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Sloping Gardens

I’ve been using my Farm Plus gardens for a while now, and have noticed that plants on the left side of each garden seem to grow better than on the right side.  I already had a digital level, and I measured that the left side of the garden slopes down by an angle of about one degree.

Aphid Problem

My AG pepper plants that I was growing in the Sprout LEDs are really infested with aphids!  I didn’t know what they were at first, they don’t move and I didn’t expect aphids to be yellow based on the AG FAQ.  There’s no leaf damage.  I’ve noticed some on my poblano pepper and green pepper plants in the Farm Plus and on some Burpee pepper plants that just sprouted in the Bounty Elite.  I wiped off what I could and plan to spray with an alcohol/water/dishwashing liquid mixture per the Internet.

Tomatoes and Drain & Refill

I’ve had 2 gardens in my 2 Farm Pluses growing tomato plants for about 5 weeks.  Based on Ginger’s advice I’ve started changing the water in them every week, beginning a week ago.  I check EC and pH every day, and you can see that the water chemistry is going bad after about a week in that the pH starts dropping.

Garden Progress

I attached some pictures of my Farm Plus and Sprout LED gardens.  On the lower Farm Plus the lettuce garden on the left has bounced back from my pump problem, and the tomato/pepper garden on the right is producing its first tomato flowers, 25 days after planting. The upper Farm Plus is about a week behind the lower one.  I’ve been harvesting lettuce on the right, and the tomato plants on the left are growing nicely.  Between the two lettuce gardens I’m getting more than enough lettuce for a large salad for lunch every day.

Pump Problem

I tried to drain and refill the water from the left side lettuce garden on my Farm Plus and found that the pump wasn’t working.  On the Farm Plus, the pump is used to drain the basin.  I lifted up the deck on the garden and found that the roots were growing around the pump intake.  I cleared them from the intake and the pump started up.  I don’t know if the roots were plugging the intake or actually getting into the pump rotor.

Good Book

Ginger, I picked up a copy of your book “Indoor Salad”.  It’s a very good book, well written and full of useful information.  Based on its recommendations, I’ve lowered the target EC for my lettuce gardens to 1.7, I’d previously been aiming at 2.0.  I also changed the target pH from 6.0 to 6.5 for the lettuce.  The book is available in paperback for $15 on Amazon, and less if you have a Kindle.  Well worth it!

Wally R

Update on the Farm Plus

The attached photo shows the status of my Farm Plus.  As you can see, I added a second Farm Plus with the stacking kit.  The upper garden is fastened to the wall, as recommended to prevent tipping.  Everything has worked perfectly on both Farm Pluses.

The lower unit shows 17 days of growth.  I’ve already harvested my first side salad from the greens on the left.   On the right the tomatoes and the sweet peppers are doing nicely, but the poblano peppers haven’t sprouted yet.  Also, I slipped in a Burpee bushsteak tomato pod on the left, it hasn’t sprouted yet.  

A Fan for the Farm Plus

I’ve been measuring the air temperature under the LED lights on my Farm Plus.  What I found is that the temperature goes up to 86 to 88 F during the day with the lights on, going down to the mid 70s at night with the lights off.  The plants are in the early vegetative stage and the lights are in their lowest position, about 6 inches above the deck.  From what I’ve read, a temperature of 77 F is more appropriate, and 88 F is way too high.  

The Case for pH Down

I’ve been using AG nutrient for several months and have been measuring EC and pH.  What I’ve found is that is that if your EC is below 2.0, your pH is probably above 7.0.  This is shown in the attached graph, which is a composite of data from the Bounty Elite, Sprout LED, and Farm Plus.  The results should be relatively independent of the type of AG used since it is dependent on the water chemistry and not how much water is in the AG.  Peat’s Guide recommends pH values between 5.8 and 6.3 for AGs.  Based on these results I’ve started using pH Down to try to maintain a pH of 6.0.

The Education of an Indoor Gardener

I started with a Bounty Elite early in December 2017, to grow fresh herbs in my kitchen.  I live in a high rise condo with a northern exposure and there’s no other way to grow food.  I’ve expanded to a second Bounty Elite and 3 Sprout LEDs for more herbs and hot peppers.  The herbs are doing fine, the peppers are just getting started.

"Coffee Hydro"

We have two Bounties and a Sprout. Here's how we are extending our growing without adding more Aerogarden units. This also allows us to grow larger plants like rosemary and holy basil (tulsi) in the pictures. We do this in several way. The picture of two used coffee containers shows one way. We drill a hole in the lid so the pod fits. We also drilled a hole for a 1/4" air hose and add an air stone attached to an air pump. For now we sit them close to the Aerogarden unit. We have found that the lights can be used to extend the growing area around the Aerogarden.

My Aerogarden Bounty LED WIFI

I purchased a new Aerogarden Bounty LED WIFI for my wife for Christmas. We setup the Bounty and started it up. It came with the gourmet herb garden. We had 8 plants sprout and one Basel did not sprout. Aerogarden customer service is fantastic. I called Emelia and she sent us a new Basel seed pod. It's growing great. 

Tomatos

It has been a while. I have learned a lot about hydroponic tomatos in the passing days. The tomatos I grew in the aerogardens were bland, no taste. Only had one that had any flavor and I wasn't about to tie up an ag for another one. 

I bought an ebb and flow system and decided to try toms again. 

I started with a Prince Edward black tomato (it was a sample included in a seed shipment for various lettuces). I found out:

a) I was using nutrients at too high a level

b) not the best tack to use an indeterminate variety of tom 

Major Changes for the lettuce gardens

For the moment, I have only three systems in operation: an 'old' aerogarden from last year growing herbs, one ag that I am using as a seed starter: absolutely the best seed starter so far (mainly because I'm now using an ebb and flow system). The aerogarden allows a good long root system to develop. When they are moved to the ebb and flow buckets, the roots are already long enough to reach the flood line which is a few inches below the top of the bucket and under the clay pebbles (Hydroton).

All lettuce online

All three lettuce gardens are online: all are deep water culture, save maybe for the lettuce in the GH Rainforest. I have an AG one still going but it looks totally stunted. I did not get much out of it, the weather is getting warm, sticky, and I don't think they like it. I don't think the dwc plants will last long either. However, I am going to try and swap tubs out, start one as another ends. 

I am currently working on growing strawberries in an AG ecogrower, drip system. I am collecting materials, the plants should be here in a couple of weeks. 

Bad blogger

I think I am as unorganized, disorganized in keeping track of my plantings as I am in everything else. Of course, the result is that I have some lettuce plants that do not do as well in  hydroponic settings. However, they still taste good while they last. Keep in mind, typing this hurts... literally due to an old injury. However, I keep it up as I refuse to let it deter me. 

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