Too Much or Too Little Hydroponic Nutrients

Hydroponic nutrients are the foundation of any hydroponic system. Without nutrients, the plants simply can’t stay alive. This being said, there are always going to be mistakes and miscalculations, and either one can add too many or too few nutrients to the system.

With a little information, you should be able to spot some of the more obvious signs and be able to pinpoint the specific deficiency. After growing with hydroponics for a little while (and some trial and error), you should be able to quickly master your garden and be able to spot and eliminate any problems which may arise. Once you have spotted the correct deficiency, you can then add certain solutions to counteract the issues at hand.

It is essential to provide your plants with a well-balanced and pre-measured amount of hydroponic nutrients every time they are added. Under (and over) use can lead to some deficiencies one way or another and they will have to be dealt with accordingly. Some deficiencies are minor and do not really pose a problem, but most can be devastating to your plants and can often cause them to become stunted for life.

Growers can easily learn to identify the signs of hydroponic nutrient deficiencies and deal with them accordingly. Below you will find a list of the signs and symptoms for the most common minerals found in hydroponic nutrients:

Nitrogen
Plant leaves are a pale yellow color and the undersides of the leaves and stems turn a purplish color.

Phosphorus
This causes plant to become stunted and turn dark green in color. The symptoms normally effect old growth first and they often cause plants to delay their flowering period.

Potassium
The leaves start to turn yellow and will be scattered with brown spots everywhere. This will quickly lead to plant tissue damage and, if the deficiency is left unchecked, the leaves will start to curl up.

Magnesium
Magnesium deficiencies are often found in tomatoes due to their low tolerance to this. You can spot this deficiency when the older leaves start to turn yellow between the veins while the remainder of the leaves stay green.

Calcium
A Calcium deficiency usually affects the younger growth rather than the old, and these will display themselves as distorted and massively curled. You will also see small little holes on the foliage.

Iron
This deficiency shows as a distinctive yellowing on the center of the leaves which slowly spread outwards. If this is left unchecked, your leaves will start to take on tissue damage and die off.

Magnesium
This kind of deficiency depends on the plant type, but if it is present, you will start to see brownish dry areas and the leaves will certainly drop a bit.

Boron
Plant stature is reduced somewhat, and often leads a plant’s growth being stunted. Also you will see the tips of the plants roots turning brown.

PC Grow Box

A PC grow box is basically just a self-contained growing environment in a very small space. PC grow boxes are fully enclosed, and contain their own lighting, ventilation and hydroponic system (hydroponics being the obvious choice for this kind of growing). What makes this type of growing system so unique is that it allows growers to fully (and easily) customize the growing environment to achieve optimal growth. Another reason why so many people favor this method is that it allows people living in urban areas to grow their favorite plants without the need for patches of land, or a yard with soil.

Pre-made PC grow boxes are available to buy from most hydroponic stores. Alternatively, you can build your own for a fraction of the cost, and it is very simple and easy to construct. Here we will go through a simple guide showing the basics of building your own PC grow box which can be done with little DIY skills.

Materials
– PC case
– Two PC fans (or similarly-sized fans)
– CFL bulbs
– Bulb socket adapter (which can be plugged into a standard household outlet)
– Small hydroponic system (either bought or homemade)
– Reflective material such as Mylar
– Power strip
– Glue gun
– Plastic ties
– Black permanent marker
– Metal cutters

Construction
1. The first item required is an adequately sized PC case or tower to work with. If possible, try to obtain a large one and, if possible, one with two or more fans already installed.
2. Unscrew and open it and remove everything inside the case except for any fans and the internal wiring.
3. Once complete, install your fans in their designated places – these need to be on the same side of the case, one on top and one on the bottom. Some PC cases are already configured this way but, if not, you will need to do this yourself.
4. Measure the diameter of your fans and outline this onto the case with your permanent marker. Take a pair of metal cutters (or similar) and cut out the holes accordingly.
5. You then need to install the fans making sure that one fan is blowing inwards and one outwards. When doing this, make sure the wires from the fan are running inside the case and are secured onto the walls using super glue or plastic ties.
6. Take your reflective material and measure it to fit onto all inside surfaces of the case leaving just the fans exposed. You can easily secure this reflective material using a glue gun.
7. Glue the power strip directly onto the top of the PC case – make sure that all electrical items plug in perfectly without any excess wires.
8. Take the CFL bulbs and connect the adapters to the power strip. It’s always good to have at least two CFL bulbs inside the case, if not more, but this really depends on how many plants you will be working with. CFL bulbs almost never get hot and run super efficiently so there is no need to worry about it getting too hot inside the case.
9. Place your hydroponic system, or other medium, inside the case insuring that it fits properly.
10. Now that the system is nearly complete, plug everything into the power strip and secure all wiring to the walls using plastic ties or a glue gun.
11. Add your plants, close the case back up and that’s it – you’re done. It is probably best if you keep the front of the case secured rather loosely as you will need easy access to your plants. Once you get the hang of using your PC grow box, it is very simple to “add on” more PC cases to expand your grow box if you feel the need to go bigger.

Making Money From Your Indoor Garden

Having an indoor garden is not only a great hobby and a lovely way to grow your fruits and vegetables, but it also can be very profitable, too. Indoor-grown hydroponic foods are in huge demand as foods grown hydroponically are always superior to soil-grown. Foods grown hydroponically are proven to be healthier than traditionally grown foods. This is because foods grown with hydroponics have more nutrients locked in which also means they taste much better.

Among all the different kinds of plants which could be considered as cash crops, herbs have got to be the most popular and most successful. The best way to get started in growing herbs for profit is to do a lot of research in order to find out which variety is currently in demand. This information can be gained from your local garden nursery, plant store, or even an agricultural department at a university may be able to help. After you’ve done your research to find out what is in demand, you then need to find out what the going rate is. Once you have this information, you can now focus on the future task at hand of obtaining the seeds and/or cuttings and getting started.

Here are some of the more popular herbs:
Basil
Basil can grow to approximately two feet tall and has very shiny leaves. It is a hearty herb which goes very well with tomato-based dishes.

Bay
Bay grows well in almost any condition and is generally cooked with sauce dishes and pasta.

Chives
This is probably the most popularly grown herb around. Chives grow very small at around six to nine inches in height and the leaves look grass-like in texture. This wonderful herb is normally used in salads, and also with potatoes.

Garlic
Everyone knows what garlic is and they buy it regularly. It is also a perfect herb for people just getting into the herb business.

Mint
Mint can grow to over 20 inches tall. Its growth is very vigorous and spreads very quickly. This herb should be situated with enough room for its substantial growth.

Parsley
This variety can be found in most people’s kitchens and is essential for countless dishes. The leaves are very green and can reach up to two feet tall.

Chervil
Chervil grows to approximately 1½ feet tall and has a distinctive peppery kind of taste. This is a very resilient plant which allows for colder conditions.

Dill
Growing to approximately three feet in height, dill has yellow flowers which makes this herb very decorative as well as delicious.

Sage
Sage comes in various different varieties all of which grow to be very strong. This herb requires occasional pruning for optimal cultivation.

Selling indoor garden herbs is a relatively new idea but it can be very lucrative, even for novices of indoor growing and veteran growers alike.

After you’ve properly grown and prepared your herbs, then it is time to sell. Try to reach out to farmer markets around your area, and grocery stores often will always gladly buy foods which have come from an indoor garden.

LED Hydroponic Lights

LED grow lights are an up-and-coming means of lighting your indoor hydroponic garden. Although LED hydroponic lights are just gaining ground, they are more efficient and effective far beyond any other kind of grow lighting currently available. LED lights actually produce eight times more useable light for your plants, thus promoting an increased creation of chlorophyll and healthier growth.

LED hydroponic lights are also able incredibly cheaper to run when compared to HPS (high pressure sodium) and MH (metal halide) systems. By using LED lights, you could same 77%-85% on energy costs compared to traditional grow lights. Standard LED hydroponic lights last around 50,000 hours which is 7 to 10 years so you shouldn’t have to replace them for a very long time.

LED hydroponic lights have revolutionized the gardening world. No matter if you are a regular indoor gardener, or grow indoors for commercial purposes, LEDs are always the smart choice. You will notice higher yields and save an abundant amount of cash.

These kind of hydroponic grow lights consume substantially less power than conventional HID grow lights, or any kind of grow lights, for that matter. They simply do not produce any heat which means that you can drastically minimize your venting system, thus saving even more money. Most people working with small grow spaces should pay special attention to this kind of grow lighting.

They can be installed just about anywhere: close to the tops of the plants, on the sides, or even put an LED panel on the ground facing up giving light to the undergrowth where light does not usually penetrate. LED panels can be installed no matter what kind of grow space you may have. They are also fantastic used as supplemental lighting together with any preexisting lighting system. Placing in areas of a grow room where the regular grow lamps light don`t reach gives an ample amount of light to all sides of your crop.
LED grow lights are also very small in size and can be situated and configured in ways any other lighting system simply can`t. Most people have to accommodate their plants to where the lighting can be placed, but with LED’s, you bring the light to where the plants are. With the recent advances in the LED industry, you can now get even more powerful LED’s in a small size allowing you to further increase your yields.

Here are some great advantages which LED grow lights have over other lighting options:
• LED’s are super-efficient with regards to electricity, almost creating no electricity at all
• They do not produce any heat thus enabling you to move plants very close to the lights
• LED lights pay themselves off very quickly
• LED’s have the unique ability to run multiple colors of the spectrum allowing for maximum growth
• They are very small allowing you to situate your garden any way you wish and even add more plants at any time
• Being cool to the touch and the superior energy saving aspect, these benefits allow some plants to grow 24 hours a day, getting the most out of your garden

Now you have the knowledge of the importance of LED hydroponic lights and the benefits making it time to put them to use. Start growing with LED’s today.

What is a High Pressure Sodium Lamp

High pressure sodium (HPS) lamps have been in use for many years, mostly for outdoor lighting systems like parking lots, buildings perimeters, etc. HPS is the leading provider of hydroponic lighting around the world and the benefits of these lamps are numerous compared to other hydroponic lighting sources. These lamps, due to their color spectrum, have the very unique ability of enhancing the flowering or fruiting process. This is mostly evident due to the fact that HPS lamps giver off an orange and red light spectrum, thus simulating autumn sunlight which generally produces a larger harvest and a much higher quality of fruits and/or vegetables.

Some of the benefits of using HPS lamps are as follows:
• The bulbs have an extraordinary life span, most come with a two-year life span which saves you a bundle of money in replacement bulbs.
• This type of hydroponic lighting is king when it comes to the sheer light output for your plants and they actually producing six times (or more) light than any other kind of hydroponic lighting.
• Many people running a successful greenhouse love HPS lighting as a secondary source of light, besides the sun. The sun’s rays produce more than enough light in the blue spectrum, and by adding some supplemental HPS lighting giving off light in the red and orange spectrum, it maximizes plant growth to a whole other level.

Another great method of hydroponic lighting is to combine the usage of both HPS lamps and metal halide lighting. Use the metal halide lighting for the vegetative stage of plant life and, when they go into the flowering stage, switch to HPS lighting. Using this method will drastically increase the amount of fruit produced as well as the size of the fruit produced.
You can still run HPS lamps throughout the complete life span of any plant, but by using a metal halide lamp in conjunction with an HPS lamp will only maximize your growth by simulating the light given by the sun for the appropriate season. I would highly recommend using this combined lighting scheme, if possible, you will see at least a 10 to 20% growth rate and size when using this method -metal halide for the vegetative stage and HPS for the flowering stage.

When using HPS lamps for your hydroponic lighting, there are a few important things to keep in mind for safety reasons for both you and your plants:
• For one, never touch the lamp when in use – they get extremely hot and could give you severe burns.
• Always have the lamp at an appropriate distance from the crop. Having them too close can quickly “burn” the tops of the plants.
• If the bulb breaks, the first thing you need to do is to properly ventilate the room due to the chemical composition in the lamp. You also need to wear protective gloves when handling the broken bulb and try not to inhale the chemicals coming from inside the bulb.