The First Pass

Even though I had dabbled in hydroponics before, I learned alot from this first pass.  And in spite of some setbacks, the results amazed me.  I chose to use rockwool for the initial germination.  While rockwool has performed great for me in the past, with this project I had a chance to test it on several different plant types and with some the performance wasn’t so  hot.

I took a block of about 70 of the rockwool cubes and broke into slabs of 15-20 each.  After spending too many hours researching what to grow, I bought a bunch of seeds on Ebay from some very professional hobbyist gardeners and settled on Orange Chards, a variety of Strawberries which doesn’t have lots of shoots and is heat tolerant, Yellow Chards, Nancy Buttercrunch Lettuce, Rex Buttercrunch, Collards, Bok Choy, Grand Rapids lettuce, Basil, Lemon Basil, a few herbs I still don’t recognize and a bunch of tomato varieties.  I debated the tomatoes because they get big but I went for it knowing I would have to construct something to support them down the road.

Most sprouted and I placed the rockwool cubes into the clay pellets that I filled the PVC tubes with.

Seedling in rockwool cube in hydroponics unit.

That’s really all there is to it besides adding proper nutrients and adjusting the PH.  All I had to do was wait.  And I didn’t have to wait very long.  These photos were taken on April 27th, 2011.

Here is the completely filled hydroponics unit on April 27th, 2011.


Close up of some of the germinated seedlings in the hydroponics unit.

They all grew extremely rapidly.  I opted for a weak nutrient solution at the beginning and the plants took to it.  I do not change the reservoir every week or even every other week as I have let them go much longer in the past with excellent results.  Check out the amazing growth over the next few weeks.

You can see the amazing growth in just 10 days. This photo was taken May 9th, 2011.

Another angle taken May 9th, 2011. The back row is all tomatoes...they are exploding!

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