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Sensi Magazine

Settling into Successful Hydroponics

Aug 19, 2019 05:57PM
Right off of California State Highway 55 in Santa Ana, California, sits 55Hydroponics, a gardening supply store that offers a little bit extra.

“We also offer pet supplies and various health and wellness CBD products for pets,” Sherrie Calderon, operations manager for 55Hydroponics, says. She is a pet lover and has been working with rescue dogs for over 11 years, placing about a dozen of them with returning customers.

55Hydroponics has been open since 2010 with five employees, selling all kinds of gardening equipment and supplies, including soil nutrients, growing mixes, garden hoses, lighting systems, water chiller units, and organic pesticides, which is one of the shop’s best sellers.

Hydroponics gardening is a simpler, more efficient way to grow plants of any kind in a more limited space because all the needed nutrients can be supplied directly to the plant, which is generally less stressful on the plant. Hydroponic plants are always kept wet, in water or continuously sprayed, making them a better environment for pests to develop and spread. Organic substances like Neem oil controls over 400 different types of pests on hydroponics grows because bugs absorb the oil, making reproduction more difficult.

Hydroponics gardeners can easily damage plants if they try to pick off pests by hand because there is no soil to hold on to roots.

“Pests never go away,” Calderon says. “But you have to be really careful about what pesticide product you sell. The product we have is an organic oil. That seems to work the best.”

Many of her customers are first-time growers looking for the best growing media, which is a “constant seller.” But she is getting more and more customers interested in growing cannabis and plans to create growing classes for them this summer in a building adjacent to the shop’s current building, which would double the space to about 13,600 square feet.

Classes will teach the basics of hydroponics operations, such as monitoring pH levels, keeping temperature levels stable, using calcium magnesium and organic micronutrient supplements, and how to control plant metabolism.

“We get people in here on a weekly basis who say we want to grow cannabis but we don’t know what to do,” she says. “We hope to have those classes up and running soon. We are also revamping our website so that there will be online availability of classes.”

That adjacent space will also serve as a contractor desk for plumbers, electricians, and others, in addition to offering a desk for professional landscaping services. “I am really excited about that,” Calderon says.

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