SQWIBS Urban Garden Adventure

Discussion in 'Small Spaces' started by sqwib, May 28, 2015.

  1. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I haven't been on the forum much because I have been concentrating on my Aquaponics and Hydroponics this year, I realized when working on my page that SMF has a garden section so I am dropping by to show you what I have been up to.

    The reason I posted this in "small spaces" is because that is the reason I got into this type of gardening (limited space) I am also working on some other projects like vertical gardening, NFT Systems and a bunch of other things.

    If I can impress Mrs. SQWIB with this years crops, she may let me get a greenhouse!!! Well she put me on a diet and I replaced bread with Romaine SO SHE BETTER LET ME GET A GREENHOUSE!!!

    Deep Water Culture Tomatoes / Peppers / Eggplants

    I decided I wanted to expand on my tomatoes and other veggies and with a limited planting area, I chose the DWC method of hydroponics, This is a trial run and if all works well, I will double the size and plumb in a Recirculating Deep Water Culture w/nutrient reservoir and control bucket.

    Most likely using the underflow design.

    For my Fertilizer (Nutes) I used Bobbies formula, I also added about 1/4 ounce of vinegar to drop the ph to around 6- 6.5

                                                                         N     P     K
    Nute Mix per 5 gallons for tomatoes (20-18-38)

    • 12 grams Calcium Nitrate Fertilizer     15.5-0-0
    • 12 grams Hydroponic Tomato Fertilizer 4-18-38
    • 6 grams epsom salts Magnesium Sulphate
    (N) Nitrogen (P) Phosphorus (K) potassium
     ​
     ​
     ​
    Started with this
    • 5 gallon buckets x 6
    • 6" inch Mesh Net Pot Lid for 5-3 GALLON BUCKET x 6
    • Nutes (see above)
    • Hydroton Grow Rocks
    • Elite Airline Tubing, 20 Feet
    • Air Pump - This is the one I used from my fish tank
    • (1) 12 way air control manifold
    I had to lower the PH a smidgen by adding a 1/4 ounce of white vinegar per 5 gallons of water, PH was at 7.5, lowered to around 6.

    Early Girl Tomato, Patio tomato, Black Beauty Eggplant,

    May 18th 2015

    [​IMG]

    It's been about 3 weeks and so far everything is looking real good, so I decided to go a step further and build an "Undercurrent Recirculating Deep Water Culture Hydroponic System". URDWCHS for short, lol...
    I will try out 10 buckets this year and may add two more next year if this system works.


    [​IMG]
    • 5 gallon buckets x 10
    • 6" inch Mesh Net Pot Lid for 5-3 GALLON BUCKET x 10
    • Nutes (see above)
    • Hydroton Grow Rocks
    • (11) Check valves (only needed if pump is lower than the air stones)
    • (6) - Elite Airline Tubing, 20 Feet cut in half
    • (1) Air Pump - This is the one I used from my fish tank
    • Eco Plus 2" x 3 3/4" Large Round Air Stone x 10
    • (1) 12 way air control manifold
    • 4-Inch Round Air Stone for Control Bucket
    • (1) Danner model #7 pump (note that the inlet is barbed and not threaded, see pic below)
    • 1.5" PVC Elbows x 11
    • 1.5" x 10' PVC x 2
    • 1/2" x 10' PVC X2
    • 1/2" PVC Union x 2
    • 5 - 1/2" PVC Elbows
    • 1/2 in. Schedule 40 PVC Female Adapter
    • 1/2 in. Schedule 40 PVC Tee x 1
    • 1-1/2 in. x 3/4 in. PVC Sch. 40 Reducer Bushing x 1
    • 3/4 in. Schedule 40 PVC Male Adapter
    • 3/4 in. x 1/2 in. PVC Sch. 40 S x S Reducer Coupling
    • 8 oz. PVC Cement
    • 27-Gal. Storage Tote in Black
    • 1-1/2" uniseals x 22
    • Dixon BAS974 Brass Fitting, Swivel Adapter, 3/4" GHT Female x 1/2" NPTF Female
    • Kerick Valve MA052 PVC Mini Float Valve, Tank Mount, Adjustable Arm, 1.5 gpm at 60 psi, 1/2" NPT Male
    • Milwaukee 49-56-0147 2-1/2-Inch Ice Hardened Hole Saw
    • Milwaukee 49-56-7055 Hole Saw Arbors for 1-1/4-Inch & Larger Hole Saws

       
    Please note... I had to get a few extra fittings and a pice of 3/4" PVC, fittings so I had to use a 3/4 in. Schedule 40 PVC Male Adapter a piece of 3/4" pipe then reduce that to 1/2" with 3/4 in. x 1/2 in. PVC Sch. 40 S x S Reducer Coupling.

    Danner Model 7 pump (Amazons picture is wrong)

    you will need a piece of 1" hosing and two pipe clamps with this pump, if it's a threaded inlet purchase the
    1/2 in. x 1/2 in. PVC Sch. 40 MPT x FPT Riser. The rubber hose actually worked out well, it adds a bit of flexibility juggling the components around.


    [​IMG]
    • I started by cutting eighteen 2.5" holes in the buckets using the bucket handles as a center reference (eyeballing).
    • Each hole was carefully drilled by putting pressure on the bucket and bending slightly so the hole would not be oblong.
    • Each hole was shaved with a sharp knife then sanded, then the uniseals were placed in the bucket.
    • The last bucket in line has a hole that comes out of the front for the return.
    • then I cut 10 pieces of 1-1/2" PVC to 12" lengths and one piece at 6", each piece was beveled and wiped down with a deglazer.
    • Buckets are at 18" centers (6" gap in between each bucket) but can go out to 22" centers.
    • The 12" PVC tubes are press fit in to each bucket using a dab of silicone o-ring lube food safe Dimethylpolysiloxane.
    • the tubes are wiped clean after insertion and alignment.
    • After all the buckets were plumbed in...
    [​IMG]
    • Each bucket inlet is then fitted with a 1-1/2" elbow.
    • I took two elbows and capped the ends, filled with water and checked for leaks, I was very nervous about leaks because of the nightmares I have heard about the uniseals on round 5 gallon buckets. Fortunately there was not one leak.

    [​IMG]
     

    Then the return line is plumbed in
    • 6" nipple (1.5" PVC Pipe)
    • 1.5" elbow
    • 1.5" x 3/4" reducer bushing
    • 3/4" male adaptor
    • 12" 1.5 PVC Pipe
    • 3/4" - 1/2" SXS
    • 10" OF 1/2" PVC Pipe
    • one side of the union
    all these parts are cleaned and glued, for breakdown, the union is broken and the whole section slides out of the last bucket for storage.

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    then the 2nd part of the union is glued on to a 10' piece of 1/2" PVC Pipe, this goes to a 12" 1" black rubber hose and is clamped to the pipe and pump with hose clamps.
     

    The control tank is drilled at the highest point to allow the 1/2" PVC pipe to slide in and then ther e is another smaller hole drilled at the same level for an air line.
     

    from the pump on the outlet goes the 1/2" female adapter
    • 10" 1/2" PVC Pipe
    • 1/2" Elbow
    • 14" 1/2" PVC Pipe
    • 1/2" Tee
    • two 1/2" nipples
      then an elbow is placed on each nipple
    the adapter is glued to the 10" nipple then to the elbow then to the 14" nipple. The elbows are glued to the nipples and the tee but the tee is not glued to the 14" nipple

    The threads on the pump needed a ton of teflon tape


    [​IMG]
     

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    The only problem with a system like this is there is 0 tolerance for mistakes, a small leak and you're done, the air pump fails and you're done, you run your system dry and you're done the pump fails... well you might be OK if that happens.


    All the air hoses are cut to the same length, I purchased twenty foot air hose sections and cut them in half, the pump is placed above the air stones to act as an airlock (anti siphon) in the event of a pump failure or power outage.
     

    I measured the system by pouring in 5 gallon buckets, its roughly 60 gallons when operating. Once hooked into the Nute reservoir the system will be 115 gallons circulating about 6x per hour.

    I ran the system for half an hour with the garden hose overflowing the buckets for a cleaning.

    [​IMG]

    Did some math, then added the nutes.
     

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    The new system in place and only need a few minor tweaks.

    New air stones will be added today as well as a float for a 55 gallon gravity fed nute reservoir . I will also need to raise the feed line off of the concrete to reduce heating up the nutes and run the electric cord under ground.
     

    [​IMG]

     

    I was worried it would look obnoxiously huge, the only part that looks a little BOLD is the control tank.
     

    (1) Patio Tomato Plant, (2)Early Girl Tomato Plant, (3)open, (4)Poblano Pepper or Bell pepper?,(5)Black Beauty Eggplant, (6)open, (7)open, (8)open, (9)Cloned Fantastico tomato plant, (10)Black Beauty Eggplant.
     

    I wanted a mix of plants to see which ones did well in the DWC system using my current nute formula, I'm a bit worried combining eggplant with tomatoes as they like different nutes.

    [​IMG]

    Kratky Peas and String Beans.
     ​
    I could never use this area before because there was a huge Bradford pear tree here. The tree was cut down last fall and I had to come up with a way to close off this area so the dog and turtles don't tear it up, but also allow access for the turtles. For Some reason they love it up there.
    For my Fertilizer (Nutes) I used Bobbies formula, I also added about 1/4 ounce of vinegar to drop the ph to around 6- 6.5
                                                                                       N     P     K
    Nute Mix per 5 gallons for Sugar Snap Peas (20-18-38)
    • 12 grams Calcium Nitrate Fertilizer     15.5-0-0
    • 12 grams Hydroponic Tomato Fertilizer 4-18-38
    • 6 grams epsom salts Magnesium Sulphate
    (N) Nitrogen (P) Phosphorus (K) potassium


    Behold FREE Pallets.

     
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    Cutout for the turtles bottom right

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    • May 4th, 2015
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    May 16th, 2015 (L)

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    • May 27th, 2015 (L)
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    • May 28th, 2015 (L)
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    • May 16th, 2015 (R)
    I think one of my Green Bean seeds made it (rear plant)

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    • May 27th, 2015 (R)
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    • May 28th, 2015 (R)
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    Kratky Grow Bed
     ​
    This is an old slide out container that was in the front of my RV that was never used. I sealed up the ends with pond liner and Dow Coring 732 silicone to make a Kratky Grow Bed.
    I think its 16" wide by 80" long, it's small but doesn't overpower the yard..
    I had to lower the PH a smidgen by adding a 1/4 ounce of white vinegar per 5 gallons of water, PH was at 7.5, lowered to around 6.
     ​
     ​
    For my Fertilizer (Nutes) I used Bobbies formula, I also added about 1/4 ounce of vinegar to drop the ph to around 6- 6.5

                                                                         N     P     K
    Nute Mix per 5 gallons for Grow Bed (20-18-38)

    • 12 grams Calcium Nitrate Fertilizer     15.5-0-0
    • 12 grams Hydroponic Tomato Fertilizer 4-18-38
    • 6 grams epsom salts Magnesium Sulphate
    (N) Nitrogen (P) Phosphorus (K) potassium
    [​IMG]

    May 18th, 2015


    Red Russian Kale, Romaine and  ??? The iceberg and spinach is from seed and not looking good.

    [​IMG]
     

    L-R Sugar Snap Peas, Habaneros and  Poblanos?

    [​IMG]
     ​
     ​
    Kratky Lettuce in Folgers Cans
    (Used established plants)
     ​
    • Folger coffee cans (change out to 2 gallon buckets)
    • 2" Net Pots Changed out to 3" Net Pots
    • Nutes (see above)
    • Hydroton Grow Rocks
    • Jiffy 7 Peat Pellets
    • Spinach/Lettuce seeds.
    • Cheap plastic container to start seeds
    • Foam wrap Reflectix
    • Foil Tape
    I had to lower the PH a smidgen by adding a 1/4 ounce of white vinegar per 5 gallons of water, PH was at 7.5, lowered to around 6.
     
    For my Fertilizer (Nutes) I used Bobbies formula, I also added about 1/4 ounce of vinegar to drop the ph to around 6- 6.5
                                                                                  N     P     K
    Nute Mix per 5 gallons for Kratky Lettuce (20-18-38)
    • 10 grams Calcium Nitrate Fertilizer     15.5-0-0
    • 10 grams Hydroponic Tomato Fertilizer 4-18-38
    •  5 grams epsom salts Magnesium Sulphate
    (N) Nitrogen (P) Phosphorus (K) potassium

     

     
    • May 5th, 2015
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    • May 18th, 2015
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    • May 19th, 2015
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    • May 21st, 2015
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    • May 25th 2015
    I harvested one of each but it was too soon the lettuce was very wilted in the refrigerator, however I ate some today and it was OK. I dumped the remaining 1" of solution into the other two containers and will give it another 10 days or so. The red kale hasn't been too thirsty, there's still a lot of nutes in there.
     

    These were purchased the beginning of May and planted the week before mothers day.
    I figure 5- 6 weeks should be OK, However I'm not sure if the nutes will last that long in hotter weather, I'm gonna try 1-1/5 gallon buckets next year.


     
    • May 27th 2015
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

     

    Yesterday when I got home the lettuce was bone dry, I added a bit of pond water because I wasn't up to mixing any nutes, the next day I added some nutes from my DWC system as that was being upgraded. These guys are really drinking a lot the last few days and I have been careful just adding a few inches of water at a time.

    I will definitely be upgrading this to 1.5 gallon containers and 3" net pots.

    • May 28th, 2015

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    Roots are getting a tad dirty, time to harvest these soon.
     
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    This head was almost completely flat yesterday.
     
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    The Red Romaine is really looking good.
     
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    The Russian Red Kale is hanging in there but I think the Kale in the Pond Planter is doing better.

    [​IMG]


     

    The colors of the leaves are much brighter in the Aquaponic planter than the Kratky  Lettuce but also much less mature.
     

    [​IMG]
     

    These Lettuce plant were purchased grown already, I tried planting seeds with no success,

    I would call this a total success but needs tweaking.
     

    I have been so impressed with how the lettuce done in these kratky containers, with the exception of the containers being too small resulting in the nutes lasting less than three weeks I decided to remedy that problem I ordered 2 gallon buckets, this will more than triple the volume of nutes.
    Another problem was the lettuce was top heavy and kept falling over and the net pot pulling out, I will glue the net pots in or at the least try to have a tighter fit.

     

    Today I put out two new containers with nute solution, I'm trying to germinate 4 Black Seeded Simpson right in the planter with grow stones... keep your finger crossed.

    Here's my newer setup, I am working on if the Black Seeded Simpson germinate.
    • 2 gallon buckets and lids
    • 3" Net Pots
    • Nutes (see above)
    • Hydroton / Grow Rocks
    • Spinach/Lettuce seeds.
    If the lettuce "Bolts" in the summer I 'll try,
    • Foam wrap Reflectix
    • Foil Tape
    Aquaponic Veggie filter
     ​
    (started growing vegetables in here in 2013 and last year 2014 with some success)
     
    Basically my veggie filter is an up-feed filter from the pond, the water travels a pipe outside the main pond and under the veggie filter, the water flows up through a few hundred pot scrubbers and 3-4" thick polyester filter media, up along the clay pots about 2" high. The clay pots rest on the filter media, the pots are lined with a pond underlayment to assist in wicking, the pots are filled with a clay soil and potting soil, then the water exits the veggie filter through three feeder tubes back into the pond, the dwell time in the veggie filter is several minutes.
    I usually grow peppers in these planters with a little fertilizer.


    2012 veggie filter.
     
    [​IMG]


    2013 veggie filter. (Photo July 8th)

    Tomatoes grew but only had a few fruits and the Chinese egg plant developed one small fruit. The Canna Lily kicked ass.
     

    [​IMG]

    2014 Veggie Filter (Photo June 28th)

    The peppers did well but could be better, I may up the Nutes this year

    [​IMG]

    • Roma on the left only produced a few tomatoes.

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    • (Photo September 12, 2014)

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    2015 Veggie Filter (May 8th)

    L-R  Three Bell peppers, three Poblano peppers,  Calla Lily in the very back and some Water Hyacinths. The phlox to the extreme left is in the ground.

    May 8th, 2015
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    May 11th, 2015
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    May 18th, 2015

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    Aquaponic Planter (Updated for 2015)
    Nightmare
     ​
    • Wood Planter
    • Roof Flashing Rubber
    • Plasti Dip Black Multi-Purpose Rubber Coatin
    • 3/8 copper tubing and pipe
    • washing machine hose
    • small cheap pump
    • 4 freaking tubes of Dow Coring 732 silicone

    This is the old flower planter that we plant impatiens in. I tried a few cayenne peppers in there with no success, this year I may try spinach or something along side the impatiens. The New planter bottom is layered with some filter media then covered in pea gravel, the terracotta pots are lined with pond underlayment to promote wicking and the pots sit inside the pea gravel, the water flows from the top fills up the planter to the outflow submerging an inch or so of the terracotta pots, then empties in the veggie filter. Dwell time is a few minutes. There is a bottom drain that will be left open in the winter for proper drainage.

    2014 Planter

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    [​IMG]
     
    For the new build I used some scrap 3/4 I had laying around, cut on the table saw, air nailed and glued with PL-500 and caulked the joints, the inside was coated with some Henry 201 ashphalt Roof Coating I had laying around then sprayed with Performix 11203 Plasti Dip Black Multi-Purpose Rubber Coating Aerosol - 11 oz.

    I do not recommend using the Henry 201 and if you do, you will need to coat it as it may leach harmful by products into the pond.

    [​IMG]


    The outside was stained with some TWP Redtone that I had left over and will probably re-stain every other year. The inside was coated with Henry 201...again do not use this.
    Rubber feet were placed on the bottom so the wood does not rot where it is in contact with the concrete.
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    OK let me just say that this thing is getting expensive and becoming a nightmare, after I sprayed with the plasti-dip and set up... it leaked, I let it dry 24 hours, sealed with two tubes of Dow Coring 732 silicone dried 24 hours and it leaked..., I ordered 3 more tubes of Dow Coring 732 and will give it one more shot.
    In hindsight I should have cut 5 rubber panels from pond liner and sealed them to the sides and bottom then seamed the corners ...oh well, live and learn.


    Do not build this how I did it!!!

    Finally, the dam thing is done!!

     
    L-R Red Russian Kale, Impatiens, Red Russian Kale, Romaine, Impatiens. I'll have to have Laura tidy up the planter pots a bit.
     
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    This is the Dirt Farmer section!

    Herbs

    I did away with my herb garden on the deck when I resealed the deck, it was nice to have access to fresh herbs from the kitchen but it was too much work trying to keep the soil moist, my last ditch effort was I removed the pots and placed in a pond liner and filled the liner with soil.
    • April 28th 2013
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    Herbs were moved to the back yard pond perimeter and the front of the yard and all wintered over but the rosemary.

    For My herbs I have Chives, Sage, Thyme, Italian Oregano by the back pond. The front of the house I have Purple Sage, Oregano, Chocolate mint, that wintered over and added Thyme and Herb Lemon Verbena this spring, I placed the Basil next to the Pond Bench. I also tossed in another Arp Rosemary and Dwarf Sage plant in the garden closest to the house. Once the Rosemary and Basil get larger and I can get a couple suckers, I'll clone those. I had to remove the chocolate mint from the front lower herb garden and transplanted on the upper garden for a ground cover it was strangling my sage and on its way to the oregano.

    I also took two cuttings one from the Sage and one from the Oregano that is in the back pond and transplanted them on the hill in the front yard, for some reason these two plants are much more aromatic than my other plants

    Front of the house photo  chocolate mint center of photo.
    • May 10th 2015
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    • May 28th, 2015
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    Sage and Rosemary

    • May 26th, 2015
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    Sage, Oregano transplanted from the back pond herbs and Chocolate Mint removed from the front yard. I know the chocolate mint will grow out of control but I'm hoping it will make a good ground cover.
    • May 26th, 2015
    [​IMG]

     ​
     ​
    Dirt Farming
     

    My soil plants this year are 4 eggplants, three Early Girl tomato plants, 4 Habaneros, 2 Poblanos, 2 giant Jalapenos, 4 Jalapenos, one Fantastico Tomato Plant and 2 Patio Tomato Plants, not to mention my herbs!

    This year I decided to prune the plants as well as top off some of the peppers, I did not do all of them because I was a nervous wreck, after all I cut off more than half of the pepper plant that was loaded with flowers OMG!!!

     

    Giant Jalapeno

    • May 27th 2015
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    Giant Jalapeno
     
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    Regular Jalapeno

    • May 27th 2015
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    The cuttings were placed in a container with tap water and looked dead yesterday, this morning they perked up very nicely so I placed them in partial sun, in retrospect I should have pruned most of the leaves I will do that tonight and maybe add some nutes to the water.

     
    • May 28th 2015
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    I figured I would try my luck at eggplant again this year (My favorite garden veggie) , I haven't had any luck with eggplants over the years but I am hoping this year will be different.

    I will be pruning some and may try cloning a couple.

    • May 27th 2015

    [​IMG]

     
    I have a tomato plant out front in a planter next to the pond, last year the tomato plant in this planter kicked ass, it was nice to snack on when working on the pond or hanging out front.
    Hopefully this Fantastico Tomato plant will provide the same.
    • May 20th, 2015
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    • May 26th, 2015
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    Early Girls in the Back, and there's one in the URDWCHS, I'm gonna clone an Early Girl and add a 2nd to the Hydroponic setup.
    • May 28th, 2015
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    gary s and bearcarver like this.
  2. Sweet set up's Sqwib. Everything looks real healthy. I did hydro decades ago after visiting Rodales, alot of tedious work but great results when your on with your solution. Used to get supplies up the road from you on rt 13 in Bristol at Garden Indoors.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2015
  3. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Awesome Squib!!![​IMG]

    For all that hard work & sharing it with us!!!------------[​IMG]

    Way over my pay grade!!

    The closest I ever got to that was reading a couple of Rodale Press books years ago, including New Shelter.

    Rodale is right near where I live.

    Now you're gonna "Eat Yourself Skinny!!"

    Bear
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2015
  4. Used to visit Rodales alot when going to K-Town college back in the late 70's. I used to share a house down the road from the old Kempton Inn. Rodales still to this day push organic gardening practices which I still use.
     
  5. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Nice SQWIB !!!!!! I been reading Bobby's stuff for a couple years now.... Just ain't pulled the trigger... This place freezes for too long I think..... He sure has figured out how to grow stuff....
     
  6. Wow !!   pretty neat, I've seen a few people grow that way, Always interested me but never tried it,   Great job   Love all the Pic's    [​IMG]

    Gary
     
  7. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Wimpy, thanks for that info, gonnna check them out.

    Thanks Guys.

    You should really try the Kratky Lettuce its "0" Maintenance, just mix your nutes drop in a plant with rinsed roots and you are done, its easier than dirt farming, you can put them in the house next to windows. A folgers can full of nutes will get you maybe three weeks and will yield a perfect head of lettuce.




    Todays Lunch (store bought tomato...Nasty little bugger)


     
  8. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I'm even eating my flowers

    Chives

    Last night for dinner I had this.
     
    • 1% milk
    • Lemon black tea with Lemon Verbena, sugar of course! I need to drop the sugar too, looking into growing Stevia.
    • Chive / Chive Flower omelet
    with black pepper, pinch of salt, Lemon Verbena, chive flowers and stems.
     

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  9. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    There goes another 5 pounds of SQWIB down the drain!!![​IMG]

    Nice Omelet !![​IMG]

    Have to laugh---"Lemon Verbena" was a Popular Perfume----Mentioned a lot on "Little House on the Prairie".

    Bear
     
  10. disco

    disco Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Impressive set up.

    Disco
     
  11. jaxrmrjmr

    jaxrmrjmr Smoking Fanatic

    I see you have found the Master Blend 4-18-38.  It's some pretty cool stuff and growing lettuce with it using the Kratky Method is super cool.  If the weather cooperates and doesn't make the lettuce bolt, it really is a set it and forget it method for 3-6 weeks depending on temperature.  Funny I found this post because I actually built two more 2' x 4' boxes today!  That lets me grow 8 plants at a time which works well for us.

    I was very close to doing an aquaponics setup last year but never got around to it due to some family health issues and such.  The heat here in FL was a big concern for me.  A cousin is still holding on to a few 300 gallon IBCs for me along with a few yards of expanded shale.  I need to decide if I'm going to use them....?

    What I don't like about hydroponics is the pump.  I would have to pump water all the time.

    I decided on stringing together a bunch of self-wicking buckets.  I use a 2" net pot as the wick.  The grow medium is roughly 60% peat and 40% vermiculite.  It's able to draw enough water that my 4' tall by 4' wide eggplant plant did not droop during our 95+ degree days, yet it drained well enough that I can start seeds right in the buckets.  I didn't come up with this idea but I'm really happy with so far.

    I use the Master Blend formula to feed my plants from underneath (the wicking system).  I recently switched to Texas Tomato Food to feed them weekly from above.  I'm really happy with the results.
     
  12. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I see what your saying about the pump, The kratky method is awesome and virtually bomb proof for lettuce. I sort of got lazy with my setup towards the end, but had a great crop, I was eating eggplant every week. My dirt crops did better towards the end but I think I was not adding enough fertz towards the end. I'm gonna probably do the same as last year but ad fertz more frequently
     
  13. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    @SQWIB  I am not sure how I missed this thread but WOW! You have some serious gardening skills. I started designing my aquaponics system a few months ago but have yet to convince my wife that it is worth the investment. Hopefully I can get her on board soon so I can have it ready by spring. 
     
  14. jaxrmrjmr

    jaxrmrjmr Smoking Fanatic

    Start one Kratky box and she will see.  It cost me roughly $18-$20 to build a 2'x4' box which will grow 8 somethings on 1' spacing.... I have had great success with leaf lettuce, but I'm going to try mustard greens here in a few weeks.  Butter or Bibb lettuce is well over $2 per head in the grocery store.  If you grow out eight heads, the box has paid for itself with the first harvest!  Make some chicken wraps with that sweet lettuce and she will let you grow more.  That may be a good way to get her on-board and get it started.
     
  15. jaxrmrjmr

    jaxrmrjmr Smoking Fanatic

    If you like eggplant, you have got to try the self-wicking bucket.  It loves water and hot temps.  I put one small black beauty transplant in one of the buckets this past May and harvested over 35 fruits before I pulled it in late September. I fertilized it like a tomato plant to make it bloom more and seemed to work.  Wife and I got tired of eggplant......
     
  16. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    I just looked that up and think I will be heading to the hydroponics store soon to get some supplies! Thanks for the info. 
     
  17. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    If I can find the room I may try a few of the self wicking  buckets, although I really want to try and stay away from soil for the most part.

    I got maybe 10 fruits per plant on the eggplant and some started turning yellow, wasn't sure if it was lack of nutes, but my soil eggplants done the same. I need to work on a better fertilizing regiment as my soil plants really looked good in September compared to my Hydroponics. I think I only added nutes three times the entire season, I was afraid to over do it.

    My lettuce grows like crazy in the spring but bolts too soon in the hotter days.
     
  18. jaxrmrjmr

    jaxrmrjmr Smoking Fanatic

    I don't do hydroponics, so I'm not much help there but I would think refreshing the nutrient solution every 4-6 weeks would be needed.

    As for the eggplant... I just noticed you are in PA.  They love insane heat as long as they can get water.  I'm in FL.  They seem to thrive in the middle of the summer when the daily highs are 88+ every day for months and months and months.
     
  19. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I agree, I'm going to try adding nutes to my main tank (55 gallon drum)
     
  20. jaxrmrjmr

    jaxrmrjmr Smoking Fanatic

    Here's a few pics I took from the things that are still growing in my back yard this time of year... wet and windy morning.


    A couple of big beef that haven't ripened yet.  They are about 12 oz but have refused to ripen even though I topped the plant about 3-4 weeks ago.


    A few good sized San Marzano's hanging on but just starting to blush.


    Yellow bell pepper plant that almost died.  It's back and doing well.  Looks like a couple might reach super market size if I can protect it from freezing.


    Trinidad Scorpion pepper doing well.


    Ghost peppers two months ago.........


    Ghost pepper today.  Not sure what is going on yet, but all the larger, older leaves fell off and so did many small peppers.  New leaves coming out though.


    Good looking cabbage right in the middle.  Going to saute up some ham and cabbage as side for Christmas dinner.  The two back plants are Morris Cabbage Collards - big leaves that grow quick and just keep making after you pick a few.  They are cooked down into greens.  Top right is a small SWC tote with bibb lettuce in the back and a couple of strawberry plants up front.  Strawberries don't like the same fertilizer as lettuce!  Bottom left is a Kratky box with lettuce.  Just above that is a broccoli plant that I harvested the crown off of a couple weeks ago.  I also boiled the leaves down and surprisingly they made a fine tasting pot of greens.


    Morris Cabbage Collard leaf.  They grow big!


    Now these are planted in the ground rather than buckets.  The top two broccoli crowns are about 6-7" across and ready to be eat - hoping it holds out until Monday when my son and his family get here.  The other plants are some Georgia bunching collards.

    Well, that was a quick sample of some of the things going on right now.  I should have taken pics of the pole beans as I am having to pick them twice a week right now!  
     

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