Boost Growth in Your Indoor Garden Using CO2
In addition to water and light, plants must have carbon dioxide (CO2) in order to transform light into energy. Commercial growers use CO2 to increase plant health and crop yields. Provided all other conditions such as light, temperature, nutrient levels and humidity are under control, you can give your indoor garden a boost with CO2!
Plants grown in CO2-enriched environments have lush foliage, increased branching and more plentiful blooms. The air we breathe contains about .03 percent CO2—that’s about 300 parts per million (PPM). Different plants may require this helpful gas in different amounts. However, in general, most plants need at least 150 PPM in order to keep growing. Plants grown in CO2 levels between 1200 to 1500 PPM can grow two to three times faster than those grown without the extra CO2.
Before you decide on a method of adding CO2 make sure your greenhouse or growing area is well sealed to prevent CO2 loss. There are several ways to increase CO2 levels. For example, running certain types of heaters will raise CO2 levels. Gardeners looking for an economical CO2 supplementation can ferment yeast in the grow room by mixing warm water, brewers yeast and sugar in an open-top container. Either of these methods will produce additional CO2, but the levels are not usually but consistent.
Unlike CO2 injection systems, CO2 generators actually produce the gas via combustion. CO2 generators are a great choice for large grow areas or greenhouses. Over the long term, they can be three to six times less expensive to operate than bottled CO2 injection systems.
While generators can burn any fossil fuel, systems running on propane or natural gas are most common. Along with carbon dioxide, water and heat are by-products of combustion. Careful monitoring of temperature, humidity and CO2 levels in the grow area is critical, as is coordination of all corresponding equipment. An atmospheric controller that will automatically check and regulate these levels is highly recommended to maintain pre-programmed parameters.
It is important to note that you can have too much of a good thing; CO2 can be toxic to plants at levels above 2,000 PPM and toxic to pets and people at levels above 4,000 PPM. Fuel that doesn’t burn completely can produce deadly gases such as carbon monoxide. For best results, be sure to provide adequate air circulation.
Black Friday: November 28, 2014
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Does someone on your Holiday shopping list have a green thumb? With the Holiday shopping season upon us, take a look at stocking stuffers, unique presents and gift ideas the grower in your life will love!
The Harvester’s Edge Micropore Bags and Kits are perfect for the cold water extraction of essential oils. Bags are color-coded and labeled for easy setup. Drawstrings keep bags in place and lined canvas makes cleanup a breeze. Rugged construction with waterproof double stitching promotes years of use.
Hydroponics for Everybody
The richly illustrated “Hydroponics for Everybody“ will increase indoor harvests to levels never thought possible. From amateur gardening to high-tech grow rooms, this book offers everything about the art of hydroponics. From the ABCs to the most guarded secrets this is the go-to book for any hydroponics question. The author, William Texier, is an innovator in the hydroponics industry. He currently manages research and development at General Hydroponics in Europe with a team of researchers from the University of California. With 30 years in the field, he’s considered one of the most knowledgeable hydroponics experts worldwide.
Violiv Glass Jars
Violiv Glass Jars allow growers to attractively and discreetly bathe herbs, seeds and other botanicals in beneficial UVA, far infrared and violet rays, while simultaneously protecting the contents from destructive lights. The width and shallow depth of the openings of the Super Wide series enable easier pouring of contents. Light blocking screw-on caps help keep contents fresh and secure. Violiv jars offer unique possibilities for home, pantry and apothecary use.
EarthBox Junior Garden Kit Green
The Gardener on your Holiday list will enjoy the fruitfulness of the EarthBox Junior Garden Kit. This maintenance-free, award-winning, high-tech growing system controls soil conditions, eliminates guesswork, and is the perfect size for a kitchen herb garden or window flower box. The kit includes an EarthBox Junior container with integrated overflow hole, aeration screen, fill tube, two reversible mulch covers, overflow saucer, 8 ounces of dolomite and 8 ounces of fertilizer. Gardeners just supply soil, plants and water.
Worms Way Gift Card
Give a better harvest to the hydroponic or organic gardener in your life! With a Worm’s Way Gift Card, your favorite gardener can finally upgrade their grow room with the latest gadget, or maybe they could use a hand with everyday purchases such as nutrients and media. No matter what they choose to spend it on, they’ll love how your gift helps their garden grow. Worm’s Way Gift Cards may be used online at wormsway.com or at any Worm’s Way location
Did you know that the pH in your hydroponic system is just as important as your nutrients? Your pH and nutrients go hand-in-hand in your plants’ development. Follow these simple tips for pH success in your indoor garden.
If the pH of your hydroponic nutrient solution is too high or too low, certain elements will become unavailable to your plants.
The pH in your hydroponic nutrient solution plays a part in your plants’ ability to absorb nutrients essential to their successful growth. Because plants need nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in large amounts, these elements are known as primary macronutrients. Plants need smaller amounts of the secondary macronutrients -sulfur, calcium and magnesium. Iron, manganese, zinc, copper, chlorine, boron and molybdenum are still essential for growth but are required in even smaller amounts. They are often referred to as micronutrients or trace elements. Each of these macro- and micronutrients serves specific purposes for our plants. If pH levels climb too high or fall too low, some nutrients become available to your plants at toxic levels while others become completely unavailable.
Ranging from zero (acid) to 14 (base), the pH scale is used to determine the acidity or alkalinity of a substance. Most plants are happy between 5.5 and 6.8 pH.
Plants growing in hydroponics solutions that are either too acidic or too basic have trouble absorbing what they need for steady growth. A pH of seven is considered neutral, and, for optimal nutrient uptake, the pH of your nutrient solution should be between 5.5 and 6.8 depending on the types of plants you will be growing.
Every full point change along the pH scale represents an increase or decrease in acidity or alkalinity by a factor of 10. For instance, a solution with a pH of five is 10 times more acid than one with a pH of six. If you were to step down to a pH of four, the solution would be 100 times more acid than a solution measuring pH 6.
If left unchecked and untreated, deficiencies can occur.
Signs of low pH include manganese and iron toxicity that causes yellow spots and may led to leaf browning and death. Wilting leaves, poor stem development, stunted growth, leaf discoloration and blighted leaf tips. High pH levels often result in iron deficiencies in the plant, resulting in leaves that are weak and yellow.
Evaporation, temperature and amount of light can affect pH levels. Meters are the easiest way to determine the pH.
You know your plants will flourish when their nutrient solution is between 5.5 and 6.8, but how can you ensure that conditions will be just right? Many different variables such as evaporation, temperature and amount of light can affect pH levels. Frequent monitoring of nutrient solution pH levels is a good idea. There are several different options for measuring pH.
If you are not using a pH monitor that remains directly in the nutrient bath to offer continuous readings, you’ll need to measure the pH of your nutrient solution at least twice a week with a hand-held pH meter. Hand-held meters feature delicate glass probe tips that are dipped into nutrient solution for periodic testing, and they offer easy-to-read digital results right away.
If you find that your solution is too acidic or too alkaline, you can make incremental changes in pH with pH adjuster liquids as needed.
Some solutions commonly used to lower pH include nitric acid, phosphoric acid, citric acid and vinegar. Potassium hydroxide is used to raise pH. To prevent possible problems, take a pH reading of the water you will be using and adjust it as needed before mixing your nutrient solution. Never use hot water when mixing hydroponics nutrient.
TIP: Indoor growers using rockwool may need to compensate for the growing medium’s inherent alkalinity that can cause pH shifts. In addition to pre-soaking your rockwool over a 24-hour period, you can use a nutrient that is specifically formulated, such as the Sunleaves Rockwool Formula One line, for use with rockwool.