cold weather

Hydroponics Winter Basics

Hydroponics Winter Basics

Hydroponics Winter Basics

Winter is now upon us in the northern hemisphere. Here in West Yorkshire we have already experienced several frosts and a snow storm. Thus making it impossible to do any outdoor gardening.

Most plants that are hardy have already closed down for their winter break. Leaves have fallen from the deciduous trees, with only conifers having a covering of green foliage. In my case my lemon and other citrus fruit are sitting happily in their cosy greenhouse together with LED lighting to lengthen our dark winter days.

So, indoor hydroponic growers can experience temperature fluctuations during very cold spells of weather. Roots are very intolerant of temperature changes. Changes in growth can make significant changes to growth rate if the temperature is allowed to drop bellow 19c . So at this temperature the plants roots zone could easily be damaged. The growth begins to slow and the outside of the root can be damaged.

Many experts believe that the best root temperature should be between 20c and 21c. So, to enable the plants to absorb nutrients correctly. Providing a nutrient solution that is war enough to stimulate new growth is important for the development of a healthy plant. Keeping good oxygen levels and content is imperative for good results.

Concrete floors can be a problem

When writing this blog I a thinking primarily about temperature variations in a building with concrete floors. We all know about the cold feeling when we walk inside a building with a concrete floor. Especially in winter time. So, if plants are grown under these conditions then there is likely to be a large temperature variation. This could be overlooked when starting out your growing season in spring time.

Even a small garage used for growing will suffer variations of temperature in winter time. Ass a result many growers use some type of rubber mats to help insulate their precious crop. Personally I would raise the plants off the floor to stop them getting “cold feet” and ruining the crop at a later stage.

Cold can also effect the temperature of the water tank used to mix and provide the nutrients. Growing rooms must be well insulated so the the air temperature does not change significantly in a cold spell. As I have said earlier the 19c level should not be compromised. Your plants will be open to attacks from many pests and disease. The weaker your hydroponics plant then the more likely they are of been attacked.

Of course all this will lead to a poor crop and disappointment. So prepare for winter by making your plants as cosy as possible to avoid disappointment and a poor harvest. Heaters are the answer !


yellowing leaves iron deficiency

Iron Deficiency in Plants

Home » Plant Nutrients

Iron Deficiency in Plants

Iron Deficiency in Plants

Of course iron deficiency can effect many types of plants. In the past it has been common in my tomato plants. So, the most helpful sign of this condition is called “leaf chlorosis”. This is easy to spot as the leaves will turn yellow and the leaves veins will remain green.

Starting on the new leaves that emerge the symptoms then start to spread to the older leaves and they begin to turn a yellow colour. This can then turn to the leaves dropping off all together. Coupled with poor growth of the plant. Strangely the condition is not caused by a lack of iron in the soils, but the failure of the plant to take it up. Hence due to the following reasons.

Iron chlorosis in plants is normally cause by one of four reasons.

Your soils Ph is too high

This is relatively easy to rectify. you can purchase a simple PH tester kit online. Soil Ph levels of 7 or above will restrict your plant from getting the iron available to tin the soil. Vitalink “Ph Down” is a great product for lowering the Ph and helping your plant to take up the required iron levels.

Too heavy clay soil

Most gardeners know all about the benefits of a clay soil. However some areas have realy heavy clay soil deposits. Although rich in minerals and vitamins then realy heavy clay make it difficult to be absorbed by plants. Including iron !

Living and gardening here in West Yorkshire UK has always brought its problems with clay soil. Gardens on new build sites very often have a sprinkling of top soil places directly on top of a thick layer of clay. So, making a nice garden virtually impossible without tons of organic material. Hence the addition of organic matter will be beneficial for the plants to take up iron. Clay soils are probably the richest soils once cultivated with added compost.

Very damp and wet soil

Of course this follows on from the last problem. Because clay soils are also wet and damp soils. Of course until well cultivated and free draining. Wet and damp soils are easy and often compacted. making it difficult once again for the plant to take up iron. So, if your garden is permanently compacted then there are few options available. Your plants can be foliar sprayed, or you can use a good soil supplement and even use the addition of chelated iron. These treatments can help plants take up the iron levels that they require.

Too much phosphorous in the soil

Strangely, too much phosphorous can prevent the intake of iron by the plant. Studying this then the main reason for this is the over use fertilizers containing phosphorous. So, the simple answer would be to use a fertilizer with lower amounts of phosphorous to balance the soils out and allow the plant to take up the iron that is required.

However it must be stressed that phosphorous is extremely import to plant growth and development. Of course for indoor growing then products are available to maintain the correct balance of nutrients in your plants. All are available online at Hydrostore West Yorkshire.

rain water-tap water

Tap or Rain Water

Tap or Rain Water

Tap or Rain Water

So in my mind then this is a no brainer. However, collecting rainwater can be difficult for many people. The internet is awash with companies selling water collecting tanks. Coincidently, then I m looking at a good product from a Lincolnshire company “Enduramaxx” for yet another storage tank. This will be my third plastic tank!

Also there are all sorts of connectors available for connecting your guttering downpipe to a water tank. However I do understand the easiness of being able to just turn on your tap and water the plants. Importantly, rain water and tap water are very different in content. So, in most places then tap water will not harm your precious plants. However, rain water is good for your plants and better than tap water.

Of course one of the major parts of chlorophyll is nitrogen. This is the green colouring in plants that soaks up the sunlight using its energy by producing sugars from the carbon dioxide and water. So, most gardener’s and growers know this as “photosynthesis”. This is the basis for sustaining most plants life process. As in my last post then if plants have a lack of nitrogen then the leaves will turn yellow. So, eventually wither up and die!

Unfortunately, our water treatment plants take out as much nitrate as possible. Because high levels of nitrate can be of danger to young children. Plants cannot access nitrogen directly, relying on “nitrogen fixation”. Where nitrogen in the air is converted to “ammonia” and related compounds found in the soil.

Importantly, nitrogen fixation is carried out by microorganisms found in the soil. Accordingly, the root hairs of a plant is invaded by nitrogen fixing bacteria’s. So, stimulating the formation of root nodules. Inside the nodules then bacteria converts free nitrogen into ammonia aiding the host plant for its development.

Astonishly, the lightning that we see in a regular thunder storm can generate nitrogen compounds. These mix with the water and oxygen in our atmosphere. The relating rain that falls contain high levels of ammonium and nitrates. So, thunderstorms are of great benefit for out door plants or collecting the water for watering another time. Of course not only watering but giving the plant a topping up of nitrogen.

Rain water the best long time option

Rain water is different depending of where we live. I can tell different water when travelling about. In fact locally, then I can tell the difference between my local tap water and the water at my Halifax business. The later being the best tasting! This will also apply to plants. Tap water differs in acidity and once again a ph test is well worth carrying out on your relative soil. generally though tap water will be on the alkaline side. Of course this is on the high side for many plant species.

In recent years we have had TV adverts advising us to save our dirty water for the garden! Thus saving our clean tap water. This is known as grey water! So, usually containing detergents and soap. This mix has even a higher ph elevating up to a 9 or 10 score on the ph scale.

On the other hand as the rainwater falls to earth then the water droplets absorb carbon dioxide. Rain also collects certain minerals on its way down to earth. Thus turning the water into a slight acid ph. The acid rainfall finally reaches our gardens soil and aids the release of micro nutrients. Including, zinc, iron and copper. Important for the plants development and therefore good growth.

In my research and opinion it is collected rainfall that comes first. Benefiting the plants with absorbed nitrogen and minerals. However there are times when I have to use tap water but in general I save rain water in water butts.

 Please check us out we are now in the top 20 Hydroponics blogs.

foliar feeding

Foliar Feeding or Not

Foliar Feeding

Foliar Feeding

So, the truth is that I have only tried foliar feed once and that was earlier this year. Because I write this blog for a well known Hydrostore here in Yorkshire then I often get free samples to test. So I started to feed a couple of my lemon tress with a foliar feed. The plants are growing well but so are the rest. So no comparisons can be really made with the pot fed plants.

Many hydroponic gardeners are apparently now using foliar food techniques. Of course the leaves can easily absorb the nutrients just as soil feeding can achieve. So, for growers not sure then I will try and make some observations in this post.

Foliar Feeding, What is it!

Of course, plants use their leaves to take in moisture and absorb gases. Enabling the leaves to take in and absorb a nutrient solution supplied by the grower/gardener. The nutrients take in the feed through the leaves pores. So, this makes the leaves an excellent place to enhance the growth of the plant and improve the size of the plants crop. Accordingly, plants are best sprayed with a nutrient spray in the early stages of growth. Another advantage is that the spray can also be used to aid the growth of your sick and ill plants. Aiding recovery at a faster rate than say by soiler feeding.

Of course in my opinion then foliar feeding should be restricted to the small grower. Subsequently, the growers of larger crop quantities such as farmers can not have any chemicals on their plants. Before the crop is harvested with perhaps a problem of pollution on the vegetation for human consumption.

Even in a small growers crop then the plants should be cleaned before being eaten. Especially when been fed with foliar feed. Another option is that root feeding can take over from foliar feeding about a month before harvesting.

So, there is no doubt that the feeding of plants through the soil or growing medium is the most popular way. Regular composts will contain the correct nutrients to give your young plants a good start in life. After that you can just add organic nutrients to the plants pot . Either by mulching with well rotted animal manure or adding feed in the correct quantities via watering. Importantly, I use an hydronic system by using a large plastic water tank and adding the correct dosage of “CX Hydro Base A and B” to the water. Of course there are hundreds of brands and nutrient types that the grower can use.

My problem with feeding whatever method I use is that I am not good with a regular feeding regime. So, I am a bit hit and miss when it comes to regular feeding. My wife says that I should write things down! However I always seem to get a decent crop with whatever I grow. So, I must be doing something right or perhaps I may be just lucky?

Finally, I dont think that there is a best way of feeding! So, its up to the grower to try the different methods of feeding. The main thing is the correct dosage and the correct time to apply the feed.

Please do not forget that there is going to be a ban on using “Peat” as a mulch and other substitutes such a Coco products.

BioGreen Products

BioGreen Products

BioGreen Products

BioGreen Products

When I require anything for my own personnel use when gardening then I visit my closest Hydrostore which is the Leeds store very closely followed by the Wakefield store. Importantly all the Hydrostore shops offer a great range of products for all types of growing whether indoor or out doors. So, on my first visit to the Leeds store then I was amazed at the quantity of different products that are available to the growers of almost anything.

Indeed the shelves were full of exotic sounding nutrients and plant foods. Of course there were many familiar things for sale that are used by most gardeners. As I have said then I was amazed by the selection and have taken up to challenge myself! This is to learn and write more about the wealth of products on offer to all kinds of gardeners.

Starting off with the BioGreen Range

I will be starting off with the BioGreen products. Simply because I like the particular design of the product labels along with the little green tree frog on the image. Interestingly, the BioGreen product range of nutrients offers a choice of two base systems. Including three optional supplements and six additives. Probably making this an easy system to use whilst at the same time giving the plants a top class nutrient to thrive on.

Looking at the product, I can see that the mixing method is not going to be as complicated as other brands of similar things. While browsing I did notice that some brands had many different bottles claiming each one was a benefit to maximum plant growth and development. However, BioGreen look to have simplified this by development their products with quality in mind.

Many plant compounds cannot be blended

As we know plants require many different compounds! These could include, many things such as Mycorrhizal Fungi and Rhizobacteria, Carbohydrates, Amino acids, Vitamins and many types of enzymes. So the clever scientists at the BioGreen labs have come up with a streamlined method of adding many of these things into their product range. Due to an excellent line up to cover all the necessary ingredients.

Of course “BioGreen Grow 1” is a high-quality NPK based fertiliser specifically developed to maximize your plants’ genetic potential during the vegetative and early flowering stage. Therefore this top quality fertilizer can be used for most types of plants. So, to enable a good start with maximum root growth then “Grow 1″contains enough phosphorus to initiate explosive root formation, giving the new plants a great start to life.

Like all types of nutrients please follow the instructions for the correct dosage. Importantly, as with many types of nutrients, it’s best practise to offer it in gradually increasing doses. Of course I will be trialling it on some of my hydroponic growths. So I will probably apply daily by using my plastic water tank. Urgently, like most other chemical fertilizer products, always be careful not to overdose!

BioGreen Bloom 2

So, this excellent product. BioGreen 2 is also a suitable fertilizer for use in all soil types and hydroponic use. Containing many of the micro and micro -nutrients required for full top growth and flowering of your plant. Of course this product is best switched to when the plants reach the flowering stage. This product is made from the purest materials and is totally taken up by your plants.

Because, BioGreen Bloom 2 visibly improves the condition of the flowers and fruits and helps instigate an explosion in blooming. I cant wait to start using this on my citrus trees to improve blossoming and fruit set. This product is available in Availability: 250ml, 1ltr, 5ltr and 10ltr size bottles.

BioGreen Hydro A+B

Thirdly we have “BioGreen Hydro A&B” is a two-part base nutrient made for use from the start of the vegetative phase until the end of the flowering stage. The product also comprises a wide range of micro and macro-nutrients for strong plant development. I am used to using A and B mixes from my experience in using a similar product on last years greenhouse tomato crop, producing excellent size fruit with a plentiful supply. As with many such products it is best practise to add “part A” to the water tank first mixing very well before adding the “part B” and also mixing the solution very vigorously.

  1. The product is a two-part base nutrient. Part A comprises an NPK ratio of 4.3-0-0. Part B has an NPK ratio of 0.6-5.2-5.7;
  2. The formulas are made for the vegetative stage and the flowering stage;
  3. The product is suitable for dripper and irrigation systems;
  4. It’s designed for all growing medias

BioGreen Supplements

BioGreen X-Rooting is a highly concentrated organic root stimulator containing humic acids, minerals and beneficial bacteria. Helping to preserve and balance the plant’s metabolic processes. Thus increasing the absorption of mineral nutrients by improving nutrient uptake.

BioGreen Calmag

Calmag is a high quality fully soluble additive containing a high dose of nitrogen, calcium and magnesium. Enhancing, the quality of your water and are essential to stimulate plant growth. Hence, from early vegging right through to the flush.

BioGreen PK 13/14

BioGreen PK 13/14 is of course is a highly effective potassium and phosphorus additive. Supporting, the plants during the critical stages of flowering

BioGreen X-Blast

So, “BioGreen X-Blast” is a highly potent late-flowering PK additive. Creating, maximisation of your plant’s performance during the final flowering phase. Specially, designed to push the plant to its full potential. 

BioGreen Biozym

of course, “BioGreen Biozym” is a high-quality enzyme additive. Naturally, made up of 24 main enzymatic complexes. Importantly, different coenzymes have also been carefully added. Encouraging high rates of enzymatic activity. 

Hydrostore-BioGreen Products- BioGreen MAM

Firstly, “BioGreen MAM” is a high-quality one-part fertiliser. So, containing, all the required macro and microelements. Required to maintain healthy mother plants from which cuttings are constantly taken from. Cant wait to try this on my Lemon tree cuttings.

Hydrostore-BioGreen Products-BioGreen Garlic

Consequently, “Biogreen Garlic” is obtained through a well-thought-out two-step production process. Consisting by placing fresh cut fermented garlic bulbs and ginger in tanks without oxygen. Leaving the mix for several months (polar extraction). Finally, followed by the a-polar extraction.