Episode-1233- Evan Folds on Hydroponics

Evan Folds Founder of ProgressiveGardens.com

Evan Folds Founder of Progressive Gardens

Evan Folds is founder and President of Progressive Gardens, a retail gardening store specializing in organics, BioDynamics, hydroponics, composting, sprouting & much more.

He is also the founder of Progress Earth, global distributor of the Vortex Brewer® system, used to brew living, organic compost tea and to create living, energized water.

Progress Earth’s mission is to change the way food is grown and empower people to become self-sustainable through growing soil and growing their own nourishment. We grow healthy people, plants & planet!

Evan has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a minor in Religion from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Evan is a contributing writer for reputable international publications, including Maximum Yield, Garden Culture, Urban Farm and many more. He resides with his wife and two children in Wilmington, NC.

Evan Joins me Today to Discuss…

  • What is hydroponics
  • What is the history of hydroponics
  • How do you garden hydroponically
  • Why would one want to perform hydroponics
  • Is it easy to build a hydroponics system yourself
  • How can you use hydroponics to exploit niche markets
  • How to select the right lighting for your needs
  • How to help offset energy and input costs in a system

Resources for today’s show…

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16 Responses to Episode-1233- Evan Folds on Hydroponics

  1. Thankyou for this eyeopening show on growing your own food. I have been wanting to grow food in the winter indoors and this just got the ball rolling. Thanks Jack and Evan

  2. Hey Jack,
    I think this was a great show. I’ve learned a lot of new information and will run through this again. I would love for Evan to do some more hands on research with aquaponics. He has the background to add much more to the knowledge out there. I love hydroponics, but I also love fresh fish and we’re getting to the point where the only safe fish we can eat are those we raise at home.

  3. What a fantastic guest, friendly, extremely knowledgeable and open minded.
    MORE!!

  4. Hey Jack your links are broke for Evan’s Facebook.

  5. Owe! I think I hurt myself trying to stuff all that info into my head at once! (ears leaking) Great show and it really addressed a subject Im interested in. Kudos Evan.

  6. BeewhispererWyoSurvival

    Jack, where do you find your people. Steven Harris, Evan Folds, John Pugliano, Chef Keith Snow and many others. Great work jack. this month has been cracked full of info. Good show.

  7. I’ve never had an interest in hydro-ponics and now I want to build a system!

  8. Moonvalleyprepper

    Listened to this one twice last night, what a great interview.

    I setup my first hydroponics system in’04 and have built, and played with, DIY versions of just about every setup he described (DWC, NFT, Ebb & Flow, Wicking beds, undercurrent systems). I can tell you from first hand experience that all the information Evan shared is 100% congruent with my experiences and research. Flat out, this dude knows his shit.

    With the issue of lighting there is an analogy that has stuck with me for relating the difference between fluorescent lighting and HID (High Intensity Discharge). Basically if you look at it in terms of hoses and water. Let say you wanted 100 GPH, you could get there with (10) garden hoses each pushing 10 GPH or you could get there with (1) fire hose pushing 100 GPH. Do they both get you to 100 GPH, yes, but they are not the same. I for one would be willing to stand in front of (10) garden hoses and get blasted, but I would not be willing to stand in front of a fire hose. There is a big difference in intensity between the two. The more intense HID will push the light further, and also penetrate through plant tissue getting absorbed by more than just the leaves at the top. Both will work, you just have to pick the right tool for the job and design your system accordingly.

    I picked up a few little gems myself! I never knew that the specific reason that the plant tips would burn was because of the osmotic gradient, and adding the compost tea to the system. I had heard of that, but never gave it a try. I am really tempted to bust out one of the old systems this winter, if nothing else but to try adding compost tea that sounds awesome.

    Evan if you read this, what are your thoughts on adding compost tea to an aquaponics system?

    Thanks for the show!

    • Howdy, thanks for the comments. Yes, compost tea is ideal for aquaponics. I connect with a lot of people who grow AP and it always amazes me that the focus is not on what defines the system…microbes. Sort of like people composting without first considering microbes. You can’t make the bread without the yeast.

      Most wait for the bacteria latent on the growing media grow into a population that can measurably handle the waste stream, but there is no guarantee these are the microbes you would find in a healthy pond. By adding diverse compost tea you significantly speed up the cycling time and you also introduce a broader diversity of life into your growing media. Microbes don’t jump over the fence.

      I know many people who have retrofitted their ponds into AP systems. After all a pond is an AP system, people didn’t make this up 😉 Just plump some tubing to a pump that can move water through the grow chambers with net pots and you are rolling.

      Let us know how its coming along!

  9. Great show. When Even mentioned the fence posts it reminded me of a you tube video I saw of a guy that used something similar to vinyl posts to make vertical grow beds for his system to maximize space. He cut about 1 inch slits up the posts and filled them with a coconut fiber type of medium and hung them from his large hoop house and had the water flow down the posts. Just a thought on another way to grow when you’re short on space.

  10. Great show!! Maybe he needs to be a regular guest because like you said, going to have to listen to this several times to get the full benefit of the show.

  11. I don’t have a refractometer handy, but the Brics of these Evan Fold episodes (particularly this one) is through the roof. Evan Folds is quite clearly showing that he’s the Steven Harris of the plant world (at least plant/soil biology).
    This is one of those episodes that just has to be bookmarked, and like you said, listened to again. If/when I look into doing this (like doing a battery backup) I’ll be listening to the episode yet again for the specific details.

    I mean I’ve done my research on aquaponics, but some of this stuff, blows away what i’ve read as far as one stop shop. The full explanation on lights alone would make an incredibly great blog post somewhere.

  12. Got the links to the studies Evan mentioned about motor oil life span?

  13. Moonvalleyprepper great explanation on lighting. I also have watched videos on the gutter or vinyl fence post system. If I have time this year would like to try hydroponics with a DIY system indoors.
    I live in an old two family in upstate NY-lead paint. had soil checked close to house it contains lead, so I thought I could build a vinyl fence system or gutter system along the one side of house, just an ugly grass pad there-at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. The system would be approximately 25 feet long.
    Thanks for great podcast, and reminding me that I need to do this.