Glossary

Definitions are as related to hydroponic agricultural practices

 

Aeroponics - The process of growing plants by hanging roots in the air and supplying water as a mist.

 

Annual - A plant that completes an entire life cycle in one or less year.

 

Bolt - A term relating to vegetables that prematurely turn to seed due to a cold change in temperature, usually resulting in bad taste or a halt to plant maturity.

 

Color Temperature - The relative white value of light.  Sunlight provides a list value of around 6500K (kelvin).

 

Cutting (Clone) - A piece cut from a plant in order to propagate an exact biological replica from the original plant, maintaining the same characteristics of the original.

 

Ebb and Flow System - Hydroponic system that floods roots and then empties allowing from alternating wet and dry roots.

 

Germinate - When a seed begins to grow after a period of dormancy.

 

GMO - Genetically modified organism.  These plants have been genetically altered in a way that either cannot be reproduced in nature or can take many generations. Frequently GMOs use genes from other plant species.  They are frequently more hearty and produce a crop more uniform in appearance.

 

GPM - Gallons per minute, usually referring to the volume of liquid pushed through a submersed pump.

 

Heirloom - Plants that are open pollinated by wind or insects.  Typically the breeds are 50 or more years old and have not been altered using GMO technologies.  Their yield is less uniform and less unpredictable in appearance than GMO plants.  Many argue that the flavor is also better since many GMOs are altered more for uniform appearance than flavor.

 

Hydroponics - The process of growing plants in a nutrient rich solution without soil.

 

Leggy - Having an unusually long space on a branch or vine with sparse foliage.  Caused by lack of blue light, CO2, or too much nitrogen.

 

Life Cycle - The complete cycle of a plant’s life.  A natural cycle is seed, seedling, vegetative, and floral.

 

Lumen (Foot Candle) - One lame is the equivalent of the intensity of light produced by a candle on a surface one foot away.

 

Nutrient - Includes elements NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium).  Elements required to feed plants.  Different balances can be used to support different stages of plant growth.

 

Perennial - A plant that completes it’s life cycle over multiple years.

 

pH - A number scale from 1 to 14 measuring the basicity or acidity of a liquid solution.  Generally plants grow best between 5.5 and 6.8.

 

Soluble - Dissolves in water.

 

Sprout - A recently germinated seed.

 

TDS - Total dissolved solids in water.  You can measure this with a TDS or PPM meter.  Drinking water should be around 50 total dissolved solids per million.

 

Transplant - Moving plants from soil into your hydroponic system.  Always remove most or all of the soil by rinsing the roots or you may contaminate your tower.  Carefully pull some roots through the bottom of the net-pot in order to ensure your transplant anchors itself well and can reach water.  Cover roots with hydroton, as they do not like the light and will rot if dry for too long.

 

Trellis/Cage/Support - A support system to help branches from breaking.  The most common being a tomato cage, so the plant can grow tall without falling over or committing too much energy to creating stronger branches.