Grubbycup has been an avid indoor gardener for over 20 years. His articles were first published in the United Kingdom, and since then his gardening advice has been published in French, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Czechoslovakian and canadian rx viagra'>canadian rx viagra German. He is also considered one of the world's leading authorities on crochet hydroponics.

Last month, we established which nutrients plants crave the most. Grubbycup returns to explain how to mix them up to create nutrient solutions your plants will love you for.

Plants need access to nutrients for the wow)) how to buy cialis in canada various metabolic processes used for growth and development. In a natural setting, these nutrients are supplied by nearby decomposing plants, animal waste and existing mineral content in the soil. In a home garden, decomposing material is generally relegated to the compost pile, so once plants absorb the available nutrients from the growing media, the media will become barren unless the nutrients are replaced.

For the hydroponic grower, nutrient solutions are the most common method of levitra femele'>levitra femele replenishing plants once the initial growing medium’s supplies have diminished. Hydroponic mediums generally don’t have any nutrient value at all and are entirely dependent on nutrition solutions from the start. Nutrient solutions are created by mixing measured amounts of nutrients (often nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) into water (the solvent). It is common practice to combine nutrients and water in a nutrient solution. Hydrophilic (water-loving) materials like salts tend to dissolve easily in water because water molecules have a positive charge on the side with the two hydrogen atoms and a negative charge on the oxygen side. These water molecules attach easily to many other molecules. If local tap water is questionable, reverse osmosis filters or other filtering systems can be used to clarify and online order viagra'>online order viagra clean the water before use.

Salts are often used as nutrient sources because they also have a positive and negative side but are generally held together with a weaker ionic bond. Water molecules attach themselves to either side of the salt molecule and split them apart. This is why many chemical hydroponic solutions make use of nutrient salts dissolved in water. Organic nutrients are often less miscible and should be shaken to create a suspension before use.

Nutrient solutions also require a suitable amount of available oxygen. The level of freely available oxygen in water is known as its dissolved oxygen (DO) content. Air stones are used to increase DO. The amount of air water holds depends on temperature. The warmer the water, the less air it will hold and the more important additional aeration becomes. If the amount of DO drops too low, water will go stale and create conditions for anaerobic (air-fearing) bacteria to develop, which creates a foul odor.

Concentrated Nutrients

There are several nutrient companies that make concentrated nutrient solutions, which are added to water according to the manufacturer’s directions. These directions often include a week-by-week schedule suitable for many flowering plants. Usually these schedules are designed to supply additional nitrogen during vigorous growth and additional phosphorus during the flowering and fruiting stages. Never mix full-strength concentrates together before adding to the water, as this can have detrimental effects on the finished solution. When mixing a nutrient solution that has more than one concentrate added to it, make sure to add the we recommend real cialis online concentrates individually to the solvent (water) and stir at least briefly between.

Application Rates

For a nutrient solution to be useful to plants, it must come into contact with or within close proximity to the root system. In a recirculating system, the nutrient solution is replaced periodically both to rebalance the mix of available nutrients and to remove any leftover salts in the solution. To help wash away undesirable salt buildup in a grow medium, a practice known as flushing involves applying clean water to the medium for the purpose of where to find cialis'>where to find cialis dissolving and only best offers buy kamagra removing any salts the medium might be holding on to.

Monitoring and Metering

After applying, you’ll want to monitor your nutrient levels closely through the use of meters. Meters are best at estimating nutrient levels when salt-based fertilizers are used since salts have a large impact on conductivity. Pure water does not conduct electricity, but once conductive materials such as salts are introduced, a nutrient solution will. If a little conductive material is added, little conductivity results. As more conductive material is added, the solution conducts electricity better.

Total dissolved solids (TDS) meters can be used to measure the electrical conductivity (EC) of a nutrient solution. The information taken can be displayed as an EC reading or as a parts per million (ppm) reading. The EC reading is easy to compare against other EC readings since it is simply a measure of how conductive a material is.

Ppm meters use the same principle with the results displayed slightly differently. There isn’t an exact conversion between EC and ppm, which often leads to confusion. Depending on which of the three most popular ppm standards are used, the conversion factor is 0.5, 0.64 or 0.7. While this might lead some to believe the EC scale should be adopted and the ppm scale abandoned, it isn’t that simple. When calculating nutrient solutions from scratch, it is handy to measure how many milligrams of material is added to a liter of water, which is literally parts per million: one milligram of sugar in one liter of water is one part sugar per million parts of water. One part per 100 is used so often in similar calculations that it is generally abbreviated to a percentage.

Regardless of which scale you use, the information gathered with a meter, coupled with the specific nutritional needs of the plant, can be helpful in maintaining a suitable nutrient solution. EC and ppm meters only display the total amount of electrically conductive contamination present, not specifically what the contamination is. Also, remember that these meters do not provide specific nutrient values.

Final Thoughts

Nutrient solutions can be as simple as following directions on a bottle, or as complicated as mixing a chemical cocktail like a mad scientist, but they serve an important part of keeping your plants healthy and productive.

In the next installment of his Growing 101 series, Grubbycup explores the different plant stages you’ll experience in your garden and how plant care varies based on the growth stage.


Just like humans, plants need food to survive and thrive. Here’s a quick guide to get you started on designing your first nutrient regimen.

There are several nutrients needed for proper plant growth. The first three are non-mineral nutrients: hydrogen, oxygen and carbon. Water, atmospheric oxygen and carbon dioxide supply these requirements for plant growth. During photosynthesis, light energy is collected by chlorophyll in leaves, and part is used to split water molecules into free oxygen gas and get viagra cheap'>get viagra cheap hydrogen. The hydrogen is bonded with carbon dioxide to form sugars the plant can then use to grow. The water is often added by itself or as part of a nutrient solution, and carbon dioxide is either naturally present in fresh air or is added to the garden as a gas.

In a natural setting, plants use nutrients to grow to maturity, then when they die they fall to the forest floor and return their nutrients to the soil and new growth uses the nutrients to grow to maturity. Compost is useful in the garden because it is made from the decomposed building blocks of other plants (manure composts are plants processed through an animal first), and as such tends to have at least a little of all the required nutrients. When an animal dies in the forest, the scavengers eat the fats and meats, and the plants eat the remaining blood and bones—blood tends to be high in nitrogen, bone high in phosphorus.

In a garden, the previous year’s plants have often been cleared away and are not returning their nutrients to the soil. Even if they were, the nutrients removed along with the harvested portion of the plant would eventually mean a loss of nutrients in the system. In container gardens, the growing medium may be new and sterile, without any nutrients at all. The missing nutrients are added to the system in the form of fertilizers.

Fertilizers provide the order cialis canada nutrients needed for plant growth. The first three are known as primary nutrients and are so important that they are listed on the front of nutrient packaging:

· Nitrogen (N) is needed to make plant cells and the chlorophyll (the green in leaves) required for photosynthesis. Nitrogen compounds make up between 40 and 50% of the dry matter of plant cells. It promotes large, healthy foliage, absorption by roots and proper plant development. Nitrogen deficiency is the most common nutrient problem. Growth nutrients commonly contain elevated levels of nitrogen.

Organic nitrogen breaks down over time to become a form available to plants. Synthetic nitrogen forms can become available to the plant quickly and are often made with an easily dissolved salt. Nitrogen-deficient leaves will contain relatively little chlorophyll and tend to be pale green to yellow in color. Nitrogen is mobile in plants, and this enables it to be moved from older growth to young growing tips when supplies are short. This mobility of nitrogen explains why deficiency symptoms appear first in the older lower portions of the plants, working their way up to the growing tips.

· Phosphorous (P) is required for photosynthesis and root development and assists in blooming. It is also used to form nucleic acid, which is an essential part of living cells. Phosphorus compounds are used in respiration and the efficient use of nitrogen. It is important throughout the life cycle of the plant, but use is elevated during the flowering stage. Bloom and link for you canadian healthcare levitra flowering nutrients often contain elevated levels of phosphorous.

Phosphorus deficiencies usually manifest as a generalized under-performance of the plant—leaf development is stunted and bud size is reduced. Leaves may develop a bluish tint. Phosphorus assists in nitrogen uptake, so symptoms of phosphorus deficiency are often similar to those of a nitrogen deficiency.

•Potassium (K) is required for photosynthesis, carbohydrate and protein creation. It assists with disease resistance and is used in the plumbing of the plant—liquid movement within the plant, stems and roots. Many enzymatic reactions require potassium, and it assists in silica uptake and helps with fruit quality. Bloom and flowering nutrients often contain elevated levels of potassium.

Potassium deficiency often shows up as a yellowing or browning of the leaf edges and curled-over leaves, followed by yellowing spots in the interior of the leaf face. Discolored spots may appear on the undersides of leaves. Potassium is mobile, so deficiency symptoms show first on lower leaves as flecking or mottling on the leaf margins. Prolonged deficiency results in cell death along the leaf margins and we choice buy kamagra the plants can show signs of wilt. These symptoms first display in older leaves and continue to work up through to the newer leaves if not corrected. Growth, root development, disease resistance and bud size are reduced.

· The next three nutrients after the primary nutrients are called secondary nutrients: calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg) and sulfur (S). Calcium-magnesium supplements can be used if needed, but sulfur deficiencies are rare since sulfur appears frequently in both synthetic and organic nutrients. There is some debate over whether or not silica (Si) should be considered a nutrient, but since it is helpful to plant structure, it can be treated as such under most circumstances. Silica supplements are available to boost silica levels.

· The final group of nutrients are known as micronutrients. They are boron (B), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), chloride (Cl), manganese (Mn), molybdenum (Mo), nickel (Ni) and zinc (Zn). Micronutrients are only needed in small quantities when compared to the other nutrients. They may be added as a separate additives, or included as part of a nutrient line.

One benefit of using a particular nutrient line is that by following the manufacturer’s schedule, the plant should receive enough nutrition to grow. If you’re designing your own nutrient regimen, you should ensure there are sources for each of these nutrients. Regardless of the exact sources of a garden’s nutrients, they can make the difference between an average garden and an impressive one.

Be sure to tune in next month for Grubbycup’s next Growing 101 column on managing a nutrient solution.


At the start of your new indoor garden journey, you selected what you'll grow, where you'll grow it and what you'll use to grow it in. Now comes the most important decision of all: choosing your lighting system. The lighting system is one of the most important and expensive components of an indoor garden. Read on for some basic things to keep in mind as you make your indoor lighting selection.


Plants need light to undergo a process known as photosynthesis, which converts water and carbon dioxide into a sugar called glucose that plants use for growth. Photosynthesis makes use of a special, green plant pigment called chlorophyll to collect light energy. Chlorophyll absorbs and makes use of red and dose viagra blue-indigo light, but it reflects green light, which is what makes plants green. It’s also why indoor garden lamps often put out much of their light in the red and blue spectrums. Outdoor gardens can make use of the sun for their lighting needs, but to meet the lighting needs of indoor gardens, artificial lighting is used to convert electricity to light.

Light Intensity

Light intensity is an important factor for indoor gardeners to consider. Low light levels slow photosynthesis, and high light levels encourage it—to a point. The amount of energy a light fixture uses is measured in watts. In general, the higher the wattage, the more light and heat a fixture will produce. For example, a 1,000-W HPS lamp is both brighter and hotter than a comparable 400-W HPS lamp. The lighting requirements of your indoor garden will depend on the type of plants you are growing and how large of a space you need to cover, among other things.

Light Meters

Inexpensive light meters can be used to learn the intensity of the light reaching different areas of the garden. Just move the meter around to different areas and take a few readings. Light meters often give readings measured in lux. A lux is the light from one candle at one meter away spread over a square area one-meter wide. Direct sunlight is approximately 32,000 to 100,000 lux. Full-sun plants usually need at least 25,000 to 50,000 lux to do well, with increased productivity occurring when light levels are near full sunlight.

Light Reflection

Light bulbs give off light in all directions, so there are lamp hoods designed to reflect light from the top and sides of the bulb down into the garden. This is done to capture light energy that would otherwise be wasted. For this same reason, the walls of indoor gardens are often painted white or covered with a reflective film to reflect light back toward the cialis 20 mg plants. If a reflective film is used, care should be taken not to create a fire hazard as some reflective films are flammable. Another notable property of light is that intensity drops off as an inverse square to the distance. For example, a plant twice as far away from the light only receives 1/4 of the light from it. Trying to judge how much light is actually hitting the plants just by looking at how bright they appear can be problematic because the human eye is much better suited for operating under a wide variety of lighting conditions than judging the intensity of those conditions.

Types of Lighting

There are several options in indoor garden lighting technologies, with fluorescent T5s, high-intensity discharge systems (HIDs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) being the three most common.

  • Fluorescent – These lights include T5s (grow lights), T12s (shop lights), CFLs (compact fluorescent lights) and electrode-less (induction) lighting. While these each look different, they all use the same basic principle to operate: a current is applied to a sealed, phosphor-coated glass tube containing a small bit of mercury and an inert gas. The mercury is excited until it changes from a liquid to a gas. The mercury gas gives off ultraviolet light, which is converted to visible light by the phosphor coating. One of the benefits of fluorescent lighting is that the bulbs don’t produce a lot of wasted heat. The operating temperature of a fluorescent bulb is lower than HIDs, meaning the online cheap cialis'>online cheap cialis lamps can be placed closer to the plants without causing heat stress.
  • HID Lighting – is another common garden lighting technology. The two most common forms of HID lighting used for plants are metal halide (MH) and high pressure sodium (HPS). Metal halides use a variety of metal halides in an arc tube, similarly to the mercury in fluorescents. The resulting light from the arc tube contains both visible light and ultraviolet light. An outer tube surrounding the arc tube confines the generated UV light while allowing the usable light to pass through to the garden. For some people, the blue cast of metal halides can be more pleasant to work under than the harsher-looking orange light of HPS lamps. HPS lights use an inner and good choice levitra and diarrhea outer bulb similar to a metal halide lamp, but the long, cloudy arc bulbs contain metal sodium and mercury instead of metal halides. The light given off has a distinctive amber-orange tint to it.
  • LEDs – are another lighting technology that can be used by growers. Instead of using a charged gas to illuminate, light-emitting diodes are electro-luminescent, meaning they use small semiconductors to emit light. They have two leads, a positive and a negative, and when current is applied across the two, light is produced. They produce little heat and last longer than other types of lighting, but LED light fixtures tend to be a more expensive on a per-watt basis than fluorescent or HID lighting.

Whichever lighting system you choose, remember, the amount of heat generated from your lights must be taken into consideration. A 60-W T5 light can be used without cooling and can be kept as close to plants as a few inches away, but an uncooled, 1,000-W HID light can quickly cause plants heat damage if the light is kept too close.

Don't Forget the Ballast

Both fluorescent and HID lights use ballasts to condition and control the electricity supplied to the lamp. One difference between fluorescent and HID lighting is in the location of the ballast. In a fluorescent fixture, the ballast is generally built in. In an HID light, the ballast and hood are two separate pieces. To help with heat management, HID ballasts should be kept outside of the growing space where practical. The bulb and the best site viagra overnite the ballast used to fire it must match each other. Keep in mind that lamp sockets are made in general standard sizes. A bulb fitting into the socket is no indication of compatibility. The wattage and type of the bulb must be compatible with the output of the ballast. For example, only use a 400-W MH bulb with a 400-W ballast capable of firing MH lamps. Some HID ballasts have additional features, such as the ability to run at different levels, be controlled remotely and fire either MH or HPS lamps. Always check the ballast’s documentation for specific details on features.

The lighting system is one of the most important and expensive components of an indoor garden and is a critical factor in the success or failure of the plants under its care. Be sure to consult other growers or an indoor garden shop specialist for more advice on your garden’s specific lighting requirements.


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