Mini hydroponics for 2017

This is the place to discuss not just allotments but all general gardening problems and queries which don't fit into the specific categories below.
(formerly allotments and tips, hints and problems)
User avatar
Green Aura
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 8373
Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2008 8:16 pm
latitude: 58.569279
longitude: -4.762620
Location: North West Highlands

Mini hydroponics for 2017

Post: #288593 Green Aura
Wed Dec 21, 2016 12:16 am

We don't seem to be able to grow tomatoes in the polytunnel these days. The last couple of years have been so dreich during the growing season that it just isn't worth the effort, plus other things grow much better in there so it makes sense to use the space for them. We decided instead to go for growing smaller varieties indoors on our SW facing windowsills, along with the chillies which thrive there.

Anyway, we found a mini hydroponics system in a sale and we currently have the herbs which came with it growing happily in a corner of the kitchen not blessed with much natural light. I fear they'll get turfed before they get much further in favour of some tomatoes.

Any suggestions for teeny tiny toms? Plus recipes for homemade feed would be welcome - the stuff that comes with it is hellish expensive.
Maggie

Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. Marge Piercy

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin

User avatar
Odsox
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 4878
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 2:21 pm
Location: West Cork, Ireland

Re: Mini hydroponics for 2017

Post: #288595 Odsox
Wed Dec 21, 2016 10:29 am

Interesting.
Which hydro unit have you got?
I have a smallish unit, which I'm sure you've seen a picture of, but mine has 3 largish holes in the cover for 3 largish plants such as tomatoes or peppers. I'm not sure that growing "herbs" would be that easy in mine.

Regarding nutrient, I made some organic nutrient a few years ago. It was based on activated compost tea with comfrey for the main minerals, homemade compost for humic acid and fresh seaweed for trace elements. It was "activated" with a small aquarium aerator and I used it in my homemade floatation hydro setup for growing lettuce. Basically a straight sided tank with a slab of polystyrene floating on the water with lettuce plants sitting in disposable plastic coffee cups in holes in the polystyrene. That system meant the compost tea stayed activated by the aerator in the hydro tank.
That all sounds a lot more complicated than it actually was but it cost nothing (apart from the aquarium aerator)

The stuff I use in my big 3 pipe hydro system is here, and that amount would last you for at least a couple of years.
Tony

Disclaimer: I almost certainly haven't a clue what I'm talking about.

User avatar
Green Aura
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 8373
Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2008 8:16 pm
latitude: 58.569279
longitude: -4.762620
Location: North West Highlands

Re: Mini hydroponics for 2017

Post: #288596 Green Aura
Wed Dec 21, 2016 1:45 pm

It's this one.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Miracle-Gro-AeroGarden-Sprout-Gourmet-Black/dp/B015SROULO/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1482327624&sr=8-2&keywords=aerogarden

It only takes 4ml of the plant food every couple of weeks which isn't going to break the bank. I'd rather make my own though. I'm tempted to try the bokashi juice.

I think the light lifts up a bit. They sell tomato kits so I'm certain we should be able to do Tom Thumbs or something similar.
Maggie

Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. Marge Piercy

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin

User avatar
Odsox
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 4878
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 2:21 pm
Location: West Cork, Ireland

Re: Mini hydroponics for 2017

Post: #288599 Odsox
Thu Dec 22, 2016 3:22 pm

Lucky you, I've always fancied one of those but thought they were too expensive.
There are lots of short growing tomatoes nowadays, just look for the "patio" ones bred for containers or hanging baskets, although probably steer away from the droopy ones.
Lettuces would do well also dwarf French beans and scallions, maybe you should have bought several :lol:

The LED lights should put paid to your short daylight hours.
Tony

Disclaimer: I almost certainly haven't a clue what I'm talking about.

User avatar
Green Aura
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 8373
Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2008 8:16 pm
latitude: 58.569279
longitude: -4.762620
Location: North West Highlands

Re: Mini hydroponics for 2017

Post: #288600 Green Aura
Thu Dec 22, 2016 3:36 pm

Well funnily enough our gal bought one as well. Working on the premise that she'll never get it out of the box, I may have scored another one by next spring.

Hadn't thought of french beans!

And I agree about it being too expensive - we got it reduced.

My only concern now is will the plants drown if we get a power cut?
Maggie

Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. Marge Piercy

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin

User avatar
Odsox
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 4878
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 2:21 pm
Location: West Cork, Ireland

Re: Mini hydroponics for 2017

Post: #288601 Odsox
Thu Dec 22, 2016 4:58 pm

I just went on to Youtube to see how they worked and as I suspected there's an aerator in the tank, so apart from the light it's the same as I built with a discarded central heating header tank, a slab of polystyrene from the packing from a TV box and half a dozen used vending machine cups. :lol:
How does the water level stay the same, is there an automatic top up ?
Mine was a polystyrene raft floating on the water so rose and fell with the water level.

During a power cut it will be no different than flowers in a vase. The plants will be perfectly OK as long as the outage doesn't last more than a day or so.
Tony

Disclaimer: I almost certainly haven't a clue what I'm talking about.

User avatar
Green Aura
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 8373
Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2008 8:16 pm
latitude: 58.569279
longitude: -4.762620
Location: North West Highlands

Re: Mini hydroponics for 2017

Post: #288602 Green Aura
Fri Dec 23, 2016 9:04 am

It's all very swish, there's a light that comes on to indicate "feed me" and a window to see when the water level is below the top up line. They think of everything - although not the idea of re-using coffee cups and used polystyrene apparently. :lol:
Maggie

Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. Marge Piercy

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin


Return to “Allotments, Veg Patches and Container Gardening”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 14 guests