Temperature & Your Grow 101

Do you ever worry that your AC will break down while you are away, and you will come home to a lost cause in your grow room? If you are like most growers, this concern has crossed your mind more than once.  Temperature is incredibly important to the health and vitality of your plants and ultimately your yield. Yes, there are many other elements that need to be considered, but for now, let’s look at temperature’s influence on the health of your grow.

What is the ideal temperature for my grow?

Although some plants may vary, the typical range that most flowering plants thrive in is between 72 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Plants grown in a natural outdoor environment, are more resilient to hot and cold temperatures due to the high rate of air circulation. To mimic the outdoors in a closed system, make sure you replace the air within the room up to five times per minute. With constant circulating air, you will also need fans, air conditioners and/or heaters to regulate temperatures within your grow room. read more


Russet Mites

Mighty Mites: Spider, Russet and Bulb Mites

Spider Mites, Russet Mites and Bulb Mites

As a grower you learn to take precautions against the various pests and nasty things that would love to make a meal out of your plants. Yet even the most conscientious of gardeners will likely find themselves in a protracted battle with spider mites, russet mites or even bulb mites at some point. Having the knowledge and tools at hand to deal with an issue right away can make a big difference in how long your fight lasts and how far you will need to go to emerge the victor. First, you will need to Know Your Enemy. read more


Super Soil

What is Super Soil? Plus A Professional Review

The best part about it is the consistency.  I rarely, if ever, see any nutrient deficiencies, across various plant types.”

What is Super Soil?

Super soil is a term coined by well-known grower and seed producer Subcool to describe a soil recipe he uses to help simplify the process of attaining an ideal harvest no matter your level of growing expertise. It is a highly amended growing medium that eliminates the need to use liquid nutrients.  Subcool, who operates TGA Genetics, has been a contributor to High Times, Skunk, Treating Yourself, Heads, Weed World, and West Coast Magazines.  He has won the Cannabis Cup, is an accomplished author, and has over 30 years of experience as a grower. read more


Heirloom-Tomato

Heirloom Seeds vs Hybrid Seeds

What is the difference between Heirloom Seeds vs Hybrid Seeds?

Hybrid seeds are created by selecting two strains and cross-pollinating them in order to create a more vigorous plant, often times selecting for higher yield and shelf stability.  Heirlooms are old-time varieties saved year after year and are prized for their superb flavor, superior nutrient density and the ability to save your own

What are some advantages to growing heirloom strains?

Flavor

The number one reason to grow heirlooms is the exceptional flavor.  Many modern breeding programs have sacrificed taste and nutrition in order to gain shelf stability.  Modern hybrids are often times bred to be picked green and gas-ripened because that is what is needed for commercial growing and shipping.  Heirlooms, on the other hand have been saved for decades and even centuries because they are the best performers for home and market gardens.  The ability to ship and distribute them was never a concern.  This allowed flavor to and nutrition to take a front seat.  What farmer could survive in a world of direct-to-market produce if their tomatoes didn’t taste as good as their neighbors? read more


Gavita Pro E-Series: Advances in Grow Light Technology

Gavita Pro E-Series: Double Ended Lighting Technology

Of all the new lighting technologies available, double ended HPS bulbs and specifically the Gavita Pro E-Series Ballasts that drive them have garnered the most attention. Rightfully so, as these new fixtures are delivering the increased light output and efficiency the manufacturers claim. What are the key differences that set these lamps apart? More importantly, are they right for your application and is the extra performance and features worth the premium price?

Tech Overview:

These lamps are an evolutionary improvement over the traditional mogul base HPS bulb and digital or magnetic ballast. Let’s go over the three important differences of these fixtures versus a traditional electronic ballast and single ended bulb. read more


Air Pruning & Nursery Pots

With so many different types of nursery pots to choose from, you may be left wondering what is the difference or why does it matter? The answer is simple, performance. One of the biggest influences on performance is air pruning.

Air Pruning

Air pruning is the introduction of dry air into the root system. When this happens the apical cells at the root’s tip become dehydrated. The plant responds by growing a pair of secondary roots that branch off of the initial root. Each time the media dries out, the process repeats itself creating literally thousands of offshoot roots. This vigorous root system is much better at mining soil and increasing nutrient uptake. Air pruning also prevents the plants roots from literally strangling each other, a process known as spiraling. read more


What is OMRI?

When it comes to agriculture, the definition of “Certified Organic” can be contentious. Farmers, lobbyists, activists, PR firms, etc. have different standards and stakes in a growing multi-billion dollar per year industry.The non-profit Organic Materials Review Institute has been helping to formally define “organic” since 1997, years before the industry took off and our government got involved.

If an input (like a fertilizer or pesticide) appears on OMRI’s Products List, then it is approved for use on certifiable organic cash crops. Sounds great if you’re in the business of making organic nutrients or pesticides… but it’s not easy to get on the list. To do so, a product must pass OMRI’s expert reviews which are technical, scientific, and political. There are multiple levels of review by representatives from all facets of the industry. Point being, if a product earns the OMRI stamp of approval, you can be confident in its organic integrity. Gardening with OMRI listed products can help ensure that what you grow is truly as “organic” as it can possibly be. Find out more at omri.org which includes a very cool and useful search function that lets you surf the OMRI Products and Materials Lists. Got a nutrient or chemical and want to know if you can use it on an organic crop? Looking for organic products? Check the OMRI lists. read more


Powdery Mildew of on a leaf of the tree

Powdery Mildew: Chemical Controls

Chemical Controls for Powdery Mildew

Some of our past posts have looked at cultural and biological controls for powdery mildew. These, along with Greencure, are all typically approved for use in certified organic agriculture.

Now, it’s time to talk dirty. So, get out your PPE (personal protective equipment), take a deep breath, and prepare to kill some bacteria and fungi…

Synthetic chemical fungi killers come last in this series because, ideally, they are a last resort. While undeniably useful components in an integrated disease management plan, they should not be relied upon as a substitute for good gardening practices. read more


Powdery Mildew of on a rosebud

Powdery Mildew: Organic Controls

Organic GreenCure for Powdery Mildew

Chemical controls for powdery mildew range from harmless substances, such as milk and whey, to hardcore synthetic fungicides. It is important to start with your organic options first, let’s take a look at one of our favorite antifungal organic options for powdery mildew, GreenCure.

What Am I Putting on My Plants?

When it comes to fungicides (organic or not), GreenCure is a product that deserves serious consideration. It consists primarily of potassium bicarbonate (which is used in human food), dietary supplements, and antacids.  This active ingredient is similar to baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). While both bicarbonates can be used as a fungicide, studies show that the potassium version is 25-35 times more effective. Not only is it safe for you, it’s also safe for our environment. The USDA, FDA, and EPA all recognize its safety. GreenCure is one of the few fungicides registered for indoor use by the EPA. read more


mildew controls

Powdery Mildew: Biological Controls

Biological controls are living organisms used to prevent and treat pests in your garden. One great benefit of utilizing biological controls is that it allows you to be approved for certified organic gardening due to the absence of chemicals. 

Why Should I Use Biological Controls?

Compost teas and products like Photosynthesis Plus, Actinovate, & Serenade contain numerous microorganisms (microbes). When you spray them onto your plants, these beneficial little lifeforms fight the good fight against the pathogenic ones. In addition to killing fungi, like powdery mildew, they can also prevent them in the following ways: increased overall plant health, improved disease resistance and by establishing beneficial microbial colonies which occupy space and consume plant byproducts that could otherwise end up supporting disease. In other words, you use these little buggers to create a militia of good guys that kick out the rowdy ones that would otherwise be hanging around and eating your goods. read more


Powdery Mildew Prevention II: Gardening Techniques

Ignorance is NOT Bliss

Powdery Mildew is a powerful force that is worthy of your time and prevention efforts. It is undeniable that there are lots of spores in our environment but there are also a lot of ways to deny them. There is no use in claiming ignorance.  Spores present a real garden threat and they won’t be disappearing from the planet unless we do (and they might still be around after that). We’re talking about keeping them out of our garden and stopping them from breeding if they do find their way in.

The Power of Denial

Although you may be looking at how to prevent powdery mildew from affecting your indoor garden you have to work from the outside in. In order to keep spores outdoors, take steps to ensure that you and your friends are not going from another garden (especially an outdoor garden) directly into another garden without showering and changing clothes. It may seem melodramatic but remember, we’re dealing with a phantom menace. A Way to Grow gardener shared, that after unsuccessfully fighting PM for some time, he finally came to realize that he was bringing in spores from some infected rose bushes he continually walked past when entering his house. read more


PM prevention

Powdery Mildew Prevention I: Garden Design & Climate Control

How Garden Design & Climate Control Can Help Prevent Powdery Mildew

So the background check into powdery mildew spores confirms that they can be a habitual offender, a persistent pain in the ass. If your plants have ever been afflicted, then you know PM is a menace. What makes PM a phantom menace? Standard definitions of ‘phantom’ suggest something unreal, like a ghost. That obviously doesn’t apply here. Ask any gardener who has dealt with PM: it’s all too real. Ask that same person how they feel about PM and they may well touch on other definitions of phantom: something hated, feared, or deceptive. read more


Petri dish with spores growing

Powdery Mildew Spores

Powdery mildew Spores are Already in Your Garden

While this may sound alarmist, it’s not an unrealistic or paranoid exaggeration.

The Power of Spores

Consider the nature of spores; they exist to reproduce. Not to mention, they are invincible. They can survive in all weather extremes for long periods of time, travel great distances, and there are lots of them in our environment. Studies look at how far above and below us they exist in order to help define the limits of our biosphere.

Spores are pretty powerful stuff. The theory of panspermia suggests that spores may have brought life to our planet. Did you know that spores can survive space travel, radical ethnobotanist and native Coloradoan Terence Mckenna even proposes that connections exist between spores, earthlings, and aliens? Isn’t wild that spores not only create life but are also intelligent and able to communicate? Really?! How do gardeners stand a chance? read more


Powdery Mildew Pinnate Leaves

Hello, My Name is Powdery Mildew

Powdery Mildew May Be Your Arch-Nemesis! 

Powdery mildew is a major challenge for both global food producers and small scale gardeners. There are a number of ways to reduce your risk of becoming a victim of this pesky mildew.

Prevention is Your Bestie

First and foremost, prevention is key. As the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Once it is in your environment, it is very difficult to eradicate. Taking preventative measures will help to mitigate risk and potentially save your garden from infestation.  

Weather Resistant

Powdery mildew spores are very hardy and weather resistant. They can even survive throughout the winter. Carefully screen any plants before bringing outdoor plants indoors for the colder season or when integrating new plants into your grow. Examine both sides of the leaves, fruits, and stems. If you have space, consider creating a ‘quarantine’ area where you can put new plants for the first few weeks. This may seem like a drastic step but consider that eradicating powdery mildew can be a significant amount of work. read more


Russet Mites

Russet Mites

Russet mites are not spider mites – they’re more difficult to spot and control.

As with all pests and diseases, it’s much easier to prevent the problem from occurring instead of controlling an outbreak. Inspect your plants carefully and frequently, quarantine new plants, and consider using a preventative foliar spray on a regular basis. Russet mites are very small and infestations require a microscope to see. Generally you’ll start to see plant damage before you spot the mites themselves. Leaf edges will start to curl up and you’ll see discoloration and “burning” on the leaves. The mites may look like a brown/yellow powder on the infected parts of the plant. Under a microscope, they’ll look like a small worm with 4 legs on the front. If possible, drop the temperature in your garden while you are working on eradicating russet mites to slow their rate of reproduction. “No Spider Mites” is an organic spray that is effective at controlling Russet mites. We’ve also seen good success with Bonide Eight Insect Control. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions – if you do not use enough product or use it too infrequently, you can risk your mite population to become resistant to your treatment. If this happens, switch to a different product. If you have an ongoing battle with Russet mites, keep rotating your products. Always test on a small section of your garden and observe the results for a day or two before treating your entire garden.