Sunday, June 14, 2009

Getting on with getting on ...

These little tomato plants have been doing a yeoman job of growing and now are threatening to get everything intertwined, leaves, roots, everything. So it's time to do something. I have these little netpots and I put them in dixie cups and separated a bunch of the plants ... so far seventeen and I carefully marked each dixie cup with where it came from in the matrix so I can identify what kind of tomato plant it is.
Just to keep busy I made a gallon of blue and a gallon of white nutrient concentrate. I do that by measuring a pound of the blue mix and dissolving it in a gallon of water. Then I measured a pound of the white mix and dissolved that in a gallon of water. To make a working solution I take a gallon of water and add an ounce of each of the blue and white mix (I don't mix them together at the concentrate level because that would cause precipitation of some of the nutrients). My working solution is then at a CF of about 24-26 which is full strength for tomatoes, although you can run them hotter than that up to maybe 32. Some people like to do that.
The other thing I did was change the batteries in my old reliable conductivity meter. It's about ten or eleven years old and this is only the third set of batteries. It's an early model Dip Stick (TM) made in New Zealand and when I bought it, it was marketed by American Agriculture of Portland, Oregon. I love it. It is auto on/off, doesn't require calibration and is temperature compensated. It is an all around great conductivity meter.
I'm still not sure how I'm going to deploy these plants when they get a little bigger. I was wandering around Lowes today looking at their plastic stuff and I just have not seen any containers that I really like. I've seen some I could press into service with a little work, but I'm really lazy when it comes to making systems. When you have to drill too many holes it starts feeling too much like work. I got into hydroponics to avoid work. I'll let you know when I figure it out.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Germination Map

OK here's the cells that germinated marked in green. You can find the legend on May 21st. The surprising thing to me is how many of the 2005 seeds germinated and in general how well the Dona seeds did compared to the others. The Peppers were really disappointing, but then they were both either old seeds or harvested from commercial peppers and I don't know if I can expect those to germinate or not.

Monday, June 1, 2009

At Ten Days the babies are making progress

Well here we are ten days in and most of the tomatoes have started growing. The pepper seeds don't appear to have gotten the idea. Even the old tomato seeds have germinated which is encouraging.
The tin has been "watered" with 1/4 strength nutrient. Today I upped the added nutrient strength to 1/2 strength. The container is sitting on a shaded side deck inside a screened room so it hasn't been exposed to direct sunlight.
I still haven't really started putting the systems together. Just lazy I guess. I did do an inventory in the shed to see what I had. I have quite a few fairly shallow containers which I can lean up and use as the basic systems. Still planning to do passive systems. Should be fun.