Archive for April, 2011
Xeriscaping, also known as xero-gardening, is essentially a type of landscaping which requires minimal water. This gardening technique is ideal in places where fresh water is not easily available and in places where weather condition is inconsistent. It’s a method specifically designed to diminish the use of water. Special consideration is given to prevent excess water from evaporating.
It’s important to understand that while planning the type of plants you wish to grow in your xeriscape, select only those plants that grow effortlessly in draught areas. Xeriscape not only saves water but also energy and time. Before xeriscaping it’s very important to gain some knowledge about this subject which can be done in the following way:
- Examine thoroughly: Do proper research by taking going to a local park or nature trail and find out plant type can grow without much water or other planting services. You can also identify these plants online, by reading books from the library or you can simply go to local nurseryman for easy identification. And if you have decided the species you plant them in xeriscape.
- Study: In any kind of growing method, it’s very important that you study the needs and requirements of the plants you wish to grow. This applies to xeriscape also. Study natural conditions in which these plants grow so that you get an idea of what these plants need to grow in xeriscape.
Advantages of Xeriscapes in the Agricultural World:
- Xeriscaping is originally developed for growing plants in draught-afflicted areas where water is a scarce resource.
- It can save water by almost 50-75%.
- It embraces an organic growing method; there is no use of chemicals.
- Because there is no use of chemicals and fuel, this method ensures pollution free, environment friendly organic growing processes.
- It not only saves water but also stores used water for recycling.
Seven Important Xeriscaping Principles:
- The most essential element of xeriscape is that it constantly works on conserving water and increasingly uses rain water.
- It simultaneously works on two things – it drains and quickly stores water at the same time.
- It reduces the size of turf areas in the best possible way.
- It will give best results only if you select the right type of plants to prevent excess evaporation of water.
- Don’t overwater your xeriscape because the idea of using this method is to save water.
- Xeriscape is not very demanding; it needs low maintenance. The only consideration needed is to protect your garden from weeds.
Slowly hydroponics is taking over traditional soil growing method especially in countries where land or weather conditions are not suitable for plant growth. Good hydroponics gardening is supported by efficient hydroponics system. These hydroponic systems are broadly classified into two main categories – active and passive hydroponics system. Active hydroponic systems bring faster and healthier growth while passive hydroponic systems are comparatively easier to construct and maintain.
Passive hydroponic systems are influenced by wick systems to supply nutrients to the roots of your plants. It simply means that nutrients which are originally in fluid solution are allowed to travel through the growing medium to reach the roots. Although passive system is easy to build and maintain because it has no pump or any moving tool, it tends to keep the roots of the plants constantly wet and moist. This discourages proper flow of oxygen in the garden as a result holding back the full growth of the plant. Another limitation of this hydroponics system is that the nutrients that roots don’t absorb are not recovered.
Simple passive hydroponics systems
A simple passive hydroponics system includes a 5 gallon reservoir filled with water with appropriate amount of nutrients in it and plants to float inside. While using this basic hydroponic system, ensure that plants don’t sink to lower level otherwise they’ll drown. This is an ideal and effective method to grow lettuce.
Another classic passive hydroponic system that you can make on your own would be to take a jar and fill nutrient solution in it. You can block the neck of the jar with cotton and allow plant to float through the cotton wad. Aquaponics is also considered as a popular passive hydroponics system.
Passive hydroponics may add excess humidity due to evaporation. Also, it’s very important to thoroughly wash the whole system on regular basis to avoid salt accumulation. Before you decide which plant to grow in your passive hydroponics system it’s very important to understand that plants that need drying after each watering cycle are not suitable for passive hydroponics systems. Therefore choose plants which can grow well in atmosphere where there is enough moisture, for instance orchids and bromeliads.
Surprise….? But it is true. Assume you are in a hydroponics store and looking for some hydroponics nutrients for your plants and you see two different companies products ‘bloom enhancer labels’ and you try to decide which product will be good for you.
When you observer closely both the labels and both have the same ingredients listed on the labels then its obvious the next look will go to the price tag. And its very natural you will chose the cheap one to save little money of yours. But the only issues is you are not aware about product which contained a whole lot more ingredients cost a little more money cause what ingredients used are not listed on the label and the fact is the one you dint chose have the lots of things which surely give you bigger flowers and yields.
Moreover, the bloom enhancer you didn’t chose would easily do this for you because it contained an additional twenty amino acids, citric and ascorbic acid. Plus a whole bunch of other goodies that were not allowed to be put on the label under any circumstances in any way.
There’s a little-known and unofficial organization in Missouri called the American Association of Plant Food Control Officials (AAPFCO). Its members are representatives from the big agriculture companies and many government offices that regulate fertilizers.
This all started way back in 1930, by AAPFCO and state regulators when they formulated a stringent list of what they consider to be acceptable “plant food ingredients”. Unfortunately this list is dated and is not applicable to any of the progressive growing technologies and hydroponics. Due to this, today’s hydroponics nutrients and their labels are way more tightly regulated than vitamins and supplements ingested by humans. As hydroponic growers, even though we realize that there are a whole bunch of newly discovered compounds which are useful for growth, the nutrient manufacturers are not able to mention the same on their labels.
In fact the rule dictates that if a hydroponics nutrients manufacturer wants to put “non-listed” ingredients in their products and list those substances on the labels, and tell how those substances help your crops, it is almost nearly impossible to convince AAPFCO and state regulators.
Click to know more about the secrets revealed about Hydroponics Nutrients Labels.
Hydroponics is gaining popularity among commercial as well as non-commercial growers. You can build your own hydroponics grow room anywhere, i.e. from a store room to a garage or a small shed. All you need to do is concentrate on certain factors that influence plant growth. The four main factors that tremendously affect the growth of plants are:
- Temperature: Plants grown naturally or artificially need adequate light and heat to grow faster and look healthier. Temperature is an important factor that you should consider while setting up or designing your hydroponics garden. An ideal temperature that plants need to grow should be somewhere between 20-28°C. With proper lighting facilities you can easily adjust the temperature of your grow room to achieve the required temperature. And during summer, when the temperature is high you can cool down your grow room with the help of fans or air pumps.
- Light: As a matter of fact, one thing that is most needed in your grow room is the proper availability and placement of light bulbs. Lighting not only demands proper power supply but also requires proper maintenance. It’s very important that you create a lighting that is similar to the sun light. Depending on the growth-stage of your plant you can use lights at any time of the year and adjust from time to time. With proper lighting set up you can grow any plant at any time of the year.
- Atmosphere: Normally plants need enough amount of CO2 to breathe and actively work on production processes. You can either inject CO2 into the grow room or you can generate CO2 with the help of CO2 generators or CO2 regulators. The major concern while taking care of the atmosphere is the minimum use of pesticides or any negative ions in the grow room.
- Humidity: Since hydroponics is all about controlling and automated gardening you can easily adjust or balance the humidity level of your grow room. Humidity if not suitable for the plants encourage growth of grey mold. This negatively affects your crops and the entire green house. Humidity of around 50% is apt for efficient plant growth. You can adjust humidity level with the help of extractor fans to get rid of excess heat or humidity.
Organoponics is a plant-growing system that was pioneered in Cuba during the 1959 revolution to overcome food scarcity in the city. During the food crises Cubans had to grow food on their own in small gardens or small-sized farms. And because of unavailability of fertilizers and synthetic material, growing by default was done organically. With the help of experts small farmers were taught to use organic manures and beneficial microbes. Hydroponic units were no longer useful as fertilizers were not available; therefore, growers filled these units with composted sugar waste and that way hydroponics was transformed to organoponics.
Currently organoponics has become an essential part of Cuba’s overall food production. The total food supply from these gardens to the citizens of Havana comprises 90% of the food production. The design and structure of organoponics system varies depending on the size and requirements of the garden, which is inconsistent. There are many cost-effective organoponic systems that successfully save water and money and that can provide huge quantity of fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers. These organoponic systems are accepted by many institutions and families worldwide.
Following are the most commonly used organoponic systems:
- Mould dimensions
- Rectangular organoponico bed with simple cheap mould
- Carpark organoponico
- Sand organoponico terrace garden
- Gangster organoponico
- Circular Oragnoponico
- Koru Garden
- Adobe nicho
A basic organoponic system requires used tires and plastic buckets as containers, for bedding leaf litter, kitchen waste for compost and urine as liquid fertilizer. With the help of this method you can not only harvest fruits and vegetables but also recycle decomposed leaf litter that has turned into soil which is nutrient rich. This is an added benefit of organoponics where you get healthy food as well as fertile soil.
Also known as an urban method of growing plants, it’s for sure a clean, reliable and healthy method of growing fruits and vegetables. It’s a suitable growing method where space is an issue. It’s a simplified hydroponics systems that is organic and that involves use of compost made from sugar waste instead of chemicals. Cuban agriculture has gone through a huge transition towards production of superior-quality and sufficient food for the growing population without disturbing the natural environment. This has positive impacts on the economy of the nation!
Folkewall is a hydroponics growing system that is specifically designed to make proper use of limited land to fulfill two important purposes: i.e., purification of greywater and vertical growing technique or living wall. It’s basically a vertical growing method and the best example of it is the hanging gardens of the Babylon. Vertical farming helps in efficient use of space and purification of percolating water which may be greywater.
The simplest design of folkewall is a wall of hollow slabs that have proper openings on one or both sides of the wall. You can fill the hollows with inert material like LECA-pebbles (light expanded clay aggregate), gravel, vermiculite or perlite. It’s designed to allow the water to travel over the longest path through the wall along with the pebbles. The water is allowed to reach the top in a zig-zag manner in the wall. At this time plant roots grow with the inert material and absorb nutrients directly from the water. Beneficial bacteria grow on the pebbles and break down organic pollutants in the greywater. After consuming the pollutant they release nutrients in the water which are thereafter is absorbed by the plant. A container fixed at the bottom of the wall collect purified water, which can be recycled.
Since herbaceous crops are fast growing crops they are the ideal ones for Folkewall. Perennials that take time to fully grow such as trees or shrubs are not recommended for the Folkewall. Special care should be taken while using the water; avoid using water that contains heavy metals or any unsafe pollutants.
Some of the advantages of Folkewall are:
- It purifies greywater and is especially helpful in arid climatic conditions.
- It utilizes space efficiently and can be practiced in a green house or in open in frost free climate.
- Water can be reused or recycled an also can be used for other household or irrigation purposes.
- Heat exchanger and temperature buffer in a green house where the wall is combined with greywater purification.
- In hot climate, the living walls give a cooling effect to the building.
If you are the type of grower who’s constantly searching for something that is informative, then you should read this article about “aquaponics”. Aquaponics is essentially a type of hydroponics and it acts as a great controlling measure to protect the environment from the harmful effects of a few substances which pollute the environment. It’s principally a perfect combination of aquaculture and hydroponics.
Ideally, aquaponics consists of two main things – fish culture and hydroponics, i.e. planting without soil in water as a medium. These two aspects of aquaponics complement each other to work efficiently. If planned properly with good equipment and proper knowledge then aquaponics can surely give you good yield. As this method is on similar principles as hydroponics, you do not use soil.
Here are a few simple steps to set a basic aquaponics system:
- Basic tools: Gather all the basic things needed to construct your aquaponics system. You require filter, tank, gravel, pump, water and plants.
- Tank: If you know how to set up a simple aquarium then half of your work is done, because aquaponics is similar to setting up an aquarium. Fix the filter with the tank and connect with the tube. Your level of water will depend on the size of the fish; that should be 1 gallon of water per inch of fish.
- Grow beds: To allow easy drainage of water, ensure that you create small holes at the bottom of the grow bed and a hole at the back to insert the tube. Now slowly add gravels. But, it’s very important to wash all the tools properly before use.
- Pump: Immerse a submersible pump into the tank and then connect the tubes – one tube that takes water from the tank to the grow beds and the other vice versa.
- Water: Fill the tank with water and switch on the pump to see if water is pushed into the grow beds. To get enough oxygen ensure that the air pump releases bubbles. Let the tank clear all the chlorine and then add fish into your tank. It’s advisable to check the pH perfect level regularly for the survival of fish and plants.
- Growing plants: Mostly the system takes four weeks to create a good growing environment for the plants.
The fish waste serves as food for plants while plants generate oxygen for the fish to survive and breathe. With this symbiotic process you can create a healthy growing atmosphere for fishes as well as the plants!
If you want to try out something that is convenient and something that would help you grow healthy lettuce, herbs, tomatoes and many more plants, then you should consider having a small aerogarden. In your aerogarden you can grow any variety of plant at any time of the year. You don’t have to worry about weeds, dirt, bugs or any chaos. Aerogarden is becoming a popular hydroponic garden. This type of hydroponics system is easy going and inexpensive for growers of any level.
With the help of aeroponic technology and proper built-in lighting you can easily have your own completely automated indoor garden. Therefore, unlike hydroponics, in aerogarden you don’t have to worry about adjusting the pH level or conductivity. The plants grown in your aerogarden are healthier and better compared to soil gardening. The plants in this garden grow in an environment that has consistently 100% humidity and is oxygen-rich. There are many aeroponic pods available on the market with different color and combination’s in which you can grow plants.
The aerogarden works best with aeroponics. It’s basically a technology where plant roots are allowed to hang in the air. These roots are timely drizzled with nutrients and water to give plants a perfect growing atmosphere. Aerogarden is the result of appropriate amount of light, air, nutrients and water needed by the plants for healthy growing. The final outcome is much better than the expectation; the growth is twice faster than the soil or dirt gardening. The fruits and vegetables grown are full-sized and juicy.
There are space-saver aerogarden pods that can fit well in a small kitchen or room. There is a huge variety of hydroponics equipment you can purchase to make your garden lot more meaningful and fun. There are also seed kits that are customized specifically for aerogarden. You can also design your own seed kit to create rare species of herbs, flowers or salad greens.
You can now add life and nature anywhere in the house with the help of aerogarden because it needs very limited space. Your office or a small cubical desk can also have an aerogarden to get that fresh look. All you have to do is, just add two nutrient tablets and fill water whenever the level is low and sit back and enjoy while your plants grow. Now, have your own aromatic herb garden.