Wednesday, June 1, 2016

My Hydroponics Experiment

Several months ago, I started researching hydroponic gardening. My yard is not conducive to having a big garden. It’s very shady and the only way I’ve been able to grow vegetables is in pots placed in sunny locations (like my driveway)!
Hydroponic towers can be a good way to grow a lot of vegetables in a small amount of space and I thought it would be a fun experiment to try. Hydroponics is growing plants without any dirt. In a tower system, a pump sends water to the top of the tower, where it streams over the plants’ roots that are hanging into the tower.
I bought this hydroponic tower on eBay and started my seedlings indoors in early March. In mid-March, I planted a few purchased plants and some of the seedling in the tower. Because night temperatures were still dipping into the 30’s and 40’s at night, I put an aquarium heater into the reservoir. This is what my “garden” looked like in March.
This is my tower garden now. My deck is much too shady to expect a prolific harvest, but I have picked some lettuce, broccoli, and a few green beans. I have some tiny cucumbers and tomatoes growing. My zucchini plant is blossoming, but I’m still waiting for the fruit. The strawberries haven’t done as well. They started fruiting, but the leaves are all turning brown and the berries shriveled up. I think I’ll have to replace those plants.
I wanted to include some spinach plants, but couldn’t get any seeds to germinate. I’ll try to purchase some plants in the fall, since the weather is getting too warm now for spinach to be happy.
It has been fun trying to grow a garden beyond a few tomatoes in pots and by next year, I think I will have discovered which plants will flourish in a hydroponic tower and shade and which will not.
Sitting on my deck and listening to the fountain bubble has been an added bonus!

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