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Old 30-01-2003, 11:30 PM
Bill Shoemaker
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Default hydroponics

I never used a pump, but after measuring PH and fooling around with
various approaches I'd recommend you try the following, just for
starters, to see how you like it. This is how I now have several hot
plants and herbs growing indoors. The peppers haven't produced
anything, but they look healthy, and I will put them in the ground
when it warms up,

This is about as cheap as it gets. I went to WalMart and bought a bag
of perlite, a few small to medium "self watering planters" and a small
box of their store brand "Miracle Gro" type plant food for tomatoes.

I rinsed off the perlite, filled the planters, and drained off all the
water. Then I planted the seeds, and mixed about a teaspoon of plant
food to a gallon of water. I'd keep the planter filled from the
bottom with solution. Once every week (to keep it from getting too
alkaline), I'd pour out the solution, water the plant from the top
with fresh water, drain it, then fill it with solution (from the
bottom) . I have some nice bushy plants growing this way.

The really important thing is sunlight, sunlight, sunlight. I don't
get much in the winter, so all I can do is get plants started or keep
former outdoor plants going over the winter.

I imagine if you wanted to go for the expense (and attract the
attention of the DEA) and get some proper indoor lights like the sites
advocate, that'd work. I read an article on one site by a guy who has
all the lights and the stuff "you're supposed to have" who grows
vegetables indoors all year round. The system above is nothing
special, but there's next to no investment to it, so you can try it
before you go for the "good stuff."

On Tue, 14 Jan 2003 19:56:41 GMT, "Mahasamatman"

www.hydroponicsonline.com is an excellent resource,
though the site suffers from a preoccupation with soilless
culture of, ah, medicinal herbs. If you can put up with
that, there is a lot of good information, and unlike the
commercial sites they give you some ideas for growing
on the cheap.

Most of the cultural tips are equally applicable to tomatoes,
peppers, and other flowering & fruiting vegetables. Cultural
requirements for lettuce and fresh herbs are considerably
different from their, ah, plant of choice. I believe that lettuce
is one of the best choices for home hydroponics as it matures
quickly, is easy to grow, and because you can get better
quality than anything in the stores.

Think cheap! Don't buy the fancy reserviours, pumps,
and flood tables for $100s of dollars.

I built a setup using a couple under-the-bed storage trays
from Walmart for flood tables, and a big rubbermaid storage
tote for a reseviour. I used an aquarium power head for a
pump and got some tubing and fittings at the hardware store
to put it all together.

pH control and control of the total dissolved salts is important,
as is the power and spectrum of the light source. So get good
instruments for pH and salts and a good light. Economize
everywhere else.

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