Indoor Gardening with Hydroponics


Picking Out Trimming Scissors 0

Plant Trimming Scissors


Picking out right pair of trimming scissors can be like picking out clothes at a store. There are so many options, styles and qualities to choose from; and in a way you should look at it like that. You have multiple types and styles of shirts and pants, why not scissors too? Pruners work well for cutting stalks and branches while smaller trimming scissors are used for removing leaves and precision trimming. Using trimming scissors as pruners for stalks and branches will result in dull or broken scissors, while using pruners for delicate work like trimming and removing leaves will result in a poorly trimmed harvest. There are also multiple versions of scissors to choose from, depending on your scissor preference. We find that owning multiple pairs helps with scissor longevity as well as user fatigue.  


Types of Trimming Scissors



Pruning shear



Pruners - Pruning shears are your to-go for cutting branches and stalks of plants. These guys are for the tough work and are designed with a thick blade to easily cut through plant stalks. Pruning shears should be what you are using for cutting any stalks and stems but not for trimming. 



Bonsai Shears



Bonsai Scissors - Bonsai style scissors are a popular type of scissor among trimmers. Bonsai trimmers are springless scissors used for precision pruning. Growers that use them prefer the springless action due to decreased fatigue from less force closing the scissors.



spring assist trimming scissors

Spring-Assist Trimming Scissors - Spring-assist trimming scissors cover a wide range of the scissors you'll see for sale and are probably the most popular type of any scissor. Spring-assist trimming scissors are used for precision pruning. The spring assist helps with the opening action of the scissor, allowing for faster trimming and less blade sticking due to the spring assist. 


mini snip trimming scissors

Mini Snips - Mini Snip type scissors are another style of precision trimmer. These are among the smallest scissors and usually have a spring assist. The small size and short blade length allow for very quick and precise finish work. 




Trimming Scissor Features

Besides the types of trimming scissors there are also various features that are available. 


straight vs curved trimming scissors

Straight Blade vs Curved Blade - Straight blade trimming scissors have a flat blade while curved blade trimming scissors have a curved blade. The difference is ergonomical but some growers will prefer one style over another. We recommend a set of each to reduce fatigue. Changing your cutting angle while trimming can help prevent your hand from getting as tired. 



 Stainless vs titanium trimming scissors



Stainless Steel vs Titanium Coated Blades - Stainless steel blades are your typical silver looking blades while titanium blades are coated in titanium to protect the blade and are gold in color. The difference is titanium coated blades keep a sharper edge longer. Titanium coated blade versions of trimming scissors usually cost a little more for the premium coating.



Over time as you gain experience and try different scissors you'll see what your favorites are. We personally recommend owning the different types of scissors to handle different tasks, as well as different styles, like straight and curved. During long trimming sessions we find that switching between types of scissors can help reduce fatigue since you're switching up your cutting angle. Regardless of what you end up choosing, it'll get the job done!

Blacksmith Bioscience Forge and Nitryx are here! 0

Blacksmith Bioscience Forge and Nitryx are here!


Blacksmith Bioscience Forge

Many growers were saddened when Actinovate disappeared for the market. Luckily we now have a solution! From the creators of the original Actinovate comes Blacksmith Bioscience's Forge. While it is a different formulation and bacteria strain, Forge is a similar product and will perform just as well as the original. 

For growers not familiar with the product, Forge is a microbial product used to help plant nutrition by chelating unavailable compounds and assists with nutrient uptake. It can also reduce fertilizer usage due to improved nutrient uptake. A special patented strain of Streptomyces nigrescent makes Forge quite a unique product. This product is used in the commercial fertilizer regimen for many farms. 

However, we do have some bad news. Supplies of Forge are currently very limited and we don't expect them to last very long. For the time being Blacksmith Bioscience has proactively stopped production on Forge due to possible legal issues with the company that bought and shelved the original Actinovate. While Forge is a separate product, they have to ensure they have the green light from the lawyers before they continue production.


Blacksmith Bioscience Nitryx

Blacksmith Bioscience Nitryx is a nitrogen fixing bacteria used to improve soils and allows for a reduction in nitrogen use while preventing nitrogen run-off in the environment. Basically the microorganism pulls nitrogen from the atmosphere into the soil and allows the plant to uptake the nitrogen. This same process is why legumes are used for nitrogen fixing soils in agriculture. 

Nitryx is currently available, and unlike Forge, is in production and will be readily available whenever you need it. This product can be added to any fertilizer regimen or garden size for improved results. Improve your garden in a new way and give them a try! 


What Type of Herb Dry Rack to Choose? 0


With harvest season in full swing one of the most popular items are dry racks. However, dry racks come in many different sizes and versions, making picking the right one a little challenging. Don't worry though, we'll guide you through the different options!


Styles of Herb Dry Racks

Metal Hanging Drying Rack


Hanging Dry Racks

A plain and simple metal dry rack with clips is for hanging branches to dry trim later. These are the go-to if you prefer to clip and hang branches for dry trimming. Just hang the branches, let dry, and trim when convenient. 








Stackable Drying Rack

Stackable Dry Racks

Stackable dry racks are square stackable screens used to dry plant materials. The benefit of stackable dryers is that they don't require a hanging point or 5-6 feet in height. Stackable dry racks can be set on flat surfaces and is more compact between tiers.








Mesh herb drying rack





Mesh Hanging Dry Racks

The standard mesh dry rack is a plain open air mesh hanging rack. Smaller single tier versions often have open tops, while multi-tier dry racks will be closed between levels but has an opening in the front on each level. 






herb dry rack with clip on levels




Hanging Dry Racks with Clip-on Levels

Dry Racks with clip-on levels allow you to disconnect unused levels so you don't have them hanging empty. Additional levels can be clipped onto the main unit as needed. Unfortunately these units usually won't have individual hanging supports for each clip-on section so each can't be used independently without some modification.






herb dry rack with zippers




Hanging Dry Racks with Zipper Openings

Dry racks with zippers openings are our most popular type of dry rack that we carry. Each level is enclosed and has a zippered cover over the opening on each level. The completely mesh enclosed system helps prevent unwanted debris or pests from entering the dryer. 





Herb Dry Rack Sizes

We have dry racks in a few different sizes. Our most popular are the 18" diameter Secret Jardin Dryit 45, 2 foot diameter Grow1 Dry Racks, and 3 foot diameter Grow1 Dry Racks. Don't let the diameter fool you, dry racks are large! Multi-tier dry racks are typically about the height of a person (5.5-6 ft) and with a diameter of 2 or 3 feet, that makes for a big rack! 


What Dry Rack Should I Get?

The first step in picking a drying rack is deciding how much room you have to fit a dry rack. Be sure to measure for diameter as well as height. We recommend adding a few extra inches to your measurement to compensate for when the dryer is fully loaded and hanging lower.

After measuring how much space you have, try and judge the size of your harvest and how quickly you'll be processing it. You can layer a little in each level if needed, but thinner layers of herb are best to ensure proper air circulation. Once you've got a rough estimate you can easily decide if a 2 foot dry rack is big enough, or if you really need to step it up to a 3 foot diameter drying rack.

One of our favorite drying racks for the hobbyist is the Secret Jardin DryIt 45. This little dryer is only 18" wide so it can fit in a lot more places than other dry racks. The beauty of this rack is that each level is separate. If you only need one level, that's all you have to get. But if you need more, you can pick up some more and they will link together and hang as one drying rack. Due to the smaller diameter and ability to go with just one level or many, the DryIt 45 is definitely one of our favorites!  


Notable mention: The Secret Jardin Dark Dryer 90 is a drying tent with a special fabric to allow improved air circulation and keep the harvest out of the light. While not a drying rack specifically, a drying rack can be hung inside a Dark Dryer, keeping it safe and in the dark, along with additional accessories like fans. 

Industry Profile: Garden and Greenhouse Magazine 0

Industry Profile: Garden and Greenhouse Magazine

This week we've got Robin Nichols with Garden and Greenhouse Magazine for our latest industry profile. Garden and Greenhouse is a free publication focusing on greenhouse, outdoor and indoor gardening. Robin's been at it for several years now providing a great resource to gardeners at no cost to them. Without further ado, here's Robin!

What do you do at your company?

I am the founder and president of Nichols Publishing Company, Inc. which publishes Garden & Greenhouse Magazine

What project(s) are you currently working on that you can discuss?

Garden & Greenhouse is published each month and always keeps us busy.

How did you get started in hydroponics/indoor gardening industry?

The first Garden & Greenhouse issue was published in September 2004. We did not initially pursue companies in the the hydroponics industry as advertisers, but not too long after the first few Garden & Greenhouse issues were published, the hydroponics industry found us.

What made you decide this is the career for you?

I have been in the publishing industry for over 25 years, most recently as the general manager of a publishing division of a large corporation. I got tired of the large company bureaucracy and started my own company 12 years ago. Fortunately it worked out and along with my staff we're still doing it each day. I haven't had to sit in a mind numbing meeting with a bureaucrat whose only goal was to accomplish as little as possible in over a decade and I couldn't be happier.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Hopefully still publishing Garden & Greenhouse and evolving as the industry continues to change.

Where do you see the industry currently?

The legalization issue has created a lot of opportunity but also some additional concerns. A lot of companies still seem to be trying to figure out where it is going and how to move with it.

What’s the next big thing that is going to affect the industry?

More states legalizing or a stop in legalization efforts in more states due to unforeseen circumstances.

Where do you see the industry in 10 years?

It would be surprising if more states do not legalize in the next 10 years. Politicians just love to spend more money than they actually have and a state legalizing gives the politicians of that state more money to spend.

Anything else you’d like to mention to our readers?

Thanks to all our advertisers and subscribers for supporting Garden & Greenhouse.


If you'd like to signup for Garden and Greenhouse, just click here and you'll be taken to their subscription form page. Just print it out and mail it in to sign-up for free. Yes, you actually have to print and mail it but it's free so put a little effort in. Thanks, Garden and Greenhouse!

Is Hawthorne Gardening Buying Hydrofarm? 0

Is Hawthorne Gardening Buying Hydrofarm?

The latest industry rumor is that Scotts' Miracle Gro's Hawthorne Gardening Company is preparing to buy Hydrofarm, one of the larger distributors of indoor gardening and hydroponic supplies. With Hawthorne's recent purchases of companies in our industry, General Hydroponics/Vermicrop, Gavita, and Botanicare, we aren't surprised to hear the latest rumored purchase and expect to see an announcement later this year. 

So how true are these rumors? We'd say there is a significant chance of it coming to fruition as the information has come from multiple reliable sources. We've even heard that Hydrofarm is cleaning up and preparing their accounting as if they are preparing to be sold. Only time will tell...


What does this mean for our industry?

Larger corporations coming into our industry has been inevitable as laws change across the U.S., and the fastest way to enter an industry and gain ground is purchasing an existing company. There's always a company willing to sell out when they see the dollar signs. While we don't imagine we'll see much change initially, I'd expect them to behave more like their parent company over time when it becomes no longer as beneficial to pretend to care like our industry does and as original and starting employees are replaced. Honestly, I'm sure they have some great caring people right now, but what will be the vision in 10 years? But that's years from now. 


There still are many other options for growers and you don't have to buy Hawthorne products if you don't want to. As for Hydrofarm, as of this writing it is still just a rumor and Hydrofarm is still privately owned. If the acquisition does occur we'll keep you updated, as well as provide you with other options if you prefer not to purchase Hawthorne Gardening products (side note: we are NOT a Hydrofarm dealer so you're safe). Just keep showing your support by buying from independent companies!



Update: While we haven't officially heard either way, we've heard rumors that the buyout isn't happening. So for now Hydrofarm brands should be safe to buy for any Hawthorne boycotters. 

Industry News: Botanicare Bought by Scotts Miracle Gro-Hawthorne Gardening Co 0

Industry News: Botanicare Bought by Scotts Miracle Gro-Hawthorne Gardening Co

The latest in Hydroponics Industry News was an announcement yesterday from Botanicare that they are being bought by Hawthorne Gardening Co., the subsidiary of Scotts Miracle-Gro/Monsanto. While it isn't too surprising that another company in the industry has been acquired, it does come a year and a half after Botanicare firmly responded to the buyout of General Hydroponics and Vermicrop from the same company.


"In addition to a major corporation buying their way into the hydroponic industry, Scotts has a history of business practices that do not align with the values and beliefs of many who are dedicated and passionately involved in our industry."


It was honorable that Botanicare was taking a stand. They let their customers and stores know that they were about the industry and the customers, not the big corporations and money. Now a year and a half after calling out GH, Botanicare is following suite. I guess that big buyout helped align their values and beliefs. What's that in the air? Smells like hypocrisy! Scotts' values and beliefs didn't change, just yours, Botanicare. 


As all of you are aware the industry has experienced rapid growth and is beginning to mature. My goal is to ensure Botanicare will continue to be a market leader and provide the innovative products that we are known for. With this in mind, I have decided it is time to pass the baton to someone who has the vision and resources to take Botanicare to the next level.


In a complete 180 degree flip-flop from their previous stance last year it sounds like Botanicare wants to make it to the big box stores they previously attacked and go for the mass distribution model. While we will continue to sell Botanicare and have no problem with their products or overall company, we won't be steering customers toward it. I'm tired of hearing these companies shun and complain about the "evil" corporations, and then just turn around and sell out. They jump on the anti-corporation bandwagon because it's political and the cool thing to do, but once they come knocking with that money they change their minds. Yes, Hawthorne is the eco-friendly face of Scotts, but if you put lipstick on a pig it is still a pig...


See the full letters in the image up above or see pdf versions their original GH buyout response announcement here and their buyout announcement here. Follow our blog for the latest industry news, tips, how-to's, and more.