Monday, February 22, 2010

Home grown lettuce, for sure!

This afternoon while having lunch my wife commented that home grown lettuce was so much better than supermarket lettuce. The thought occurred to me that you can not get more home grown than what I grow in the basement!

The photo shows this week's harvest from one of my modified aeroponic systems that was grown using the 90 watt LED. The system only holds six 4" net pots, however, it produces enough lettuce to just about fill a five gallon container. The crop included several varieties with mixed textures and colors, and prior to bagging the lettuce we mixed them together. Even with several of my systems not operating we have more greens than we can possibly use, so we will be sharing our harvest with my son and his family.

Today I finally decided to try the nutrients that I purchased at the greenhouse supply company last summer. The challenge was to determine the ratios to fit my requirements. The instructions read: "For Professional Use Only", and they would be fine if I were mixing an ocean of nutrients.

After weighing two pounds each of the nutrients and calcium nitrate I made a concentrate of each in one gallon jugs. To a full five gallon bucket of water I added my standard dilution of epsom salt, 1.5 oz. each of the concentrates, and crossed my fingers.

I was hoping to achieve a TDS reading between 750 and 800, and the reading was 800, with a pH of 6.5. Perfect!!

Anyone who is into hydroponic growing should really investigate dry nutrients, unless cost is not important to them. Consider that only a tiny fraction of the weight of the premixed nutrients is the nutrients themselves, and you are paying to ship all that water from the supplier to the dealer. That is almost a dumb as buying bottled water.

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