Trialling Xtreme Mykos, A natural root promoter


Aloe-0483Last year I was supplied with a product to test from a company called Greens Hydroponics, The product in question is called Xtreme Mykos and is described as an all-natural, effective root promoter made up of pure Mychorrhizal Inoculum.

Once it has been applied to plant roots, this fungus will colonise the root system and carry on living for the life of the plant. The Mychorrizae spread thin fungal filaments called ‘Hyphae’ from the roots through the growing environment. These filaments reach far beyond where the root hairs of the plant can reach and give the plant access to otherwise inaccessible nutrients and water.

Another benefit of the product which is mentioned in the documentation is that it protects from diseases and pests.

Anyway as I had several Aloe Vera cuttings which I needed to transplant at the time I saw this as a good time to try the product. I found pairs of cuttings which were very similar in size and transplanted one of each pair in new compost and one of each pair in compost whilst also putting in a tablespoon of Mykos which was poured onto the roots as they were placed into the compost.

Aloe-0389

They were transplanted 5 months ago and due to the winter and slow growth it’s only now that I can actually really see any difference, But as you should be able to tell yourself from the pictures below it does indeed work as the packaging and helps the plants overall growth and resistance to problems.

Aloe-0478The photo to the right shows the smallest pair of transplants I made, the one with the Mykos added is shown on the right and as you can see the size of the overall plant is definitely larger and stronger.

 

 

Aloe-0480This next photo shows the two largest transplants and again shows a marked improvement in growth, with the right hand with the Mykos root promoter being a lot larger and healthier.

 

This final photo below shows two of the transplants which I’ve left outside over winter, they have been inside a greenhouse but were still exposed to the elements and insects.

Aloe-0476The one on the left which did not have the Mykos root promoter shows a lot of pest and disease problems with most of the Aloe Vera branches being damaged or diseased at the tips.

The one with the added Mykos on the right shows a lot less damage, So the additive does appear to have helped quite a bit with the overall resistance available to the plant.

All in all I think I will be using Xtreme Mykos from now on whenever I transplant a plant or seedling to give it a little boost to the plant when it’s much needed. Although it’s quite expensive only a small amount is needed for each plant and the packet will last quite a while before needed to be replaced.

The product I tested was supplied to me free of charge from Greens Hydroponics who currently have the product for sale at £19.76.

They also have a sale on during February and have a discount of 10% available on everything available online.

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Strawberry ebb and flood vertical hydroponic system


This post is all about my latest way of growing strawberries within a wall mounted stacked vertical hydroponic growing system.

If you have read some of my posts from last year you will see that I tried growing strawberries using various methods and systems inside my greenhouse last year.

The main problem I had with growing them inside the greenhouse was that the plants would get too much intense heat from the sun during the main summer time, To avoid this I made a strawberry growing system which I could have outside. As I had a spare south facing wall this seemed an ideal place to place the system.

The four channels of my vertical ebb and flood strawberry system

The four channels of my vertical ebb and flood strawberry system

The system currently consists of 4 channels which are hung from brackets on the brickwork, The channels are all made from standard upvc square downpipe from the local DIY store.

Rather than making an NFT system which simply had 4 channels with water continuously flowing through each one I decided to make my life more tricky by creating an ebb and flood system, sometimes called a flood and drain system.

Basically the method these designs work on is that within the tank or channel where the plants are grown is some form of growing media, In my case clay pebbles. Every so often the channel is flooded with nutrients. This allows whichever media is in use to take on that water and nutrients. The channel is then slowly drained which allows oxygen to be taken in when the water is drained. The roots of a plant are placed within this media so that they can use this oxygen rich nutrient supply from the media continuously. The only thing that needs to happen is that the flooding takes place often enough that the plants roots never become dry because the media holds no more moisture.

Creating a flooding and draining system like this is no easy feat and as the channels are only 2 inches square and required some thinking about. The problem was that I only wanted to use one supply so pumping into all 4 at once wasn’t an option. If I did use this method most of the nutrient supply would go the easiest way which would be the bottom channel.

The design I came up with is the one shown in the diagram below.

Verticle Strawberry Ebb and Flood Growing System

Verticle Strawberry Ebb and Flood Growing System

The nutrient supply is pumped into the very top channel. This channel which is full of clay pebbles is then slowly filled.
At the opposite end of the channel I have a small section of hosepipe which runs from this channel into the next one down. The height of the hose pipe in the top channel is placed at such a height to work as an overflow so that the nutrient level within the channel will at most be full but never overflowing. This allows the flooding process to occur.
The hosepipe also has a small hole near the bottom of the channel to allow it to slowly drain, As the pumping speed is a lot faster than it can drain it only drains properly when the pumping has stopped.

Mesh pot covering channel ends.

Mesh pot covering channel ends.

Over this end of the hosepipe piece I’ve placed a small mesh pot to stop any clay pebbles from getting near to the hosepipe as they will block it and stop the system from draining properly.

I used the same design of channel repeated 4 times to create the system, This means that when the first channel is filled with the pumped nutrient solution it overflows down into the second channel, Which then fills up overflowing into the third channel which then obviously does the same into the last channel. This last channel is then drained back to the nutrient tank until its next flooding cycle.

Channels showing correx coversEach end of down pipe has been capped with a small piece of corex cut to the correct size and folded over to make a nice seal. This makes the overall system design look quite pleasant. Which as my wife says is quite unusual for me, she says my systems usually just look like they are cobbled together with all sorts of stuff.

I’ve used the system to plant strawberries in and will hopefully be leaving them until they have finished producing in a few years time all going well.
As you can see from the photos I cut 7 round holes in the top of each channel to allow me to place 7 plants in each, Each runner was pushed into the clay pebbles after running the system a few times to ensure the clay pebbles to be moist enough.

I’m planning on adding more channels next year if all goes well as the pump I am using is more than capable of pumping up higher and using the design I have there is no limit to how high I go.

This is a photo of the system with the newly planted strawberry runners, As you can see they were pretty bare when first put in.

Strawberry plants in the system after 1 week.

Strawberry plants in the system after 1 week.

This is a photo of them in the system after 3 weeks, As you can see there is lot’s of growth and I think I will be seeing strawberry flowers then plants fairly soon. I will make another post telling you how much fruit I got during the year at the end of the season.

Strawberry plants in the system after 3 weeks.


Strawberry plant netting draped over plastic pipe.I also though it would be best if I added a net to the system to try and stop birds from eating my precious strawberries, If the netting was simple draped over the plants birds could poke their beaks through and steal my strawberries so I made a frame over the system with some flexible pipe I had from my other systems and then draped the netting over this.

The photo on the right shows what this looks like.

I just have to wait now for all the lovely strawberries to come.

As an update to my post, The picture below is what the system looks like now in the middle of July 2015, As you can see it’s growing very nicely and I’m harvesting lot’s of strawberries every day at the moment. Just before I took the photo I’d harvested all the fruits that is why it just looks green at the moment.

Strawberry_2015


 

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