Does anyone else do hydroponics?

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by IowaLez, Aug 27, 2006.

  1. IowaLez

    IowaLez Glowing in The Sun Supporter

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    Is there anybody here besides me using indoor or outdoor hydroponic units for gardening? I love my units! No weeding!

    I have 3 outdoor ebb-and-flow units that give me 52 sq ft of growing room on our deck. I grow basil, melons, bok choy, winter squash, peas, leeks and green onions, dwarf corn, tomatoes and cucumbers in them depending on the season. I circulate the nutrient-water every 2 hours for half an hour, via timer.

    Indoors, I have a 8-hole Dutch Bucket unit with tomatoes in it. This unit runs constantly with aerated nutrient-water.

    I use rockwool cubes in the ebb and flow units, and perlite in the Dutch Buckets, as the growing medium.
     
  2. Thinkinaboutit

    Thinkinaboutit Well-Known Member

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    Lately, I've been intrigued by hydroponics. Never done it. Never even seen it in person. I hope you don't mind me asking you some questions about it. :nerd: How does the production compare to growing in a raised bed? How would you compare your level of disease and pests to raised bed growing? Have there been any studies on the nutrient levels of hydroponically grown produce vs. traditionally and organically grown produce? Do you grow your tomatoes indoors all the time? How does the taste compare? Guess that's enough questions for now... Maybe you could point me to a good website that might answer my questions? Oops. That was another question... :rolleyes:

    We're planning on moving and would like to get our produce production up as fast as possible. I've been thinking that doing hydroponics first might be the way to go.

    www.WhatIsTheTrueGospel.com
    www.
     

  3. IowaLez

    IowaLez Glowing in The Sun Supporter

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    Hi Thinkinabout it!

    Nutritionally hydroponically grown food is just a nutritious as soil-grown food, as long as the plants receive proper nutrition while growing. The roots take up minerals and food just as they do in soil. One year my melons smelled like ambrosia, but tasted like water. I had a nationally-known hydro expert explain to me that meant the plant wasn't able take up enough carbohydrates to taste sweet. So next year I was more careful fertilizing during fruit growth and my Hale's Best Jumbo melons were the best I've ever eaten! I'm not an expert, but if the micro and macro nutrients are present, and the pH of the water is neutral, your produce should be just as nutritious and tasty. I could argue that plants in dirt are subjected to more stress and inconsistencies than hydro and therefore may not be as nutritious... Texas A&M claims they (hydro) are superior in quality to dirt-grown.

    I mostly grow plants in 4 inch rockwool cubes. Basil grows like a weed for me. I wouldn't get nearly the production in dirt! Plus more bugs would chew on them. I get better melons, and cucumbers in hydro than I can grow in dirt. You should have seen the long Asian cukes I got last year! I had them coming out my ears and I had maybe 9 plants in hydro. I trellised them up strings and made a wooden cage over the unit to support them. I let the melons and cukes and squash trail from the edge of the units.

    I don't have a problem with disease or pests, but seed starting can be troublesome when dealing with seeds that rot easy like beans or peas. I usually pre-sprout these seeds indoors in papertowels. I get plenty of pollinators like bumblebees.

    Hydro isn't cheap, but the systems last for many years, and for sheer enjoyment I woulldn't go without.

    I got my ebb-and-slow units from Foothill Hydroponics in Los Angeles, and the Eurogrower Dutch Bucket system from General Hydroponics. If you can go to a store and see things in person you get a much better idea of how these sytems work. Foothills Hydro has a demonstration area outside that I love to go see when in town.

    www.foothillshydroponics.com and www. generalhydroponics.com

    I have photos of my hydro tomatoes and plants on my website, www.saladette.com. Look at the Lezlie's Seeds page for the best photos. The beans were grown in dirt, though.

    I am happy to answer questions!
     
  4. IowaLez

    IowaLez Glowing in The Sun Supporter

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    http://amhydro.com/shop/prop.html

    Scroll down to the "2 tray propogation system". I have 3 of those on our deck, the image does not show the plumbing or reservoir underneath the tray.
     
  5. The Colonies

    The Colonies Well-Known Member

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    Years ago at Epcot (in Florida) at the "Living with the Land" pavillion, you see lots of plants growing using the hydrophonics method. It was awesome. This was back in the early 90's when I was there and I always wondered about it after seeing these vegetables/plants in little or no soil growing up poles.... It was very interesting. It is all about the future.

    Here is an excerpt I found:

    The Land--Epcot
    INTRODUCTION

    A view from the air, learn about the environment, the foods we eat and creative ways to feed future generations.

    The Land is an impressive pavilion that sprawls across six acres, houses three attractions, has a unique sit-down restaurant, a new fast food court and more.

    Living with the Land - a gentle 14-minute boat ride through unique indoor plant growing areas. An introduction shows tropic, desert and prairie biomes that existed before humans arrived. Your guide explains all about the four greenhouses and the aquaculture facility.

    The boat glides on into The Land's experimental growing areas:

    The Tropics Greenhouse - crops such as rice, sugar cane, peanuts, cacao, and bananas are usually grown under the 60-foot dome. These crops can be found in Southeast Asia, Africa, Latin America and the southern United States.

    The Aquacell - crops include fish, alligators, catfish, tilapia, sunshine bass and American eel.

    The Temperate Greenhouse - featuring the concepts and technologies of sustainable agriculture, including intercropping, integrated pest management and specialized irrigation systems that reduce waste and increase crop production.

    The Production Greenhouse - where tons of tomatoes, peppers, lettuce and other vegetables are grown for use in The Land's Garden Grill Restaurant and other Epcot restaurants. Land scientists utilize growing systems that are kinder to the environment and improve productivity.

    The Creative House , showing imaginative ways to grow crops -- without soil, hanging in the air, even on a space station. USDA scientists currently are working at The Land to develop fruit with a longer shelf life.
     
  6. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

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  7. Sonshe

    Sonshe Well-Known Member

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    How did you know what to buy? That 2 tray system looks like it needs more to it than what shows, like some kind of containers, lights, watering system, etc. How did you know how to set it up? I went to the American Hydoponics website but am more confused. :nono: Would it be best to purchase their books on growing vining veggies? Guess I'm more confused than ever but sure have been interested in this mode of growing for a long time.
     
  8. rzrubek

    rzrubek Flying Z

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    I use hydroponics. The soil here in Mesa is cliche (clay type nasty not really dirt stuff for those not familiar with it). I have made my own systems and have had alot of fun designing and building them. I am currently using a NFT system. My website http://zrubeks.com/hydro/ details what I have been doing, what works and doesn't work. Scroll all the way to the bottom to see pics taken today. I have just started about 40 tomato plants for the fall garden. Should have got them going several weeks ago but I have been working too many hours.