The Urban Farmer, Issue #020
2010: New Site Pages! * Gator Nation Goes
Hydro * More on Fungus Gnats
"Unemployment is capitalism's way of
getting you to plant a garden".
~Orson Scott Card
NEW INTERACTIVE SITE PAGES!
Hey, we've got two great new pages to
unveil! They are both interactive, meaning you contribute to the page yourself.
Hydro Forums page is like an "ASK IT" service; if you're having
problems with your hydroponics setup, or just have a general question about
hydro, here's the place to ask. It is very easy to submit your question, no
registration or emails needed. Just go to the submission box and start typing!
We will do our best to answer your question, and also welcome comments and
suggestions from other site visitors. This should prove a very valuable resource
for you as you build and operate a system.
The second page,
Brag Pics, is for fun (and ideas)! Submit a photo showing off your hydro
project! We want to see what you are up to, even if you are just getting
started. So get out the camera, snap a photo, and get your garden "up in lights"
GATOR NATION GOES HYDRO! -
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Today’s economically spurred resurgence of the home
vegetable grower can’t entirely be dubbed a “return to the earth.” Many
burgeoning farmers aren’t breaking soil, they’re using hydroponics.
“There are a lot of new people interested in growing, and many of them are
realizing that hydroponics just makes a lot more sense,” said Bob Hochmuth, a
multicounty agent with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and
Agricultural Sciences. “It’s one of the most reliable ways to grow crops. And,
for people that don’t have a lot of land, which I think is a lot of these new
growers, it’s a more cost-effective investment.”
“Across the country, there’s been more and more interest in locally grown
products. Now, these economic conditions are coming in into the mix and making
people think long and hard about the best way to do it,” said Tim Carpenter,
owner of Verti-Gro Inc. in Summerfield, Fla. Tim claims that demand has nearly
doubled over the past year.
“Hydroponics involves mechanics and plumbing, and it’s not going to be right for
everyone,” he said. “But for a good percentage, it’s just going to be a very
Simply put, hydroponic techniques are used to grow plants in structures that
supply water and nutrients without soil.
These structures allow plants to be grown in greater density and with better
control of variables such as pests, the overuse of fertilizer and exposure to
foodborne pathogens like salmonella.
Additionally, hydroponic techniques usually involve growing the crops inside
greenhouses or in tight clusters. These methods mean protection against bad
weather and a year-round growing season — big boons to growers interested in
using their crops for supplemental income.
“Hydroponics isn’t easy, and it’s not something that just comes to you,” said
Belinda Cheney, who uses hydroponics to grow vegetables and ornamental flowers
on her small farm in O’Brien, Fla., as a way of supplementing her family’s
income while remaining home with her children.
For more information on hydroponics, try the UF extension service: http://smallfarms.ifas.ufl.edu/crops/hydroponics/index.html.
ANOTHER WEAPON AGAINST FUNGUS GNATS
Another Fungus Gnat Weapon:
Pat, one of our site visitors, read the section on fungus gnats, and wrote in to
tell us about her secret weapon:
"Take some rotting food ( I am using peppers) and put it in a container and put
that inside a large clear produce bag (so you can see what is going on). Put a
large container inside to prop it open and let the open end of the bag hang down
over it almost to the counter. The gnats have to fly down and then up to get to
the food. Leave sitting on the counter overnight. Then grab the ends of the bag
and hold together and carry outside. Release the gnats by turning the bag inside
out. Keep repeating until no more gnats are found." Ingenious! Thanks, Pat
Hydro Tip of the Month
Prevent fungus and mold diseases by providing constant air exchange in your
garden. Provide an inexpensive fan which causes the leaves to move very gently,
24 hours per day. If you are growing inside a small room, you must figure out a
way to vent stale air outside the room. Either crack a window or door open, or
install a vent to facilitate air exchange.
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.