BetterGrow Hydro Blog
17Jan/110

New Product: Rapid Start Rooting Enhancer by General Hydro

THE ULTIMATE ROOTING ENHANCER

  • Explosive new root formation and root development on cuttings
  • Increases root length, root branching, and number of fine root hairs
  • Greater amounts of root mass aids in nutrient uptake
  • Reduces stress in early plant development
  • Bulking agent
  • Vitality booster
  • Will not stain or leave a film on roots
  • Compare to products such as Canna Rhizotonic and House & Garden Root Excelurator

[SHOP NOW]

13Jan/110

Fish in a Barrel

Fish in a Barrel

We’ve all heard of the old analogy “Like Shooting Fish in a Barrel”. But in one VIU (Vancouver Island University) student’s indoor garden, fish in a barrel are a good thing! Julie V., a Fisheries & Aquaculture Technology student at VIU, shows off her small scale Aquaponics system aptly named “Barrelponics”. A completely self reliant nutrient system, Julie’s Aquaponics system grows Nile Tilapia that produce fish emulsion that she then redirects into a reservoir that she then uses to feed her garden as well as produce food to feed the fish!

Check out the Youtube video HERE to get a closer look at her garden!

11Jan/110

Custom Cutouts For Your Net Pots

Custom Cutouts For Your Net Pots

Let’s say you want to use a net pot in your Deep Water Culture system, and you want a precision fit at an exact point on your net pot. Here's a way to obtain that custom cutout for your favorite net pot with no guesswork. You'll need a flexible tape measure (or a string), a straight ruler and a simple drafting compass.

  1. First, measure the circumference at the desired point on your net pot with a tape measure or a string. Divide by 6.28. This number is the radius of your circle cutout.
  2. Open up the compass so that the measurement on the compass is equal to the number you just calculated. Alternatively, you can open up the compass so that the steel point of the compass is at zero on the straight ruler and the pencil point of the compass is at the number you just calculated(also on the straight ruler).
  3. With the compass set to the correct measurement, you can now draw a circle that will fit the net pot perfectly at the exact point that you measured. This template can be used to draw custom cutouts with no guesswork!

Explanation:

This method works by using the circle formula:                                                       c = 3.14 *d
This is the same thing as saying:                  d = c/3.14
Since 2r = d,                                               2r = c/3.14   So,                                                             r = c/6.28

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6Jan/110

Find The Right Fan

Finding The Right Fan To Air-Cool Your Lighting System

Need to cool that light down? Unsure what size fan to get? Following this general rule of thumb can help get you the best fan for the job:

For normal air-cooling situations you’ll need a fan that can create 150-200 cfm (cubic feet per minute) of air movement per light. For example, if you have two 1000 watt lighting systems running in-line, you’ll need a fan that moves approximately 400 cfm of air. Easy, right? Now, keep in mind that the best fans for this job are “centrifugal” fans (such as Can-Fan, Vortex) or better yet, the Can-Fan Max-Fan. Unlike other types of fans (such as “squirrel cage”, axial and in-line booster fans), centrifugal fans generate a lot more static pressure and move air more efficiently. Although other types of fans state that they move as much air as their centrifugal equivalents, their stated cfm ratings are given in “free air movement”; in other words, they will move the given volume of air if only if nothing is attached to them. As soon as you attach ducting, reflectors, etc. the cfm will decline sharply, making them a poor choice for air cooling, especially when multiple reflectors are being used.

30Dec/100

When Life Gives You Lemons… Use it as pH down!

When Life Gives You Lemons... Use It as pH Down!

Try substituting your chemical based pH down solution with all natural lemon juice. The average pH of lemon juice is about 2.3 and the citric acid in the juice will help lower your pH (at a rate of 1 tablespoon per gallon) to your desired range. You can use either fresh lemons or the concentrate, both will do the trick.
Although not as concentrated as phosphoric acid, citric acid is a great alternative that, due to its organic structure, won’t harm beneficial bacteria or fungi which assist in nutrient uptake.

To learn more about the benefits of keeping your pH in check, read our FAQ on pH and TDS.

20Dec/100

Deck The Walls (With Film That’s Shiny)

"Deck the walls with film that's shiny..."

Don't let this holiday season leave your garden unevenly lit! With great deals on reflective wall coverings at Bettergrow Hydro, it's easy to share some yuletide joy with your plants by increasing your light spread - without leaving your stocking full of coal.

Everyone knows that more light equals more growth. The indoor gardener is constantly faced with the challenge of trying to mimic the sun’s full spectrum and intensity with HID grow lights. An average gardener will put countless amounts of money and effort into their lighting setup to help them achieve higher yields. With the addition of reflective materials, a grower can utilize more of that light to increase their yields even more. We’ll go over reflective materials briefly to help you make the decision that best fits your garden, and your pocketbook.


Black & White Poly:
Also called Visqueen, Panda Film, Black-Out Plastic, etc. Black & White Poly is one of the original reflective materials. Black on one side and white on the other, it’s perfect for covering windows to block out light and for building temporary walls to section off your grow room. B/W Poly is available in 6 mil thickness, so it’s even heavy duty enough to put down on the floor of your garden to help protect the floor and bounce some light back up at the underside of your plants (give it a try; you’ll see the difference). It’s economical and comes in 10’x25’, 10’x50’ and 10’x100’ rolls, making it easy to find the right size for your set up.

Mylar:
Mylar has been one of the most popular reflective materials in our industry since it was first introduced many years ago. It’s silver finish claims to be 98% reflective and gives Mylar a mirror-like quality, which can lead to hot spots in it’s reflectance. It’s not light-tight, making it inadequate for building temporary walls or blocking out windows. At only 1 to 2 mil in thickness it’s pretty thin, making it difficult to deal with; it crinkles easily and the silver finish on it can flake off if handled too rough. Mylar is completely unwashable and wet spots simply turn into bigger spots if you try to wipe them down with any cleaners. However, Mylar is very cost effective and is available in two thicknesses (1 and 2 mil) and three lengths (25’, 50’ & 100’). If you’re on a strict budget, then Mylar is probably your best choice.


Easy Grow Lightite Films:
Easy Grow films have taken Mylar to the next level. With their Lightite line, Easy Grow utilizes a three part film design; two sheets of reflective material sandwiching a sheet of black-out film. This makes Easy Grow Lightite films 100% light tight, extremely durable and completely washable. Easy Grow’s Diamond Diffiusion foil utilizes a diamond pattern to diffuse the light out across your garden and dramatically eliminates hot spots. The Silver White Lightite film has a smooth finish, giving it a mirror like quality similar to Mylar. White Lightite is constructed of the same black-out film in between two white sheets. It’s extra durable and is perfect for covering windows, lining floors and ceilings and making temporary walls. Since it’s white on both sides, White Lightite can be easily reversed once normal wear and tear have taken their toll to double it’s life. All the Lightite films are 97% thermal blockers (100% if mounted one inch from wall surfaces) and are completely washable and reusable.


Easy Grow ECO Films:
Easy Grow has taken into mind those of us who don’t have bottomless pockets by offering all their great Lightite films in a less expensive incarnation. Easy Grow’s ECO films are made of a two film design by eliminating the black-out film in the middle. ECO films are available in Diamond Diffusion and Silver White and are completely washable and extreme durable. ECO films are not thermal blocking, though, due to the absence of the middle layer. Other than that, they are essentially identical to their more expensive counterparts.


ORCA Grow Film:
A true revolutionary product, ORCA Grow Film is unlike any other reflective material on the market. ORCA's patent pending white plastic microfiber structure effectively scatters light from highly reflective crystalline structures within the substrate, virtually eliminating hot spots. This microfiber structure provides 99% diffused reflectivity regardless of angle of light, much more than any other reflective material available. This allows ORCA to be hung in just about any direction or shape and will still provide your plants with extremely bright, diffused and useful light. ORCA is 94% reflective across the entire light spectrum (most films are only reflective in the lower wavelengths, so don’t let the 94% fool you) which means better quality reflectance for your garden. ORCA film is also thermally reflective so heat stays where it should be. ORCA is 11 mil thick, 54” wide and is available in 25’, 50’ & 100’ rolls. It’s the most expensive reflective film on the market, but you know the old saying - “you get what you pay for”!

[ View all Reflective Films ]

 

20Dec/100

A dynamic Root Stimulator and Stress Reliever

Rhizotonic is my favorite root stimulator; it is also the fundamental additive of Canna’s full line of professional nutrient solutions. Canna’s motto is “Quality proves itself” and growers worldwide couldn't agree more . Rhizotonic is primarily used as a stimulator for new roots. Rhizotonic works well as a foliar spray feeding for fresh cuttings; also, if you happen to stress out your plants, Rhizotonic can aid your plant in the recovery process using the foliar or root zone feeding method.

6Dec/102

BGH’s Top 10 of 2010

#10 - ZHO Rhizosphere Root Inoculant

2010 is the year of the root zone. From air-pruning pots to microbial inoculants and compost teas, indoor gardeners everywhere are putting more time and effort into building a beneficial root zone to help push their plants to perform at their optimum levels. Botanicare’s ZHO Rhizosphere Root Inoculant is our favorite beneficial microbial colonizer. ZHO is a 100% water soluble and proprietary blend of Mycorrhizae and Trichoderma fungi. ZHO allows you to build an effective microbial system that will help increase rooting and overall root mass, nutrient uptake, soil structure, and can help dissolve elements that are more difficult for your plants to use in their natural state. Unlike other rhizosphere inoculants, ZHO contains special amino acids that intensifies the root zone activity ignited by ZHO.

#9 - SNS Pest Control Products

2010 saw a newcomer in the pest control world - Sierra Natural Sciences. SNS offers up all-natural biodegradable pest control solutions in three options. SNS217 is their spider mite control spray. Available in a concentrate or ready to use (RTU) spray, SNS217 is a 100% pure rosemary oil botanical extract spray. However, unlike other botanical sprays we have tried in the past, SNS actually works. SNS244 is their fungicide formulation made from 100% pure thyme oil botanical extract. SNS203 is a unique soil drench formula made from pure rosemary and clove oil botanical extract. SNS203 is perfect for root aphids, thrips, fungus gnats, and most other garden pests that live above and below the soil line. SNS203 can be used as a soil drench or a topical spray and is available in a concentrate form. SNS products are all natural and can be safely used on plants up to harvest. Finally, an all-natural pesticide that is as effective as a conventional chemical pesticide.

#8 - Hanna HI 9813-6N

Hanna, a long time recognized leader in analytical instruments, has reinvented their extremely popular HI 9813-6 pH/EC/TDS/Temp handheld meter as the HI 9813-6N. With the “-6N”, Hanna made some drastic upgrades over the previous models in the HI 9813 line. The most noticeable is the extremely large display which makes reading the meter a cinch. The screen is even so big that there’s enough room for calibration instructions to appear on the display! Speaking of calibration, it’s never been easier with the “-6N”. Simply turn one of the two appropriate dials on the front of the meter with the probe in the proper calibration solution and you’re set. There’s also Hanna’s unique Cal-Check system, all you need to do is place the probe in Cal-Check solution and the meter will let you know what is out of calibration. Keeping an eye on the balance of your reservoir has never been so easy! All Hanna meters feature a 1-year warranty on the meter and 6 months on the electrode. And, you’ll never need to wait for repair work to be done with Hanna. If your Hanna meter ever stops working properly within the warranty period, simply return it to BGH and we’ll replace it with a brand new unit.

#7 - Orca Films

Not all black & white sheeting are created equal, and Orca Film is the absolute proof. Orca Film is the most reflective material on the market - period! We tested it against Mylar using a Hanna Digital Light Meter and found that it was literally twice as reflective - unbelievable! Orca Film’s microfiber construction effectively scatters light from highly reflective crystalline structures within the film. These microfibers are naturally diffused and lend to Orca’s extremely high reflective and ultra-matte surface. Orca boasts a 94% reflectivity across the full visible light spectrum opposed to most reflective films which fail to reflect light in the higher wavelengths. Orca provides 99% diffused reflection, reflecting light evenly regardless of the angle of the incoming light. This totally eliminates hot spots and also allows the film to not need to be hung flat. At 11 mil thick, Orca is thermally reflective, 100% light tight, waterproof and completely cleanable. It’s also won’t yellow due to prolonged UV exposure and is completely recyclable. Orca Grow Film, a high performance reflective L.E.D. microfiber wall covering, and one of BGHydro’s TOP 10 of 2010.

#6 - Easy Grow Films

You’ll never want to use regular Mylar again after you put any of the Easy Grow brand reflective films up on your walls. Available in several different styles so you can pick the reflective material that’s best for your garden and best for your pocket book. All of Easy Grow’s Lightite line of films are made using a three-part design where black-out material is sandwiched  between two sheets of white or PET (polyethylene terephtalate/Mylar) reflective material making it 100% light tight, highly durable and 100% washable. The Lightite Diamond Diffusion Foil utilizes a diamond pattern stamped into the PET cover with white on the reverse. The Diamond pattern scatters the light reflection, causing the light to become more diffused, which enables it to illuminate a larger area while eliminating hot spots. Lightite Silver White Sheeting uses a smooth PET film on one side and white film on the reverse to give you direct light reflectance and a mirror like covering. White Lightite is made from two sheets of white reflective material with a sheet of black plastic sandwiched in between. Easy Grow now offers Diamond Diffusion and Silver White in an economical two sheet design as well eliminating the blackout film in the middle but still maintaining the high durability and washability of the Lightite line. Eco films are great for covering solid walls and other applications where being 100% light tight isn’t a concern, making them the perfect replacement for Mylar. In addition, most Easy Grow products are now available in three sizes - 25’, 50’ and 100’; all rolls are 100’ long.

#5 - Dust Shrooms

Tired of cleaning dust and dirt out of the insides of your air-cooled housing? Want to prevent your intake fan from pulling in mold spores and bugs from outside? If so, the Dust Shroom is the answer for you. The Dust Shroom from Horti-Control is a reusable foam filter element designed to keep dust, dirt, bugs, mold, bacteria and more out of indoor gardening areas and air-cooled reflectors. Unlike paper HEPA filters, the Dust Shroom is completely reusable, cleanable and extremely durable. Horti-Control teamed up with UNI Filter, the world leader in reusable automotive & racing foam filters, to design a filter for indoor gardeners. Dust Shrooms are available in 4”, 6” and 8” duct sizes and come pre-oiled and ready to install!

#4 - Gnatrol WDG

Got Gnats? A common indoor pest, gnats are mostly harmless yet extremely annoying small black flying insects that are attracted to moist growing mediums and still bodies of water (read: wet rockwool, coco, soil, etc. as well as reservoirs). Gnat larvae live in the root zone and mostly feed on dead root matter. However, if the infestation is advanced and it turns out you have fungus gnats then they can start to have negative effects on your plants. But how do you fight them? Sticky traps don’t cut the mustard, and since they live in the soil, topical sprays won’t take care of the problem either. That’s where Gnatrol WDG comes into play. Gnatrol WDG is a water soluble granulate that is made up of a particular strain of larvicidal bacteria that goes to work dissolving the gnats and larvae from the inside out after the bug has ingested it. Gnatrol was formerly available as a liquid form. In 2010, Gnatrol was reformulated as a water soluble which doubles the shelf life, makes it easier and more accurate to measure, and costs much less to ship! So, if you have gnats going into 2011, get Gnatrol WDG, one of our Top 10 of 2010!

#3 - Can MAX Fan

Can MAX Fans are not necessarily new to 2010, but since we know these are simply the best fans on the market, we thought we would use the recent release of the 6” MAX Fan to their line-up as an “excuse” to include them in our Top 10 of 2010. MAX Fans, the leading name in mixed-flow in-line fan technology in our industry, are extremely energy efficient fans that easily outperform centrifugal fans of the same size. MAX Fans utilize an aerodynamically optimized airflow which helps them run quieter than other fans, as well as significantly reducing the amount of electricity used when compared to a comparable centrifugal fan. They also generate far more static pressure than conventional fans, which means they can easily handle the back pressure generated by carbon filters and long duct runs and force more air through them. The 6” MAX Fan generates 334 CFM and comes with a built in three-stage dimmer switch allowing you to customize your fan speed to your particular setup. MAX fans are easy to mount, light weight and cost less to ship! Available in just about every size possible – 8”, 10”, 12”, 14”, 16”, 18”, 20” and now 6” – the MAX Fan is one of our top 10 choices for 2010.

#2 - Lumatek High PAR Lamps

Lumatek, the long-time world leader in digital grow light ballasts, released their new line of High PAR bulbs in 2010, and we love them! Designed by the world’s leading HID lamp engineers, these lamps provide exceptional performance on both magnetic and electronic ballasts. 100% European engineered and manufactured, Lumatek’s High-PAR output lamps deliver an optimized spectrum and high level of PAR (Photosynthetic Active Radiation) light to promote healthy plant growth. As more and more indoor gardeners realize that lumens are an ineffective and inaccurate measurement of a bulb’s effectiveness toward plant growth, more focus has been put on PAR light by bulb manufacturers. PAR, in essence, is a measurement of plant usable light, and Lumatek made high PAR levels the primary goal in developing their new line of bulbs. Available in 1000 watt HPS, 600 watt HPS and 400 watt HPS, Lumatek High PAR lamps are the perfect addition to your fruiting and flowering lighting program. Put these lamps up against any other enhanced lamps currently on the market and you will see that they perform spectacularly. And since they’re made by Lumatek, you know they are compatible with digital ballasts, although they will perform just as good in conventional magnetic ballasts as well.

#1 - Root Master Pots

Air pruning containers have been a hot topic in 2010, and we here at BGHydro have a favorite in the air pruning pot realm - Root Masters! Root Master pots are available in three different incarnations; RootMakers, RootBuilders and RootTrappers. Root Master Pots help create a fibrous, non-circulating root system that promotes vertical and horizontal branching. A fibrous root system means greater root tip surface area and translates into greater efficiency in the absorption of water and nutrients; an increase in growth rate, establishment and vigor; higher transplant survivability and ultimately, superior performance and production from your plants. If you haven’t done so yet, do yourself a favor and try Gro Pro Root Master Pots today. I know you’re thinking, “it’s just an expensive pot!”, but you will be shocked to see how much better your plants grow and, most importantly, yield. They will pay for themselves several times over on the first harvest alone!

There you have it, BGH’s First Annual Top 10 Products of the Year.  We can’t wait to see what 2011 has in store - see you next year!

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21Nov/100

Black Friday Sale!

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2Nov/103

SoCal Tradeshow Wrapups

Southern California October Trade Show Wrap-ups

Urban Garden GROW 2010:

Following the tremendous success of their Manchester, UK show, Urban Garden Magazine decided to bring GROW 2010 to the Los Angeles Convention Center on October 1st & 2nd. Marking the first of many hydroponic & indoor gardening expo’s to hit the Los Angeles area in the years to come, GROW 2010 was a blast with over 100 different exhibitors, workshops, guest speakers and presentations.

Friday Oct 1st; it was a bright and sunny day in LA. It was also opening day at GROW 2010. Walking into the Los Angeles Convention Center you couldn’t help but feel the excitement in the air. Huge banners over the doorways welcomed you into the convention and the lobby was bustling with attendees waiting for the doors to be opened. The first day of the convention was limited to industry-only participants while the second day, deemed “Grower Day”, was open to the general public. After a short wait, the doors finally open - and we’re in!!!

It’s always exciting to walk into one of these expos and be taken away by the magnitude of the vendor’s booths; each one trying to outdo the next with large-scale product demos, tons of information, raffles, prizes and an amazing amount of free samples. Some even boasted DJ booths, games, free food and drinks as well as plenty of sweet lounge spaces to take a load off from carrying around all those samples (I had to make 4 separate trips back to my car the first day alone because I picked up so much schwag!).

Some of the more notable booths were from the hydroponic big dogs like Botanicare, General Hydro, Sunlight Supply, Can-Fan, C.A.P. (Custom Automated Products), Lumatek, Humboldt Nutrients and many more. However, possibly the most impressive displays were in the Education Arena. Several manufacturers collaborated to set up a handful of intricate and technologically advanced grow rooms ranging in size from a few plants to many. Completely encased in Plexiglas, the gardens acted as the grounds for attendees to gain some extra knowledge while also keeping up to date on the latest and greatest the hydro world has to offer.

The BGHydro boys did a couple of workshops (myself included) on Grower Day in the Education Arena. It was nice to be at a show that was so dedicated to education and advancement and not just new and hot products. We also had a few give-a-ways on Grower Day and there were plenty of BGHydro shirts in the crowd. Overall, GROW 2010 was a fantastic show and I was grateful for the chance to meet a lot of new faces in the hydro world as well as reconnect with many old friends in the industry.

Maximum Yield Indoor Gardening Expo:

Maximum Yield Magazine, long heralded as the biggest Hydro magazine in North America and the force behind the premiere annual hydro expo in San Francisco, decided to bring their Indoor Gardening Expo to the Long Beach Convention Center on Oct 16th & 17th.

BGHydro once again sponsored the Education Station (as we do every year) and we decided to dedicate this year’s booth to the History of Hydroponics. Many people from both inside and outside the industry came by and marveled at the beautiful artwork and informative presentation. The history timeline spanned from the Hanging Gardens of Babylon in 600 BC to modern hydroponic systems of today to the future of hydroponics. Many were amazed at just how rich the history of hydroponics is. Also featured on display was one of the Hydroponic Growing Chambers that BGH was commissioned to design for the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills. This breathtaking and original work of art (a true museum piece that cost $20K to design and build) that was filled with lettuce from our commercial hydroponic farm (Living Lettuce Farms) captured the attention of just about every person that walked into the show. We did some give-a-ways and the Clipper Girls came out to lend us a hand and cheer on the winners!


[more photos on our facebook page]

Many new and unique products were on display from many different vendors. As is to be expected, there were plenty of free samples making their way into the hands of the masses who showed up on Sunday the 17th for the public day. Some of the more notable vendors were Hydrologic, showing off their new reverse osmosis systems, Dutch Master, Can-Fan and Sunlight Supply.

Once again, this show was a great chance to see some of the new and old faces in the hydro industry.