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 where to find cialis'>where to find cialis the world's leading authorities on crochet hydroponics.

A basic knowledge of the different stages of growth and development plants go through can help growers know what to expect from their gardens, and when. Grubbycup has the details.

One of the benefits of indoor gardening is that it allows the gardener control over the seasons, and the environment plants are grown in. With this added element of control, the natural life cycle of plants can be somewhat manipulated to the wow)) how to buy cialis in canada advantage of the savvy indoor gardener. But before the novice gardener can begin manipulating conditions in the indoor garden to affect a plant’s stages of growth, a grower must have a good understanding of how plants start, develop and grow.

The Seedling and Growth Stages

A plant starts off as a seed. Seeds are tiny, live plants in stasis, usually with a food store inside a protective shell called a seed coat. The tiny plants already have one or two seed leaves (cotyledons), a stem (hypocotyl) and a root (radicle). Under the right environmental conditions, viable seeds will sprout. Seeds always require water, generally require warmth, and sometimes have specific light requirements. To conserve space and help keep the sprouting seeds manageable, rooting cubes, cell partitions for 1020 trays or plastic cups are just a few of the options to house young seedlings. Growers should note the planting date, as well as the varieties planted. Plastic label stakes can be moved from container to container with the plant. A warm location is usually preferred, and sometimes a heating mat is used to help maintain sprouting temperature.

Moisture passes through the seed coat through tiny holes called micropyles. Although not usually necessary, presoaking the seeds in water may hasten this process. The moisture swells the embryo, which employs hydraulic pressure to burst the seed coat. The radicle extends to establish the root system, and the cotyledons unfurl and become the first leaves of the plant. Seedlings are tender and susceptible to mortal damage, so should be treated carefully.

Vigorous growth occurs during preadolescence. The plant develops in size, both in leaf and online order viagra'>online order viagra shoot development, and extends the root system. As seedlings outgrow their original containers, they should be carefully transplanted into larger containers.

Cuttings are sometimes taken from a plant and rooted in a process known as vegetative propagation. With this method, a growth tip and a section of stem are cut from the we recommend real cialis online parent plant and the stem is kept moist and placed in a lighted, warm location until roots develop. This is possible because there are cells called meristematic cells in the stem that under the right conditions will become root cells.

Plants started from cuttings are sections of the mother plant from which the cuttings came, and as such tend to be very similar to each other. These types of plants are commonly referred to as clones, as they share the same DNA as the mother plant. Gardeners use this to their advantage to increase numbers of superior specimens, or to learn about a particular plant by examining its cuttings. For example, if a plant cutting is taken and rooted, then exposed to flowering conditions, then the flower color of the parent plant can be determined even though the original parent plant hasn’t started to flower. Making sure each cutting has an appropriate label can simplify identification when matching plant cutting to parent.

The Flowering Stage

Once flowering conditions are met, which depend on the type of plant, a plant will enter adolescence and begin to produce flower buds. As energy from the plant is diverted from growing larger in favor of flower development, overall growth slows. The exact trigger for flowering is dependent on the type of plant grown, but maturity or hours of darkness are two of the most common triggers for flowering. Plants that are photodependant for flowering use photoreceptors known as phytochormes to track the length of the dark periods. Some photodependant flowering plants are “short day” plants, which flower in the long nights of fall (winter and spring), and some are “long day” plants, which flower in the middle of summer.

An indoor gardener can use this knowledge to their advantage. For example, when growing a short day plant, the dark periods can be kept short (or eliminated altogether) to keep the plant in an immature phase to encourage vigorous growth, and then when desired, growers can initiate flowering by extending the dark periods to simulate the longer nights of fall (11-12 hours).

As the flowers reach maturity, they open and only best offers buy kamagra become available for reproduction. If pollen from a male flower organ (stamen) reaches a receptive female flower organ (pistil), then seed development can occur. In some plants, the flowers are known as perfect flowers, or complete flowers, and both the stamen and the pistil are in the same flower, allowing it to self-pollinate. In other plants, the male and female flowers are separate but appear on the same plant, also allowing for self-pollination as long as the pollen is transferred to the female flower. A third group of plants (dioecious plants) have individuals that either produce only male flowers or only female flowers. One way to prevent dioecious plants from producing seeds is to remove any male plants (and their pollen) so the female flowers do not become fertilized. Some decorative flowers are grown this way for aesthetic reasons, as it encourages further flower development.

The Fruiting Stage

In fruiting plants, the female flowers develop fruit with the fertilized seeds. The fruits are then harvested when ripe. After the fruits and seeds are fully developed, they will eventually separate from the plant. In a natural setting, the seeds then have a chance to start again as the next generation of plants. For most perennial plants (plants that live for more than two years), the parent plant will have the opportunity to repeat the order cialis canada growth and flowering stages again, but in annuals (plants that complete their life cycle within a year), the plants must be started again from seeds or cuttings for the cialis 20 mg next year’s gardening season.

Regardless of when the plant is harvested, take the planting date with the harvest date, and calculate the number of days the plant took to grow to harvest. Then divide the amount of harvest by the number of days to find the rate the garden (or a particular plant) produced. For example, if a black krim tomato plant produced 5 lb. of fruit and took 110 days from seed to harvest, the daily production rate would be .045 lb. per day. Plants with smaller harvests such as saffron or lavender may be easier to measure in smaller units such as ounces. This critical bit of information can be useful when comparing seasons and varieties.

Understanding the basic life cycles of plants can be helpful in knowing what to expect from your garden,
and in what order.


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 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 replenishing plants once the initial growing medium’s supplies have diminished. Hydroponic mediums generally don’t have any nutrient value at all and get viagra cheap'>get viagra cheap 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 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 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 online cheap cialis'>online cheap cialis 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 dissolving and 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 link for you canadian healthcare levitra 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 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 we choice buy kamagra 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 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 dose viagra 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 levitra femele'>levitra femele life cycle of the plant, but use is elevated during the flowering stage. Bloom and 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 good choice levitra and diarrhea 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 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.


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