Saturday, January 29, 2011

Video Update January 29th 2011 of Ebb and Flow and DWC systems

Here is the latest on the ebb and flow system and an update on the deep water culture DWC with the newest crop of lettuce.

I decided to create this video to serve as a closeout of the ebb and flow lettuce and basil grow and the transition into the DWC.  I wanted to capture the physical attributes as the lettuce has far outlived expectations for both amount harvested and strength of the crop. As the video shows, the lettuce was still going strong and may have survived several more weeks.  The basil presented a head-scracher as I hate to destroy such a fine plant, but I can neither transplant it nor keep it in the system by itself due to the need for cleaning.

The update for the DWC includes a look at the extensive root system being developed.  I believe I have another week or so before we can begin harvesting, so the transition of systems is a bit off.  I'm pretty happy with the timing as I really had no yardstick to measure at this point.

I have uploaded this along with all the other videos to YOU TUBE under the channel "Misterhalfwaythere1".   Feel free to subscribe or leave a comment as I will respond there as well. 

The next video will be on germination and the different methods I have tried and continue to use as well as some thoughts on the big springtime "starts" germination process.  Can't wait!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Deep Water Culture Update

Here is the photo taken today, January 24th 2011.  These plants are now 30 days from germination and 14 days in the DWC system.  The roots are growing very well and the plants are quite strong.  These are all Simpson Elite.

I will capture some video for the journal showing the DWC system in operation as well as the final day for lettuce in the ebb and flow system.  It has been a heckuva run for the ebb and flow!!!!

Uploaded with

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Simpson Elite

We have really enjoyed the Simpson Elite lettuce grown in the ebb and flow. It has spoiled us with a constant supply and the flavor and texture has been exceptional. The lettuce in the ebb and flow is now at 84 days since germination and is still producing heavily on 60 day-old nutrient solution.

Simpson Elite is an improved variety of Black Seeded Simpson, which is a really fast, reliable heirloom from the 1800′s. It is said to be "extremely slow bolting".  Harvest is listed at 45-53 days, but we began trimming the large outer leaves within a couple weeks and have continued to this day.

From Territorial Seeds, "Simpson Elite produces attractive neon green, loose heads with broad, crumpled, curled edged leaves. The flavor is delicate and almost never bitter, even later in the season."

"Probably the best leaf lettuce on the market. Flavor is delicate with almost no bitterness even in latter stages of harvest." says Vessey's.  We would agree.

Although I have several new varieties of lettuce / mesclun mix on order, I believe we will keep at least a couple Simpson Elite going at all times for reliability.  The next round is in the DWC and coming along nicely. I am anticipating the first harvest in about 2 weeks.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Rockwool "Starts" Into Deep Water Culture System

The lettuce "starts" have finally shown their first "true" leaves prompting up-potting into the Deep Water Culture (DWC) system.

(above) DWC system in operation.

(above)  Rockwool cube with "start" in 3" net pot. 

(above)  Net pot filled with silica stone.

(above)  DWC with all plants in place (6 Simpson Elite lettuce)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Rockwool Cubes in Hydroponics

Wikipedia on the manufacture of Rockwool.......

"Stone wool is a furnace product of molten rock at a temperature of about 1600 °C, through which a stream of air or steam is blown. More advanced production techniques are based on spinning molten rock on high speed spinning wheels somewhat like the process used to prepare cotton candy. The final product is a mass of fine, intertwined fibres with a typical diameter of 6 to 10 micrometers. Mineral wool may contain a binder, often food grade starch, and an oil to reduce dusting."

On Hydroponic usage, Wikipedia goes on to say.....

"Mineral wool products can hold large quantities of water and air that aids root growth and nutrient uptake in hydroponics; their fibrous nature also provides a good mechanical structure to hold the plant stable. The high natural pH of mineral wool makes them initially unsuitable to plant growth and requires "conditioning" to produce a wool with an appropriate, stable pH."

I currently have 6 lettuce, 2 cilantro, 2 spearmint, and 1 rosemary spreading their little first leaves in rockwool cubes awaiting up-potting to the DWC.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

1500 Page Views!

Wow!  1500 pageviews. 

I hope this has been as informative and fun reading as it has been creating and writing it.

I believe Hydroponics is a very productive skill set once learned.  Wherever life takes us, we can effectively produce quality vegetables at greater efficiency and speed for minimal time.