What should appear in my mail box today but not one but two seed catalogs. Totally Tomatoes and the Vermont Bean Seed Company. Seeing seed catalogs is motivational. Both of these catalogs are great. Since I'm mostly a tomato guy with a nod in the direction of cucumbers and peppers, the Totally Tomatoes catalog is usually the one I turn to first. The Vermont Bean catalog has a lot of other fascinating stuff though, so you might want to check it out.
I ran out of nutrient the last time I fielded a full system which was the Summer of 2007, we went on vacation instead and I injured my shoulder. The injury and resulting surgery pretty much kept me out of commission in 2008 so I did some image processing research on the shroud of Turin instead and gave a couple of papers at the Columbus Shroud Conference.
Now I'm getting geared up for Summer 2009 the year of the passive systems. The contemplation of a new system reminded me that I needed to order nutrient so I called TotalGro (SDT Industries) in Winnsboro, LA (1-800-433-3055) and ordered a 50 pound sack of their 8-5-16 Hydroponics Special/Steiner Formula. I've grown just about everything with that stuff. It's a two part powdered nutrient. I mix it up as a two part concentrate and then add it to my nutrient tank as required to maintain whatever nutrient concentration I'm using for the plants in question. The 50 pound sack is the minimum order and that generally will hold me from five to 8 years depending on how large my systems are. But even with shipping and handling it is less expensive than many hydroponics nutrients sold in liquid form in relatively small quanities.