Saturday, June 4, 2011

Hydroponic beet greens

A small batch of beet greens, which were growing in an ebb and flow system, under a 90 watt red/blue LED, were harvested today. This is the first time I have grown beet greens using an LED, and the LED light seems to have made the colors much more intense than when grown using fluorescent lighting.

I had simply intended to drain and refill the nutrients, however, my wife said that she thought that the plants were getting too large, and that they would be tough if I let them grow further. Naturally, I yielded to her opinion and terminated the grow sooner than I had planned.

The plants were just short of sixty days since I started the seeds, and I intended to let them grow another two weeks. I was, though, beginning to be concerned about a slight curl at the tips of the leaves. Though I don't grow beets greens often, I did not recall the leaf tips being curled, and I know it sure was not caused by wilting.

I suspect the curl was due to the TDS being too high, and hopefully this post will remind me to adjust the TDS downward the next time I plant beet greens. The TDS used for this batch was 1560, which was well within the suggested range of 1260 - 3500. Some of the suggested ranges are published by hydroponic suppliers, and I have found over the years that they tend to recommend higher concentrations than necessary. I will use a more moderate approach on the next batch and adjust the TDS range to 900 -1100 and see what happens.

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