Thursday, February 21, 2008


Here it is! I took cuttings of basil, purple basil, cilantro and dill from the aerogarden and planted them into coir. which is the ground up husks of coconuts.. The nutrients I'm using are derived from molasses. I added the stand in order to provide more room under the lights. I can get ~2 feet of clearance under the lights which are compact florescent Ott lights. (Ott designed the lights so pumpkins would grow under them for time lapse photography) I'm continuing to keep it all organic just like the aerogarden.. Herbs are the simplist thing to grow, since you don't want them to flower you can use just one nutrient solution and a constant timer for the lights... The media is flooded for 10 minutes 5 times a day. If the cuttings survive, I'll see how long I can keep harvesting before they bolt and then grow something from seeds... If they don't survive, I'll go right to trying seeds.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Pocket Hydroponics

Ok... I have an Aerogarden, which is about the coolest thing on earth... It's gotten me hooked on hydroponics. The Aerogarden is actually aeroponics, which means that some of the roots are suspended above the waterline and some below, allowing the plants to self regulate their air/water needs. The system I built this morning is known as an "ebb and flow" or "flood and drain" hydroponics. There is a small fountain pump in the bucket which will run for about 5 minutes every half hour and will fill the "planters" with a nutrient mix (shown by the red food coloring) When the pump goes off, the nutrients will drain back into the bucket. The lights on a second timer will run ~16 a day. The planters are 2-liter pop bottles (although the one front left is only a 1 liter bottle) The bottles can be changed out and the system is pretty much infinitely expandable and can be put outdoors without lights. At least, thats the theory. I'll get some planting media and nutrients when I'm downtown this evening. Then I'll get something planted tomorrow!