Ready to grow... what to plant?!

queenbeelovedx3June 20, 2008

I am so thankful for this forum! I have been scouring the posts here in preparation of my first hydro garden. I'm starting with a raft system using a storage tub, Styrofoam and oasis foam plugs... as well as the 11 pot planter design. I have this set up in my master bathroom on top of the bathtub which sits just below a 5x5 southern window. I've covered the walls with survival blankets and will be using multiple florescent lights. (One day I hope to invest in HID) -To be honest I'm really hoping the southern natural light will be of benefit to my results. I have ordered General Hydroponics three part, liquid nutes and I will be using the clay balls (hydrotin??) Now for the twenty questions =)

I realize I'll need to pick and choose what to grow as this is a rather small setup as well as the light situation. But what would you all suggest? I'm open and longing for variety and anything goes! I have decided that the raft will be the greens... but the 11 pot planter is still up for ideas. I'd love things like brussel sprouts, turnips, bells, tomatoes, zucchini and squash, oh and soy beans!... but I realize these won't all fit and would want intense light... please advise.

Also, I'm really hoping the nutes I've ordered will have all the information on them that I need to feed these plants?! If not could you give me a link.

And lastly (yeah, right!) I'm wondering what timer increments should I put the pump on?

Thanks everyone! I am really hoping for a successful experiment here, any advice or thoughts are greatly appreciated. This is a group effort with my children and they are sooo excited (so am I)... I don't want to disappoint for lack of knowledge.

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For the raft system you're right - you definitely want to grow leafy greens in that. They'll thrive unbelievably well and many other plants just won't. Take a look at my blog sometime if you want to see how my lettuce, collard, and spinach grows in my DWC design.

It's a good thing I like eating greens...

As far as the other system goes, you're talking about the ebb & flow system that uses PVC with 2-liter bottles for planters, right? Keep in mind that different vegetables have different nutrient requirements.

Take a look at this:

See what you can find that has similar ranges of pH and nutrient concentration. I love tomatoes, but they can be one of the tougher plants to match up since they love strong nutrient concentrations.

It'll be easier to answer questions like how frequently to run the pump when we have some idea what you'll be growing. Different plants like different amounts of water. (That's the reason that tomatoes, for example, don't work well in a DWC - they basically drown.)

Here is a link that might be useful: my blog

    Bookmark   June 20, 2008 at 7:24PM
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That is great! Sooo how much would you space the greens if/when you do this over again?? I've been wondering how close to go myself!

I've looked at the PPM chart linked on here... I'm really not sure what can grow in the ebb and flow, PVC, 1 liter pots (after cutting)system. I'm really shooting in the dark on that one as I've never done this before.

Having said that, I would like to go with some Turnips, brussel sprout, zucchini (I have some dwarf bush seeds that did well outside last year) some cucumber (once again a "container" variety) maybe broccoli?? I'm nervous about space and light with these but then again... you don't know 'till you try, right? -that is... unless YOU'VE already tried and then I'll just learn from your experience and save myself some work =) On the ppm chart those are all in the medium to high on nutrients.

Oh, anyone know where soy beans would rate?? I would love to try them with the lettuce if they are low (like peas maybe??) closest to the window with string from the ceiling for support in hopes that enough light comes through the window to put them through flower. Suggestions?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2008 at 8:00PM
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It's hard to say with the lettuce spacing since there's a few different general types with many varieties of each. I've got Simpson's Curled and Grand Rapids growing right now which, to be honest, are pretty much the same thing to my eyes and taste buds.

I probably won't grow Simpson's again since it just doesn't seem to grow as fast and isn't quite as vibrantly green, but it might just have been a runty plant so I may give that strain another shot. On the other hand, the Grand Rapids is just such an awesome producer I probably won't.

My Grand Rapids can easily take up a square foot, maybe a little more. But if you crowd it just a tad it won't hurt. Mainly just keep in mind that it's a really frilly, bushy plant and can overpower and shadow a smaller neighbor. Once I expand my growing to the point I can dedicate my DWC to exclusively lettuce I plant to grow a checkerboard pattern of loose leaf (like the Grand Rapids) and Romaine. I figure the two types will compliment each other nicely by alternating the taller with the bushier.

Broccoli tends to be a tricky plant to grow in hydroponics from what I've read - I haven't tried yet myself. It likes much cooler temperatures than many veggies and will bolt to seed at much more than 75F iirc. Also, these are a really top-heavy plant and will need support in a hydro system.

Turnips - if you want to grow those stick with Perlite/Vermiculite media. Any root vegetable, really.

No idea on the soybeans, brussel sprouts, or zucchini as I'm just not fond of those. I hate brussel sprouts and the others just aren't worth the effort of growing (in my opinion).

I love a lot of the climbing plants - cucumbers, beans, peas, bell peppers, tomatoes, etc. My wife and I could grow and eat room-fulls of green beans and broccoli.

The kids would probably have fun with green beans in particular. They're pretty quick to grow, the vining is good learning for supporting plants, and then picking is fun because you can eat while you pick if you want. You also get to learn about the cycle of planting and harvesting because the beans you pick can go right back into growing the next crop.

Plus, you can take cuttings to clone your plants and teach them about rooting.

With Ebb & Flow you can grow pretty much anything, it's just a matter of figuring out the right timing for your cycles.

I love the idea of setting it up in a bathtub. My current house just doesn't have any windows with even decent sunlight, so I'm either growing with artificial light or totally outdoors.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2008 at 12:02AM
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