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Show #6/3906
Taking An Active Role In Growing What We Eat

Understanding A Hydroponic Setup

Eric finds it nostalgic to step back into a greenhouse. His 1st job was in an old, glass greenhouse. Those greenhouses just had benches, some of the fancier had rolling benches. Even so a lot of good memories. This is a lot fancier, it doesn't have wooden sashes. Eric knows this is Nathan's work home, where he spends his day-to day activities, running and maintaining the college greenhouse system. And, this is a somewhat non-traditional situation. And, is pretty elaborate, it has a hydroponic setup. Many may not have seen a hydroponic setup and may not understand what hydroponics are. Hydroponics boiled down is growing a plant without the use of soil. One uses materials other than soil as a substrate, primarily with water flowing through. How might one start their own little hydroponic situation? Nathan and Eric breakdown the materials used and how the system works. They talk about the medium 1st. In most cases that is perlite, or some kind of volcanic rock. Here they use a rockwool plug, which is a volcanic product. It is totally inert. They take a seed and plant that seed directly into the rockwool plug. The plant will then live its entire life in that plug in the system. It doesn't have soil thus are delivering nutrients to the plant via an ebb and flow type of water system. Water is pumped in with all the necessary nutrients and that then must be drained out at some point ensuring they don't create an anaerobic growing environment. The system produces and regulates the water PH as well as the nutrient content. Lettuce, like they have here, has a low nutrient content. The system automatically regulates the amount of nutrients in the water and will adjust as needed.

Could one build something like this at home? Sure. The system here looks like little gutters with a cap on them and a hole. It's really as simple as that. It's a low tech system - gutters and a simple aquarium pump in a 5 gallon bucket, to supply nutrition, would be all that should be required for a small homeowner. It's simple and that's the beauty of the system. It may look elaborate but in essence it's pretty simple.


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By Kate Karam, Monrovia, Photographs courtesy of Monrovia

It’s not only coastal gardens that have to deal with persistent winds – inland gardens at higher altitudes and those in flat, wind-prone areas get regularly battered, too. Since there’s nothing good about plants stripped of their foliage or rendered dry and desiccated by a gale force tempest, the solution might be as simple as using specimens that are just fine with it. Here are a few we recommend. But first, some advice. Read more...


Join fellow garden lovers, history buffs and music enthusiasts to discover the quaint towns and colorful gardens of Holland and Belgium in May of 2018.

This exciting journey will be hosted by nationally known host Eric Johnson, of Public Television's blockbuster show GardenSmart. Your river cruise begins in Amsterdam where you'll see works by Rembrandt and Van Gogh, Anne Frank's House, and see the city's most famous gardens. Then spend a full morning on the grounds of the most beautiful spring garden in the world-Keukenhof! Visit the picturesque Belgian towns of Bruges and Ghent as well as Kinderdijk, with the Netherlands' iconic collection of 19 authentic windmills that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition, history buffs will experience a captivating tour of the WWI trenches of Flanders and WWII Arnhem Battlefield of A Bridge Too Far fame. You won't want to miss this extraordinary garden adventure to Holland and Belgium.

Book by November 15, 2017 and save up to $1200 dollars per person!

To register call: Alki Tours at 800-895-2554


 
   
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