04-12-2012, 11:24 AM
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Join Date: May 2011
| | Record Heat = Record Annoyances
I run a small hydroponics company in central IL - selling produce at a farmer's market and custom-manufactured systems in local shops. While the latter is unaffected by the weather, my growing operation has been bewildered with setbacks due to the record heat and seemingly-random frosts/freezes.
Originally I started my lettuce and spinach seedlings in a flood and drain (FAD) bed, then transplanted them outside into FAD tubes in my greenhouse. Normally I can get a good couple months of growth before the leaves turn bitter, but the heat this year has already derailed my plans to sell salad mixes at the market.
Attached is a picture of a small FAD tube system I use for experiments. I decided to use it this year to root grapevine cuttings (farthest tube on the right), testing the efficacy of this method against others such as DWC and aeroponics
. The heat has necessitated much playing around with my cycle timer to make sure the rockwool cubes (for the lettuce) and tiny vine roots don't dry out too much between floods - currently it's set on only one hour between floods! Typically at this time of year it is set to come on every three to four hours...
So my question for my fellow outdoor hydro growers is this: have you also been challenged by the heat more than usual this year?