Progressive Homeschool
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New long term project - frugal hydroponics

Saturday, December 10, 2005
We are working on gathering resources and ideas about how to make a frugal but high productivity hydroponics system.

Once we have the initial system rigged up, we will post photos here.

If any fellow homeschoolers want to be remote partners (hydroponic penpals?) drop us a note and lets have some fun!

This last summer we did on-deck hanging container gardening with some success.

Even tho we have land, every time we have gardened in the ground we have been beset by pests, large (deer, wild rabbits) and small (aphids, slugs, moles, chipmunks). I also hate to weed so it doesnt happen and so the weeds are the usual crop (we have some evil virulent weeds here).

First we started from seed:


tomato 3

We took some cheap hanging pots (98c - walmart), cut out 4 square holes in the bottom, put our home-sprouted tomatoes in, upside down, filled in with souped up potting soil (ripped up some of the diapers that our baby had grown too big for, and used the hydratable gel as an amendment to the soil, knowing that we were going to over seed the pots.), then seeded the top of the pots (somehtng like 10 or so pots) with lettuce, cilantro, pumpkins, pole beans, bush beans, chives, margolds for protection, forgot what else.

We rigged up some trellises on our deck railings to hold up the pots (see pics below)

First crop was lettuce, mighty fine, full success.


lettuce close

upsidedown maters

Tomatoes, beans, well, everything grew (We used some fertilizer and had to water every day, with the watering becoming more crucial as time went on).




bumble bee

Three stages of Life


Some of our fruit are shown below. The cherry tomatoes were the most successful tomato. The plums grew but none really ripened.

Cherry Tomato from our deck-garden

The beans, pumpkins, and squash were such water hogs that they never fruited and reallllly drained the tomato plants.

Lessons learned:
- forget the pumpkins/squash
- forget the beans (my family choses lettuce over beans any day so this is ok)
- put in more of the gel (need to find cheap source of this stuff)
- use more Jobe sticks (are there organic solid sticks?)
- keep planting and replanting successive lettuces.

This truly was a great luttuce growing operation and we so enjoyed lettuce live off the deck, nothing like completely fresh leaves.

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