hot weather and plants

Hot weather-and your precious plants

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Hot weather

Hot weather

I am writing this post because I am not sure that the large population of immigrant growers understand that the UK can be a very hot place. So this July (2012) is proving a point. Hot weather can be a disaster to all kind of plants. Especially if you are using some kind of back up heating for some hot weather plants. People growing inside their homes will be having particular problems in trying to keep the temperature down so the plants can grow and produce a good crop of flowers or fruit.

My citrus trees are lucky because in summer I place them out onto a pebbled area of my garden along with the pomegranate and fig trees. Of course these Mediterranean plants including my olives just love the heat. Importantly though , I still have the problems with watering. Too much or too little will cause a leaf drop. This leaf drop can happen on many types of plants. When the temperature gets too hot out of control then the plants will shed their leaves.

Commercial glass house have to be strictly controlled to avoid any disasters. Crops will also develop at a faster rate due to the plants trying to produce their crops at a quicker rate. A good example of this would be strawberries. Of course a sudden rise in temperature and sun shine will start to produce fruit more abundantly. For certain crops this can be a disaster. However strawberries can be sold off cheaper or used in other products avoiding massive losses tot the growers.

Electric fans can help cool down your plants.

My greenhouse has been no different in recent hot weeks. Spraying down the floor with cold water does help. Also good ventilation is a must. Keeping as many windows and doors open will probably lower the temperature enough for you plants to enjoy the good hot weather without stressing them out. So, in other similar year then I have had success and failures. Tomato plants do great in hot weather but many other salad crops can suffer.

Plants in the ground can soon dry up. Of course a good regime of composting can give you a better chance at retaining moisture in the soil. Surprising my hydroponic lettuces have gone to seed pretty quickly in this hot spell. I am not sure why this is and will investigate once I am over my knee replacement operation.

People growing in their homes are probably the ones with most problems. UK houses are not built to resist this realy hot weather. In my particular case the house faces the south. Up to lunchtime the house remains coolish. However as the afternoon progresses the house becomes very hot. Plants growing in lofts and bedrooms will soon Sercombe to the heat build up. Air-con units are an expensive option but most have a pipe which must be hung out of a door or window. Thus making it difficult for many people.

Electric fans can offer some comfort for the plants. Here at Hydrostore in West Yorkshire we offer a selection of fans that can be used short term. So, good luck with your heat management, its just a part of growing in our great country.


growing the Kratky system

The Kratky system

The Kratky system

The Kratky system

So here we are at the beginning of May 2021. This is important to me because it is my birthday on the 6th. Consequently, I can also remember the weather in that particular week. Traditionally the early may weather is hot and sunny. Unfortunately, according to the forecasters then this year will be much different. Frustratingly, we have just survived the coldest April since 1922 and as growers and gardeners then dont we know it !

Gardening, techniques include having to move things about to fit other things into. As I look out of my office window the weather is dreadful! Heavy rain and windy making it feel very cold. Unfortunately, my citrus plants are holding up my circle of planting. So, when my citrus goes outside then my hydroponics grown tomatoes can go in. Because of the cold then I am about three weeks behind this year.

With past experience then I realise that the weather can catch up over night! Lets hope so. So, as I have written in some of my earlier posts then I am really looking forward to growing by using one of the Kratky methods.

Who was Kratky ?

Kratky was a guy studying in the “University of Hawaii“. B.A.Kratky discovered a method of growing plants by using “Deep Water Culture“. Subsequently, his simple system would be used without the use of an electric pump. So making the growing system simple and easy to use. His growing method was simple and easy to use, developing into perhaps six split off systems. So, making growing plants possible in all situations. Including growing indoors with the aid of grow lights .

However the actual system of hydronic growing came from a succession of people experimenting in soilless growing conditions up to the emergence of Professor Gericke. Professor Gericke experimented at the University of California” in the 1920’s and 30’s. By growing tomatoes in commercial sized buildings. His experimentation lead to the growth of tomato vines growing to twenty five feet long. Of course by not using soil but water and a mineral nutrients solution. In 1937 prompted by a phycologist (W A Setchell) he introduced the name of the new growing system as water culture and hydroponics.

Of course the system moved forward at a rapid pace up to the huge amount of technical aid now used in hydroponics and its derivatives. Of course the Kratky system is perhaps the basic way of growing . Requiring no electrical aids. However, because the system doesn’t use any form of aeration then problems can occur with temperature spikes. Say if the weather gets very hot the solution can become stagnant with blooms of algae growing in the solution mix.

Air pump the solution for algae growth

The obvious solution to this is to add an air pump into the system. This added air will oxygenate the growing solution. Importantly, the plants roots will have a good access to oxygen. Accordingly, the pumped air will regulate the temperature of the growing solution cutting the levels of any algae growth due to heated stagnation. So, I will adding a small aquarium pump to oxygenate my hydrotropic tanks (As soon as the weather warms up ) .

So, at the moment I have collected my plastic boxes and mesh pots to start my salad growing hydroponics system to kick off and cant wait!

All equipment can be purchased in the York area from Hydrostore York.