Basic Indoor hydroponics Gardening Guide – Indoor Grow Lights for Hydroponics Systems

March 21, 2010 by Mario  
Filed under Resources

A great indoor garden requires a good grow light. It could mean the difference between success and failure. Having the right hydroponic light is the single-most important and costly decision in setting up your garden.

 Hydroponic grow lights come in three main types:

 

Incandescent lights

These are the usual lights found in homes. They are generally a poor choice for garden grown lights because of their limited light spectrum and inefficiency.

HID (High Intensity Discharge) grow lights

Producing more light (up to 10x more lumens/watt than an incandescent light),are more efficient. Drawbacks would be, they produce more heat, generally more expensive than incandescent lights and requires the additional expense and maintenance with ballast. It takes around 100 hours before hydroponic HID grow lights reach their optimum working conditions, or until they reach light intensity and color stability. 

Natural Sunlight

Expense for acquiring artificial lights can be skipped by using sunlight. This is done with the use of solar room, greenhouse or large windows which allows plenty of sunlight. Or you can do this outdoors; hydroponics does not necessarily mean the cultivation of plants indoors but it growing plants without the use of soil.

Basic setup for an indoor garden is 1000w of lighting for and area of 16-25 square feet of plant area. Reflectors and/or light movers should also be considered as they improve efficiency of the indoor hydroponic gardening system. Ballast may also be needed as numerous hydroponic grow lighting require igniting.

 Some Basic Facts

Before plugging in your grow light

Different plants require different levels or types of lighting, this paragraph would deal on some simple know-how on how to make an effective lighting setup. In setting up your garden, it is essential that you determine your growing area in order to determine the best lighting setup for you. Light is an essential factor in the growth of plants, it is important that the lighting solution you chose for your garden is adequate for its size. A poor or ill advised decision would certainly reflect on the quality of plants you produced. Inappropriate budgeting like cost cutting specially on lighting would just prove to be uneconomical and inefficient in the long run.

A general rule for lighting that area coverage is determined by a light wattage output. Reflectors might be used to increase the light area and reach corners but effectiveness is still determined by this formula.

Day and Night Cycles

The type of plant and its stage of growth generally determine the amount of light needed. A common cycle is that with 18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness which is recommended for its vegetative growth phase.

For seedlings, a continuous light source is needed until the first real leaves appear. When the leaves appear, the regular 18/6 light cycle is used. Fluorescent or incandescent lights are best for seedling because of the low heat and soft light they generate. Automated timers maybe used to ensure consistent light cycles. Inexpensive timers are also available; this can be found any hardware or Home Depot/ Lowe’s type store.

Light and Photosynthesis

The plants exposure to light intensity, duration and light color directly affects the amount of energy needed for photosynthesis. The color of the light, Blue simulates the summer sun, Orange for autumn seem to stimulate photosynthesis best. The light spectrum produced by metal halide bulbs (Blue lights) and high pressure sodium bulbs (red/ orange lights) produce this effects. HID grow lights produce these effects owing to their popularity to hobbyist and professionals. Combination of metal halide and high pressure sodium bulbs provides the complete spectrum of light produced by the sun.

Use Caution When Working with Lights

The combination of water, electricity and chemicals in such a closed-in space makes the grow room one of the most dangerous places in your house. Keep in mind to separate your ballast by elevating it from the water-containing areas of your hydroponic growing system

Basic Indoor hydroponics Gardening Guide – Indoor Grow Lights Fluorescent tubes, Hps and MH

March 21, 2010 by Mario  
Filed under Resources

Fluorescent Grow Light

 Inexpensive and readily available in hardware stores and be utilized with regular light sockets. Producing less heat or none at all compared to full-size fluorescent grow lights.

Not just because of its small size and low heat output; compact fluorescent lights also produce the widest range of color spectrums to any type of lighting. It is ideal for shelf gardening due to their low heat output making the use of multiple shelves on top of each other possible. Compact fluorescent lights can be used with seedlings and small plants in a well designed hydroponic system indoor garden.

 Common Problems with Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs

 Problems with compact fluorescent light bulbs like inefficiency and poor light penetration are common.  Several compact fluorescent bulbs maybe used and consume energy as that of one HPS bulb, but do not produce the same useable light for the hydroponic indoor garden. 

Optimizing Fluorescent Grow Lights

 With the disadvantages of comparative inefficiency compared to HID lights, several things maybe done to counteract this.

Properly matching lights to the corresponding growth cycle.

Increasing Watt ratings increases light penetration

One cheap and easy way to maximize energy consumption is by the use of reflectors. Compact fluorescent lights have a 360 degree of distribution but only 90 degrees of it can be practically used. Reflectors direct the light to corners in order to maximize the light produced.

 High Intensity Discharge Lighting

 HID light bulbs are the most after lighting system by both hobbyist and professional growers. It has made possible all-year, all-season planting for thousands of indoor gardeners and industrial nursery growers. Due to their efficiency ( 10x more light produced than conventional incandescent bulbs) and color spectrums ideal for plants have resulted to better yields and plant quality all year round. Metal Halide (MH) light bulbs mainly produce blue lights, making them ideal for plants undergoing the vegetative phase of development.

Industrial cultivators the world over are the main users of HID grow lights. HID lamps provide numerous advantages that conventional Fluorescent and incandescent lights lack. Monetary benefits abound, it boosts overall plant production giving better harvests, and environmental factors are eliminated allowing all year-round production. HID lights operate stock 110 to 220 volts AC home currents and have a standard three prong adapter to link up. HID grow lights mostly come with a ballast resistor and reflective hood.

Photosynshesis in plants allows plants them to produce their own energy. Chlorophyll in plants enables plants to convert CO2, water and energy from light to nutrients and sugars. When all this elements like CO2 and nutrients are readily and plenty in a desired surrounding, the potential for growth is bound only to the amount and quality of light available.

 High Pressure Sodium (HPS) light bulbs produce reddish light, it is ideal during the fruit phase of the plant cycle. Cooler (blue) and Warmer (orange) color spectrums raise chlorophyll production and fruit energy. The sun produces cooler lights when it is higher in the skyline, seen in the summer calendar months. It is essential for plant growth shape and keep it tight. Warmer light, experienced when the sun is lower in relative position to the skyline is important for blooming plants and during the fruit phase.

Choice of lights can also depend on the type of plants grown. Metal Halide growth lights are ideal for bushy harvests such as cabbage and vegetating herbaceous plants. Blossoming plants on the other hand is better suited by high pressure sodium growth lights. Conversion light bulbs are also available for different organizations. More expensive than other lights, conversion lamps give that extra advantage of starting your plants with a metal halide growth light giving taut, small development and being replaced by high pressure sodium light bulbs when the fruit stage of the plant is reached. Recent developments have introduced convertible ballast resistors for regular metal halide growth lights and high pressure sodium light bulbs.

HID grow lights main advantage is that it eliminates such factors as climate, temperature and time of day. Season dependent plants can be grown throughout the year; they provide an alternative to solar light. For those who are garden and flower hobbyists, this would be a plus.

Hydroponic growth lights also gives you control over light exposure. Allowing us to hasten a plants growth or that flower to bloom. Ideal light color, duration and concentration are the key factors in growing those choice plants.

 High Pressure Sodium Bulbs 

A clear ceramic arc tube suspended inside a glass bulb characterizes High Pressure Sodium Bulbs. Xenon gas is the main component inside the inner tube which is then ignited to produce an arc of light. Sizes range fro 35 watts up to 1000 watts. The most popular of which are the 250 watts, 400 watts and 1000 watts.

 Advantages of High Pressure Sodium Bulbs

 Efficiency is one of its advantages; they provide the best light penetration and have strong light spectrums necessary for plant growth. Mainly producing red and yellow lights or little or no blue lights, they mimic the autumn sun. Popularity for HPS lights are mainly attributed to their low energy to light ratio and is the most economical and efficient than any other type of lighting system. HPS lights work best during the flowering or fruit stage of the plant growth cycle.

 Disadvantages of HPS High Pressure Sodium Bulbs

 High Pressure Sodium Bulbs produce great amounts of heat. Proper ventilation and good garden construction and planning help to offset this negative effect. Like all HID growth light systems price is the main drawback compared to fluorescent lights. HPS lights are currently more cost effective compared to other HID growth light systems.

High Pressure Sodium Light bulbs are replaced after 24 months to ensure their and your gardens efficiency.

 Metal Halide Bulbs

 Metal Halide bulbs are constructed by placing an inner arc tube inside vacuum-sealed glass tubing. Electric currents passed through the inner arc which in turn ignites mercury and iodide materials in the tube.

 Advantages of Metal Halide Bulbs

 Metal Halide Bulbs mimic sunlight during summertime. Producing a blue spectrum of light most ideal for plants in their vegetative growth phase. They are also a good choice for indoor hydroponic garden systems because of their efficiency in producing light.

 Other Metal Halide Bulb Information

 Available from 70 to 1500 watts, Metal Halide bulbs present a wide variety of choices. Most popular and commonly used are the 250, 400 and 1000 watts metal halide bulbs. Ballast specifically tailored for each bulb is also essential. Mounting positions depend on its specific bulb type (marks or guides are usually provided). HOR bulbs are mounted horizontally, BU/BD is vertically mounted and U (universal) bulbs could be mounted either way. The vertical position is the most ideal and provides utmost efficiency.

 

Basic Indoor hydroponics Gardening Guide – Carbon Dioxide (Co2) Systems, Water and Temperature

March 21, 2010 by Mario  
Filed under Resources

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Systems

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) as described in the previous paragraphs is one of the most important elements needed for plant growth. CO2 is combined with nutrients, water and energy from light (grow lights/ sunlight) is utilized during photosynthesis producing essential sugars that provide energy for the plant. Any factor missing needed for photosynthesis will limit the plants growth potential. In order for a plant to grow to its utmost potential and for it to yield the best results all of the elements must be present. 

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Injectors

One of the most cost effective way of adding CO2 to an indoor hydroponic garden system is with the use of CO2 injectors. A valve, regulator and gauge are used to measure CO2 levels injected to the air. Sophisticated CO2 injectors are also used to control CO2 release. CO2 tanks are readily available from medical supply outlets and restaurant supply stores.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Generators

Investing in CO2 generators would also be wise for long time use in your indoor hydroponic garden systems for several crops. CO2 generators burn propane, natural gas or other carbon based fuels to produce carbon dioxide. More expensive than CO2 tanks, they provide a more convenient way of producing CO2. Long period and continuous use of CO2 generators has proven to be more efficient and economical than purchasing injectors and many tanks.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Monitors and Controllers

CO2 monitors with controllers automatically maintain indoor hydroponic garden systems CO2 levels. It is advised for large-scale gardeners or hobbyists and enthusiasts with that extra cash to invest. Often in the hundreds of dollars, they are quite expensive but are really effective if you can afford it. An electronic CO2 monitor together with a CO2 controller are used to maintain CO2 levels. Monitors could be sold separately and can be used with various types of controllers giving room for flexible indoor hydroponic garden designs. 

Water

Water quantity requirements vary according to the type of indoor hydroponic garden system. Adequate levels of water should be maintained whatever type of indoor hydroponic garden system used. Water deficiency even if reversed and corrected cause permanent loss in production.

Not only the amount of water but also quality of water is important. Poor quality also causes serious problems for any indoor hydroponic garden system. The use of tap water can affect the nutrient balance in hydroponic nutrients solutions. Tap water naturally contains mineral and salts. Often referred to as “hard water,” tap water is offset by constant monitoring and adjusting nutrient solution. Salt content should always be kept below 325 ppm (parts per million) whenever possible.

Temperature

 

Temperature is a gauge for optimum production for every plant. When plants are exposed to extreme ranges of temperature, stunted growth and poor fruit yields are the result. Plants have specific temperature ranges for their ideal growth. Warm-season vegetables and most types of flowers have 18o C and 260 C as an ideal temperature range. Cooler season vegetables like lettuces have a 10o C to 18o C range.

What is Hydroponic Gardening – benefits, place in present and future agriculture industry

March 18, 2010 by Mario  
Filed under Resources

Key Facts on Hydroponics

Hydroponic plants do not require soil to grow in. They use different growing media instead. All the required nutrients are supplied through nutrient solution. Hydroponic system allows cultivation of plants, irrespectively to climate and environmental condition. Hydroponic system allows increasing the density of plants significantly (up to 3 times higher in comparison with traditional soil gardens). It may be surprising but hydroponic plants consume considerable less water than those, growing in soil. Since soil is not used in hydroponic systems, there is no need to worry about crops rotation. Hydroponic plants are healthier, because there are no or very little risks for them to get infected by parasites, living in soil. Hydroponic gardening does not depend on seasons of the year. You can grow plants and gather harvest all year round.

Hydroponics in the Present

Thanks to many technological achievements and innovations, hydroponic growing has already become much more effective, convenient and affordable. Plastic, used for manufacturing of hydroponic equipment, such as plumbing products, fittings, growing pots and containers, etc., made it possible to lower the cost of hydroponic systems significantly.

Multiple electronic devices, such as pumps, timers and monitors, have made hydroponic growing a fully automated process. Furthermore, the hydroponic plants themselves have evolved significantly, ensuring high yield results even if used under the most extreme environmental conditions, for example, at the submarines.

Hydroponics in the Future

The next goal of hydroponics developers is to make indoor gardening eco-friendly and more energy-saving. In this regard, current achievements in the development of solar heating systems look very promising. On the other hand, current innovations open new opportunities for designing new growing light systems with higher lumen output, better spectrum profile and lower electricity consumption. In the long run, hydroponic systems may allow increasing the amount of grown plants to completely satisfy the needs of people in food products, without using additional natural resources and soil.

Furthermore, maybe in the nearest future hydroponic systems, which have already been tested in space on the space stations, will even become another valuable step in the space exploration by the humans.

Hydroponics supplies and hydroponics equipment – Welcome to hydroponic gardening

March 18, 2010 by Mario  
Filed under Resources

It is good when people treat seriously to any thing they are going to occupy themselves with. They get acquainted with the theoretic base, they learn how to do everything right, and they buy all kinds of tools and materials, which, they think, may be necessary. However, sometimes the successful beginning may easily be done using simple things – those that everyone has at home.

Hydroponics gardening may also be started simply: do not overbuy on supplies, use plastic tubs or children’s swimming pool to make your first grow beds for the plants. Consider expensive sophisticated hydroponics supplies the next step you will take in hydroponics.

Beginners usually find it reasonable to get a “plug and go” hydroponic gardening kit. It includes plant cubes, heating pad, nutrient solution, and seeds. Sunlight and water are the only things that you will have to add in this case.

If you have already decided where your hydroponic garden will be arranged, you may wish to purchase a “grow tent”, which is easily installed within an hour. Its price may vary from $250 to $500.

Thinking about a small greenhouse, take into account that it will need a drainage system and cement or gravel flooring. Also note that the price for a greenhouse may be a few thousand dollars, though the simplest ones may cost only $500.

If you plan to have a medium to large greenhouse with many plants, you will have to control temperature inside. A grow room temperature control unit will be of help in this case. It will turn the blowers or fans on if it becomes too hot in the greenhouse. It may also be used to open and close air ducts. Note that the temperature depends on the number of plants you have.

To provide the normal plants growth it is necessary to install two types of grow lights in your greenhouse – blue and red spectrum lights.

The necessary minimum may be enriched by the more advanced irrigation and drainage system if you become a skilled gardener. The quantity, types, and size of the plants will help you choose what other supplies and equipment you need in your hydroponic garden.

With the lapse of time, an experienced grower needs to have grow light fixtures in his garden, an exhaust fan, a high quality and convenient aeration system, heating mats, a temperature control unit and other supplies.

All hydroponics equipment can be found at a hydro shop. Beginners can also rely on the advice and practical tips of the professional and knowledgeable personnel. Moreover, gardeners will always find people with the similar hobby there to communicate with. 

Hydroponic Gardening Kits And Supplies – Where To Start

March 18, 2010 by Mario  
Filed under Resources

Thinking of hydroponics kits as of something too difficult some people are reluctant to try it. As a matter of fact, it is not always true. With hydroponics everything actually depends on the gardener. He is the master, who can make the process either as simple or as complicated as he wants. A beginner can succeed in it, or an experienced gardener can be faced with serious difficulties. The clue is in the system, either built or bought by the gardener. Anyway, there is no the least reason to hesitate. And the final result is really a worthy tribute.

Hydroponics is a technique of growing plants without soil, using a hydroponic nutrient solution instead.

Though there are various methods to hydroponics, we will discuss the easiest and the most frequently used ones. The key elements of hydroponics are given below.

SYSTEM TYPES

Depending on the way of delivering nutrient solution to the plants roots passive and active systems types are defined in the hydroponics.

Passive systems are the simplest and, therefore, recommended for the beginners. This type implies that the nutrient solution gets to the plant through a wick or through the growing medium (rocks, gravel, vermiculite, etc.). This easy method has, however, a weak-point: the solution cannot circulate, which requires additional care and attendance of the gardener.

Wick System is a vivid example of a passive system.

Active systems suggest the circulation of the nutrient solution with the help of the pumping equipment. Being pumped into the system, the solution nourishes the roots and then drains down back into the reservoirs due to the gravity, and it is later reused. Such systems may need more efforts to initiate their work, but they do not require significant maintenance.

Ebb and Flow, Aeroponics, Nutrient Film Technique (NFT), and Top Feed belong to the active systems.

NUTRIENT SOLUTIONS

Nutrient solution is another vitally important element of hydroponics. The first thing to do here is to take as much tap water as required by the type of your system. To get rid of chlorine just let the water stay in the buckets for 24 hours.

The next step you should take is to dissolve nutrients in the water. They come either in liquid or in powdered forms, the latter one being usually less expensive. Different mixes of the nutrients are always available online or in the garden supply stores. It is recommended to strictly follow the instructions not to exceed the amount of the nutrient needed.

Prior to using nutrient solution be sure to check its pH level, which can be neutral (7), acidic (0-6), or alkaline (8-14). pH level depends on many things as the chemical composition of the water in your tap, its temperature, light, etc. The optimal pH for the majority of plants is about 5,5- 6,5. To check it you can use testing kits available in the majority of garden shops or with the help of the electrical tester.

Relying on the testing done you may need to adjust pH of the solution. To do it you can use pH adjusters, some of which lower pH level, while others increase it. On the other hand, some gardeners prefer to use baking soda (one tablespoon per three gallons of the solution) to lower pH level of too acidic mixture, or white vinegar if it is too alkaline (one tablespoon per four gallons). Though this process needs some practice to be successful, it is still an effective alternative way of adjusting solutions, which works well for many gardeners.

LIGHT

To achieve proper growth rates plants require sufficient lighting. Natural sunlight is ideal, but not always possible to get in the necessary amount; thus, artificial lighting is a common practice in hydroponics. Grow lights or artificial horticultural lights are usually present in almost any hydroponic system. However, they can be quite pricy, so it is better to shop around before making the final decision which one to purchase.

Basic Indoor hydroponics Gardening Guide – Garden Climate Controller

March 17, 2010 by Mario  
Filed under Resources

Temperature is a gauge for optimum production for every plant. When plants are exposed to extreme ranges of temperature, stunted growth and poor fruit yields are the result. Plants have specific temperature ranges for their ideal growth. Warm-season vegetables and most types of flowers have 18o C and 260 C as an ideal temperature range. Cooler season vegetables like lettuces have a 10o C to 18o C range.

Garden Climate Controller

Environment greatly affects plant growth. Environmental factors such as temperature, climate and CO2 levels are just examples. Garden climate controllers give you control over this variables and keep them at ideal ranges for optimum growth of plants.

 

Basic Garden Climate Controller

The cheap and basic garden climate controller usually control temperature and humidity and turn exhaust fans when needed. CO2 controls could be installed together with them for a small additional charge. This combination is more economical allowing you control over all environmental factors without spending hundreds of dollars for more sophisticated setups not needed. Indoor hydroponic garden systems can be maintained with this basic setup.

Complete Garden Climate Controller

Complete control over CO2 system is another advantage presented by the use of the complete hydroponics garden climate controller. Controllers also allow for coordinated infusion of carbon dioxide with exhaust fans giving minimum waste of CO2.

Other “extras” found with garden climate controllers:

Additional outlets activates when lights are off allowing a “night mode” setup.

Flood Sensors that prevent common gardening mishaps by shutting down the system.

Photo sensors recognize natural sunlight and power ups the “night mode.” This makes the setup more efficient and economical as grow lights are only utilized when needed.

Basic Indoor hydroponics Gardening Guide – Grow Light Reflectors

March 17, 2010 by Mario  
Filed under Resources

Grow Light Reflectors

Often neglected as to their importance, grow light reflectors play a major role in a good indoor hydroponic garden system. Light plays a great role or the most important role in photosynthesis. The use of grow light reflectors in your garden enhances light distribution and ensures uniform distribution. Discounts on quality grow light reflectors are easily available and a super cost effective way of improving your personal garden productivity and efficiency. With effective planning, the use of the right lighting system together with grow light reflectors greatly expands your garden area.

Size and shape are important factors when considering the right grow light reflector. Grow lights and their configuration and personal preference for the amount of light needed to grow your plants are taken into consideration. Horizontal placement of the lights and reflectors are effective ways of mounting this system. Garden size also determines what shape and size of grow light reflector to be used. Smaller grow light reflectors produce higher intensity light beams because of their shorter travel distance.

 Air-Cooled Reflectors

 For additional ventilation and heat control, air-cooled reflectors are used. Indispensable for those gardens cramped in small spaces because of the amount of heat generated by grow lights. It maybe difficult or close to impossible to maintain proper ventilation in such enclosed garden by the use of external fans. Usual setup for indoor hydroponic gardens includes grow lights with air-cooled reflective hoods covered by glass heat shields. This allows the light source to be placed closer to the plant canopy ensuring better light penetration. Gardens with no special cooling requirements also gains to benefit from its installation. This is the ideal setup of an indoor hydroponic garden system; investing a little more provides maximum garden performance and enjoyment for gardeners and hobbyists.

Mulch and Feed your Gardens for Free

March 16, 2010 by Mario  
Filed under Resources

In Today’s throwaway society, there is absolutely no need to go out and purchase mulch material for your garden, unless it is for the particular aesthetic appearance, “The Look”, sake of the mulch material.

Were you aware that there are a number of mulching materials that you can obtain from around your own community that are free, and some of which can even be even delivered to you for nothing as well.

Impossible you might say. Well I mulch my gardens fairly heavily, and I never pay a cent for the mulch material. As a matter of fact, most of the mulch is willingly delivered to my home for nothing. As the former owners are only too glad to see the back of it, as it would cost them money, time and effort to find other ways of getting rid of it.

I also combine these outside sources of mulch with my own compost, weeds and other organic matter mixed through to achieve a great result in my garden, and so all that it costs me is time and effort.

So what am I talking about? While some of the below list is delivered free, other items I pick up myself, depending on time, circumstances, importance etc.

Grass Clippings from other people in the area or from lawn-mowing contractors.

Wood shavings from local wood turners and carvers, ( Do not use shavings from treated timber).

Small amounts of solid fill from friends who are excavating. This is to assist in raising garden beds, in my heavy clay soil.

Light prunings from shrubs which is shredded by me or put whole into garden

Heavier sticks and logs, which are turned into trellis, garden stakes, garden edges, seats, frames, log planters etc. while they slowly decay.

Newspaper, cardboard, non-rubber carpet underlay, and even carpet and carpet squares. Which is put under other mulch to prevent grass and weed regrowth

Animal manures sometimes mixed with straw from places like Racetracks and Showgrounds, Pony Clubs, Stables etc. I contact them well beforehand to see if any is available.

To this I also add my own weeds, throwing away some which can still be a potential problem, or burying them below the bottom most layer of mulch material to stop them regrowing.

Another item I add is any old potting mix from deceased plants or when repotting plants.

Being a fairly lazy gardener, I throw the material around a bit at a time, as they are available, and let nature mix them for me. On a couple of occasions I have received a bit too much wood shavings so these became path material between some of the garden beds, with a heavy underlay of newspapers. People even tell me that it looks and feels good underfoot.

Never put a large amount of fresh animal manure on any garden, as it will burn any plant around it. Be extremely sparing or let it age first for a few months before applying it to the garden.

I have been living in my new house for about fifteen months, and the mulch layer in all my gardens (there were no gardens originally), is about 10 cm or 4 inches deep. None of which I have paid for and little that I have had to even pick up for myself.

People are even starting to comment on how fast the plants in my gardens are growing in the local heavy black clay soils, and they are surprised when I tell them that I have never bothered to fertilise the plants. The reason for this is that the earliest laid mulch material, is now broken down into plant nutrients and is now feeding my plants as a plant nutrient soup aided by the soil life which has suddenly started appearing in my gardens.

Another benefit that has started to appear in the last few months is the arrival of insect eating wildlife into my garden. Predatory insects and birds are now visiting my gardens on a regular basis, where I saw none this time last year. Bees and butterflies are also starting to visit many of the plants, which have come into flower for the first time this year.

So what can you do to start locating your own supplies of free mulch material, well here are a number of suggestions.

Put a little sign near your gate, something along the lines of ‘Organic mulch required’, or ‘Lawn clipping wanted’. There are sure to be a number of local people who are currently throwing theirs away in your community or even local area. Never mulch solely with grass clippings as they form an impenetrable layer that air and water cannot get through. Always mix it with other things to stop it ‘thatching’, just like a roof over the soil.

See if you can get into contact with local people who are into woodturning and carving, or even local sawmills. And come to some arrangement about unpreserved wood shavings.

Check the local phonebook for local showgrounds/racetracks/stables etc, to find out if any have stable or manure waste to give away, for people willing to pick them up

In other words, start talking around the place that you are after mulch materials and they will soon start coming to you.

The only caution with using other peoples waste material is the chance that you might also import other peoples pests and weeds. I have rarely found it a problem because of heavy mulch on mulch routines. But it is possible.

One point being that when you first start applying mulch to your garden you may see some nitrogen deficiencies occur in some plants. This is because the organisms that are breaking down the mulch material are using up all the available resources of it during the initial breakdown. Once you have gotten past this time the old composted material provide more than enough nitrogen for future processes.

Another thing to be careful of is not to bury or mulch up against the stems of wanted plants, as it may cause further problems for your plants in rot problems around the collar of the stems.

So get out there and talk around the community, find the contacts, believe it or not they will be as grateful as you to solve their particular problems of waste reduction. As well as that, you may start making some new friendships out of the deal; I know I have.

Herb Garden Information – Background Info To Help Your Herb Garden

March 15, 2010 by Mario  
Filed under Resources

Herbs can be traced back into the times of the traditional Egyptians and the ancient Chinese. There are also references in the Bible and medieval documents that show herbs were used by most homes. Growing herbs is something that is terribly advantageous to gardeners for several different purposes. Herbs may be used to flavor food, for potpourri, for tea, for medical purposes or to even control pests in the garden. Herb gardens can be specialized towards one of these express areas or a mix of some different purposes. They can also be grown in a garden with other species of plants or in containers indoors.

Herb gardens can be grown in different ways like an indoor herb garden in the kitchen or a small plot in the garden. A small plot of 4 feet by 6 feet is a large enough area to support a small family. Though a preferred use for herbs are for cooking known as culinary herbs, also they are grown for their aromatic foliage and some for the wonderful thing about their flowers. They can be used fresh or dried. Some herbs are used as garnish for plates or salads while other sorts of herbs can be employed to liven up the flavor of a dish.

Like all the other plants herbs grow as annuals, perennials, shrubs, and trees. When planting herbs, you need to use well-drained soil. If you realize that your soil is heavy or compacted, you are able to add organic matter to it. Manure are not necessary either. Most herbs like a bright location though some like full shade. Many herbs will grow well with afternoon shade. Surprisingly, only a few diseases or insects attack herbs. Sometimes in dry, hot weather red spider mites can be discovered on low-growing plants and aphids may attach dill, caraway, anise, or fennel. Rust can also have an effect on mint.

Herbs can be acquired and planted into a home garden or they can be grown from seeds. It is a credit and a joy to be able to see a plant be grown from a single seed. You are able to enjoy each step of the process from birth to death in a respect. When growing a plant like an herb from a seed the experience is all the more rewarding because herbs are so helpful. Just about all herbs can be grown from a seed. Seeds should be placed in a shallow pot or box in latter winter. Employ a light, well-drained soil to grown your seeds in. Since herbs don’t have a deep root base, ensure not to cover the seeds too much with the soil. They need to be planted shallow. Follow the rule : the finer the seed, the less deep it should be sown. You can transplant the seeds to the outside in the spring. Though most herbs can be grown from seeds, some herbs do not transplant well. Herbs like dill, fennel, anise, and coriander should be planted straight into the garden.

Although growing herbs in a home garden is extremely straightforward and worthwhile, there is a lot of info you want to know and understand about herbs. This article has given you a lift and now it’s time to complete the journey with more info. And you will find all the info you want right here! Good Luck!

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