This article outlines a proposed technology to use sunlight and water from icebergs to power and irrigate crop production in oceans.
by Cindy R
In previous articles we have explored various types of sex! Now don’t rush out to find the pornographic back issues of seed catalogues. If you weren’t fortunate enough to have read the articles we were talking about plant sex! (Exciting if you’re a grower but not too sexy if you’re expecting porn!)
Sexual reproduction, the germination and propagation of a seed, and asexual reproduction or cloning are two excellent procreation methods used for plant duplication.
We have successfully created a proliferation of new plant material either from seed or cuttings. Our objective now is to keep the plants healthy and productive in a hydroponic environment. A healthy root zone and strong pest resistant vegetation will help to produce an abundance of flowers and fruit.
Plants are what they eat, therefore the nutrient solution you feed them plays a very important role in determining the success of your crop. There are twenty mineral elements that are essential to plant growth. Years of studying these elements have led researchers to hydroponics by combining these water soluble nutrients in specific amounts to meet various plant’s needs.
|Macronutrients are required in large amounts|
|Carbon||C||Component of all organic compounds|
|Oxygen||O||supplied by air & water|
|Hydrogen||H||Basic building block of hydrocarbons|
|Nitrogen||N||Part of chlorophyll, amino acids, proteins|
|Phosphorus||P||Used in photosynthesis and almost all aspects of growth|
|Potassium||K||Activates enzymes, used in formation of sugar and starch|
|Calcium||Ca||Used in cell growth and division, part of cell wall|
|Magnesium||Mg||Part of chlorophyll, activates enzymes|
|Sulfur||S||Part of amino acids and proteins|
Base nutrients are the most important nutrient choice with your plants.
Two part formulas work better than one part formulas. In one part, there are many agents in the formula that cause build ups and especially in hydroponics systems will lead to clogged tubing. With two part formulas, the agents are not present as they are not necessary. This also means that the nutrients are made more readily available for the plants to intake.
Also be sure to look for a nutrient with no dyes or additives. These are not beneficial for your plants and can often do more damage than good. From our testing, we have found that Dutch Nutrient Formula takes care of all the plants needs in the healthiest way…remember…they are what they eat!
© Copyright 2013 Homegrown Hydroponics, Inc. All rights reserved
by Cindy R
The concept of creating an exact replica of a living being through cloning has been the topic of many si-fi and horror stories throughout the ages. The thought usually conjures up some image of a Frankenstein like monster whose genetic structure has gone haywire during the cloning process.
Cloning is the genetically identical duplication of an organism through asexual reproduction. Scientists have made some mind boggling achievements with cloning, including the asexual reproduction of sheep and cows. There is much ethical debate as to how far and for what purpose cloning should be used. However cloning, or asexual propagation, has been common practice in the horticultural world for hundreds of years.
Simply taking a stem cutting from a ‘parent or mother’ plant, rooting and planting it to create a new plant is cloning or asexual propagation in it’s most basic form. From Frankenstein to Grandma’s geraniums!
The greatest advantage of this form of propagation is that all the desirable traits of the mother plant will be reproduced in it’s offspring. The strain, quality, smell and taste will be identical with every cutting taken. Chronologically the cuttings will be the same age as their parent plant and will produce flowers much earlier than their seed grown counterparts. Bad characteristics will also be inherited by the rooted cutting. It is for this reason that particular care should be taken when selecting a mother plant.
A mother plant should be healthy, hearty, insect free and in its vegetative growth stage to produce strong cuttings. Mother plants need plenty of nourishment and light so the cuttings will have reserves to ensure quick rooting and ultimately, survival.
Prepare the mother plant prior to taking cuttings. Leaching will remove any excess nitrogen from the plant. Nitrogen will cause the cuttings to concentrate on producing foliage rather than roots. Leach the day before taking cuttings by rinsing the root zone with straight pH balanced water. Reduce stress by foliar feeding the mother plant with a B1 hormone three days prior to taking cuttings. The mother plant will recover and be ready for another round of cuttings in about 6 weeks.
New growth on the mother plant will make the best cuttings. The young, tender shoots produce roots quickly and easily making them less vulnerable to fungus or disease. The mother plant should be kept under 18 hours of light per day to enable it to maintain strength and retain all its desirable characteristics.
Although cloning produces the identical traits of the mother plant, environmental conditions may vary greatly affecting the development of the cuttings. Insufficient light or humidity or too high or low temperature will drastically alter the appearance and quality of a clone.
© Copyright 2013 Homegrown Hydroponics, Inc. All rights reserved
by Matt Lebbanister
Seeds are sacred in the growing world. They contain all the genetic information acquired from both parents. By carefully selecting the proper seeds suitable for the indoor growing environment, one can grow a strain that is most desirable to the grower’s personal preferences. Qualities such as taste, size, smell, pest and disease resistance, heat and cold resistance, and any other favourable attributes are mainly determined by the genetic makeup of the strain chosen.
Giving seeds and seedlings a healthy start can greatly affect the overall yield and quality of the finished product. Plants started well will grow more quickly and bear more fruit and flowers than plants that were neglected as seedlings. If the ideal temperature is maintained and seeds are germinated properly, the average gardener can save themselves time, effort, and therefore money.
When selecting seeds, choose ones that are fresh, dry, and under 1 year old because they will sprout quickly and grow into robust plants. Seeds that are older than 1 year will sprout slow and have a low germination rate. Although some seeds, such as corn kernels, can last hundreds of years when properly dried and stored, most seeds will not last more than 3-5 years.
Once some quality seeds have been chosen, it is time to germinate them. The first step to successful seedlings is to soak the seeds in a cup of water overnight. Night time is best because the seeds should be kept in the dark for the highest germination rate. Growth is activated when seeds take in water. Letting them soak more then a day will lead to Oxygen depravation and the seed dying. Adding a drop of beneficial enzymes and vitamin B1 can greatly improve the speed and success rate of germination.
Once seeds are soaked for 3-8 hours they are ready to be planted in a rockwool starter cube, peat puck, or loose soil-less medium. If one chooses to grow in rockwool starter cubes, it is best to soak the rockwool cubes the night before. It is also recommended to add beneficial enzymes and vitamin B1 to the PH balanced water used to soak the medium, regardless of which is used. This mix helps relieve any stress the seedling might experience preemptively, and allow for rapid root growth early on. Once this is done, place the seeds in the medium and cover the hole with some loose medium to keep the light off the seeds. Most seeds will not germinate when exposed to the light.
Seeds need water, heat, and air to germinate. To speed up the process, it is recommended to place the medium containing the seeds in a tray on top of a seedling heating mat. This ingenious product allows the grower to control the exact temperature of the medium the seeds have been planted in. By keeping the medium at 75-80 F, one can greatly speed up the sprouting process and increase the rate of germination. Make sure to never get above 90F, because many seed varieties become dormant when temperatures exceed 90F. The use of a humidity dome is also recommended to be used in conjunction with the seedling heating mat. Seeds develop quicker with humid air that is kept 5-10F cooler than the medium. Humidity domes should be removed when the first sprout appears. Once seeds “pop”, it is best to toughen them up and turn off the heating mat as well. Also, seedlings will begin to stretch and become lanky if the temperature exceeds 85F for too long.
Each and every seed contains all the nutrition necessary for germination. This means that seeds only need straight PH’d water for the first weeks. However, there are many varying opinions as to when it is best to feed the seedlings and what is best to feed them with. In this writer’s opinion, it is best NOT to feed young seedlings anything with an NPK at all. The reasoning behind this is simple; developing the root system is the most important aspect of seedling growth. By giving the seedlings nutrient the gardener is running the risk of over fertilizing the fragile root system. Seedling roots are very sensitive the levels of nutrient and even giving them nutrient at ¼ strength can cause extensive root and leaf burn. If one is set on feeding their seedlings at such an early stage, the best choice is to use a product such as pine oil. The risk of nutrient burning is almost nonexistent with pine oil, yet it contains high levels of nitrogen making it the perfect nutrient to feed young seedlings.
Another reason nutrient is best not fed to seedlings is that it actually speeds up the development of the young root system. By starving the young plants, one forces them to grow roots down and out in search of a source of nutrient. Giving seedlings nutrient too early on can actually stop roots from growing. If the gardener is providing food for the plant early on, the seedling has no need to search for food and therefore no reason to grow and extensive root system.
When a seed germinates, a white taproot grows downward into the medium. Soon seedling leaves appear and shortly afterwards the first true leaves will appear. When the seedling leaves appear it signals the seedlings need for light. It is now time to place the seedlings under a light. Seedlings need at least 16 hours of light a day. The lights best suited for the job are fluorescent lights. Fluorescent lights give off the perfect amount of light to get seedlings started. HIDs are too strong and the light intensity alone will burn leaves if one is not careful. Not to mention that the heat given off by HID light bulbs is enough to fry fragile seedling roots. T5 fluorescent light bulbs are quickly becoming the bulbs of choice for developing young seedlings, because they are cooler than HIDs and more efficient than traditional T12 fluorescent bulbs.
After a week under the T5 fluorescents, the white taproot will likely break through the bottom on the starter cube, peat puck, or hydroponic medium of choice. A couple days after the taproot breaks though, lateral roots will begin to break through the sides of the medium as well. When that taproot first pops through the bottom of the starter cube, it is time to transplant the seedling. Waiting too long to transplant can cause damage to the young, fragile root system. Transplanting seedlings too soon can drown a young root system and lead to rotting and the growth of fungus or bacteria.
Just prior to transplanting the seedlings is the best time to remove weak or sickly sprouts. Gardeners should focus on the survivor plants because they generally are healthier and will produce higher yields as a result. These stronger plants deserve the resources the gardener has to offer. Transplanting weak or unhealthy plants is a serious waste of time, space and resources.
Once the seedlings have been transplanted to a larger rockwool cube, bigger pot, or other hydroponic medium, one can expect rapid root growth and shortly afterward, rapid leaf growth. This rapid foliage growth signals the end of the seedling phase and the beginning of a new phase of growth. The plants are now able to handle being fed nutrient and can be placed under HID lights. It is now time to begin the vegetative phase.
Seeds are so very sacred. Each and every seed contains the spark of life. By giving care and nurture to seedlings, one truly learns the secret to a successful garden. If gardening has taught us growers anything, it is that you get what you give. That by increasing our knowledge and putting that knowledge into practice is the real secret to success in the indoor garden.
© Copyright 2013 Homegrown Hydroponics, Inc. All rights reserved
by Cindy R
Humic Acid is nature’s ‘black nectar from the Gods.’ Known by it’s rich dark brown to black colour, this organically charged bio-stimulant has proven to have powerful and significant health effects on humans, animals, plants and the environment demonstrating the essential unity of all living things. Because human bodies are made of materials that come from the earth, it is often the case that materials from the earth are agents of health.
Humic acid was used by ancient cultures and in folk remedies for a wide variety of illnesses. It is known to be a powerful free-radical scavenger and a natural anti-oxidant. Humates taken internally are believed to boost the immune systems by attacking unwanted, injured or dead cells thereby decreasing or eliminating infection.
Experimentally, humic acid has been used both topically and internally to treat and prevent infection in burn victims. The humates destroy the invading infectious cells allowing the healthy cells to take over. Russian scientists have had measured success in trials using humic acid to treat radiation sickness in rats.
Ingestion of humic acids through organic foods and clean natural water from unpolluted rivers is believed to reduce or block the body’s absorption of heavy metals and pesticides. This may help diminish the build up of cancer causing toxins and pollutants in the human body. It is believed that humic acid is anti-carcinogenic. Humic acids have also been employed as veterinary medicine therapy successfully using peat mull (extracted humic acid) to prevent the transmission of foot and mouth disease in pigs.
Before mega-production farming practices depleted our land of its natural goodness, humic acid was an abundant part of the soil. Plants and animals nurtured on the land ingested a balanced diet that included humates. Unfortunately that is no longer the case. Animals and soil grown plants have been deprived of the many health benefits that humic acid delivers.
Humic acid can be extracted from recently, composted organic manure or peat but is not as effective in absorbing and distributing micronutrients as the humic acid which is derived from Leonardite. (Recently is a relative term which in this case refers to several thousand years.) The humic acid referred to as ‘Black’ in hydroponic formulations is the rich material extracted from naturally oxidized and carefully selected sources of Leonardite.
Leonardite is a naturally occurring hydro-carbon shale formed in the earth over millions of years by the chemical and biological decomposition of prehistoric plant and animal matter. Being highly decomposed natural humus, and having been subject to a significant level of microbial activity, it contains high concentrations of the organic Humic and Fulvic acids. This organic acid concentration varies from deposit to deposit. Some of the highest quality Leonardite deposits in the world are found in South America.
Humic Acid has virtually been leached from our agricultural soil therefore crops have endured the deficiency. The natural anti-oxidant protection provided to plants rich in a humic based soil are therefore not available.
Humic Acids help to improve the soil’s water holding capacity, improve the soil structure and help to maintain soil stability. Humic acids readily form salts with inorganic trace minerals in a form that can be more easily utilised by plants. Humic acids promote vigor, disease resistance and root development in agricultural crops. These increases result in faster growth. The acids assist roots by increasing soil permeability, increasing water retention, reducing water evaporation, and promoting the growth of beneficial microbial colonies in the root zone. The creation of a healthy, microbially-active rootzone environment creates stronger plants that uptake nutrients better.
In a hydroponic environment humic acid supplementation offers many of the same benefits to plants that it does in a soil culture. Because hydroponics is performed in an enclosed environment it is possible to specifically target plants with a minimum of waste. Adding a humic acid based solution, referred to as “BLACK” in hydroponic preparations, to the nutrient reservoir will increase the efficacy of the nutrients, making both micro and macro nutrients more readily available to the root zone. Humic acid’s high cation capacity serves as a chelator which helps plants better assimilate all the nutrients in the solution. The chelation process helps make and keep nutrients readily available to be used by plants as needed.
Environmental stresses can cause irreparable damage to plants; stunting or delaying growth, prohibiting flower production or even causing death. Free radical molecules result from stress such as high heat or temperature fluctuations, too high humidity, pesticide applications and nutrient deficiencies or toxicities. The bio-stimulant activity of humic acid black produces anti-oxidants that combat these free radicals making plants more resistant to these and other environmental stressors.
Humic acid black remains in the cells providing ongoing protection. One of the organic compounds in humic acid black is carbon which manufactures sugars in plants. Sugars are especially important during flowering as plants require an increased amount of carbohydrate to produce fruit. The carbohydrate infusion delivered in humic acid black will also organically enhance flavour, colour and aroma of fruit.
Seed germination is accelerated when humic acid black is added. Humic acid’s effect on seed germination is similar to its effect on rooted plants. Humic acid, carrying both micronutrients and water, is drawn in the seed through the pore, stimulating growth of the radical. Not only do they germinate faster but there is a higher percentage of seeds germinating.
Beneficial bacteria and fungi reproduction created in the presence of humic acid black biologically increase plant growth. The microbial activity produced by these bacteria and fungi are excellent root stimulators. Humic acid black has also been shown to lower pH to a more neutral level helping with the availability of nutrients.
All this translates into healthier, stronger more pest resistant plants. Humic acid black is an environmentally safe bio-stimulant that can be used throughout the entire growth cycle. The addition of humic acid black to a high quality nutrient regimen will result in superior quality crop production whether it is through soil or hydroponic cultivation. The crops will in turn be ingested by animals and humans enriching the diet of the entire food chain.
We suggest Homegrown’s DNF Black.
© Copyright 2013 Homegrown Hydroponics Inc. All rights reserved