Hydroponics and Indoor Gardening - anyone?

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Scarpia

12 Apr 2017, 14:52

Hello good folks of the clicky/clacky persuasion. I was wondering if I am the only Deskthorian with a side interest in hydroponics? If I am, feel free to ignore this or file it over by the washing machine collectors :D

I like to cook and have always thought it would be fantastic to have my own herbs and veggies growing at home. A couple of months ago, I came across the notion of growing hydroponically (without soil), which seems to fit me perfectly as I live in a flat with no garden access. And keeping my little veggie patch indoors (rather than on the balcony) protects it from the cool swedish climate.

So lately I've been tumbling down the rabbithole of web sites and Youtube channels devoted to hydroponics, and I've set up a little window sill experiment with a couple of lettuce varieties:

Image

Imgur gallery

This is just my first experiment and I'm only 2 weeks in, but if it continues to go well I am planning to set up several Kratky or Deep Water Culture 'vases' as well as a Flood & Drain system with grow lights and eventually Arduino instrumentation 8-)

Has anyone here experimented with hydroponics or indoor gardening? I would love to hear about your experiences and maybe share thoughts on grow lights, different systems, DIY components, pumps, nutrients, etc.
Spoiler:
Just to be clear, I am not looking for people growing illegal or 'medicinal' type plants

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HAL

12 Apr 2017, 15:10

If you connect your system to the water tap and something goes wrong then you will create a flood in your house / apartment. Depending on where you grow your dope plants someone will call a plumber to have the the flooding turned off. The plumber will then (have to) call the police since this will of course happen when you are at not home / there.

So always use a water tank that you fill up manually (with a hose) and your dope plants will stay your secret.

Also don't post about it on the internet.

And of course I only know about this stuff from having read about it on the internet. :lol:

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micrex22

12 Apr 2017, 15:19

I was actually looking into it for wasabi (since it's so hard to find real wasabi anywhere and I love the flavour). Horse radish just doesn't taste the same...
http://www.thewasabistore.com/shop/wasabi-plantlet

Ironically a wasabi farm could be quite lucrative if a full-scale operation was set up.

Apparently jalapenos could be grown hydroponically as well (hydroponic jalapenos has a nice ring to it):
http://homeguides.sfgate.com/grow-jalap ... 40311.html

I really like fresh jalapenos and sometimes the grocery store doesn't have them and instead replaces them with serranos; which actually have a kind of flavour I find disgusting.

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Scarpia

12 Apr 2017, 15:20

HAL: Haha, fair enough :)

(Just to be clear, I am serious about only growing food. Never smoked anything in my life.)

As for water supply, I was definitely not going to connect it to the tap, that's just unsafe. I was planning to just have a water reservoir with all the water necessary for the system, and keep it directly below my flood tray (similar to this DIY IKEA ebb&flow system). That way, even if all my water lines and hardware broke, the water would just drain back into the reservoir and stay there, and there'd be no risk of overflow either.

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webwit
Wild Duck

12 Apr 2017, 15:28

Scarpia wrote: (Just to be clear, I am serious about only growing food. Never smoked anything in my life.)
This is good, you should never use your own dope food.

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rsbseb
-Horned Rabbit-

12 Apr 2017, 15:31

I am into gardening and growing things as was as poultry raising. Hydroponics has been on my to do list for several years but I've never actually got all the pieces together and made a go of it. I'd love to follow along with your experiment.

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Scarpia

12 Apr 2017, 15:32

@micrex22: I am considering a jalapeño plant too, although the system(s) I am considering would be a little small for that; the flood tray will be roughly 60 x 35 cm and allow for plants up to maybe 40-50cm in height (should be fine for herbs and leafy greens). And if we do build something big enough to hold a chili plant, I think we'll get more use out of cherry tomatoes or sweet bell peppers, so we'll probably go with those.

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Scarpia

12 Apr 2017, 15:41

webwit wrote:
Scarpia wrote: (Just to be clear, I am serious about only growing food. Never smoked anything in my life.)
This is good, you should never use your own dope food.
Truly it's only a matter of time before someone kicks my door in. I've been researching hydroponics online for a few months now (which invariably leads you down some pretty seedy back alleys of the internet), and last week I flew to Amsterdam for a job interview. Oh, and of course I've been playing around with investing in Bitcoin too. If there is an algorithm out there scraping for criminals then I'm probably raising all kinds of red flags right about now :roll: :roll: :roll:

If they do come by, they can taste my lettuce.

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Scarpia

12 Apr 2017, 15:45

@rsbseb: Oh we'd love to have chickens too, but that'll have to wait until we have a house. I'll definitely post updates on my experiments here :)

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vivalarevolución
formerly prdlm2009

12 Apr 2017, 17:18

Just admit it, you're growing weed.

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Scarpia

12 Apr 2017, 18:22

I know pretty much every teen in the U.S. smokes weed because they can't buy alcohol until they turn 21; but where I grew up we could buy alcohol at 15 and get served in a bar at 18, so there were a lot fewer people who smoked weed, and I wasn't one of them. No, I'm not growing weed.

If I *were* it would be a LOT easier to find useful info online, since 80% of the guides out there are focused on weed growing, from nutrient mixes to lighting. I can't spend $400 on a grow light when the highest value plant I'll be growing is basil; and I don't care about 'maximum flowering' since lettuce doesn't flower; and I won't be putting my plants in a grow tent with no access to natural light since *my* plants don't need to be hidden from view; and no, I won't be using chemical-leaching PVC plastics in my irrigation setup since I'm growing things my family will eat.

So I've had to search far and wide to come up with good options for my use case: Cheap or good-value-for-money parts only; minimal power usage; all components are food grade PP or HDPE/LDPE plastic; decent looking system since it will be placed in the window of our kitchen/family room; etc.

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Mr.Nobody

12 Apr 2017, 23:52

I always want to grow marijuana at home, but I have no knowlege on that at all, I will learn from this thread and grow my hydroponical weeds some day.

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vivalarevolución
formerly prdlm2009

13 Apr 2017, 04:01

Scarpia wrote: I know pretty much every teen in the U.S. smokes weed because they can't buy alcohol until they turn 21; but where I grew up we could buy alcohol at 15 and get served in a bar at 18, so there were a lot fewer people who smoked weed, and I wasn't one of them. No, I'm not growing weed.

If I *were* it would be a LOT easier to find useful info online, since 80% of the guides out there are focused on weed growing, from nutrient mixes to lighting. I can't spend $400 on a grow light when the highest value plant I'll be growing is basil; and I don't care about 'maximum flowering' since lettuce doesn't flower; and I won't be putting my plants in a grow tent with no access to natural light since *my* plants don't need to be hidden from view; and no, I won't be using chemical-leaching PVC plastics in my irrigation setup since I'm growing things my family will eat.

So I've had to search far and wide to come up with good options for my use case: Cheap or good-value-for-money parts only; minimal power usage; all components are food grade PP or HDPE/LDPE plastic; decent looking system since it will be placed in the window of our kitchen/family room; etc.
Just kidding, I know there is all kind of cool stuff you can grow with hydroponics. We'll need when we start colonizing Mars. It's kind of disheartening that you had to search so hard for hydroponics supplies that are intended for something other than growing marijuana. But your setup sounds pretty interesting, actually.

And our weed/alcohol laws are f-ing stupid, they probably create more problems than they solve.

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Scarpia

25 May 2017, 12:28

A quick update now that we've eaten the experiment. This is what those little sprouts had become on May 21st. They were moved from their seed tray into this system on April 10th, so these were harvested after exactly 6 weeks in the Kratky container:
IMG_1596.JPG
IMG_1596.JPG (1.83 MiB) Viewed 992 times
Note: I had to refill the container multiple times because as the lettuces grew, they began drinking a *lot* of nutrient solution. It did take a bit longer than I was expecting (probably due to the windowsill not getting very much sunlight), but I'm calling it a successful experiment.

Next: Go big.
Last edited by Scarpia on 25 May 2017, 21:19, edited 2 times in total.

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Daniel

25 May 2017, 18:06

Nice, this looks promising :) I've just grew some sun flowers in my kitchen and put them outside into the garden a few days ago.
Does the lettuce grown with this method taste differently compared to traditionally produced ones in soil?

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Scarpia

25 May 2017, 20:12

Well, some people say that hydro lettuce is flimsier/'thinner' and so less crunchy and maybe a little less flavorful than soil-grown lettuce, although that may also be affected by the lighting (artificial vs natural).

I haven't done a side by side comparison so I can't say for sure, but the leaves were somewhat thin. Note that they do not feel 'soft', the way lettuce can get when it has sat in the fridge for a few days too long (yuck!), they are just thin and delicate.

Taste-wise I couldn't tell any difference.

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Phenix
-p

25 May 2017, 20:25

If your project goes well, could you do some sort of guide so that others can copy you better?

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Scarpia

25 May 2017, 20:43

Absolutely - the idea is to build a Flood&Drain system using easily-obtained hydroponics hardware and food-grade IKEA containers. That should make it fairly easy to replicate anywhere in the world.

My plan does involve building and staining a wooden frame to hold the lighting rig and as serve as trellis / plant support, and to hold any future temp/light/humidity sensors. That part may be more than some people would care to replicate, but there are plenty of solutions for hanging a lighting fixture overhead, I'm just over-designing it a bit because I want it to look good in our kitchen.

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MrDuul

25 May 2017, 21:26

nice

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