Friday, January 30, 2009

Successful Hydroponic Cabinets

This is the cabinet that these happy growers are talking about. You can find it by clicking on the title.

"I’m on my fourth Side2Side and coming back for a fifth! I can’t thank you guys enough. - Justin P."

"My friend’s an engineer and when he looked at my Side2Side, he said, “Wow!!” Thanks for giving me bragging rights! - John F."

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Commercial Hydroponics

Hydroponically-grown produce is available at all major supermarkets across the country regardless of the season. In North America, 95 percent of greenhouse vegetables are grown hydroponically. The hydroponic greenhouse vegetable industry is valued at over $2.4 billion dollars and is growing at 10 percent per year. The industry is expanding because it is economically productive. Controlled environments and controlled growth techniques maximizes production and is much less labor intense. In addition, the resulting produce is clean, healthy, and nutritious, and growing hydroponically significantly conserves the earth’s resources.

Increased yields, improved and more consistent quality, and elimination of herbicides and pesticides, are major advantages of using hydroponic growing methods for commercial food production. Because hydroponics is almost always used with controlled environments such as greenhouses, the additional major benefit of extending or eliminating growing seasons provides continuous crop production, which again provides extensive increases in productivity.

Read more here

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Another happy grower

My Supercube is perfect for my little studio apartment. I put my TV on top of it and pictures of my friends on the front. It saves space and it’s a great hobby for me since I go to school full time.

- Eric C.

Monday, January 26, 2009

A happy grower!

I purchased my PC Planter in Aug. of 08. My first attempt at growing was somewhat less than successful due to the fact that I damaged my plants by not monitoring my plants as I should have. I am now into my second attempt and am more than happy with the results. The growth rate is phenomenal. I have learned quickly to not rush the growth...stay at the lower end of the recommended PPM...keep the PH balanced...use purified water....use the best seeds available, then wait for maturation of your plants then is worth the wait.

James R.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Drying Herbs

Now you've grown your own herbs in your hydroponic cabinet indoors, what about drying them?

Drying herbs is a fine thing to do because you’re going to get the maximum freshness and taste.

Quite frankly, you’ll also know your herbs are organic as many of the herbs purchased in stores have had herbicides or pesticides used on them to control insect pests.

I know they don’t tell you this but in order to get large quantities of herbs into stores, you need large farms and most of these farms are “offshore” and the use of chemicals is not as regulated as it is in North America or Europe.

Grow your own herbs and you guarantee both freshness and quality all season long.

Tips for Drying Herbs

The best system for retaining quality herbs is to air dry them and this is also the cheapest although one of the slowest. Moisture evaporates slowly in the air drying herb system and this leaves most of the sought after oils behind in the leaf.

Some folks love their dehydrators and these are terrific if you are drying large quantities. Instructions will be in each kit but if you only have a few herbs to do, the cheapest way for drying herbs is the air-drying system.

Recipe for air drying herbs

Plan on harvesting your herbs in the early morning before they start expending energy for the day and are in the best condition right before flowering.

Using a sharp knife or scissors, cut the large stems or branches away from the plant. Shake (gently) each branch to dislodge insect visitors. Remove any damaged or diseased leaves.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Growing the best and safest food at home

Hydroponic cabinets use a unique growing technique to produce fantastic plants without a drop of potting soil. There are actually people who grow some vegetables in a corner of their basement or on a small balcony because they have a hydroponic cabinet. Most people assume that you need soil to grow some plants. Of course, that means that you have to have a garden, a farm or some containers with potting soil. Most people do not realize that methods have been developed by experts to grow plants without soil. People who would like to grow some nice fresh vegetables free of pesticides can do this if they have a hydroponic cabinet.

Hydroponic cabinets come in a variety of sizes so people looking to grow some plants at home can buy a hydroponic cabinet that will fit into their available space. There are some hydroponic planters that are small enough to grow some vegetables or other plants on a kitchen countertop. These planters like the larger hydroponic cabinets will grow the plants at any time of year. Although there might be piles of snow in the family garden, a hydroponic cabinet or planter will work in the home. People can grow fresh tomatoes, lettuce or peppers right in the kitchen where they make their salads.

Hydroponic Cabinets Come With The Necessities

Plants do not need soil to grow, but they do need nutrients. Experts have designed hydroponic cabinets with the facilities to supply the nutrients to the plants without using soil. The hydroponic cabinets usually come with plenty of information on growing different types of plants without the soil normally used. The plants grown with these techniques often grow just a large and more quickly than the normal plants in the garden or on a farm. Some of these hydroponic tools are equipped to guide the grower in the process.

Some of the hydroponic tools are specifically designed for certain types of plants. There are cabinets that are best for growing flowers while other cabinets are best for growing vegetables. These cabinets can be used to keep plants growing at different stages so the grower always has some plants or vegetables ready for use. You will not have to worry about too many peppers ripened at once. Some of the best cabinets are designed so an amateur grower will not have to worry about the roots rotting from too much water or the flowers fading from too few nutrients.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Pakistan: Hydroponic technology may help boost crops yield

Pakistan may enhance vegetable and fruit crops yield with hydroponic farming technology to overcome the food shortages and price hike tendency. According to the Ministry of Agriculture sources, this technology would not only raise yield, but would also enhance nutrition abilities of plants. A hydroponic pilot project has recently been started in Rawat (Islamabad) under the name bio-blitz over just five acres of land.

The state-of-the-art five-acre Green House facility is producing hydroponic tomatoes of all varieties, including tangy, elegant, cherry and others. If hydroponics farming technology is introduced properly, then country can triple the revenues earned on agriculture exports.

According to agriculture scientists, there are two main types of hydroponics culture, namely solution culture and medium culture. The solution culture excludes roots as source of nutrition, while the medium culture is based on roots as part of the process.

The solution culture method is further divided into three types - static solution culture, continuous flow solution culture, and aeroponics. The medium culture, on the other hand, is based on medium through which the root is routed - sand culture, gravel culture or rock wool culture. These media of nutrition are again sub-divided into two categories - sub-irrigation and top irrigation.

In all these techniques, mostly plastic is used for hydroponic reservoirs, though other materials have also been used, which include concrete, glass, metal, vegetable solids and wood. Experts advise that the containers should block light to prevent algae growth in the nutrient solution. Hydroponics is a method of growing plants, using mineral nutrient solutions without soil. Terrestrial plants may be grown with their roots in the mineral nutrient solution only or in an inert medium, such as perlite, gravel, or mineral wool.

This technology was discovered in the 19th century. In this technology plants absorb essential mineral nutrients as inorganic ions in water. In natural conditions, soil acts as a mineral nutrient reservoir, but the soil itself is not essential to plant growth.

When the mineral nutrients in the soil dissolve in water, plant roots are able to absorb them. When the required mineral nutrients are introduced into a plant's water supply artificially, soil is no longer required for the plant to thrive. Almost any terrestrial plant will grow with hydroponics.

Hydroponics is also a standard technique in biology research and teaching. In recent decades, Nasa has done extensive hydroponics research for their Controlled Ecological Life Support System or CELSS. Hydroponics, intended to take place on Mars, are using LED lighting to grow in different colour spectrum with much less heat.

Researchers have obtained groundbreaking results in various countries, however the process has proved it to be thoroughly practical, having an edge over conventional methods of horticulture.

The two major merits of the soilless cultivation of plants are: (1) higher yield, and (2) hydroponics may be helpful in places where ordinary agriculture is impossible. That has removed constraints of cultivable land.


-- It saves water - it uses as little as 1/20 the amount at a regular farm to produce the same amount of produce.

-- Faster growth.

-- Freedom from soil diseases and weeds.

-- Very consistent crops mean uniform quality.

-- Less labour needed and cost effective. Scientists agreed that hydroponics fruits and vegetables are sweeter and more luscious than those grown in ordinary soil are. The technology is being utilised around the globe, including the US, European Union (EU) and African countries.


Publication date: 1/16/2009

Friday, January 16, 2009

Plant Lifecycle

It is difficult to give an exact description of your plants growth rate and lifecycle, since the difference species of plants that can be grown varies greatly.
You can start your plants either from seeds or clones. They should be allowed to grow in the germination and/or vegetative plant stages until they reach about 12-18 inches in height. Also make sure that roots are visible coming from the bottom of your netpots. At this point, you will switch from the vegetative to the flowering stage by changing the photoperiod, as described in the lighting section. During the flowering stage of growth your plants will continue to flower.
Gender Identification: Some people find it necessary to remove male plants to eliminate pollination because female plants are often the ones that produce prized buds and flowers. In order to remove the male plants first you must sex your plants. This is only necessary if starting from seeds, since all clones will be the same sex as the parental donor. First, get a magnifying glass and look at where your stem branches off into new growing tips. With males you can see they have a more bulbous, almost nut-shaped growth, which clusters together at the base of the nodes and tips of the growing terminals. Females on the other hand have tiny white or yellow hairs, known as pistils, protruding.

If you want to figure out which plants are male and which are female early on, then get a small black plastic bag or something similar that is lightproof, and a plastic coated twisty tie. Select a plant that you would like to sex and choose a growing tip. Take the paper bag, place it over the top of the selected tip and seal with the twisty tie. Then, to simulate the flowering phase, simply remove the bag after the 12hr dark period, and replace when the 12hr day cycle ends. After 7-10 days the growth-tip you covered should start showing signs of its gender.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Soilless Growing

Greenhouses and nurseries grow their plants in a soilless, peat or bark-based growing mix. The nutrients then are applied to the growing mix through the water supply. Therefore, this is also a type of hydroponics. Soilless gardening offers many advantages to the home gardener. Since a sterile medium is used, there are no weeds to remove, and soil-borne pests and diseases are minimized, if not eliminated completely.

Properly grown hydroponic plants also are healthier and more vigorous because all of the necessary growth elements are readily available. The plants can mature faster, yielding an earlier harvest of vegetable and flower crops. Hydroponic gardens use less space since the roots do not have to spread out in search of food and water. This small space requirement makes hydroponics ideal for home gardeners, and it makes better use of greenhouse space.
The big advantage to hydroponics is the ability to automate the entire system with a timer. Automation reduces the actual time it takes to maintain plant growth requirements. Automation also provides flexibility to the gardener as one can be gone for long periods of time without having to worry about watering the plants.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Soave Enterprises Participates With Non-Profit Organization to Feed the Hungry

Soave's affiliate company, Great Northern Hydroponics, donates hundreds of thousands of pounds of tomatoes to food banks in metropolitan Detroit.

Detroit, MI (PRWEB) April 16, 2008 – Since 1990, Forgotten Harvest has worked to alleviate the hunger of those who live at, near and below the poverty line in metropolitan Detroit by rescuing perishable and prepared foods and delivering them to organizations that serve the hungry. Last summer, refrigerated trucks began accepting donations from Great Northern Hydroponics (GNH), a 50-acre tomato greenhouse in southern Ontario. Great Northern Hydroponics is an affiliate of Soave Enterprises, L.L.C.

When Soave Enterprises’ Treasurer Rick Brockhaus became a board member of the Detroit-based non-profit earlier in 2007, he immediately saw an opportunity to bring the Soave facility and the food gathering organization together. In the first six months of teamwork, GNH provided several hundred thousand pounds of tomatoes to food banks and soup kitchens throughout the metropolitan area.

“Forgotten Harvest embraces its mission of feeding the hungry in metro Detroit. Soave Enterprises and its employees feel this is another way to give back to our community,” said Brockhaus. “This combined effort brings two likeminded organizations together and makes everyone a winner.”

The rescued tomatoes are those that have minor surface imperfections, and are, therefore, not suited for commercial sale, but they are otherwise completely healthy produce. Prior to their donation to Forgotten Harvest, the fruit was recycled back into the fields as organic fertilizer. It now goes to help feed the 500,000 people in the Detroit’s tri-county area who live below the poverty level. “The Forgotten Harvest trucks now make regular stops at our facility - twice a week at the peak of the summer growing season, and then once a week during the fall,” notes Darrin Didychuk, President of GNH. “We look forward to continuing our partnership in 2008.”

Named 2007’s Non-Profit of the Year by Crain’s Detroit Business, Forgotten Harvest currently rescues 8.6 million pounds of food per year. Founded by businessman Anthony Soave, Soave Enterprises is honored to be one of its contributors.

Soave Enterprises is a diversified management and investment company founded by Detroit businessman Anthony L. Soave that provides strategic planning, financial and other management resources to its affiliated business ventures in the real estate, automotive retailing, beer distribution, scrap metal, industrial services and transportation industries, among others.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Taking cuttings or clones with hydroponics

Cloning can be a difficult and tricky procedure; however this guide should help eliminate some of your hurdles. To start take a clone from a mother plant while still in the vegetative phase. Use a sharp knife or razor blade and cut a 3inch or so branch from the base of the mother plant at a 45 degree angle. Make sure there are a few leaves on the new clone so it can absorb enough light to take root.

Now at this point, you can take the cut end of your new clone and stick it directly into the 2inch neoprene plug so that the stem of the plant fits snuggly in the small hole in the middle and is deep enough that the cut portion of the stem is at least ½ ways down the length of the netpot. Make sure the fogger unit is on and the area under the netpot is filled with a heavy fog. This will aid in faster root development. Note: Some people have greater success by putting a cloning gel on the cut part of the stem, or by dipping the cut part in nutrients such as Liquid Sun Nutrient Set. This is unnecessary, but could be beneficial.

During the next 48 hours your plant may wilt, but this is normal as the clone is being placed under a great deal of stress by being cut. If the plant is still wilted after 5 days then odds are it won't take root and grow, so it can be discarded. Also, if you notice dead leaves you should pull them off and keep any dead matter out of the way.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Hydroponics—Relief for Food Contamination Stress!

Food recalls have reached an all-time high, causing many of us to stress over our produce choices like never before. Add to the food recalls the facts that fruit and vegetables often travel long distances and are often stored up to two years before reaching the grocery store shelves, it's no wonder more and more people would like to be able to grow at least some of their own produce.

Thanks to hydroponics, you can—and you don't even need soil! That's because hydroponics is a method of growing various plants and vegetables using a water solution that's rich in the nutrients plants need in order to thrive.

Growing plants and vegetables is relatively easy using hydroponics. You may purchase kits that are generally very compact, which make them a great choice for people who live in apartments and condominiums. These kits are also a good way to introduce children to gardening.

You can get kits for many types of vegetables such as cherry tomatoes, peppers and various herbs as well. A great thing about hydroponics kits such as these is that they do not need natural light and can be grown right on your countertop. The cost of the kits is quite reasonable—and the benefits are priceless when it comes to knowing your food is safe to eat.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Hydroponics Gardening

Hydroponics gardening is great for anyone who wants to do some gardening but may not have the space or a lot of experience.

Hydroponics gardens are different from regular gardens in that there isn't any soil involved, which makes them great for indoors. The word begins with hydro for a reason! Hydroponics isn't anything new, either, as it's been around since as early as 600 BC. The other wonderful thing about hydroponics gardens is that they can be grown anywhere. For example, NASA uses indoor hydroponics for growing produce during lengthy missions. Lettuce is also being grown on U.S. submarines.

To get started with hydroponics gardening, you will need to germinate seeds just as you would for any other type of garden. Then you choose a growing medium. The medium can be anything from composted bark to peat moss to sand to nutrient-enriched water. You can also purchase kits that have everything you need to get your hydroponics garden started—and growing. For the beginner, this is probably the best way to go, as you can get everything you need along with expert advice.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Grow lighting for your hydroponic plants

One of the biggest advantages to indoor gardening is the regulation of plant growth through the use of artificial sunlight. The most commonly used grow lights are metal halide, high pressure sodium, and fluorescents. Each has its advantages that I will briefly cover. Both metal halide and high pressure sodium lights are high intensity discharge, which mean the light they produce has a better ability to penetrate the plant leaves.

Fluorescent light can grow plants indoors, but produces much smaller plants and is generally considered to be far inferior to both metal halide and high pressure sodium lights. Fluorescent lights are most often used with seedlings or clones, as the light produced is gentler on fragile plants.

It is a common myth that plants can't utilize more than 12 hours of light per day and require a dark period. It isn't true. Try to imagine a plant's growth cycle is similar to an animal, the more you feed it, the fatter and bigger it gets. If you never decided to switch to 12 hours of darkness your plants would continue to grow until they reached an unmanageable size!

Growing Guide

Friday, January 9, 2009


This most advanced of all the hydroponic systems is the Aeroponic System. The Aeroponic System uses a high-powered pump that mixes Oxygen with the liquid nutrient solution.
A feature that stands out with the Aeroponic system is that the roots of the plant are exposed and are sprayed with the liquid nutrient solution in a mist form.
It is important that the Aeroponic system utilizes a timer to ensure that the roots receive adequate amounts of the nutrient solution. The continual misting allows the plant to grow at rapid speeds.
Because the plant can suffer serious damage if the roots are allowed to become dry, it is important to check the misting nozzle heads regularly to make sure that they are not blocked.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Urban Agriculture Reaches New Heights Through Rooftop Hydroponic Gardening

“Rooftop simplified hydroponics” — a system used in the developing world — is being used in the Canadian city of Montreal. (Photo courtesy of Alternatives)

In Montreal, as in other Canadian cities, many citizens would like to rent a small plot of land or join other growers to plant and grow vegetable crops cooperatively and then share the harvest. Long waiting lists for community gardens, however, thwart these modest ambitions.

In light of high demand and limited space for urban gardens, a Montreal-based development organization is experimenting with a gardening system called “rooftop simplified hydroponics” — a system adapted from the group’s experiences in the developing world.

“Our goal at the moment is to develop a low-impact, low-input technology to grow food economically in cities,” says Karen Templeton, a researcher at Alternatives, the Action and Communication Network for International Development. “The next step will be to find as many applications for it as we can.”

Read more here The International Development Research Centre (Science for Humanity).

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Try starting your seedlings this way...

Germinate seeds in a medium of rock wool or vermiculite.

Fill a pan with vermiculite or rock wool; fill the pan area with 1/2 strength hydroponic nutrient fluid mixer.

5-55-17 mixture of store bought plant food should stimulate root growth of the germinating seeds and the new seedlings. Use a very diluted solution, in distilled water, about one-third normal strength, and keep temperatures between 72-80 degrees for most seed type (check seed package or nursery directions).

Warm temperatures are very important. Many growers experience low germination rate if the temperatures are out of the correct range for the seed type you are germinating. A heating pad set to low or medium may be necessary.

No light is necessary and may slow germination. This is why a heating pad would be a better choice over using a lamp for warmth. Cover germinating seeds with black paper to keep out light. Place seedlings in the light only once they have sprouted.