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How to Fertilize for a Bigger, More Bountiful Harvest:

Your plants are looking great. They’re a deep lush green and have more foliage than you know what to do with, but beautiful leaves are not really what you’re looking for, are they? As gardeners what we’re really after are bountiful harvests.

To achieve this, you must move away from your nitrogen heavy fertilizer and start using bloom boosters!  A bloom booster is a generic term for any fertilizer that is high in phosphorus. When reading your fertilizer labels, it’s the second number listed.

When a plant transitions into the reproductive stage its nutrient requirements change from heavier nitrogen to heavier phosphorus.  Phosphorus should be applied right before flower formation and throughout the entire rest of the season.  This will ensure plentiful flower sites, good fruit set, and plenty to harvest!

There are several great organic options out there such as bone meal and high phosphorous guano.  These products are generally going to have lower numbers and be slightly slower acting, but you avoid any potential damage to your plants or your soil.  If you need to blast your plants, you may consider mineral salt fertilizers. You’ll find high numbers like 20%, 30%, or even 50% phosphorus in these fertilizers.  Although using mineral salt boosters may seem appealing, be careful, it’s easy to over dose your plants and that can cause big problems, such as leaf burn, yellowing, etc.

Whatever method you choose it’s always a good idea to start your plants off with a light dose and adjust from there.  If you fertilize too heavily, you will know it.  Your plants will burn, growth may stunt and they generally will look sad. Paying regular attention to the plants is the real key to a successful garden.  So get out there and spend some time with your plants. When you notice the first signs of flowers starting to form you will know what to do!

Best Lighting for Indoor Crop Growth:

With so many different types of lighting, choosing the right lighting for your indoor garden may be challenging. Here’s a rundown of the most common options.

Fluorescent Lights:

High output fluorescent bulbs, such as T5s, are a great option for growing indoors.  These bulbs are relatively inexpensive, energy efficient, and produce minimal heat.  Which makes them a great choice for people just starting out or growing in extremely small areas. Unfortunately these bulbs do not have great penetration, meaning they are not ideal for large, light-loving plants.  Growing greens, seed starting, or simply maintaining vegetative growth are all ideal uses for this type of lighting.

High Intensity Discharge (HID) Lights:

Probably the most popular style of lighting for indoor gardeners.  These lights are very intense, penetrate deep into garden canopies, and can be purchased in many different wattages to fit your specific growing area.  HID lights do generate a lot of heat, so matching the right wattage to your growing space is essential.

HID lights utilize a special bulb in conjunction with a remote ballast. The purpose of the ballast is to start and maintain the arc through the bulb. To put it simply, a ballast is needed to turn the bulb on and provide a regulated voltage to the lamp.
There are two main styles of HID lamps, metal halide (MH) and high pressure sodium (HPS). Traditionally MH lamps, or blue lamps, are used for vegetative growth and HPS lamps, red lamps, are used for flowering.  400, 600, and 1000 are the most commonly used wattages of lights

LED, Induction, and Other New Lighting Technologies:

With the cost of electricity constantly on the rise, an increasing demand for more efficient styles of lighting.  While still relatively new to the market, LED Lighting shows great results! Lower electric draw, better light spectrum, higher quality of light, lower heat output, and much longer bulb life are only a few of the promised benefits! The price tag on lights such as these might be higher initially, but you will save money in the long run!  If this sounds appealing to you, stop by and see us or give us a call with any questions you may have!

Improve Your Indoor Gardening with Environmental Controllers:

When gardeners move indoors, the biggest they face is properly managing their grow room environment. Maintaining the proper environment is critical to optimal indoor crop growth.  Outside, factors like temperature, humidity, and CO2 levels regulate themselves.  Indoors, making sure each of these environmental conditions is in check can get a little tricky, especially if you’re new to indoor gardening.

Fortunately there are environmental controls to help you.  These handy devices integrate your lights and ventilation equipment making sure your room is at the desired temperature.  More advanced models can be programmed to control your CO2 and humidity levels as well.

Environmental controllers are available in an almost limitless array of functions and price points.  Whether you simply need to turn fans on when the temperatures rise or you need to remotely monitor your CO2 levels, there something for everyone.

Take the guess work out of your grow room and invest in an environmental controller today.