Due to the growing number of plants in Fifth Season, we felt the need to give them a voice. Periodically, we will introduce a plant grown in our store, as well as the fertilizing and environmental techniques we use. Thus, the intro to our new page–“How the @#%& did the grow that?”
Below is a sample of things to come.
Plants retain their mystique for many reasons. Some provide nourishment that can’t be replicated in labs. Others show off their beauty more arrogantly than a peacock. And there’s even the garden bully (like the odious runner grass) that feels the need to own the whole kingdom.
Perhaps the most elusive thing about plants is figuring out how to grow them correctly. Variables–like climate, sun or indoor lighting, growing media, pests, etc.–add up quicker than a tax day calculator.
This page is dedicated to demystifying the growing process of certain plants as well as growing techniques like hydroponics and water cloning. We hope this section will make the reader/gardener overlook the exotic intimidation of the plant and focus on the basic steps towards creating a mini Eden as well as arousing neighborhood envy.
Most of the plants presented below will either be from Fifth Season Stores, or experiments by employees at their homes. One last note: No plants were harmed in the experiments, only the employees’ egos when things didn’t grow right.
- Italian Basil Grown in a 60 Site Aeroflo System
The basil seed began its journey in seed starter plugs made of composted fir bark and mycorrhizae. They were then placed in a 72 cell tray that is put under a humidome. The seeds received 18 hours of light each day under a Pioneer VIII ballast (containing eight four foot long T-5 bulbs). Once the seeds sprouted, the dome was taken off and the seedlings stayed under the lights until the basil grew its first set of true leaves.
The seedlings were then transferred to 3 inch net cups and were anchored by hydroton clay pellets, which provide great root aeration and moisture retention. Finally, the newly migrated seedlings came to its permanent destination in the aeroflo system, with each net cup placed snugly into a 3 inch site.
The lighting system consists of an Optilume 1000 watt metal halide bulb, a Yield Master II Supreme reflector, and a Sun System 1 10oo Watt Metal Halide specific ballast. The Metal Halide bulb gives off a blue spectrum, which is perfect for plants in their vegetative (or leafy) stage. Since basil never produces fruits, they don’t need a High Pressure Sodium Bulb that gives off the necessary red spectrum for fruiting plants.
The 40 gallon reservoir was then filled with non-chlorinated water using a reverse osmosis water filtration system. The plants were fed with Botanicare Pure Blend Pro Grow (due to its complete nutrient regiment) using the seedling dosage. The PPM (parts per million) measurement in the water (using a Bluelab nutrient meter) should not be more than 400 PPMs at the seedling stage to prevent nutrient burn. And the PH level (also measured by the Bluelab) should read between 5.8 and 6.2.
The water is changed out weekly and filled with new nutrient. At mature vegetative level (as seen in above picture), the basil plants’ PPM should be between 1200-1400 PPM with the aforementioned PH level.