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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If this works I shall be eating my own salad in 4 weeks time, and then later I can set the pots on the back deck.

The gent says that you just set up the plants in the tub full of hydroponics solution, and as the level of fluid drops then the roots will turn into air roots as they are exposed, and he had some beautiful heads of lettuce to show for it. So, I went down to a hydroponics store and at the clerks advice I bought a pint of 3-2-6 with trace nutrients and some rock wool. I cut a hole in the lids of some cottage cheese cartons I had been saving and 1/2 teaspoon of nutrient solution went into each carton, and then I filled them to 1/2 inch of the top with water.

2 days earlier I had dropped seeds onto damp rock wool and the seedlings were 2 days old. I pushed one cube of rock wool into the hole in each of the lids and I snapped the lids onto the cartons

I then put the containers under a shop light and I was done!

I did make one mistake: I was supposed to wait until the seedlings were a couple of inches tall before I put them into the containers of nutrient solution and I didn't, but since the seedlings still look healthy I am not going to worry about it.

And, because the rock wool cubes dry out so quickly, I started the seeds by putting them in one of those plastic clamshells that food from the deli comes in and I closed the lid to keep all of the water from evaporating
 

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I think lighting is a big part of equation. A shop light might not be strong enough. Keep us informed and good luck. I did experiment cloning garden plants in hydro with good success.
 

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For the last two winters I have used the Kratky method for growing lettuce. (The Kratky Method is a way of hydroponically growing your plants in a container without needing electricity, air stones, pumps, or anything else. This means that the Kratky Method is a passive hydroponics system.) This has been the best year so far. I grow leaf lettuce (Grand Rapids Leaf Lettuce.) This year I have 24 plants growing. I started the plants in October and they are still going strong with one refill (so far) of the liquid/fertilizer mix. I found that by harvesting just leaves the plants keep growing and I am getting a lot more lettuce than I did when I harvested the whole plant. I grow my plants in plastic coffee containers. I drill a 2 in hole in the lid for the nest cups and use rock wool cubes. I use grow lights and I put the plants on an adjustable stand so that I can move the plants closer or further away from the grow lights as they leaf out, or after I harvest leaves. Hope you have success and enjoy the greens.
 

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For the last two winters I have used the Kratky method for growing lettuce. (The Kratky Method is a way of hydroponically growing your plants in a container without needing electricity, air stones, pumps, or anything else. This means that the Kratky Method is a passive hydroponics system.) This has been the best year so far. I grow leaf lettuce (Grand Rapids Leaf Lettuce.) This year I have 24 plants growing. I started the plants in October and they are still going strong with one refill (so far) of the liquid/fertilizer mix. I found that by harvesting just leaves the plants keep growing and I am getting a lot more lettuce than I did when I harvested the whole plant. I grow my plants in plastic coffee containers. I drill a 2 in hole in the lid for the nest cups and use rock wool cubes. I use grow lights and I put the plants on an adjustable stand so that I can move the plants closer or further away from the grow lights as they leaf out, or after I harvest leaves. Hope you have success and enjoy the greens.
You use grow lights, but you said you use a method needing no electricity. I'm confused. How are you powering your grow lights?
 

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running really hard on a rewired treadmill.......
The sun comes out in the winter, but many things require minimal sunlight to grow, spinach,bok choy, lettuces,chives,certain mushrooms,etc...all grow fairly well with super minimal sun, and shouldn't need grow lights.
 

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TraderBob. My error. I copied the definition and posted it without doing a good proof read. I do use electricity for for heating the shop and for the lights (both grow and shop). I keep the plants in a small 25X25 shop in my barn where I do some woodwork, I also use the area for storing onions, potatoes, and winter squash for our use during the winter. Shop is insulated with 6 in walls and over 1 ft of insulation in the ceiling. Thermostat is set at 45 when shop is not in use. The system I use does not use any pumps, air stones. I do have the plants set in a southern window, however, with our permacloud during the winter I think grow lights are needed.
 

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TraderBob. My error. I copied the definition and posted it without doing a good proof read. I do use electricity for for heating the shop and for the lights (both grow and shop). I keep the plants in a small 25X25 shop in my barn where I do some woodwork, I also use the area for storing onions, potatoes, and winter squash for our use during the winter. Shop is insulated with 6 in walls and over 1 ft of insulation in the ceiling. Thermostat is set at 45 when shop is not in use. The system I use does not use any pumps, air stones. I do have the plants set in a southern window, however, with our permacloud during the winter I think grow lights are needed.
Thanks, I took a look at the links provided this morning, and understand it better now..you just use additional lights, to help.
I'm setting up a small greenhouse and will try this method of hydroponics out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Another carton of cottage cheese eaten: another tub I can use to put a plant in.

I suspect we will be getting a Polar Vortex storm again this spring, and since last year's Polar Vortex brought us late snow it really is too early to start my garden seedlings. But, I found an excuse to start a few anyways. See, some of my seeds are getting old and the rate of germination ought to be checked. I will, after all, need to know if I should buy more seeds this spring! So I have planted 30+ seeds and I will see what comes up. And of COURSE I will not throw away healthy seedlings: that would be heartless!

So, in a nutshell, it is too early to start vegetable seedlings but it is grey and raining outside, so I talked myself into starting them anyways.I planted just a few seeds each of cabbage, rice, bell peppers, lettuce, and cherry tomatos. And when plants come up I will hope to have been able to buy some empty 6-pack containers from "The Grass Pad" to transplant them into. THEN I can start my usual shuffle to get each plant enough light to grow: I have a shop light and I can re-arrange my plants every 12 hours so that each plant has a "day" and a "night".

Because, folks, I have spring fever and outside the rain is falling on top of last week's snow pack. BLEAH!!!!
 

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I dabbled with the Kratky Method on a small scale a couple yrs ago to see what all the hype about hydroponics was. Conclusion: PITA with little to recommend it for us hobbyists.... On a commercial scale, hydroponics has an advantage in making it easier to produce a large yield indoors in a small area by going 3D, more uniformity in product and easier to avoid pests/diseases at the expense of messing with solutions, oxygenation & providing indoor lights.

Most of us don't have indoor space enough to produce enough over the winter to allow us to avoid regular visits to the produce section at the PigglyWiggly, so why bother?

Even with a good, spacious greenhouse, why bother with the technical aspects of hydroponics? Like I used to tell the med students & inexperienced interns who were always trying to use set formulas to calculate precisely the amount of Na, K, water etc to give pts on IVs-- with good kidneys, the pts can calculate it far more accurately without even thinking about it than you can with your computer program. Let MotherNature do the heavy lifting. Just provide a little more than you think they need...What's so hard about good soil and an occasional watering? (For the plants, I mean, not the pts.)
 

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Another carton of cottage cheese eaten: another tub I can use to put a plant in.
Hehe, you sound like me. I have about 4 years' worth of cottage cheese, sour cream and yogurt containers in the garage that I use for potting up my almost-ready-to transplant tomatoes and peppers.

I just wonder, couldn't you get the same results with potting mix if you already have the right grow lights? I usually start my lettuce/greens in flats indoors (slugs/snails make it impossible to direct sow) and then transplant when they're a couple inches tall, but I think I could probably just continue to grow them indoors if I wanted, and planted them into a little deeper tub originally.

Curiosity question.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Hehe, you sound like me. I have about 4 years' worth of cottage cheese, sour cream and yogurt containers in the garage that I use for potting up my almost-ready-to transplant tomatoes and peppers.

I just wonder, couldn't you get the same results with potting mix if you already have the right grow lights? I usually start my lettuce/greens in flats indoors (slugs/snails make it impossible to direct sow) and then transplant when they're a couple inches tall, but I think I could probably just continue to grow them indoors if I wanted, and planted them into a little deeper tub originally.

Curiosity question.
LAst week I stumbled across what might be the answer: somebody raised some test plants and showed the results on youtube. The key appears to be in the hydroponic solution, which has a lot of trace elements instead of just 10-10-10. The gent was used to seeing his hydroponic plants grow much faster than the seedlings planted in potting soil, but when he tried watering with hydroponics solution instead of water with the standard fertilizer in it the seedling grown in soil grew almost as quickly as the hydroponic plant that had the bubbler in the fluid to aerate the roots

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An update.

The fluid in the containers are dropping more quickly than they should, possibly because my cottage cheese carton with the one hole is smaller than the tub with 4 holes that they were using on youtube.

In 2 of the pots the seedling has put out one long root that is in the fluid and on 2 the roots have not reached down far enough to reach the fluid any longer. So today I topped off the fluid on all of them, as I want a solid root structure that has not been air-pruned. Later on the roots can turn into air roots: I seriously want these plants to get off to a good start. My largest seedling is almost 3 inches tall while my smallest is 2 inches tall

Also, I couldn't help it: I got spring fever BAD yesterday and so I spent $7 to buy a Wal Mart rose bush that looked nice and dormant. I potted it up this morning and set it next to a light. Call it permaculture because rose hips are edible and are an excellent source of vitamin C! But mostly I am looking forward to big fragrant roses

For me, the benefit of what I am doing is that I am starting my seedlings while there is snow on the ground, and when spring has arrived I intend to have a dozen big cut-and-come-again plants to move outside. That way my husband and I will be eating fresh garden salad while most people are starting to put seeds in the ground. And, the food I raise myself tastes far better than supermarket lettuce that has been shipped thousands of miles and then held in storage. It just does.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Another update:

My "germination test" has resulted in 8 sprouted seeds so far: I think they are cabbage and cherry tomatos. I did visit the Dollar General and their seeds were in, but the selection was very poor. Because I had spring fever I did buy a dozen packets, half of which were flowers. In my minds eye I see my raised beds bright with self-seeded French Marigolds! So I will plant a lot of them and then let them go to seed.

I should have self-seeded paste tomatos as well, and it is POSSIBLE that a lot of onions wintered over.This winter has been a cold one, but we have also gotten a lot of snow, and snow does protect plants. It would be delightful to have a bed of mixed marigolds and onions, with a couple of past tomatos running up stakes. They could come back every year, and I would just have to thin the plants out and do a bit of weeding!

Also, a second shop light has been set up for me because it appears I will be raising more plants than usual this winter. It does ease the spring fever a bit, which is good because there are 4-5 inches of snow on the ground. Spring is a long ways away, yet
 

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I'm wondering if this method would help start some superhot pepper seeds. I've had a terrible time getting those started.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I refuse to look at anything that looks that delicious and that bad for me, LOL!

Another update: the yogurt pots are not QUITE large enough to provide enough solution for a lettuce plant: the plants are large enough to harvest a couple of crunchy leaves off of them every few days, but I have had to add nutrient solution to them twice so far. It is true that the upper roots are supposed to be out of the fluid but they need the fluid also!

The kale remains small, but the Romane lettuce is 6 inches tall and that is after I have taken the larger leaves. The harvests are light ones: I took one leaf per plant the first harvest and today I took 2 leaves per plant. I would be starting many more pots if I had not had my new shop light break down: it lasted just long enough so that I no longer have the receipt! Fortunately it was not expensive: I shall buy another light in a few days time.
 

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Ya know for a low tech situation. You can place a feed trough filled with water a couple plastic milk crates and an old shower glass door/window/plastic and grow lettuce quite well especially if you harvest outer leaves. I had this set up one winter and it did great until we had several days below freezing But I was amazed how good it worked. I had some feeder gold fish in the bottom water for nutrients. The lettuce were bought at Lowe’s and planted in gravel in smaller pots.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Alas, I am not a computer person: I have yet to master even the picture setting on my cell phone, and when I try to learn it I forget it as fast as I memorize it. I turn my attention to something else, like vacuuming or whatever, and POOF the information is gone. And that does not even address loading the pics into a thumb drive.........

Sorry!
 
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