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Hydroponics Tuesday: Leafy Puzzlement
9/25/2007 11:04:00 PM

This week has presented a challenge in the garden.  Some of the leaves have been burned, but I'm not sure of the cause just yet.  For those of you who were reading during the first aeroponic experiment, this should be soemthing of a flashback.

Last time, I was pretty sure that it was poor pH regulation that caused the burning of the leaves.  This time, I've pretty much ruled it out.  Before I pontificate on my theories, here's a photo of the problem:

Hydro2-S.jpg

Several of the plants are showing similar symptoms.  I've got slight leaf burning on #6 & #7 (strawberries), #17 (basil), and #10 & #18 (tomato). I talked with Beau, the owner of my preferred hydro shop.  His theory is a calcium / magnesium deficiency.  I'm trying a supplement that he recommended.  Personally, I think it's burning from overexposure to light.  That 400W bulb I've got is no joke.  It puts out a lot of light and a lot of heat.

I've temporarily shut down the 400W light, and replaced it with my smaller 125W fluorescent.  It seems like the damage has stopped.  I'm thinking about raising the roof on the lightstand and giving the 400W another try.

Despite the minor bad news, things are doing pretty well.  We've got flowers on the eggplant (#12), and they look quite healthy.  I've included a photo below of the baby flowers.  For reference, the photo below is much larger than life.  They're about 3/8" wide in reality. 

Hydro2-R.jpg

Here's this week's overview photo.  As you can see, the eggplant and the tomato plants have gotten quite large.

Hydro2-T.jpg

Keeping with my promise of solid record keeping, here's this week's chart:

PlantTypeStatus
#01Alexandria Alpine StrawberriesRoughly 7" tall (tallest leaf).  No burning visible.
#02Alexandria Alpine StrawberriesRoughly 7" tall (tallest leaf).  No burning visible.
#03Alexandria Alpine StrawberriesRoughly 8" tall (tallest leaf).  Very slight burning visible on a few of the leaf tips.
#04Alexandria Alpine StrawberriesRoughly 5" tall (tallest leaf).  No burning visible.
#05Alexandria Alpine StrawberriesRoughly 8" tall (tallest leaf).  No burning visible.
#06Alexandria Alpine StrawberriesRoughly 7" tall (tallest leaf).  Very slight burning visible on a few of the leaf tips.
#07Alexandria Alpine StrawberriesRoughly 4" tall (tallest leaf).  Slight burning visible on a few of the leaf tips.
#08Alexandria Alpine StrawberriesRoughly 8" tall (tallest leaf).  Slight burning visible on a few of the leaf tips.
#09Alexandria Alpine StrawberriesRoughly 6.5" tall (tallest leaf).  No burning visible.
#10Andrew Rahart's Jumbo Heirloom TomatoApproximately 23" long (it's not standing straight anymore, as it's tied to the lightstand).  Some burning and curling is noticeable (older leaves only)  The younger leaves don't seem to have the same problem.
#11Delicious Heirloom TomatoPreviously killed through personal stupidity.
#12Bambino Baby EggplantIt's about 16" tall, and is looking big and leafy.  Leaves are approximately 8-9" long.  Leaves are curling slightly, but that doesn't seem to be a problem.
#13Monet's Garden Lettuce
Approximately 17" tall (if it stood).  Fully mature.  Awaiting harvest.
#14Monet's Garden LettuceApproximately 17" tall (if it stood).  Fully mature.  Awaiting harvest.
#15Monet's Garden LettuceApproximately 17" tall (if it stood).  Fully mature.  Awaiting harvest.
#16Monet's Garden LettuceApproximately 14" tall (if it stood).  Fully mature.  Awaiting harvest.
#17Lime Basil
Roughly 11" tall.  Slight burning is visible on the tips of some leaves.  Doesn't appear to be getting any worse.
#18Delicious Heirloom TomatoApproximately 16" tall. Slight burning and curling is noticeable on a few of the leaves.
Deanimator Goodness
9/24/2007 6:37:00 PM

In case you missed it in the previous posts.  Deanimator rules.

DeanimatorD.jpg

Did I Mention? Deanimator Rules.
9/17/2007 6:30:00 PM

In case you missed it in the previous post.  Deanimator rules. 

DeanimatorC.jpg

Hydroponics Tuesday: Impressive Strawberryness
9/11/2007 7:11:00 PM

I wish that I had more groundbreaking news this week, but sadly, that is not the case.  Things are working well.  The plants are happy, albeit crowded.  I've pruned back some of the dead leaves, and things are growing.

I'm considering setting up the aeroponic unit, but keeping the compact fluorescent lighting.  It's hard to tell until it's set up.  Also, I'm planning on reinforcing the light stand a bit before setting it up again.  I want to add some stabilizing braces to make it stronger.

This weeks pictures: Lots of lettuce

Hydro2-N.jpg

Number 8 is the biggest of the strawberry plants.  It's looking great.

Hydro2-O.jpg

Keeping with my promise of solid record keeping, here's this week's chart:

PlantTypeStatus
#01Alexandria Alpine StrawberriesRoughly 3.5" tall.  Rockwool cube has been placed into a hydroton (small grain) filled aeroponic pot.
#02Alexandria Alpine StrawberriesRoughly 3.5" tall.  Rockwool cube has been placed into a hydroton (small grain) filled aeroponic pot.
#03Alexandria Alpine StrawberriesRoughly 3.5" tall.  Rockwool cube has been placed into a hydroton (small grain) filled aeroponic pot.
#04Alexandria Alpine StrawberriesRoughly 3.5" tall.  I ran out of space, so this one is still just rockwool.
#05Alexandria Alpine StrawberriesRoughly 4.5" tall.  The largest of the strawberries.  Rockwool cube has been placed into a hydroton (small grain) filled aeroponic pot.
#06Alexandria Alpine StrawberriesRoughly 3.5" tall.  I ran out of space, so this one is still just rockwool.
#07Alexandria Alpine StrawberriesRoughly 3.5" tall.  I ran out of space, so this one is still just rockwool.
#08Alexandria Alpine StrawberriesRoughly 4.5" tall.  The second-largest of the strawberries.  Rockwool cube has been placed into a hydroton (small grain) filled aeroponic pot.
#09Alexandria Alpine StrawberriesRoughly 3.0" tall.  Rockwool cube has been placed into a hydroton (small grain) filled aeroponic pot.
#10Andrew Rahart's Jumbo Heirloom TomatoApproximately 17" long (it's not standing straight anymore, as it's tied to the lightstand).
#11Delicious Heirloom TomatoPreviously killed through personal stupidity.
#12Bambino Baby EggplantIt's about 8" tall, and is looking big and leafy.  Leaves are approximately 6-7" long.
#13Monet's Garden Lettuce
Approximately 15" tall (if it stood).  Replanted into a standard 5" pot (I needed the aero pots free).
#14Monet's Garden LettuceApproximately 15" tall (if it stood).  Replanted into a standard 5" pot (I needed the aero pots free).
#15Monet's Garden LettuceApproximately 16" tall (if it stood).  Replanted into a standard 5" pot (I needed the aero pots free).  I broke a leaf during transplant.  Tasty.
#16Monet's Garden LettuceApproximately 13" tall (if it stood).  Replanted into a standard 5" pot (I needed the aero pots free).
#17Lime Basil
Looks healthy.  About 6.5" tall. I wanted to give it a dedicated pot, but ran out of room.  Since it's still fairly small, I'm hoping to move it later.
#18Delicious Heirloom TomatoApproximately 13" tall. Replanted into a standard 5" pot. 
The Far Reaches of Open Content
9/10/2007 10:08:00 AM

I try to release a lot of content under a Creative Commons license, so that other people can use it.  When things become intellectually free, it's amazing where they can travel.

I love to keep notes on where my content ends up.  Here are a few recent sightings in the wild:

Previous Posts:

Sweet, Sweet Zombie Madness
9/9/2007 12:05:00 PM

I've recently stumbled on a little game that can be described as nothing less than freakin sweet.  I present, for your enjoyment, Deanimator.

Deanimator is a flash-based game that runs in your browser.  It's story is based on the stories by H.P. Lovecraft, and it's an absolute blast to play.  You need to shoot the zombies before they eat you.  It's pretty simple.  Kill as many zombies as possible, using only your pistol and shotgun, and stay alive as long as you can.  Here's a screenshot from the game: 

DeanimatorA.jpg

It looks to me that the game was a project by a fellow named Bum Lee, probably as a college assignment.   Regardless of why he created it, it's a spectacular game.   I've spent more time at it than I care to admit.

If you're interested, here's my opinion on the scoring:

  • Scores > 40 - Keep practicing, you'll get there
  • Scores > 70 - It's a respectable score, but you can likely improve
  • Scores > 100 - This is a good range.  You've obviously learned to use the shotgun.
  • Scores > 200 - You're a freaking rockstar.
  • Scores > 300 - That's me.
  • Scores < 20 - Hi there, Skye.

The following picture is not a photoshop.  It's not altered, and it's not fake.  Behold my raw geeky power:

DeanimatorB.jpg

Circuit City Receipt Nazis / Michael Righi
9/5/2007 7:15:00 PM

As some of you might know, receipt nazis are one of my biggest pet peeves.  For those of you not familiar with receipt nazis, let me offer a definition:

Receipt Nazi:  Noun.  The goon who demands to inspect your receipt as you leave a store.

Most people don't know their rights.  Most people don't know the law.  Here's the deal, specific to Delaware, but widely applicable all over the nation:

It is acceptable for a store to ask to see your receipt.  It's also acceptable for a random stranger to ask you for money.  Both are acceptable, provided the process is totally voluntary.  It's your choice.  You choose if you want to humor the store's policy.  Just because a policy is printed on a piece of cardboard, it doesn't mean that it has the force of law.  I usually just say "No, thank you." and continue walking.

Most people don't know that they can simply refuse, and be on their way.  Often times, a receipt nazi will attempt intimidation.  I've had situations myself where I was told that "you're not leaving until I see your receipt".  Regardless of what anyone's manager has told them, this is completely unenforceable.  In my situation, I simply told the fellow "Call the police, if you saw me steal something.  If not, get out of my way, or I'll be the one calling them."  In my case, the goon backed down.  I'm one of the few people who actually reads the state laws, so I know my rights.  Sadly, most people allow these abuses.

However, this post isn't about my case.  It's about a fellow named Michael Righi.  Michael had a similar encounter to mine, but his encounter ended in a much less favorable way.  Oddly enough, both of our encounters happened at a Circuit City.

Michael has posted a complete writeup on his website.  You can read the whole story here.

Here's my short version:

  • Michael was stopped, and was requested to produce his receipt.
  • Michael refuses to produce his receipt, which he was completely within his rights to do.
  • Store employees prevent Michael from leaving, by blocking his path.
  • Michael summons the police, as he is being illegally detained.
  • The police officer (Ernie Arroyo) determines that Michael has not stolen anything.
  • The police officer demands Micheal's identification (the actual driver's license card).
  • Michael refuses, as he is not required to provide his driver's license, as he wasn't driving.
  • The police officer arrests Michael, and charges him with "Obstructing Official Business" (Ohio Law)

I've done the research, as this happens to be one of my interests.  Here's my analysis on the incident:

  • Michael stood up for his rights.
  • Michael violated no laws.  He acted in a respectful manner, and did not escalate any of the situations.
  • The Circuit City employees were quite incorrect in their assumptions about the law.
  • The police officer was clearly on a power-trip, and wanted to charge Micheal with something.
  • These abuses shouldn't be tolerated.  Michael is a patriot, and he defended his rights.  Most people take their rights for granted, and don't stand up for them.  Michael should be commended.
  • Hopefully, Michael will be quickly vindicated in court.  The officer should be fired.
  • Hopefully the resulting civil lawsuit will end this obnoxious policy at all retailers.  Hopefully Circuit City will be spanked soundly enough to teach the whole industry a lesson.

I've already contacted Michael.  I've offered to travel to Ohio, to observe the trial, and ensure he received equitable treatment.  I haven't gotten a response yet, but that's not surprising.  I'm sure he's swimming in correspondence at the moment.  I wished him the best, and offered any help that I can provide.

Officer Arroyo: You are clearly incompetent and malicious.  I hope you become an example to all the police who abuse their position.

Update, 09/06/2007:

I've gotten a reply from Michael Righi himself.  He's pretty busy at the moment, so I'm pretty impressed that he made the time for me.  With his permission, I'm reposting his reply...

Benji,

Thanks for contacting me, and thanks for the well worded post on your blog. I wish that everybody's messages to me were as supportive as ours. :-)

It's a shame that more people don't know or stand up for their rights as you have done before. I commend you for not so easily giving in.

I'm committed to seeing this issue resolved justly, and once my attorney advises me that it's okay to speak I'll be providing more updates on my web site.

Take care,
Michael

Hydroponics Tuesday: A Predator in the Garden
9/4/2007 7:19:00 PM

I feel that it's time to admit a mistake.  A personal failing, on my part.  I did something bad.

I tended the garden while I was hungry.  I regret to report that several of the lettuces have suffered substancial... sampling.

With the exception of taking a bit of an early harvest at the expense of the letti, things are doing well.  Everybody survived the transplanting into the hydroton.   The MegaGarden is jam-packed at the moment.  I'm stalling on the aero as long as possible, and I'll probably make some room in the comming weeks by rendering innocent lettuce into salad.   Mmmmm.  Salad.

I've got the larger tomato plant (#10) climbing the lightstand, and it seems to like it.  I hate to start up the aero for just a single plant.   Just as a reference for everyone, the 125W flouroescent bulb costs me about $8 per month.  The 400W High Pressure Sodium bulb costs me about $30 per month.  It's a good deal, provided you have enough plants to make it worth it.

Truthfully, I thought I'd be further along at this point.  I didn't realize how terribly slowly strawberries grow.  At this rate, I expect fresh ripe strawberries in about a million years.  I don't know how long it's supposed to take, because it seems that everybody else is getting them at the nursery, rather than growing from seed.

Here's an overview of the plants.  The eggplant is in the foreground, strawberries on the left, lettuce on the right. 

Hydro2-L.jpg

Lettuce jungle.

Hydro2-M.jpg

Keeping with my promise of solid record keeping, here's this week's chart:

PlantTypeStatus
#01Alexandria Alpine StrawberriesRoughly 3.0" tall.  Rockwool cube has been placed into a hydroton (small grain) filled aeroponic pot.
#02Alexandria Alpine StrawberriesRoughly 3.0" tall.  Rockwool cube has been placed into a hydroton (small grain) filled aeroponic pot.
#03Alexandria Alpine StrawberriesRoughly 3.0" tall.  Rockwool cube has been placed into a hydroton (small grain) filled aeroponic pot.
#04Alexandria Alpine StrawberriesRoughly 3.0" tall.  I ran out of space, so this one is still just rockwool.
#05Alexandria Alpine StrawberriesRoughly 3.5" tall.  The largest of the strawberries.  Rockwool cube has been placed into a hydroton (small grain) filled aeroponic pot.
#06Alexandria Alpine StrawberriesRoughly 3.0" tall.  I ran out of space, so this one is still just rockwool.
#07Alexandria Alpine StrawberriesRoughly 3.0" tall.  I ran out of space, so this one is still just rockwool.
#08Alexandria Alpine StrawberriesRoughly 3.5" tall.  The second-largest of the strawberries.  Rockwool cube has been placed into a hydroton (small grain) filled aeroponic pot.
#09Alexandria Alpine StrawberriesRoughly 2.5" tall.  Rockwool cube has been placed into a hydroton (small grain) filled aeroponic pot.
#10Andrew Rahart's Jumbo Heirloom TomatoApproximately 16" long (it's not standing straight anymore, as it's tied to the lightstand).
#11Delicious Heirloom TomatoPreviously killed through personal stupidity.
#12Bambino Baby EggplantIt's about 7" tall, and is looking big and leafy.  Leaves are approximately 4-5" long.
#13Monet's Garden Lettuce
Approximately 14" tall (if it stood).  Replanted into a standard 5" pot (I needed the aero pots free).
#14Monet's Garden LettuceApproximately 14" tall (if it stood).  Replanted into a standard 5" pot (I needed the aero pots free).
#15Monet's Garden LettuceApproximately 15" tall (if it stood).  Replanted into a standard 5" pot (I needed the aero pots free).  I broke a leaf during transplant.  Tasty.
#16Monet's Garden LettuceApproximately 12" tall (if it stood).  Replanted into a standard 5" pot (I needed the aero pots free).
#17Lime Basil
Looks healthy.  About 5.0" tall. I wanted to give it a dedicated pot, but ran out of room.  Since it's still fairly small, I'm hoping to move it later.
#18Delicious Heirloom TomatoApproximately 12" tall. Replanted into a standard 5" pot.