Hydroponics gardening guide – growing mediums used in hydroponics – Soil less Mixtures and Coconut Fiber

Hydroponics gardening guide – growing mediums used in hydroponics – Soil less Mixtures and Coconut Fiber

Soil less Mixtures

There is a great amount of soil less mixtures available, which contain different ingredients. Sphagnum moss, perlite, and vermiculite are the most widely spread hydroponics components, used in such mixtures.

Being organic, soil less growing media are usually used for container gardening wick systems or on-recovery drip systems. It is also possible to use soil less mixtures in recovery systems, however, it is necessary to remember that because of very fine particles in such mixtures, they can clog tubes, pumps and drip emitters, when used without a good filtration system. By the way, according to the urban gardeners, one can use panty hose as a filter: just fit it to the return line and to the pump inlet, and all the tiny particles will be filtered out.

Most soil less mixes form a good growing medium for multiple hydroponic and organic gardens, because they can hold water well, have great wicking action, and, at the same time, they provide a reasonable amount of air to the roots of growing plants.

 

Coconut Fiber

The popularity of coconut fiber as growing medium increases rapidly around the world. Being the first totally organic growing medium, providing highest performance for hydroponic systems, coconut fiber may soon become the most popular growing medium ever. It is interesting to note that coconut fiber is, actually, a waste product, which contains the powdered husks of coconuts.

In comparison to rockwool, coconut fiber is characterized with higher oxygen capacity and water retaining. These features are important advantages for hydroponic systems with intermittent watering cycles.

Coconut fiber also contains a lot of root stimulating hormones, thus offering some protection against fungus infestation and other root diseases. The mixture of 50% coconut fiber and 50% expanded clay pellets is considered to be the perfect growing medium.

However, it is necessary to underline one precaution when buying coconut fiber. Avoid purchasing a low grade coconut fiber, which is very fine grained and contains a high level of sea-salts. Such coconut fiber will have negative and disappointing effect on hydroponic system.

My name is guy. I am the founder and owner of the urbangardenershop.com.au . I fell in love with hydroponics gardening. As time went by I gathered a vast knowledge base and 2 years ago I decided to find a way to make hydroponics gardening a hobby that anyone can peruse. I added a hydroponic gardening information center to our hydroponic supplies site that offers a large range of hydroponics articles. Thank you for your interest and feel free to ask questions on hydroponics gardening in our site

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Planning on Growing Your Own Vegetables – Where to Start?

Planning on Growing Your Own Vegetables – Where to Start?

These days with large sites hard to come by and allotments much in demand, old gardeners or gardening junkies are no longer the sole exponents of GIY. No, many new entrants are young professionals, nature enthusiasts, people who are genuinely interested in getting closer to nature or reducing their dependency on mass market produce. Whilst others are experimenting by growing their own vegetables, almost like self sufficent micro farmers or even environmentalists, taking positive steps to reduce carbon footprint or better still growing for their own organic consumption and self satisfaction. Not surprising therefore to read in Press reports that the sale of vegetable seed has overtaken the sale of flower seed.

So if you are a potential GIYer and do intend starting a programme or project of growing your own vegetables, you might be interested in the following advice . So whether your motivation is to reduce air miles or taste organic food, there are some important points to consider when planning to start a vegetable garden.

Does size matter? No – not really, whether you have a pot, an old kitchen sink, a window sill or a sprawling site, growing your own vegetables is not only easy and exciting, it is also very rewarding.

Location – unless of course you enjoy longer walks through your garden, for practical reasons, the vegetable plot or kitchen garden should ideally be positioned nearer the house.
More importantly best to choose a position which permits the vegetable plot to enjoy a sunny aspect for much of the day. Although some vegetable produce will tolerate some shade (for example lettuce, runner beans etc), most won’t, so pick the site very carefully, pick a sunny and a sheltered position, avoid exposed windy sites. Other site aspects worth considering include picking a site where the prevailing ground conditions are level and free draining. Finally do bear in mind that good soil conditions will also be required, whether you prepare the ground by digging or mix in new soil or soil conditioners, most vegetables will require a growing depth of at least 300mm.

What to grow? Some might have favourites, some might stick with old reliable:
Potatoes are good, and probably one of the easiest to grow, they are also great at breaking down heavy soils. But do remember to give them plenty of water.
Leeks – easy to grow from seed and young leek tastes wonderful
Broad beans – very tasty when young but are very easy to grow
Sweetcorn – harvest when tassels are brown and boil in salted water
Radishes – many different varieties to choose from, but an ideal and fast growing crop from which to teach the children GIY
Runner Beans – quick growing, plentiful and pick and with lots of pick’n’grow fun

Deciding on the Layout – is important especially where space might be limited. For example you can grow some varieties at ground level whilst others such as French and Runner Beans can be trained to grow very effectively up trellising or bamboo canes. In larger sites, plan a series of long narrow beds which are easily accessible from both sides, but do remember to leave plenty of space between the growing beds, for example you should be able to move along pathways between beds with a wheelbarrow or more importantly if you like to get down on your hand and knees and get dirty, you’ll need at least 900mm – 1200mm spacing between the beds. Growing beds can be ground level on larger sites or raised on smaller sites or where soil conditions are poor. Raised beds can be developed using soil from other sites and mixing with compost, manures, soil conditioners etc. Also because they are raised you can ensure that drainage is good. As stated earlier, most vegetables prefer to grow in sunny areas, therefore it make sense to orientate beds on a north south axis, this ensures that all vegetable get sun each day. Be generous on spacing between beds, and consider a surface material so that all weather access is possible.

Ground Preparation – the better the soil, the better the performance, it is not impossible to provide good growing conditions. Vegetables require nutrients, water and oxygen. Soil plays a vital role in providing nutrients to plants. So it is important to prepare ground by digging to improve plants take up of nutrients. Alternatively if ground conditions are poor, you can use raised beds to provide better growing conditions for plants. In contrast to the ‘dig system’ the concept of using Raised Beds is sometimes referred to as the ‘No dig system’. Raised beds can be constructed from a variety of boards/timbers, recycled pallet boards, railway sleepers, pressure treated new sleepers, builder’s scaffolding boards all being popular choices.

Using crop rotation wisely – rotating the planting and growing of vegetables yields many benefits in terms of efficiency, bounty and disease/pest control. For example, Broccoli grows well in soils containing good levels of nitrogen, on the other hand, beans put nitrogen into the soil. Potatoes with the large canopy of foliage are very effective at suppressing weeds, whereas onions grow particularly very well in weed free soils. So from a crop rotational perspective, one would plant beans before of broccoli and potatoes before of onions.

Starting a rotation cycle – you should plan for at least three years, meaning the same vegetable will grow in the same spot every third year. However if you wish to also grow potatoes, better to use a four year rotation. The RHS has a very simple way to remember where each vegetable comes within the cycle: British Rail Late, where:

B = brassicas (cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kale, turnips etc) was
R = roots (beetroot, parsnips, carrots)
L = legumes (peas, Broad bean, French bean, Runner bean, onions, garlic, chives)

How it works in practice is in area 1, you plant brassicas first year, roots in second year and legumes in third year. In area 2, you plant roots first year, legumes second year and brassicas third year. In area 3, you plant legumes first followed by brassicas and roots.

Maintenance – providing you have done good ground preparation, maintenance of the area shouldn’t be much more than adding a good fertiliser (Fish Bone & Blood) before planting or manure in Autumn. Watering is important especially during the early vulnerable stage, again bets done early in morning or late in evening and always check to make sure water is getting down to plant roots. Weed regularly to avoid unwanted competition for nutrients and water.

If at first you don’t succeed – try again. Sometimes it is only as a result of trial and error that you will discover what grows best for you in your area and conditions. Don’t be afraid to ask other local gardeners for tips or advice with particular problems, most of all, have fun in growing your own vegetables and join the burgeoning legion of GIY enthusiasts..

For more information, visit: http://www.owenchubblandscapers.com/news/entry/grow-it-yourself-where-to-start/

Professional garden designer and owner/manager of Dublin based landscaping company: ‘Owen Chubb Garden Landscapes Limited’.


Owen Chubb Garden Landscapes is an established and award winning garden landscaping company offering clients a complete landscaping service including Garden Design, Construction and Planting.


Owen Chubb Garden Landscapes Limited is a Full Member of the Association of Landscape Contractors of Ireland (ALCI), the only professional body for landscape contractors. We are proud winners in 2005 and 2006 of the prestigious ALCI Awards for BEST PRIVATE GARDEN Design and Construction.


For more information: www.owenchubblandscapers.com

Burpee The Complete Vegetable & Herb Gardener: A Guide To Growing Your Garden Organically

Burpee The Complete Vegetable & Herb Gardener: A Guide To Growing Your Garden Organically

A Backyard-Gardener’s Guide to Growing a Bountiful, Great-Tasting Harvest The Complete Vegetable & Herb Gardener features: A full-color encyclopedia of over 100 vegetables and herbs with detailed, expert advice on growing them successfully from planting to harvest Planting and growing techniques that keep maintenance to a minimum Entries on how to grow unusual edibles, such as refreshing mesclun for salads, colorful edible flowers, spicy mustards, and more Descriptions and phot

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Growing Your Own Organic Lettuce

Growing Your Own Organic Lettuce

Eco-conscious homeowners do non toxic cleaning and use <a rel=”nofollow” onclick=”javascript:_gaq.push(['_trackPageview', '/outgoing/article_exit_link']);” href=”http://www.babyganics.com/”>eco cleaning products</a> as a way to ensure their families’ safety and to make their lifestyle more sustainable and green. Others use organic personal care products or eat organically grown produce. Some people go the extra mile by growing their own vegetables, one of the most popular of which is lettuce. <a rel=”nofollow” onclick=”javascript:_gaq.push(['_trackPageview', '/outgoing/article_exit_link']);” href=”http://lettucegrowingtips.com/”>Organically grown lettuce</a> is very nutritious and will satisfactorily complete any sandwich or bowl of salad. Growing your own batch of natural, pesticide-free organic lettuce is very easy indeed. This article serves as a simple guide on how you can get started.

Kinds of lettuce. There are several kinds of lettuce available in the market today. The most commonly sold varieties are as follows: iceberg, romaine, butterhead and mesculin mixes. Low in calories and rich in nutrients, these green leafy vegetables support pancreatic function. They are usually grown in the cool seasons of spring and autumn, which helps a lot because you would want to avoid the extreme weather conditions of summer and winter.

Where you should plant them. If you want your lettuce to grow healthy, make sure that you expose them to enough sunlight per day. About 6 hours of exposure would be sufficient since you don’t want your produce to wilt. So if there’s too much sun, make sure to have a shading equipment on hand. Also, when planting lettuce, choose fertile, loose soil enriched with compost.

How to start the seeds. You can purchase organic lettuce seeds from your local gardening shop. Begin starting seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost date. Sow the seeds on a sterile starting mix and make sure you expose the plot to enough sunlight. Keep the soil cool at about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. You can start transplanting the produce outdoors once the last frost date is over. Planting transplants is quite easy; just dig holes as deep as the rootball of the lettuce and twice as wide. Ensure that the plant’s crown is planted at soil level and that you pack the soil around the rootball. Create a 9 to 12 inches space between the transplanted lettuces.

Caring for your lettuce. Because lettuce is made mostly of water, it also needs a fair amount of moisture to grow. To check if your produce is getting enough moisture stick your finger into the top inch of the soil around the lettuce and make sure it is damp. Never let this layer dry out. You can buy organic fertilizer from your local gardening store to fertilize the soil depending on your needs, or you can use organic mulch to keep the moisture and nutrients of the soil. Another advantage of mulching is that it helps prevent soil from splashing on your lettuce when you water, a process which may inadvertently contaminate the plants.

Plan your planting succession. Because lettuce grows very fast, it is important to plan your planting succession about 7 to 21 days apart. The interval will of course depend on how much you can consume or sell at a time.

Now you are finally ready to eat that organically-grown and naturally cultivated lettuce from your own backyard! Make sure that after doing any kind of gardening, you clean your hands properly with <a rel=”nofollow” onclick=”javascript:_gaq.push(['_trackPageview', '/outgoing/article_exit_link']);” href=”http://www.babyganics.com/Foaming_Hand_Soap_Fine_and_Handy”>soap and water</a>. Of course it would be a great idea to use only eco friendly cleaning products and non toxic cleaners because these can help you protect both your family and the environment from harmful toxins and chemical substances usually found in synthetic household cleaning solutions.

Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades: The Complete Guide to Organic Gardening Reviews

Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades: The Complete Guide to Organic Gardening

Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades is an invaluable resource for any gardener looking to become more knowledgeable and grow better vegetables. The book features basic info on soils, composting, chemical-free fertilizing, efficient water usage, and planning, but it is also filled with up-to-date tips on seed sources and new growing and cultivation techniques. Featuring a Earth-friendly focus on organic gardening practices, the book helps readers acquire a foundation of master-gardening knowl

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Organic gardening in hydroponics – Nutrients reservoir and growing medium management

Organic gardening in hydroponics – Nutrients reservoir and growing medium management

The organic hydroponics system pre-supposes that the reservoir will not supply nutrients to the plants; thus, there will be no need to constantly check the ppm and pH balance of water. It will make wet only the lower part of the medium and the secondary roots. This system gives a gardener an opportunity to grow plants as easy as it is in soil growing without troublesome balancing of the chemicals and pH level of the water.

The technique of the organic hydroponics allows supplying organic nutrients to the upper soil-mixture layer, as in traditional plants growing. The liquid forms of the organic nutrients are mixed according to the necessary concentration and then poured onto the top of the medium upper half.  Beware, though, of pouring too many nutrients!

This experiment will help you learn how much liquid with hydroponics nutrients you should pour on your plants for its excess not to drip into the lava rock layer and, consequently, into the water reservoir. If you find out that there is an excess of feeding liquid and it drips through the lava rocks into the grow bed, you can either soak it up with a cloth, or you can use other form of fertilizer, the one without liquid. It is also reasonably to change lava rock.

However, if only a small amount of organic nutrients is noticed to drain into the reservoir, there will be no problem, as the volume of water there is much larger. Reservoir water should be changed every 1-2 weeks, similarly to the standard hydroponics nutrients chemical reservoirs

My name is guy. I am the founder and owner of the urbangardenershop.com.au . I fell in love with hydroponics gardening. As time went by I gathered a vast knowledge base and 2 years ago I decided to find a way to make hydroponics gardening a hobby that anyone can peruse. I added a hydroponic gardening information center to our hydroponic supplies site that offers a large range of hydroponics articles. Thank you for your interest and feel free to ask questions on hydroponics gardening in our site

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Growing Organic Plants

Growing Organic Plants

As people become more and more aware of the damage they are all doing to the planet, they want to do something to help. Growing Organic plants and vegetables will not only help the environment but also will be healthier and kinder to your body. Wildlife can fully flourish if there are no chemicals and pesticides being used in the growing process. You do not need a great deal of knowledge and expertise to grow organic plants; you just need a lot of enthusiasm. To grow organic fruit and vegetables is cheap, and it will save you money on your household shopping each week.

Organic fruit and vegetables are often not as cheap as chemically produced foods; this is often because they are grown on smaller farms to enable them to be totally organic. People do not want to spend more for their organic produce, and this is the main factor why many people have chosen to grow their own organic plants. Organic plants can be grown anywhere in your back yard, either in raised beds or directly in a patch in the ground. They are cheaper and healthier than chemically produced plants, and if you use your own organic fertilizer on your fruit and vegetables, then you will save even more money.  By using organic fertilizers you are putting all the nutrients back into the soil, kitchen scraps, manure and dying household plants all can be used, and when you harvest your vegetables you will see the difference in size and taste. You might want to consider building a compost heap, so you will have a regular supply of organic fertilizer. Also having a water butt to collect the rain water, to use on your garden will cut down the cost of your water bill.

Organic plants are very beneficial to your health; it has been proven that there are several benefits to eating organic food products. Growing your own organic plants is a personal commitment and one that will make you feel better inside and out. The physical benefits of eating natural organic food is based on the nutrient levels in the food. The levels of these nutrients are higher in organic natural food, and there are no toxins in this type of fruit and vegetables. Worryingly there are very high levels of toxins, in most food products that we consume. Over 350 pesticides are permitted to be used for growing fruit and vegetables. Lithium which helps with depression, Calcium for strong bones and teeth and Chromium which helps reduce diabetes are all found in higher levels in the organic natural food.

Doctors are now realizing the health benefits of organic foods, rather than prescribing extra vitamins and nutrients for their patients they are advising them to eat organic fruit and vegetables. Alongside an already healthy diet and exercise programme, eating organic foods and drinking plenty of water can really benefit a person. The money that you might spend in doctors’ bills and medicines would be better spent on organic food products. If you grow them at home instead of buying them from organic food market then you will save a great deal of money in the long run.

Stop giving health food stores and supermarkets your hard earned money for natural organic food and learn how to grow your own organic plants with The Best Organic Gardening Book !

Betty Garner is an online marketer and she used to write articles on making money online concepts,healthy eating, weight loss, green power.

Growing Organic Vegetables Explained!

Growing Organic Vegetables Explained!

I’m sure you, like many people, have been trying to find a way to eat healthier so that you can live healthier. There are many fad diets available today that do not always produce the desired results. One of the only ways people today can live a healthy lifestyle is to eat only healthy foods.

Many of us have researched eating organic vegetables and the many benefits that come with having a diet that includes organic vegetables. The problem is that most of us do not know how to inclu

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Newspaper, Pennies, Cardboard, and Eggs–For Growing a Better Garden: More than 400 New, Fun, and Ingenious Ideas to Keep Your Garden Growing Great All Season Long

Newspaper, Pennies, Cardboard, and Eggs–For Growing a Better Garden: More than 400 New, Fun, and Ingenious Ideas to Keep Your Garden Growing Great All Season Long

Transform a Good Garden into a Great Garden in One Season

What-s the secret? It-s a mix of ingenuity and efficiency, accented with fun! Newspaper, Pennies, Cardboard, and Eggs-For Growing a Better Garden contains more than 400 clever solutions for easing garden troubles, new techniques for turning around an underperforming garden, and innovative ideas that will amaze even long-time gardeners. If you-re looking to add more nutrients to garden soil, whip up a kitchen scrap smoothie

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Growing Organic Worms To Help Your Garden

Growing Organic Worms To Help Your Garden

The main work worms do in your garden is tilling and aerating the soil. They burrow very deep, leaving channels through the soil that break up clods and allow air to enter and water to penetrate and drain away.
In the process of eating at the surface and eliminating lower down, they introduce organic matter to the deeper levels and steadily increase the depth of topsoil. Their main role is to digest decomposing organic matter, converting it quickly into a form plants can use as nutrients.
It is important to maintain good soil structure when gardening organically. Unlike mechanical tillers, earthworms do not damage the soil by inverting it, creating hardpans or breaking up the crumb structure. They never have mechanical breakdowns, they do not create noise or pollution, and they use garbage for fuel – an excellent way to dispose of your kitchen scraps, especially if you live in an apartment.

DIY Worm Farming
Commercial worm farms are very practical, widely available, easy to use and are quite aesthetically pleasing. You usually buy them with a small supply of worms to get you started. Choose either Red Worms or Tiger Worms. However, if you already have a suitable ‘home’ for your worms you don’t need to spend the extra money.

A pair of old concrete laundry tubs in a shady spot near your kitchen door or close to your propagating area (or both) is ideal. Have the tubs elevated to make collection of the fertilizer easy. Leave the plugs out and put a strainer in the hole so that any excess water can drain.
Fill the first tub with compost and mix in a handful of dolomite or agricultural lime, along with about a half a bucket of soil. Place a bucket under the plug-hole and water this mix with a fine spray until it is quite saturated and starting to drip into your bucket.
Tip in your starter population of worms and cover the surface with an old hessian sack, wet cardboard, old carpet or similar. Worms usually live underground so they thrive in an environment that is cool, dark and moist. You can purchase a tub of 500 – 1000 worms to get started. They are available from professional worm breeders and can be sent through the mail. Many garden supply centres will also have them.
A close-fitting solid lid on your farm will suffocate your worms, so you need to fit a fly-mesh or shade-cloth screened lid to keep out flies and other insects.
For the first month you need do nothing except make sure the farm is kept quite moist, but not awash. Once the farm is settled in you should not need to add extra water. If your farm is exposed to rain, make sure the plug is left out or your worms will drown.
The compost itself will feed the worms for quite a long time, but to get maximum breeding it is best to add some supplementary feed every few days, especially as the population starts to increase. Add a dessert-spoon-full of lime or dolomite to each kilo of food.

You can vary their feed by rotating between:
- a bucket half-filled with water and cow or horse manure, mixed to a slop and poured over the surface;
- a blender filled with household scraps(not citrus or onion peel or meat) blended to a slop and poured over the surface;
- rotten potatoes, pumpkin or fruit, just placed on the surface;
- half a bucketful of new compost, spread over the surface.

Worms also like:
•    soaked and ripped pizza boxes
•    shredded and soaked cardboard, paper
•    leaves, dirt, hair, egg shells
Worms do not have teeth, so scraps should be cut into small pieces – waste from a vegetable juicer is ideal.
Plants from the onion family (including garlic, leeks and shallots) and citrus fruits contain volatile oils. If any of these are included in the food scraps the worms will climb out of their housing to get away from the smell.
Within a few months the tub should be filled with a writhing mass of worms, and it’s time to colonise the second tub.

Half-fill the second tub with the same mixture of compost, lime and soil. Put a strainer in the plug-hole and water the mixture until saturated.
Burrow down to the plug-hole in the first tub and put in the plug. Set a hose to just dribbling into the first tub until it is half-full, being VERY careful not to forget it and fill it right up. Leave the hessian on top to exclude light. The worms in your first tub will all migrate into the top half to avoid drowning.
Scoop them out and, reserving some to put in the garden, transfer them to the second tub. Let the plug out of the first tub and drain into a bucket. You are left with a bucket full of very, very rich liquid fertilizer and a tub half full of worm castings.
From now on you should be able to repeat this process every month or so, transferring about a third of the worms out into your garden or feeding them to the chooks each time. This will also ensure that you always have a supply of excellent liquid fertilizer available as well as the rich worm castings. Your plants will thrive!

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