Another indoor garden starting question

hydrojunkieFebruary 24, 2009

So I am laid off work right now and driving the wife crazy so now seems like a good time to start that garden that I have been thinking about. As of right now I would like to grow some peas,tomatoes,lettuce,okra,strawberries, and hot peppers. Currently I was thinking of basically making each plant its own system or grouping the plants which will be nutrient compatible probably with a large diameter piece of pvc containing 3" net pots filled with hydroton draining into a 5 gallon bucket with the systems using drip irrigation. I am considering using dwc due to simplicity and not relying soley on a water pump to water the plant. Only problem I have with that is I think resevoir maintence will be more difficult and will go through more nutes. So was considering adding some coco coir or rockwool to mix in with the hydroton just in case there was a problem with the drip system there would likely be some moisture left in the system. As far as when to water that is one thing not totally sure of just yet maybe 15 on 15 off. The setup will be located in a south facing room with three larger windows and a skylight in addition to that I was planning on buying 2 400 watt hid lights with a switchable ballast so I could use hps or mh depending on what cycle I am in.Also gonna line the room with 2 mil mylar. Total size will probably be somewhere around 4'x8'.

My plan was to obtain seeds,germinate them in a dome in a rockwool cube and let them vege for a while under flourescent lights until roots are showing out of the cube then put them into the net pots. (Ovbiously the strawberry won't come from seed)Next question is how does one know when to change the light cycle over for these plants. Do you just start to flower when you basically don't want them to get too much bigger. Or do you start them in a 12 hour cycle once they are large enough to put in the system. Also I am seeing alot of people suggest not using bloom nutes on this and only using veg nutes on that. Can anybody give personal experiences on what they use and which phase of nute program they used. I was personally considering purchasing techniflora recipe for sucess and I guess I would just follow their chart until the plant started to show signs of defiencey, then adjust from there. I found this link in regards to resivoir maintence: , does this seem to be about on par with what everybodys experience is as far as ph and ec?

I apologize for the long winded post but after days of researching the questions kind of piled up in my head. BTW, awesome forum, looking forward to seeing everybodys response.

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my research suggest strawberries don't need too much N. And others here say the same for peppers. tomatoes, on the other hand, love the stuff. last season, I used the same nutrient formula for my tomatoes the entire season. my largest tomato was 1lb 2(i believe)ozs. the plants were about 7' tall when I stopped watering them.
When I grew peppers two seasons ago, I did eventually swith over to bloom solution and then got several fruits before the plants took a nose dive over a long weekend. though as mentioned elsewhere, it was probably the high N solution I was using at first that kept them from setting fruit earlier.
I guess what I'm saying is tomatoes and peppers don't needdifferent solutions for different growth phases in order to be productive, though the purists will say you're not maximizing efficiency. also, neither of them are dependent on light cycle to dictate when flowers produce. they are time dependent(or probably actually growth dependent).
I'll leave the other veggies for others to reply about.
One other thought: being unemployed, is this really the time to get into hydro? I mean it can be an expensive habit. . .er hobby. yeah, hobby is what I meant, especially when doing it indoors with artificial lights.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 2:26PM
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Thanks for the info, did you grow your tomatoes outside, 7' tall, thats a good sized plant. I am glad to know that peppers and tomatoes aren't dependent on light cycles, I think that will make things a little easier. I hope all of the plants are similar, that would make my day as I could just let them soak up all the sunlight without having to worry about covering windows. As for being unemployed I am a union electrician so I usually have some down time when its cold so I am not too worried about that. Although it does seem as though I may have more this year than in the past. Also I bought my first house about 1 month prior to being laid off so if that didn't make me puke I think I'll be alright but budget is everything (people tell me I squeak when I walk). I am planning on having everything setup for under $500

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 4:03PM
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