Outdoor Hydroponic Rookie

amwewa66March 8, 2009

I am new to hydroponics and am very interested in hydro since the price of veggies has gone up. I live in Tarpon Springs, Fl and have a nice size yard and will be starting to get things ready today.

Has anyone used multiple 5 gal buckets linked together to make one system?

Does anyone use a vertical system?

Is anyone using large plastic trash cans to grow fruit trees?

Has anyone tries growing kiwi or grapes hydroponicly?

I will be setting up my home page with photos of my property and would love to get as much input as I can from all of you hydro experts. Bring it on.

Thanks a bunch.

Andy

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freemangreens(Zone 10 CA)

Andy:

If you're looking to save money on veggies, hydroponics is probably not the answer. There are several "start-up" costs involved using hydroponics.

If you're still interested, I'd recommend you do LOTS of research and decide which method you're going to use before you start experimenting as experimenting costs money; sometimes lots of money!

I grow in zone 10b, California, and it's similar to Florida, without the humidity. I'd recommend you use the "static-culture" method. I've listed all the popular methods on my Web page (URL in profile). Study up on them BEFORE you decide to go it using hydroponics.

You mentioned vertical gardening; that's covered on my page as well. I grow strawberries and tomatoes, each vertically.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2009 at 12:33PM
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amwewa66

Thanks Freemangreens

Veggie cost is not the only reason. Urban survival is the main reason. If the economy continues to tank I will at least be able to feed my family. I will be growing fruits, veggies, vines (kiwi, grapes), potatoes (in bins), and all of our favorites.

I am also working on a 12 volt solar power system to supply the juice needed to run my hydroponics.

I have already started on the research side of it and have been reading everything I can for the past month. There is one site that particularly interests me and I will probably buy his CD's and plans.

http://www.easiestgarden.com/

Andy

    Bookmark   March 8, 2009 at 1:31PM
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freemangreens(Zone 10 CA)

That link is a good page. He shows growing lettuce in his video. Be careful trying to grow lettuce in Florida; it's too hot. Once lettuce bolts, it loses its sweet taste and gets awfully bitter!

I grow in zone 10b (San Diego) and it's even too hot here for lettuce. I was growing butter crunch as well as green and red leaf and found out the hard way that it bolts as soon as it's able. That's my experience anyway.

As a "fix" I started growing "baby greens" in a tray using "Mat Hydroponics". It's explained on my Web page (URL in profile). Just click on Technique and it'll walk you through the process.

The trick here is the lettuce is harvested when it gets about 4 or 5 inches tall and is just "thinking" about bolting. The plants are grown in a very intense setting; holding each other up as they develop.

I think I put a link to a great video about growing baby greens in the Bahamas. It's even hotter there than in south Florida!

One last comment on lettuce: Aphids! If you have ants, get rid of them first as they bring in aphids and live off the "dew" they produce -- at the expense of your entire lettuce crop!

    Bookmark   March 8, 2009 at 7:27PM
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grizzman

I think growing plants hydroponically that take several seasons to mature (fruit trees and grapevines) is quite a commitment. it might be best to plant those in the ground and augment the soil with a drip system and a very weak nutrient solution.
if you're wanting to link buckets together, just use 2 gallon buckets. that sounds like ebb and flo and the only thing the buckets will be used for is to contain the roots. I considered doing that for a while, but you can get better plant density if you build troughs to run the ebb n flo through.
I've always had much better results growing nightshades versus cucumbrits. This years I'm having a go at strawberries and chilies in hydro. I'll probably plant tomatoes and more peppers in the dirt.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 2:26PM
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