Hydropodics ~ Things We Have Learned

 

 

  • bokChoy
  • radicchio

3 years in ~ we continue to learn

1) The simpler the better!

2) Towers are still great, but really best for lettuces and smaller plants. Big root plants are too much struggle in them.

3) Ebb & Flo had too many problems and we have revised those beds to use different systems. See discussion.

4) NFT Gravity Feed was not as successful as other systems we created so it too has been abandoned. See discussion.

5) Dutch buckets rock as far as the plants were concerned, but try as we might we couldn't find or create use any setup that didn't also have a lot of problems associated with the maintenance of the system. We went thru so many iterations! See discussion.

6) Our best setup yet is the Advanced Hydropod System. See discussion.

7) All our fancy methods of measuring nutrients didn't yield better results. The simpler we got, the better. We use Tower Garden A and B and it is doing great across the board for us; a simple 10 ml per gallon ratio all year, while keeping pH around 6. We tried many of the nutrients available at our local hydroponic stores, but found them all to be too strong and not great across all our varieties (probably because they are principally developed for the marijuana industry).

8) We had nutrient balance problems when we refilled our water reservoirs in small batches. Our nutrient balance smoothed out and improved when we shifted to only replenishing water in bigger batches at a time. Small deviations are magnified in small batches and minimized in larger batches.

9) Starting from seed took more time than we wanted to spend. We found that almost all plants do fine if we buy them in dirt. We then rinse off the dirt and spread their roots in hydroton or support them in our custom 3D printed cups so they can continue their growth in the hydroponic systems. The picture to the left proves this. We were not able to find bok choy or radicchio at our nurseries so we started them from seed. We had spaces for some to develop hydroponically after they sprouted, but left the rest in dirt (and put them together in the same sunlight environment). What a difference!