Quick Hydroponic Sustainable Garden

Don’t rule out hydroponics when seeking a year round system for sustainable home gardening.   With produce prices high at the grocery store, many folks are starting home gardens for vegetables.   In many areas spring and summer is the only growing season for traditional gardens.  Hydroponics can change all of that.

Grow hydroponics veggies year round with the HydromaticBut wait, you say,  isn’t hydroponic gardening complicated and require lots of apparatus?  Pumps? Blowers?  Lights and electricity?  It doesn’t have to be.!  There are several effective hydroponic systems that require no additional equipment. Just the box, Nutrients, Perlite and seeds or seedlings.  One popular hydroponic gardening system is the Hydromatc growing box.

Invented by Robert Ferguson and designed with simplicity in mind, the Hydromatic requires no pumps.  Just perlite, nutrients, and a weekly tip to drain and add new nutrient solution.   With the unit placed outside, weather permitting, no lights are necessary.  If winter forces your growing inside, you might want to consider a small grow light to be sure your veggies, herbs, etc have the light necessary to thrive.

Inside hydroponic growing is very friendly  for all greens.  Lettuce, spinach, kale, collards, herbs and more.  Even in the winter in cold climates, you can have a salad selections growing in your Hydromatic year round!  Your greens will grow FAST too.  With a few Hydromatic hydroponic units, you can have your salads growing in several different stages so you Hydromatic hydroponic tomatoes always have produce iin several growth stages: sprouting, growing and ready to eat!  Many greens germinate in only 3 days.  by day 20, you can harvest!  While fruited vegetables like tomatoes, cucumber and squash can grow inside,  you have to “be the bee” and perform pollination duties.  A Q-tip works well for this.

During your traditional growing season, just pick up your light weight compact Hydromatic system and move it outside.   Now, plant your tomatoes squash and cukes and whatever motivates you!

I’m loving experimenting with my own Hydromatic units.  Learning what works best in terms of nutrient solution and pH.  PH is one of the most important aspects to a successful hydroponic garden no matter what method you use.  Most plants need a Lower pH than tap water so  nutrient solutions must be balanced to the proper pH for the plants to absorb the nutrients you are feeding them.  Robert has a great pH guide on his website:  Hydromatic.us

The Hydromatic is affordable too.  If you’ve looked at other hydroponic systems, it’s hard to find units under 50 bucks.  The Hydromatic is only 29 each.  OR order 4 for 27 each.  Can’t beat that.  They measure 24 inches long by 5X5 inches.  Compact for inside or outside.  You can also order (or build) the trellis which will help support heavier yeilding plants.  It can also be used as a net support for cucumbers, or a light support for inside growing.  Each Hydromatic unit is predrilled for the trellis installation.  Funny, its also handy as a carrying handle if you want to move it around your yard.

Go on over to Hydromatic.us for more info.  Bob will even sell you plans for 10 bucks so that you can build your own if you want to!

 

 

Ever Tried an Earth Box?

I bought my first earth box a few years ago. Since then i have planted it several times and I’m always amazed at the speed at which things grow, and the crop yield from vegetables, tomatoes and peppers mainly. The Earth Box is a hybrid hydroponic system, utilizing both soil, and an undersoil water resevoir. It is always watered from a tube inserted into the water resevoir. The results always amaze me.

I’ve often wondered why the earth box folk, never modified or enhanced their original creation. So I decided to try some experiments with some inexpensive plastic pots, within pots.

Wow.. i was on to something! Results were totally amazing. Of course I now WISH I’d documented it with some pictures, but alas, i didn’t have the foresight to forsee this moment. However I am going to start documenting my current earth box crop:fast growing Romaine lettuce (planted 10 days Ago.)

Home Depot, supplied the romaine, tiny ones in the 6 up container. They are considerably more robust, 10 days later, very fragile when i planted them. They’ve actually withstood quite a bit of rain and all that comes with it, and hardened up nicely.

Here is a first of shot so you get the gist of it.

Earth Box Project Lettuce 10-6-09

Earth Box Project Lettuce 10-6-09

The tall plant in the left back is a jalapeno pepper plant, planted at the same time. I figured it could stay through a few lettuce crops. I plan to photo the box every 7 days to document its growth speed so stay tuned!

Gardening in Florida! Fall, is really our best growing season. I anticipate it as much as i anticipate spring. So many garden plants are burdened by the heat at this time of year, and a lot we are saying good bye too till they surprise us next spring.. I will miss my caladiums!

I’m dying to know other earth box fans out there. And I’d love to share my earthbox variation with you! In the mean time while i’m setting up the experiment, you can follow the real earth box “Project Lettuce” to see this concept work! We’ve only got the wire frame (from my summer tomatoes) to measure by at the moment, but i shall fix that!

Looking forward to getting to know some new friends that love plants and gardening. I occasionally post gardening articles Here

The Low Down on Home Water Makers and 7 to Choose From : TreeHugger

The Low Down on Home Water Makers and 7 to Choose From : TreeHugger.

Pretty dern cool article.  I love the idea of making water from atmospheric humidy.. Being in Florida you can feel the water in the air the minute it hits you upside the head when you walk out of your air conditoned cave.  These gismos above, you just plug in and they MAKE water from the water vapor  in the air !  You know how your air conditioner has that line that always drips water?  well same principle.  coils are cooled chemically to cause condesate to form.  The watermaker then collects that condesate, purifies and stores untill ready to use.. Most of the household types make 3 to 5 gallons of drinking water DAILY and use about as much energy as a desktop computer.. Not bad!  probably a little less than buying bottled water but of course more than tap.   Pretty dern cool

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