Earlier this Spring, a few of us from GH got to relieve our college days when our President and Founder, Lawrence Brooke, was invited to speak during the Greenhouse and Nursery Production class at University of California, Davis. The class teaches undergraduate and graduate students the fundamental principles, practices, and science of growing plants in a greenhouse and nursery setting. Larry gave an informative and engaging lecture at the beginning of class, followed by a session of hands-on experience setting up different GH hydroponic systems and mixing nutrients in the greenhouse. GH has had the pleasure of being invited to teach a laboratory section on Hydroponics for the last four years, and looks forward to returning next year.
There is nothing more satisfying then growing your own food. Earlier this week we harvested a pound and half of Bok Choy grown in a WaterFarm. The Bok Choy was started in Rapid Rooters, and the seedlings were transplanted into a mix of half coconut coir, half GH silica rock. We fertilized with FloraNova Grow at a rate of 10 ml/gallon, and the plants were ready to harvest in less than a month! After harvesting our bounty we inspected the roots, and it never ceases to amaze us how fast roots grow. Fine roots hairs densely populated the substrate, and even grew into the reservoir in such a brief amount of time.
We also have Kale, broccoli, and Thai chilies growing in the greenhouse, but we are eagerly anticipating the return of summer fruits and vegetables. Tomato season can’t get here soon enough. What are you planning on growing this year in your garden?
General Hydroponics and General Hydroponics Europe were represented at the 1st World Congress on the use of Biostimulants in Agriculture in Strasbourg, France. More than 700 people from all around the world, representing both academia and private industry, gathered to learn about the effects of biostimulants on plant growth and development. Biostimulants are non-fertilizer plant growth enhancers that are typically biologically derived products (meaning they can come from animal, plant, or microbial sources); biostimulants are often by-products of other commercial manufacturing processes, making them viable inputs for sustainably-minded agriculture. While the benefits of many biostimulants, such as kelp, have been known to stimulate plant growth for centuries, the mechanisms behind the growth enhancing effects are usually poorly understood. Many researchers in academia and private industry are currently exploring the mechanisms of biostimulants in order to improve the effectiveness of these innovative products.
We heard several excellent presentations, given by some of the field’s foremost scientists; not surprisingly, many of these products and ingredients have been a part of our product lines for several years. The information that our Research and Development team learned at the conference will be used to continually improve existing products and develop exciting new products that will help horticulturalists all over the world grow better quality and more bountiful yields of their favorite food and flowers.
For the past few weeks at GH in Sebastopol, we have been anxiously anticipating the opening of the swelling blossoms on our beautiful ornamental plum trees. The presence of flowers is surprising to see since winter has barely begun, and fall is still lingering in the background (apparent by looking at our Liquid Amber trees at the peak of their display of brilliant leaf color). While it is unusual to see trees flower so early, this is not necessarily an indicator of global warming, but instead the result our ability to breed trees that have very little dormancy requirements. As you know, some plants flower due to photoperiod (the amount of uninterrupted darkness it receives at night), while others simply flower after a certain amount of time has passed. Many trees go dormant in the fall/winter and drop their leaves, and are only able to overcome dormancy based on how many chilling hours they receive. In other words, they are ready to flower once they have been exposed to a certain temperature (typically between 45ºF and 32ºF) for a specific amount of time. Breeders have been able to reduce or extend required chilling times by selectively crossing varieties that flower under specific numbers of chilling hours; development of varieties with altered chilling requirements allows for crops to be cultivated in regions where they would otherwise never grow.
Before the winter blues get you down, just take a moment to enjoy what nature( and thousands of years of human driven breeding) have given you. Spring will be here before you know it.
Chorisia speciosa, also called “Palo borracho” is a tree that grows up to 25 m in its native environment, in Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina. It is part of the kapok and baobab family, also called “Silk Floss” tree because of the silky white fluff that burst out of its exploded pod when it is ripe enough. They say that Chorisia will not seed out of the tropics, so we may never see them in our greenhouse in Fleurance… and then again, we have witnessed lots of unexpected and happy experiences in our greenhouse over the years.
We germinated our Chorisia speciosa in 2003. Only one plant grew to become a young tree, which we kept in soil for maximum protection. It grew quite fast, considering that it was way out of its climate… developing a strangely shaped trunk with strong, triangular, and quite aggressive thorns. Last year we got one flower, and were totally marveled! But this year around September, we noticed a certain number of little green buds, which transformed into a multitude of beautiful 12” flowers. The whole canopy was covered in pink, orange, and purple. A real feast!
There is an Argentinean legend on Palo borracho, about a young woman and a proud warrior, who lived in a tribe in the deep forests, and were very much in love. One day he went to war and never came back. She became totally downhearted and decided to let herself die in the forest. Some time later, she was discovered by a group of hunters. When they tried to move her body, they realized that from her arms grew branches, her head had stemmed into a trunk, and her fingers were transformed into a multitude of white flowers, the color of her tears that later turned into purple, in honor of her lover’s blood. (If you understand Spanish, go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUtDzLHjRjA). Still today, in those same forests, people use chorisia to make ropes, dig canoes, and treat headaches.
Our Chorisia tree grew in soil, with the best of all mixes: Flora Series, and the General Organic line combined, and adapted to the different stages of its growth. This is a great success! Looking forward to the next season!
Noucetta Kehdi – GH Europe
The harvest for this year’s hops are finished. We took in over 15 pounds of fresh hops.
After last years rain/mold disaster it was good to have some nice cones to give to the company beer brewers.
The Fuggles variety from last year did not survive. Over half the Nuggets did. We cloned some more in the spring to replace the ones that did not make it. Also tried 3 of the Mt. Hood variety (4″ pots from local nursery) and they did well. All of these were grown in bato buckets on trellis with drip irrigation. Hydroton,with a little coco,was substrate and FloraNova was the nutrient used in the reservoir. Mt. Hood are in the photo.
Mid fall’s cooler weather is a time when many areas can plant cool weather vegetables like carrots. lettuce, garlic, and bok choy. This can be done by either by direct sowing, or by first starting in Rapid Rooter plugs. It is also the time to harvest cauliflower and bring in the last of the squash, peppers, and perhaps most important to Halloween, pumpkins.
Pumpkins are a bit like squashes, and a bit like gourds. They have a firm outer shell that encases a mesh of seeds and tissue. It is a common tradition to take one of these large orange vegetables and carve holes in it to serve as a lantern. These are frequently lit with a small candle or more safely, a small battery powered LED. According to folklore a character named Jack used to carry such a lantern everywhere he went. As the legend goes, he became known as Jack of the lantern, which is why theses carved pumpkins are now commonly known as Jack o’ Lanterns.
Saving seeds from pumpkins is reasonably easy. Collect and rinse the seeds well, dry flat on paper towels, then place in a small paper bag. Allow to continue to dry for an additional week or two, shaking daily for the first week. Pumpkin seeds can also be salted and roasted in the oven for a healthy and tasty treat.
General Hydroponics is happy to sponsor the Official Chill Zone at Harmony By The Bay this coming Saturday, September 29. Come find us in the Harmony Village and kick back. Whether you’ll be there to see The Shins, Matishuya, Tegan & Sara, Alison Krauss or the great Jimmy Cliff, GH will be there to let you max and relax.
This past weekend Hawk from Nighthawk Racing out of Warwick Rhode Island had an event at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, GH is proud to be a part of Hawks passion for both racing and for gardening! Hawk is also part of Grow With Us, a wonderful garden retailer in Rhode Island, if you are in the area stop by the shop!
GH had a blast with Hawk at the event, and we were able to share in the love with many of our retail and manufacturing partners in the hydroponics industry. Many of the countries top retailers were at the event, and we want to thank Dennis at Can Filters and Michael at Nickel City Garden Center for their support as well.
We are excited to be a part of the Nighthawk Racing Team, which will be coming to blaze through a city near you!!! Look for the bad-ass Oldsmobile and the GH tent at a speedway near you! Check Hawk out at
As some of you may know, GH was a main sponsor at Electric Forest Festival in Rothbury, MI. We gave away samples of our Floralicious® Plus organic bases supplement and RapidStart rooting enhancer and had heavily discounted sample boxes of our Flora Series Perfomance Pack and our General Organic Go Boxes.
But the funnest promotion we did hands down was our special addition Electric Forest Stick It To Win It Contest for a free GH custom decorated bike. We had some great entries, and everyone who entered was rewarded with awesome nutritional plant growing goodness, but our first place winner was elected unanimously.
This was clearly the most creative and artistic entry. After much excitement and jumping, our winner rode away blissfully happy on his new bike (I was even told his previous bike had been stolen week before, hearing this just cemented my resolve we picked the right winner). Check out the entries and let us know what you think!
The contest is ongoing for great freebies, just take a picture with one of ours stickers and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org for your own chance to win.
Next up: look for us at Gaia Festival in Laytonville, CA for more freebies, more fun, and more more stickers.
I hope Michigan is ready. For the second year in a row GH is sponsoring the super-festival, Electric Forest, in the town of Rothbury. What does that mean? Well for me it meant catching red-eye flight on Tuesday night from San Francisco to Detroit, and spending the last three days helping with shopping, prepping, hauling equipment and plants, manual laboring, schmoozing, and basically making sure we have the coolest (and now, most organized) booth possible. I think we did it. No, I know we did it.
If you are lucky enough to have a ticket to the sold-out festival, please stop by and say hello to us! We are located at the rear of the Sherwood Court stage right by the swinging hammock forest with a beautiful plant and light filled oasis set up.
We have FREE samples of our Floralicious® Plus organic bases supplement and RapidStart rooting enhancer. We also have heavily discounted sample boxes of our Flora Series Perfomance Pack and our General Organic Go Boxes.
What else are we doing? We bought a bike, got creative in the booth, decorated it with colored duct tape and GH stickers, and are raffling it off before the end of the weekend! If you are at the festival, stop by our booth, pick up a sticker, take a photo of it in an original location, and forward the picture to email@example.com to win the bike! Same rules as Stick It To Win It Contest. Winners will be alerted by email as soon as we pick you. You will have a limited amount of time to pick up the bike before we go on to the next most original photograph.
We have lots more festival fun planned! Come visit us, get out of the sun, sit on our shaded and misted couches, learn about our products and our community, and be like our plants: chill and happy. GH Toolmaker Andy Graham will be playing his trademark Slaperoo between stage sets and his lovely wife Alexis Bauer (the owner of My Friend Joe in Santa Rosa, California) will have an impromptu gourmet coffee and snow cone booth going. I will be painting faces, and who knows what else…
In conclusion: it’s a good time to be at Electric Forest, it’s a great time to visit our booth, and it’s always a perfect time to take home some samples and win a one of a kind bike.
June 30th, 2012 under Community, Festivals, Michigan, Nutrients, Organics, Products.
Tags: andygraham, electric forest, Festivals, flora series performance pack], floraliciou, general organic GO boxes, RapidStart, slaperoo, stick it to win it
Quinoa is an ancient grain grown in the Andes mountains of south America near the equator. It was called the “the mother of all grains” by the Incas and there are records of it grown 3000 to 4000 years ago. It is not really a grain, but a “pseudocereal” and a member of the Chenopodium family of plants – the same as beets, spinach and lamb’s quarters. The seed heads are the part that are generally eaten and are very nutritious.
There are many different varieties of quinoa, this one is Brightest Brilliant Rainbow from Botanical Interests seed company. It is beautiful when ripe with seed heads colored from hot pink to burgundy, orange, yellow and green. This variety will grow to 6 – 7 feet tall. They grow in temperatures from 25 F at night to 95 F during the day, but prefer the cooler end of the temperature range – the plants were not happy in the 100 degree weather we were having last week! They are in our PowerGrower systems (one plant in each) and need about 2 gallons of water/day. I don’t think they will get much taller, hoping the weather does not get too hot so they will finish ripening over the next month. I will post a photo when the plants are blooming.
The United Nations has declared 2013 International Year of Quinoa. I have 3 more varieties of quinoa growing in different hydroponic systems. An ancient food grown with modern technology, looking forward to seeing how they grow.
Those with sharp eyes will note the plants are growing in GH Solar Systems.
More on them to come……
Things got exciting this past Saturday in Watsonville CA for Dustin Baxter’s Gen Hydro sponsored CRA 410 Sprint Car. As Dustin explains it:
“Entered the turn high and on the hammer and there wasn’t enough racetrack to hold me. Clipped the wall and the went for a wild ride. Glad to be okay. Thankful for all the safety equipment we use and thankful to have GH on board.”
Nothing wrong with planting in soil.
Your products are highly recommended and I want to try them, but I don’t want to have to spend a bunch of money to see how well they work. Any suggestions?
It is with this in mind that we have created the ultimate all-in-one nutrient kit: the FloraSeries Performance Pack. We threw in everything but the kitchen sink and are positive that you will see outstanding results whether you grow in hydro, coco, or soil. We have made this kit bullet proof by starting with the world’s best selling and most popular hydroponic base nutrient – FloraSeries. You will provide your plants with all of the essential micro and macro nutrients with FloraGro, FloraMicro, and FloraBloom. As the goal is to give you the full experience from the cradle to the grave we also supply you with RapidStart and FloraBlend for your roots, Liquid KoolBloom and Floralicious Plus for your fruits and flowers, and FloraKleen & a pH test kit for maintenance. So, if you are a skeptic and don’t want to believe what thousands of others already know, head down to your local hydro shop and pick up a FloraSeries Performance Pack. Performance does not have to come at a price.
Summer is almost here! How can I tell? There are beautiful (outdoor grown) strawberries, the sun is setting later, and there is a different festival every weekend. Oh festival season, how I love you! Time to hunt through my garage for camping gear, the hall closet for faux fur jackets, and my room for the fishnets, face paints, and LED lights that will awaken from their winter hibernation to glow through the season. Bring on the late night bass music, the early morning open-air yoga sessions, the overabundance of feather earrings. Me and GH are ready for you.
I spent the weekend of May 24-28 at Lightning in a Bottle in Silverado, California researching the possibility of GH having a full booth next year. (Um…yes please!) This is hands down one of my favorite festivals in California. The southern Californian location is gorgeous, the Do Lab always goes all out with incredible art installations and live painting, and the vibe is just so much fun.
I, of course, got my groove on to the big names: Bassnectar, Glitch Mob, Random Rab, Opiuo, Gaudi; but I had the most fun reciting poetry to late night didgeridoo sessions and renegade DJ sets (shout-out to VITAMINDEVO) then I did on the crowded dance floor. I got my yoga on up the hill at the Temple of Consciousness. I painted faces and hula hooped in the grass during the day. I watched the sunrise a few too many times. I saw lots of old friends, and made too many new ones to keep track of. I had an absolute blast.
My favorite part? Promoting GH, believe it or not. The week before the festival the Hydroponic Gods threw various obstacles at me which prevented me from getting a giant box of stickers to hand out to promote the Stick It To Win It sticker contest. I ended up showing up at the festival empty handed with no GH materials on me at all except one size small women’s tank top from Gaia Festival last year. So what did you think I did Sunday morning at sunrise? I marched around and found the best looking people still dancing past dawn, asked/demanded they put on my shirt, and took pictures of them for your viewing pleasure.
Thank you GH for sending me to Lightning in a Bottle! I’m so excited to be working closer with you this year helping to bring hydroponic knowledge, new product information, bacon, and good vibes to festivals this summer. Look for me and GH at Sonic Bloom, Electric Forest, Gaia Festival, and more. (I promise to have stickers on me.)
June 8th, 2012 under Community, Festivals, Indoor Gardening, Travel.
Tags: art, contest, Festival, Festivals, kyra, lightning in a bottle, music, stick it to win it, stickers, travel