Hydroponics Part V: How to Start Your Seeds

As you well know by now, hydroponics is a means of growing plants without soil. This adds a versatility that is hard to appreciate when planting a garden. You have so many additional options available to you.  But it also means that you have to do things slightly different.  In this latest post on hydroponics, I want to go through the step by step process to start seeds.  


Using a seed starting cube

By far the best way to start seeds is to use a seed starting cube. The advantage to these is that the cubes can hold water while allowing air to reach the seeds, which is important during germination. There are several brands on the market such as rock wool or oasis starter cubes. 

I personally prefer the Oasis brand because the cubes come in larger sheets that are easy to separate and they tend to be less expensive. Once seeds start to sprout and grow roots, the starter cubes make it easy to  transfer the seedlings to the hydroponics system of your...

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Hydroponics Part IV: Defining and Measuring pH, EC, and TDS

The beauty of a hydroponic system is that plants can be grown in the absence of soil. Additionally the water needed to grow plants is about 90% less than traditional gardening. Since soil is not used, the success of your system is truly dependent on the proper nutrient solutions. Just as soil types directly affect the growth of plants, the same is true for nutrient solutions. 

That said, once your nutrients are mixed in proper ratios that reflect the needs of your plants, transpiration and differences in plants means that nutrient levels can drift away from optimum levels. This simply means that your nutrient solutions need to be properly managed. This is accomplished by measuring certain parameters such as pH, EC (electrical conductivity), and TDS/PPM (total dissolved solids/parts per million).


The Importance of Proper pH

The nutrient solution pH level is crucial in hydroponics because it affects nutrient availability to growing plants.When plants are grown without...

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Hydroponics Part III: Nutrient Solutions Explained

The three things that plants need to grow is food, water, and air. Soil simply provides a structure or substrate to support the roots of the plants and provides a means of oxygenation. Water dissolves nutrients into a soluble form which can then be absorbed by the roots of the plants. Since hydroponics is growing plants in the absence of soil, that simply means your plants need to be fed by another method. That method is nutrients solutions.

If you are new to hydroponics, nutrients solutions can be very confusing. The good news is that there is science behind hydroponics but it is not rocket science. These are just basic principles that are easy to understand. However, it does require a little bit of explanation.

There are two types of nutrients that plants need: macro-nutrients and micro-nutrients. These nutrients are essential for growth and normal cell function. The macro-nutrients are in much higher demand and are essential for normal cell function. Micro-nutrients are also...

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Hydroponics Part II: How to Set Up a Hydroponics System in 8 Steps

Hydroponic farming is a fantastic way to cultivate plants because it does not require soil. This type of cultivation allows us to manipulate the growing environment in such a way to maximize production and minimize the use of resources. We now have the technology to grow food anytime and anywhere in the world. Despite the advanced technology, you can also learn how to set up a hydroponics system and have a small hydroponics garden even with little space.

But, if you are like me when I first became interested in hydroponics, I was a bit confused on where to start. Of course I consulted several references and read through them but it was also a lot of information. What I want to accomplish in this post is to give you a step-by-step guide on how to set up your first hydroponics garden. There will be other posts to explain lots of things in further detail. However, this guide will give you a good place to start.

1. Decide on what plants you want to grow

First decide on what plants you...

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Hyproponics Part I: An Introduction

If you have ever considered hydroponics, this post is intended to give you a general overview of the basic principles involved. There is a lot more to it than what is contained in this post. So if you are truly interest, then there are extensive resources available. However, this post will give you a good idea if this is something you want to attempt.

A brief history of hydroponics

Very simply put, hydroponics is growing plants without soil. This method of cultivation has a long history. Many people believe that growing plants in this manner started in ancient Babylon. This city had an elaborate system of hanging gardens that many people believe was a hydroponic system into which fresh water rich in oxygen and nutrients was regularly pumped.

Why it works

Contrary to popular belief, plants do not actually need soil to grow. The three things that plants need to grow is food, water, and air. Soil simply provides a structure or substrate to support the roots of the plants and provides a...

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How to Build a 600 Sq Foot Greenhouse for Less Than $5000


Growing your own food has numerous advantages. Produce is fresh, easily available, taste better, and is guaranteed to be organic. Growing your own also enables you to take another step toward self sufficiency and sustainability. However, if you live in a challenging climate, you may need to utilize a greenhouse in order to take full advantage of the growing season. 

That said, commercial greenhouses can be expensive. Depending on the size, you can easily spend $10,000.  You can get around that by a DIY project. In this post, learn how to build a 600 square foot greenhouse for less than $5,000.

Advantages to a Greenhouse

#1 Longer Growing Season

This is the obvious first advantage to having a greenhouse. You can easily extend the growing season even if you live in a cold climate. I happen to live at 10,000 feet elevation in Colorado. Having a greenhouse allows me to extend my growing season by 3 months.

#2 Protection from Bad Weather

There is nothing more disheartening than...

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How to Get Started with Chickens

Not only are chickens truly fun and amazing animals to raise they also provide a host of benefits to the family. The obvious benefits are fresh eggs and meat. Additionally, they provide manure for fertilizing the garden, loads of entertainment, as well as companionship. Raising you own food source will also restore a close connection to your food supply, the realization of which is often lost in our modern culture. But, if you are new at this, then this post will help you to get started with chickens. 

Having grown up with two working farms in my family, raising and processing our own food was a way of life. In fact, I never really gave it much thought. I figured this was what everyone did. It was not until I was in my teenage years that I realized it was actually more common for people to purchase their meat and other staple items from a supermarket. In fact in our modern culture, people think their meat comes from the supermarket, not the farm.  Consequently, it...

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Learn How to Fish

As with hunting, if you have never been fishing, this whole process may seem like a big mystery. This sport may seem complicated to first-timers but it truly does not have to be that way.  With some basic gear and the information in this guide, you will be out fishing in no time at all.  Just follow these simple steps and you will learn how to fish. 

Different Types of Fishing

There are numerous ways to go fishing. As with hunting, it is a matter of choosing the type of fishing you would like to do and keep things simple in the beginning. Just to emphasize this point, I did a simple search on the different types of fishing and here is what I came up with: 

  • Angling
  • Bank fishing
  • Bottom fishing
  • Casting
  • Drop linning
  • Fly fishing
  • Freshwater versus salt water
  • Hand lining
  • Ice fishing
  • Jigging
  • Long lining
  • Noodling
  • Slabbing
  • Spearfishing
  • Surface casting
  • Trapping
  • Trawling
  • Trolling
  • Trot lining
  • Private charters
  • Commercial fishing
  • Hand gathering
  • Handling
  • Netting

In case you...

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Learn How to Hunt

Hunting can be an amazing resource for you and your family.  It is possible to provide yourself with a lot of lean, healthy meat. It can even be turned into a family institution. Most people I know that are avid hunters, grew up that way as I did.  However, if you have no experience or you did not grow up that way,  you can learn how to hunt with a little time and patience. 

Hunting used to be necessary in order to sustain life.  However, in modern times it is truly a choice. Just as raising farm animals and then butchering those animals is not for everyone, the same is true for hunting.  Additionally, many avid hunters learned those skills from their early childhood years. However, the simple fact is that in our present culture many people reach adult years and have never shot an animal for food.

This article is intended to address that very issue. Learning these skills can be intimidating. Consequently, I suggest that you take your time....

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Guide to Fermenting Foods

If you mention fermenting foods most people typically think of wine and beer. Beyond these first thoughts of delightful fermented beverages, fermentation is a valuable method of food preservation that has been around for thousands of years. Fermenting foods allowed for longer storage in the absence of refrigeration.  In our modern times fermented foods are simple to produce, have excellent nutritional value, and require little effort to process.  However, similar to other methods of food preservation, in order to be successful you need to first have an understanding of the basic science that is involved.

Fermenting foods is one of the easiest methods of food preservation.  Very little equipment is required. The steps for successful fermentation are easy.


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