Growstones aggregates make for an ideal hydroponic substrate due to its small and large pores. When the substrate is irrigated, water is held in the micro pores but quickly drains through the macro pores, allowing fresh air to flow through the substrate, which brings oxygen to the roots and removes carbon dioxide from the root zone. Amazing.
Check it out in this video. It’s not magic. It’s Growstones!
Clay pebbles available today
Growers have had a love hate relationship with clay pebbles for years. Now there’s finally a choice. Besides the clear advantage of providing a higher level of aeration than clay pebbles, Growstones have significantly less fines, and release silica over time in a form plant roots can uptake.
Here are some of the advantages of Growstones aggregates over clay pebbles based on actual physical characteristics of both substrates.
1. Higher air-filled porosity
At field capacity (i.e. after irrigation water has drained away), clay pebbles air-filled porosity is about 42%, while Growstones hydroponic media is 48% by volume. This corresponds to at least 12% higher aeration in Growstones than clay pebbles. The importance of high porosity in hydroponic growing cannot be undermined. Ideal substrates have small and large pore spaces. When the substrate is irrigated, water is held in the small pores but quickly drains through the large pores, allowing fresh air to flow through the soil, bringing oxygen to the roots and removing carbon dioxide from the root zone.
Did you know that potted soil from garden centers often is contaminated with eggs and/or larvae of fungus gnats? That means before you even start, you could have a fungus gnat problem and not even know it. Whatever the source of your fungus gnats issue, larvae are the source of plant damage. They feed on algae, fungi, decomposing organic matter, and plant roots in the growing medium. They prefer feeder roots and root hairs, both of which are important for plant health and vigor. If these roots are damaged plants may lose vigor, wilt, have poor growth, leaves may turn yellow and drop.
What’s more, even though adult fungus gnats don’t bite or feed, as long as they are able to complete their life cycle, there will always be potential for plant damage from larvae. Up until now, there was no way to significantly disrupt a gnat’s life cycle without the use of chemicals.
Not any more.
Why We Added Xtreme Gardening Mykos ® to our GS-3 Coco Mix.
When most novice gardeners hear the word “fungus”, visions of plant devastation come to mind. Leaves and flowers covered in harmful, fluffy nasty that ruins entire gardens. Bad news.
But there is also beneficial fungus too! And Mycorrhizae is one of them. In fact, it is an excellent type of fungus that helps plants uptake water and nutrients, and shields the roots from attack by harmful root diseases. In exchange, the plant provides carbohydrates back to the fungus. A symbiotic relationship where both benefit.
Time to a grower is crucial. Why waste it measuring, blending, and preparing your blend? Did you add enough? Did everything get evenly mixed? Without the proper blending equipment, it’s a guessing game. Inevitably, you will have that ½ bag of something left over taking up space. All of this can be a waste of your time, which ultimately is a waste of your money. Not anymore.
We’ve done all the work for you!
Once upon a time (like 50 years ago), clay pebbles were the way to go when growing indoors. Frankly, that’s all that was available. And even though even back then they were far from ideal due to their red clay leakage, dirty composition and unsustainable practices, growers grinned and bared it. Because that’s just the way it was.
But not anymore.
Thankfully, technology has changed. Just think of what your life would be without the smart phone? Or laptop? Or internet, for that matter? You’re not sending text messages via carrier pigeon, are you? Then why are you still using an old, outdated growing medium like clay pebbles?
The fact is the quality of the clay pebbles on the market today is EVEN WORSE than it was 50 years ago. These replacements are not only dustier, they are no longer consistent in size or porosity, they crush and chip easily, and leave behind an even darker residue. Yuck.
This is a guest blog by Jason Green of Edenworks. Growstone is collaborating with this Brooklyn-based startup helping to build the future of urban farming.
Presently, cities are largely hubs of consumption, but there’s a growing tide that is instead moving cities toward becoming closed and renewable ecosystems. Much of the driving force behind this change is increasingly conscientious consumers demanding locally and sustainably grown food. But a gap exists between the availability of this local produce, especially in cities, and the ever-increasing demand.
Some technologies, like hydroponics and aquaponics, offer a glimmer of hope for solving this problem. However, large scale systems are expensive to build, require significant expertise to operate, and are further constrained by the uniquely cramped and vertical environment of cities.
GS-3 Coco Mix
Growstone’s new revolutionary take on the “chow mix”
What is a chow mix? Chow mix started a few years ago when a handful of growers mixed expanded clay pebbles (Hydroton at the time) with coco fiber creating a soilless growing medium. The addition of the clay pebbles allowed their mix to drain faster. As with any fast draining growing media, the grower can increase the number of feedings per day without the risk of over watering. These frequent feedings provide an opportunity to exchange the stale air and spent nutrients in the plant’s roots. In this situation more feedings = bigger yields!
Fast growth flowering plants enjoy a rapid draining root zone. Essential oil production and flower density increase with a “steerable” root zone. Any experienced grower knows a simulated drought at strategic periods during a plant’s life can trigger changes in growth increasing yield, potency, flavor, and aroma. Chow mixes are ideal for this style of gardening!
Are you using diatomaceous earth or sand in an attempt to control fungus gnats but still see them flying around?
Know why? They don’t work.
According to Kansas State University, Diatomaceous Earth and Sand are NOT effective control for Fungus Gnats? (Source: Raymond A. Cloyd, Fungus Gnat Management on Greenhouse-Grown Crops, Kansas State University, September 2010).
It has been thought that fungus gnats are more of a nuisance than harm. However, that annoying cloud of gnats can do way worse damage than getting stuck in things you wish they wouldn’t.
Fungus gnats lay their young in the top few inches of soil. These larvae feed on your roots reducing root mass. Less roots = less yield! Even worse, recent evidence has shown they can carry harmful spores leading to certain fungal infections. The open wounds created by the feeding larvae are an entry point for these plant pathogens.