My First Deep Water Culture
After what seemed like forever to get the seedlings started, I was finally able to get my DWC started last night. Right now I have Chives, Dill, Spinach, Basil, Lettuce, and Tomatoes in the system. I will be making update on the forums as often as I can and will also be making posts to my blog at Robert Brennan - My Hydrofarm
I live in the US, but I can imagine that (good) fresh produce can be that expensive that far north given the short growing seasons. Hydroponics is a great way to go. It's a little investment, especially with lights for growing inside, but well worth it in the long run. Here's an interesting idea, keep track of all the money spent to grow the produce hydroponically, and how much less you spend on that same produce from the store. Then do a month to month evaluation on how much you are saving for an entire year.
Keep in mind that you will become much more efficient at growing them than you were in the beginning (there is always a learning curve). So you will wind up saving even more the second year (even after a few months). Then once you have calculated how much you are saving, do something special with that money, invest it in something, make improvements around the house, put it in the bank and let it grow, take a vacation etc..
It was interesting to read about your pH stabilizing problem, it makes sense though. Did the carbon filter do the trick? I haven't had that problem myself, I always use RO water in my hydro systems. I would also suggest using some kind of filtered water whenever possible. A carbon filter will take a lot of them out, but not as much as a RO system. Don't buy a RO system just for some plants, I'm just saying use the best water you can. There are so many different contaminants in tap water that can affect your nutrient solution. And not just pH, but also the mineral element concentrations (even toxicity), as well as the ability of the plants to absorb the nutrients in the water in the first place. A lot of problems can be traced back to water quality issues.
The nutrient manufactures assume that you are using RO water as a standard when the give directions on mixing them, that's because they cant possibility know what is in each and everyone's water supply. Most large scale hydroponic operations have the water supply tested, and a nutrient formula designed for their specific water quality (as well as plants), but for small scale backyard growers like us it's much easier to just start with filtered water.
P.S. I know what you mean by taking so long to start seedlings (I'm not real patient that way), that's why I usually just risk introducing soil born pathogens into a hydro system, and just buy already started plants. Then just gently wash off the soil before I transplant into the system. But you cant always find the plants you want to grow, and not year round in most places either, so sometimes I don't have much choice but to start seeds.
Home Hydroponic Systems
Thanks for the comments GpsFrontier
I really like you idea about keeping a monthly cost to produce the fresh food. I was joking with my wife about that the other day. I was saying that until the start up costs get absorbed by the production of food then the first few crops are going to be about $75 for a head of lettuce. But I should break even at some point. My pH stabilizing problem did go away after I ran it through the fish tank filter although I did not make that vary clear on my website. But I will in my next post. I have been looking in to an RO system for a few weeks now and do believe that that would be the best way to go. I am not sure that I have the funds just yet to get a system that would support the whole house. however I was thinking that one that installs under the kitchen sink might do the trick.
once again thanks for your comments. I am new at this and every bit of advice helps