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Indoor Gardening Blog

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House and Garden Top Product Review
Hydroponics Northwest is now carrying House and Garden Products! Here at Hydroponics NW we believe House and Garden Nutrients to be one of the highest quality nutrient lines available. A little run down / review on their products that stand out to us the most for those who have never heard of or used them or are curious about them.   Lets start with the most popular Shooting Powder. House and Garden's Shooting Powder is truly one of a kind, it is a high phosphorus and potassium fertilizer yes but it does something truly unique, it will trigger a whole new flowering phase in at the end of your cycle. Having used this product and other products that claim the same effect such as Advanced Nutrients Overdrive I can confidently say that none of them do what shooting powder do. Now due to the nature of this product if you start your plants on this too late it can set your harvest date back a week or two, but in that week or two you will see MASSIVE weight gains.    House and Garden's Amino Treatment is another great product from their line that is comprised of amino acids and silicas. You can watch Amino Treatment work in your plants, here's how it works and what you can expect to see. The amino acids open up your the door to your cell walls for easier uptake of all nutrients, but because they have carefully selected an awesome blend of organic and synthetic silicate the aminos allow almost 90% silicate uptake! Silicates allow for healthier stronger more pest and disease resistant plants, as well as helping your leaves position for optimum light and CO2 intake. The synergy that these components have essentially make everything grow bigger and healthier, make thick strong stalks jumbo sized lush green leaves, accelerated rooting, and much larger fruits and flowers as well!  The last product that we'll talk about today is the one that we are most excited about, House and Garden's Roots Excelurator. Roots Excelurator is at the top of the charts for products in its class, far surpassing any and every product similar to it including even General Hydroponics Rapid Start. Ask around even other nutrient companies agree that Roots Excelurator is the best on the market. This product gives your roots the food they need for optimum growth and House and Garden's proprietary solution (similar to what the plants themselves produce) encourages to expand its root mass take advantage of all the space for rooting you've provided. As with all of the products from the House and Garden nutrient line this product is extremely concentrated calling for a meager 1.1mL per gallon! That means a 1 liter bottle will last you a little more than 900 gallons. Try finding that in any competitors product its unheard of. We hope we helped you understand a little more about House and Garden and if you have any questions concerns or success stories with these products feel free to comment below and we would be happy to hear from or help out our fellow gardeners. Until next time happy gardening and may big yields find you.Hydroponicsnw

Hydroponic Magazines
(picture via Maximum Yield)One of the magazines we have at our store and read religiously is Maximum Yield.  Started in 1998 this magazine focuses on indoor gardening in its entirety and helping you to get your maximum yield in your gardening efforts.  If you've never had the opportunity to check it out click on the link above and brace yourself!

Vending Machine Grows 20,000 Heads of Lettuce a Year Without Sunlight
The Chef’s Farm, a Japanese lettuce-growing vending machine, doesn’t require sunlight and can churn out 60 heads of lettuce a day, or over 20,000 a year. The Chef’s Farm was developed by Dentsu and uses 40 watt fluorescent lighting housed in chrome that can be stored conveniently in any restaurant. It can grow other kinds of veggies as well.The portable fluorescent garden is on sale for $90,000, with the target market ostensibly being restaurants that want locally manufactured, sun-free vegetables on site. Chef’s Farm comes with five nutri-culture beds, which are each installed on long and thin metal frames. The lettuce seeds are planted in sponges in frames that have to be moved manually. The lighting equipment, culture solution and temperature can be controlled for each bed and five different vegetables can be cultivated at the same time   (Source: http://www.treehugger.com/)

Does Hydroponic Mean Organic
Environmental Working Group answers the question of hydroponic vs. organic.

Starting an Indoor Vegetable Garden
Environmental expert Michael Fritzen shares some great tips on HGTV for starting an indoor vegetable garden.  This project is great for those who don't have the space to create an outdoor garden or as a learning activity for kids. What you need:A variety of seedsShallow dish or bowlNapkins or paper towelsCookie cutterWaterSteps:1. Put a heaping tablespoon of seeds in a shallow dish or bowl, fill with water and soak the seeds overnight.2. Place a folded paper towel or napkin on a plate and position the cookie cutter in the center of the paper.3. Scoop the soaked seeds out of the water and deposit them in the middle of the cookie cutter. Spread out the wet seeds until they fill in the shape. You don’t want the seeds to build up too thickly in any spot. They will take longer to sprout and grow raggedy and out of control. Make a nice even layer.4. Gently remove the cookie cutter.5. Do not pour water directly on the design. Ladle water in carefully with a spoon.6. Spritz seeds with a spray bottle twice a day. You will see growth in about two days. Keep it in a cool, dark space. The sprouts should be ready to harvest in five days.

How To Set Up A Grow Light
Whether you've already purchased your lighting supplies or are still planning your indoor garden, this video tutorial on how to set up a grow light is sure to help.  As you can see it takes just a few minutes and very little space.  See the links below to purchase the products shown in the video. Sun System Yield Master II Supreme Reflector1000 Watt Harvest Pro Elite Switchable Ballast1000 Watt Ultra Sun HPS Grow Lamp

The Insects in Your Garden
It can be difficult to know which insects are beneficial to your plants and garden from those that are destructive.  Use the following list to make sure you are keeping the good and avoiding the bad!Beneficial Insects:Aphid Predator (Aphidus sp.)Lacewing (Chrysoperla rufilabris)Lady Beetle (Hippodamia convergens)Mealybug Destroyer (Montrousieri Cryprolaemus)Minute Pirate (Bug Orius sp.)Predatory Mite (Phytoseiulus persimillis)Trichogrammma (spp.)Whitefly Parasite (Encarsia formosa)Praying Mantis (Tendora aridifolia sinensis)Destructive Insects, Mites:AphidAphid (winged)Bagworm LarvaBillbugCucumber BeetleCyclamen MiteEarwigFungus Gnat (Adult)Fungus Gnat (Larva)LacebugMealybugRose ChaferSowbugSpider MiteSpittlebugThripsWhite FlyWhite GrubYou can visit GardenInsects.com for more information on these insects.

pH - Why It's Important
The pH scale, from 1 to 14, measures acid-to-alkaline balance. The number 1 is the most acidic, 7 is neutral, and 14 most alkaline. Every full-point change in pH signifies a ten-fold increase or decrease in acidity or alkalinity. For example, soil or water with a pH of 5 is ten times more acidic than water or soil with a pH of 6. Water with a pH of 5 is one hundred times more acidic than water with a pH of 7. With a ten-fold difference between each point on the scale, accurate measurement and control is essential to a strong, healthy garden.Most plants grow best in soil with a pH from 6.5 to 7. Within this range plants can properly absorb and process available nutrients most efficiently. If the pH is too low (acidic), acid salts chemically blind nutrients, and the roots are unable to absorb them. An alkaline soil with a high pH causes nutrients to become unavailable. Toxic salt buildup that limits water intake by roots also becomes a problem. Hydroponic solutions perform the best in a pH range a little lower than for soil. The ideal pH range for hydroponics is from 5.8 to 6.8. Some gardeners run the pH at lower levels and report no problems with nutrient uptake. The pH of organic soil mixes is very important because it dictates the ability of specific pH-sensitive bacteria. Measure the pH with a meter, monitor or waterproof tester (find our full selection here). When testing pH, take two or three samples and follow instructions supplied by the manufacturer. Soil test kits measure soil pH and primary nutrient content by mixing soil with a chemical solution and comparing the color of the solution to a chart. Most of these kits are difficult for novice gardeners to achieve accurate measurements. Comparing the color of the soil/chemical mix to the color of the chart is often confusing. A measurement conversion chart is a useful tool for all hydroponic growers. It allows you to convert between common units of measure when testing your nutrient solution. Bluelab has a great chart.

Fresh Basil: A Summer Favorite
One of our favorite herbs to grow is basil. Perfect for the summer, it smells good, is super tasty and easy to grow. Bon Appetit recently shared their favorite recipes using basil and here are our picks:White Four-Cheese Pizza with Basil and Garlic. Find the recipe here. Spicy Sesame Noodles with Chopped Peanuts and Thai Basil. Go here for the full recipe and check out our thai basil seeds here!Eggplant Caprese with Grilled Tomato and Basil Vinaigrette. Recipe found here. Summer Tomato and Basil Spaghettini. Recipe here. What is your favorite basil recipe?

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