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Friday, October 16, 2009

Hydroponic Gardening - Indoors and Year Around

I have been asked by several of my friends to post pictures of my hydroponic garden, so here they are. On the right as you scroll down you will see a series of pictures of my garden as it is today. These plants are 4 weeks old! From being planted in the growing medium to now they have grown like crazy. I give a big shout out of thanks to my friend Big John Lipscomb at http://www.survivalistseeds.com/ for selling the very best seeds I've ever grown-bar none! I have gardened outdoors most of my adult life and have never come across seeds that grow so quickly, produce so well or taste so good. While on our little excursion in the woods this summer I figured I'd try out Big Johns "patriot garden" trick and see how well they would grow when just planted in the ground around the forest. I tried cucumbers, beans and some greens for my "survival garden" trial and they all grew wonderfully. By the time we were ready to pack up and come back to "reality" (and living in a house again), they had produced several wonderful meals and plenty of "grazing" was done on those plants too. Raw veggies just taste soooo good it's hard to not pick them.

The pictures of the collards, swiss chard and lettuce don't show that I have been grazing on them and picking the outer leaves. If I had a phone that took better pictures you could see how green they are too. I also have beans of various varieties growing in pots that hang by a bay window which are also 4 weeks old and as you can tell by the pictures they grow just as well in a pot by the window as my hydroponic plants do.

I chose a hydroponic set up because 1) you can grow more of a variety in a small space or by one window than you can with pots around the house. At least in our house good windows with plenty of light are few. They all seem to be on the wrong side of the house or blocked by trees! My hydroponic setup is in a south facing window which works perfect. I also have a grow light on the ceiling that I switch on when the days are cloudy. 2) some plants just need plenty of water and a consistent supply is better for their growth. Tomatoes like deep watering and a steady supply. So do cucumbers. Hydroponic lettuce is a breeze and once you get a routine of throwing a few new seeds in the soil every week or so, you get a fairly steady supply. 3) I live where we have hard and cold winters, but we love the fresh produce. These days fresh greens and veggies are so ridiculously expensive and most likely Genetically Modified and/or sprayed with all sorts of toxic crud! 4) It's the easiest and dare I say laziest way of gardening I've ever done. All you have to do is make sure you have water and a little fertilizer in the bucket that fills the plant reservoirs, put in some good seed, set up a schedule for rotating your planting so you have a continuous supply of ripe veggies and then sit back and enjoy the crop! I still do garden outdoors in the summer but it's more for quantity of food to store as opposed to a constant supply for the dinner table. 5) Life is busy and it is all too easy to forget to water the plants. With this system growing most of the food, I only have to remember a few pots that hang in the window. And my final reason for choosing a hydroponic setup was because of all the news about "them" banning, taxing or prohibiting backyard and/or organic gardens. I figured if it comes to that and we haven't bugged out to the hills, at least we'll still have good food on our table.

I checked out a lot of hydroponic setups on the Internet and my favorite was Future Garden, link here:
http://www.futuregarden.com/hydroponics/systems_smartgardens.html. I liked that it was simple to maintain with it's SmartValve watering system. That means it automatically and without electricity keeps the water level constant. It was compact which was great since I'd be using it in a window and it was expandable.

And there ya go. I'll periodically update the pictures for you as they grow. Keep on preppin!


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Jake said...

Thank You for the post. I love to read interesting post that has knowledge to impart. These kinds of post are very helpful to me to increase my knowledge on different facts about life and other matters. I hope to read more articles from you and in return I will post also my articles in the forum so that others can benefit from it. Keep up the good work!

Organic Food

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