Owner of EZ Gro Garden Larry K. Johnson has been an innovator in his fields of IT/engineering for years working in computers, telephone systems and Tier support. Seeing a need for a change in how we grow food in the ground he took a simple quad pot and designed an entire gardening/farming system around it, so the method of growing food becomes an above-ground managed system to increase food production while easing the environmental footprint. EzGro Garden provides many systems to allow for managed food-production systems from a porch patio garden to 1000’s of pots in tower gardens used around the world. This innovative system is fully functioning on non-arable land where normal farming would not be a workable solution. When customers of this system needed a way to power the gardens when normal power systems would not be usable. Larry , drawing on years of engineering and IT experience, segued from this amazing gardening system into designing an off-grid energy system to allow large-scale gardening to be autonomous from the power grid with his innovative TriHelix system. This coupled system utilizes wind and solar power together in a unique way. All designs and adaptations have been done with the idea of growing more food, producing cleaner energy and allowing people to be more productive. The combination of both an innovative way to grow more food using less resources coupled with the solar/wind power system to power both the garden systems, as well as home environments, creates an entire new way to remedy the issues both industries- farming and power- now face. Mr. Johnson has worked tirelessly over the past 10 years designing, researching and constantly reimaging his systems to make them better, stronger and more resourceful. At 61 , he is pushing forward to benefit future generations and the planet with amazing new ideas for power production and food production, this is his purpose and worthy of recognition.


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    I love to use hydroponics

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    Helpful blog, bookmarked the website with hopes to read more!

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    Thanks for the article and for creating a nice website. I have been looking for reliable information on gardening and can put these recommendations to use. I have found it difficult to locate honest suggestions, as there are so many sites with useless information. Definitely keep the good information flowing!

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    I just could not leave your website. I extremely enjoyed the standard of the info you provide your visitors? I am gonna be back often.

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    Great article...great information! Thank you for doing your part to educate the public.

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    Really neem tree is very much beneficial for us

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    Really well written, researched and documented comparison!!

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    We recently constructed our first hydroponics greenhouse..none of us had ever worked with hydroponics but are very pleased with the ease of the growing process. We just started selling our hydroponics lettuce...our customers love the cleaness and freshness of the lettuce. We currently have four large contracts with some of the largest restaurants in Asheville, NC to include the Biltmore Estates...we are planning at least two more units to grow tomatoes, and cucumbers. We are truely amazed ... and loving every moment of it. Thanks..Gene

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      I am a student at UNC Asheville within the Mechatronics program and will be entering my senior year this Fall. I have been collaborating with other students on ideas for our Senior Design Project. An automated growing apparatus is at the top of our list. Do you see the possibility of forming a symbiotic relationship with 3-5 UNC Asheville students?

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    Rob, thank you for showing my son and I your garden. Read the book on the way home ,very well written and easy to follow.We can`t wait to get started . Already collecting parts. I`ll keep you posted! GW Casto

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    i am a big fan of this system!!

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    Did you do this yourself, or did you have plans drawn up or a commercial developer? Working on a college project, but considering doing this type of commercial for the communtiy and would love to know where to start, yours make it look easy, but know that it is not. Would love input for my project as well. Please contact me! This could make a great community project, and we could educate the surrounding schools.

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    wow! that is good . i like it .lol

  14. Larry Johnson

    The garden is designed and built by EzGro using volunteers from Sage Mind for the construction.

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    Am really thrilled to now know much about this very plant,a generous gift of nature to humanity. Just little did l know before about the plant but your work here has really enriched my knowledge of medicinal plants. I wish to thank you very immensely and will always visit the site for more information. God bless you!!!

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    Just got a patio garden shipping was fast and my wife put this together by herself with no tools and no problems at all. we have a big hydroponic system in the back yard and this is so much easier. I am loving this thing.

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    Wow Stanley. That is awesome. I have to see this. Good luck.

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    Wow well designed garden :)

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    We need low cost hydroponics and Aquaponics system in third world country like Bangladesh is the thrust areas for smooth dissemination in community and farmers.

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    really neem tree is amazing plant with unique features which are useful to everyone , all it's part's are used medicinally

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    in searching the information about the neem tree is amazing because i dont know about the neem tree it has many beneficts

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    Cool Diorama!!! Where is this and Who made it? Its super cool!!!!!

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      This is a diorama at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

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    Assuming objective of organic culture is free from pollutants, such as chemical fertilizers and pest protectant, as much as possible, for the crops human has to grow and produce, use manure and not to use any chemical products.
    The land to grow crops is at open environment, therefore, it could have chances of having some of pollutant such as smoke from various industrial plant, dusts via air and river soil born pathogens and soil itself has toxic elements and too much or far less elements of macro-mineral .
    Therefore, production of crops at a higher yield and good quality can be limited.

    While hydroponic culture has man made environments of computerized control of climate, fertigation and water quality control by ultraviolet rays and or hot water pasteurization system, therefore, crops can be grown at a very healthy condition that leads to minimize occurrence of diseases, minimize of insect entry that leads to higher yield per Ha with good quality. of course, agro-chemical usage can be far less.

    Animals being grown at a better environment of disease and pest free, nutritive and
    stresses free can be comparative to the one of opposite.
    Why the grower in hydroponic wants to have certificate of organic farming is hard to understand why not authority issue certificate of organic for the crops grown in hydroponic for the product produced at a better condition for clean food.

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    THanks! hydroponics are COOL

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      Yeah your right its very cool

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    I did not know this was used even thousands of years ago! nice

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    so pretty

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    I'm an urban hydroponic farmer and while I agree on it being relatively clean and environmentally friendly, stating that hydroponics produces more nutritious and better tasting crops is simply false.

    1. Larry Johnson

      Actually this is not false it has been proven. Research has been done on the nutrition of hydroponics produce.
      Research in Holland gives an indication of the influence of hydroponic nutrient solution strength on aspects of tomato quality. A rise in root environment solution strength from EC 2.6 to 3.5 mS/cm gave the following increases:
      Shelf life in days 17.5 to 19.2
      EC in fruit sap in mS/cm 5.8 to 6.2
      Acids in fruit sap, mmol/L 75.0 to 84.0
      Brix of fruit sap % (approx. sugars) 4.8 to 5.0
      (Source: “Overview of nutrition in hydroponics”, by Dr Cees Sonneveld, Australian Hydroponics Conference, Melbourne, 1993.)
      Another nutritional study published recently claimed that hydroponics produce was higher in certain vitamins than field grown produce. The study was carried out in San Jose, California, by Plant Research Technologies Incorporated. Several varieties of tomatoes and sweet peppers were tested for vitamins A, B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin C and vitamin E. The study showed a dramatic increase in vitamins and minerals in hydroponics, in some cases up to 50% higher vitamin content.

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      reply to Mr. Daniel
      I am an expert organic farmer, for more than 33 years, and my specialty is berries and tomato. This year was the first hydroponics years I start, begining with strawberry first, and raspberry next, and believe me, even my organic production this year was of no match to the hydroponics production taste and Brix levels.
      The fruits were harder, longer shelf life, and at least 1.5 times tastier than the the organic production. During hydroponics, you daily give the plant the components needed to its growth, providing bigger plants, higher quality fruit and longer production cycle. You can even control the temperature of the substrate to provide uninterrupted production cycle.
      This year, I will begin with vertical stacking strawberry system, a wall system facing south for higher number of plants per acre and extending into the winter.
      That is my personal experience based on being the GM for the largest organic cooperative in my country for 3 years.
      Thank you for your time

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    Me parece muy interesante esta página.

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    Best explanation of good water for hydroponic systems I've come upon.

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    Wow, what a concept and a great leaning tool for the next generation. Plants are my life and growing them on land can sometimes be a challenge. Soil, sun and water....

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    thank you :)

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    do you have a starting point for amount of light i would use to grow green peppers from seed? starting light when seedlings emerge up to the time to transplant outside?

    1. Larry Johnson

      Your grow lights should be turned on (or your seedlings should be put under lights) as soon as the first seed starts to sprout. Many types of seedlings grow super fast, and they will start reaching for the light as soon as they emerge. So give them plenty of light right from the start.
      Keep your grow lights 2-3″ above the top of your seedlings at all times. At first, your light will sit directly above (but not touching) the plastic lid on the seed tray. Once the seedlings start to grow, and you take the lid off, then you’ll have to adjust the lights on a regular basis so it stays above the top of the seedlings (having a grow light system that is simple to adjust make this job a whole lot easier!). Your seedlings should never touch the bulbs, so make sure to check on them often. Rotate the seed trays daily if you notice the seedlings that aren’t directly under the light are reaching for light, or aren’t growing as well as the ones that are directly under the light.
      Your grow lights need to be kept on for about 14-16 hours a day. Don’t leave them on 24 hours a day though. Like us, seedlings need to rest for a few hours each day. So plan to give your seedlings 14-16 hours of light during the day, and then leave the light turned off overnight. Use an outlet timer to make keeping this schedule a snap, and ensure your seedlings get the perfect amount of light.

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    If I grow my plants from seedlings when do I start my seedlings on your A,B,C nutrient mix. When do I start feeding my plants? What amount of mix do I use?

    1. Larry Johnson

      When a seed sprouts, the first set of leaves that unfold are called cotyledons. All the food that's needed to sustain these first leaves is contained right inside the seed. But once the second set of "true" leaves appear, you should begin feeding your seedlings with a diluted solution. Mix the nutrient at half the recommended rate. You can continue this feeding program until the seedlings go into the garden.

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    We have one of these white faces shiny orb spiders near our backdoor. I enjoy seeing it and it's actually a pretty spider, but now this evening I saw another spider dangling near her web and it flew down on a strand way to close to me. Is there a way to move the other spider? Thanks!

    1. Larry Johnson

      To capture a spider with the intent to relocate it, a small clean sturdy vessel with a secure lid is needed. When we have spiders in the house, we always capture and relocate them safely outside.
      If a spider is in an orb, try to visually locate the traverse lines suspending the web, there should be several going out in different directions. These lines are not sticky and you can easily detach them if you need to in order to get the capturing vessel closer to the spider.
      It is in the spider’s interest to capture them in the evening when they would be eating their web soon and retiring for the night. Then you haven’t interrupted their intent to find food for the day and causing them to need to begin a new web all over again. This may sound extreme but if you have ever watched spiders in their natural habitat, they are fascinating creatures and have their own rhythm of life you can learn as you observe.
      Once you can approach the spider’s orb closely, carefully hold the small plastic container behind the web and quickly, because the spider will try to escape as soon as she see’s what you’re doing, draw up the container and put on the container top simultaneously so as to capture the spider in the vessel without harming it.
      Verify you indeed have the spider in your vessel. Carry the vessel to a pre-determined location where there are plants and the prospect of bugs for food. Tip the vessel as you carefully remove the top and give the vessel a gentle shake to encourage the spider to crawl out assisted by gravity. Watch for a moment, or as long as you want, to make sure the spider has quickly adapted to its new surroundings.
      Voila! You have successfully lead an arachnid release project! Congratulations!

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    This article is the best one I have read on the subject of plant growth using LED lights. The others talk about incandescent, halogen, flourescent, etc, but do not mention LED's, which are now commonly available in white light and are not as costly as they once were.
    I do have one question. I am overwintering some of my houseplants, which did great in our coastal Carolina summer weather that is typically hot, humid, wet (sometimes) and features lots of sunlight. I purchased a 5000K white GE LED and a 2500K GE LED. I have these plants on a long table covered with aluminum foil for reflective purposes, with the 2500K LED at one end of the table and the 5000K LED at the other side. Both are in gooseneck fixtures. Together, these LED's bathe the plants in very bright light. I have them on for 16 hours/day, using timers, with the 2500K bulb turned on about one hour before the 5000K bulb and remaining on about 1/2 hour after the 5000K bulb goes off, in my crude attempt to simulate first and last light. During the intervening hours, they are on simultaneously.
    May I ask, do you think this is a suitable set-up? I could not find a 6500K LED, but the 5000K simulates direct sunlight at noon, according to your article, which I figure is good light.
    Any light you can shed on my set-up's suitability or lack thereof would be greatly appreciated. I love my plants and want to do the best by them.
    Thank you,
    Ken H.
    Wilmington, NC

    1. Larry Johnson

      The short answer is what you are doing will work. Do keep in mind more light is always better and when you don’t have enough light then leave them on longer. I am assuming you don’t have flowering plants. Most house plants are all foliage and no flowering. If that is the case then you can use just the 5000k lights and don’t really need the 2500k because the 2500k promotes the flowering and fruiting growth. The 5000k promotes the foliage growth and supports the flowering some. At this point I would keep doing just what you are doing and if you find they start waning you can add another one or two 5000k and/or extend the duration of the lights on time.

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    These are not chinampas, which don't float, calling them that is misleading. This is floating hydroponics.

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      Actually you are slightly incorrect, here is a little history on them.
      The center of Aztec life was the city of Tenochtitlan which was built in the middle of a lake, and the shores of the lake were occupied by other cities, so these people didn't have a lot of options when it came to farmland. What they did have, however, was a lot of water area on which to develop their system of floating gardens. Early versions of these gardens involved massive rafts, upon which soil was piled and then crops were planted. These rafts were anchored in the middle of the lake and the crops upon them were irrigated by the lake's water. Hence floating gardens.

      Those rafts were the start, but as they developed the chinampas became a bit more complex. Plots were staked out in shallow, marshy lake bed areas using a series of tall poles. A fence made of branches and mud was woven between the poles, creating a rectangular plot which was then filled with mud and vegetation. On average, each chinampa plot was only about 10-13 feet wide, but would range from 1,300 to 3,000 feet in length. These long, skinny, rectangular islands were built parallel to each other, with canals of water running between them. This allowed the water to continually flow through the chinampas, providing constantly irrigated soil. Crops and even non-edible plants like trees were planted on top to hold the soil together.

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    The Deck Garden is by far the best growing system I have used! It is so easy to set up, the wood surround looks beautiful and integrates well with most decor styles. I also love that it comes with everything you need- including the coconut coir to put the plants in! I have grown bell peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, parsley, basil, green onions and more! Definitely Recommend!!

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    While researching Hydroponics, in 1992, I used to work at General Hydroponics test greenhouse, in Sebastopol, ca.
    during a break from work i found Bill Mollison's book "Permaculture"
    It was enough to rethink agri, and turn into organiculture,
    although i still appreciate what can be achieved with hydroponics and aquaponics, i've been growing organic crops - for school meals - with no pesticides surrounded by a rainforest environment 180 feet above sea level.
    Only products i use to cope with problems is diluted rotenone and neem oil.
    such a great website you have here at ezgro garden, but the information provided on this webpage is absolutely not true.
    There is no way a crop that uses more pesticides than conventional can receive organic certification.

    I'm revisiting hydroponics due to your chinampas garden pages.
    Found a lot of good info here, but i wonder, wouldn;t be better to denounce hydroponics done the wrong way - nitrites in abundance in exchange of easy money - instead of showing organic produce as being poisonous?


    1. Larry Johnson

      Keep in mind this article is to point out that Organic doesn’t mean no pesticides. When you ask most people what they think Organic means- the number one answer is no pesticides. The thing we need to keep in mind is not to assume anything.
      I think you have misread the statement “no governmental regulations on the quantity of organic pesticides that may be used in organic agriculture!” key being “organic pesticides”. With synthetic pesticides there is a limit of 5%.
      The goal here is to get people thinking and become more aware of there food supply. Remember the best decision a person can make is an educated one.

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    Thanks for a really useful and simple explanation. I am trying out a led rope light on my lanai ( vegetable grow shelves). I had a heck of a time finding the lumens. However, I found the kelvin and it is spec'd at 2700. From reading your site, it seems I did well picking something that will help me. Thanks again,

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    I love my Patio Garden, I got it last year for mothers day and it did fabulous. Everything I planted grew so well. Getting ready to plant it again. It is so exciting to watch everything growing.

  41. texasbees

    It is so easy to set up, the wood surround looks beautiful and integrates well with most decor styles. I also love that it comes with everything you need- including the coconut coir to put the plants in! I have grown bell peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, parsley, basil, green onions and more! Definitely Recommend!!

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    […] Image credit: Ez Gro Garden […]
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    nice :)

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    My favorite favorite favorite favorite male pet spiders are 1 the male [PLATFORM SPIDER] 2. The male (FALSE BLACK WIDOW SPIDER) no male orbweaver spider can win a fight against then over territory. ????HAA HA HA HA HA HA HAAAAA.

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    This is one of the best article regarding usinging led bulb for plants. 5 star *
    Dhaka, Bangladesh