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Hydroponic: A cheap & simple experiment journal

#41 User is offline   sthh 

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Posted 30 August 2014 - 09:47 PM

Here's my learning from the simple experiment on hydroponic.

1. I am using a modified Kratky method for hydroponic. It uses only water, fertiliser, container and inert medium to hold the plant. There is no air pump needed.

2. 1 plastic shoebox (Daiso type) sized setup can easily grow about 16 nai bai, and 3 pots of cherry tomatoes or 3 pots of dwarf tomatoes, maybe 2 chilly plant.

3. If you are going for thirsty plants that take up a lot of water when fruiting, like tomato, you will need to monitor the setup once a week. If you are only growing vegetable, you just need to look at the setup once every 2 weeks.

4. The biggest cost of the setup is buying the fertiliser with trace minerals. I used my planted fish tank Seachem Flourish, which can be quite costly. Other than that, the normal NPK soluble fertiliser is cheap.
Fertiliser needed are :
i. NPK fertiliser
ii. Trace Minerals
iii. Magnesium (Epson salt)

5. The clay pellet can be re-used. I just clear off the dead roots of my harvested plants after sunning them. It is easy to remove them.
Surprisingly, the roots didn't penetrate the clay pellet.

6. If you are growing fruiting plant using my method, you will need to change your NPK fertiliser to one that is high in potassium and phosphorus, low in nitrogen, when the plants starts budding flowers.

7. Chilly and capsicum need very very little fertiliser to grow better. Surprise surprise. If you use the same amount as per your leafy vegetable, they seems to grow slower.

8. The entire setup can be done with rather low morning sunlight. It's been a rainy 49 days of this setup, with much gloomy sky, and I still manage to grow vegetable and tomatoes. I am sure the results will be better with better light.

9. When seedling your plants, I did it directly onto the hydroponic setup, and still get very high sprout rate. This actually save you the trouble of having a separate seedling tray and transplanting effort.

10. Use very weak fertiliser first. When the plants sprout, and start growing, then you increase the fertiliser content.

11. Surprise surprise. Kratky method can be modified to grow fruiting plants too. But you need to top up water for fruiting plant. In my setup, the reservoir of water is only a shoebox amount, and a fruiting tomato can drink lots of water daily.

12. The $0.50 pots with holes can be moved to be placed directly on a plastic chinese new year cookie container (pineapple tart container) !!!, with no cutting of holes.

13. Once you bought the initial container, fertiliser, clay pellet medium, the future running cost for my setup is very very minimum. All my cherry tomato, capsicum, chilly seeds are taken from those vegetables I bought to eat. The only seeds I bought are the dwarf tomato and the nai bai seeds, and the butterhead lettuce. I tried to buy Kale seeds from SGF, but they are sold out.

14. In my setup, the moto is Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS). No cutting, sawing or engineering, and no air pump or electricity. I go to Daiso to look for containers that fit well with each other.

This post has been edited by sthh: 30 August 2014 - 09:56 PM

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#42 User is offline   keff 

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Posted 30 August 2014 - 10:16 PM

View Poststhh, on 30 August 2014 - 09:23 PM, said:

Thanks.
You should have a go at this cheap and simple experiment too. It is so effortless, I wonder why I didn't do it earlier.
I don't even have to monitor the setup, and it is taking up so little space, like 1 shoebox size.
I will do a summary of my learning soon.


Actually I have just started lettuce on wicking beds. I decided I would rather try with compost as a medium as I wanted a closed loop system ... i.e. I wanted to compost kitchen waste etc and feed it back into the vegetable beds. Maybe I have been watching too many Youtube videos on permaculture, or is it all those episodes of Gardener's World?
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#43 User is offline   sthh 

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Posted 10 September 2014 - 09:50 AM

Dwarf tomatoes: 62 days old.
The dwarf tomatoes should be ready to harvest soon for the first crop.
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0738_zps41bf572f.jpg

Cherry tomatoes: 50 days old
Growing very tall now, and is already fruiting.
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0739_zpsd4ddf73c.jpg
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0740_zpscf4d0600.jpg

Chilly: 50 days old
Due to evaporation, couple of the plants that don't have long enough roots didn't get water for awhile, and got stunted. They started growing again when I top up water. The one that grew long roots is now big and ready to bud flowers soon.
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0741_zps31ba21d9.jpg

Capsium: 50 days old
All transplanted into their individual reservoir of water, because they will grow into very big plants, these capsicum.
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0742_zpsd8bcc9e0.jpg

This post has been edited by sthh: 10 September 2014 - 09:55 AM

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#44 User is offline   keff 

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Posted 10 September 2014 - 10:20 AM

Nice! Looks like your experiment is going very well!
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#45 User is offline   sthh 

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Posted 10 September 2014 - 10:23 AM

View Postkeff, on 10 September 2014 - 10:20 AM, said:

Nice! Looks like your experiment is going very well!

Not all is good. My butterhead lettuce didn't even sprout. Now I have to do a new batch, but this time, I will soak the seeds in warm water first for few days before sowing. There is also a desperate lack of sun that these window sill plants can receive, so they didn't develop to their full potential also. If only I have more sun, I am sure I can get bigger leaves and fruits.
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#46 User is offline   keff 

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Posted 10 September 2014 - 11:29 AM

Well it looks you still get a better germination rate than me! I have been trying various plants on a whim and I only get about 30% germination rate at best. I must be doing something wrong. But I find that Known You brand of lettuce seeds sprout very well.
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#47 User is offline   sthh 

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 12:53 PM

Dwarf tomatoes: 76 days old.
Ready to harvest some fruits. Will probably save seeds from dwarf tomatoes.
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0858_zpsc48e7942.jpg
Another flowering plant, with hydroponic container, less than 35cm tall.
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0861_zpsb9ea8f7c.jpg

Cherry tomatoes: 64 days old
Waiting, lots of flowers, lots of buds from 3 plants. Hopefully I can get a a small punnet from them.
Starting to grow small roma tomatoes from cold storage. Those looks yummy and prettier than these giant supermarts one.
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0856_zps82ace01b.jpg
The plant is now so tall.
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0864_zps75cb7209.jpg

Chilly: 64 days old
Flowering and fruiting. I have to pollinate them daily, lots of flowers and budding fruits. These have to be the easiest chilly I have ever cultivated. No disease or pest whatsoever.
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0855_zps12022094.jpg
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0854_zps39b893fd.jpg


Capsium: 64 days old
Flower buds forming already on all 3 plants.
http://i498.photobucket.com/albums/rr346/trelch/STHH0860_zps1fcdf8d1.jpg

This post has been edited by sthh: 24 September 2014 - 01:18 PM

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#48 User is offline   Jesse 

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 08:40 AM

Like your setup and have been following this thread.

I have been using such method on other plants like peace lily and spider plants but yet to try on vegetables yet. I guess i have been motivated and would love to do something like that. :)/>
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#49 User is offline   sthh 

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 08:47 AM

View PostJesse, on 25 September 2014 - 08:40 AM, said:

Like your setup and have been following this thread.

I have been using such method on other plants like peace lily and spider plants but yet to try on vegetables yet. I guess i have been motivated and would love to do something like that. :)/>/>


I used to have one large peace lily in a huge pot. But vegetables are really rewarding. Chilly, capsicum and tomatoes can be perennial in our climates, so you can harvest them for a long long time. If you bought some cherry tomatoes or chilly from the supermart, just save some seeds (esp those that are grown in Malaysia), put them on a sponge, and soak the sponge with water. They will germinate in no time.
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#50 User is offline   Jesse 

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 09:07 AM

Ya, cause peace lily require low light so easier to place anywhere. Is that room air conditioned? Wonder will it be too dry?
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#51 User is offline   sthh 

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 09:12 AM

View PostJesse, on 25 September 2014 - 09:07 AM, said:

Ya, cause peace lily require low light so easier to place anywhere. Is that room air conditioned? Wonder will it be too dry?


1 one the room get air con at night, but the others don't. It's hydroponic, it will not be too dry.
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#52 User is offline   Jesse 

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 09:24 AM

great, may have to do some movements in my house to setup this. Getting excited on this.

When you cut your nai bai, can it be regrown? Do you intend to flower some of them to get seeds? I was thinking of sustainability or else you will keep buying the seeds.

Any other plants you would like to try? Lettuce, rocket leaves, cabbage?
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#53 User is offline   sthh 

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 09:38 AM

View PostJesse, on 25 September 2014 - 09:24 AM, said:

great, may have to do some movements in my house to setup this. Getting excited on this.

When you cut your nai bai, can it be regrown? Do you intend to flower some of them to get seeds? I was thinking of sustainability or else you will keep buying the seeds.

Any other plants you would like to try? Lettuce, rocket leaves, cabbage?


I didn't regrow my nai bai after I cut them, because I pull them out. Currently growing some nai bai to flower for seeds. Hopefully, they will flower soon. I tried growing butterhead lettuce many times, but the seeds didn't sprout. I think the seeds from "Best" brand which i got from World farm are not viable. Don't really eat much cabbage, rocket leaves, so didn't look for those seeds. Nai bai is still one of my favourite veg to grow and to eat. Don't mind growing Kale, because I read in the ST papers about all it's health benefit, but I can't find any seeds of those.
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#54 User is offline   Jesse 

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 10:13 AM

I jus wonder will the na bai regrow if you still keep the roots?

The seeds at world farm doesnt have high germination rate, not too sure you have heard of known-you which is better.

Kale? is it the same as kailan?
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#55 User is offline   sthh 

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 10:19 AM

View PostJesse, on 25 September 2014 - 10:13 AM, said:

I jus wonder will the na bai regrow if you still keep the roots?

The seeds at world farm doesnt have high germination rate, not too sure you have heard of known-you which is better.

Kale? is it the same as kailan?


Yeah, Kailan is a kind of kale, but I am look at those frilly leaves type.
Do you know any place selling those Known you seeds?
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#56 User is offline   Jesse 

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 10:44 AM

You can refer to the below
http://www.greencult...s-in-singapore/

There is also a nursery beside far east along thomson that sell quite a varieties of their seeds.

Have not really heard of Kale, seem exotics or too little is known about it.

I saw there is stagnant water in your container, any mosquito?
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#57 User is offline   sthh 

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 10:51 AM

View PostJesse, on 25 September 2014 - 10:44 AM, said:

You can refer to the below
http://www.greencult...s-in-singapore/

There is also a nursery beside far east along thomson that sell quite a varieties of their seeds.

Have not really heard of Kale, seem exotics or too little is known about it.

I saw there is stagnant water in your container, any mosquito?

Thanks, might take a trip to far east region soon.
Nah, mosquitoes likes clean water. My water has fertiliser in them, lol. If there are mosquitoes, they will be fed to my fishes.
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#58 User is offline   Jesse 

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 11:05 AM

You also keep fishes?

The net pots you got from world farm, are there any other sizes as well?
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#59 User is offline   sthh 

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 11:28 AM

View PostJesse, on 25 September 2014 - 11:05 AM, said:

You also keep fishes?

The net pots you got from world farm, are there any other sizes as well?

Yes, I have 2 fish tanks. There are quite a few sizes of net pot in world farm, and they fit those chinese new year cookie container very well. But I find that you don't really need large net pot for hydroponics, as most of the roots are in the water, with only some roots archoring the clay balls. Larger net pots is really wasted on them.
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#60 User is offline   Jesse 

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 11:56 AM

I also have a fish tank and i intend to try to plant on it as well.

Ok will check it out at world farm. Got some containers at home, thought of recycling them into pots to do this so a varieties of sizes will help. When you pull your nai bai, a lot of roots stuck at the clay balls?

I also have a fish tank and i intend to try to plant on it as well.

Ok will check it out at world farm. Got some containers at home, thought of recycling them into pots to do this so a varieties of sizes will help. When you pull your nai bai, a lot of roots stuck at the clay balls?
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