The Art of Watering



70% of our planet.
60% of our bodies.
100% essential for healthy plants.

Watering plants is nothing short of a fine art.

However we believe everyone is born with a “green thumb” and with a few tips you and your plants can enjoy the “art of watering”

The amount of water a plants uses depends on its environment.

  • LIGHT: is the plant getting direct sun or very little sun? is the plant growing under lights and what type of lights?
  • TEMPERATURE: is the plant indoors or outdoors? what are the day & night temperatures? is there lots of air movement?
  • MEDIA: is the plant in soil or a hydroponic media like rockwool, coco or grow rocks?

Plants in high light use more water. As a general rule of thumb plants in low light should be allowed to dry out more. Plants under lights generally require more frequent watering since the lights are on everyday, where as plants that are grown under the sun are effected by the weather and the season. For example during winter the days are shorter and many plants even go into a rest mode and require very little water.


Plants use more water when it warm and less when its cold. Plants that are grown indoors under lights require consistent and regular watering since their “weather” is typically the same every day. Plants that live under the sun either indoors or outdoors are effected by the weather, if there are lots of grey overcast cool days the plants will need to be watered less often but if the sun and heat comes be ready to water more.


Plants’ roots use oxygen. There a two ways the roots get their oxygen, one is through the soil or other media drying out and opening up air space and the other is the water filling in the open space and offering fresh H2O. How quickly the root zone drys out depends on what it the soil is made of, how much aeration it has when fully watered. In soil it is important to let the top 2 inches dry to the touch, where as with rockwool & coco we can water even when it is still wet because they offer more air space when fully wet.

In the next posting of the “The Art of Watering” we will dive deeper into watering recommendations for plants in soil, rockwool, coco and grow rocks as well as what over watering looks like and how to revive a plant is suffering from too much water.

Let us know if you have any questions about watering your garden by posting a comment or sending an email.



oh no! Powdery Mildew

“I see white powdery dust on the leaves of my plant. What is it?!”

powdery mildew



Powdery Mildew is a systemic plant disease. It looks like flour was dusted on the leaves and or flowers. Not all plants get it but many, many do. You may find some varieties within one plant species don’t get the disease, while others can be devastated by it.


Powdery Mildew is an airborne disease. By the time we see the white powder on the leaves the disease is at the end of its life cycle and is reproducing. The microscopic spores produced from infected plants float in the air until they land on a plant leaf and are able to get into the plant’s system and start the cycle again.

It is possible to get infected plant stock that shows no signs of the powdery mildew disease. If the plant was a cutting from an infected mother it will have the disease even if you don’t see it. It is critical to understand this.

What Now?

Proactively treating powdery mildew is the most effective way to manage the disease. This means using products before symptoms are seen. But how do you know if your plant has powdery mildew if you can’t see it yet? Well you may know from growing the plant before. Or if you received the plant as a cutting from a friend ask if the mother ever had it. Or it may be a well known fact that it is a type of plant prone to powdery mildew in your area (like roses in the Bay Area).

There are tons of products sold to treat Powdery Mildew. Many of them use a similar active ingredients but are marketed as “something special”.  We will discuss the various methods, all of which are safe for use indoors, under lights and on food crops.


an essential part of powdery mildew control

The concept is good bacteria competes for space on and in the plant and prevents the powdery mildew disease from establishing.

  • Use as early as possible in a plant’s life and use often
  • Use before you see symptoms for best results
  • Is effective in reducing the disease load in plants with symptoms, increasing over all vigor.
  • If using a concentrate product always mix with water that is free of chlorine. Chlorine kills the good bacteria and reduces the effectiveness
  • Well known products include Serenade Garden Disease Control and Actinovate Fungicide

tools to manage an existing problem or use proactively

Products that contain sulfur, potassium carbonate or various oils are ways to manage powdery mildew but often don’t completely eliminate the disease within the plant. These type of products reduce the symptoms and leave a coating on the leaf for up to 1- 2 weeks that prevents new spores from establishing.

  • Oil products should only be used on vegetating strong plants, never spray with lights on or over 80 degrees. Always mix fresh.
  • Sulfur products can be used during vegetation and fruiting & flowering cycles, although best to test on a small portion of the garden first.
  • Potassium carbonate products can be used during vegetation and fruiting & flowering cycles, although check ingredients as it is often mixed with various oils

simple ways to prevent powdery mildew from thriving

  • Keep humidity between 50-60%
  • Air movement in the growing environment
  • Air movement with in the plant. Prune plants to reduce pockets of moisture and dank
  • Use a HEPA filter on any intake fans



boost the plant’s over all immune system

Stronger plants are less likely to get pests and diseases. A few key products can specifically boosts your plant’s ability to deal with powdery mildew or not contract it at all.

  • Silicone used in addition to a complete nutrient is essential. Silicone makes the cell wall stronger, making it harder for powdery mildew to establish and thrive with in the plant. Silicone also improves drought tolerance and stem strength. Popular silcone products include BulletProof by Cutting Edge, Armor Si by General Hydro and ProTeKt by DynaGro
  • Beneficial Root Fungi and Bacteria, including mycorrhizae. Use a pinch when planting or as a root drench on plants are early as possible. Repeat application at any repot or major stress. This addition will increase the vitality of a plant and improve its immune system.
Stay Tuned………

Next post we will recommend a protocol to use in a garden where powdery mildew is an on going problem. We will also recommend a proactive protocol to use on plants to reduce the chance of having powdery mildew become a problem in your garden.

Hi. How’s the garden?

Dear fellow gardeners,

Thank you for visiting our site or just happening upon it.

After 22 years of sharing our passion and knowledge of plants, indoor gardening, hydroponics, pest control, nutrient management and more at our retail stores we are excited to bring it to the vast terrain of the internet.

The list of what we want to write is long, however our background is in person to person communication.

Let us know what you are interested in, problems you may be having in the garden, questions you have about your plants, “tips” you got from a buddy and are not too sure about.

Its easy, just post a comment below and we will either reply here or create a new post about it.

Help us, help you.


pie straight


Let’s Get Neem Straight


No matter indoors or outdoors bugs are part of the garden. Unfortunately gardeners and growers will go to extreme measures to eradicate bugs putting their plants and their own health at risk.

It is absolutely possible with good protocol and due diligence to control and mange all type of garden pests with natural based products.

We know this to be true from real life experience. In other posting we will go in to pest specific protocols but here we will set straight the facts on Neem , truly a gift for our gardens.


Neem is a tree, it possess all type of useful properties.

 Neem oil is pressed from the seeds. Azadirachtin is an extract from the seeds. Although both come from the neem seed they work very differently and are often confused with each other. Here’s a simple but concise explanation of two very useful pest products.


Azadirachtin aka amazing

This organic extract stops insects from eating and reproducing. It is also a great repellent. It is sold under various product names: Azamax, Azasol, Azatrol are a few.

Key points for effective results

  • Biodegrades in 48 hours
  • Must be used at least 3 times in 7 days to see results
  • Mix fresh every time, it degrades in water. If you use some mixed 2 or 3 days ago its potency has greatly reduced.
  • Can be used on the leaves, fruits, flowers and in the root zone
  • Can be used on young seedlings and rooted cutting as well as up to harvest
  • Has shown to have a systemic property (goes in the plant’s system for 24 hours or so)
  • Insects do not build a resistance to it
  • Works on all types of pest. Spider mites, aphids, whiteflies, thrips, broad mites, root aphids and more.
  • Can be used in conjunction with other natural pest products

Not an oil product. Remember Azidirachtin does not kill bugs on contact. They will still be moving around but remember they are no longer eating the plant. They will starve to death and even better stop laying eggs or hatching young. After 3 applications in 7 days the bug population will be dramatically less if not eliminated


Neem Oil

Pressed from the seed of the neem tree, neem oil works by coating and suffocating insects and sometimes the eggs of bugs.

Key points for effective results

  • Biodegrades in 7-10 days
  • Use every 7 days at most. More often can cause plant stress due to reduced transpiration
  • Mix fresh every time. It is recommended to use some type emulsifier to help the oil spread thinner on the leaves. There are available wetting agent products but a few drop of dish soap can do the job.
  • Never use in the root zone unless product specifically says it can
  • Use only on well established vegetative plants, never use on stressed plants
  • Never use in temperatures above 80’ F, spray only when lights are off indoors, outdoors in the evening or on very grey days
  • Insects do not build a resistance to it
  • Works well on spider mites, aphids, white flies and other leaf based insects
  • If using as a dunk, always keep solution mixed as the oil wants to come to the top

You will find Neem oil available in many variations. Some will be more refined, some will be mixed with various ingredients said to improve performance.


Ode to Plants

Let’s take this opportunity to express appreciation and gratitude for plants

Plants utilize their resources to the fullest and live everyday at their maximum potential.

Leaves Frames4

Given low light, depleted soil, not enough water they will use what they can find and do the best with it.

On the flip if you offer plants supplemental light, optimized nutrients, pure water their potential increases and the results are inspirational.

It may be a houseplant, a flowering vine, the plant in the crack of the sidewalk, a 500 year old Redwood tree or a garden under lights, they all inspire and remind us to live life to the fullest .