Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Journal August 28, 2013 - Aeroponic Basil

Shopping, grocery shopping in particular, is my least favorite activity.  On one of the few occasions I accompanied my wife to the market I saw a display of hydroponic basil.  A single small plant, still in a horticube with roots showing, was being sold for $3.99.  

The basil was grown in a greenhouse about a half hour's drive from our location;  so I made note of the grower's name intending to call him to see if a visit was possible.  When I called a few days later, I explained that I was also interested in hydroponic growing, had a small greenhouse, and asked if it would be possible to see his greenhouse sometime.  The response was they allow no one to see their operation; kind of like it was Area 51 or something.  Let's face it, growing hydroponic basil is really not rocket science, basil is among the easiest crops to grow hydroponically.

The crop above is Burpee's Plenty, which is being grown aerponically.  This variety is one of my favorites, as it has large leaves and does not tend to flower too quickly.  

Being somewhat of a fanatic about water remaining in the bottom of the tub after the flood cycle, I made two more modifications to the tubs, in addition to the grate on the floor of the tub. As the roots could grow through the grate and reach the small amount of liquid in the bottom of the tub, I added a 1/4" drain tube directly on the bottom of the tub. The drain, being so small, does not interfere with flooding, as the pump has capacity flood the tub regardless of the small opening.  Additionally, I installed weed barrier cloth on the bottom of each tub to further prevent the roots from reaching any standing liquid.

As the summer winds down, I am working less and less with the greenhouse,  gearing up for indoor growing.  To that end, I have started seeds for Giant Marconi peppers and Trust tomatoes to be grown in tents during the winter.  For this upcoming project I will be using a new plant support system, that I think will be ideal for indoor growers.

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