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Hydroponic: A cheap & simple experiment journal

#1 User is offline   sthh 

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 04:29 PM

Decided to try hydroponic to grow some nai bai vegetables on a blank window sill.
This is my first attempt at hydroponic, so i decided to keep a journal in this forum to share with you all, and maybe we can exchange ideas to improve this.
Whether it is successful or not, i will keep updating this thread, till hopefully i manage to harvest some vegetables.
I decided to make it really simple, without airpump or airstone.

So here's the shopping list in pictures.
1. Baskets full of holes (Daiso, $2)
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0298_zps074f0c7f.jpg

2. Shoe box with cover (Daiso, $2)
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0299_zpse7142ebb.jpg
Cover with newspaper to prevent algae
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0301_zps39a3fc74.jpg

3. Clay balls (World farm, $5 for a pack)
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0300_zps32ba394c.jpg

4. White sponge (From any aquarium shop, $2.5 for a pack of 5 large pieces)
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0303_zpsdb1e9ec5.jpg
Cut into small pieces
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0304_zps4f86df93.jpg
Soaked in water
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0306_zps20e0eecc.jpg

5. Pack of Nai Bai (From a girl in Feng Shan market. $<1)
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0305_zpsce5923c2.jpg

Put a seed in every small soak white sponge.
Place it in basket, and cover it with clay balls.
Fill up shoe box with water and mild fertiliser.
Place basket on top of shoe box.
Place shoe box near window sill
Finished.
The whole footprint for this setup is really small, so if it is successful, i will probably be able to create a few more of these boxes of vegetables.
Currently trying to grow out 20 seeds of nai bai.

http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0307_zpsd3a122ed.jpg

Ok. That's all forks. Will update again if they sprout.
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#2 User is offline   Hupsusie 

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Posted 12 July 2014 - 01:38 PM

I will be watching this space and learning.
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#3 User is offline   sthh 

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Posted 12 July 2014 - 08:54 PM

Currently reading up on the importance of using a airstone and airpump.
If i am not using airstone, i might use a wick to draw up water, and leave the roots exposed to more air. Depends on how the plants grow and how they progress with and without airstone.
So far, the daiso shoebox and the basket with hole is a perfect fit without alteration. It's like a custom made combo.

This post has been edited by sthh: 12 July 2014 - 08:54 PM

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#4 User is offline   sthh 

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Posted 13 July 2014 - 07:57 AM

Day 3 report

Nai Bai sprouted !!!
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0315_zpsf037846b.jpg

Encouraged by this initial success, decided to transplant some tomatoes seedlings using this method.
The tomato seedlings are from Mr. Fothergill's Just Add Water package. They are about 1 week old.

http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0312_zpsf20a2211.jpg

The basket with holes is amazing. The dividers can be remove, for me to place pots, which i get from World Farm

Pots with holes (World Farm $0.50 each)
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0310_zps982f00dc.jpg

Transplanted the tomatoes and sandwiched the roots between white foam sponge, and placed them into pots, and cover with clay balls.
Then place it into shoe box from daiso.
So easy. Not need to cut anything.
Now there is a competition between this plants in hydroponic vs the Mr. Fothergills pot.

http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0314_zps0f0e68f9.jpg

Just in case you are wondering what fertiliser i am using, here's an attached pic.
Trimogreen (Which i got for $4 eons ago from Far East flora)
Magnesium salt (For my fishes)
API leaf zone (For my aquatic plants)
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0311_zps0b12a732.jpg

End of report
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#5 User is offline   keff 

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Posted 13 July 2014 - 11:17 AM

Hi Sthh,

Just curious, are you able to keep the leca balls moist at the top level where the seedlings are? I find that leca is able to wick only up to about an inch above the water level. From your pic, it looks like seedlings are several inches above the water level, so I am wondering if you need to do supplemental watering until the seedling roots reach the nearer the water level?
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#6 User is offline   sthh 

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Posted 13 July 2014 - 08:35 PM

View Postkeff, on 13 July 2014 - 11:17 AM, said:

Hi Sthh,

Just curious, are you able to keep the leca balls moist at the top level where the seedlings are? I find that leca is able to wick only up to about an inch above the water level. From your pic, it looks like seedlings are several inches above the water level, so I am wondering if you need to do supplemental watering until the seedling roots reach the nearer the water level?


Yup, i can keep those leca balls moist at the top level, i think due to the white sponge foam, which also draws up water.
I purposely keep the seedlings several inches above water level, so that the initial roots get more air.
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#7 User is offline   sthh 

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 05:39 PM

Day 5 report:
The 20 nai bai seeds has mostly sprounted.
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0317_zpsd76f94d2.jpg

The tomato seedlings survived their transplanting.
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0318_zpsc8d5864b.jpg

Bought a bottle of Flourish from the aquarium, which has much trace material needed by plants, and added a tiny drop into each shoe box.
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0316_zps055db7e8.jpg

Also sow 18 seeds of celery, and 18 seeds of red spinach, 4 seeds of cherry tomatoes, 4 seeds of chilly, 4 seeds of capsicum.

Went to daiso to get more shoe box and baskets with holes. Unfortunately, the baskets with holes are all sold out. Hmmmm.....

This post has been edited by sthh: 15 July 2014 - 05:40 PM

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#8 User is offline   sthh 

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 12:57 PM

Day 8 report:
Nai Bai growing well. Couple of nai bai seedlings got damaged by the fibre from the white foam, one got decapitated !!!
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0326_zpsa512941b.jpg

A red spinach starting to sprout.
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0327_zpscd2c5beb.jpg

Tomatoes seedling not growing as much as i hope they will. I will add more water to the shoe box to make the water level higher.
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0328_zps068aa0c4.jpg
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#9 User is offline   sthh 

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Posted 22 July 2014 - 12:09 PM

Day 12 report.

The tomatoes seedlings growing in hydroponic seems to be bigger than the one growing in the soil.

The Nai Bai are growing up as well.
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0353_zps1ff6fac0.jpg

http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0352_zps3643fdb5.jpg

This post has been edited by sthh: 22 July 2014 - 12:10 PM

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#10 User is offline   Click 

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 11:35 AM

View Poststhh, on 22 July 2014 - 12:09 PM, said:

Day 12 report.

The tomatoes seedlings growing in hydroponic seems to be bigger than the one growing in the soil.

The Nai Bai are growing up as well.
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0353_zps1ff6fac0.jpg

http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0352_zps3643fdb5.jpg


Nice!! Keep those reports coming!
Learning, learning!! Thanks!!
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#11 User is offline   oolongmilktea 

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 03:35 PM

the tomato plants in soil should be separated into one plant a pot now. if wait too long, later when u want to separate, the roots all entangled together and it will be hard to repot them without damaging it.
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#12 User is offline   sthh 

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 03:32 PM

Day 14 report.

Bad bad news. Daiso sold out on plastic shoe boxes and those fitting baskets with lots of holes.
I have to settle for something bigger. Arrrgghh.. Take up more space and more solutions and fertilizer.
So i bought these instead.
Daiso storage box ($2)
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0355_zpsfe28c8f7.jpg
Daiso bigger basket ($2)
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0356_zps505a1514.jpg

Transplanted 2 chillies, 3 capsicum and 3 cherry tomatoes seedlings to the hydroponic solutions. Hope they all survive their transplanting.
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0359_zpscdfde43f.jpg

http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0360_zpsebe3f1a9.jpg

Now 1 of my bay window is nearly all filled out, save for 2 pots of other plants.
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0358_zpsc7e00e54.jpg


View Postoolongmilktea, on 23 July 2014 - 03:35 PM, said:

the tomato plants in soil should be separated into one plant a pot now. if wait too long, later when u want to separate, the roots all entangled together and it will be hard to repot them without damaging it.

Will probably cull the weaker seedlings soon.

This post has been edited by sthh: 24 July 2014 - 03:34 PM

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#13 User is offline   Robert1943 

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 02:43 PM

View Poststhh, on 12 July 2014 - 08:54 PM, said:

Currently reading up on the importance of using a airstone and airpump.
If i am not using airstone, i might use a wick to draw up water, and leave the roots exposed to more air. Depends on how the plants grow and how they progress with and without airstone.
So far, the daiso shoebox and the basket with hole is a perfect fit without alteration. It's like a custom made combo.



Hi the secret to have the roots draw up water is to only have about 1cm of water in the bottom of the growing pot, this means as the nutrient solution goes down the roots are oxygenated and will develop long healthy roots, this is by either method with an air stone or by the Kratky method which does not require an airstone, I row both methods with similar results.
Here are a few minature lettuce planted using an old wash basin and perlite medium, and no airstone these are young plants sown about 3 weeks ago.

http://i100.photobucket.com/albums/m23/kangaroo9/Hydroponics/20140728_163718_zpsc1d6eaac.jpg
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#14 User is offline   Robert1943 

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 02:45 PM

View Poststhh, on 24 July 2014 - 03:32 PM, said:

Day 14 report.

Bad bad news. Daiso sold out on plastic shoe boxes and those fitting baskets with lots of holes.
I have to settle for something bigger. Arrrgghh.. Take up more space and more solutions and fertilizer.
So i bought these instead.
Daiso storage box ($2)
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0355_zpsfe28c8f7.jpg
Daiso bigger basket ($2)
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0356_zps505a1514.jpg

Transplanted 2 chillies, 3 capsicum and 3 cherry tomatoes seedlings to the hydroponic solutions. Hope they all survive their transplanting.
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0359_zpscdfde43f.jpg

http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0360_zpsebe3f1a9.jpg

Now 1 of my bay window is nearly all filled out, save for 2 pots of other plants.
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0358_zpsc7e00e54.jpg



Will probably cull the weaker seedlings soon.

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#15 User is offline   Robert1943 

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 02:46 PM

Congratulations you are doing a great job and should be proud of your efforts , please let me know if I can be of any help.
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#16 User is offline   Robert1943 

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 02:53 PM

View Poststhh, on 18 July 2014 - 12:57 PM, said:

Day 8 report:
Nai Bai growing well. Couple of nai bai seedlings got damaged by the fibre from the white foam, one got decapitated !!!
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0326_zpsa512941b.jpg

A red spinach starting to sprout.
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0327_zpscd2c5beb.jpg

Tomatoes seedling not growing as much as i hope they will. I will add more water to the shoe box to make the water level higher.
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0328_zps068aa0c4.jpg




PS do not raise the water level higher as you will drown the plants just have the roots touching the nutrients and the roots will go down deeper as the nutrient solution goes lower this will mean your plants will not drown and the roots will have oxygen around them encouraging to go even deeper as the nutrient level drops, again do not raise the water level. and allow the plants to go in search for the nutrients not the other way around .

This post has been edited by Robert1943: 28 July 2014 - 02:53 PM

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#17 User is offline   sthh 

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 10:01 AM

View PostRobert1943, on 28 July 2014 - 02:43 PM, said:

Hi the secret to have the roots draw up water is to only have about 1cm of water in the bottom of the growing pot, this means as the nutrient solution goes down the roots are oxygenated and will develop long healthy roots, this is by either method with an air stone or by the Kratky method which does not require an airstone, I row both methods with similar results.
Here are a few minature lettuce planted using an old wash basin and perlite medium, and no airstone these are young plants sown about 3 weeks ago.



View PostRobert1943, on 28 July 2014 - 02:53 PM, said:

PS do not raise the water level higher as you will drown the plants just have the roots touching the nutrients and the roots will go down deeper as the nutrient solution goes lower this will mean your plants will not drown and the roots will have oxygen around them encouraging to go even deeper as the nutrient level drops, again do not raise the water level. and allow the plants to go in search for the nutrients not the other way around .


Thanks for the information. I have no idea if my plants are able to draw up water or not, so i was quite surprised that they have grown roots all the way down to the water, and have not drowned yet, lol.

I may need to change the solutions, as my earlier solution is a very very weak solution. May need to add a bit more soluble fertiliser.
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#18 User is offline   sthh 

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 10:11 AM

Day 21 report:

Some updated pictures of my plants. Not getting much sun these days, due to the rain. Plants are leaning towards window. Hmmm
Nai Bai
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0380_zpsa5a682d9.jpg

Tomatoes:
Those growing in hydroponic is bigger than those in the pot. I accidentally lifted up the pots to see the roots, and now the roots are lifted out of the baskets with holes. Can't put it back, so i cut away all the roots to encourage new roots growth into the hydroponic solution.
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0383_zps08cd7fb6.jpg

Cherry tomatoes seedlings
Got these from tomatoes from "Giant" supermart. Ate all of them, except for the biggest fattest cherry tomato, which i harvested for seeds.
They have sprout, and 3 of them have survived the transplanting. The fourth one got stuck in the white foam, and it shriveled up.
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0381_zps74f900a4.jpg

Chilly
Got big fat chilly from "Giant" supermart to fry kang kong, and they sprouted too.
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0384_zps2a90a033.jpg

Capsicum
These capsicum are from a big yellow one from NTUC.
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0382_zps28f6ea69.jpg

That's all for now.

This post has been edited by sthh: 31 July 2014 - 10:11 AM

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#19 User is offline   Robert1943 

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 11:19 AM

Fantastic growth you have done a great job how often do you feed with nutrients, I have a reason for asking this.
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#20 User is offline   Robert1943 

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 11:23 AM

View Poststhh, on 31 July 2014 - 10:01 AM, said:

Thanks for the information. I have no idea if my plants are able to draw up water or not, so i was quite surprised that they have grown roots all the way down to the water, and have not drowned yet, lol.

I may need to change the solutions, as my earlier solution is a very very weak solution. May need to add a bit more soluble fertiliser.



Dependant on the strength of your solution it may be time to check, I dont know if you want to invest in a cheap ph meter or am Ec meter but boy it takes all the chance out of what the strength of each plant should be and you can achieve 100% success rate.
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