Growing tomatoes aquaponically

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by katydidagain, Aug 27, 2005.

  1. katydidagain

    katydidagain Adventuress--Definition 2 Supporter

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    I've already confessed to starting my garden very late this year; turns out it was later than I thought because my tomatoes are just starting to ripen. "Farming" in the heart of the city means my growing season generally ends in mid or late October if I cover tender plants--I've picked figs and raspberries up until Thanksgiving some years--so I'll be canning in the cool of the days.

    But I'm thinking of taking cuttings from established plants to overwinter inside on the kitchen windowsill (think begonias!) so I'd start earlier next season. That of course got me thinking about fresh tomatoes this winter. I have a basement, the ability to set up lighting and have always wanted to try water gardening. Heck, I even have a spare bathtub or 2 I could devote to veggies but I'm wondering about fertilizer, etc. Anyone ever try it? Or should I root samples, pot them up, put them in a southern window and take cuttings next February?

    katy
     
  2. rzrubek

    rzrubek Flying Z

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    Hi katydidonce, what you are refering to is called "Hydroponics" and would be a great thing to do. What kind of lighting do you have? I garden hydroponicaly, here is my site http://zrubeks.com/hydro/ I garden outdoors but there is no reason you cannot use the same setup in your house. On my webpage be sure to visit Hydro Ron's site, the link is on my homepage. Also be sure to visit the alabamahydroponics site to see how the bato buckets are made. I make mine a little differently and as soon as I can i will describe them with photos on my site. What will cost you the most in the long run will be lighting, so the longer you can keep them outdoors the better. Thats one of the advantages of the bucket system, when you need to move a plant, you can just pick up the bucket and move it :rock: Do you have metal halide or sodium halide lights? Regular flourescents will not work. Good luck and post back if you want more detailed information. Randy
     

  3. katydidagain

    katydidagain Adventuress--Definition 2 Supporter

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    *blushes* Getting ahead of myself; I do want to do the fish thing someday. Would love to raise shrimp instead of tilapia...

    Off to visit your link. Thanks!

    katy
     
  4. rzrubek

    rzrubek Flying Z

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    I know the Ag program teacher at a local highschool here and they have a aquaculture setup. They are raising talipia and then they have these 6-8 foot diameter containers filled with gravel that they run the fish water through to filter it and they grow some plants in it. Seems to work really well, but i don't know about trying it on a small scale. Somebody on here tried raising shrimp earlier this summer, but i think they had a run of bad luck, I don't know how it ended up. If you don't mind, I would like a critique of my website. Here is a link to Sea of Green for some ideas on lighting http://www.sea-of-green.com/store/index.php?cPath=61&osCsid=15508d384d6beeeafe982c6e3a3aa296
     
  5. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    Ok Randy looked at your site.All I would suggest is make the pictures into a slide show format so dont have to go back to see a new one.This from someone who cant even post a picture here,LOL.

    I played with a system,using a kids 5 foot diameter wading pool,and sand for the medium.Had a variety of veegies and they were thriving,also a swamp cooler pump(BAD!) Used commercial dry chem mix.The plants were ALL doing great,then Pump failure,lost it all.I had em packed tightly too,no problem,lettuce were amazing(So cal area)

    Ive always wondered if you cant just make a mix with animal manure and circulate that?Or a fish emulsion?

    Liked the bucket idea,but why the pots,why not just fill the buckets with the medium and plant into it,and circulate thru the medium?Should eliminate the root binding,no?

    Have you considered shurflo brand 12 volt pumps,they are reasonable and very dependable.

    Anyway,just my rather uneducated thoughts,I appreciate your real world evidence and thank you for sharing,Im really very impressed and makes me try to remember to consider this in the future.

    BooBoo
     
  6. rzrubek

    rzrubek Flying Z

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    Thanks BooBoo, First the slide show thing. I tried that and it didn't work right, i'll have to try again. So how did you ruin your swampcooler pump ;) ? I fried mine by letting rainwater spill off the roof of the shed and into the reservoir. Floode over and fried it, not the first time but the second time!!! (I'm a slow learner) I am going to start up my wall unit again for lettuce and stuff so I will have about 90 plant sites so i am going to go with a submersible sump pump 1/5 or 1/4 horsepower i think to get the volume and pressure i will need. I looked at the shurflow pumps but i don't think they will put out what i need. As for the buckets, the pots are net pots and the reason for them is to save medium and to allow the roots to get more air by hanging in the air. Another way to do what you did is to fill your kiddie pool with nutrient solution and cut a piece of 2" styrofoam to fit loosely in it so it floats. Drill with a hole saw all your plant sites and use net pots or plastic cups with slits and some perlite for medium and make sure that each cup sits about 1/8 to 1/4 inch into the solution. No pump to go out, just top off the level now and then. I know of a site that shows it but when i go there i get an apache server error, sorry. I have heard that you can use organic sources like manure for the nutrient solution, it must of course be filtered well and I think the main problem with it is lack of control of the individual nutrients. Aquaponics uses fish waste and that is a hole nuther animal. Thanks again for the critique.
     
  7. Judy in IN

    Judy in IN Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Randy,
    I went to your site and it is great! But, why can't you use flourescent lights?

    How do your tomatoes taste? I have an area in the basement that I'd love to try this out with in the winter. I may have to re-wire for that, though.
     
  8. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    My pump was on a timer and died of natural causes when I was gone a couple days.
    Sure is a neat system you have,keep up the good work!

    BooBoo
     
  9. rzrubek

    rzrubek Flying Z

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    Flourescent lights are not bright enough. If you are trying to totally replace the sun, then it takes very high wattage lamps. Metal Halide in the 500-1000 watt range are commonly used.

    The tomatoes tasted great!!!! If you read through my maintanance page you'll see that i got a late start (for our area) and then had root binding problems. I have 22 roma and 8 big boy going now for fall and hopefull have fixed my problems. Time will tell. Thanks guys for your input and good luck with your endeavors.

    I think we have hijacked katy's thread, Sorry :bow:
     
  10. katydidagain

    katydidagain Adventuress--Definition 2 Supporter

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    Gosh, no, you didn't hijack it! I'm just tickled my stupid title got people talking and asking questions!

    I'm very busy right now but have had a minute to check your site. Your small system idea might just fit in my south facing spare bedroom amongst my huge houseplants. (I have a very happy 6' cactus; maybe I have enough natural sunlight.)

    katy