HYDROPONICS AT HOME
Hydroponics is the art of growing plants without soil. This method of growing plants is becoming more popular each year, particularly with people who are concerned with the over use of pesticides used on conventionally grown produce. Anyone can grow hydroponically at home; people who want to grow a few indoor plants, herbs or vegetables on the balcony, through to the large commercial growers who provides an ever increasing supply of fresh fruit and vegetables to the consumer.
Everything except mushrooms can be grown hydroponically.
Conventional ways of growing are rapidly depleting our soils of essential minerals needed to produce nutritious crops. Hydroponics however, due to the controlled methods of growing used, is the most effective way of ensuring that the fruit and vegetables grown at home hydroponically is of the highest quality, contains the maximum colloidal mineral content that we as humans are able to metabolize. You the grower will know that its pesticide free, because you grew it yourself!
The principle is very simple. Normally the soil is replaced with a sterile and inert soil substitute or plant medium, e.g. perlite, vermiculite, gravel, expanded clay or rockwool. These media, unlike soil, have no nutrient (mineral) value in them and are easy to handle. A complete plant food or hydroponic nutrient solution is then mixed with water and whenever the plants need watering, they are also fed.
The hydroponic nutrient includes various mineral salts such as, nitrogen, potassium, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium; these are known as macro mineral elements, as well as all the micro mineral elements needed for healthy plant growth. All the elements that are used in hydroponics are technical grade minerals which are extracted from our own 'mother earth' then refined to a highly soluble state. So long as your plants are correctly watered and provided with the right amount of light, excellent results can be achieved. Hydroponics is the most efficient way of growing and certainly will be the way more of our edible fruit and vegetables will be grown in the future.
JUST REMEMBER! NO WEEDING NO DIGGING NO SOIL BORNE DISEASES AND NO CHEMICALS NO PROBLEMS !
We've just recieved this from another successful hydroponic grower:
THE HOME GROWER'S CORNER
Based on the success we have had we decided to load the whole bench up as all the rels are now asking for us to grow lettuce and herbs for them. Did you know lettuce at the supermarket is now $1.59 a head crazy!! Again we bought some lettuce from the Swanes nursery at Carlingford (4 punnets of what they call salad mix) all up $15.80, we managed to plant out about 37 seedlings from the 4 punnets so if they all survive i reckon our cost per head of lettuce will be $0.43 to produce.
I reckon i can get that down even more if i propergate from seed, you where saying awhile back that the cost to produce seedlings works out to be about $0.02 if you grow your own seedlings. So if my sums are right we are saving $42.92 on this crop and if we propagate our selves and grow 56 plants per round we will be saving close to $90.00 a round, thats every six or seven weeks. cool hey? We have a large family of salad eaters so this could turn into be quite a venture for us.
I have to let you know my Dad is of the old school and still grows in the ground and is for ever complaining about his bad back. He came over and saw the bench running and was very impressed so you could have another sale soon!
Anyway thanks again for all the advise. I will send you some more picks as the weeks go by.
Kind regards Franko (Carlingford)
This month we are featuring Steve's balcony, which he set up to grow tomatoes, peas, beans, herbs, lettuce, rocket, parsely and strawberries.
More Urban Agriculture
Here are some pictures of his garden's progress, and all this in just the first three weeks!
Setting up the benches
All planted out
Two weeks later, and growing like crazy!
It's now mid October, so there will be fresh salads on the table pretty soon. Let's take a look at how it's all going next week...
Oh no! It's a plague!
Steve's just sent these shots over...and it's not good news! He's been attacked by aphids, and here are the culprits:
Winged Aphids have found a tasty meal!
A Lady Beetle feeds on some Foxglove Aphids
Here's a close-up of the Foxglove Aphid
We've sent over some Neem Oil, and await the results.
Success! From the latest email:
The aphids are gone, the neem oil worked wonders.
I can forward a picture, however the garden is looking a little ragged due to the recent heat and wind.
I have recently planted some oak leaf lettuce as per your suggestion, they seem really good so far. Other than that, the tomatoes have really kicked on and are starting to ripen. The strawberries seem a little burnt. The zucchinis & cucumbers are absolutely powering.