Larger Scale Organic System

by Doug Adell
(Wilkesboro, NC)

We are currently leaning toward a raft system, similar to your deep water culture system, with a focus on baby greens. The tank that we are considering will be 12' x 84' long x 8" deep in a greenhouse setting. The greens will be propagated in a soilless mixture in small cups (with holes for root penetration) under grow lights, then transferred to the rafts, where they will be spaced 4" apart. The greens will then be harvested 10 days later. What nutrient and nutrient level would you recommend?

Answer: Doug- plants such as lettuce, herbs, and spinach will all do very well in the same hydroponic system. They also all produce edible parts during the vegetative stage, which means there is no need to ever give them any bloom fertilizer or expose them to a 12-12 light cycle. These plants should do well on a 50% strength vegetative formula, which (usually) is highest in Nitrogen. This will come out to about 700 ppm on most TDS meters.

Most hydroponic nutrients cover all the bases, nutritionally, pretty well....just be sure to use the veg formula of whatever nutrient you decide to go with. Some choices when it comes to organic hydroponic fertilizers are:

Canna Bio- a one part fertilizer, and also the correct pH straight out of the bottle (making it a VERY easy fertilizer to use and manage). Also, it is made using NO animal products.

Pure Blend Pro- Check out my post here for a complete recipe.

Some additional organic options would be General Hydroponics General Organics, Earth Juice (which requires a lot of pH adjustment), or Roots Organics. Simply follow the recipe for mixing up a veg formula for any one of these, than make sure you dilute it to the appropriate strength and check/adjust the pH. For more detailed information on maintaining the nutrients in your reservoir, check out my how to grow hydro page.

One final thought before I let you go. If you are growing several different varieties using the same nutrient solution, one of those varieties is bound to be slightly more sensitive to over-fertilization than the others. Make sure to inspect the leaves of EACH variety EVERY DAY, keeping an eye out for the first signs of a problem (such as leaf tip burn). If you notice any, you will want to consider your recent nutrient strength the "upper limit", and it may be a good idea to dial back the strength just a tiny bit to keep everyone happy. I hope this helps you out Doug....I would love an update when things get a little further along!

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AffordableGarden Design&Setup

(10 week update below)

Find out the cheapest and easiest ways to garden productively in this article.

Hi everyone, Jason from Jason's Indoor Guide here. When I got started with hydroponic gardening more than 24 years ago, my first garden used rockwool cubes and B.C. Nutrients....and I remember thinking to myself yeah, sure, there may be a lot of advantages to gardening with hydroponics, for example there are very few pest problems, therefore very little pest control, no weeding, no plowing or tilling the soil, no soil testing or having to add things into the garden soil, no watering the garden....but for someone who just wants to grow their own vegetables and have more control over their food supply and the quality of the food that they eat, the cost of constantly having to buy grow media and hydroponic nutrients makes this an expensive hobby for most people...

Epic Nutrient Change

I suppose when you take into consideration how much money you save NOT having to buy food at the grocery store, it is surely cheaper to grow your own food hydroponically even with the cost of high quality nutrients. Nevertheless, I didn't have a whole lot of money to work with and I needed to make my efforts as affordable and effective as possible....and in the last 24 years I HAVE learned a thing or two!

As you browse through Jason's Indoor Guide, you will notice all of the systems that I use personally are homemade systems. As I got 3 or 4 years of experience under my belt, I quickly adopted a preference to standing water systems and systems that use expanded clay pellets or lava rock, because the media is re-usable and it eliminates a huge operating expense. So once a hydroponic system is built, garden maintenance is minimal- check and adjust the nutrient solution daily, and to change it completely every 2 weeks....and the biggest operating cost is the hydroponic nutrients. (and the electric bill, lol)...

Homemade Cloner

And, regarding the cost of the nutrients....I experimented for about 3 years with making different compost teas and nutrient teas, but there is still a lot of expense $$$ associated with making high quality nutrient kelp meal, liquid seaweed, rock dust, bat guano, un-Sulfured molasses, worm castings. You can eliminate a lot of this expense by becoming an expert at making high-quality colloidal humus compost, and use your properly made compost as the basis of your hydroponic nutrient solution.

Unfortunately, I have been gardening for over 24 years and I have only just recently mastered this difficult skill....and even then, only because I happened to find a very easy to follow, high quality technique and decided to follow the instructions to the letter. I produced more high quality compost in just one week than I was able to use in a whole year! If you can master the technique, I highly recommend it. It is one of the top 3 things you can do to increase the productivity of your food production efforts, while at the same time decreasing the amount of effort required to grow all of your own food, and decreasing the total cost of operating your food production system.

And when I say decrease operating costs, I mean decrease them to almost ZERO, especially if you are producing your own nutrients...

High Efficiency

The ultimate solution to eliminate the cost of your hydroponic nutrients: Imagine a hydroponic system that does not require you to buy any nutrients, does not require you to make your own compost, and does not require you to brew your own nutrient tea. Seriously! No cost and no effort as far as providing nutrients to your plants! Plus, at the end of the gardening cycle you harvest all of your garden vegetables, PLUS YOU HARVEST FISH from the system--->


Click Here to learn more!

This solution is aquaponics. If you are serious about producing all of your own food and being self-sufficient, this is the ultimate solution for reducing expenses (as much as possible), reducing the total amount of work required, and maximizing the productivity of your gardening efforts. I have been gardening for over 24 years, and it is the perfect food production solution in my opinion.

Produce garnden vegetables AND fish together. Eliminate fertilizer costs!

Besides mastering how to make high quality compost, learning aquaponics is one of the top 3 things you can do to increase your garden productivity, reduce your total costs, and reduce your total work. The product that I learned from is called Aquaponics4you. With all of my hydroponic gardening experience, the first time I came across the Aquaponics4you product I knew immediately that it was something very special! Place an aquaponics system outdoors and use the sun instead of grow lights, and you have reduced every garden expense to nearly ZERO!

The Same System/ 10 Weeks Later!

If you've found this site helpful at all, I would really appreciate it