Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Is an aeroponic hydroponic system for you?

Any gardener will tell you that they want faster growth from their garden. To achieve a faster growth rate the hydroponics technique of aeroponics can be used. Aeroponic hydroponic systems generate a fine mist to apply the water and plant fertilizers directly at the plants roots.

Aeroponic systems are considered to generate the fastest growth rate among all the hydroponic systems available. The smaller the water droplet increases the oxygen carrying capacity of the nutrient solution due to the increase in surface area of the nutrient/fertilizer solution. As the oxygen content increases it allows the plan to grow smaller more fine root hairs which can rapidly uptake the nutrients in solution. Remember it's not over watering that kills your plant's it is lack of oxygen at the root boundary.

Aeroponic systems do have a couple of cons that may prohibit them from being your first choice of hydroponic systems. The main issue many gardeners find with aeroponics would be the small orifices of the sprayers or spray lines can clog very easily. This takes some attention to detail because you don't want a dying plant to tell you there is a problem in the system. You want to fix it before it becomes a problem. The second issue plants have with Aeroponics hydroponics systems is power outages. Typically, aeroponically produced plants are bare rooted, which means they have little to no growing media covering the roots or protecting them from droughts. Your plants have about 15 minutes in most aeroponic systems before they will begin to suffer damage due to lack of spray on the roots. Barring these two issues, Aeroponic systems have and will continue to produce significant amounts of plant material in the shortest time possible.

Anytime the oxygen level can be increased in the soil or in a hydroponic nutrient solution the growth rate will increase. This does not mean that all the environmental variables can be left to their own devices, quite the opposite. In any gardening situation indoors or out, the more environmental factors that can be controlled, the faster the plants will grow.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Grow Lights for indoor gardening

For those who want to have fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers year round, the only way to achieve successful results is using plant grow lights. Lighting used for growing plants will be found in many shapes and sizes and will have a significant effect on the plants they are above. Plant grow lights will likely be the greatest expense in your grow room, so choose wisely. Plant grow lights will also have the single greatest impact on your garden.

One main aspect of choosing a light is it's color spectrum. Grow light bulbs generally only emit a portion of the visible spectrum of light. Color spectrum of grow light bulbs is measured in Kelvin or K. Most grow bulbs are between 3K and 10K. The lower the K value the more the light will have a red tint to it. A higher K value indicates the bulb will produce a blue light. Generally, blue light will be used for vegetative growth or table herb gardens. Red light will elicit a flowering response in fruiting plants.

Most people will use fluorescent plant grow lights to start seeds, make cuttings or clones of plants, run a vegetative garden and to keep house plants. A vegetative garden has plants that you do not want to flower like lettuce, basil, chives or other table herbs. Fluorescent light used for plant growth come in multiple shapes and sizes. Fluorescent lighting can be purchased with low or high K (Kelvin) values depending on the size of your garden and phase of plant growth. Fluorescent lighting is great because it can be mounted very close to the plants.

In flowering gardens, high intensity discharge (HID) lights are used to produce larger plants. HID lighting comes is sizes ranging from 150W to 1500W in old school, 1940's technology called core and coil ballasts or in new digital technology called electronic ballasts. High intensity lighting comes in two varieties, Metal Halide or High Pressure Sodium. Metal Halide lighting has a vary versatile gas mixture allowing these bulbs to be found in multiple K values but with a lower visible light output in comparison to High Pressure Sodium. High pressure sodium or HPS ballasts are typically found with a low Kelvin value bulb for flowering indoor plants and generally brighter to our eyes when compared to a Metal Halide bulb.

HID lighting will produce large plants will all the properties and qualities you want. Plus, plants grown indoors are generally more healthy and nutritious than an out door counterpart. So get a grow light and get in the game!