This week, we’re taking a step back to admire our work – Our Talking Shop segment for the first week of the new year is a recap of our most popular TS articles of 2017. We were pleasantly surprised by the results so we figured you might want to see them for yourself (and if you missed an article or two at some point, this will be a great way to catch up on all the best parts).
Here’s our Talking Shop Recap: 2017 Edition!
Runner-up: It’s In The Mix
First, we want to announce a runner-up. Interestingly enough, it’s actually our most recent article (published just last week) about super soil, entitled “It’s In The Mix”. It hasn’t even been up a whole week yet (at the time of writing this recap) and it’s already tied with our #5 most popular article, so we’re giving it a big pat on the back for that! If you haven’t checked it out yet, go take a look!
Excerpt: ”A wide variety of materials go into creating a soil mixture that can provide sufficient vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and microbiology to nourish your plants from start to finish, but it’s important to start with a good base. Some growers prefer to start out with a high-quality premixed organic soil such as Fox Farm’s Ocean Forest soil, Roots Organics potting soil or Pro Mix BX. Others who seek to have more control over the exact content of their super soil prefer to use inert base mediums such as sphagnum peat or coco coir. In either case, the goal is to start with a base that drains well and offers an excellent environment for beneficial biology to thrive in.”
Now, for our Top Five Talking Shops of 2017!
If you’ve been growing as long as we have, you’ve probably faced off against these little red pests at least once, and this can be a big challenge for beginners and pros alike. Spider mites are as annoying to get rid of as that one cousin you specifically didn’t invite to your movie night but they showed up anyway somehow and now they won’t leave and the movie has been over for two hours but they just keep talking about their wacky friends and their weird undiagnosed ‘health problems’ and it’s like midnight and they just won’t take the hint and go away.
Excerpt: ”The first step of dealing with any garden pest is knowing your enemy. Misidentifying pests can often lead to ineffective control measures so if you find any pests on your plants, being certain of what they are is paramount to getting rid of them. Telltale traits and characteristics will help you pinpoint spider mites so you can eliminate them effectively. Commonly mistaken for insects, spider mites are actually members of the Arachnida class which includes ticks and spiders. They are extremely small, sometimes less than 1mm in size, and usually oval-shaped. To the naked eye, they can appear to be either translucent (clear) or whitish, green, black or red in color. They prefer hot, dry conditions like those often found in grow rooms, and they usually hide on the underside of leaves. Because they are so small and sneaky, it can be difficult to find them.”
Ceramic Metal Halide (or CMH) lighting is becoming increasingly popular among professional growers and amateurs alike. It’s really the culmination of years of progress in the grow lighting arena – sort of a hybrid of all the best qualities of all the different types of HID lighting. We explain the tech, clear up some common misconceptions, break down all the benefits, and compare CMH against other types of lighting – we even put together some pretty pictures for you. Take a look!
Excerpt: ”As with most other aspects of growing, the best option, or best CMH light in this instance, really comes down to what will work best for your unique indoor garden. There are now many fixture brands and styles to choose from including integrated fixtures and remote systems that feature a design similar to traditional HID grow lights. All-in-one or integrated fixtures like AgroMax HyPAR and Sun System LEC 315 will work great for most situations, while systems like the HyPAR remote CMH might be better if you tend to have heat issues. The remote option allows the ballast to be located outside of the grow tent or grow room, which reduces heat. Further, these lights can also be used with a sealed reflector and integrated with ventilation to further control temperatures.”
Here’s the thing… Hydroponics is a big word and most people think that means it’s too complicated for them. And we don’t want to mislead you – investing in a hydro setup is a big step. But it doesn’t have to be a hard one. Hydro can be MUCH simpler than you think, and we’re here to teach you everything you need to know to pick the right hydroponic grow medium and get started. As for what to do AFTER you’ve selected a medium… Well, finish up this recap and we’ll have you all squared away.
Excerpt: ”As we mentioned above, anything a plant can grow on that is not dirt could essentially be considered a hydroponic grow medium. And with a vast number of possible materials to grow on, hydroponic growth is actually much more common and natural than many realize. Take our picture at the top of the page for example: The roots of these little plants have established themselves between the bricks of the old wall. In this case, the wall is the medium and water will trickle through the cracks carrying with it a small amount of nourishment for the plant. This is just one example of what could be considered naturally occurring hydroponic growth.”
Reverse Osmosis sounds like something your biology teacher said would be on the midterm (and that’s when you decided to drop out of that class and take up pottery), but in this context we’re talking about the ways hydro growers (and some soil growers, and some mad scientists) purify their water to maintain optimal pH and EC levels in their garden. See, your tap water isn’t “just” water – it’s got stuff in it, and that stuff determines how good your plants will be able to soak up food. Starting off with pure water makes it easier to predict and understand the nutritional needs of your garden babies. Plus, when you know about all of this stuff, you get to talk like a big shot scientist and impress all your friends.
Excerpt: ”Whether you’re working with a well or a municipal water supply, the first step toward deciding how you’re going to address any quality concerns is testing. A good place to start is by testing your naturally occurring pH and EC (TDS/PPM) levels. These parameters can give you a basic idea of your indoor garden water quality, but remember – even a quality PPM meter can only give you an idea of the mineral quantity in your water, not what those minerals are. Understanding your water quality can be as easy as researching the published water quality report available from your water provider if you have municipal water. This document will provide detailed measurements of your tap water and can serve as a good kicking off point to understanding what will need to be adjusted.”
Ebb and flow (or flood and drain) hydroponics systems work by circulating lots of water through different buckets (or “sites”) from a large centralized reservoir. It’s super versatile, it’s not expensive, and it’s easy to expand or condense. There’s even a couple different ways to approach it! If you’re a DIYer, the most fun way is via a flood table – we’ll walk you through how to figure out the specs of your table. But if you’re not so handy, we’ve got a solution (get it?) for you as well, in the form of modular “bucket” systems. Check out the article and learn what it takes to get your feet wet!
Excerpt: ”The ebb and flow of the nutrient solution in a flood and drain system is intended to maximize the absorption of hydroponic nutrients and oxygen in the root zone for faster growth and higher yields. Basically, water and air don’t occupy the same space at the same time in the medium, and because of this, we use the timing of irrigations to find an optimal balance between the air and water content of the medium over time.”
We’ve had a pretty fun year here at HTG Supply, and we’re looking forward to sharing even more growing knowledge in 2018! If you have a particular topic you’d like us to cover this year, just leave us a comment and we’ll pitch it during our next meeting. We can’t make any promises, but we’ll guarantee your ideas will at least be heard here at the shop. And don’t forget, along with our weekly Talking Shop articles, we also have weekly SALES – just check in each week to get the discount codes and save money while you learn!
From all of us here, thanks talking shop with us in 2017!
Questions, comments, or tips of your own? Feel free to join the conversation – we’d love to hear from you! And don’t forget to check out this week’s coupon code and sale information below! From all of us here, good luck, stay safe, and Happy Growing!
THIS WEEK’S COUPON CODE: TS2017
Enter this week’s promo code at checkout for a 10% discount on featured products in stock or visit your local store and simply mention this article to get the deal! Thanks again for tuning into Talking Shop with HTG Supply! Offer valid through HTGSupply.com and in-store 1/8/18-1/15/18. Cannot be combined with other offers. Follow us on social media for all the Sales, Events and Customer Appreciation Days. In addition, learn more about indoor growing and get all kinds of tips, tricks, and techniques!