New Project Hydroponics

Discussion in 'Crops & Gardens' started by Martin Alonzo, Sep 30, 2015.

  1. Martin Alonzo

    Martin Alonzo Very Well-Known Member
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    I am going to try some hydroponics So far I have the setup ready for the plants and I am starting the seeds. It is too hot and dry here to grow much so I have an old in ground swimming pool 24 feet by 30 feet. I have put a tubular frame over the top for shade cloth and started to put in 4in plastic pipe with holes for mesh pots. This system is completed now. Also later going to use a couple of other technics. There is a lot of good ideas on yuotube on how to set it up. With some luck I should be having fresh vegetables year round.
     
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  2. Krissttina Isobe

    Krissttina Isobe Very Well-Known Member
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    :oops:Awesome! I hope your new hydroponic garden is a success! There's nothing like growing your own food and consuming it from your garden. My Aunt's father-in-law grew vegetables and we picked some right before cooking them for dinner. I can not forget the flavor of the string beans we picked one day for it was so fresh and delicious!
     
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  3. Corie Henson

    Corie Henson Very Well-Known Member
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    Hydrophonics is new to me. Is this the tub with water where you grow the plants like lotus or water chestnut? We brought home some seeds of the lotus from Vietnam and we are wondering how to care for it since the lotus plants we saw in the park were growing in ponds. We are now thinking of putting some soil in a big basin and fill it with water to grow that lotus.

    I hope you would post some pictures of your hydroponic garden so I will have a clear idea of what it's all about.
     
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  4. Martin Alonzo

    Martin Alonzo Very Well-Known Member
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    Corie I will have some pictures when I get a little farther as of now I have built the starting equipment and waiting for the first plants to grow. I hope to have all my vegetables grown hydroponically in the future as I will be able to control just what minerals they get. There is a lot of videos on youtube that show the systems and results like lettuces grown in 24 days.
     
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  5. Pat Baker

    Pat Baker Well-Known Member
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    I have heard good things about hydroponic farming. The food is better than the food from the ground, some people use fish emulsion to support the nutrients for the food.
     
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  6. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    The one where you grow both fish and vegetables is called "aquaponics", and I think that it is an excellent idea ! This is something that I would very much like to do, because you can not only grow your veggies year around, you can also raise your own fish for food.
    The main problem that I have with that , is that I do not want to have to kill the fish to eat it. Even though I have loved to fish all of my life since I was a little girl, I have now gotten to the stage where it upsets me to even put a worm on the hook.
    I actually remember my mother going through this stage, too, and she announced that she was going to be fishing with salmon eggs or corn for bait from then on. I don't think that she wanted to kill the fish either; but probably my Dad took care of that part.
    In any case, here I am at the same place, and I don't want to kill even a fish anymore. But, even so, I think that the idea of aquaponics is an awesome one.

    We had a thread about it several months ago, and there is an excellent video that shows how it works to set up an aquaponic system.
    One thing that I really like is that you can make it as large or as simple as you want to do. Here is the link to that thread.

    http://www.seniorsonly.club/threads/aquaponics-grow-fish-and-veggies-in-the-back-yard.119/
     
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  7. Martin Alonzo

    Martin Alonzo Very Well-Known Member
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    You know I am a health nut so using hydroponics I can add to the water just what minerals I want in my food and also control the acid/alkaline for perfect plants. Aquaponics is a good idea but you lose control of what is in the water and the PH. Normally they just feed the fish and the fish waist is the fertilizer for the plants.
     
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  8. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    Robin came over yesterday, and she brought me one of her Aerogardens, as well as some starter packets to use with it. She has been growing things at her house using this method, and it really seems to do a great job of growing.
    It is a hydroponic system that is pretty much self-maintaining. It tells you when to add water and plant food, and automatically circulates the water and turns the grow lights on and off.
    She was gone all last week, and didn't have to worry about taking care of it. She just made sure that the water levels were filled before she left.

    The Aerogarden has different settings , depending on what kind of seeds you are planting, and different heights that you can adjust the lighting, so it is always perfect as the plants grow.
    I looked at the website, and they have a variety of different types of Aerogardens, depending on what you mostly want to grow.
    Some of the basil and dill were pretty large in the Aerogarden that she brought over for me, so I transplanted them into pots and will start some new seeds in the empty spaces . Some of the other ones are large enough to transplant also.
    You can actually just keep the plants in the Aerogarden and it is large enough for even tomatoes to grow in there and produce fruit; but we will probably just use it as a way to get seeds well started, and then move them into growing pots or into the garden directly.

    image.jpeg
     
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  9. Krissttina Isobe

    Krissttina Isobe Very Well-Known Member
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    :oops:This is absolutely fantastic to have in your apt. home! I love fresh veggies, so this will come in handy. I'll look into in depth for my own home-thanks!!:)
     
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  10. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    I am just loving this Aerogarden ! So far, I have transplanted most of the larger plants into small, colorful planters, and have been setting them near sunny a sunny window to grow.
    I put a cutting from my Velvet Plant in one of the little plastic seed holders, and it is rooting like crazy, and I can probably plant it in a container soon, too.

    Robin brought me a starter kit for salad greens, which has different types of lettuce in it, and also one that is called a salsa kit. It has tomatoes and jalapeƱo pepper seeds in it.
    She also brought me a "grow anything" starter kit, so I can put in whatever seeds I want and sprout them.
    I ordered some heirloom tomatoes on eBay and will start some of those next, so they will be up and growing good by the time spring comes and they can be put outside. Hopefully, this summer, Robin will not be in Afghanistan, and she will be home to help eat some of her "Maters".

    I have been checking out the Aerogarden offers on Amazon, and there are a lot of different choices, and some were on clearance for half-price when I looked. The one that I liked best came with a special sprout tray, that is just designed to start seeds for you and be replanted, as opposed to ones like I have that are able to keep plants growing to full size.
     
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  11. Ina I. Wonder

    Ina I. Wonder Very Well-Known Member
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    Hydroponics has been around for a very long time. When I studied Horticulture back in the 80's, it was just one of the ways we were taught to grow all manners of vegetation. The college's greenhouse was on the top floor of the science building. It was a good 1/2 acer in size, and on one whole wall a zig zag system was set up in such a way that the water was always recycling itself through the pipes. I've never seen anything like it since.

    @Yvonne Smith , you could do aquaponics with small goldfish so you could watch the fish, and when the fish get to big you can sell the larger fish to fish shops and pet stores.

    When I took Izzy for his grooming at Petsmart last week, there was a lady waiting for them to open up, and she had a couple of real pretty fish in a bucket. I asked her if her fish were ill, and that was when she told me that when her fish out grew her pond, she sold them to Petsmart.

    You could raise your veggies, and sell your fish as pets. A win win situation.
     
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  12. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    Actually, @Bobby Cole and I have talked about having the aquaponics setup several times. I had started a thread about it (which is referred to a few posts up on this thread).
    Aquaponics is a great way to not only have the hydroponic growing system; but to also raise fish to eat at the same time.
    Of course, a person could also raise the goldfish, like you were talking about @Ina I. Wonder , and then sell the fish and have the money instead.
    Or maybe even both in the same tank if it were a large one.

    The little Aerogarden is just an ideal way to start any kind of plants, and it is fun to watch it and almost see the baby plants emerge and grow.
    I think that it will be used this spring to start my tomatoes and other summer-growing veggies, and then when it is too hot this summer for lettuce and salad greens, I can grow those inside in the Aerogarden .

    We have the Intex pool in the back yard, and it is close to where Bobby is making the greenhouse; so it is possible that he can run PVC pipes from one to the other and we can have an aquaponics setup.
    The pool is under a shade tree, which would keep the water cooler for the fish in the summer, and tilapia are supposed to be easy to raise in a backyard swimming pool.
     
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  13. Sheldon Scott

    Sheldon Scott Very Well-Known Member
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    My wife got an aerogarden six years ago from the garden club to test. We grew the packets that came with it but haven't used it since. I brought it in from the garage yesterday because after reading your post, Yvonne, I decided to use it to start seeds. I couldn't find the instructions or the seed starting foam thing so I ordered one of those. It should be here in a week or so. No hurry for starting the peppers I want but cool weather crops like cabbage and broccoli can be started now.
     
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  14. Diane Lane

    Diane Lane Very Well-Known Member
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    It's encouraging that so many are interested in healthy living and growing their own food. I've seen so many food recalls lately that it's getting scary. I know much of the produce in the grocery stores is flavorless. Like Yvonne, I don't think I could kill the fish either, even though I used to go fishing. I started thinking I might give up my one remaining aquarium, but I think I'll keep it, at least for now. I'd like to put some pretty fish in there, but my one remaining bully fish would probably torment them again. I'm going to look into the aerogarden systems, they sound interesting.
     
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  15. Sheldon Scott

    Sheldon Scott Very Well-Known Member
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    The aero garden seed starting kit came with no instructions at all. I found their facebook page and asked a couple of questions and got no response. I planted some seeds but I'm sure disappointed in this company. I don't know if the seeds will grow or not. Another person replied to my facebook query and said she got no instructions with her aero garden.
     
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  16. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    There is a Facebook page for Aerogarden. Actually a group. It is called Xtreme Aerogardeners , and they have some information on there, and might be faster to answer questions.
    I have some tomatoes started in mine now, and they are growing really fast. I just ordered a kit from Amazon that has 70 grow sponges and a bottle of nutrients.
    If you have the little plastic baskets and the domes, all you need is more of the grow sponges to start growing anything you want in there.
    It was $18 for 50 grow sponges, or $25 for 70+the nutrients, so I got that larger one since you always need the nutrients anyway.
    We set ours to go off at 10pm and back on around 5am, and they recommend about 17 hours of light for best growing. Mine also popped up a little indicator that had growing tips on it.

    Here is one short video that explains a little about how the Aerogarden works, and it looks like YouTube has a whole lot of them that should cover any questions you have.
    If I can help answer questions, just send me a PM, and ask away.

     
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  17. Sheldon Scott

    Sheldon Scott Very Well-Known Member
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    I have everything but the instructions. How do you set the light to come on and go off at certain times? I have the seed starting tray. I'm just wanting to get the seeds started to plant outside later.

    I was on the aerogarden facebook page. I go no response from them.
     
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  18. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    I think that once you get the Aerogarden up and going, you will really enjoy watching your seedlings growing in there, @Sheldon Scott . I was not very specific about the Facebook group for Aerogardeners, and it is different from the regular Aerogarden Facebook page.
    The one that I am a member of is actually made up of people who have Aerogardens , and some of them have other varieties of similar hydroponic growing systems. They post information about what does or does not work for them, pictures of things they are growing, and ask and answer questions with each other. You have to search for that specific group, and then join the group to be able to see it and post on there.
    My new growing sponges should be here tomorrow, and I can add a few more seeds to sprout. Right now, we have a few beefsteak tomatoes growing, and they already have 2-3 sets of leaves, and you can see them looking bigger each day.
    Once they have a good start, I will re-pot them and put them in a sunny window and let them continue growing there until they can be set outside. We want to start some of the black krim and Cherokee purple heirloom tomatoes also.
    I am wishing that I had several of these, and will watch for any of them that go on clearance sales or maybe on Craigslist .
     
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  19. Sheldon Scott

    Sheldon Scott Very Well-Known Member
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    I planted some seeds even before I knew what I was doing. I planted three kinds of peppers and some broccoli. The broccoli sprouted on the forth day. Pepper seeds are always slow to germinate so I don't expect them to come up very quick. Brooke planted some flower seeds yesterday. I want to get cabbage seeds next trip to town.
     
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  20. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    Well, today, my new grow sponges arrived. Bobby helped me (maybe more like I helped him ?) and we rearranged the dining area , which we never use for eating in any case.
    This is just a little part of the kitchen, but it has a nice big window that opens out to the back yard and catches the afternoon sun. Until we get the heat of summer, it is good having the sunshine coming in, and we have tied the curtains back to let the sun shine in on the plants.
    We went to Walmart and got another of the plastic shelving units, and have it set up in front of the window, and Bobby is going to hang up a grow light up above it for extra light to help things grow.
    In another day or so, I can transplant the baby tomatoes into regular little pots, and set them on the shelves to keep growing, and start some more seeds in the Aerogarden.
    I planted some acorn squash in the empty spaces that I had; so now all seven of the grow-pods have seeds or plants in them.
    As the veggies grow, I can just move them into larger pots until it is warm enough to put them outside in the sunshine.
     
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  21. Sheldon Scott

    Sheldon Scott Very Well-Known Member
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    The reason I ordered the seed starting tray is so I can start lots of seeds at once. There are 50 spaces instead of 7. I started with 6 each of Tabasco peppers, jalapeno peppers, red Marconi peppers and broccoli.
    Then my wife started 6 flower seeds (columbine)
    The broccoli can go right to the garden when it comes from the starting tray while the peppers will have to go into pots until warmer weather.
     
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  22. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    I guess that it is time for me to make a serious personal confession, Guys.
    I have become an Aerogarden-oholic. I LOVE the Aerogarden !
    I talk to the tomatoes as I pass by , and tell them how nicely they are growing. I read all of the ads on Amazon to see if there are any close outs on the containers or the supplies.

    Well....... Last night, I got into my "mad money" and ordered one of the little Sprout Aerogardens that was on sale for $39 on Amazon.
    Now I can grow even more plants. Plus, the Sprout can also have one of the little seed-sprouter trays so I can do like you are doing @Sheldon Scott , and just start plants for transfer.
    That will cost another $20, so I have to do lots of online surveys and get more Amazon points, and then I can order one of those, too.
    It does not hold as many as the larger one that you got; but I think that it will start 10-20 seedlings, which is fine with me.
    We do not have a large garden plot anyway, and I just mostly grow things out in the yard in the larger planter pots. The clay here is so hard packed that it is almost impossible to rototill, so I just dig where I can, and use growing containers everywhere else.
     
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  23. Sheldon Scott

    Sheldon Scott Very Well-Known Member
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  24. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    I did check out the page (and also sent you a friend request), and it looks like these people have a great hydroponics system.
    We have that old Intex swimming pool out in the back yard, and @Bobby Cole and I have discussed the possibility of turning it into a fish tank for catfish or tilapia, and then connecting it with the greenhouse that he is building back behind the garage (in the same area of the back yard).
    I think that we could have a good aquaponics system and grow both veggies and fish if we did this; but we would have to do a lot of studying to see how to do that. I think that will be Bobby's decision to make, since he is much better at designing these kinds of things than I am.

    My new Aerogarden Sprout arrived last night, and we set it up in the back office where it can also help add light to some of the "summer plants" that we are wintering over inside the house. I really like that little Sprout ! It is small enough that I can carry it, and easy to fill and operate. It came with the herb garden seeds in it, and I have one of the seed starter trays on back order from Amazon that is supposed to be here by the first part of next month.
    The Beefsteak tomatoes are about 5" tall now,and doing well in their little pots, and we are waiting for the acorn squash and the sugar-baby watermelon to sprout next.

    image.jpeg
     
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  25. Sheldon Scott

    Sheldon Scott Very Well-Known Member
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    Happy to have a new facebook friend. I finally got dome cabbage and put 6 in the aerogarden yesterday. I got an email from aerogarden saying they are having a 20% off sale. I don't need anything right now.
     
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