Saturday, August 8, 2009

Tomatoe Plants Still Growing

Tomatoe plants are still growing and starting to get top heavy. Going to have to add some ropes later to keep the whole structure from leaning.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Strawberries Plants Replaced

Strawberries crowns never took, so I pull them out. Just finished replacing them with flowers I got from lowes for 6 cent apiece. The two impatients were put in with the strawberries crowns orginally, that why their so large. I m amazed that they are doing so good, for being shade plants. That are in direct sunlight for 8 hours a day.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Little Giant Pump Installed

When my local hydroponic store and ask them about the little giant. They said it was a little on the expensive side, but one of the most reliable pumps they carry. So I purchase one and installed it today.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Low Water Press With New Pump

After putting in the new pump, I now notice all the 1/4 inch feed lines have barely any water coming out. The old pump only had a output of 210 GPH, where as the new pump has an output 300 GPH. The only other different between the pumps was that the new one could pump to a height of 8 feet and the old one only 3 feet. In my setup, I only need to pump to a height of 2 feet. Any way, I going to put another pump in this coming weekend. Did some checking with other folks. They all recommended getting a the little giant pump.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


During my late evening check, I found the pump on Hydro buckets unit one wasn't running. Lucky me was that Home Depot was still open. Installed a new pump and was back up and running. All the 1/4 inch lines had to be cleaned to get the water flowing smoothly through them again.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Some Current Picture Of The Hydro Buckets

Rhubarb coming along nicely.
Close up of the zucchini forming.

Over all picture of the Hydro Buckets.

The Recovering NFT Tubes

This is now the NFT main system looks as of today. You can see where I removed four plants from. The blue bucket in the center of the photo, houses the air pump to keep it dry from rain. I am really surprize how well the plant have recovered from past heat wave we had.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Plants In Hydro Buckets Doing Good

Tomotoes plants now have green fruit approx. 2 inches in diameter on them. Still using grow formula fertilizer, will be switching over to the bloom formula this weekend.

The zucchini plants doing extremly well in the last past heat wave had. I have the same plants at a community garden plot and they are only about 10 inches tall. Here they are close to being 36 inches tall. Pick the first zucchini last Sunday, along with my the first two cucumbers.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Next Morning Check

The four plants from the day before are still wilted. I removed them this morning to let move air circulate the remaining plants. All other plants are looking OK.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

NFT, Late Evening Check

Cooler air has moved into the area this evening. All but four plants are showing signs of recovering. Will check again in the morning.

NFT, All Plants Showing Signs of Wilting

NFT main system. The heat index is now 95, all plants are starting to show signs of wilting. Looks like if this heat wave keeps up, all the plants will die. Adjusted the pH to 6.0, Hoping this might help the plants accept more water.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Plants Under Stress In NFT Tubes

NFT Tubes main system. Four plants have started to wilt. The heat index is currently at 108. I believe the plants are unable to to take in enough water due to their small root system. The same plants in the the Hydro Buckets are doing just fine in this heat. Not sure if the problem just due to lack of water or if the plants can't get air either. In any case, I added a air pump and air stone to the nutrient tank. Also increase the slope of the tubes to get more fresh water pass the roots. Checks the plants again that night and notice some were recovering from the heat.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Support Structures On Hydro Buckets

Here's a current photo showing some of the the various support structures in place to date.
There is a 3' by 7 ' grid with 2" squares over
the zuccihini and rhubarb, which is in front of me in the photo. Behind me is a a grid of poles making a 2.5' deep by 12' long structure for the tomatoes and cucumber plants.

Latest Photo Of NFT Tubes

Latest photo of the NFT tubes. The plants here are about 3 feet tall. The the hot weather finally here, plants consumed about 8 gallons of nutrient Saturday.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Vertical NFT Moved

Vertical NFT tubes were moved from the side of garage to the sunny side of the house this morning. Hopefully with more sun light, the strawberries plants will start to grow more. Only three plants show any sign of growth so far.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Top Heavy

Upon checking the NFT tubes after work today. I found that one large tomatoe branch had collapse from weight of the rain on its leaves. Good news is the branch didn't break, it just buckle. A couple of tomatoe clips and the branch was back good as new. Also all the tomatoes plants in the Hydro buckets are getting top heavy and leaning to one side. Time to put the support structure up. This will be done this week, weather permitting. Still need to move the vertical NFT tubes to the sunny side of the house.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

New Grow On Strawberry Crown

Spotted some new grow on one of strawberry crowns today. Good sign that they all will all grow this season. With all the over cast and rain the past 2 weeks, I was afraid they might rot. Also based on garage roof over hang above the vertical NFT tubes, there will be be very little sun light reaching it. There fore it's time moved it to the sunny side of house next week .

Thursday, June 11, 2009

New Ph Meter

Purchase my first pH meter today. With all rain the past several weeks, I was sure that the pH level would be running high in nutrient tanks. Normally I don't bother with adjusting the pH level of water. I had borrow a pH tester from a friend last year and found that my tap water ran a pH of 6.0. Good enough for me to use without making adjustments. Upon checking all my tanks, found their pH was running 8.1. Now the trick will be to keep the pH level down around 5.5. Its been raining here ever other day now for the past 2 weeks. I highly recommend that you check the pH level of your nutrient tanks after each heavy rain.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Cantaloup Added

Found a couple cantaloup plants at Jewel to today. Just for fun I added them to one of the spare buckets, on the second set t Hydro buckets.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Strawberries Plants In

Planted 18 strawberries plugs, or the center two tubes. Also threw in in two impatients or fun.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Vertical NFT Tubes Up And Running

Decided to buy a pump from from my local hydroponic store instead of Lowes. Fill up the nutrient tank with water. Connected the new pump to supply line and dropped it into the tank. Fill up all the tubes perlite. Turn the pump on and began looking for leaks. Almost ran the tank dry before any water started returning to the tank. Did not realize how much water the perlite would retain. In this case, about 8 gallons water. Added another 6 gallons of water to the tank. No leaks were found. Will be putting strawberries plants in this Saturday.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Vertical NFT Will Need A New Pump

Connected nutrient tank to the vertical NFT system today. I was going to use the pump I had on the Hydro buckets last year. Ran a simply test on the pump to make sure it was still running OK, but found it only has a pumping head height of 4 feet. I need 7 feet. So starting up of the vertical NFT will have to wait until can buy a new pump. Been using pumps purchased from Lowes. However, this year they switch to a different brand. Which I'm not sure if like the style of yet.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

More Photos

Rhubarb, cucumbers and zucchini

Current Photos of NFT and Hydro Buckets

Here are current photos of both the Hydro Buckets and NFT tubes. Most of the plants have more than double in size.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

First Rhubarb Leaves

First leaves on the rhubarb are visible, just three days after placing the plant crowns in the bucket.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Planted Rhubarb and Cucumber

Place three rhubarb root crowns and four cucumber plants in Hydro Buckets today.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Fired Up The Second Set Of Hydro Buckets.

Turn the pump on my second set of Hydro Buckets today. This one has no water filter on it. This way I can compare the operation of both sets of buckets to each other.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Water Flow In Hydro Buckets Slows Down.

Check the water flow in the first set of hydro buckets thus morning and found the flow had almost stopped. This is the set with the filter on it. Found the filter closed to being fully clogged. This tells me the filter will need to be cleaned out twiced weekly, was hoping to only clean weekly. This explains why last season the drip heads I were using always plugged up in couple of days.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Valves Added To Hydro Buckets

Added two valves to regulate the water flow and to help mix up the plant food with the water.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Fired Up The Pump On The Hydro Buckets

I put a larger pump on the hydro buckets this season. Today I turn the pump on, put have way to much water press at each bucket. Will have to install a valve on the output feed line to regulate it.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Water Filter Mounted

Got the water filter mounted. Also placed pineapple, sausage, brandy wine red and mortage lifter tomatoes plants in the NFT tubes today.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Plumbing Hydro Buckets

Started working on plumbing the pump to the Hydro Buckets. Still have not found a way to mount the water filter that I like yet. Going to stop at Lowes tomorrow and buy some 3/4 inch plastic pipe hangers and give them a try. Did completed running 1/2 inch PVC between the buckets with two 1/4 inch feeds to each bucket. The forecast calls for thunderstorms tomorrow night. So most likely I have to wait til Thursday night to mount the filter.

Leaking End Caps

I been using the cheap end caps that should be glue into place. Which I didn't do, so the caps could be removed for easy cleaning of the tubes. This results in water leaking from the caps once the plants get larger. So this season I replace them with pressure testing caps. When you turn the wing nuts clockwise, a rubber gasket expands making a air tight seal. Turn them counter clockwise, the cap becomes loose and removeable. Lowes sell them for approx. $6.00 each.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Place Plants In The First NFT Tube

Place seven better boy tomatoe plants in NFT tube one today. Hoping to startup the first
channel of Hydro Buckets tomorrow.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Saturday, May 9, 2009

New Pavers Around The Nutrient Tank

To reduce the chance of slipping on wet grass. I replces the grass around the nutrient tank with three new pavers.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

To Wet To Work In Yard

This has been bad week to get any work done in back yard. By the time I get home from work, it either to wet out or there are other prior commitments. Hopefully I can get in the yard this Saturday.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Took down a large branch from my neighbor tree that growing directly over my NFT system. This allow lot more sun light to reach the my plants this year.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Eliminating the grass

Got tried of coping with the grass that was growing under the NFT support structure. So this year a placed brick pavers under the whole structure.

Friday, April 24, 2009

New row coming along.

Second row of hydro buckets is coming along just find. Since I am try my hand at growing watermelon, which is going to require a lot of water. I will need to get a larger nutrient tank for this row.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Vertical strawberry grower

Purchased 30 strawberry plants that will be going into my vertical grow garden next month (May). Started setting up the vertical garden, but still need to get a nutrient tank for it. Also can't decide what to use for as growing medium.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Spring here! First seed planted

Planted my first set seeds for 2009. These will be going into new hydro buckets this season.

Rhubarb, cucumber, eggplant, squash and watermelon...

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Adding More Hydro Buckets

My three test hydro buckets did so well last season, that I am adding more this season. As you see from the two pictures. First I lower the height the buckets by 8 inches or one concrete block. The nutrient tank was sunk into the ground with only 3 inches sticking above ground. Three more buckets were added to orginal three. These six buckets will be for tomatoes plants. Plus I start work on adding a second row of buckets.