Sunday, March 15, 2009

Strawberries one week later

One week of TLC can make a big difference in the growth of a plant. This is the Seascape strawberry from last week's post after spending a week under the lights in the ebb and flow system. The plants remaining in the garden are still dormant, although the soil is no longer frozen.

This plant is not a runner, but a year old full grown plant, so vigorous growth should not be surprising . My only objective is to force some early strawberries, and I do not plan on growing this plant for the entire season in the greenhouse. Most likely I will transfer it to a strawberry pot in soil at some point.

My modified AeroGarden project was not doing well at all using the closed cell foam or regular sponge in the pods. After rethinking this project I have decided that duplicating what AeroGarden does is not the solution. The seeds or nutrients are not a problem, however, the sponge they use in the pods is most likely proprietary. They had a PhD develop the nutrients, lighting and media, and apparently it was not an easy project.

The problem with closed cell foam, is that it is exactly that, closed, it does not breath. I don't know if the regular sponge breathes, but it retains much too much liquid, and drowns the seeds.

My next approach is to use rockwool cut to sit higher in the pods so that it drains easily. Additionally, I will use the exact timing sequence that I am using in the ebb and flow systems; fifteen minutes of nutrients every four hours. Basically, I will be using the same process that I have been using successfully for years.

Once again the system has been replanted and placed under the low wattage LED grow lamp. I am relatively confident in this approach, but again, time will tell...

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