In my last submission for the Fifth Season blog, I spoke about three types of media used in hydroponic growing: Canna coco, expanded clay pebbles by Hydrocorn, and Sunleaves ‘Rocks.’ These are all great choices, but they are not the only options available. This post will cover three additional growing media for use in hydroponic growing. Let’s start by talking about rockwool. Produced by heating basalt rock and chalk into a molten lava, rockwool is then spun out (sort of the way cotton … [Read more...] about Hydroponic Growing Media (Part 2)
Gardeners can have mixed feelings at this time of the year. Some start getting antsy, looking for something green to start or plant. Others see this as a time of rest, a time to enjoy the fruits of our labors. For those of you who just want to kick back and enjoy the time off for now, this article is not for you. But, for those of you who are itching to grow something right now, read on, because where there is a will, there is a way. Lighting technology has not only allowed humans to thrive … [Read more...] about Winter Gardening Indoors
Hydroponic lettuce is surprisingly easy to grow and a great confidence builder for a beginner hydro enthusiast, myself included. I work part time at Fifth Season Carrboro (one year this month!). When I first started working at the store, there were several young guys who were enthusiastic about hydro and took care of that part of the business. They were dialed in, and it was all a mystery to me. My husband was more enthusiastic than I was. But as I watched the plants cycling in and out of … [Read more...] about Hydroponic Lettuce, Simple!
Humans have been cultivating plants in containers for thousands of years. Horticultural pottery fragments from Egyptian settlements date back to 10,000 years ago, and more recent Roman remains have shown that they were likely the first to grow perennials in containers for the purpose of bringing them indoors during colder weather. As gardeners in 2015, the only things that differentiates us is the technology. Unglazed terracotta containers were the OGs of container gardening – these porous … [Read more...] about Plant Containers: Plastic vs. Fabric
Every gardener I know grows lettuce for salad greens, because it is one of those vegetables that we tend to eat on a daily basis, and usually with at least one meal every day year round. So, we need a lot of it, and we need it often and always. Luckily, salad greens are one of the easiest crops to grow for a perpetual crop. Perpetual, or year round, salad greens can be grown indoors or out and I do both. I have two 4’ x 6’ raised beds that I use outdoors, and a table set up with grow … [Read more...] about How to Grow Year Round Salad Greens
Electrical Conductivity (EC) measures a material's ability to conduct an electric current and the conductivity of a solution is directly related to the amount of salts dissolved in it. The more salts, the higher the EC. Why is this relevant to hydroponic gardening? Well, hydroponic nutrients are primarily composed of mineral salts, so Electrical Conductivity can give you an idea of how many nutrients are in your solution. Each ion in the solution has a different specific conductivity and … [Read more...] about Electrical Conductivity and hydroponic gardening
Most gardeners know lumens to be the “measure of the total ‘amount’ of visible light emitted by a source.” What they often do not know is that this “visible light” only refers to light that is visible to the human eye with no regard to the distribution of that light energy over the spectrum. Why does this matter? Imagine three lamps: let these lamps be red, blue, and green, and let each emit the same number of watts of optical energy. On a lumen scale, the red and blue lamps would have a much … [Read more...] about Plant Lighting Pt 1: Plants see PAR, humans see Lumens
Flushing is often regarded as something that should be done at the end of your plant’s life cycle before harvesting. In reality, flushing has three major roles that benefit both the plants and you, the gardener, throughout the whole growth cycle. Flushing: 1) Keeps the growing medium and reservoirs clean 2) Keeps root zones and plants happy and healthy 3) Improves taste and aroma by removing excess chemicals and nutrients from plant tissue Flushing regularly (up to every 7-10 days) removes … [Read more...] about To flush or not to flush?
At Fifth Season, we hear about and see all sorts of cool DIY projects, A couple years ago I came across bottle gardening, and recently I tried my hand at it. These gardens can be as simple as one bottle inverted on itself, or as elaborate as a window-sized unit with stacks of suspended bottles, linked by a drip system and all fed by submersible pumps. At this point, you might ask - why a bottle garden? Well, many people, such as those in apartments or other small living spaces, don’t have access … [Read more...] about How to make your own DIY bottle garden
Spring and summer are great times to practice hydroponics outdoors without expensive lighting systems, but indoors or out, we’re all going to be battling the heat and the stresses it can cause to our plants. Decaying, dying, and dead root material can be the bane of many hydroponic (and some soil) growers - especially during the warm summer months! As gardeners, we must remember that as the temperature in the root zone increases, the rate of respiration of the root tissue also increases. … [Read more...] about Battling heat and root problems