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.

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Keep Your Soil Healthy: Use Natural Organic Fertiliser

Keep Your Soil Healthy: Use Natural Organic Fertiliser

The soil is the most important component of gardening. This is why it is important to know how to look after your soil when planning to put up your own organic garden at home. The better the quality of the soil, the more likely that you will be successful in growing organic fruits and vegetables, which is why it is recommended that you use natural organic fertiliser like fish fertiliser and seaweed fertiliser.

Guaranteeing the good condition of the soil is not complicated at all. You just have to remember some simple guidelines and you can be sure that your soil will always be in the best shape for growing plants. The first thing to keep in mind is to avoid stepping on the soil on which you are planning to plant or have already planted seeds. You might think it is harmless to the soil, but stepping on it actually stresses it, which in turn may cause it to impede the growth of the plants. You should remember that as much as possible, you should walk around the planted area to avoid damaging it and harming the planted seed. Also, ask you relatives and friends who visit your organic garden to not step on the planted areas.

Another way of looking after your soil is to be careful when digging. While it is an essential step in gardening, digging need not be done in such a stressful and nearly destructive way. Be cautious as you dig the soil, especially when there is already a seed planted in the area next to where you are digging. Make sure that you do not dig too deep or too shallow in order for the plants to grow perfectly. Also, do not dig or step on the soil when it is wet as it needs to drain properly to ensure the better growth of plants.

As mentioned earlier, using a natural organic fertiliser is also one way of ensuring that your soil will be as healthy as can be. Organic seaweed fertiliser and all natural fish fertiliser can be bought from specialty gardening shops. Check the instructions in using such fertilisers and follow them carefully. Never put an excess amount of fertilizer in your soil, even if it is organic, because it will surely have an effect on the growth of the plants. Possible negative effects might manifest on the grown plants if you put too much organic fertiliser in the soil.

Sunlight is needed by growing plans in making food or photosynthesis. Despite this, the soil does not need to be too exposed to the sun’s rays. It is advisable to protect the soil from the harmful heat of the sun as well as from excessive rain as these may harm the soil, with the latter making it prone to erosion.

It is really easy to learn the simple ways on how to look after your soil; most of these only need common sense and determination. Employ the said methods in order to have a wonderful organic garden. So the next time you plant a fruit or vegetable, be mindful of your actions, especially those that involve touching the soil. Never abuse it; instead, keep it well nourished for the benefit of the growing plants. Don’t forget to allocate part of your budget for the purchase of natural organic fertiliser, and make it a point to only buy high quality fish fertiliser or seaweed fertiliser from your trusted vendors.

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Improving Garden Soil

Improving Garden Soil

Perfect soil

What is the function of soil in our yards and gardens? Simply put, soil provides plants with mineral nutrients, water and anchorage. The basic types of soil are clay, sand, and silt. The percentage of each determines whether you have sandy clay loam, silt, loam, etc.  There are so many variables that affect soil that your yard may have a different soil type than the one across the street.

Some soil properties that are influenced by the texture of soil include aeration, drainage, water holding capacity and temperature. For example, sandy soil has excellent aeration, warms quickly in spring and has a low water-holding capacity. The exact opposite is true for clay. It has poor aeration, warms slowly, and has high water-holding capacity.

Here are the four major components of soil:

The solid portion, or rocks and minerals Decaying organic matter, microorganisms, living or dead plants and other organic matter Liquid Soil air

 

Amounts of each of these components determine whether or not plants will grow and thrive in the soil. Ideal or perfect soil consists of 25% air, 25% water, 40% mineral matter and 10% organic matter. As you already know, this never happens!

However, what we do to improve our soil will affect our plants.

You can re-mineralize your soil by adding Minerals Plus or Texas Greensand. You can increase organic matter by adding a good organic compost. This also increases earthworm activity and beneficial bacterial growth.  Spray-N-Grow increases microbial activity that helps keep air and water moving in the soil. To find out more about your soil, use the Sunleaves Three Way Meter.  It allows you to test your soil for pH, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium and will give you immediate results.

Naturally, some soil needs more work than others, but with a little work and some good organic garden products, you can pretend that your soil is perfect! All of the gardening products listed in this article can be purchased from Spray-N-Grow.  

I am a gardener who enjoys growing vegetables, herbs and flowers. I believe in using organic methods and products when gardening.

Soil and Sun in Vegetable Garden Planning

Soil and Sun in Vegetable Garden Planning

Sun and Soil

Good vegetable garden planning requires that you meet two special requirements: sun and soil. Vegetables can be fussy and they are very specific about their sun and soil needs.

Sunshine Requirements

You must have a garden bed that receives a minimum of six hours of full sun each day. The more sun, the better your garden will be. Your harvest will be bigger and your vegetables will taste better. A garden that faces south and has good space between the rows (six inches or so) will generally produce a better crop.

What About Soil?

The other unbending requirement is good soil. You must have proper soil, but what is that? How do you know if your soil is good for a vegetable garden?

Fertile soil for the vegetable garden should be loose, brown dirt. It should shake easily through your fingers. It has to be rich in nutrients and organic matter. You may use commercial fertilizers or manure to enrich the soil. If you have a friend with a horse or two, offer to clean his stable. Horse manure is great fertilizer.

The soil should also be just a bit acidic. The pH should be about 6.5. A pH reading of seven means your soil is neutral. Any reading above seven means that it is alkaline and a lower number means acidic. You can pick up a cheap testing kit at your local nursery or home care store. If the soil is too alkaline, just add a little peat moss and work it into the soil. If it is too acidic, add lime.

Just a side note: flowers and flowering bushes require more alkaline soil than vegetables. While your flowers may bloom when planted against your vegetable garden, they will generally produce bigger flowers and more of them if the soil in which they are planted has a pH a little above 7. Having said that, there are certain flowers (marigolds, etc.) that you may want to put in among your vegetables to help ward off pests.

Call for Help

When in doubt, don’t hesitate to call your county agent or the manager at your local nursery. These folks have probably been active gardeners for a while and they can provide you with information specific to your area. What’s more, they will be delighted to help. Vegetable gardeners love to talk shop!

Good sun and soil can make all the difference in the success of your garden. Begin at the beginning with great vegetable garden planning and reap the rewards of your labor all summer long.

 

A guy has celery sticking out of one ear, lettuce out of the other, and a zucchini up his nose. He goes to the doctor and asks him what’s wrong. The doctor tells him, “Well, for one thing, you’re not eating right.”

 

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Rodale’s Soil Test Guide

Rodale’s Soil Test Guide

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Best Ways to Improve Your Soil: Rodale’s Organic Gardening

Best Ways to Improve Your Soil: Rodale’s Organic Gardening

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Getting the Soil Ready for Organic Gardening

Getting the Soil Ready for Organic Gardening

Proper soil preparation is the key to successful organic gardening. The goal is to feed the soil, which in turn will feed your plants. Begin by testing your soil to find out precisely what you’ve got to work with. Contact your local Cooperative Extension Service. Most counties and some universities have one; look in the phone book under “Cooperative,” “Extension” or your county name to find out what is required for a soil test. Home test kits are available at garden-supply stores, but their results are not as accurate or complete. A soil test will measure pH, the soil’s acidity or alkalinity. The recommended pH for a vegetable garden is 6.8. The test results should include guidelines for adjusting the pH, for example, how much lime to add to acid soils or how much sulfur to add to alkaline soils. Both are available at gardening centers. The test also should analyze the amounts of nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, calcium and other elements in the soil that are critical for healthy plants. The testing agency may suggest nutriments to balance these elements; when you mail off your sample, be sure to enclose a note stating that you intend to garden organically so the tester does not suggest chemicals.

Some of the nitrogen sources the tester may suggest can be problematic, especially for vegetarians: Bone meal is a slaughterhouse byproduct, fish emulsion is a fish-processing byproduct, cottonseed meal is subject to heavy pesticide use and urea, or crystallized animal urine, is so processed it can no longer be considered even remotely natural. If nitrogen is a problem for your soil, and you are opposed to using animal byproducts, your best bet may be to plant a nitrogen-fixing cover crop this first year and start your vegetables the next.  When gardeners speak of a soil, they are referring to earth that looks, feels and smells pleasant. That means fertile soil, with good structure depending on the extent to which the inorganic soil particles; sand, silt, clay, and humus are bound together. No matter what kind of miserable soil you begin with, it can be transformed into the stuff great gardens are made of.

You also should test the soil’s percentage of organic matter, or decomposed plant material. There are different levels of consideration according to your area that will determine if a soil is organic. The best organic matter to fertilize your garden with is compost. As a new gardener, you may not have compost of your own yet, but we’ll help you out with that a little later in the book.

Composting involves recycling of natural matter like vegetable peels, coffee grounds, and egg shells. All of these will provide nutrients to the soil that a successful organic gardener knows are of paramount importance! When you till up your plot, work in some loose topsoil along with natural organic matter into the existing soil. Horse or cow manure will work the best here. Find a local farmer and ask if you can buy some dung from him. If you don’t have any of these available to you, most local garden centers will have some natural additives that you can till into the soil. You can also use leaves or grass clippings.

By tilling this organic matter into the soil, the organic material will form moisture-holding humus in the soil and the loose structure will permit good drainage. Plus, it can provide needed nutrients to your plants and help them thrive as they grow.

You can make your own organic fertilizer as well. We’ll give you a couple of great “recipes” in later sections.

Be careful that you don’t dig up your plot too soon in the season. Cool spring soil holds moisture, and disturbing wet soil will damage its structure. We found one tip online that can help you determine whether or not your soil is ready for tilling.

Jim Crockett, former Public Broadcasting System gardener extraordinaire, suggests that before digging you take “the chocolate cake test”: If the soil has the consistency of moist chocolate cake, it’s safe to dig. If it’s more like fudge, wait until the soil has dried out to cake consistency.

Soil is structured in layers, and it’s best not to disturb those layers. Dig down just far enough to remove clods of grass, weeds and root masses, shaking and pounding out as much dirt as possible back into your garden. Save the grass for composting.

After the dirt is prepared, let the garden rest for a couple of days before planting.

It’s almost time to plant!

Find tips about dried coconut and coconut oil diet at the Coconut Facts website.

THE SECRETS TO ORGANIC GARDENING, STEMS FROM THE SOIL.

THE SECRETS TO ORGANIC GARDENING, STEMS FROM THE SOIL.

While wandering around my garden, I muse over the recent rainfall sent from the heavens, restoring my hopes and that of my garden beds. I live in a cool temperate zone and, owing to the effects of 16 years of drought and climate change, our region falls short of average rainfall. If you own a rain gauge, it maybe that you also delight in checking the totals after soaking rains, especially following a dry spell.

So, why do we gardener’s gaze skyward at menacing cumulonimbus thunder heads, and avidly learn to recognize other rain bearing clouds?  I suggest that it could be:

*To dance in the rain, or jump puddles

*Fill buckets or bins with rain water

*Listen to frogs in ponds and wetlands

*Marvel at the rain drops on our fruit & vegetables

*Breathe a sigh of relief, and put down the watering can

Another good reason to get excited at the rain worthy clouds is the potential for millimetres, or in some parts of the world, meters of life giving water. Each rain bearing cloud has the potential for delivering hundreds of litres of water.

Water plays an important role in organic gardening; it is the medium in which the nutrients are transported to the root systems. Water makes nutrients such as *nitrogen, *phosphorous, *potassium, *trace elements, and *minerals available and accessible to all plant life.

It is in these moistened soils that microbial activity can convert nutrients from organic materials and fertilizers into forms that the roots of the plants can absorb.

You’ve probably loosened your soil with a garden fork and turned up worms, slaters and grubs. If you have worms in your composts or garden beds, it is good news! Worms are useful in aerating, oxygenating, and breaking down the organic materials into good bacteria and fungus in soils.

I’m passionate about growing roses, perennials, annuals, native plants and trees, fruit trees, herbs and vegies. Therefore, when growing those tasty, edible plants for your family, it’s vital to use organic methods of cultivation.

Now, in order to achieve the best results and grow the highest quality and maintain good production from your flowering and fruiting plants, it must stem from the ground up. By organic I mean:

*No chemical, toxic pesticides, as they contain residual poisons harmful to beneficial insects, and to human consumption.

*No chemical fertilizers, which can inhibit microbial and worm activity, poisonous to soils and humans.

*Only apply organic fertilizers, either dry powder or pelletized and liquid formulations, which make it readily available to plants.

*If you don’t have space for a composting system, buy good quality ready-made compost.

*Compost should contain fruit and veggie scraps, moistened shredded newspaper for carbon, grass clippings and leaf litter.

If you have an established garden, it’s not too late to improve your soils. By gently loosening the soil below the drip line of the plant’s canopy, incorporate humus or composted soil, liquid and dry fertilizer to slowly break down, covering with soft mulches like lucerne hay and pea straw. Before long, you will notice a huge difference in the health of your plants, and a plethora of flowers, fruit and vegetables to be enjoyed by all!!

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Feeding the Soil – One Vital Aspect of Organic Gardening

Feeding the Soil – One Vital Aspect of Organic Gardening

There is an important aspect of organic gardening that you can very well relate to. Imagine this. You are hungry. You haven’t been fed. You haven’t taken a bath. You haven’t pampered yourself. You’ve spent so much time working and taking care of others, but you haven’t tended yourself for your own good.


How would you feel? For a time being, you may be able to accept the fact. You may still tire yourself out without asking for anything in return. But as the days go by, you will feel the negative effects of the situation. You will no longer have the kind of energy that you used to. Your body will deteriorate until it can no longer function for the things that it used to do.


How is this related to the organic method of gardening? You can actually compare this to the state of the soil. Soil is a very important aspect in this type and all the other kinds of gardening. This is the base of everything. This will be the bed, or the house of your plants. You must choose the right one in the first place.


Depending on your location, the soils that you may acquire vary on such factor. You should base the decision in picking out the plants on the types of soils that are available in your area. Once you have picked the right kind, you are now on you way to the first steps of your gardening venture using the organic method.


Relating to the sample above, the soil must never be left untended. It must never go hungry. Or else, what happened to the example may also happen to the soil. You have to feed the soil. You have to bathe it. And you have to take care of it just like how you tend to yourself or to the plants situated on your garden.


You may know from your grade school days that the soil needs water, sunlight and air. But you are doing everything organically now. Does it carry out any differences? Yes, a lot. Although you still have to feed your soil and the plants on it enough sunlight, water and air, you have to add something else. You’ve got to have organic matters placed on the soil.


Have you ever heard of composting? This is the process where you culminate decaying matters like leaves, grasses, peelings of fruits or vegetables, even manures and fish heads to act as your soil’s fertilizer. This is organic remember? You cannot resort to anything synthetic. This is one proof that this process entails a lot of hard work than you can ever imagine.


Not only are you going to feed the soil, you also have to attend to it regularly. Mulching is like massaging the soil to keep its shape. This way, you will be able to get rid of the pests that your soil has gotten through the days or months, however long you have been gardening.


This will actually help you prevent acquiring bigger problems. There are many types of soils that need certain care and attention. For example, clay can hold up water better than the sandy kind. You have to know those kind of details to be able to improve on your organic gardening venture.

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Become an organic gardener! Learn all about soil, hydroponics, and organic gardening in this free video covering natural indoor and outdoor gardens.

Hoffman Organic African Violet Soil Mix

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Ready to use for potting and repotting. You have selected the best potting soil mix available. Hoffman African Violet Soil Mix provides the drainage and thus the air necessary for active root growth. Sparse flowereing and slow growth can often be traced to a poorly drained soil. The Sphagnum Peat Moss in this mix serves as a reservoir for both water and nutrients. The Vermiculite helps resist compaction and will keep the soil loose and well aerated.

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