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An 8-step Guide to Successful Indoor Gardening

1The Right Environment.
4 Key Elements for Your Indoor Garden Room Relative Humidity-The ideal humidity for your garden room should fall between 40% - 60% . Higher humidity levels can lead to problems with fungus and disease.
Temperature Temperatures in your grow room should range between 68 – 75 F. Temperature changes will lead to variations in humidity levels. Avoid drastic temperature changes over a short period of time which can shock plants.
CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) Your plants need CO2 to grow and they go through photosynthesis. If you have good air circulation/ exchange, your garden room will naturally have between 300-400 PPM (parts per million) of CO2; higher CO2 levels should accelerate growth rates.
Air Circulation / Exchange If you choose not to supplement CO2 in your garden room, it is important to provide sufficient air circulation and air exchange so that your plants will receive fresh CO2.

2C- Hydroponics vs Soil Growing.
Organic Soil Growing has become a preferred method of growing. Choose the size container you want, an organic soil/medium, an organic fertilizer and water by hand. Start off with good water.
Hydroponic Methods:
  Ebb & Flow gardens flood and drain a tray of plants with a nutrient solution at regular
    intervals.
  Drip Gardens provide nutrient solution to the plant through tubes & emitters (drip
    stakes).
  Aeroponic growing mists an oxygenated nutrient solution directly to the roots of a plant.
  NFT (Nutrient Film Technique) gardens create a slow moving nutrient solution -‘film’- that
    flows over the roots of the plants.

3Choose a Medium .
Growing mediums act as the anchor for the plants root system. Some add nutritional
    value to your plants while others simply give the roots something to hold on to. Some
    mediums to consider are soil others soil-less mixes.
  Coco is available in both a loose and compressed form. Coco is made from the husks of a
    coconut, and it is very pH stable and provides good moisture retention and natural
    aeration qualities.
  Hydroton or clay pebbles are made from expanded, pH neutral clay. They tend to hold
    water well and have great oxygen to water ratio; this makes hydroton suitable for
    hydroponic and soil gardens. With proper sterilization techniques, hydroton can be reused.
  Rockwool is made from stone that is heated then spun into fibers. It is then compressed
    into starter cubes, grow blocks, or slabs. This medium has excellent oxygen to water
    ratio. Rockwool tends to have a higher pH, so flushing with 5.5-5.8 pH balanced water or a
    rockwool conditioning solution is recommended. Rockwool works best in an ebb & flow and
    drip systems.
  Silica stone is a rock that contains high levels of silicate which helps slow transpiration
    rates of plants. This is especially helpful in garden rooms that have temperatures above
    85 F degrees. Silica stone is pH neutral and environmentally friendly. Like hydroton, silica
    stone can be reused and is suitable for hydroponic and soil gardens.

4Nutrients
Like humans, plants require food (nutrients) to grow. Nutrients come in organic and
    synthetic varieties and are available in both liquid and dry form. Nutrients can be
    separated into two categories, macro and micro nutrients. The macronutrients are
    nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium and sulfur. The micronutrients or
    trace nutrients include iron, manganese, boron, zinc, copper, molybdenum and chlorine.
    If the nutrients are deficient or are abundant you may see burning, curling or yellowing.
    You do not want to over or under fertilize.
    There are many different types of nutrients/fertilizers available on the market. You can
    purchase organic, synthetic (chemical) or a combination of both. Most nutrients/fertilizers
    will have an N-P-K (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium) on the front of the bottle. In the
    vegetative or growth stage the “N” will typically be higher. In the flowering or bloom stage
    the “P” will typically be higher.
    You may also consider implementing additives/supplements into your nutrient mix.
    Additives/supplements can bolster microbial activity at the root zone, increase size,
    flavor and aroma. When used together, nutrients and supplements will help you achieve
    maximum results.

5Water
The water you use for your plants will determine how well your plants will grow,
    regardless of what you add in terms of nutrients and supplements.PPM (parts per million)
    or EC (electrical conductivity) are the measurement of the salts in a solution. Neither PPM
    nor EC readings will tell you what is in your solution / water, but rather are indicators of
    the solutions ability to conduct electricity. Ideally, you want to start of with a low PPM or
    EC then you can add nutrients specified to your plants requirements. You can reduce the
    PPM of your water using a Reverse Osmosis (R.O.) unit then build your nutrient solution
    around what your plants need. pH (potential hydrogen) measures the acidity or alkalinity
    of your solution on a scale of 0 – 14. A solution is considered acidic below 7 and basic at 7
    or higher. When working with hydroponics you typically want your pH to fall between 5.8
    and 6.2. When growing in soil or coco you want your pH between 6.0 and 6.8. The most
    important rule to remember with pH is to avoid extremes. Nutrient “lockout” occurs with
    high and low pH levels.

6Lighting
High Intensity Discharge (HID)
    High Intensity Discharge (HID) is the preferred
    lighting in a garden room. The types lighting commonly used are:
  HPS (High Pressure Sodium) HPS lamps deliver more of an orange/ red spectrum, which is
    ideal for most plants in the flowering/bloom stage.
  MH (Metal Halide) MH lamps deliver more of a blue/green spectrum, which is ideal for
    most plants in the vegetative/growth stage.
  T5 lighting is a high-output fluorescent light with low heat and minimal energy
    consumption. It is an ideal light for cuttings, mother plants and short growth cycles.
    All plants require light in order to grow and bloom.
    Most plants grow and bloom according to the amount of light they are given. In the growth
    or vegetative stage plants typically want 15-18 hours of light. In the bloom stage you
    reduce the amount of light your plants get to 10-12 hrs. You want to make sure the light
    comes on and of at the same time everyday (just like mother- nature). The best way to
    accomplish this is by putting your light on a timer. Please consult your nearest hydroponic
    retail store for more information on which light is best for you.

7Pest and Disease Control
There are many different pests and diseases that may attack your plants from time to
    time. Spider mites, thrips, whitefly and aphids are common pests that can be controlled
    with a variety of methods. There are several organic methods to knock down the insects
    life stages- egg, larvae and adult- for adequate control. Monitor pest populations with
    yellow sticky cards. Use the weaker / least toxic solutions graduating to stronger/more
    toxic solutions as insects can get resistant to pesticides. Research Integrated Pest
    Management (IPM) programs to learn more about dealing with pests and diseases.
    Your local nursery professional can be your best solution. Healthy Roots = Healthy Plants.
    * For additional information, please see the links below.

8Testing equipment and Optional Accessories
There are many different meters available for testing pH, PPM, EC, temperature,
    humidity, CO2 and light levels
. Water, nutrient, light, temperature, humidity, CO2 &
    circulation are the elements to a successful garden room. By “dialing in” these elements,
    you will ensure a successful and bountiful garden. There are many items and accessories
    available to help your garden grow. Timers, fans, blowers, plant stakes, relays, nutritional
    supplements and the lists go on. Consult with your local supplier to discuss the best
    accessories needed for your garden.
    Happy Indoor Gardening!

    Links:
    * Hydroponic Information
        http://www.sunlightsupply.com
    * Fertilizer & Soil Information
        http://drearth.net/blog Dr. Earth
        http://foxfarmfertilizer.com/ Fox Farms
    * References:
        A large part of this article was derived from
        http://www.sunlightsupply.com/t-hydro101.aspx
        visit their site for further information.
    We can order products for you!
        Alpine Nursery and Landscape
        17518 79th Ave E, Puyallup, WA 98375
        (253)847-7078 www.AlpineGrows.com

Alpine will get you growing.