My first time...

Hello all! Oh I cannot tell you guys how happy I was to come acrossed this forum! This is the first forum I have ever joined so please excuse me if my forum etiquette isn't quite up to par. I am not sure where to place particular subjects, etc. Anyway, allow me to introduce myself- my name is Alyssa and I am in my mid twenties. It is very hard to find peers in Phoenix, AZ that are as interested in hydroponics/aeroponics as I am. I am hoping to feed the craving for talking to like minded people on this wonderful forum! Let me tell you a little of what I have set up in my 3rd bedroom.....

I have a 3 foot x 3 foot x 6 foot tall grow tent set up in there.  In it currently are 2 heirloom roma tomato plants (I do not have the specific cultivar name off hand), 1 heirloom beefsteak tomato, 2 heirloom Califonia wonder bell peppers, and 1 heirloom jalapeno plant (again with the cultivar- sorry!). Those six plants are all sharing a homemade aeroponic unit- which includes a submersible pump (264 GPH- a very low pressure output, which is not TRUE aeroponics but close enough) and a 6 inch air stone inside of a light proofed rubbermaid tub (18 gallon- but I only need to use 5 gallons of purified drinkning water with my nutes in there). Atop this lovely contraption sits the lid which I hole sawed 6 plant sites into. The plants themselves were started from seeds- I'll be honest I did not record the starting date of them- ROOKIE MISTAKE! Sustaining these plants is a 250 (actual) watt CFL grow light- 6500K for vegetative growth, a 90 watt UFO LED light (I do NOT recommend!!!) and eight 27 watt daylight spectrum CFLs. It is very bright but my plants seem to love it!

I am currently out of town or I would post many pictures of the set up. I will as soon as I get back early next week. I do happen to have some pics that were taken a couple weeks ago that I will post right now...

So happy I found this forum!!!!!!!!!!! Looking forward to receiving advice from knowledgeable growers :)98

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Ginger
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Hm. I take it back. On blogs

Hm. I take it back. On blogs at least, one should hit the reply button on the last comment on the list. Need to fix that... We usually use the Book feature instead of Blog feature for growlogs. Sometimes the forums...

Beefsteak is indeterminate - means it keeps growing and setting fruit and ripening along the way. Though some indeterminates seem to set waves of tomatoes (set a bunch, ripen a bunch, set a new bunch, ripen new bunch...) Romas are determinate, which supposedly means they grow to a certain size, set one batch of tomatoes, ripen them all about the same time, and they're done. I've never grown a true determinate, though, so I'm not sure how literally to take this. Probably varies by tomato variety.

Never prune a determinate tomato. They don't grow extra branches if you prune some off. Or at least that's the theory.

I think all peppers are indeterminate. Not sure, though.

You might want to separate the plants into two containers roughly by height, before they get too big to separate. With all the candlepower you've got going, maybe letting the beefsteak curl around on the floor would be best. Maybe 2 vines instead of just 1. But I haven't grown beefsteaks, either.

Moderator. Author of Indoor SaladEcigs 102, and the Calm Act climate apocalyptic series.

GreenThumbGirl (not verified)
Thanks for all the answered

Thanks for all the answered questions and additional advice! I will definitely use it. My itch for seeing my plants was too bad... I had someone send me a pic of them and they look AWESOME! Can't wait to post pics. I just can't believe how fast tomatoes grow! I think it's about time for me to figure out what to do with my indeterminate beefsteak. Do you recommend pruning to a vine and growing vertically? That may be my best option- as the two romas next to it will need all the room they can get over time. Also, since I've never done this before, I am wondering if the tomatoes and peppers will die after they've set fruit (being their way of reproducing) or will they continue to set fruit multiple times?

I don't blame you for not wanting to look back after you forgot to babysit your mung beans! I have forgotten about some store bought organic sprouts beofre in the fridge.... that was gross as well :)

I do have a pH meter I bought right before I left and silly me... I didn't even check the solution. That will be one of the first things I do! So if tomatoes like pH about 6.5, does that coincide with peppers (bell and jalapeno)? I sure hope so because they are sharing a mutual environment. :)

Ginger
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Sure. 1) Any Reply button

Sure.

1) Any Reply button will do. But generally, use the one attached to the post you're replying to. Some conversations are "threaded" in other forums. Though I've tried to stomp that out of this site because it displays badly.

2) Jessi's our lady of sprouts. I sprouted mung beans in a jar of water as a kid, but forgot about them - yuck. Haven't overcome the trauma yet. Maybe Beth does sprouts sometimes, too.

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Ginger
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All sounds very familiar,

All sounds very familiar, GreenThumbGirl - especially checking on the baby plants several times a day.

I wouldn't worry too much about the lettuce seedlings. Unlike the tomatoes and peppers, new lettuce seedlings are a snap to grow. Romaines will be harvest size in hydroponics, only 4 weeks from seed (cut & come again leaf harvesting - heads take longer). Peppers are always slower than tomatoes - all sounds about right.

I'm not sure about the yellow spots on the roma leaves. But diluting nutes is always a good move in case of doubt. Do you also have a pH testing mechanism? I've found that hydroponic tomatoes have a real knack for acidifying their water - the pH sinks over time. And they like a relatively high pH in the first place - maybe 6.5.

Hope you're home soon to check on them all! (If you're new to forums - try to avoid saying you're not home or if so, how long you'll be away from home. Like, whenever you mention you're away, I'm sure you'll be home again imminently. )

I'd love to hear about the business concept! Online or by email. I was kinda trying to put one together, but it's stalled.

Moderator. Author of Indoor SaladEcigs 102, and the Calm Act climate apocalyptic series.

GreenThumbGirl (not verified)
Two things I forgot to

Two things I forgot to mention in my previous reply. I am hoping you can help me out, Gisette :)

1.) When I would like to post a reply to a blog/book page etc... do I click on the reply button OR the post a reply button at the bottom? Or are they the same? *sorry- I've never been a member of a forum before so I am learning my forum manners as we go :) thanks for being patient with my guys!

 

2.) I have seeds I would like to sprout: sunflower, mung, and a 3 part salad mix (alfalfa, broc, and radish). I have never sprouted before! What kind of containers do I use? Do they need any growing medium? What is a good temperature for them? Light intensity? I am a sprouting virgin! : p  Any comments are appreciated!!

GreenThumbGirl (not verified)
Hello Gisette! Thanks for the

Hello Gisette! Thanks for the reply! Yes, this is my first attempt at growing anything, not to mention growing indoors by "recreating" nature to the best of my ability :) I got into this because I had a very interesting business idea pop into my mind that involved hydro/aeroponics, which led to teaching myself how it all works and learning all about growing plants as well. I will definitely take your lighting experiences into consideration as soon as I am home again. I am worried about my plants right now, more or less because I am used to checking on them MANY times a day. I will often just sit in my garden room and look at them. Should I be embarassed to admit that I talk to them as well?! My beloved dog, Ryleigh, seems to have taken a liking to my green babies as well, as he will sit right next to me in there and pop his head into the tent to see them too :)

I forgot to mention last night that I have 8 root starter cubes that have Jericho and Winter Density Romaine lettuce varieties seedlings in them right now. My plan for maturing those is to try a deep water culture unit. I have 2 daisy buckets with 4 pre-cut holes each that will hold the romaine babies in 3 inch net pots with hydroton when they are big enough. I am hoping that the root cubes will not dry out while I am gone, resulting in the death of my lettuce babies :( They are in a very humid enclosure in the tent and I am praying the high humidity will prevent the water in the cubes from drying.

Right before I left to Austin, TX I changed the aeroponic reservoir water/nutes solution. I am currently using General Hydroponics 3 part nute line- grow, bloom and micro. I have had great luck with it in the short time my plants have experienced it. I started the root cubes (tomatoes, bell peppers, and jalapenos) in the aeroponic unit when the seedlings were big enough to be put in the net pots with the neoprene neck supporting them (tomatoes were in there about a week before both pepper varieties) and I started the nute solution off as "general application" (I followed the back of the bottle's instructions) which was 5mL of each (grow, bloom, micro) per gallon. The plants seemed very happy! You have to change the reservoir every 1-2 weeks with hydro/aero, so it came time to change my res after about 2 weeks of the plants being in there. I decided to bump up the nutes to the "vegetative growth" amounts which equaled 15mL grow, 5mL bloom, 10mL micro per gallon. A day or so later I started noticing little yellow spots showing up on my tomato's leaves (more so on the roma's vs the beefsteak)... I concluded that maybe this was too much of a dramatic change for them vs more of a gradual transition with upping the nutes. The morning I was leaving I added one more gallon of water to dilute it a bit. And that is the last I've seen- so I am dying to get back home to make sure they are ok. I figure if anything horrible has happened I will just  start over (try, try again). I am determined to learn how to grow my own different produce varieties so that I can try and get away from the mess of a food system we have created.

I can't wait for Peat to come back! Again, I appreciate the reply Gisette! I look forward to chatting more :)

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Welcome, GreenThumbGirl!!!

Welcome, GreenThumbGirl!!! Oh, it's a shame you came on board while Peat's away - he'd be in pig heaven to talk to you!

Wow, that's bright! I'll bet those plants love it!

From what I've seen from other growers, jalapeños will do OK with much less light. An Aerogarden Deluxe has about 3 27-W bulbs and can grow 3 jalapeños (one of Beth's grows.) But my attempts to grow tomatoes and bigger peppers under a collection of 27-watters didn't work so well when it came ripening time. And my LEDs - well, they weren't 90W UFOs, but they performed so dismally I wasn't tempted to try any more LEDs. Peppers... did OK with an AG Deluxe with small ones, not with bigger-fruited varieties. My attempts with AG-level lighting on full-size tomatoes have all been dismal failures.

So is this your first venture into hydroponics/aeroponics? What led you to build this deluxe grow room?

Oh, so cool to have you aboard! I look forward to more pictures!

Moderator. Author of Indoor SaladEcigs 102, and the Calm Act climate apocalyptic series.