Meet Our Growers!

I did some work with your product, and I must say it is very good. There are
areas where steadyGROWpro surpasses others in the same market. I run
experiments in adverse growing conditions, and steadyGROWpro was much better in
cold water deep water culture. The water retention balance in your product
was superior to rockwool in my opinion.

Another area that is superior is the ability to size the media to a certain
configuration for seed propagation. It is very easy to cut or size as
compared to other media. For example, I personally like to start seeds in 288
cells, so this size cell could be retrofitted with steadyGROWpro eliminating a
coco, rockwool or orchid-based starter.

I have used other soilless media products, and your product does not initiate algae
growth on top like white starters do. Keep up the good work.

-Norm Millett

Winnemucca, Nevada

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SteadyGROWpro Welcomes Curt Dawson

As a new Syndicate Sales and steadyGROWpro partner, Curt is available to brainstorm new ideas, discuss merchandising strategies, help with planograms or share seminar information.

Curt will be attending national trade events helping to
promote and educate retailers on the benefits of doing business and partnering
with Syndicate Sales and steadyGROWpro and the great product opportunities
offered in the lawn and garden marketplace.

Curt is the managing member and founder of American Ventures Corporation – a business growth and strategy firm located in Connecticut. He has been serving lawn and garden retailers, both small and large, since 1996 helping them to increase sales through key merchandising strategies, product positioning and P.O.P. education. Curt’s lawn and garden product expertise and
background ranges from planters, green houses, water gardening and pet and wild
bird supplies.

Please feel free to contact him at 203-444-8980 or

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It’s Time! Start Scheduling Your Indoor Seed Starts

Because of the winter weather outside in some areas, it is hard to believe it’s almost
time to put away the snow shovel and dust off the garden shovel. It’s
true!  Depending on where you live and garden, it is time to schedule your
seeds for indoor starts.

When to start your seeds indoors depends on the type of seeds you plan to sow and on
the last expected frost date for your area. Last expected frost dates can be
found in the zone table below. To find out the zone for your area, check the USDA Hardiness Zone Map, or contact your local cooperative extension.

Look on your seed package to find out how many weeks ahead of the frost date your
seeds should be started. For example, for those of us from Indiana (Zone 5),
the frost-free date range is March 30 – April 30. March 30 indicates the
earliest time growers can plant outside and most likely avoid a frost which
would damage or kill plants. Most tomato varieties suggest a start date of six
to eight weeks prior to the frost-free date. Counting eight weeks back from
March 30 means February 2 would have been the earliest date to start tomato
seeds! Counting six weeks back from April 30 means March 19 is the latest
date to consider starting tomato seeds.

The time is now. Don’t be fooled by the weather outdoors! It is time to start
planning and start planting.


ZONE 1 – June 1 – June 30
ZONE 2, 3 and 4 – May 1 – May 31
ZONE 5, 6 and 7 – March 30 – April 30
ZONE 8 – February 28 – March 30
ZONE 9 – January 30 – February 28

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Aquaponic-NFT System Built In The steadyGROWpro Lab

Our aquaponic-NFT system goes on the road for demonstrations, and we’re constantly experimenting with it in the office. What will we grow in it next? Stay tuned!

Here are some instructions to build your own:

Use hidroPRO, the hydroponics starter kit from steadyGROWpro, to grow easily in your system:

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Bibb Lettuce In Our Aquaponics System

Here’s the latest from the steadyGROWpro office’s aquaponic-NFT system: bibb lettuce! Thi1s bibb lettuce is less than a month old, and just look how healthy it is growing with our goldfish! For tips on how to keep your plants and your fish equally happy in an aquaponic system, read steadyGROWpro lab scientist Bill DeBoer’s article, The Aquaponics Balancing Act. Check out the photo stream on our Facebook Page to find more of what we’ve grown in our system.

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The Aquaponics Balancing Act, By William DeBoer

Image from

The following article was written by steadyGROWpro lab scientist Bill DeBoer, and appeared in Maximum Yield Magazine in November 2012. Read to learn how to keep your nutrients balanced appropriately for your plants and your fish.

How can you ensure plants have the right balance of nutrients in your aquaponics system? When growing plants hydroponically, providing essential elements—such as nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, calcium—is relatively simple; just follow the recommendations of a given fertilizer formulation based on the water volume of your reservoir. With aquaponics, however, the addition of fish adds a big problem. Most synthetic plant fertilizers are no longer a safe way to deliver nutrients to the plants as these salt compounds can be toxic to the fish.

Instead, the grower relies on the essential elements found in the mineral premix in fish food, as well as the nitrogenous compounds found in fish waste. While this union of aquaculture to hydroponics is a natural fit, it is not without problems. This article will discuss these problems by explaining nutrient monitoring and the synergistic and divert requirements, and how to maximize this give and take between what is right for aquaculture and what is right for hydroponics.

I have often viewed aquaponics as more of an art than hard-core science. While it is true there are a myriad of measureable parameters, there is a certain obscurity when it comes to maintaining optimal nutrient concentrations. Could you measure all essential macro- and micronutrients? Yes, all pertinent elemental concentrations can be quantified and recorded using a sophisticated spectrophotometer. Is this practical for the everyday grower? No; this machine, coupled with all the needed reagents, can cost a couple thousand dollars. Finding simple aquarium titration kits is much more economical albeit they have a reduced degree of accuracy and precision.

Measuring temperature, pH, alkalinity (initially and before any pH adjustments) and levels of ammonia, nitrite and nitrate are aminimum requirement. Other growers might also assess hardness, electrical conductivity and total dissolved solids, coupled with various other elemental tests. It is important to note that most aquarium kits record total ammonia nitrogen (TAN). In water, the TAN exists in equilibrium between unionized ammonia (NH3) and an ionized ammonium ion (NH4+)—the former is considered most toxic. Any grower can easily use a table to calculate the ratio of NH3/NH4+ given temperature and pH. Also, if you are interested in calculating the total nitrogen content of the system, you must calculate the percentage of nitrogen, nitrite and nitrate in TAN.

One of the most integral water-quality parameters that affect the availability of nutrients to the plants, as well as the health of fish, is pH. The ideal range of pH for the nitrifying bacteria (Nitrosomonas spp. and Nitrobacter spp.) is slightly alkaline (7.0 to 9.0), whereas the ideal pH for micronutrient availability is slightly acidic (5.5 to 6.5). While the lower pH will not eliminate the colonizing bacteria, it can impact the efficiency of detoxifying ammonia to nitrite to nitrate. Therefore, stabilization of pH is paramount in managing the health of plants and fish alike. To do this, however, we must evaluate another water component parameter: alkalinity.

Alkalinity is commonly referred to as the buffering capacity or the ability of a solution to neutralize an acid. High alkalinity infers the solution can have a relatively large amount of acid or base added without sudden swings in pH. Fish and plants do not respond favorably to dramatic changes in pH. You can buffer the water naturally by allowing an accumulation of phosphates from fish food and nitrates from fish waste. Still, depending on your water source (reverse osmosis, deionized), it might be appropriate to add a buffering agent—a compound like potassium phosphate could have a dual purpose in that it also provides two macronutrients: potassium and phosphorus. Personally, I do not like dabbling with excessive chemical supplementation. I find a certain wisdom in personal restraint because the lethal dose for a particular compound might or might not be published for a given fish species. Even if the compound(s) are not at a lethal dose, chronic exposure can depress health, which reduces growth.

Try to effectively deliver all essential elements through fish feed. Also, to avoid nutrient deficiencies, I recommend targeting those micronutrients that can be locked up at a high pH or are limiting within a given fish food. If you try for only one these, make sure you target iron. While the requirement for iron is low, the importance in plant growth and function is vast (look for interveinal chlorosis or yellowing of the immature leaf with green veins as indications of iron deficiency). If nutrient deficiencies still exist, however, foliar supplementation is one way to go (refer to the University of Florida’s extension publication HS1163 for more information). In fact, iron is arguably one micronutrient that an aquaponics grower needs to supplement. Supplementing your water with a chelated form of this element is effective as chelated iron (synthetic or organic) is readily absorbed directly by the plant. Potassium and calcium deficiencies can also arise, but are easily corrected by supplementing with calcium chloride (CaCl2) or KH2POH4. Supplementation can also be combined with pH adjustment when using calcium hydroxide (Ca(OH)2) and/or potassium hydroxide (KOH).

In conclusion, aquaponics is truly a balancing act in which growers are always searching for that ideal middle ground between hydroponics and aquaculture. Sometimes “trial and error” provides the best way of determining what is right for a particular system with its specific plant and fish species. While I have described aquaponics as an “art,” every grower should be diligent in his/her scientific methodology and always adhere to general principles and err on the side of caution when adding chemicals that could potentially harm the fish or the end consumer (that is, people). As such, always measure certain water-quality parameters (temperature, pH, alkalinity, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, etc.). Also, always try to deliver nutrients through the fish feed. Just feed your fish to apparent satiation and then weight out and add additional food for your plants. If deficiencies still occur, check water quality and increase the amount of excess food. If that does not correct the deficiencies (especially iron), only then consider individual supplementation.


Treadwell, D., Taber, S., Tyson, R., & Simonne, E. (2010). Foliar-Applied Micronutrients in Aquaponics: A Guide to Use and Sourcing. University of Florida IFAS Extension Publication HS1163. Retrieved from

Francis-Floyd, R., Watson, C., Petty, D., & Pouder, D. B. (1990). Ammonia in Aquatic Systems. University of Florida IFAS Extension Publication FA16. Retrieved from

Tyson, R. V. (2007). Reconciling pH for Ammonia Biofiltration in a Cucumber/Tilapia Aquaponics System Using Perlite Medium. (Doctorial dissertation). Retrieved from


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FFA State Officers from Indiana Visit steadyGROWpro

The FFA State Officers from Indiana visited the steadyGROWpro lab along with Lisa Chaudion, from the Indiana FFA Foundation. Working as a team they built a floating raft hydroponic system using the new hidroPRO hydroponic starter kit. Thank you all for visiting steadyGROWpro.

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steadyGROWpro At The 2012 NAAE Convention

steadyGROWpro attended the 2012 National Association of Agriculture Educators Convention last week in Atlanta, Georgia. Bill and Todd gave presentations on Aquaponics in the classroom. Here are few photos from the show:

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Garden & Greenhouse Showcase steadyGROWpro rootPRO

Garden & Greenhouse Magazine reveals rootPRO from steadyGROWpro in their last issue of the year.  RootPRO, the all-in-one vegetative propagation kit, will be available on our online store the first week of December. Click the image above to zoom into the article.


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Instructions For Building An Aquaponic NFT System

Here’s an easy guide for building your own aquaponic NFT system. Click on the images to make them larger.Post your questions below if you need help!


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