Author(s): DALTON LON AND SMITH ROB
The first book that Lon and Rob wrote, 'Hydroponic Gardening' was conceived as a guide to the hydroponic aspects of growing and did not dwell at any length with crop management aspects, since the authors assumed that those who would consider entering into the commercial use of a hydroponic growing system, would not do so without the knowledge of how to grow a plant. It just did not seem to them, to even be an issue, much the same as you would not expect a person with no medical qualifications to apply for a job as a brain surgeon. Of course there are many first time growers, who realising the need for an understanding of the subject, have enlightened themselves with the appropriate education and have ultimately been very successful commercial operators. Therefore to recognise your own limitations and to do something about it, is one way in which you can save yourself a lot of heartache and disillusionment. This book has reinforced the basic principles of 'what makes hydroponics work', and Lon has provided some magnificent photographic examples to back up my text and line drawings, in an effort to point out to both the existing and the prospective hydroponic grower some of the more important 'basic aspects' of growing and caring for plants in a hydroponic growing system in order to achieve the optimum result.
One of life's positive thinkers, Lon Dalton has always held an interest in the possibilities of 'Hydroponic Gardening' A man of many and varied pursuits in the game of life, Lon has been a director of several successful companies both in New Zealand and in the islands of the South Pacific, and still retains an active interest in a number of indigenous enterprises. Many years ago Lon decided to have a go at the subject that for so long had fascinated him. Like so many others he studied the information which had been published on the subject at that time. Armed with a barrel full of misleading information he proceeded to build his first Hydroponic Garden. Many years later and with the benefit of the years of experience (learning the hard way) Lon's home is just one big hydroponic garden, with every conceivable type of system growing the widest possible range of plants from Grapes, Limes and Roses to Potatoes, Pumpkin and WaSabi. Lon became involved with Rob Smith in the late seventies and between the two N. Z. Hydroponics was formed, a company that would fill all the gaps that Lon had found to his cost, faced anyone who wanted to get into the world of hydroponics. So it was that in 1984 Lon and Rob published their first book on the subject 'Hydroponic Gardening' which has been reprinted many times and was totally revised to bring it right up to date in 1993 and is classified as a 'best seller'. The continuing world wide sales of this first book certainly highlighted the need for such a publication, the theme of which was, 'A practical guide to growing plants without soil' The book truly reflected Lon's enthusiasm knowledge and experience of the wonderful world of Hydroponics. Lon has travelled far and wide, visiting commercial Hydroponic installations in both Australia and New Zealand to put together a stunning collection of photographic shots to support and compliment the Text in this new book. Lon still finds time to pursue his many other interests, most of which still revolve around growing, including the concepts of integrated production of plant material and Crayfish farming. Rob commenced his apprenticeship in the Electrical industry in 1956 and worked his way up in that industry, until he gained the highest possible qualification of Technician in 1971. He has been involved with major Industrial Electrical Installations such as export product cool stores, and meat processing plants, and in the early eighties held the position of Consultant electrical engineer to Toyota (NZ) Ltd, being responsible for assembly plant, automation design. Although no longer practising in the Electrical industry, Rob still holds an Electrical Inspectors Registration. Early in 1977 he was requested by a fertiliser company to design and build a commercial Hydroponic controller, since at that time no purpose built equipment was available in the world. After four months of intensive research on the subject he set to and constructed the very first purpose designed and built Hydroponic controller. That very first controller is still in daily use. Rob has continued to develop sophisticated devices and controls for all types of industry and has had a major design input into the worlds first fully automatic, Hydroponic grass growing unit which is manufactured by 'Zero Grass NZ Ltd' and is proving to be a significant contributor to the problems of providing stock feed in hostile environments. The challenge of Hydroponics has not faded, and over the years he has not only had a continuing input into the design of electronic meters and controllers which are now exported from NZ to every major World market - but has widened his interests to include co-writing the text of the book 'Hydroponic Gardening' completely writing the text and producing all the diagrams and computer drawings for this book, and regularly contributes articles to a number of different publications around the world as well as lecturing on Hydroponic theory, systems and controls and through the company, continues to design and manufacture a wide range of specialist products for the industry. Rob enjoys his leisure time with his family, his home gardens, music (plays Saxophone and Synthesizer) and restoring Classic cars.
Foreword -- Introduction -- Hydroponics The word -- Getting to understand the plant? -- Seeding and Propagating methods -- Plant Growth -- Hydroponic Basics -- Materials Selection -- Hydroponic growing systems -- Sourcing the correct equipment -- Automatic dosing equipment -- Emergency standby equipment -- Environmental control -- Heating equipment -- Artificial lighting -- Greenhouse design considerations -- System installation considerations -- Plant nutrient and analysis -- Plant protection -- Economic considerations -- Specific Crops: Beans, Brassicas, Bulbs (Flower), Capsicum, Carnations, Carrot, Celery, Courgette, Cucumber, Herbs, Lettuce, Melon, Onion (Spring), Radish, Orchids, Roses, Strawberry, Tomato, Water Cress, Useful Data - and Index.