Sure, the “hydro” in hydroponics refers to water, but do you want to know a secret? Straight water isn’t the only way to grow in hydroponics. Another and, many would say, easier way is to grow the plants in sterile, soil-less substances called “growing media.” When growing in water alone, it can be difficult to create the stable growing conditions your plants desire, since it’s harder to control the pH of the nutrient solution (something that’s very important when it comes to keeping plants healthy). You also need a more complicated hydroponics system setup complete with aeration pumps when you only grow in water.Read More
Coconut coir comes from coconut palm husks, which make up the brown, fibrous part tucked between the white inner flesh we eat and the green outer shell of a coconut. Also called coco coir, this growing medium can either be used solo or mixed with another material, such as perlite it all depends on what you’re using it for.Read More
You’re probably used to seeing the little white pieces of perlite found in many potting mixes. This soil amendment actually comes from naturally occurring silica rock that has been heated to increase the size of, and create air pockets in, each nugget (much in the same way that you pop popcorn). Sterile and lightweight, perlite can also be mixed in with garden soil or used straight up in a hydroponic system. Mother Earth® Perlite comes in 3 sizes, including the largest perlite on the market (pieces are a whole inch in size!). Larger sizes are best for use in hydroponic baskets, while smaller sizes are better for mixing with other growing media.Read More
If you’ve ever tried to garden in sticky, wet clay or keep your plants happy and growing in loose, fast-draining sand, you already know that all garden soil is not created equal. Some soils cling so tightly to nutrients that plants can’t access them, while other soils allow nutrients to wash right out before plants can grab onto them. The solution? Make your plants’ growing space more hospitable by adding soil amendments like worm castings, biochar, composted manure, perlite, and materials. Each of these amendments has a different effect on the soil, and applying the right combination will improve soil structure and texture, help sandy soil hold more water, and free up nutrients in heavier soils.Read More
Hydroponics is picking up steam as a way to carefully cultivate a wide range of plants both indoors and outdoors. If you’re challenged by poor soil, poor lighting, or a lack of outdoor growing space, hydroponics can mean the difference between enjoying fresh, juicy homegrown tomatoes year-round and subsisting on the mealy, flavorless versions available at the store.
If you’ve been thinking about sticking your toe into the hydroponics water, there are certain products no hydro store should be without and neither should you. Here are the top 10, all conveniently available from Mother Earth®.Read More