Indoor Gardening

Growing plants indoors can be a lot of fun as well as extremely rewarding. Indoor gardening is getting more and more popular especially with hydroponics systems becoming easier to obtain and operate. Growing indoors is also very convenient for people with limited space with their only option being to grow indoors. However, this is not the only reason why people love to grow indoors – other reasons include the benefits of being easily accessible, free of weeds and outdoor pests and the ability to be able grow fruits and vegetables year round.
What most people love about indoor growing is that your plants are free of the type of pests which you would usually see in an outdoor garden – this means that your indoor plants can be 100% free from chemicals and pesticides. When growing indoors, you can control the plants’ environment allowing you to be positive that your plants are being grown organically and will be as healthy as can be.

Within the past few years, more people than ever have chosen to grow indoors, and with good reason. When an indoor garden is set up correctly (which would include a good hydroponic system, an abundant light source, and a good nutrient solution), your indoor crop could excel far beyond anything you could produce outdoors.
Here are some benefits from growing indoors which are worth mentioning:

• Growing indoors allows privacy when growing your plants meaning no more worries about nosey neighbors or people just passing by wanting to check out your garden.
• All plants which are meant for human consumption and which are grown inside (or hydroponically) have been proven to contain far more vitamins and mineral than by growing them the traditional way in soil. It has also been proven that they taste much better.
• Growing indoors has the unique benefit of being able to grow every day of the year giving you an unlimited amount of time to harvest and harvest again.
• Indoor growing, especially when using hydroponics, greatly reduces the risk of diseases in your plants, if not eliminating them all together.
• A large amount of plants can be grown in a very small space which is mainly due to the plants being able to be spaced closer together which is very different to growing the traditional way.
• Water usage is drastically reduced when compared to growing outdoors and, when using a hydroponic system, the water usage is basically non-existent because most systems are set up to recycle and re-use the water.
• There is no hard manual work involved such as weeding, tilling, constantly watering and other strenuous jobs which would be found in an outdoor garden.

So many improvements in indoor gardening have been achieved recently, and mostly due to the improved quality of systems from the manufacturers who make the equipment associated with indoor gardening. Manufacturers are now striving to improve the life expectancy and quality of their products due to the extremely stiff competition. What does this mean for the average indoor gardener? For starters, it will mean the availability of cheaper and better quality hydroponic systems, lighting, nutrients and other growing supplies.

So no matter where you may live or what you may grow, indoor gardening is always going to have far more benefits than traditional outdoor growing methods. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and grow…indoors.

Indoor Gardening Tips

An indoor garden can be lots of fun and also very healthy for you. When maintaining an indoor garden, any extra help, tips and tricks along the way are always useful. Here we’ll go through some very helpful tips on how to care for your indoor garden:

• Make always sure you have the correct amount of lighting for the crop size of your garden. Having inadequate light coverage causes plants to “reach” towards the light which causes nodes to space themselves an unhealthy distance apart. It can also cause very slow growth and eventually lead to the plants not producing fruit. Having said that, too much light is only a problem if you do not have the correct amount of ventilation and air exchange in your grow room.

• When growing different varieties of plants, some require different light cycles than others. This can get a little confusing, so when starting an indoor garden and selecting seeds, double check that they all require the same lighting cycle, if at all possible.

• Watering you plants correctly will maximize their growth and also eliminate most of your common plant problems. Many people either overwater or underwater without even realizing it. An easy to remember rule of thumb is to stick your finger into the soil about two inches – if it is moist or wet, then wait to water; if it is dry, then water. You basically want to water your plants when the soil is mostly dry as this is when the roots receive most of their oxygen. It is always better to underwater than overwater.

• Proper soil drainage is the most important aspect to a healthy root system. When growing in pots, always make sure that there are enough (or more than enough) drainage holes. If a pot has inadequate drainage, water will not drain out of the soil properly, root rot will develop and this can be fatal to your plants.

• Mist your plants every two to three days with a spray bottle. Plants love to get their foliage fed as it makes their leaves stronger and more productive. This is because the plants waste less energy circulating water from the soil to the leaves. However, make sure you don’t over mist – moisture which is allowed to sit on the leaves for too long leads to mold development which can eventually lead to problems. After misting, wait an hour or so and then check the leaves – if you see that they are still wet, just shake the plant a little to remove the excess water.

• A great air exchange in an indoor garden is very important as you always will need a constant supply of fresh air coming into (and circulating around) your garden. You also need to exhaust the spent and hot air out of the room. For this purpose, it is necessary to always have a minimum of two fans in your indoor garden, but I would recommend having three or more, depending on your garden size. If you do decide on three, it is imperative that you always have one fan circulating air in, another circulating air out and a third oscillating air around the room for even distribution of air.

Indoor Garden Benefits

Gardening is a hobby which millions of people around the world practice, and with obvious reasons. There is nothing better than eating fruits and vegetable which you’ve grown yourself and the fact that they are far healthier than store bought. But how many gardeners can say that they have a garden that produces all year round? That’s indoor gardening, folks. If you love to grow fruits and vegetables outdoors, then do yourself a favor and bring them indoors. The benefits of growing indoors far surpass the outdoor benefits, so for someone whose passion is gardening, it’s a no-brainer:

• You can have a constant supply of any fruit or vegetable of your choice
• You will never have to spend your hard-earned money for second rate fruits and vegetables at your local market
• You can have your own top-quality, delicious foods, for free!

There are countless benefits of having an indoor garden, and below you will find a few of the biggest benefits:

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Year Round
By growing indoors and away from the elements, you are able to have multiple harvests any month of the year. You can even set up a growing schedule where you can harvest every few weeks.

Very Healthy for You
By growing indoors, you are able to give your plants exactly what they love, how often and how much, maximizing their true potential. In addition, the need for harmful pesticides and chemicals are non existent thus keeping your indoor garden healthier than ever. If you are growing using hydroponics, then this has been proven to keep essential nutrients and minerals locked in unlike conventional soil based growing.

Good for Your Wallet
By having an indoor garden, you will no longer have to waste your money on fruits and vegetables from the market again and the difference on your wallet will be very noticeable.

Less Work Involved
No longer will you have to till, weed, and watch out for pests or have the huge hassle of watering. With the application of hydroponic systems in your indoor garden, you can have all you’re watering and growing done automatically. In addition, grow lighting is usually set to a timer which even turns the lights and/equipment off.

Perfect Hobby
Many people who growing indoors often cultivate vegetables as more of a hobby than anything else. It is fun and also provides you in return.

Keeps Your Home’s Air Cleaner
By having plants in your home, oxygen will be continually released therefore enriching the quality of the air you breathe. By having an indoor garden in an open area, you will definitely notice a difference in the air quality.

So as you can see, there are overwhelming benefits to having an indoor garden. So even if you’re already growing outdoors, or a newcomer to growing at home, then it’s never too late to take cover and do your growing on the inside.

Hydroponic Systems

There are a few different types of hydroponic systems out there to choose from and each system delivers water and air differently. But which hydroponic system is right for you? Which system works the best? The answer is simple – all of them with the only difference coming down to performance. Ease of use, is what helps the grower to make the choice best suited to them.

Here we are going to list the various different types of hydroponic systems available, the basics on how they work. With this information to hand, you will know which hydroponic system fits your growing needs when it comes time to choose one.

Deep Water Culture
The water culture system (also known as deep water culture) is probably the simplest and easiest active hydroponic system to understand. A tray or platform (usually made of hollow plastic or Styrofoam) contains the plants and is floated directly on top of the nutrient-enriched water with the roots dangling in the water. As the plants float on top, an air stone (which is supplied air by an air pump) sits on the bottom of the system and the air stone bubbles deliver oxygen directly to the root system. The only drawback to this type of system, which is a very minor one at that, is that this system is not ideal for larger plants as the roots tend to get too large to be submerged fully.

Ebb & Flow (Flood and Drain)
This type of system works very well and efficiently by temporarily flooding growing trays with nutrient water. This water is then drained back into the reservoir for re-use later. With most Ebb & Flow systems, this process of flooding and draining is usually initiated by a timer which is connected to a pump which has been submerged in the reservoir. The timer performs this action a couple of times a day, more or less, depending on variables like the size and type of the plants as well as any temperature and humidity levels.
This type of system is very adaptable as a grower can fill the entire tray(s) using a wide variety of growing mediums such as perlite, gravel, small rockwool granular or grow rocks. Many people also like to use separate pots for each plant and fill each pot with a growing medium of their choice.

Drip System
A drip system is one of the more popular and widely used of all hydroponic systems and is highly recommended for beginners in hydroponic growing. The process and basic operation of this system is very simple – there is a timer set up which activates a pump on a regular basis to drip nutrient/water solution on the base of the plant by way of a tube drip line. There are two types of drip system – recovery and non-recovery. In a recovery system, the extra water/nutrient solution run off is gathered and put back into the reservoir to be re-used. In a non-recovery system, the extra solution run off is not collected but drained away.

So, as you can see there are a multitude of different types and functions of hydroponic systems, and choosing the right one takes a bit of understanding of each system compared with your personal preference. This guide should give you a general idea on which one may suit your needs best.

Hydroponic Supplies

When operating a hydroponic system, whether you’ve built your own or purchased one, you are going to need a variety of hydroponic supplies to keep your system running smoothly and without fail. Hydroponic supplies can be anything from miscellaneous tools to items which will eventually need to be replaced. Having the right supplies in your hydroponic system can make all the difference in whether or not you have a successful garden.

Another thing to keep in mind when purchasing supplies is that the cost can quickly mount up and for those growers on a limited budget, this could turn into a big problem. It is wise to get your essential supplies first and then build up the remainder of what you require over time.

Now we are going to go over some essential supplies you will need and some that may not be as essential but will certainly be beneficial.

Nutrients are a must-have for all hydroponic systems. It is your plants’ food and, without nutrients, they would not do so well or die all together. There are countless different varieties of nutrients and brands but, as long as you have a general nutrient product for the vegetative stage and flowering or bloom stage, you will be just fine.

It is always good to have at least one extra bulb in stock of whatever kind of lighting you are using in case of a blow out of your bulb. The absence of light for too long a period of time could be disastrous to a crop so make sure you always have an extra bulb.

Pest Control Products
Even when growing indoors in a hydroponic system free of soil, you still may get an insect problem within your garden. The types of pest control come in many different forms bu the one you choose really depends on what you require. These types range from sticky traps and aerosol sprays to predatory insects placed within the garden to ward off harmful insects.

Growing Medium
Whatever growing medium you choose to use in your hydroponic system, it is always a good idea to have some extra on hand in case you decide to add more plants at a later time. You may also find that some plants may need a little extra medium for further stability.

Spare Hydroponic System Parts
This basically refers to any parts pertaining to the hydroponic system itself which may need replacing in the future. These could be any of the following: irrigation tubes, air stones, floatable trays, air pumps or anything else which will eventually need to be replaced. However, at this point, it isn’t worth purchasing an extra air or water pump as these tend to last for a very long time and rarely need to be changed.

Thermometer and Hydrometer
These items are very important when maintaining an indoor garden and, with some hydroponic systems, the temperature and humidity can have a direct effect on how often the water pumps should be activated. You can get both of these items very cheap from most vendors but purchasing them is a must and should be one of the first things on a hydroponic grower’s supply list.

PH PPM EC Meters/Testers
Each of these meters or testers gives you specific readings of different levels in your system. They are non-essential but, if you want your plants to reach their maximum potential, then they can play a very important part in your hydroponic system.

There are many other minor supplies which will be needed throughout a hydroponic garden’s lifetime, but these are just the basics of what supplies should come first.

Hydroponic Nutrients

Hydroponic nutrients are basically liquid solutions (occasionally available in powder form) which are added to your system’s water supply at a predetermined amount. Without nutrients added to the water in your hydroponic system, your plants’ health will steadily decline and eventually die. Plants require differing amounts and types of nutrients during the vegetative and flowering stages of their life and most hydroponic nutrients are sold either as “grow” or “bloom” formulas – “grow” being for the vegetative stage and “bloom” for the flowering stage.
Something most people don’t know is that over 20 minerals and elements are needed for a plant to be able to grow. Oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon are taken in through the air and water. The remaining elements are found in the nutrient solution with the primary ones being nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium as these are the minerals which the plants use the most.
Here is brief summary of the more important minerals or elements which plants need most and can be found in almost all hydroponic nutrient products.

Nitrogen (N)
Nitrogen is probably the most important mineral to plant growth. Plants absorb nitrogen in order to produce the proteins necessary for new cell growth. This mineral is used mainly in a plant’s leaf and stem growth as well as the plant’s overall stature. Nitrogen is a truly amazing mineral for plants travelling easily throughout a plant to the buds to activate, even to the shoots and old leaves which can be much more difficult to reach.

Phosphorus (P)
Phosphorus is mostly beneficial for photosynthesis and also acts as a mechanism for conveying energy through the plant. Phosphorus also promotes a strong and healthy root system and is vital for the flowering stage in order to keep producing healthy seeds. You will usually see high levels of phosphorus during the germination phase and flowering phase.

Potassium (K)
This mineral is mainly used for encouraging increased chlorophyll production in foliage and helps to normalize stomata openings so that plants can take in light and air more efficiently. Potassium also promotes strong root growth and mass, water intake and distribution. Another benefit of potassium is that it activates enzymes in the plant to fight disease, something most growers fail to know.

Okay so now that the most important minerals found in hydroponic nutrients have been covered, here are a few which are not quite as important as the ones already mentioned but are still great minerals which definitely should not be overlooked when deciding on which hydroponic nutrients are right for you.

Magnesium (Mg)
Magnesium basically aids in the deployment of nutrients and, at the same time, neutralizes any toxic compounds and acids produced by the plants.

Calcium (Ca)
Calcium is a good multiplier for proper cell growth and production. However, it can also lead to root problems as it tends to move slowly inside the plant and eventually starts to concentrate in the roots, leading to complications later on, if not properly treated.

As you can see, hydroponic nutrients are vast in minerals and can get a little complicated at times. These mineral descriptions and functions should help you on your way in finding the perfect hydroponic nutrients which will suit your plants best.