Hydroponics-Six Important Nutrients-Nitrogen

Hydroponics-Six Important Nutrients-Nitrogen

Hydroponics-Six Important Nutrients-Nitrogen

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Hydroponics-Six Important Nutrients-Nitrogen

So also known as “nitrate” because this is the form of Nitrogen that your precious plants use. Of course Nitrogen is responsible for the strong growth of the plants leaves. Importantly, it is also the reason that the leaves are green coloured. This green colouring helps with the process of Chlorophyll production.

Of course there are thousands of different types of fertilizer products to choose from! However there are two basic types of nitrogen fertilizers that we use in horticulture.

 1-Is a quick release product (Urea) 

2- Is a slow release product (methylene Urea) 

A great example of this is the quick release fertilizer used by turf growers for the making of lawns. Green lawns make a good looking lawn and the growers will use a quick release product. Naturally the fast release range of fertilizers will make the availability of nitrogen instant!

However the addition of this quick release fertilizer is only short lived. This product can easily be washed away in a heavy rainy period. On the other hand it can also burn the lawn turf if used in unregulated amounts. This is my problem, I always throw in that extra handful on to my lawn. It pays to give the recommended dose of granules and don’t overdo things. of course, I am now talking gardening in general! Hydroponics have a very set of rules governing the amounts of nutrients to be used.

So, too much a dose can make your grass grow too quick and leggy. Of course for safety it may be best to use a slow release product. This will ensure the best take up rate for your plants. Also by using the slow release then the danger of burning and speedy growth will be slower and less dramatic. So, giving a better growth experience for your plants or lawn. So this now leads me to the second of our three important nutrients phosphate.   

Of course this is also very important in hydroponics growing systems.


Growing Food-First time Hydroponics Tomato Growing

Growing Food-First time Hydroponics Tomato Growing

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Growing Food-First time Hydroponics Tomato Growing

So , I am starting off my growing experience by experimentation! In other words I am going to start at the beginning by setting up my own hydroponics planting systems from the very basic ideas available.

Of course in the past couple of years I have made a start by creating a set up for a different way of growing some tomato plants. Of course I also used the traditional growbag method ! Just to compare the results if this was going to be possible. Tomatoes are always a favourite fruit to grow. Because the are fairly easy for a beginner to try and the final product, (large juicy tomatoes) are always a popular gift to any visitors to your garden. Including of course your friends and family.

Equipment from Leeds Hydrostore

Simply because my daughters husband works their then I decided to take his advice and tell me what equipment I should be needing to set up my tomato growing system. When I visited the well equipped store then I was unclear to the things that I would require. First thing was to be somewhere to store the water! So I chose the large 400 litre Flexi-Tank . I found this very easy to erect and it slotted into the corner of my 12ft x 10ft greenhouse perfectly.

The next piece of equipment was to be an “auto-pot system” . This was to be connected up to the water tank to supply my plants with water and nutrients. Although I found the connecting up of the various small pipes and plastic connections a little fiddly, but finally it was then complete.

Once in place it was ready for planting up. I was going to use “Canadian Xpress Hydro Grow” for the first time. The growing medium comes in two parts A and B. However I found the instructions easy to follow and added it to the now full water tank. Believe it or not this was going to enable me and the wife to have a few days holiday, without worrying about the tomato plants getting stressed out dur to lack of watering .

So, the plant medium that I chose was to be a mixture of “clay balls” and “Coco natural Coir“. These were supplied in 50 litre bags and easy to handle. So, after the set up was all ready then I planted my young tomato plants and sat back to see what would happen. Consequently, having never done this method of growing anything before before!

Growbags at the same time

So, at the same time them I planted out ten growbags using this traditional method and watering by hand. I must say the hydroponics method truly produced the best results. I was amazed at the amount of water and nutrients that the plants would use to grow properly. My tomato trusses went right up to the greenhouse roof producing truss after truss of excellent quality tomatoes.

This was in the end to be the far better method of growing and I will not be using growbags any more. The results of the hydroponics method were tremendous. So, we had fresh grown tomatoes right in to the autumn and I cant wait for the new season to begin again.

Plant Pests-Whitefly

Plant Pests-Whitefly

Home » Archives for February 2021

Plant Pests-Whitefly

So these little past are the pests that haunts most plant growers, including myself. Of course whitefly come in many different variants. It is estimated that there are about 1500 different species of these little garden horrors.

However one variety is known as the glasshouse whitefly. This garden pest is a sap-sucking pest that attacks your plants. So, at the same time they give off a sticky substance better known as “honeydew” . This honeydew can be seen all over the infestation. Adult whitefly and the nymphs excrete this sticky honeydew on the foliage, which allows the growth of black sooty moulds. This black sooty mould can become a real problem making the plants look totally un-healthy. Ultimately, the leaves, fruit and stems are all targets for these little monsters.

Last year was a particular bad year for whitefly. These little garden enemies thrive in hot summers. Last year was a good year for growers of all types of plants! However I had a particular bad attack of whitefly. Especially on my pepper plants. My peppers were very bushy. So, the first whitefly outbreak was missed . Causing me a much bigger problem and not really catching up with problem. Eventually I had to attack them by removing my peppers outdoors. This gave me the room to attack the whiteflies from every angle. next year I will keep a closer eye on things.


So one of the favoured “biological” methods is to introduce the tiny parasitoid wasps, Encarsia formosa. Importantly, these enemies of the whitefly must be introduced in the first instance. Giving the wasps time to devour the whitefly nymphs emerging pests. After a successful attack of the nymphs by the parasitic wasps then the results will let you see the nymphs turning black. This turning black will help you monitor the situation of how the wasps are doing.

Importantly, the grower must be careful not to use an insecticide at the same time as introducing the parasitic wasps. Another point is not to use the yellow stick cards when introducing the wasps. Of course, the wasps will also land on the sticky cards. As a general rule then the following precautions will be a great help when battling against these little pests.

As I recommend for most flying insects then the sticky yellow cards must be used. There are other types of sticky cards and all are most useful. These cards help the grower to spot any type of insects at an early stage. After the pests are spotted then the attack against them can be mounted.

Newly introduced plants should be quarantined first before placing the plants in there final growing space. This gives time to allow any whitefly eggs or nymphs to develop and spotted so that action can be taken.

Watch for weeds

Growers should be aware that these insects will also thrive on weed. So good greenhouse housekeeping is imperative. Not allowing weeds to grow will eradicate this from happening.

Sooty moulds that develop in the later stages of a whitefly attack, thrive best in hot and humid environment! So good ventilation is very important.

Finally, good hygiene and cleaning your growing environment including the greenhouse should be carried out every winter. This should include using an “insect fumer” . Another product worth considering is the “Hot shots” vapour pads. These products give off an insecticide vapour that penetrates all the area where the growing takes place.

Plant Pests-Fungus Gnats

Plant Pests-Fungus Gnats

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Plant Pests-Fungus Gnats

So one good thing about “Fungus Gnats” is that the adults are visible to the naked eye. I must confess that I am not familiar with these little pests and so m on a learning kerb myself. Perhaps one of the reasons why is because the larvae actually feed on the plants roots including the feeder roots. Of course damage to these feeder roots causes slower growth of the effected plants.

Consequently, this opens up the way for the plants to be effected by bacterial infections. Adult gnats can over winter in cold weather. many other insect pests are destroyed by the old of winter but not these little guys.

Over watering could be problem

So the fungus gnats will invariably feed on plants that have the beginning of root rot. Often caused by the plant grower over watering. The gnats can often be found living in over saturated soil. However , a good watering regime would be the answer. In my experience then beginner gardeners will often over water their plants ! Thinking that more water is better than none. However, this is not so a like most things then practice and disappointments due to dying plants will all come with practice and tolerance.

My advice is always to use sticky yellow pads

Like most things insects the adult gnats will be flying around your greenhouse/conservatory or growing room. Catching the adults as they are flying about will help the grower to identify pests. Including the adult fungus gnats. However fungus gnats can also be seen walking about on your plants as they are not very good flyers. In my opinion we should all use the yellow sticky pads where ever space is available. I use them all the time and its unbelievable what little monsters that you can catch and identify.

Once identified you can take evasive action to get rid of the pests.

Natural organic measures can be used including the addition of parasitic nematodes Steinernema feltiae. Of course, these naturally occurring parasites which are soil born will naturally infect the fungus gnats larvae with bacteria and fortunately, kill them.


So like many things in life then “prevention is better than a cure”! here at Hydrostore we can offer any grower a preventative online. The product that we recommend is “Nilnat” . Commercial growers use this products before the crops are infected. Also you can use this if you spot the small black adult walking about close to your growing medium or on the yellow sticky cards.