Thursday, August 2, 2012

Journal August 2, 2012

A batch of Waldmann's dark green lettuce was planted today in one of the tents using a six band flower series LED.  

As seen in the photo, I have added a grid and screen to the bottom of the ebb and flow tub to prevent the roots from remaining in water.  I expect this to be a big improvement in the ebb and flow system.

For nutrients I used the following:
5 gallons of water
3 tablespoons of Walmart's Expert Gardener plant food.  (any commercial water soluble will do)
1 1/2 tablespoons of Epsom Salt.

As the pH was only 4.9 I added 2 teaspoons of baking soda, which raised the pH to a respectable 6.1.

When completed, the nutrients had an EC of 3.9, with the pH  at 6.1, which is high for lettuce, however, it will work.  I will adjust the amounts slightly when I refill the system in two weeks. 

The point is; that you don't have to buy expensive nutrients, or supplies, from hydroponic dealers. For example, the solution to adjust pH from General Hydroponics costs about a dollar an ounce, while baking soda, which works just as well, is dirt cheap.  The same holds true if you need to lower the pH.  Don't rush off to the hydroponic dealer, trundle on down to the grocery store and get a quart of white vinegar.  Your plants will never know the difference.

The author of one of my greenhouse growing books denigrates hydroponic gardening because he claims it requires expensive equipment and ties you to a hydroponic dealer.  Additionally, he thinks that the claimed results and advantages are mostly hype.  In my opinion, he obviously did not delve too deeply into the subject of hydroponic gardening.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

August 1, 2012 journal

As the replacement tomato plants develop their second truss I have begun to remove the growing tips.  So far I have removed the tips of two plants, however, there are at least nine set buds on each plant.  

My intention is to force the plant's sugar production into developing fruit, not vegetation.  As the season winds down, and daylight hours fade, it is simply not practical to let the plants develop further.

Today I planted eight replacement cucumber seedlings, even though I did not feel they were quite ready for planting in the autopots.  Again, time is of the essence if I want to have a crop before the season ends.  

I lost almost an entire month of growing, as the plants I placed in the greenhouse on July 7, 2012 had to be destroyed.  The reason being, that in an effort to prevent powdery mildew, I sprayed the plants with a mixture that I found on the web that was supposed to prevent mildew from forming.

Although the garlic and water mixture was doing OK in controlling mildew, I thought I would try another natural preventive preparation.  The formula called for baking soda, cooking oil and dish washing detergent.  The mixture was prepared according to the directions given and applied to the plants, and, to my horror, the next morning every area sprayed with the mixture had turned white and was desiccated.

For the new crop I plan on using Bordeaux solution to control mildew, even though it is sort of messy.  The constant high temperatures and humidity this growing season are very conducive to the spread of powdery mildew.  In fact, this has been the most difficult year that I have had since I started the greenhouse, That said, I also learned more this year than any previous year.

 So, I guess there is a silver lining after all.