouse

Investigate Your Local Market

Hydroponic Growing Systems Aerospring

Product quality is, by far, the most important consideration that will determine your business success. If you are growing hydroponically, you are already ahead of the game. However, you will certainly want to perfect your method before considering entering commercial markets. If you are totally new to hydroponics and gardening, take a few months developing your green thumb, because once you go commercial you will be counted upon to consistently deliver quality produce on time. Another important factor in your success is product packaging. After you have perfected your crop and production techniques, you should turn your concentration to packaging. You will certainly want to use a visually appealing package for your product. Most commercial product is packaged in screen printed plastic bags with colorful logos. Since you are just starting out, and probably cannot afford that added expense, try inexpensive yet attractive packaging methods such as using a clear zip lock type of plastic...

Supercharge Your Garden With CO

As your plants breathe CO2 and exhale O2, the balance of these two critical gases begins to shift. In nature, this exchange fits in perfectly as animals breathe in O2 and exhale out CO2. Of course, a perfect world this is not. Modern industry and the burning of fossil fuels has somewhat unbalanced this effect. However, in your greenhouse or grow room, you will need to help your plants breathe by supplying a constant exchange of fresh air, which by nature contains about 2 CO2. If you have already employed a thermostat and humidistat in combination with a vent fan, there is a good possibility that these two mechanisms will provide a good exchange of fresh air. However, if your fan is not operating frequently enough, you may be starving your plants of their most important atmospheric gas, CO2.

The nutrient solution

Compare the measure of a plants health to the strength of a chain, it too is only as strong as its weakest link. To insure that your 'chain' is strong, it is very important to make sure all the links are in place, and in good supply. Proper concentration of nutrients within the solution is critical, as hydroponically grown plants are completely dependant upon it for food and different plants have varying nutrient requirements. Most commercially available hydroponic nutrients now come with instructions for mixing solutions specific to plant types, stages of growth and growing conditions. There is a great number of commercially available nutrients on the market which makes getting started in hydroponics easy for the beginner not looking to make their own nutrients. When selecting a nutrient to use with your garden, there are a few things you need to look for. The most important factor is that the nutrient be designed SPECIFICALLY FOR HYDROPONIC application. Using a supplemental...

Product quality considerations

Quality is by far the most important consideration that will determine your success. If you are growing hydroponi-cally, you are already ahead of the game. However, you will certainly want to perfect your method before considering commercial success. If you are totally new to hydroponics and gardening, take a few months getting your green thumb cause once you go commercial, you will be counted upon to deliver quality produce on time. these fine herbs were grown locally in a soilfree garden with the finest nutrients and purest water which adds to their flavor and keeps them free from toxins.

The organic composition of plants

To develop a strong understanding of hydroponics, we must first review the organic composition of plants. The molecule is the smallest recognizable assembly of atoms that can be identified as being a specific element. Common elements are Hydrogen - Oxygen - Gold - Silver etc All organic matter on Earth is comprised of at least four basic elements. In fact, the scientific qualification for labelling matter organic is that it must be comprised of the following elements Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen and Nitrogen. Over 90 of a plant's dry weight is comprised of these four organic elements. The interesting thing is that while many claim that plants grown hydroponically are not organic, ANYTHING THAT CAN GROW IS ORGANIC The atmosphere of our planet is comprised of approximately 78 Nitrogen, 20 Oxygen and 2 Carbon dioxide, in addition to a small percentage of inert gases. Carbon dioxide is known as a compound since it is a combination of one Carbon molecule and two Oxygen molecules. Most elements...

Starting Up Seeds Transplants and Cuttings

For many people, a great deal of satisfaction will be gained from building a hydroponic system. For others, the interest and delight will centre around the actual planting and growing. Both groups are interested in good harvests. This chapter deals with starting up your system, whether built or bought, using seeds, transplants and cuttings. In hydroponics, anything will grow exotics coconut palms, vanilla, ginger and nutmeg houseplants roses, carnations and zinnias as well as edible plants tomatoes, celery and basil. The choice is yours, and the only limitation is the depth ofthe medium for some root vegetables. You can grow flowers for cutting, house plants for decora-t ion, or, best of all, vegetables and herbs to improve your meals.

Water the basis of life

Hydroponics is about enriching water with the very same nutrient salts as found in nature. It is about creating and maintaining a nutrient solution that is perfectly balanced for your plants. Most hydroponic systems contain the nutrient solution and protect it from evaporating and from discharging into our environment unlike the runoff from exposed, fertilized soil. This conservative approach to water management is what makes hydroponics the method of choice in drought stricken area worldwide and as a result is rapidly becoming known as Earth Friendly Gardening.

Home Gardener

An easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide for growing healthy vegetables, herbs and house plants without soil. An Introduction to Hydroponics This could be considered a fairly accurate definition of the term hydroponics. In its more advanced stages, hydroponics can be a complex art indeed, but the purpose of this book is to describe a series of methods that will make hydroponics work for you. It will describe how to make or where to buy a hydroponic system, how to plant it, how to maintain it, how to correct common problems, and where to get supplies. Two of the greatest benefits of hydroponic gardening are the freshness and high nutritional value of the vegetables and herbs that can be grown. For these reasons, you will also find recipes from famous chefs who use hydroponically grown produce in their own kitchens. What this book will not do is give a lengthy history of the subject, or a great many personal anecdotes that do little good in helping you get results from hydroponics....

Is It Worthwhile

Gardeners love hydroponics, because almost anything can be grown and there is no back-breaking work no tilling, raking or hoeing. There are no weeds to pull, no poisonous pesticides to spray. No moles or cutworms eat your roots, and most insects leave your clean and healthy plants alone. Hydroponics is ideal for the hobbyist home-owner or apartment-dweller who doesn't have the time or space for full-time soil gardening. In late spring and summer, your portable hydroponic unit can be put outside on a porch or balcony where natural sunlight helps produce tremendous yields of anything from lettuce, to cucumbers, to zinnias. In winter, the unit can be moved anywhere inside the home, even into the basement, where your plants will flourish and continue to produce under artificial light. Plants love to grow in hydroponics, because their roots don't have to push through heavy, chunky soil to compete for nutrients. Instead, a hydroponic system distributes nutrients evenly to each plant. What's...

You Are What You

Throughout my career in hydroponics, this is the one message that has always stayed with me. I've witnessed this phrase unfold before me every time I've planted a seed and harvested a fruit. The care that goes into cultivating that plant is mirrored in what comes out of it, so feed and care for your plants well, especially if you plan to eat them If you're a computer geek like me, you may recall an old saying GIGO, which means garbage in, garbage out. Ring a bell It's also true when growing plants. So why start a book on hydroponics on an old adage Simply because it's the most fundamental lesson you will ever learn when it comes to growing, and perhaps even the quality of your own life as well. As a food factory, a plant must have an endless supply of quality raw materials for it to continue manufacturing new stem, leaf, flowers and fruit that we see as growth. If any one of the required raw materials runs out , the entire manufacturing process will be affected or even interrupted...

Humidity

The next factor you will want to control in your greenhouse or indoor garden. If the humidity is too high, your crop will suffer from rot and mold problems, as well as a tendency to overheat due to its inability to transpire moisture into the already saturated atmosphere. Humidistats control humidity in much the same manner as a thermostat controls temperature. A humidistat can be set to operate a ventilation fan once a particular level of moisture in the air is breached. Rarely when growing hydro-ponically in an enclosed area will you run into problems of too little humidity, however, if this is the case, you will either need to lower the temperature or the intensity of light so as not to dehydrate your crops. A level of 60-70 humidity is generally accepted as best for most crops. Too dry an atmosphere will cause excessive water transpiration and leave a high concentration of nutrients in your reservoir - very similar to what too high an ambient temperature or too strong a light...

Stages of growth

The final stage of the organisms lifecycle is the reproductive stage. Because the objective is now to reproduce, and thus carry on evolution, energies are directed to the manufacture of flowers, seeds, and fruit. The primary nutritional requirements begin to shift at this time from a high-N diet to a low N, high P-K diet. This is due to a considerable slow down in vegetative growth while reproduction takes place. This change prompts a switch in nutrient solutions from a vegetative formula to a flowering, or 'bloom' formula. Many hydro-ponic nutrients now come as a two part system for exactly this reason. In some plants, reproduction is triggered by a change in the length of daylight, this characteristic is called photoperiodism. It is this characteristic which governs when these plants may be sown and harvested if growing outdoors. Indoors, be sure to provide the proper photoperiod for your crop or they may never fully develop. Changing the length of artificial daylight can trick the...

Pruning

When growing indoors, do not allow the top of the plant to get too far away from the root system. Almost every plant will grow larger in hydroponics than in soil, because the plants are getting a full measure of nutrients, air and water. Bush or Tiny Tim tomatoes are the only kinds you should grow indoors, and you should be sure to pinch off the tops when the plants reach a height of about 2-1 2 feet. Cucumbers, on the other hand, should be pinched off after seven sets of leaves. Pinching off in this way makes the plants more manageable under your lights and keeps the energy requirements close to the root system.

Ein Gedi System

First developed in Ein Gedi Israel, hence the name, the Ein Gedi System (EGS) introduced a revolutionary new method to hydroponics. The system is comprised of fully enclosed rectangular growth chambers. Inside each container, nutrient solution is circulated 1-6 inches below evenly spaced mesh baskets that contain the plants. The air gap between the baskets and the solution is misted by sprayers residing along the upper inside edge of the chamber. Roots growing into the mist zone are subjected to intense oxygenation, resulting in vigorous development. Once the roots grow through the mist zone, they are greeted by a circulating bath of oxygenated nutrient solution that eliminates the problem of stagnation commonly associated with NFT. The EGS provides a quick and efficient method for developing seedlings and cuttings into large, healthy plants. The PVC systems I'll show you how to build later use this technique.

Current Research

Hydroponics Disney Misting

At the Environmental Research Laboratory (ERL) at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Dr. Carl Hodges and Dr. Merle Jensen, in conjunction with Walt Disney Productions, have developed new concepts for presenting hydroponic technologies to the public as entertainment to enhance learning. The ERL helped create Listen to The Land and Tomorrow's Harvest, which are now major facilities at Epcot Center near Orlando, Florida. While many currently believe the practice of hydroponics is futuristic, as we have seen, the way of the future has been through a long history that can be traced back to man's first attempts at agriculture. Another point worth mentioning is that while the term hydroponics describes the specific method of cultivating plants in water, more often the term is being used to describe a mindset whereby all aspects of the cultivation process are carefully monitored and adjusted to provide the optimum growing environment. With its extensive scientific resources, there is no...

Coconut Coir

My favorite loose growing medium is coconut coir, otherwise known by trade names like Ultrapeat, Cocopeat and Coco-tek. Coco coir represents a major step forward in organic soilfree growing mediums. It combines the water retention of vermiculite with the air retention of perlite, however it is a completely organic medium made from shredded coconut husks. Why coconut husks The coconut husk serves its seed two purposes (1) protection from sun and salt while floating in the ocean (2) a hormone-rich and fungus free medium to speed germination and rooting upon landfall. Finely shredded and steam sterilized, coconut coir offers plants an ideal rooting medium that also offers protection against root diseases and fungus. And unlike peat moss, which is rapidly becoming depleted from overuse, coir is a completely renewable resource. You can now find several variations of coir on the market. The most popular is the compressed briquette format, which requires soaking in a gallon of water before...

Conclusion

Hydroponics is rapidly gaining momentum and popularity as the best way to cultivate everything from flowers and food to medicine. In Europe, hydroponics is now widely accepted by consumers and is quickly catching on in other countries around the world. By now you should be well on your way to harvesting your first crop of hydroponic produce. I hope that I have answered all of your questions, and I have provided you with a strong understanding of the hydroponic method. Please feel free to email me with any comments suggestions and mistakes I may have missed so I can make the necessary corrections. Since the Hydroponic industry is still rather small, and there aren't many local shops at which to purchase supplies, we've established an on-line garden store that specializes in hydroponic garden supplies and even prefabricated gardens for those of you who can't wait to get started In cooperation with some of the best companies in the industry, we are constantly striving to include a...

Cleaning Your System

Cleanliness is a must around, as well as in the system. Remove dead leaves before they rot, for this is an ideal place for fungus infection. Keep a close watch for red spider and white fly infestations. They are the two greatest insect problems in hydroponics. Insecticides will be discussed in detail later in the next chapter, but if you do use one, make sure it isn't the same brand all the time. Insects build up a resistance to one kind of insecticide very quickly. Also, try a little preventative spraying.

Vertical Gardening

Vertigro Hydroponics

This is another interesting application of aeroponics. It was invented by Vertigro and represents a great way of saving greenhouse space. The system functions much in the same fashion as an aeroponic system except it shares a drain pipe with as many units as required. See the black hoses below growing cylinders. Vertigro provided the systems pictured here for Disney's Epcot Center in Florida. As you can see, hydroponic system design represents equal opportunity for a challenge and progress. If you can master the basic skills of plumbing, which can be picked up best by DOING, you can have lots of fun experimenting and improving upon the hydroponic systems in use today. In a later section of this book you will learn how to build your own hydroponic and aeroponic systems that employ these advanced techniques.

The Perfect Medium

Gravel Landscaping

Pictured from left to right are the most commonly used loose mediums for hydroponics Coconut Coir, Agricultural Grade Perlite, Expanded Clay Pellets and Common Pea Gravel. Each of these mediums may be used alone or in combination with each other to enhance performance. For instance, Coco Coir is commonly mixed 50 50 with an equal volume of Perlite to provide a higher air holding ratio then Coir alone. Pictured from left to right are the most commonly used loose mediums for hydroponics Coconut Coir, Agricultural Grade Perlite, Expanded Clay Pellets and Common Pea Gravel. Each of these mediums may be used alone or in combination with each other to enhance performance. For instance, Coco Coir is commonly mixed 50 50 with an equal volume of Perlite to provide a higher air holding ratio then Coir alone.

The PVC Pipe Gardens

Pipe Gardens

These designs were inspired by the many commercially available hydroponic gardens that utilize PVC pipe as a main design component. PVC pipe is relatively inexpensive, easy to work with and extremely durable. These designs allow easy expansion owing to their popularity among commercial growers and family farmers. Perfect for producing large harvests of rapidly growing crops such as salad greens, culinary and medicinal herbs and decorative flowers. This garden requires a bit more skill and some power tools to complete. There is the option to build it with either four inch or six inch diameter PVC according to intended use. Indoors use with 250-1500W MH or HPS light for best results when sunlight isn't available.

The Autopot

Vertical Garden Planters Pvc Pipe

If Tomatoes could talk, what do you think they'd have to say about Jim Fah's incredible Autopot Picture taken Elmac Hydroponics in Queensland, Australia - courtesy Jim Fah. If Tomatoes could talk, what do you think they'd have to say about Jim Fah's incredible Autopot Picture taken Elmac Hydroponics in Queensland, Australia - courtesy Jim Fah. Invented by Jim Fah, the Autopot is a gravity-fed hydroponic system that delivers just the right amount of nutrient and water to each plant, automatically. To do this, the Autopot relies on a patented device called the Smart-valve . While there are several configurations of planters and gardens that employ the Smart-valve, my favorite is a double tray planter that uses two 10 round pots nestled in a recessed tray that houses the Smart-valve. This method of hydroponics is called sub-irrigation and it has many important benefits over other technologies. What I have found to be the foremost benefit of the Autopot is that nutrient management is a...

Plant Nutrition

Backyard Hydroponics

To develop a solid fundamental understanding of hydroponics, we must first review the organic composition of plants. And in order to do this, we must understand what elements are, and how they are used by living organisms for life processes. The molecule is the smallest recognizable assembly of atoms that can be identified as a specific element. Some common elements you have no doubt heard of include Hydrogen, Oxygen, Gold and Silver. All organic matter on Earth is comprised of at least four basic elements. In fact, the scientific qualification for labeling matter organic is that it must be comprised of the following elements Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen and Nitrogen. Over 90 of a plant's dry weight is comprised of these four organic elements. The interesting thing is that while many claim plants grown hydroponically are not organic, by definition, everything that grows is organic Plants live in the earth's atmosphere, which is comprised of approximately 78 Nitrogen, 20 Oxygen and 2...

Seed Terms

Hydroponic Aloe Vera

The Aloe Vera plant produces plantlets in a radial fashion around the mother plant. Each of these plantlets can be replanted and in turn will produce even more aloe plants in time. Because of Aloe's proven benefits to human skin, there is a lot of commercial interest in hydroponic production of Aloe Vera. The Aloe Vera plant produces plantlets in a radial fashion around the mother plant. Each of these plantlets can be replanted and in turn will produce even more aloe plants in time. Because of Aloe's proven benefits to human skin, there is a lot of commercial interest in hydroponic production of Aloe Vera. hydroponically as well. It may grow twice as fast and yield three times the weight, but if flavor is your fancy, you won't be happy. Fortunately, finding top quality seed isn't difficult, and with a little research you can find the varieties that will give you exactly what you want out of your hydroponic garden. In fact, you may already have the particular strain on hand, or growing...

Rockwool

Hydroponic Strawberries

Rockwool is made from molten rock that is spun into long, glass-like fibers. These fibers are then compressed into bricks and cubes, or sold loose as flock. Rockwool has long been used to insulate buildings as an alternative to fiberglass, and has been a mainstay in commercial hydroponics for the last twenty years. It readily absorbs water and has decent drainage properties, which is why it is used widely as a starting medium for seeds and a rooting medium for cuttings. In my opinion, the premiere benefit of rockwool is its sterility from pathogens and just about anything else that could contaminate a hydroponic system. Some of the world's largest hydroponic greenhouses use rockwool slabs to raise numerous varieties of plants to full maturity, and they often reuse the rockwool slabs many times by steam sterilizing the slabs between crops. Lately I have noticed a decline in the use of rockwool by the hydroponics hobbyist. From what I have observed, this may be due to a wider sense of...

Selecting Your Seeds

Herbs And Spices

Be sure to ask for seed varieties especially suited for home growing. Commercial seed varieties have been bred for toughness and long shelf life in the supermarket at the expense of fragrance and flavour. You can plant more fragile, and more tasty, vegetable and herb varieties in your hydroponic garden. Because very few seeds have been developed specifically for hydroponics, there are some hints to keep in mind. As an indoor home grower, you are better off with a bush or patio tomato, rather than a vine type, because of the unwieldy height the vines may grow to. Self-polli' nating cucumbers are the easiest to use indoors, but if you take your garden outdoors, the self-pollinating cukes will be pollinated by insects and grow deformed. Leaf lettuce will yield a high volume of leaves in a few weeks, while head lettuce takes a bit longer. If you decide to use head lettuce, why not treat it as leaf lettuce and simply pick the leaves fresh for your salads. Boston and Buttercrunch are two...

Duration Photoperiod

Single Truss Tomato Production

Tomatoes in the middle of winter made possible with the hydroponic method and a little artificial light. These six Matusalah variety tomato plants yielded 39 handball sized fruit, adding up to almost 8 pounds of tomatoes Not bad for a spare closet The plants were grown under a 400W MH lamp until they set their first truss of fruit. At that point, the lamp was changed to a high pressure sodium conversion and all growing tips were pruned to prevent the plants from outgrowing the space. I learned of this method (called STTP for Single Truss Tomato Production) at the Rutgers University website, however, in checking back recently it seems to have been removed. Do a Google search for more info Tomatoes in the middle of winter made possible with the hydroponic method and a little artificial light. These six Matusalah variety tomato plants yielded 39 handball sized fruit, adding up to almost 8 pounds of tomatoes Not bad for a spare closet The plants were grown under a 400W MH lamp until they...

Perfect Starts

Perfect Starts Hydroponoc

The latest breakthrough in growing mediums is the molded starter sponge made from organic compost and a flexible, biodegradable polymer binder. Available in several shapes and sizes, these innovative growing sponges solve the main problem growers face when wanting to use an organic medium in a hydroponic system. Namely, they do not fall apart or crumble during transplanting which serves to prevent damage to delicate roots. This is a significant advantage, because root damage that occurs during transplant is the leading cause of transplant shock. The starting sponges exhibit a perfect air to water holding ratio, and when used in conjunction with their plastic tray inserts, will guide roots to grow directly downward instead of spiraling, as is the case in many other types of starting trays. Since the plugs don't crumble, or break apart and clog delicate sprayers, Perfect Starts perform well in all types of hydroponic systems.

The Stages Of Growth

Hydroponic Sand

A plant's life cycle begins with germination, usually recognized by the above-ground appearance of a growing shoot. Mated to this shoot are two small, round leaves known as cotyledons (see photo at right). As these leaves begin manufacturing food, the plant enters its seedling stage of growth. During this time, the plant develops its first set of true leaves, resembling those of the mature plant and the primary formation of a root system begins. The root development that takes place at this time is key to the rate at which the plant will continue to grow. Providing the proper environment for the roots will ensure that your crop will have a chance to flourish. As I have said before, the main advantage of hydroponic systems is how they maintain optimal root health Once the root system can support further growth, the vegetative stage begins. Because growth during this period is primarily focused on stem, branch (also referred to as frame) and foliage, plants need large amounts of...

Gro Dan Rockwool

Rockwool has a good water to air capacity and is widely used as a starting medium for seeds and a rooting medium for cuttings. Some of the world's largest hydroponic greenhouses use rockwool slabs to raise all sorts of fully mature plants. The mixed green seedlings at right were planted in cocopeat in easy to handle flats. When these seedlings harden off, they will be transplated to their new homes in soilfree gardens. The transplantation process for seedlings raised in cocopeat is as simple as shaking or rinsing the loose cocopeat from the plant and inserting them into whatever will support them in their new home. This hydroponic system is truly soilfree. The Aeroflo series by General Hydroponics can accept seedlings or starts grown in any of the mediums featured in this chapter. You'll learn how to make these systems yourself in the back of this book.

Nutrients

While you are deciding whether to build or buy a home hydroponic unit, it would be a good idea to do a little studying about nutrients. No matter what kind of system you choose, nutrients will be an integral part of your success, because your plants must be constantly supplied with food. Using the formulae given in this chapter, you will be able to mix your own nutrients in either large or small amounts. As in Chapter 2, however, I recommend that the novice begin with a commercially available, pre-mixed nutrient at least until a feel for hydroponics has been developed. Nature does a lot of the work in soil gardening, although often not perfectly, or farmers would not have to use fertilizers. Almost all soil has some nutrients in it, but when you are growing hydroponically, you are taking over from nature, and in many instances it is possible for you to improve the quality of nutrients supplied. and unless you are growing in extensive hydroponic gardens such quantities make the whole...

How Plants Grow

The value and effect of certain chemicals and manures on plant growth took on new meaning. The field experiments conducted by Lawes and Gilbert at Rothamsted (England) led to the concept that substances other than the soil itself can influence plant growth. About this time, water experiments by Knop and other plant physiologists (a history of how the hydroponic concept was conceived is given by Steiner 1985 ) showed conclusively that K, Mg, Ca, Fe, and P, along with S, C, N, H, and O, are all necessary for plant life. It is interesting to observe that the formula devised by Knop for growing plants in a nutrient solution can still be used successfully today in most hydroponic systems (Table 2.1). The science of plant nutrition is attracting considerable attention today as plant physiologists determine how plants utilize the essential elements. In addition, the characteristics of plants can now be genetically manipulated by adding and or removing traits that alter the ability of the...

Perlite

Perlite has been around longer than any other soilfree growing medium. Made from air-puffed glass pellets, and nearly as light as air, perlite has excellent oxygen retention. Its ability to retain oxygen is the main reason it is used as a supplement in soil and soilfree mixes. The main drawback of perlite is its lightweight consistency, which makes it easy to get washed away. This drawback makes perlite an inappropriate medium in flood and flush type hydroponic systems or those that would be subjected to strong wind and rains if situated outdoors.

Ready Made Nutrients

If you have a very small hydroponic unit, whether homemade or bought, you may not feel that you wish to go to all the bother of making your own nutrients. If this is so, it is quite easy to obtain commercial nutrients in from one to twenty-five pound containers. Ordinarily, the novice hydroponic gardener knows relatively little of chemistry. Using a pre-mixed nutrient is the most straightforward way of assuring that your plants get a balanced diet. There are good hydroponic nutrients on the market that have all the necessary trace elements. They can be bought at many large nurseries and plant stores or from some of the suppliers listed at the back of this book. If it becomes necessary to adjust your nutrient at some point, it is certainly easier for the grower who lacks chemical knowledge to be using an identifiable ready-made nutrient. When purchasing commercial hydroponic nutrient, its quality is identified with three digits separated by hyphens, such as 20-20-20. These numbers...

Formula Adjustments

Hydroponic Nutrient Formula

Whether yours is a homemade or a commercial nutrient, there will be times when adjustments are necessary. Formula adjustments are probably the trickiest part of hydroponics, and caution should be used at all times or you could destroy your entire crop in a matter of days. A large-scale commercial grower will analyze the leaf tissue of his plants every few days and make adjustments as necessary. Because this requires a great deal of knowledge, time and money for equipment, it is impractical for the modest home grower. In fact, it needn't be all that important in a home system where you are experimenting with hydroponics, raising relatively small crops and changing your nutrient solution every three to four weeks. If you spend ten to fifteen minutes a day with your system, you will find that in a few months you will be able to read the signals given by your plants and be ready to make necessary changes to the nutrient. Like anything else that's worthwhile, tuning in to your plants takes...

Growing Soilless

Growing Soilless

This is an easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide to growing organic, healthy vegetable, herbs and house plants without soil. Clearly illustrated with black and white line drawings, the book covers every aspect of home hydroponic gardening.

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