Adventures in hydroponics (Week 1)

Day 1 (June 15, 2014)
Berkeley has an awesome hydroponics store! Turns out, getting started with hydroponics is really easy. Buying and planting everything took Eric and me just a few hours. See the end for a build of materials and a comparison with soil!

Day1-SeedsOn the menu are: arugula, basil, California poppy (I guess I won’t eat these..), (chinese) garlic chives, parsley, soy bean, and watercress!

Day1-My own little farm45 little plots for my own little farm. 🙂 These modular “grow blocks” are a synthetic material from molten rock in which the plants take root.

Day1-Chive seedlingI had pre-germinated the garlic chives, so they get a head start of a week or two (hard to see, but you can see one sprout if you zoom in!).

Day 5 – June 19, 2014
Day5-ChivesGrow, chives, grow!

Day 7 – June 21, 2014
Day7-ArugulaBaby arugula.

Day7-SoyBaby soy!

Day7-So many seedlingsSooo many babies.

Appendix I: Cost analysis
(Rough) build of materials
$2 – “Nursery” tray for the plants
$8 – Concentrated plant nutrients (Botanicare CNS17, 1qt)
$7 – pH test kit
$10 – Growing media (45 stonewool blocks, Grodan mini Gro Blocks, $0.21ea)
$14 – Misc seeds
$?? – A lemon
$41 – Total

As compared with growing with soil, from a quick home depot search:
$8 – Potting mix (soil + fertilizer)
$21 – Plaster planter boxes (24in, 3x)
$14 – Misc seeds
$43 – Total

Both are spec’ed for about 6 months of growing for 7 types of plants (45 individual plants via hydroponics, probably fewer than that for soil due to space) and with no consideration for permanent planters or automation. So the material costs can be comparable at the early stages at least. However, hydroponics should save significantly on the water bill.

Appendix II: Possible next steps
Water automation (irrigation) with Grodan Gro Blocks via timer pump + reservoir [src]

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