Archives - Hydroponics 2003
Hydroponics is essentially growing plants without soil. Instead of the plants having to work hard to derive the nutrients it needs from the soil, you provide the nutrients in exactly the quantities needed, when they're needed, directly to the roots of the plant. Since the plant is getting all the nutrients it needs it grows faster, and produces more than if it was grown in soil.
There are many types of hydroponic systems, some that use a growing medium and some that don't. The growing medium is simply what the plant is growing in. It is an inert material so essentially the plants do not get any of the nutrients from it. There are many types of growing medium that can be used: rockwool, perlite, coconut fiber, sand, gravel, even air can be considered a growing medium. In the systems I am experimenting with I'm using rockwool cubes, hydroton clay pellets, and rockwool blocks.
Tomatoes are growing in a bato bucket system. Each bucket is filled with a growing medium. I was originally planning on using peat moss, but in testing this medium out I found that it just didn't absorb enough water fast enough and also it clogged the drain pipe's screen. Plan B is to use Hydroton clay pellets. This closed system is built for ten plants with a 32 gallon nutrient resevoir. The nutrient solution is pumped out of the resevoir up the black tubing. Drip lines go from the main supply line to each plant. The nutrients will drain thru the medium and any excess is drained from the bucket to the central pvc return pipe to be recirculated. I planted four types of tomatoes: Reif Red Heart (heirloom), Salsa, Big Beef, and New Girl. More tomato pictures.
Lettuce is growing in a float system. Each float bed holds 30 gallons of nutrient solution and is aerated with bubble wands. Floating on the solution are styrofoam panels with twelve 2 1/2 inch holes cut out. Resting in the holes are 3 inch net pots. These pots are filled with rockwool cubes as the growing medium. I'm growing five different types of lettuce: Ruben's Red Romaine, Cosmo Savoy, Tom Thumb, Red Oak Leaf, and Winter Destiny. More lettuce pictures.
Peppers are growing in a NFT (Nutrient Film Technique) channel system constructed of 4" PVC tubing with seven 3 1/2" holes drilled into each channel. The growing medium is rockwool cubes. The nutrient solution is pumped from the resevoir into the far end of the tubes. The tubes are on a slight angle down toward the resevoir so that gravity will cause the nutrient solutin to run down past eac plant and back into the tank to be recirculated. I planted two types of pepers; Romanian (heirloom), and Diamond.
:Latest picutes as of 5/17/2004
Dragonfly Farms * 40 Prescott St., Pepperell, MA 01463 * (978) 433-3906 * email