Friday, April 24, 2015

Journal April 24, 2015 - Comparison, soil vs hydroponics

I thought I would do a short comparison to illustrate the difference between conventional soil growing and hydroponics.

The two photos are of red salad bowl lettuce, started the same day, both comparison photos were taken on the same day also.

The above is a very nice plant, which was grown in soil in the greenhouse.

The lower photo is the hydroponically grown plants.  Although there are more plants in the hydroponic unit, it is obvious that the plants are much more dense with intense color.  That said, the color difference is most likely due to the fact that the hydroponic unit is under an LED grow light.

There is a misconception that hydroponic growing ties you to a hydroponics dealer, paying high prices for nutrients.  To an extent that is true, if you intend to purchase nutrients through a hydroponics dealer.  My experience has been that dealers recommend much higher levels of nutrients, more frequent changes, and many many more expensive supplements than actually required, if at all; after all the dealer's objective is to sell you merchandise and make a profit.

In my case, several years ago I purchased professional hydroponic nutrients from a greenhouse supplier for about seventy dollars.  They included 25 pounds of nutrients and 50 pounds of calcium nitrate, both of which I am still using.  

The 25 pounds of nutrients, when mixed, will yield more than ten thousand gallons of usable nutrients.  Consider that I only used one ounce of diluted nutrients and calcium nitrate per week growing the lettuce, which makes the nutrient cost insignificant.



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