Tagged: my first orchid

Introduction to hydroponics

Introduction to Hydroponics

 Alternative gardening techniques have recently taken off in the garden industry and for good reason. Aquaponics and hydroponics have become extremely popular and are a fun new way to provide food for you and your family. Not only are these techniques efficient but they are pretty low maintenance. This post is meant to teach you how hydroponic systems work, provide pros and cons and give some examples of a few systems that are on the market today. I’ll be covering aquaponics in the next month as well. I hope you enjoy 🙂

“Hydroponics is a subset of hydroculture and is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil. Terrestrial plants may be grown with their roots in the mineral nutrient solution only or in an inert medium, such as perlite or gravel.  It was introduced in the 1920s as a means of commercial plant production.

Hydroponic growing may not be for everyone. There are a variety of systems available today so do your research when deciding on a system. Most gardeners use hydro systems indoors like in a greenhouse or even in a garage/shed. But smaller systems can be placed outside. Some hydro systems come as complete kits and are designed for only a few plants or hundreds. There are many kits you can purchase and lots of DIY ideas.

The video below shows how to make your own small DIY hydro system.

With in-expensive materials and an overall small system, DIY is a great way for trial and error.

Introduction to hydroponicsIf you prefer to purchase your first hydro system I recommend something like this Garden-Of-Ease complete hydroponic system – Pictured on left. This system runs about $60. It’s smart to start slowly and with only a few plants so you don’t overwhelm yourself. Once you have the hang of it you can move to a more generous amount of plants.

Introduction to hydroponicsAnother great small system to start with is the Current Culture Solo6 system. Unlike the system above this one has 6 holes and a sleeker look. The housing is durable and all-around a much better quality than the lesser version above. It is a bit more expensive ranging around $400 but you can expand the system by attaching more modules of the same brand. It’s pretty cool! Contact us if you are interested in Current Culture products.

Once you feel comfortable with the smaller system research some larger ones. If you have a greenhouse or a specified area for growing measure the space so you can accurately find the right size hydro system to fill the growing area.

Introduction to hydroponicsSunglo carries Current culture products. They offer a good variety of sizes and are great for tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, etc., etc. Pictured on left – A Sunglo owner purchased the mid size Current Culture UC4XXL13 system to start in his 15×20 – 2100G model. This system has 4 large modules that nicely accommodate larger plants. The model #UC4XXL13 gives away a few things. The tells how many plant modules are included and the 13 tells how many gallons each module holds. Under Current hydro kits are complete systems including Introduction to hydroponics all of the PVC piping/tubing and a high quality air pump. And a year warranty gives you peace of mind. There are endless  possibilities of what you can grow but this customer chose to start with tomatoes. I myself would choose tomatoes as well! What kind of food would you grow? It’s a hard question to answer! As you can see from the pictures hydroponic growing has it’s upsides! The foliage is a rich green, abundant and lush. Compared to my tomato plant (pictured below right) that I grew almost exactly the same time as his. Introduction to hydroponicsThe difference in height is vast and his foliage puts mine to shame! The Current Culture UC4XXL13 system runs about $1000. Now think about how much food you could grow with that! You Introduction to hydroponicscould make your money back in food in a few short years. It is wise to do research not only on systems but on the plants you want to grow; what kind of nutrients they will Introduction to hydroponicsneed, how much light and even the germination time. Sunglo can help with a lot of these things. We offer full packages that include a greenhouse and the perfect size hydro system to fit. We also carry lighting and controls for your greenhouse. The full line of Current Culture nutrients is available as well. So look no further! We’ve got you covered! Garden stores that carry hydro products usually carry matching nutrients made by the same brand. Like how we carry Current Culture hydro systems and nutrient products.  Besides buying the starts or seeds there is really no other cost – These medium systems range only 50-100 watts.

Every decision we make in life has its pros and cons. So here are a few things to consider when deciding on your alternative gardening method:

PROS:

  • Weeds can’t grow
  • Most plant diseases are eliminated
  • Pests are less of a concern so pesticide usage goes down as well
  • Hydroponically grown food has been known to be more nutritional and taste better
  • Less water waste
  • Nutrients are more controlled therefore plants are more abundant & lush
  • Plants grow faster and have bigger yields
  • Plants can be placed closer together so less space is used comparatively to soil gardening

CONS:

  • There are limited varieties of plants that can be hydroponically grown
  • Setup and system costs can be very expensive
  • Hydroponics requires more technical knowledge and training than soil cultivation
  • If the watering system fails, plants will dry out and die rapidly

Current Culture has a great YouTube channel that features how-to and informational videos that are very useful. The video below shows how the Current Culture System is assembled.

 1 Current Culture UC6 System (pictured below on right) would fit great into a 10×10 – Sunglo Introduction to hydroponics1200C model (pictured on left) with room for a Introduction to hydroponicswater reservoir and a few potted or hanging plants. The current culture system and the Sunglo greenhouse can both expand. So once you have mastered hydroponic growing and you want to add to your plant collection you are able to extend your Sunglo greenhouse and purchase more modules to advance your hydro system. There are no limits!

Please call or e-mail Sunglo at 800-647-0606 or info@sunglogreenhouses.com for more information on Current Culture products or to receive a free hydro greenhouse estimate!

Fabulous Orchids!

Fabulous Orchids!

Orchids

Orchids are mysterious, breath taking and high maintenance. Grown by enthusiasts for their elegance and beauty, as well as for decoration. The most common type of orchid is probably the moth orchid, or the Phalaenopsis orchid. These orchids can be bought at most garden stores and are the easiest to take care of because they do well in most indoor environments. But even the easiest to grow orchids require special care.

What are orchids?

Orchids belong to the Orchidaceae family. It is a diverse and widespread flowering plant with colorful blooms and is often fragrant. There are so many orchid species it’s impossible to know them all.  The number of orchid species is twice the number of bird species, and about four times the number of mammal species! Since the 19th century, horticulturists have produced more than 100,000 hybrids and cultivars. Orchids can be found anywhere around the world except in freezing climates. The majority of orchids are found in humid, hot, tropic/sub tropic regions. Orchids are perennial epiphytes which grow anchored to trees or shrubs.Orchids Species such as Angraecum sororium are lithophytes growing on rocks or very rocky soil. Other orchids (including the majority) are terrestrial and can be found in habitat areas such as grasslands or forest.

Orchids can be found in a rainbow of colors, shapes and sizes. I happen to prefer the brightly colored larger species. Many different orchid vendors can be found online offering some rare and sometimes strange looking species and hybrids.

Orchids

Can you grow orchids in a Sunglo?

Absolutely! Sunglo greenhouses are great for growing orchids due to the ability to manipulate the environment. You have a ventilation system for the summer months and heating for the winter. Orchids have many different preferred climates. Be sure to make yourself aware of the climate needs of each species. There are even climate controls available to help control humidity and moisture. Greenair products offer a wide variety of atmospheric controls and can be purchased through Sunglo.

Orchids

Tips on maintenance:

Growing orchids from seed is something I really don’t want to get into. It can take years and years for a “seed orchid” to mature and we just don’t have time for that! But when you purchase an orchid and bring it home here are a few things to remember:

  1. Study the species you want to bring home. Make sure you can provide the needed light, temperature and feeding instructions.
  2. Understand the watering requirements. With a vast number of species there are some differences in the watering procedures. Most do not need much water. Click here for more orchid care tips.
  3. Feed your orchid. Orchid fertilizer can be bought at most home and garden stores. A fertilizer with high nitrogen is usually suggested. It is recommended to feed most orchids 1-2 times per month.
  4. Repot when needed. You must research your orchid to know what kind of media it likes. Most garden stores carry mixed media packages for the common species. Repotting is important to give the orchid fresh media – moss, bark, peat etc. And also give more room if it needs it.
  5. Know the diseases that can occur. If you can identify the disease right off the bat you will have a greater chance of saving your precious flowers. Some common diseases are leaf spots, petal blight, and fungi such as black rot.

OrchidsMore valuable information can be found at the following links:

My first orchid

American Orchid Society

YouTube Video – Orchid care