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Glossary

With a focus on sustainability, the Third Coast staff carries over fourteen years of hands-on experience with indoor and outdoor organic agriculture.  We can offer low cost Organic alternatives to everyday garden care.  From organic indoor gardening or hydroponic systems, hydroponic information, to organic container gardening, raised-bed gardening, bio-dynamic, permaculture, non-tilled, and square-foot gardening methods, composting, seed collection and preservation, tree planting and care, culinary herb cultivation, to gardening with free-range poultry, our experience speaks for itself.  

586-997-2700


HID Grow Lights and Ballasts

Ballasts are used where an electrical load cannot effectively regulate its current use. These are most often used when an electrical circuit or device presents a negative (differential) resistance to the supply. If such a device were connected to a constant-voltage power supply, it would draw an increasing amount of current until it was destroyed or caused the power supply to fail. To prevent this, a ballast provides a positive resistance or reactance that limits the ultimate current to an appropriate level. The combination of a negative-resistance characteristic and a series impedance allows a stable operating point to be maintained. Examples of such negative-resistance devices are gas-discharge lamps.

Digital HID (DHID) Ballasts

A digital HID (DHID) lamp ballast is an electronic ballast that uses a microprocessor to control and regulate a High-Intensity Discharge (HID) lamp. The firmware can provide control algorithms to supply varying lamp currents during start-up and during lamp operation. The firmware controls the initial voltage strike to the bulb to start it and then controls current in the bulb for the most efficient burning of the lamp.

The main benfits of the Digital HID ballast are: saving of electrical energy and maintenance costs over magnetic ballast HID lamps; automatic loss-of-lumen compensation as the lamp ages; produces up to 40% more lumens per watt than magnetic ballasts; increased life expectancy of the lamp compared to magnetic ballast; DHID ballast generates less heat, reducing air conditioning energy cost; 50% dimming of incoming power produces additional cost savings, with automatically controlled lamp dimming in unoccupied areas.

DHID ballasts can be used to upgrade existing lamp installations. In a retrofit, the DHID ballast can replace the existing magnetic ballast. The rest of the fixture is reused, and the magnetic ballast can be recycled.

 

Hydroponics

 

Hydroponics (from the Greek words hydro water and ponos labor) is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil. Terrestrial plants may be grown with their roots in the mineral nutrient solution only or in an inert medium, such as perlitegravel, or mineral wool.

Researchers discovered in the 19th century that plants absorb essential mineral nutrients as inorganic ions in water. In natural conditions, soil acts as a mineral nutrient reservoir but the soil itself is not essential to plant growth. When the mineral nutrients in the soil dissolve in water, plant roots are able to absorb them. When the required mineral nutrients are introduced into a plant's water supply artificially, soil is no longer required for the plant to thrive. Almost any terrestrial plant will grow with hydroponics. Hydroponics is also a standard technique in biology research and teaching.

Introduction to Hydroponics/ Hydroponic information


Hydroponics Is Simple

Hydroponics basically is growing plants without soil. It is simply a more efficient way to provide food and water to your plants. Soil's function is to provide nutrients and to anchor the plants' roots. In a hydroponic garden, you provide your plants with a complete nutrient formula and an inert growing
medium to anchor your plants' roots.

Hydrofarm Brings Productive Commercial Technology to Home Hydroponics

Commercial growers have been using efficient hydroponic methods for years. There's no worry about soil-born diseases or pests, and there's no weeding. For professional growers, quicker harvests and higher yields are good reasons to use hydroponics.

At Hydrofarm we've adapted these proven techniques to convenient home gardening systems. We have incorporated high performance technology with quality professional-grade materials, and designed a full range of systems for your personal use.



Hydrofarm Makes Hydroponics Easy

Our garden systems give you all the advantages of commercial hydroponics in an easy to use package. Each system we offer is complete: there's nothing extra to buy or build - all you need are seeds and water.

Guide LightHigh Intensity Light Gardening

Depending on where you live, the time of year, and where you want your garden, the sun may not always be available to you. Now, with Hydrofarm's sun-like high intensity lighting, you can grow any plant, anywhere, anytime you choose!

Fluorescent Grow Lights are fine for some situations, and in fact, we recommend them for seedlings and low-light plants. Unfortunately, fluorescents just can't deliver the strong light you need to grow plants taller than 6 - 8".

A Hydrofarm High Intensity Grow Light puts out strong light to grow big beautiful plants and flowers. It's like bringing the sun indoors!

Hydrofarm High Intensity Lights are Easy to Use

One of Hydrofarm's most important innovations has been to take the effective but cumbersome commercial greenhouse lights and make them easy for home gardeners to use. A Hydrofarm High Intensity Grow Light can be hung from a simple ceiling hook and plugged in as easily as a home table lamp.

The systems are completely pre-wired, UL listed (with lens), and ready to plug in. Everything is rated at 120 volts (your normal home current) and plugs into any standard home outlet.

 

Permaculture is an approach to designing human settlements and agricultural systems that mimic the relationships found in natural ecologies.

Most native populations practiced some form of permaculture prior to European encroachment. Permaculture's practical development in modern times is credited to Austrian farmer Sepp Holzer[1] on his own farm in the early 1960s and then theoretically developed by Australians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren and their associates during the 1970s in a series of publications.

The word permaculture is a portmanteau of permanent agriculture, as well as permanent culture.

The intent is that, by rapidly training individuals in a core set of design principles, those individuals can design their own environments and build increasingly self-sufficient human settlements — ones that reduce society's reliance on industrial systems of production and distribution that Mollison identified as fundamentally and systematically destroying Earth's ecosystems.

While originating as an agro-ecological design theory, permaculture has developed a large international following. This "permaculture community" continues to expand on the original ideas, integrating a range of ideas of alternative culture, through a network of publications, permaculture gardens, intentional communities, training programs, and internet forums. In this way, permaculture has become both a design system and a culture of positively evolving the human species.

 

Permaculture principles draw heavily on the practical application of ecological theory to analyze the characteristics and potential relationships between design elements.

Each element of a design is carefully analyzed in terms of its needs, outputs, and properties. For example chickens need water, moderated microclimate and food, producing meat, eggs, feathers and manure and can help break up soil hardpan.

Design elements are then assembled in relation to one another so that the products of one element feed the needs of adjacent elements. Synergy between design elements is achieved while minimizing waste and the demand for human labor or energy. Exemplary permaculture designs evolve over time, and can become extremely complex mosaics of conventional and inventive cultural systems that produce a high density of food and materials with minimal input.

While techniques and cultural systems are freely borrowed from organic agriculturesustainable forestry,horticultureagroforestry, and the land management systems of indigenous peoples, permaculture's fundamental contribution to the field of ecological design is the development of a concise set of broadly applicable organizing principles that can be transferred through a brief intensive training.

 

Modern permaculture is a system design tool. It is a way of:

  1. looking at a whole system or problem;
  2. observing how the parts relate;
  3. planning to mend sick systems by applying ideas learned from long-term sustainable working systems;
  4. seeing connections between key parts.

In permaculture, practitioners learn from the working systems of nature to plan to fix the damaged landscapes of human agricultural and city systems. This thinking applies to the design of a kitchen tool as easily to the re-design of a farm.

Permaculture practitioners apply it to everything deemed necessary to build a sustainable future. Commonly, “Initiatives ... tend to evolve from strategies that focus on efficiency (for example, more accurate and controlled uses of inputs and minimization of waste) to substitution (for example, from more to less disruptive interventions, such as from biocides to more specific biological controls and other more benign alternatives) to redesign (fundamental changes in the design and management of the operation) (Hill & MacRae 1995, Hill et al. 1999)." "Permaculture is about helping people make redesign choices: setting new goals and a shift in thinking that affects not only their home but their actions in the workplace, borrowings and investments" (A Sampson-Kelly and Michel Fanton 1991). Examples include the design and employment of complex transport solutions, optimum use of natural resources such as sunlight, and "radical design of information-rich, multi-storey polyculture systems" (Mollison & Slay 1991).

"This progression generally involves a shift in the nature of one’s dependence — from relying primarily on universal, purchased, imported, technology-based interventions to more specific locally available knowledge and skill-based ones. This usually eventually also involves fundamental shifts in world-views, senses of meaning, and associated lifestyles (Hill 1991)." "My experience is that although efficiency and substitution initiatives can make significant contributions to sustainability over the short term, much greater longer-term improvements can only be achieved by redesign strategies; and, furthermore, that steps need to be taken at the outset to ensure that efficiency and substitution strategies can serve as stepping stones and not barriers to redesign...” (Hill 2000)