Enhancing Hydro Flavors

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Enhancing Hydro Flavors

The local produce movement is big and getting bigger. Chefs from all around sing the praises of hydroponic crops, the accessibility and flexible seasonality of which allows food artisans to create beautiful delicious dishes year round, according to their fancies. Hydroponics, unfortunately, carries a stigma of being flavorless and watered down, but experienced growers know this couldn't be further from the truth. Are you getting started growing? Hydroponic measures provide a number of tools for the manipulation of flavor. Here are some tips to keep your produce in top shape, tasting delicious.

Light levels and leaf area determine the amount of sugar available for importation into fruit. Outdoor crops have to make do with natural light, but indoor gardeners can provide just the right amount year round, even extending the amount of daylight to give plants that extra boost. Other conditions such as temperature can be highly controlled in a hydroponic garden in order to give optimum levels for photosynthesis and sugar production. Indoor growers also have a high degree of control over the root zone, which means that elements such as potassium--key to the flavor quality of many crops, like tomatoes for instance--can be boosted to ensure the fruit is of the highest possible quality

The genetic makeup of any crop will also have a significant effect on its flavor profile. Seeds should be chosen carefully and tested, tasted and evaluated by their grower. It’s a waste of energy boosting flavors if you’re using cultivars that have poor flavor genetics in the first place--but by selecting naturally flavorful or aromatic varieties and providing growing conditions and nutrients that maximize flavor, a truly amazing level of flavor can be obtained. We at Rogue Hydro are head over heels for seeds by Renee's Garden and recommend them to any gardner, hydroponic or otherwise. @reneesgarden

Colorful seed packets

When it comes to flavor improvement, indoor hydroponic gardeners have all the tools required to create unique and unforgettable taste sensations. While many new growers make the mistake of trying to provide a luxurious, highly protected and stress-free environment for their plants in order to maximize growth rates, this can actually be detrimental to the flavor level of many of our favorite food crops! Moderated stress will have the effect of concentrating the wide range of compounds and volatiles that make up the distinctive flavor profiles of our produce. Tomatoes, aromatic herbs, strawberries and chilies will all respond well to these methods. This tendency, combined with good genetics, allows the savvy hydroponic gardener incredible possibilities for flavor manipulation.

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