Ask the Grow Force Team

The Grow Force Team oversees all research and development of steadyGROWpro and is eager to share the team’s knowledge and experience regarding agriculture, horticulture and indoor plant growth and specific information regarding the steadyGROWpro product.

You can find the Grow Force Team on Facebook, answering questions about seed germination, propagation, plant growth and plant care on the steadyGROWpro fan page. You can also find tips on the steadyGROWpro YouTube channel.

Use this page to ask the Grow Force Team any questions regarding hydroponics and steadyGROWpro.

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21 Responses to Ask the Grow Force Team

  1. Kelvin Frye says:

    Hey Dr. P:

    I am growing some tomatoes in medius blocks. Roots are starting to show at the bottom of the blocks. Should I have the roots resting in water, or keep them dry?

    Kel

    • Dr. P says:

      Great question!

    • Dr. P says:

      Kelvin, in winter months, when the day length is short, ideal temperature is 62 degrees F (during night) and 68 degrees F (during day time). Optimum RH should be between 60 and 70 %. Any temp over 86 degrees F will not yield fruit.

      -Dr. P

  2. Dr. P says:

    Kelvin, keep the roots moist. Be sure to fertilize at this stage.

    -Dr. P

  3. Kelvin Frye says:

    Although I am seeing some growth, the progress on my tomato plants seem slow to me. What is the idea temparature and humidity for growing tomatoes? THe plants are roughly 12″ in size now.

  4. Jan Jeddeloh says:

    So what exactly happens to the plug once you plant it in the garden? I know the roots will grow through it but does it eventually break down or does it remain forever as a cube? If it breaks down does that simply mean it turns into a sort of plasticised dust. It doesn’t look to me like this stuff actually biodegrades but correct me if I’m wrong.
    Thank you,

    Jan Jeddeloh

  5. Kel says:

    Dr. P:

    I am using collected rain water to sow my seeds in steadyGROWpro. Will this be OK in your opinion?

  6. MaryEllen says:

    I have a variety of spring bulbs in various stages of development in my yard. With the possibility of snow and frost is there anything I should do to maintain the health of the flowers. Also what will happen with the trees ans other shrubs that are budding?

    • Dr. P says:

      In regards to the bulbs, a hard frost will probably zap the flowers. A cover such as an empty pot placed over the leaves/flower should give sufficient protection. With trees/shrubs, the leaves should be okay but if you want to be safe you can also cover a small shrub but obviously a tree is impractical to cover. Once again the flowers of shrubs and tree are more sensitive to a frost than the leaves are.

  7. Davilyn says:

    I am a commercial growing using ebb and flow systems. The pots are about 11″ across (round) with 10″ mesh baskets in them.

    The last two years I’ve had a horrible problem with root rot. I was using rockwool and switched to Nutrilife Premium Coco. I just can’t seem to get the right ratio of water retention – living in the desert with 110 degree temps makes it harder.

    Would it be possible to just set the 4×4 cubes in the basket and grow – regulating the flow of water cycle to just water the bottom of the cube – and hydrating it that way?

    You say this product is not organic – this isn’t a product like non-bpa plastic or silicone which will migrate to the plant is it?

    Thanks
    Davilyn
    Expressions of the Heart Organics

    • Dr. P says:

      Davilyn,

      Prolonged exposure to anaerobic conditions (waterlogged) facilitates root rot (roots needs to “breath” and without oxygen begin to break down and die. The system in our lab contains 4” blocks arranged in a group together. Watering occurs two to three times a week (the system pumps in fertilizer during watering). The fact that the blocks are arranged one right next to the other cuts down on the need for watering due to evaporation. If the blocks are by themselves there is more surface area and thus will need watering on a daily basis. One of the advantages of using SGP is the fact that there is no organic material (such as in Coco Coir) that encourages fungal decomposition.

      SteadyGROWpro is made from a chain of carbon based resin. The media is 11% media and 89% air, and reduces down to 11% of its original volume into a sand like material. It also burns clean at 600 degrees farenheit. SteadyGROWpro does not leachate, and is very clean, and there is no potential of the plant absorbing elements which may be harmful.

      -Dr. P and Bill DeBoer

  8. ALEX says:

    How many ml of water would I have to add to a 4″ and a 6″ block of SGP H+ on a daily basis to keep a plant happy?

    • Dr. P says:

      Alex,

      The optimal level of watering for SGP H+ 4″ and 6″ blocks will depend
      upon the following factors:
      1. type of plant- does it require even moisture all the time or does the
      plant prefer to be somewhat dry
      2. stage of maturity – younger plants (with a relatively small root
      mass) will not require the amount of water that a larger (more mature)
      plant will
      3. growing conditions – is the growing area temperature hot (above 80oF)
      or is it at room temperature (68 – 72oF). The hotter temperatures will
      increase the metabolism of the plant and subsequently increase the
      plant’s water need.

      4″ blocks will absorb between 500 to 750 mL depending on how dry the
      media is. Always feel the bottom of the block, and if it is always wet
      then increase the duration between watering. The 6″ blocks will take
      roughly 2000 mL when dry. Like the 4″ blocks make sure the bottom of
      the media is not always soaking wet. In general, most plants do not
      like to be overly wet all the time and proper drying in-between watering
      will promote optimal growth. I hope this information helps, but if you
      require more information, I would be happy to discuss specifics over the
      phone.

      Regards,

      Bill DeBoer

  9. Davilyn says:

    I think a lot of people would appreciate actual directions in using this product. I mentioned this over a year ago and still everything is so general it doesn’t give anyone any definite direction. Like the gutter project – saying what you did, step by step would give people a better idea of what you are trying to achieve.

    I just received the plugs for seed starting – no directions as to whether we should plug the hole with planting media like coco or just leave the seed alone in the hole.

    • dshinall says:

      Davilyn,
      Thank you for your continued use of the steadyGROWpro product line. Are you using the brown, clone plugs, or the yellow, seed-starter cubes?
      We do provide instructions for these kits, but we purposely do not get so specific that we are describing steps under specific growing conditions because performance will vary based on fertilization, lighting, temperature, etc. There should be a step that says “Do not cover the seeded holes with other material”. Our seed germination media, as well as our plug media, is designed to be used without the need for other growing material.

      Our Gutter Garden project was developed to show people how versatile the steadyGROWpro media can be. Our team looked at container gardening, urban gardening techniques and examples of gutter gardening. The pepper and tomato seeds were germinated in a 24 cell seed starter kit. The seedlings developed for 39 days before we transplanted them into our sections of guttering filled with steadyGROWpro H+ slab media. Presently we have placed 4 articles on our blog with 2 more articles to go. Our plants receive the proper nutrients and water when needed and are reaching maturity very rapidly. We are very pleased to have 17 plants growing in a two foot square area.

      Let us know if we can be of any more help!

  10. Davilyn says:

    Just looked at the blog today and was very impressed. Much more detailed and good pictures. This way of seeding (using your plugs) and then putting them into blocks is saving me soooo much time. I am a small commercial hydroponics farmer and sometimes get backlogged on transplanting and the Steady Gro system helps me to keep up. I intend to try the gutter system.

    In October I seeded my cauliflower and plopped the plugs into the 4″ slabs – and put the blocks in a 4″ tray. I originally intended to put the blocks into my ebb and flow systems but I got behind in work around the farm and never got any further. I must admit they didn’t get much care – I just dumped water onto them when they got dry and fertilized them with kelp tea. I wasn’t expecting much to happen with such neglect. But they grew to be about 18″ high and put out very nice little heads of cauliflower. Although this system is more expensive than using coir I’ve decided it is well worth the extra expense in the time it saves me. I was amazed that having the roots exposed to the air (sometimes they stood dry for a day or two) didn’t seem to affect them in the least.

    • dshinall says:

      Thank you, Davilyn! Glad to here it’s working so well for you.

      Let us know how your gutter system turns out!

  11. alexis Edwards says:

    Hi. I am a commercial hydroponic lettuce grower. I currently use rockwool as my growing medium for my seeds. Our greenhouse uses an NFT system and water flows constantly. Would product be a good substitute for the rockwool. Thank you.

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