Barnyard BBS

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Hydroponics Tuesday: Advancements
11/20/2007 8:54:00 PM

We've made lots of advancements this week.  Some are technical, some are procedural, and some are just plain practical...

I briefly mentioned our new EC/PPM meter last week.  We'd just gotten it, so I didn't have much to say at the time.  Now that we've had some time with it, I can comment in a more intelligent manner.  On the advice of someone much wiser than ourselves, we bought a BlueLab Truncheon.  Although we haven't had it for a long time yet, we really do love it.  It's very ergonomic, self-calibrating, and very easy to use.  No complaints whatsoever.  It's really a winner.  Not to mention, it's pheonominal for stirring a nutrient solution.

Additionally, we're still quite happy with our relatively new pH meter (an Oakton pHTestr Basic).  It's still great.  It's really nice to have a pH tester that actually works right.

Also, we've kindly been provided a CO2 Boost sample, from the folks at CO2Boost.com.  It's a small carbon dioxide generator for the plants.  I'll freely admit that we don't have a lot of experience regarding CO2 supplementation, but we're considering the implications of adding it permanently.  We're looking into CO2 measurement, so we can have some idea about the condition of our environment.  Initial reactions to the CO2Boost:  It's easy to set up, quiet, simple, and doesn't take up a lot of space.  We've got it venting over top of the aeroponic unit.  Thus far, we like it quite a bit.

Hydro2-ZH.jpg

It's getting cold around here lately, and I was getting tired of using the hose to fill the hydroponic tanks.  We've got a a new solution for our water-filling needs.  It's working quite well for us, and it may be of use to you as well...

We have a detachable shower head that can be used with the hose.  The hose connects to the shower head via plastic pipe thread (1/2").  This is important, as it gives us a lot of options.  Here's a photo of what we did:

Hydro2-ZE.jpg

We found that Home Depot sells Melnor Quick Connectors (for garden hoses).  They are a lot like pneumatic quick-connectors, but built for water.  We adapted the hose to mate with the quick connectors, so our shower head is now easily removable.  Why is this important?  We can remove the shower head, and quickly connect our fill-hose for the tanks.  It's very convenient to fill the tanks this way, and it didn't require us to do any strange modifications to our existing plumbing.  Since we're like most home gardeners, we don't have a dedicated source of water in our growing room; this offers a great alternative.

Ok, time to talk about the plants:

We've ripped out both of the tomato plants, as they just weren't doing well.  Additionally, we've finished off the lettuces.  Lastly, the basil is gone as well.  It was fully mature, and it didn't have anywhere to go but down.

The eggplant is doing very well.  We've got lots of fruit growing now.  There's about the size of golf balls at the moment, and they are growing quickly.   We ran a Clearex cycle during the last water change, so the nutrient uptake should be greatly improved.

Take a look at this eggplant (photo is larger than life, it's actually about 1.25" diameter):

Hydro2-ZG.jpg

Here's the overview photo.  We've done a bunch of trimming this week:

Hydro2-ZF.jpg

PlantTypeStatus
#01Alexandria Alpine StrawberriesSmall fruit and flowers are appearing regularly.  Some leaf "crinkling" is visible, but I feel it's a holdover from earlier troubles.
#02Alexandria Alpine StrawberriesSmall fruit and flowers are appearing regularly.  Some leaf "crinkling" is visible, but I feel it's a holdover from earlier troubles.
#03Alexandria Alpine StrawberriesSmall fruit and flowers are appearing regularly.  Some leaf "crinkling" is visible, but I feel it's a holdover from earlier troubles.
#04Alexandria Alpine StrawberriesSmall fruit and flowers are appearing regularly.  Some leaf "crinkling" is visible, but I feel it's a holdover from earlier troubles.
#05Alexandria Alpine StrawberriesSmall fruit and flowers are appearing regularly.  Some leaf "crinkling" is visible, but I feel it's a holdover from earlier troubles.
#06Alexandria Alpine StrawberriesSmall fruit and flowers are appearing regularly.  Some leaf "crinkling" is visible, but I feel it's a holdover from earlier troubles.
#07Alexandria Alpine StrawberriesSmall fruit and flowers are appearing regularly.  Some leaf "crinkling" is visible, but I feel it's a holdover from earlier troubles.
#08Alexandria Alpine StrawberriesSmall fruit and flowers are appearing regularly.  Some leaf "crinkling" is visible, but I feel it's a holdover from earlier troubles.
#09Alexandria Alpine StrawberriesWe've cut back the eggplant to give it more light, as it was really under the canopy.  It's obviously not as developed as the others, but it's healthy.
#10Andrew Rahart's Jumbo Heirloom TomatoRemoved on 11/18/2007.  It wasn't doing very well.
#11Delicious Heirloom TomatoPreviously killed through personal stupidity.
#12Bambino Baby EggplantLots of flowers and fruit. The largest fruits have a diameter of 1.25", and are growing fast.
#13Monet's Garden Lettuce
Removed
#14Monet's Garden LettuceRemoved
#15Monet's Garden LettuceRemoved
#16Monet's Garden LettuceTasty.  Eaten on 09/29/2007.
#17Lime Basil
Gone to seed.  Removed
#18Delicious Heirloom TomatoKilled off as of 11/13/2007.  It wasn't doing well, and we ended its run.