The genetics of your plants will play a major role in the outcome of your garden. As the plant goes through its life cycle it can sometimes be difficult to assess whether the plant is responding to its environment, or whether it is following the instructions written in its DNA. With the rise of GMO crops, the choice of which varieties to grow can become a charged issue. Engineered species may be more hardy and pest resistant, but might also be flavorless, or have an unexpected interaction with the environment. Whether you choose a resilient modern variety or an heirloom with character, remember that DNA will always be working behind the scenes.
The amount and quality of sunlight that your plants receive will also affect their growth. Seasonal variances, exposure and shadows from buildings and trees must be taken into account when setting up a garden. If artificial light is to be used, it must be of a robust spectrum and sufficient intensity to satisfy the needs of the plants without overwhelming them or drying them out. Different plants and different phases of growth require different light spectra and intensity. Light supplies the energy used in photosynthesis, which is one of the most fundamental plant processes.
The atmosphere affects the growth and life of plants dramatically. Plants require lots of fresh air, so growers who are using greenhouses and indoor facilities must supplement their airflow with fans. The temperature and relative humidity have a major effect on plant physiology and growth. Both photosynthesis and transpiration are dependent upon proper humidity, temperature and air circulation. Plants can survive in a wide variety of atmospheric conditions, but to truly thrive they must have plentiful fresh air and proper temperature and humidity. The ideal temperature and humidity for your plants is between 65 – 90˚ F (18 – 32˚ C) and 40% – 80% relative humidity.
Unfortunately for gardeners, there are a host of organisms which survive by destroying plants. These range from microscopic bacteria, viruses and fungi to larger organisms, such as insects and arachnids. Cleanliness can help prevent pests from arriving. By keeping garden tools and surfaces sterilized, destructive microorganisms will have a harder time gaining a foothold. Moist, warm and damp conditions are favorable to developing mold and mildew, so avoiding condensation and insuring sufficient air circulation will help keep these undesirables away. Larger pests require a more aggressive approach. There are many products available which assist in the eradication of these invaders, but cleanliness is a good start in managing pathogens and pests.
Plants need nutrients to grow. GH has several nutrients which provide all of the elements required by plants. These fertilizers contain an idealized blend of macro and micro nutrients, and can be adjusted to suit the needs of the plant based on its age and growth stage. To boost plant performance, successful gardeners add supplements to the nutrient solution. These additives can improve plant vitality, enhance flavors, and increase yields. Since these nutrients and supplements are absorbed through the roots of the plant, optimum nutrition requires strong and healthy roots. Proper nutrition is a major component to healthy, thriving plants.
The quality of the water that plants receive will affect their health and vitality. Municipal water can contain harmful additives, such as chlorine, and even natural well water can contain an excess of minerals or have an extreme pH. A surplus of many common elements in water can cause a chain reaction in a nutrient solution, resulting in many of the vital elements fusing together and becoming unavailable to the plant. Testing your water will inform you if your water is a problem. If your problem is excessive minerals, using Flora Series and Hard Water Micro might be sufficient. Truly problematic water must be filtered or pH adjusted before being used for plants.
Thank you for the information in The General Hydroponics, Product Catalog for this great blog post.