Through my internship at my local farm i've learned quite a bit about hydroponics. I've recently taken that knowledge into my basement where I've designed and setup a few test systems. These are hydro systems which I feel might be more user-friendly.
- Cold Frame
- This system can be built by a 6 year-old. It consists of a styrofoam board with plastic pots resting in it. the styrofoam floats on a reservoir of water so that the the roots of the plants dangle in the water. The water never needs to be changed, only nutrients added. (If you want, system can be circulated with a pump.)
- Pros - inexpensive, simple construction (can be made during aftertime using wood as substitute for styrofoam), low maintenance, very forgiving, does not require a pump, requires very little water.
- Cons - seeds need a medium to grow in (rockwool/oasis cubes/etc. - difficult after the pole shift).
- Plants - anything that needs lots of water. lettuce and basil thrive in these systems. I'd imagine watercress would do well (high vitamins). I've got a bunch of seeds and I''m going to try everything I have in each system. I'll let you know what does well.
- ToDo's - develop medium that will exist during the aftertime as a replacement for rockwool cubes, experiment floating styrofoam/wood on top of fish tanks.
- Ebb & Flow
- Plants each have their own pot and are grown in a medium other than soil (usually perlite, vermiculite, and peat 1:1:1). Pots (with holes in the bottom) rest in a reservoir that is flooded 2-3 times/day. The medium retains enough water to keep the plants healthy. Flooding can be done by a pump on a timer, or a flood/drain bucket that's raised and lowered by hand. (Can also be done without pots and all plants in same medium.)
- Pros - inexpensive, simple construction, little water, no pump needed.
- Cons - if not using a timer skipping a few waterings can damage plants plants - just about anything.
- ToDos - develop medium that will exist during aftertime (possibly sand, however, sand might retain too much water and suffocate the plants, need something to mix with it for proper aeration).
Much work still needs to be done to get these solutions to the point where they can be completely
constructed during the aftertime. We're eventually going to run out of rockwool, tubing, pvc pipe, etc.
Offered by Gabe.