Lettuce, second season
Last year's lettuce setup was a complete success as far as I'm concerned. I had 26 plants between two 10 foot drain pipes and a 20-something gallon reservoir, and enjoyed a continuous supply of lettuce through the summer. We tried a continuous harvest approach, where we just pulled the outer leaves regularly. This worked but we did end up with all of the plants bolting toward the end of the summer.
So this year I'm expanding a bit, and hope to be able to harvest full heads on a weekly basis. I'm starting a bit later than I wanted, but I should get a few rotations in this season. I'm hoping to start about 25 per week through the summer.
The reservoir was going to be far too small for what I wanted to do, so I put two 55 gallon barrels about half-way into the ground to serve as reservoirs. My thought was that this should help keep the nutrients cool, and since I need to drain back into the barrels, burying them lowers the water height. I've also put in a short shed that covers the top half of the barrels, and provides a dry enclosure for the air pump and nutrient storage.
I'm hoping that next weekend I can get the 10-12 tubes in place and the piping set up. I just seeded the first 25 Rapid Rooter plugs today (using fresh seeds, since last week's year-old seeds never grew).
Looking forward to a green and healthy summer!
Lettuce hydro shed
Inside the lettuce hydro shed
Looks good Kerbouchard,
But I have to ask, what are you going to do with 25 heads of lettuce each week. That's one big family if your going through more than 3 heads of lettuce a day. I'm looking forward to seeing the pictures of the setup!!
Home Hydroponic Systems
This might be considered a test of sorts to see if I can handle larger production, and to see how much more work it will take. I'm hoping neighbors might be willing to spend a buck a head, and have family outside our household of six who I'll keep supplied. If I end up having to give it away, that's fine too - I'm just plain enjoying this! I also have a friend growing other veggies this year, so we may trade a bit. His idea was to see about getting a group together that could do some vegetable exchanges on a regular basis.
I may try switching to rock wool, since I think those cubes are way cheaper than RapidRooters, but I need to look around on that. Nutrients may be the killer - even on sale they seem spendy.
Somehow I ended up with far too many projects running. That, coupled with poor design and planning, resulting in an outrageous number of trips to the hardware store over four weeks.
Anyway, I finally got one entire section in. That's five tubes with 14 holes each. It's not as pretty as I wanted, but it's functional. It also gives me room to expand to 10-14 tubes next season without too much effort, since I have the second 55 gallon reservoir in place already.
I'll post pics soon. I have 25 moderately mature plants in now, and plan to rotate 12-14 new starts per week into the system. I'm curious to see how starts will do with full-strength nutrients - I hope that doesn't burn them. I may just hold off on putting them in until they're larger.