Newsletter September 2014

Hi all,

Welcome to our September 2014 newsletter!  (skip to the bottom of this blog for Discount code info if you are in a rush!)

 NEWS

Firstly; Our apologies for our quarterly newsletter being a month late! This is due to a huge amount of admin work from Somerset Hydroponics recently becoming Somerset Hydroponics Limited! Although on the face of things becoming a Ltd company will not change anything regarding our highly efficient service and competitive sales efforts, it will mean in the future that we can offer a greater number of products, brands and deals. So on the whole becoming a limited company will benefit everyone concerned..happy days!

Further to our previous newsletter regarding the build of our new website; We are now only a matter of weeks away from release, so please check back often to see the new and improved www.somhydro.co.uk !!

In-store we have been busy bringing on our Cayenne Chilli plants with our IWS 12 pot Flood & Drain growing system within our Secret Jardin DR300w grow tent (see previous June 25th blog) The plants have grown so well and fast that we cannot recommend the benefits of the IWS range of Flood & Drain systems enough! We are still currently using two Maxibright 400watt Pro-Variable DigiLight Air-Cooled Supernova grow lights with metal Halide lamps, but will soon be switching these out for two Sunmaster Hobby 600w Variable Digital Air-Cooled Goldstar Digital grow light’s with HPS lamps.  As soon as the seedlings had established themselves on Formulex full spectrum nutrient, we began to feed with the Plant Magic Plus range of nutrients. I think you can clearly see from the images below that the Cayennes are extremely happy!

August 2014: 

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instore 04-09-14 001

July 2014:

cayenne peppers 11-07-14 003cayenne peppers 11-07-14 001

Our other in-store demo grow tent has had a major upgrade in lighting! We have now installed a Gavita 300 LEP plasma grow light into our Secret Jardin DS120 grow tent . Our little Mint seedlings are growing under one of the highest specification grow lights in the world and are responding amazingly. We will update as time rolls on!

instore 04-09-14 005

instore 04-09-14 003

NEW PRODUCTS

Due to the popularity of our Rhino Single Speed Fan & Carbon Filter Kits  we are now offering Rhino Twin Speed Fan and Carbon Filter kits and Rhino Thermostatically Controlled Fans and Carbon Filter Kits. All kits are available in the most popular sized fan and filter combinations and offer Rhino’s usual high quality build, efficiency and value for money!

Rhino Ventilation Kit

Rhino Ventilation Kit

Rhino Twin Speed Fan

Rhino Twin Speed Fan

 

Copy of Rhino_thermostat_fan

Rhino Thermostatically Controlled Fan

 

Following on from the success of Plant Magic Plus’s amazing nutrient range they have now released Platinum a premium grade super-booster for flowering or fruiting plants. This has already proved to be an award winning super booster and is quickly out-selling many other premium boosters that we supply!

platinum-bottles

We have recently added more new products in-store and online, so please check our New Products section often to stay up-to-date with all the latest growing equipment!

 

NEWSLETTER AND BLOGGERS 10% OFF DISCOUNT CODE

 Now to the part of the blog that may be of most interest to you!.. The quarterly discount code to use when shopping on our website! To receive a 10%  off of any on-line order (online only) simply enter the code SOMSEPT at the checkout when placing an order through our website. This code can be used as many times as you wish throughout the valid period. This offer is open to UK customers only and is valid from 04/09/14 until the 30/09/14 (Discount does not include delivery charges and is not open to any current personal quote created for a customer)

Well “that’s all folks”..we hope you have enjoyed reading this Newsletter and hope that you take advantage of your discount code to grab yourself a bargain.

Best regards from Lee & team Somhydro :)

Back to Basics – What is Hydroponics?

A brief overview of Hydroponic gardening and its history.

Centuries before the time of Christ, Egyptian records show that plants were being grown in the Nile without the use of soil and Marco Polo describes floating gardens in China in the thirteenth century. Over the past one hundred and fifty years, a great deal of research has taken place into soil-less cultivation, particularly during and after the Second World War when there was a need to produce food for military personnel stationed in areas where it would be otherwise impossible to raise fresh produce. Nowadays, in so-called developed countries, a great many plants are produced hydroponically. In Europe, for instance, around 80% of tomatoes and 90% of cucumbers come from hydroponic systems, as does much of the huge production of flowers in Holland.

Nutrients and Water

There are many plant nutrients available and the choice can be confusing. Most are produced on a simple NPK formulation some are produced using a more complex formulation and or have built in growth enhancers. Friendly recommendation or experienced in-store advice should steer you in the right direction so please tell us your needs and we will happily advise you on the suitable choice.

Water quality can make a considerable difference to the quality of the food supplied to your favourite plants, and the first and most important factor of choosing your nutrient is ” are you in a Hard or Soft water area? ” ..this is important as Hydroponic nutrients are produced in either Hard or Soft water formulations, which will partially adjust your waters pH level to suit. Even so, some pH adjustment will still be necessary with the aid of pH Up & Down acids.
A quick ‘in house’ test to see if you are in a Hard water area is to look in your kettle to see if there is much limescale at the bottom!..if there is, then it is likely that you are in a Hard water area. We recommend asking your local grow shop or contacting your local water board just to be sure.

To create the perfect nutrient mix, you may wish to consider Reverse Osmosis which will strip 99.9% of impurities from your water supply. Please contact us for more information if required.

Recommended pH values and nutrient strengths can be found in the Growing FAQ’s section of this page.

What is Hydroponics?

When a plant is grown in soil, it will mature according to the quality of soil, the frequency of watering and feeding and the amount of light and heat it receives. Other aspects, such as pest and disease control, may then be considered where applicable, along with individual requirements for the type of plant. Since soil already contains nutritional minerals, plants grown in soil can only be fed nutrients or fertilizers at a rate that will not leave a build up of nutrient salts that harm the growing process.

When a plant is grown Hydroponically, it simply means that the plant is grown in an inert medium, that is to say in a medium that holds no nutritional value of its own, to which nutrition may be added at enhanced but acceptable levels. In this way, it is possible to influence the growth of the plant so that it realizes its maximum potential. Plants require water, light, oxygen and nutrition. The Hydroponic gardener is not forcing the plant to do anything un-natural, he is just providing these factors in a growing environment that provides them at maximum possible levels.

Partial article Copyright L.Elswood, G.Gunstone & T.Jarvis 2001

Successful Propagation and Cloning

A. Starting from Seed:

  1. Soak RockWool SBS Tray in lukewarm water or a weak and slightly acidic nutrient solution. We highly recommend FORMULEX as a conditioning solution for RockWool as it will stabilise the pH and supply a full profile of mineral nutrition to the young plant. Use it at the weakest strength mentioned in the instructions. Allow plenty of time for RockWool cubes to take up water. Stand it to drain.
  2. Insert seeds carefully into the holes marked out on top of the cubes. Don’t push them in too far, just enough to hide seeds. A few strands of RockWool should be teased over the hole to ensure that seeds are covered.
  3. Place RockWool SBS Tray in a warm place. Light is unimportant until the seedlings begin to emerge but MUST be supplied as soon as they do Ideal germination temperatures for most species are in the range 20 – 25 o C. These temperatures should be maintained as constantly as possible during the germination period. Check the moisture level of the RockWool EVERY day. If you just squeeze a corner of a cube, water should come to the surface. If it does not then you should give the whole tray a light sprinkle of lukewarm water.The biggest mistake with RockWool is to keep it too wet and this usually occurs through poor drainage. NEVER let your RockWool stand in a puddle of water, always allow free drainage underneath the tray.
  4. Once your seedlings begin to appear you will need to give them plenty of light, a warm sunny windowsill might do but a greenhouse or artificial lights will be best. Fluorescents are very suitable for small seedlings or clones. It is still important to maintain temperatures in the mid twenties for as much of the day as possible. Keep checking your RockWool cubes for signs of drying out.
  5. Once your seedlings begin to show roots at the bottom of the RockWool cubes it is time to think about planting them out. Just lift the little cubes carefully from the tray Your new seedlings are now ready to plant into soil in the normal way OR to be cultivated further in RockWool. More information about RockWool can be found further on.

B. Starting from Cuttings (Clones):
If you already have access to healthy plants that display desirable characteristics it is possible to clone new plants from them. These new plants will be genetically identical to the stock plant and, provided that the environmental conditions are constant, the new plants should perform exactly as their parent did.

  1. Soak RockWool SBS Tray in a weak acidic nutrient solution (pH 5 / 1.0 mS). FORMULEX is ideal for this. While the RockWool is soaking, you can be selecting material for cuttings. Most species are propagated best from softwood tips. Selected material should show signs of healthy vigorous growth. Stems should be thick and firm and foliage should be dark green.
  2. Remove selected piece from mother plant with sharp scissors, taking care to cut plant at least 10 mm below the point where the final cut will be made. Final cut should be made with a sterile scalpel or clean sharp razor blade just below a node or leaf junction. A diagonal cut is preferred as it allows more plant tissue to come into contact with the rooting compound.
    The rooting compound we recommend highly is Clonex Rooting Gel. Pour a small amount of Clonex into a small container for immediate use. Do not dip cut tissue into the container.
    Immediately dip the cut tissue into CLONEX, ensuring that all cut surfaces are well covered with CLONEX. Wipe off surplus CLONEX against the side of the small container. Do not return any of the unused Clonex back to the original container as this might contaminate the remaining gel.
    Insert cutting into hole in top of RockWool cube. It is very important not to push it in too far, just enough to support it in an upright position.

Copyright Growth Technology

Why choose NFT systems?

Nutrient Film Technique systems are some of the most productive available, and they are often the chosen method of commercial growing. Plants are grown in an inert medium (usually RockWool cubes) and placed into a light-tight and shallow channel. Nutrient solution is continuously circulated, flowing over the roots up to 24 hours per day. The name of this growing method was so coined in order to stress that the depth of the liquid flowing past the roots should be very shallow in order to ensure that sufficient oxygen is supplied. This growing technique is generally favored by gardeners that wish to grow multiples of small to medium sized plants that will yield heavier than their size would usually determine.

Why choose Flood & Drain systems?

Often these types of systems are called Ebb & Flood. The plants are usually grown in pots with their roots supported by an inert medium ( usually expanded clay pebbles) the pots sit in a plastic tray which in turn sits above a reservoir filled with nutrient solution.

A pump in the reservoir is connected to the bottom of the tray. When the pump turns on, the tray fills with water. When the water level reaches a pre-determined height, through the use of the overflow fitting, the water falls back into the reservoir. When the pump turns off, the water runs back down through the pump into the reservoir.

Most growers choose to control irrigation with a timer. A typical schedule would involve several short one-hour water cycles per day, but the duration and frequencies of watering cycles varies from one system to another and is dependent on the crop, the plant size and environmental conditions.

This growing technique is generally favored by gardeners that wish to grow high density medium sized plants, while providing a well oxygenated root system.

Why choose Dripper systems?

Drip systems are the most widely used Hydroponic systems in the world. They are commonly used in commercial facilities for growing long term crops like tomatoes and peppers. Drip systems provide plenty of aeration (more than ebb and flow) because plant roots are never totally submerged, but are never allowed to dry out.

Drip systems operate very simply. A pump has tubing connected to it which then branches off to smaller tubes feeding many plants. Nutrient solution is dripped onto the base of each plant where it then trickles down through the grow media (inert or soil based) and into the roots and finally drains into the reservoir where it is re-used, unless ‘Run to waste’ is employed ( dosing a precise amount of nutrient which does not re-circulate).

This growing technique is generally favored by gardeners that wish to grow small to large sized plants, while providing a precise and controlled feeding program.

Why choose Deep Water Culture systems?

The hydroponic method of plant production by means of suspending the plant roots in a solution of nutrient rich, oxygenated water. Traditional methods favour the use of plastic buckets with the plant contained in a net pot suspended from the centre of the lid and the roots suspended in the nutrient solution. An airpump or aerator is placed in the bucket or pod, which delivers a constant and very high level of oxygen, leading to explosive root production.

This growing technique is generally favored by gardeners that wish to grow medium to large sized plants.

Why choose Aeroponic systems?

Aeroponics is an exciting improvement on hydroponics that has been shown to greatly increase all aspects of plant growth, especially where Propagation is concerned.

The roots of the growing plants are suspended in the air in a suitable channel, where they are misted by high pressure sprayers. The sprayers break the nutrient into small particles and saturate the roots. The levels of oxygen in the water are kept high by the constant circulation of the water; this leads to explosive root production and enhances every aspect of plant growth. The nutrient run-off is then returned to the tank for re-circulation.

This growing technique is generally favored by gardeners that wish to grow small to medium sized plants or produce exceptionally healthy Clones where Aeroponic Propagators are concerned.

Aside from Propagators.. please be aware that if you are in a Hard Water area, an Aeroponic system may require extra vigilance and maintenance.

Newsletter 31/07/13

Welcome to our new newsletter format!

The UK Summer is here at last! (Kinda..!!) The main concern for most indoor gardeners will currently be temperature within the grow room. Due to the recent hot snap in the UK we have received hundreds of phone calls from desperate gardeners asking what can be done to lower temperature in their grow room, and for lowering the nutrient temperature within a nutrient/water tank. Below is a list of options to help maintain a better temperature for healthy plant growth until the outside temperature begins to drop and then in turn drops inside temperature.

*Note: The indoor gardener should always be realistic about what can be achieved when attempting to reduce temperature in a grow room in the summer months, especially when using multiple grow lights!

Things to consider:

All of the above will at least give you alternatives to consider to help maintain a better temperature within the grow room and grow tank(s) without having to consider completely shutting down your grow room for the summer months!

SomHydro News

We have recently developed a professional NFT Growing System which we are currently testing in our Secret Jardin DR300W Grow Tent. This growing system will suit novice and expert Hydroponic growers alike. We are all very excited about this system as we have personal experience with using the commercial grade Suregrow NFT channelling utilised in this system. The channelling has a proven track record for vigorous plant growth and high yield potential. Check our blog regularly for updates and the release date of this system!

SomHydro NFT 18

10% Online discount code 

As with every previous news letter, we offer you a discount code for use when shopping on our website, this offer is now also open to our blog readers! To receive 10% off of any online order simply enter the code SOMHYDRO7 at the checkout when placing an order through our website. This offer is open only to UK customers and is valid from 31/7/2013 until the 14/08/2013 (Discount does not include delivery charge). This code can be used as many times as you wish throughout the valid period. 

That’s it for this quarterly newsletter folks! We hope our regular newsletter followers prefer the Blog format ..we certainly do!!

Have a great summer and we look forward to seeing you all at the store soon ..Best regards Lee :)

Setup and use of a Wilma Dripper System

Further to our previous blog; we think it is time to give you a little more in-depth information regarding the set-up and use of the Atami Wilma range of Dripper growing systems. Wilma Dripper systems work simply via a water pump supplying nutrient/water to the growing pots which then drains through the growing medium/pot with the excess nutrient/water draining back into the nutrient tank below the growing tray to repeat the process. Any growing medium can be used in a dripper growing system but generally either coco (coir), expanded clay pebbles or soils are used. Obviously if using soil as the growing medium, you will not be growing Hydroponic plants!

Set up and use of a Wilma Dripper system is very simple (we will assume at this point that you have already cultivated your seedlings or cuttings in a suitable growing medium and to a size ready for transplanting):

1)     Choose your growing medium type and fill the Wilma pots (if using soil or coco we recommend placing an inch of clay pebbles at the base of pot to aide with drainage)

2)     Transplant your seedlings or cuttings into the Wilma pots full of relevant growing medium.

3)     Connect dripper stakes (two types are supplied: 4mm Blue stakes for clay pebbles and Black stakes for coco or soil) to the 4mm dripper line and then connect the supply water pump to the grey plastic delivery tube. Plug your pump into an analogue or digital timer;  but do not turn the pump on just yet!

4)     Now fill the tank with water and add your chosen liquid plant feed at the correct dilution stated on the bottle, or for the size or age of plants to be transplanted into your Wilma system. We recommend using an EC meter for accurate monitoring/dosing of your nutrient strength.

5)     When nutrients have been added to the tank, ensure that you have mixed the solution thoroughly by hand or by using a secondary pump in the tank as a circulation/mixing pump.

6)     Now check the pH of your solution. We recommend using a pH meter for monitoring and dosing of pH acids to maintain as neutral a pH solution as possible, but this can also be done using a simple pH liquid test kit. Please see our FAQ section on our website for more information regarding general recommended nutrient strengths and pH levels in Hydroponics. Monitoring and adjusting of nutrient strength and pH should ideally be a daily task but this will obviously be a personal decision for some gardeners depending on how often they can access, or want to access, the grow room! As an experienced recommendation; if you want maximum results from your Hydroponic plants then make nutrient and pH monitoring/dosing a daily task.

7)     Now it is time to set the timer for your supply water pump. We recommend setting the timer to switch on the supply pump for fifteen minutes every two or three hours. Although this does not seem as if your plants will be receiving much water/nutrient, this is the ideal watering/feeding schedule to encourage your plants to produce new roots and a larger root mass.

8)     That’s it! ..plug your pump and timer into the socket and switch on! Your Wilma Dripper growing system is now operational and now only requires you to top-up the nutrient tank when necessary and monitor nutrient strength and pH!

There are many growing tips I have learnt over the years for the Wilma growing systems, but I wanted to keep this blog short enough to cover the set-up and use basics..so please leave a comment or a question if you would like me to continue adding information for this type of growing system!

~Lee@SomHydro

New Dutch Pro Product Range

Dutch Pro are one of the pioneers of nutrient formulation in Europe, and is still the sole company & supplier from nutrients founded and based in Amsterdam 30 years ago. Dutch Pro have limited the products in the range so that the grower has everything he/she needs in the smallest amount of bottle’s as possible, and have formulated each product to have the highest concentration possible. This makes the Dutch Pro range of nutrients extremely cost effective and simple to use.

With this in mind, we have decided to stock some of their nutrients! These include but aren’t limited to Dutch Pro Explode which is a nutrient used for delivering precious nutrients to your plants and giving them a boost during the flowering stage. This solution contains micro-nutrients, vitamins, acids and it does exactly as the name suggests – explosively driving flowering growth and bigger yields in addition to increasing your plants resistance against diseases. This product is suited for every irrigation system we sell; as well as most of our soil, hydro and coco kits.

Dutch Pro Nutrients also includes the unique Auto Flowering Hydro Grow & Bloom, or Auto Flowering Soil Grow & Bloom range of plant nutrients. This nutrient range has been specifically formulated for Auto Flowering varieties of plant which have a much shorter life cycle than a general, standard flowering plant.

Our Current Main Display Grow Tent

Italian Chillies

Springtime in our Secret Jardin DR300 demo grow tent! Our demo tent contains two air-cooled lighting systems, full carbon filter ventilation, an NFT growing system and the Wilma Dripper growing system. Twilight chilli’s have begun to set fruit in the Wilma Dripper system under HPS lighting (Red spectrum= fruiting/flowering) and the Lavender Basil plants are bedded into the GT NFT system under Metal Halide lighting (Blue spectrum = vegative growth). Soon to be joined by Dorset Naga chilies. All our plants are grown using the Plant Magic Nutrients range.