Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Algae :-(

Bad news: I have gotten algae in my DWC system.

Good news: Beans, Chinese Kale and the Chilli are growing rapidly. The plants are now taking over my kitchen window. No fruit yet though.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Time to start building a Windowfarm

So just a quick explanation of what a windowfarm actually is. A windowfarm is a vertical, indoor garden that allows for year-round growing in almost any window. It lets plants use natural window light, the climate control of your living space, and organic “liquid soil.”

In the hydroponic system, nutrient-spiked water is pumped up from a reservoir at the base of the system and trickles down from pot to pot, bathing the roots along the way. Water and nutrients that are not absorbed collect in the reservoir and will be pumped through again at the next interval.

The nutrient water is pumped up by using an air pump. The air and the water will mix and the air bubbles will then lift the water in a hose up to the top pot.


My Windowfarm design
My Windowfarm design

I made a little sketch of the design I'm going to try. Hopefully it will work. The air pump will be set to run in 15 minute cycles.

Monday, June 10, 2013

DWC babies have grown up!

It has been almost three weeks now since the last post. I have only let the system run in peace, two weeks ago I added another 25 ml each of Gold Label A and B. My beans are showing some spots on the leaves which I think is a sign of too little nutrients. I realized I will not be able to guesstimate the amount of nutrients needed all the time so I ordered myself an EC meter from eBay. The EC meter is called HM Digital COM-80 and I got it for $40 and another $12 for shipping.

HM Digital COM-80 EC meter
HM Digital COM-80 EC meter

This meter can measure the electrical conductivity (EC), total dissolved solids (TDS) and the water temperature. It can measure EC in ┬ÁS and mS, TDS in ppm and ppt. Fancy. I hope I don't have to care about all of this. I found a chart of different desired ppm levels for different plants so this is the only measurement I care about at the moment.

Measuring the ppm of the nutrient water
Measuring the ppm of the nutrient water


Monday, May 20, 2013

Deep Water Culture progress after one week


DWC system one week ago
DWC system one week ago
I started the Deep Water Culture hydroponic system one week ago. This is how it looked back then. I quickly realized that the beans needed some kind of support since it likes to climb on things. Did some rearranging and built a ladder.

DWC system today
DWC system today
Beans reaching for the ceiling
Beans reaching for the ceiling

Not sure what the beans are looking for at the ceiling. I'm guessing I will soon find out.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Deep Water Culture up and running

It's time to get the DWC system up and running! It has been long overdue considering my beans have been ready to go into the DWC system for over a week. However, I waited until my other seedlings were ready to go.

Pluggbox after almost two weeks since last picture
After almost two weeks since last picture

Much have happened in this box in two weeks. Two weeks ago I made this post.
Sadly the Buttercrunch lettuce did not sprout but everything else did.

No soil is going into the DWC system so the soil was carefully washed away from each plant. The plants were then "planted" into a net cup together with clay pellets which will hold the plant in place. In hindsight it might have been easier/better to try to grow the seedlings in rockwool instead of soil.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Seedlings

Most of my seedlings are growing (hopefully) inside this little box. It is a "Nelson Pluggbox" with room for 49 plants.

Nelson pluggbox
My little greenhouse

The box is like a mini greenhouse. Once the plants have grown the middle tray is pushed down to the bottom container which will "pop up" the plants.

Plants leaning towards the sunlight

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Deep Water Culture

I'm starting with a Deep Water Culture (DWC) system since it's fairly simple to get started with, I think. DWC is a hydroponic method of plant production by means of suspending the plant roots in a solution of nutrient-rich, oxygenated water.

My DWC system will consist of:
  • Bucket (food grade)
  • Air curtain
  • Air pump
  • Silicone air hose
  • Net pots
  • Clay pellets
  • Nutrients
  • Check valve
Unfortunately the only food grade bucket I could find was transparent. This is not good for a hydroponic system since it will not block off sunlight from the water and nutrients solution. This will cause algae to start growing inside the bucket. To avoid this I will also use spray paint to paint the outside of the bucket and the lid.

Parts for my DWC system
Parts for my DWC system