Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Price of Delay

Back on April 8th I posted a picture of the original 1 inch rockwool cubes that I seeded with about four different kinds of tomato plants.  SEE HERE Well a small problem developed.  We decided to move and bought a house about 40 miles North and that made it difficult to decide how to proceed with the Summer 2012 Hydroponics adventure.  The short term solution was procrastinate but keep the plants going with nutrient.  So there they are as of today ... a dense clump of tomato plants, the smallest "jungle" I've created to date.  They are healthy but now thoroughly intertwined so that if I separate them I'll destroy a lot of developed roots.

The bottom line is that we bought a house and are very busy transferring stuff from this one to that one and this clump is living on our back screen porch just outside the door on a railing overlooking the backyard.  It's pretty cool but it is now absorbing about half a gallon of nutrient a day and will likely increase and I'm not quite sure what to do with it.  You get attached to your plants and don't like sacrificing them.  So I'm currently trying to figure out what to do with a mini-jungle of about twenty-four tomato plants all growing in less than one square foot of 1 inch rockwool cubes mounted in a shallow plastic container.  Stay tuned!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Lights and Reflectors

Grow lights are a great way to grow indoors. I've not done a lot of it although I have a couple of security lights which can double as grow lights. When I first did some of this I was amazed to discover how little light fluorescent lights put out. They have to be just a few inches from the plants and then they only provide enough light for deep shade. High pressure sodium (HPS) puts out a lot more light and so does metal halide (MH). I've fooled around with both a little, mostly to start seeds before it is warm enough to put the plants in the back yard. Nate Lipton from sent me a link to a piece on reflectors. For the technically inclined this is great fun. For others it might just be important to know that if you're using an expensive high-powered light you really don't want it going all over the place, just on your plants. So the efficiency of reflectors is important. Check out their site for other stuff if you're so inclined.