Sunday, April 8, 2012

April Musings ... Rockwool Cubes and All That

Well here we are on Easter Sunday, April 8th, 2012.  Around April 3rd I finally got off my duff and planted some seeds in rockwool cubes.  First I soaked the rockwool cubes in water for a day pouring off one charge of water and adding another.  This is good practice to make sure the pH of the rockwool cubes isn't too high.

Then I seeded them with three kinds of seeds: Abe Lincolns, Better Boy hybrids, and Best Boy hybrids, eight each for a total of 24 rockwool cubes in a matrix 4x6.  Here's what they look like now. (see below)

They are currently in a plastic container which I cover and sit near a Southern exposure window since I'm too lazy to keep track of what nights it is going to be cold.  I made up a gallon of weak nutrient, about one-sixth standard growing strength (a teaspoon of concentrate of the blue and the white instead of an ounce) and here's a picture of the nutrient and the container when it is closed.

Then I was walking around my hydroponics design stores (Home Depot and Lowes) and was looking for a "greenhouse".  Of course nothing is as it seems.  A "greenhouse" is something that can be used as a baby greenhouse.  There are lots of clear plastic containers that seem to fit the bill and then I saw a cute thing, an inexpensive radio thermometer which will radio in your outside temperature to display inside.  Wow, I thought.  That's a neat way to create a baby greenhouse and monitor.  So here's a picture of the sensor.  (I already have one on my screen porch so I thought if I put the baby greenhouse out there and the extra temperature monitor then I'll be able to see the difference between the temperature in the screenroom and the temperature in the baby green house on the screen porch.  So here's picture of the sensor (about $25)
And this is the baby greenhouse.  Right now the sensor it out on the screen porch inside the baby greenhouse while the plants are in the house still.  I'll wait until they get a little bigger before putting them out. Here's the greenhouse.  It's just one of those clear plastic containers which you can put outside upside down.  We'll soon see how this works.
Since my camera has a macro capability here is a close up of the two tomato plants best expressing their baby leaves.  So far things are going well.  I'll keep you abreast of the adventure of the baby green house.


Jeff Nietch said...

It looks like you used a larger brick to plant your seed matrix. Do you cut them up into individual blocks after they grow big enough? Just curious how you transfer them out...Thanks!

Ray Schneider said...

Yes ... I'm a bit sloppy however. Currently these guys are still in the matrix and they have grown large and unruly.

The problem is that we're moving so I don't feel like I can put a system in the backyard since we'll be selling the house. So I'm thinking of taking them and potting them.

Usually what I do is wait until they are moderately robust and then divide up the sheet (they are one inch cubes) and just put them in the channels if I'm doing NFT (Nutrient Film Technique) or I put them in small plastic cups with wicks if they are in float systems.

Secret Jardin said...

It seems like you really love what you are doing. The tips that you shared are very interesting that they will surely inspire many to start their own gardening systems too.

Ray Schneider said...

Well I wish I had time to do more of it but since I'm retiring at the end of June I should be able to spend some more time thinking up new systems to try.

I really enjoy the combination of growing and learning about hydroponics. Once you get the hang of it is is so easy compared to digging in the dirt that you wonder why everyone isn't doing it. Dirt still has some advantages especially for some crops.