The Urban Farmer, Issue #027 * Fight Bugs with Bugs * Back to Basics * Snap a pic!

August, 2010: 



"Do what we can,
summer will have its flies."

        ~Ralph Waldo Emerson


The safest and healthiest way to control pests in a hydroponic garden is through the use of biological controls (beneficial predators). This wonderful method is ideal for greenhouses, but can also be used on a screened-in porch or closed-off room inside your house. However, for obvious reasons, you wouldn't want to release 1500 live ladybugs in your living room!

Now don't dismiss this system as too complicated or costly. It's really very simple once you match the proper predator to your particular pest invasion. Mail order insects are readily available from most any garden or hydro supply site. And you will be treating your infestation without chemicals, using Mother Nature's own arsenal of "good bugs".

All of these beneficial insects are perfectly harmless to you, pets or your plants. They just eat the harmful bugs, and their larvae. Tons of 'em.

The us of beneficial insects to control bad bugs is called IPM (integrated pest management). Read all about it here:


Let's take a quick look back at the basics. Understanding why and how hydro works can help you puzzle out and troubleshoot problems when they arise. These are the basic principles which have made the technology of hydroponics possible:

  1. Plants can only eat or absorb food elements in very limited combinations, and only when dissolved in water.
  2. A plant makes no distinction between an element provided by "chemical solutions" or broken down from "organics" by decay and decomposition. The elements the plant ends up using is identical. Much discussion about "bottled chemicals" VS. "organic nutrients". Quit worrying... the end result is identical!
  3. The plant itself decides which is the proper nutrient combination. The result of incorrect formulation is a sick or dead plant, so it is easy to tell when you are wrong.
  4. Plants are living organisms which, when given proper balanced nutrition in the proper quantity, rewards you with healthy rapid growth and abundant produce.
  5. The plants' roots must breathe. Fresh air must be supplied to the root zone, and old stale air must be removed. That is why in all hydroponic systems, there is movement of the nutrient solution around the plant roots.
  6. Hydroponics is actually no more "productive" than what a "perfect" soil garden would be (with perfect nutrition and growing conditions). Plants are only capable of growing as fast and producing as much as their genetic blueprint allows, no matter where they grow.




Have you got your garden up and running? Then snap a pic and submit it to our Brag Pics page. It's a snap! Here's where:

Hydro Tip of the Month

Even if you do need supplemental lighting, try to put your home hydroponics garden near a bright window, or position it for direct sunlight if at all possible. Can't beat nature's ultimate grolight!


We hope you have enjoyed this issue of The Urban Farmer Ezine. Each month, we will bring you another inspiring photo, gardening quote or idea, plus fresh new hydroponics news, techniques & products.

Insiders tips to get you growing...


~Stella and Simon from Hydroponics-Simplified.


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