Considering this is my first hydroponic grow, I think it is doing incredibly well. It has been an interesting 8 weeks, from planting seed to having 5 incredibly happy plants and, well, 1 very unhappy ‘read: dead’ pak choi. 🙂 The leaves are strong & crisp and the roots are clean and matted. I think the two unhappy plants have been over shadowed by the front plants and are battling for sunlight to be honest.
So what have I been doing?
It all started with carefully creating holes in the rockwool cubes and placing 2 seeds into each hole, one on either side pushed into the side wall of the hole. Left to germinate and grow for about 3 weeks simply with the base of the rockwool sitting in my home made hydroponic solution (post coming soon). This tray was left fully exposed to the sunlight whilst the seedlings were young and eventually algae began to grow on the base of the cubes. I had expected this, as one should when you have a nutrient rich environment in a warm sunny windowsill. This algae growth told me it was time to get the seedlings out of the tray and into the polystyrene box that I had prepared for the net pots. The box is just a lobster crate found at my local plastic warehouse, into which I drilled 50mm holes out of the lid. It’s volume is roughly 16 liters and so my hydroponic solution had to be scaled to this volume of water.
It has literally been a matter of stepping back, waiting and watching the seedlings grow from strength to strength. They are in my courtyard fully exposed to the madness of the Cape Town wind, and receive about 4-6 hrs of morning sunlight a day. The plants spend their afternoons in full shade with small amounts of reflected light bouncing off the walls and paving.
Initially the seedlings were beginning to appear very weedy, long stems with small leaves. I was unsure what to do, so sat tight and interestingly the plants pulled through as the leaves have now doubled and in some area’s tripled in size.
Well, not 100% sure to be honest. I would love to begin moving my grows indoors into a greenhouse of sorts. I have the restriction of living in a very small apartment and cannot bring them indoor and am not 100% sure my landlord would be happy with me building a greenhouse. I may also be off traveling again next year and so all my hydroponic activities may well be shelved for a while.
I guess the next challenge would be to scale up, try a few different plantings… I am very tempted to grow tomatoes in a dutch bucket style but that sort of growth requires electricity to power the watering systems. That is actually a major reason I chose the Krakty method, because it is entirely off grid. No power requirements what so ever. I may grow spinach, but right now I think its about time I start checking the water level in the tank as we have had quite a few hot days recently.
Keep checking in, will update again soon 🙂