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Tips When Growing You have planned carefully so that you will be planting tomatoes after the last frost, but there's always the possibility of a rogue cold snap. Frost will kill tomatoes, so you will want to be prepared ahead of time in case you should need to act. The simplest manner of frost protection for tomatoes growing is a cold frame. At its most simple, it is just some wooden stakes wrapped with a plastic sheet that covers the tomatoes growing in the garden, essentially a miniature greenhouse. There should be a flap on the sheet that you can open if it starts to get too warm inside, and you will want to secure it against being blown off by strong winds. You can make a more elaborate cold frame from old windows and hay bales or a wooden framework. Commercially made cold frames are available at nursery supply shops. Using a cold frame also means that you can strategically plant earlier, closer to the last frost date. As you are thinking about when to grow tomato plants, and as you get more confident about how to grow tomato's, you may wish to start doing this in order to get earlier harvests. Second to sunlight in terms of importance to your success while growing tomatoes is watering. Roughly, tomato plants need about 5 cm of water per week. Water brings, among other things, essential calcium to the roots and a deficiency of that mineral can lead to blossom end rot.

By Alan Searing 6

Tomatoes and Looking After Them Because they are so susceptible to fungus disease, the foliage and stems of tomato plants should be kept as dry as possible.

While disruptions of the surface of the soil or mulch may not be as serious, they can still have an impact on the robustness of the root balls of your plants and is not worth the risk.

On the other hand, as we have seen, the soil must be kept moist, throughout the root system, to keep the tomatoes thriving. You must therefore be careful when watering, whether you are doing so by hand or using an irrigation system, to establish the right balance of water.

If you are watering by hand, take care to keep the stream as gentle as you can, and water at ground level. Don't panic if you do get a bit of water on the plant. Water early in the day so any water that does get on them will dry before nightfall.

Among the best solutions is to use a soaking hose system. This is a hose which is porous, or has holes placed along its sides, placed on top of the soil, which leaks water gently. A similar apparatus is a drip irrigation system.

If you live in an area that receives a large amount of summer rain, you may be able to water less often. You will, in any case, wish to be cautious to guard against overwatering. If the soil is too sodden, the roots won't be able to get the oxygen they need. Too much water and fertilizer can also lead to cracked fruit.

If you plan to grow tomatoes every year, either type is a good investment. Either can also be used to water in raised beds or containers. If you are growing in containers, you may need to water more often because water will evaporate from the sides of your containers as well as at the soil surface. A conventional lawn sprinkler system or anything that distributes water at high pressure is not good for tomato cultivation. The tendency for leaves and stems to be splattered with water and potentially disease bearing soil is increased.


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Tips When Growing Tomatoes.... Knowing your soil type will be useful in helping you learn how often to water. On average, you will most likely water twice a week. Sandy soil drains more quickly, so more frequent watering may be needed. Take a sample of your soil to your local nursery to find out what kind it is, if you don't know. A soil moisture monitoring probe is a useful tool to help you evaluate and adjust your watering scheme when you grow tomato plants. It is inexpensive and easy to use.

Nitrogen helps leaves to grow lush and green. Too much can result in the overgrowth of leaves at the expense of fruit bearing. Phosphorus promotes healthy roots. Potassium, also called potash, supports the development of flowers and fruit. Fruit that is too soft with poor skin condition can be the result of an overbalance of potassium. Fertilizer granules should be covered with soil so that the nutrients penetrate better. They have the advantage of being longer lasting so you need to put them down less often.

Just like people, plants are most healthy when they get the right amounts of the right kind of food. For tomatoes nutrition is obtained from the soil and mulch, and through fertilizer that you provide.

Liquid fertilizers are mixed with water, so they are more convenient, but you will need to apply more often.

There are many fertilizers available that are marketed for growing tomatoes.

A newer development is foliar fertilizers, which are sprayed directly on to the leaves. That needs to be done early in the day, before noon, when the leaves are most porous.

They need Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium (abbreviated as N, P, and K). You will see both chemical and organic fertilizers. The organic type is best for tomatoes. If you have access to compost, that works well. Just toss some on top of the soil every two weeks.

A soil test kit will enable you to keep track of the amounts of N, P, and K as well as pH. Test every week or so to make sure that there isn't too much or too little of anything.

To help the young tomato grow, the ratio should be equal. 6:6:6 and 10:10:10 are commonly found. Older plants, especially once they have started to flower, benefit from more phosphorus, such as 5:10:5.

Fertilizer may be applied either by sidedressing or top-dressing. For side dressing, dig gently around the plant to a depth of about one cm and put down the fertilizer.


Tomatoes and Looking After Them.... Top-dressing is when the fertilizer is spread across the top of the soil. Compost is typically top dressed, while granules are best side-dressed. In addition to standard NPK fertilizer, there are some other things you can do that will help your plants to grow their best. When plants are flowering, adding a calcium source, such as gypsum, to protect against blossom- end rot of the fruit. A fish emulsion solution is excellent for providing supplementary nutrients. The foliar fertilizer sprays are usually composed of fish emulsion. It can be given once a week until flowers appear and thereafter every three weeks. Not all insects are out to ruin your hard work by harming your tomato plants. In fact, most of them are neutral or beneficial. Still, there are a few key pests that you will want to watch out for.

Aphids are well known to any gardener. In small numbers, they won't do much damage, but in large numbers they can kill plants. Tomato Hornworms are large, green caterpillars with white stripes. They can grow longer than 7 cm, but have very good camouflage so you may not notice them at first. If there are only a few, you can just pluck them off. Some species of parasitic wasps lay their eggs on tomato hornworms, killing them. If you see a hornworm with eggs on it, you don't need to do anything as it is already dying. Cutworms are active after dark. They are particularly devastating to young plants, which they can kill in a single night. You can protect your seedlings by placing 10 cm wide collars of cardboard or aluminium foil around them, sunken two cm into the ground. Both the larvae and adult stages of flea beetles eat tomato plants. The adults chew holes in the leaves and the larvae feed on the roots. Diatomaceous earth is helpful in controlling the adults. Mixing beneficial species of nematodes into the soil controls the larvae. There are other species of nematodes that are destructive to tomato plants. Called root-knot nematodes, they live in the soil and invade the roots, hampering their ability to take up nutrients. They tend to occur in warmer climates with shorter winters, where the soil conditions remain more hospitable. They are difficult to control. Because it takes them several seasons to really establish in the soil, you may be suddenly taken by surprise. One method for controlling nematodes is to plant a different crop in the area the next year, one that is not susceptible to them, essentially starving them out. Another option is to add earthworms, beneficial nematodes, and friendly bacteria to the soil, mixing well, to bring the soil back into balance.


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Tips When Growing Tomatoes.... Whiteflies present a double threat. They feed directly on the juices of tomato plants, and the sticky substance they leave behind can attract sooty mould spores.

Furthermore, you don't want to risk any pesticide residues ending up in the tomato fruit that you are going to eat. If you have a serious pest problem, there are some safer pesticide options.

Whiteflies are resistant to most conventional pesticides.

Biologically derived pesticides like Bacillus thuringiensis or Bt, rotenone, spinosad, and pyrethrin are effective and gentler.

Sticky traps can be used to capture some types of insects, such as flea beetles and whiteflies. Introducing natural predators, like ladybird beetles and lacewings, into the garden helps with control of aphids and other pests.

Always read labels for precautions and follow directions exactly, using the smallest amount you can to control the problem.

The use of chemical pesticides is highly discouraged.

You can buy or make insecticidal soap, which is effective primarily against soft bodied insects. The potassium fatty acids in the soap physically disrupt the body cells of the insects, killing them. Insecticidal soap is relatively safe. Some plants are more sensitive to burning, but tomatoes are not particularly affected.

They are indiscriminate, killing good and neutral insects as well as pests. Disrupting the natural balance of your garden can have a snowball effect. The plants themselves may be adversely affected by chemical controls.


Tomatoes and Looking After Them.... Smaller tomatoes varieties and those with shallow root systems can be grown in hanging baskets.

When it comes to tomato plant growing, planting them in the right location is potentially the most important factor in determining your ultimate success.

Some examples of appropriate heirloom tomatoes are Baxter's Early Bush Cherry and Whippersnapper. Hybrids include Floragold Basket, Florida Basket, Micro Tom and Tumbling Tom.

These heat loving plants grow best with at least six hours of full sun daily. You will get higher yields and your plants will be more resistant to disease with the more sun they get. It is worth your time to actually time how long an area gets sun to be sure you don't end up cheating your tomatoes of light.

A 30 to 35 cm diameter wire basket is the best choice, but any deep hanging basket will work. Line the basket with peat moss or coir fibre and fill it with a quality potting mix developed for tomatoes. Plant one seedling per basket. At the end of the season, the liner and soil should be discarded as it they can hold diseases. A recent trend has developed for growing tomatoes upside down. This is essentially a hanging pot with a large hole in the bottom, through which the tomato plant grows. Many people have found that they really enjoy this method. It is good for those with limited space, and doesn't require as much labour. There is no worry about soil-borne diseases and pests, which is true of all container gardening. There are disadvantages as well. The planter can be quite heavy, especially once the plant has grown large, so the hardware to support it wherever it is hanging must be strong.

Watering and soil nutrients you can adjust, but - unless you are growing indoors with a grow light - you cannot control the amount of light that your tomatoes get, except by selecting the sunniest spot to plant them. This may also influence your decision whether or not to grow in containers. Your location possibilities may constrain you when it comes to the number of plants and types of tomatoes that you will be able to grow. When planning your tomato garden, look at your potential locations first. Because tomatoes tend to be susceptible to soil borne diseases, especially fungal ones, there is a conventional wisdom that they should be planted in a different area each year, rotating through a three year cycle. Obviously, this is not always possible, but it should enter into your thoughts as you are planning your garden. Another consideration is that you will want to choose a spot to grow tomato plants that makes it easy and convenient to water. Many gardeners use a drip system or a soaker hose for irrigation. If you are going to be watering by hand, make sure that you have plenty of room to lay down an even amount of water around each tomato plant.

If it is hanging from an overhang that can significantly reduce the amount of full sun that the growing plant is able to get when it is smaller. Even the planter itself will cast shade over the tomato. As with upright hanging baskets only the smaller varietals are appropriate for growing upside down. Upside down tomato pots and whole kits can be purchased, or you can make your own pot fairly easily.

Posted by Alan Searing who is Managing Director of Online Express Limited Courtesy of email Article Source:



How to Grow Indoor Plants By Barbara Volkov

Indoor plants, or if you prefer, houseplants not only add a little more life to the inside of your home but keep those gardening skills going during the winter. Your indoor plants need care just as the plants out in your garden during the spring and summer. Caring for houseplants will also help the winter go by much faster. There are some advantages to having an indoor garden. One beneficial advantage is houseplants provide clean air to the environment; indoor plants and flowers consume the carbon dioxide we exhale and then send out oxygen for breathing. Houseplants have a tendency to give us more creative decorating ideas around the house and indoor gardening can be a relaxing hobby especially during the winter months. There are several types of plants you can grow indoors including tropical houseplants. Some of the plants that are growing in your backyard will make wonderful houseplants. Begin by planting some of those outdoor plants in containers with a good potting soil during the early days of summer and leave them on your patio or deck so they will become established in their pots before you bring them indoors. The best time to bring them inside is during fall before the first frost. Remember, the environment inside the house will be much different from an outdoor garden. Your house will be darker, cooler and a bit drier so some of those plants may end up growing slower or even become dormant. Outdoor plants that you brought in to grow as indoor plants will now have different needs and not require as much attention. You could kill a plant if you give it something it really does not need but they are still going to need the proper containers, temperature, light, humidity, water, nutrients, soil, and of course time for growing. Porous containers, such as clay, allow air and moisture to pass through them. Plastic containers are lighter but need to have holes in the bottom for eliminating the extra moisture. 15


How to Grow Indoor Plants.... All plants need to have plenty of room to grow; if your plant seems to be struggling or you begin to see roots creeping out, it is time for a larger container. Most indoor plants prefer the daytime temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees but during the night they prefer between 60 and 65 degrees. They do not like drafts but like to be placed in sunny windows during the day; during the nighttime hours in winter they should be removed from those windows that were giving them sunshine, that frigid air will be too much for them to handle. Most varieties of houseplants do need as much sunlight because they are bred to thrive in shade or indirect sunlight. The outdoor plants that you are now growing as indoor plants are going to need that extra light. West facing and South facing windows will supply the best light, but if your plants are not getting enough they will let you know by leaning toward the sunlight. If you do not have enough sunny windows for your plants you can use garden grow lights placed about 6 inches above them. In regards to watering, you need to keep the soil in your containers moist, never wet. Once you learn about the needs of your specific plants you will find out when to water them. In general give them enough water so it starts to drain out the bottom; this helps remove extra fertilizer that is in the soil. After each soaking allow the soil to completely dry out before watering again. You can spray-mist your plants for added humidity or use a damp cloth to wipe their leaves a couple times a month. The soil you use needs to be well balanced and the pH level should be slightly acidic. It also needs to contain a good blend of nutrients for indoor plants and contain peat moss, vermiculite, and fertilizer for drainage and moisture retention. Fertilizers keep the soil supplied with nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous. But since the plants are now growing at a slower pace and use up a smaller amount of nutrients, they do not need fertilizers very often; if the nutrients become excessive they could damage the plants. These indoor plants are now growing at a slower pace and it will take them longer to produce flowers or fruit. If this is your first time growing indoor plants do not worry, you just need a little extra time to take care of them. Barbara has enjoyed growing indoor plants for many years along with her backyard garden. She has written several articles for her website Gardeners Garden Supplies regarding plants, gardening and accessories and would like to share them with you. Article Source:




House Plants

By Danny Mitchell Ashton


1. Chrysanthemums have been shown to remove the dangerous compound benzene from the air. Keep in mind that chrysanthemum is poisonous when ingested or when it comes into prolonged skin contact. 2. Aloe vera is a plant that plenty of households already have in their kitchen window due to their ability to effectively cool cooking burns. It is also quite effective at eliminating formaldehyde from the air. 3. Boston ferns are the most effective houseplants for removing formaldehyde. They're also good for soil, removing heavy metals like mercury and arsenic. This very common houseplant is not only beautiful, but healthy as well! 4. Areca palm trees are the best overall air purifying plant out there, according to studies by no less a scientific body than NASA. It's also a terrific air humidifier. In fact, it's such a great humidifier, it can eliminate the need for an electric one in the room where it lives. 5. Rubber plants provide moisture, get rid of bio effluents and volatile organic compounds, and even suppress airborne microorganisms. And the best part is its cleansing properties actually improve over time due to special bacteria within the leaves that "eat" microorganisms. 6. Peace lilies are not only easy to care for, they are great all around air purifiers.


7. Spider plants are great at removing carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide from the air, bringing levels to near zero after only 24 hours. And readily make "baby" spider plants too. 8. Snake plants, also known as "mother-in-law tongue" plants not only eliminate toxins from the air readily, they also grow where others won't, from hot window ledges to dark areas. 9. Lady palms can live in a wide range of conditions, and is very insect-resistant. It's a great all-around purifier, but is not tops at removing formaldehyde, so if that is a concern, add a Boston fern or two. 10. Bamboo palms are highly rated by NASA for all around air purification, and are good at removing formaldehyde. They require lots of room, however, so place them carefully.

If you like this article then feel free to share it with others. Way too many people are wasting time reading air purifier reviews when they could just buy a couple of house plants to clean their household air. Article Source:



Hydroponics - Indoor or Outdoor Gardening By Robert Fogarty

Many home gardeners and horticulturalists are choosing to incorporate hydroponic growing methods into their gardens because of the higher yields and faster plant growth offered through this method. Although hydroponics can be used in both indoor and outdoor areas, there are certain advantages and disadvantages offered by either environment. If you are planning to create a hydroponic garden within your property, it would make sense to study both environments in order to determine which area would be the most appropriate place to set up your hydroponic system. The primary benefit of outdoor environments for growing plants hydroponically is that you will likely have more space to establish your garden in. In addition to greater freedom of movement, gardens can often benefit from exposure to natural sunlight. However, building a garden outdoors can come with a lot of challenges that may be frustrating and time-consuming. Outdoor gardens have a tendency to attract a number of different pests such as aphids or mites, both of which can destroy your plants and pose a frustrating obstacle to their healthy growth. Also, different plants have different light and temperature requirements. Some plants only grow in certain seasons and under specific conditions which may not be characteristic of your specific climate.

Creating a garden within the interior of your household or inside some sort of closed-in construction offers numerous possibilities for creating a thriving growth space that you can directly manipulate and have much greater control over than if you were to grow your plants outdoors. However, you should keep in mind that establishing an indoor garden could cost you a lot of money. A wide range of materials and equipment will likely be needed in order for you to create an ideal environment for hydroponic plant growth. These include but are not limited to advanced lighting set-ups, humidifiers or dehumidifiers, fans, air ducts to channel air back and forth, and a functional temperature regulation system. Indoor hydroponic gardens are excellent for gardeners who have a very distinct idea of building a diverse and extensive garden with a wide range of different plants that may not grow particularly well in the outdoors of the gardener's specific climate. A wide range of hydroponics systems can be purchased online or at a local hydroponics shop. Additionally, there are plenty of ways to build and expand upon your indoor or outdoor garden through the use of hydroponics. A simple nutrient solution mixed with water provides the basic life source necessary for your plants to grow and flourish. The plants can be anchored in a media such as gravel or even sand, keeping them in a sturdy position. In conclusion, both indoor and outdoor growing areas can be used to grow plants hydroponically. However, the option that you ultimately choose should be based on the specific needs of the plants you intend to grow.

If you want to read more information on the same topic, don't forget to visit: Hydroponics. Article Source:



What are the best hydroponic systems for certain types of produce? I'm relatively new to hydroponics, although I've built several DWC, DRIP, and NFT systems from which I've learnt a lot. I'm now facing a situation for which I can't find any answer on the web, namely "Which are the best hydroponics systems for which fruit and vegetables ? I'm wanting to grow many varieties at home, from strawberries to carrots, and any help would be appreciated.


I think you'd have to define "best" before your question could be answered properly. Money is typically the issue - what works the best is usually cost-prohibitive on a commercial scale. If you want to know what method can work profitably for each vegetable, then simply look at what the larger commercial growers are doing.


As for what is best in regard to systems, aeroponics offers the highest potential oxygen percentage in the root zone. That should in theory be best for every plant. But there are hundreds of other growing variables, each of which must be dealt with before the benefits of such a system could be realised. Your question is a good one, but it's very theoretical. If you want to know what works on a practical level, look at existing commercial growers



I live in a small flat with a tiny patio around which I have a few pots but have never grown anything of use before. I've certainly never grown any spinach or lettuce, but am wondering about trying to grow a little container of it. How early can you start spinach? I think I have to wait till it gets warmer for lettuce, is that correct? Maybe when the spinach finishes?

Unless you are going to use the spinach raw I would go for lettuce. The reason being that spinach cooks down massively and you need an awful lot to provide a portion of cooked greens. Or how about a mix which would give you lots of different greens? A ready mixed salad.




I'm having mixed results from seeds starting in those small rock wool cubes. I have planted several different varieties of lettuce and tomatoes, and although the lettuce is at about 50% (compared to other seeds I've grown), the tomatoes are still at 0% after 3 weeks. I've started hundreds of seeds on the same window sill and table so it can't be the conditions. Do I need to fill the little holes in the rock wool blocks after the seeds are sown, and if so with what? I'm no expert, but here are some suggestions. First of all, soak them in pH 5.5 water for about 20 minutes. Second, don't use the hole that's there as it's too deep, and you can't get the seed to make good contact with the rockwool without damaging either the seed or the rockwool. Instead, turn the cube over, stick a screwdriver down to your desired depth, place the seed inside, then press lightly on the top so that the seed makes firm contact with the rockwool. Third, once you've wet it, you don't really need to water rockwool if it's in a dome or undercover. It's important you don't let rockwool sit in water, or it will wick up into the rockwool and it will be too soggy.


I am thinking about trying to raise some culinary herbs outside in large pots. Which herbs do you think I could raise in the pots outside that would not be harmed by any direct sun. All suggestions are needed as this is new to me and I have never tried to raise herbs on a patio garden. Type of herbs, soil, etc., would be appreciated. I would like to set the pots on the concrete patio but if necessary I could set them on a raised bench arrangement. Mint, thyme, rosemary, sage should all do well in pots on your patio. These are perennials that when treated well will keep growing for years. Basil is an annual that can do well in pots. Annual herbs with long tap roots, like dill and parsley, are trickier since will need large and deep pots

These are a selection of questions and answers from our forum which you can find here The answers are not representative of our views but merely an individuals opinion given freely, and are not to be taken as fact or definitive in any way. If you would like to give an opinion or solution of your own, or raise a question on a similar or related topic, you can do so here 25

An Introduction To Hydroponics Gardening For Beginners :

There are basically three types of grow lights used in horticulture. These are:

These come in two types, the Metal Halide Grow Light(MH) and the High Pressure Sodium Grow Light (HPS) Metal halide bulbs are designed for plants during their growing cycle. That is, for non-fruiting or non-blooming plants. Metal halide lighting is therefore the best HID choice for the plant's growing phase.

The HPS grow light is used primarily for plants that are in their blooming or fruiting phase. Modern high pressure sodium lighting can, however, be bought, which is enhanced for blue spectrum (for vegetative growth) and for red spectrum (for flowering growth). This means that they can be used throughout the entire growing process for most types of plant. For optimal performance, switchable systems (400 watt and 1000 watt) and dual light systems (250 watt MH + 250 watt HPS giving 500 watt output, 400 watt MH + 400 watt HPS giving 800 watt output and 400 watt MH + 600 watt HPS giving 1000 watt output) are available. This type of grow light system gives the best all round lighting choice.

Phosphorous coated to promote both blue and red spectrums these lamps are suitable for both the growing and blooming stages of plant growth. They give off more blue light that red and are a cheap way to get started, however the lamp wants replacing every nine months as it can become volatile. Mercury vapour lights cost more to run and maintain compared to HPS, MH or fluorescents.

By John R. Haughton


(Part 3) Lighting

These lights emit less light than high intensity discharge lights and although they can be used throughout the plant cycle their lack of brightness will produce small yields. The light produced tends to be softer and less damaging to tender young plants. For this reason, the fluorescent grow light is popular for seedlings and cuttings, an excellent way to establish young plants. BALLASTS All of the above types of lights use some kind of a ballast system. The one most people are familiar with is the fluorescent light. This has, a small, built in, ballast. It allows the fluorescent tube to build up enough energy to strike, and excite the molecules within the tube, causing light to be given off. Metal Halide and HPS grow lights are usually run from remote ballasts. These are external boxes containing the electronics to pre-heat and run the lamp. The ballast is connected to the lamp holder and to the mains power supply. Each ballast used is rated for the lamp wattage and so it is necessary to have different ballasts available for each of the different values of lamp to be used. HID bulbs should be replaced after 12 to 18 months of use. Although HID lamps will continue to light beyond 18 months of use, they will have lost up to 30 percent or more of their lumen output while consuming the same amount of electricity. Mercury Vapour Lights. Most of these lamps, up to a value of 500 watts, require no additional ballast. You just screw them into the lamp holder supplied with your equipment.

There are an awful lot of companies out there selling lights for the hydroponics enthusiast. As in all walks of life, there are good and bad suppliers and manufacturers of lighting equipment. Always look for equipment made by a reputable company and backed by an official testing scheme. (For example the C E mark in Europe means that the article is up to European standards of safety and quality). Cheap, nasty, home made, dangerous lights have dogged the hydroponics market for some years. There are these kinds of light and there are well built, professional grade, horticultural lights on today's market. The first are often death traps, being cobbled together from the cheapest, obsolete, end of the line components that are usually mismatched and wrongly configured. To think that these poorly built, badly wired, misconfigured lights are being fitted in damp, humid and sometimes even wet, grow rooms is a very scary thought indeed. The installation of these poor quality, dangerous, lights in your home, where your family lives and plays, is always a very grave risk. All this in the name of a bargain! So don't risk your own life or the lives of those who live with you. Buy from a reputable source! Lighting is possibly the most important decision for indoor horticulture, cheap normally represents a health risk. For the sake of saving a relatively small amount of money, is it really worth it? A partner in a thriving retail hydroponics supply business, Rickie Haughton is the owner of Your First Choice For Hydroponics Gardening Information, the Hydroponics-Gardening-Information website is packed with good content about all aspects of hydroponics gardening and offers a free Hydroponics Gardening Information Club membership to all subscribers. Copyright (C) 2004, 2005, John R Haughton - All Rights Reserved Article Source:


The Indoor Grower's - The supplying of soil and more importantly roots with air or oxygen. In some hydroponic systems, a nutrient solution is aerated by the output of an aquarium pump - The process of growing plants in an air or mist environment without the use of soil or an aggregate medium. - A sustainable food production system that combines a traditional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as snails, fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. In the aquaculture, effluents accumulate in the water, increasing toxicity for the fish. This water is led to a hydroponic system where the by-products from the aquaculture are filtered out by the plants as vital nutrients, after which the cleansed water is recirculated back to the animals. - This is the science and technology of producing and using plants for food, fuel, feed, fiber, and reclamation. Agronomy encompasses work in the areas of plant genetics, plant physiology, meteorology, and soil science. Agronomy is the application of a combination of sciences like biology, chemistry, economics, ecology, earth science, and genetics. - A plant grown from seed, that completes its life cycle (from seed to flowering) in one season. - This is basically an auxiliary piece of equipment designed to start and to properly control the flow of power to gas discharge light sources such as fluorescent and high intensity discharge lamps. In metal halide systems, it is composed of the transformer, capacitor and connecting wiring; sodium systems require an ignitor in addition to the transformer and capacitor. - A plant grown from seed, that completes its life cycle within the span of two growing seasons. The plant spends the first season growing leaves, then flowers and produces seeds in the second season. 28


- Fertilizer high in phosphorus (P) that increases flower yield. - This describes a top-fed Deep Water Culture hydroponic system. Basically, the water is pumped from the reservoir up to the top of the roots (top feeding). The water is released over the plant's roots and then runs back into the reservoir below in a constantly recirculating system. As with traditional Deep Water Culture, there is an airstone in the reservoir to help add oxygen to the water. Both the airstone and the water pump run 24 hours a day. - An electronic device that can store electrical charge. The capacitor is one of the main components of an HID lighting ballast. Because they can store a very strong electrical charge, capacitors can be very dangerous to someone who is unaware of this fact and opens a ballast in order to examine or repair it. If one does not know how to safely discharge the stored electricity, one should allow a trained technician to do any ballast repairs (also known as coco peat or coco) - This is the leftover material after the fibres have been removed from the outermost shell of the coconut, and is a 100% natural grow and flowering medium. It is extremely difficult to over water coir due to its perfect air-to-water ratio, and plant roots thrive in this environment. - Or more commonly ‘the flower’ – the one or more layers of petals which form around the receptacle. This is mainly seen as a visual enhancement to attract specific species of insects and birds to aid in pollen transfer. - Plants that require aid from an intervening agent such as insects or wind to pollinate. They either do not contain all the parts in one flower to pollinate themselves or they are self-incompatible.

- This is a hydroponic method of plant production by means of suspending the plant roots in a solution of nutrient-rich, oxygenated water. Bubbleponics is a related method of plant production that involves a top-fed Deep Water Culture system. A more accurate definition for the acronym DWC is Direct Water Culture. Direct Water Culture can be performed in deep or shallow water. - Usually a hand tool used for making holes in soil to plant bulbs or seedlings in. - A controlled system of irrigation where water is provided to the plant drip by drip in precise amounts by a system of pipes and metered valves. Modern equipment with sensor technology may have their irrigation pattern computerized with the amount of water being adjusted depending on the data received from the sensors. - A very efficient watering system that employs a main hose with small water emitters. Water is metered out of the emitters, one drop at a time. - aka "Flood & Drain" is a form of hydroponics that is known for its simplicity, reliability of operation and low initial investment cost. Pots are filled with an inert medium which does not function like soil or contribute nutrition to the plants but which anchors the roots and functions as a temporary reserve of water and solvent mineral nutrients. The hydroponic solution alternately floods the system and is then allowed just to ebb away. - A specific species of plant which is only found in a certain location and nowhere else. (Plant species can be endemic to a region or to a soil type)

- A lightweight ceramic shell, rounded in shape, with honeycomb core produced by firing natural clay to temperatures of 1100-1200째C in a rotating kiln. With the advantage of light weight, high permeability, high durability and excellent thermal insulating properties, expanded clay is a good 'all round' aggregate for use in an a variety of applications and hydroponics in particular. It is also an environmentally friendly product composed mostly of naturally occurring clay, is not susceptible to chemical attack and has a long life span. - aka "Ebb & Flow" is a form of hydroponics that is known for its simplicity, reliability of operation and low initial investment cost. Pots are filled with an inert medium which does not function like soil or contribute nutrition to the plants but which anchors the roots and functions as a temporary reserve of water and solvent mineral nutrients. The hydroponic solution alternately floods the system and then is allowed to drain away. - this can be any product that destroys or inhibits fungus. - Any of a group (Fungi) of saprophytic and parasitic spore-producing organisms usually classified as plants that lack chlorophyll and include molds, rusts, mildews, mushrooms, and yeasts. Common fungal diseases that attack plants are Botrytis, and powdery mildew. - The process of causing the initiation and development of a plant from seed. - A room of any size where plants are grown under controlled conditions. Plants can be grown with the use of artificial light, sunlight, or a combination of the two. Due to the heat generated by high power lamps, grow rooms will often become excessively hot relative to the temperature range ideal for plant growth, often necessitating the use of a supplemental ventilation fan.


The Indoor Grower's


- In lighting terms, a high intensity discharge.

- In terms of lighting, LED stands for Light Emitting Diode

- The science, art, technology and business involved in intensive plant cultivation for human use. It is practiced from the individual level in a garden up to the activities of a multinational corporation. It is very diverse in its activities, incorporating plants for food (fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, culinary herbs) and nonfood crops (flowers, trees and shrubs, hops, grapes, medicinal herbs).

- Plant lighting or grow lights are an artificial light source, generally an electric light, designed to stimulate plant growth by emitting an electromagnetic spectrum appropriate for photosynthesis. Grow lights are used in applications where there is either no naturally occurring light, or where supplemental light is required. Grow lights attempt to provide a type of light spectrum similar tailored to the needs of the plants being cultivated. Outdoor conditions are mimicked with varying colour temperatures and spectral outputs from the grow light, as well as varying the lumen output (intensity) of the lamps. Depending on the type of plant being cultivated, the stage of cultivation (e.g., the germination/vegetative phase or the flowering/fruiting phase), and the photoperiod required by the plants, specific ranges of spectrum, luminous efficacy and colour temperature are desirable for use with specific plants and time periods.

- The offspring from two plants of different breeds, variety or genetic make-up. - When plants are grown in a soilless medium. Plant nutrients are distributed via water. - A subset of hydroculture and is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil. Terrestrial plants may be grown with their roots in the mineral nutrient solution only or in an inert medium, such as perlite, gravel, mineral wool, expanded clay or coconut husk.

- This is an organic soil mixture of crumbly clay, silt and sand. - Metallic element essential in the production of chlorophyll in plants. Magnesium deficiency can stunt development, so is an essential element in hydroponic nutrient solutions. - A chemical that an organism needs to live and grow or a substance used in an organism's metabolism which must be taken in from its environment. They are used to build and repair tissues, regulate processes and are converted to and used as energy. Most plants ingest nutrients directly from the soil or modified water solutions, either through their roots or from the atmosphere.

- Any chemical preparation used to repel or destroy insects, usually in the form of liquid or powder. - A measure of electricity used per hour; a 1000-watt HID uses one kilowatt in one hour. 30

- This is a hydroponic technique wherein a very shallow stream of water containing all the dissolved nutrients required for plant growth is re-circulated past the bare roots of plants in a watertight gully, also known as channels. In an ideal system, the depth of the recirculating stream should be very shallow, little more than a film of water, hence the name 'nutrient film'. - In a hydroponic system, this is the mixture of water and water-soluble nutrients which is provided to the plants for nourishment - This is a form of growing that relies on techniques such as crop rotation, compost and biological pest control. Organic farming uses fertilizers and pesticides but excludes or strictly limits the use of manufactured (synthetic) fertilizers, pesticides (which include herbicides, insecticides and fungicides), plant growth regulators such as hormones, livestock antibiotics, food additives, genetically modified organisms, and human sewage sludge.

- Substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling or mitigating any pest.. Crop protection products in general protect plants from damaging influences such as weeds, diseases or insects. A pesticide is generally a chemical or biological agent that through its effect deters, incapacitates, kills or otherwise discourages pests. - Phosphorus promotes and stimulates early growth and blooming and root growth. It hastens maturity and seed growth, and contributes to the general hardiness of plants. Phosphorus is a macronutrient.

- The egg of a plant found within the calyx. It contains all the female genes and when fertilized, an ovule will grow into a seed. - A plant that lives for more than two seasons and does not die after flowering. Most perennials die back to the soil surface at the end of each growing season, and come up again at the beginning of the following season. - A volcanic rock that has been superheated into very lightweight expanded glass pebbles. It is used loose in potting soil mixes to decrease soil density and has similar properties to vermiculite but, in general, holds more air and less water. - A known scale from 1 to 14 that measures the acid to alkaline balance of a growing medium (or any other substance). In general, plants grow best in a pH range of 6 to 6.8; 6.3 is considered ideal. If the pH is not within the acceptable range, nutrients may not be absorbed to maximum capacity. 31

- A process used by plants to capture the sun's energy to split off water's hydrogen from oxygen. Hydrogen is combined with carbon dioxide (absorbed from air or water) to form glucose and release oxygen. All living cells in turn use fuels derived from glucose and oxidize the hydrogen and carbon to release the sun's energy and reform water and carbon dioxide in the process (cellular respiration).

The Indoor Grower's - (Chemical symbol - K) It promotes disease resistance and good development of carbohydrates, starches and sugars, and increases fruit production. Potassium is a macronutrient.


- A plant whose individual flowers contain all the parts to successfully pollinate (transfer pollen from the anther to the stigma) themselves. (HPS) - High-pressure sodium lights yield yellow lighting (2200 K) and are often used for the second (or reproductive) phase of the growth. If used for the vegetative phase, plants will usually grow slightly more quickly and tend to be taller and leggier. High-pressure sodium lights enhance fruiting and flowering in plants which use the orange/red spectrum in their reproductive processes, which produces larger harvests of higher quality herbs, vegetables, fruits or flowers.

- To cause a plant, by various methods; division, taking cuttings, sowing seeds, to multiple from the parent stock. - A mineral wool and one of the most widely used mediums in hydroponics. An inert substrate suitable for both run to waste and recirculating systems, it is made from molten rock, basalt or 'slag' that is spun into bundles of single filament fibres, and bonded into a medium capable of capillary action, and is, in effect, protected from most common microbiological degradation. - A condition in which the roots of a plant have grown entangled in a tight mass, or completely filled a container.

- Arranged around the centre of the inside of the flower, the stamens are the flower’s male reproductive parts. The stamen is composed of the slender stalked filament and the pollenproducing anther.

- Calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg) are considered to be the secondary nutrients.

- The sticky top of the pistil that receives pollen directly from the anther or in-directly from birds and insects attracted to the flower.


- A type of plant that stores up water in its tissues (xerophytic) as an adaptation against drought conditions. Succulents have a fleshy appearance externally and a juicy internal appearance. The cactus family is a member of this group. However, although all cacti are succulents, not all succulents are cacti. - The large, central root that grows downwards, and from which smaller, lateral roots grow. - A systematic way of classifying all living organisms. - These modified leaves are present in flowers that have no clear distinction between sepals and petals

- A mineral that has been superheated until it has expanded into light pebbles. Vermiculite has a natural "wicking" property that can draw water and nutrients in a passive hydroponic system. - A concept that argues that it is economically and environmentally viable to cultivate plant or animal life within skyscrapers, or on vertically inclined surfaces. "The Vertical Farm" promotes the mass cultivation of plant and animal life for commercial purposes in tall buildings and skyscrapers using advanced greenhouse technology such as hydroponics and aeroponics. - A compound that reduces the droplet size and lowers the surface tension of the water, making it wetter.

- The bud at the growing end of the main stem. - The act of removing excess seedlings to provide space for remaining seedlings to grow larger and healthier. - The part of the ballast that transforms electric current from one voltage to another. - An plant containing genetic material from a different species of plant.

- A sap-sucking insect of the family Aleyrodidae. A particular pest of the greenhouse and indoor garden, whitefly can be very destructive. - Part of a passive hydroponic system using a wick suspended in the nutrient solution, the nutrients pass up the wick and are absorbed by the medium and roots.

- Aframe or netting (lattice) that trains or supports plants.

- The amount of produce obtained from a cropping plant, measured by weight or quantity.

Light with very short wavelengths, out of the visible spectrum.

- A chemical trace element found in soil, and one of various micronutrients typically added to hydroponic solutions to supply essential elements, along with the major nutrient nitrates, sulphates and phosphates.

- The circulation of fresh air, fundamental to a healthy indoor garden, an exhaust fan creates excellent ventilation.


The Indoor Grower's Directory UK



Blooming Direct Rue des Cabarettes St. Martin, Jersey, JE3 6HT Tel: 01534 857160

Grow Things 33, Glengarvan Close, Lambton, Tyne and Wear, NE38 0DY Tel: 0191 417 4363

Seymour Green Hydroponic Centre Unit 4 Fordhouse Rd Ind Est, 2 Steel Drive, Bushbury, Wolverhampton, WV10 9XA Tel: 01902 782 900

Grow 2013 Unit 7, Park Road Business Centre, Bacup, Lancs, OL13 0BW Tel: 01925 924 082

The Indoor Grower Online magazine enquiries

Ecotechnics Unit 2K, Old Dalby Business Park LE14 3NJ Tel: 01664 822 281 Eden Project Shop Eden Project, Bodelva, Cornwall, PL24 2SG Even Greener No. 1, Whitehall Riverside Leeds, LS1 4BN Tel: 0845 658 5588 Focus Aim Fire Ltd 24 Abergele Road, Colwyn Bay, LL29 7PA Tel: 01492 547 118 Garden Chic Beacon Hill Office Park, Newark Nottinghamshire, NG24 2TN Ideal Home House, Newark Road, Peterborough, PE1 5WG Gardening Direct 1st Floor, Nelson House, David Pl., St Helier, Jersey JE2 4TD Gardening Express Chelmsford Essex, CM1 4UA

Indoor Growers Network Enquiries and information Keengardener Ltd 19 Arden Business Centre Alcester, Warwickshire, B49 6HW Odyssey Hydroponics 556 Hagley Road West, Birmingham Tel: 0121 421 3494

Thompson & Morgan Poplar Lane, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP8 3BU Two Wests & Elliott (UK) Unit 4 Carrwood Rd., Sheepbridge Ind. Est., Chesterfield, S41 9RH


Original Organics Unit 9 Langlands Business Park, Uffculme, Devon, EX15 3DA

Hydroasis 2643 S.Fairfax Ave Culver City, CA 90232, US Tel: (310) 559-GROW

Plant Me Now Eastcote GC, Hampton Road Eastcote, Solihull, B92 0JJ Tel: 01675 442 551

Natures Hydroponics Willowcreek Circle Sun City, AZ 85373, US Tel: (623) 974-0787

Riverford Organic Farms Ltd Buckfastleigh, Devon TQ11 0JU Tel: 01803 762059

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The Indoor Grower  

The Indoor Grower Magazine - April / May 2013

The Indoor Grower  

The Indoor Grower Magazine - April / May 2013