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Imagine going to a hydroponics store and happily buying supplies for your perfectly legal hydroponics garden in which you grow only gourmet, organic herbs and vegetables. You don’t know that someone is watching the parking lot, and has copied down your license plate number.

... in Serious Stuff

In this hot summer outdoors or in an indoor grow room, the truth is your plants won’t do as well as they could in temperatures above 74F. If your temperatures are routinely above 74F, and especially if you’re not adding CO2 to your hydroponics grow room, your plants are suffering. It cuts down on yield, and makes your plants more susceptible to stress-related diseases and pests.

If you want total predictability and control in your hydroponics gardening, you go for rockwool, aeroponics, hydroton, NFT or a similar root zone strategy that provides you a neutral root zone. Only in that neutral situation using reverse osmosis water can you be 100% sure what hydroponics nutrients elements your plants are getting. Because your hydroponics plants give you your heaviest and most valuable yields when you use hydroponics nutrients systems that feed specific ratios of nutrients timed to the phase of growth your plants are in, the neutral approach is especially valuable.

In part one of our discussion about diseases, viruses and other pathogens that attack your hydroponics plants, we talked about monitoring your leaves and your plants’ vigor for early detection of problems. We also pointed out that we often assume that leaf or vigor problems are caused by issues related only to plant absorption of hydroponics nutrients, lack of light, pH problems and similar causes. All of those possible causes should be explored, but at the same time you want to investigate fungi, molds, bacteria, diseases and other pathogenic conditions that attack hydroponics roots and leaves.

The drought, extreme heat and fires of summer 2011 are creating crazy problems for hydroponics and remote outdoor gardeners. People try to argue about global warming and climate change, who or what is causing it…but who argues that this isn’t one hell of a hot summer? Let’s take a look at how to keep hydroponics and outdoor gardens healthy this sizzling summer…

Here is the awe-inspiring truth about our relationship with plants: we would die without them! The human species would not even exist if plants hadn’t existed before us. And when I discovered an ancient medical system from India that explicitly recognizes and utilizes the life-giving qualities of plants, I felt immediate interest, gratitude and hope.

We all know that our hydroponics plants’ leaves give us signals about whether our plants are healthy or not. When we see leaves that are emerald green, uniform in color, upright, and free of splotches, discolorations, ragged edges, insect pests and other defects, we can be pretty sure that our plants are healthy from roots to tips.

In Part 1 and Part 2 of my series on hydroponics roots, we noted that hydroponics roots are the foundation of your crops, and there are a troublingly high number of root problems that can stunt hydroponics plant growth, decrease yields and even kill your hydroponics plants!

In the previous articles, I shared with you how something as simple as having your plants in pots that are too small for their roots can cause severe problems for your plants.

You may already be familiar with how Pythium damping off and other pathogens can wack your seedlings and cuttings.

We also discussed how your daily hydroponics duties should include examining your plants’ roots, along with your hydroponics nutrients reservoir, pump, aerator and water to see if roots are healthy white and to see if your root support system (irrigation, reservoir, etc.) are free of scum and foam.

I also advised something that professional growers already do: examine your hydroponics leaves to look for root-related symptoms that often masquerade as nutrients issues. These include leaves that are curling, yellowing, drying, have large brown areas or other problems.

If your leaves are showing those kinds of problems, check for insects, diseases, nutrient issues, and root issues such as Pythium root rot and other bad stuff.

If you examine your roots and root apparatus and see brown roots, rotting roots, the interior of your reservoir coated with scum, or similar problems, you have to remediate fast or you will lose your crop.

The first thing to do if your roots are in trouble is to drain and flush your reservoir and anything else in the water system for your crops. Dump the old water, scrub all surfaces, replace irrigation tubing and emitters, replace air stones, and replace the pump.

Anything not replaced must be thoroughly flushed with professional-grade concentrate hydrogen peroxide at least twice using a ratio of three tablespoons per gallon of fresh water.

Before you reconnect your system to your plants, it’s a good idea to run another hydrogen peroxide rinse (this one through the entire system including the root zone) and then rinse again with fresh, clean water.

If you don’t already have one, get yourself a water purification system and hook it inline so that all water that touches your plants is purified before it gets to them.

If your roots are able to sustain it, you could try root pruning the most obviously diseased areas. Carefully sequester any diseased or rotted roots so they do not recontaminate your system.

When your system is thoroughly retrofitted and cleansed, add a Vitamin B formula, potassium silicate, a plant immune booster, beneficial microbes, and Roots Excelurator to your feed program for a few days.

Your damaged roots may or may not be so far gone that they can heal themselves; these aforementioned additives will help them recover if they can.

Continue with everything except the Roots Excelurator for the rest of your grow cycle, following the hydroponics nutrients manufacturer’s directions for use.

Please be aware that if you have been adding beneficial microbes to your root zone, it might be that you have to pay more attention to how much you are dosing because even beneficial microbes can sometimes become a problem.

Again, consult the beneficial microbes product manufacturer for specific details on application of those products. Don’t use hydrogen peroxide during the time you’re adding beneficial microbes, or you will kill them.

Ensure that you keep your reservoir water below 74F, preferably around 65-68F, especially if your ambient air temperature is higher than 74F. Root diseases love high water temperatures. And remember: don’t overwater.

As  you may discover, in some cases (such as aeroponics or when root damage is too severe and you didn’t catch it in time), it’s best to tear out the plants and start over with a cleansed, retrofitted system and a new set of hydroponics plants.

Now you have a comprehensive program of inspection, interdiction and remediation to protect and enhance your hydroponics roots so you virtually eliminate the possibility of root problems. Thanks for staying tuned to RosebudMag.com!

Read Part 1 of this series – click here.

Read Part 2 of this series – click here.

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© Copyright Rosebudmag.com, 2011

In a previous article on hydroponics roots, we noted that because roots are out of sight, they are also out of mind for many hydroponics growers…and this is dangerous.

Hydroponics roots are the unseen foundation for your plants but too many hydroponics growers neglect them. You’ll see hydroponics growers paying attention to hydroponics nutrients, grow room climate control, pH, ppm, hydroponics lighting, plant genetics and so many other factors…but not paying attention to hydroponics roots at all.

Summer is sizzling, and you know what that means for you as a hydroponics grower: too much heat!

Your hydroponics plants want ambient air temperatures around 74F. Their roots best intake water and nutrients if the root zone is 68F. But in a closed grow room indoors, with hydroponics lighting and other hydroponics gear generating heat, you have an obvious problem: temperatures are going up, and it costs money to keep them down.

In our previous article on water and hydroponics, we discussed the sad fact that most water is polluted with chloramines, heavy metals, harmful bacteria and other contaminants. Some water comes with onboard magnesium and/or calcium, and this might be useful for your hydroponics plants. But most water just isn’t pure enough for your crops, and you can do something about that to improve your crop health, growth rates, and yields.

Many hydroponics growers ask me about water, and it’s easy to see why. Without water, your hydroponics plants die. Without water, you can’t deliver nutrients into your plants. No wonder hydroponics growers are concerned about water quality.

One of the problems with most hydroponics bloom boosters and base fertilizers is that some manufacturers don’t understand why your plants need all 14 essential nutrients to grow well. Many folks seem to believe that nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium are provided in such large amounts because they are more important to hydroponics plants than the secondary nutrients (such as magnesium, calcium, or sulfur) or micronutrients like zinc and copper.

Hydroponics P/K boosters and bloom boosters contain supplemental phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) and almost every grower uses them during bloom phase.

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