Hydroponics

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by HandsomeRyan, Dec 29, 2009.

  1. HandsomeRyan

    HandsomeRyan ♥'s Bicycles

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    After receiving several compliments on some of the bike stuff I've built, I thought I'd share some of my creations from another hobby of mine, horticulture. To be more specific, hydroponics and soil-less gardening systems.

    I got started building hydroponics when I was 15 and since I couldn't drive I had to get my parents to take me to the hardware store to buy pipe, fittings, and other materials from which the hydroponics were made. In high school I brought in some of my setups and taught the biology, ecology, and plant science classes about what I do. In college I studied ornamental horticulture and even offered lectures to the Hort 101 classes about hydroponics.

    Overall hydroponics aren't as complicated as you might think, the trick is to determine what soil is providing the plant (air, water, nutrients, and support) and devise a way to provide those things without the soil. This means no dirty fingernails, no weeds, greatly reduced pest/disease problems, more efficient use of water and nutrients, etc)

    Without further adieu I present- Hydroponics! (references to marijuana to follow I'm sure)

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    This was built in a college dorm room with a pair of scissors and a lighter as the only tools.

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    Another college dorm room creation for growing salad greens in pea gravel.

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    A window sill unit that grew micro tomatoes.

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    Baby basil plants growing in a horticultural grade rockwool media

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    Hydroponic indoor air purifier using Airplane plants. (These plants are incredibly efficient at reducing indoor air pollutants.)

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    Hot peppers in trashcans.

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    Chocolate mint.

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    An entire hydroponic herb garden using the common '2 liter bottle' type system.
     
  2. Industry_Hack

    Industry_Hack Total noob (& forum admin) Admin Staff Tavern Member

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    I've seen some setups in Australia...

    Seriously, I need to grow some veggies indoors. I have the room. Tell me more about the plants that clean the air.
     

  3. HandsomeRyan

    HandsomeRyan ♥'s Bicycles

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    Commonly refered to as "airplane plants" or "spider plants", Chlorophytum comosum is a common houseplant because it is tolerant of lower light levels and it is relatively accepting of over or under watering as well. I won't bore you with the specifics but it has been shown in studies to reduce certain airborne chemicals significantly faster than other plants. I have no idea if it makes a meaningful difference in actual air quality from the breathing perspective but it can't hurt. The plants are super-easy to propagate as they clone themselves as in the picture below of a mother plant with the daughter plants hanging from specialized stems. Cut the daughter plants off and stick them in a pot of damp soil and the roots will begin to grow within a day or so.

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  4. djcyberlegend

    djcyberlegend Group rookie

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    Nice, my mother had lots of those in the house when I was growing up.
     
  5. TxCyclist

    TxCyclist Administrator Staff Member Admin Staff

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    So do you mix your own compounds to derive the nutrients or buy pre-made mixtures?
     
  6. HandsomeRyan

    HandsomeRyan ♥'s Bicycles

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    Usually I buy pre-made. There are some recipes floating around for DIY nutrients but none of them are as good as the pre-made stuff unless you have a full chemistry lab at your house.
     
  7. funetical

    funetical Slowin it up.

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    You are one intense dude Handsome. What else do you do? Cure diseases?

    What's your average yield on your herbs? I thought about starting an herb garden.
     
  8. HandsomeRyan

    HandsomeRyan ♥'s Bicycles

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    I don't do a whole lot right now. I'm unemployed but I just applied for my dream job with a local cyclo-advocacy organization. I'm not a religious guy but if anyone wants to keep a positive thought for me getting this job I'd appreciate it. I know I would be a good fit for the position and in addition to my real-world business skills [and design/constuction skills], I would bring my enthusiasm for bikes which is arguably the most important thing for a cyclo-advocate.

    It depends a lot on what herbs I'm growing and what I'm trying to get out of them. Rosemary for example can be fertilized to grow very quickly but it just ends up woody and lacking in flavor. To get a really good product you actually want to stress the plants and make them grow slower as this (in most instances) concentrates the flavor and scent components. For somethign like basil where more is better and slowing the growth is not desirable I average about 10% faster growth in my hydroponics than I see in my dirt-based garden.

    The real advantages of the hydro over dirt are not so much increased growth rates but smaller stuff like reduced disease and pest problems (no dirt for creepy-crawlies to live/reproduce in) and improved water efficiency because the same water is recycled over and over rather than evaporating away or sinking below the root zone of the soil as in traditional agriculture.

    The trick to herb gardening is growing them someplace where harvesting them will be quick and easy. Many people grow herbs in their gardens well away from their kitchens and no one wants to leave a pot of sauce boiling on the stove while they hike out to the back-40 to pick some thyme or oregano. I suggest starting with medium sized containers set somewhere near the closest door in and out of your kitchen. Herb you'll use are a lot better than award winning herbs in a distant garden that never get eaten. This same rule applies to _what_ herbs to grow. If you hate the taste/smell of cilantro, there is no point in growing it because you won't like your cilantro any better than you liked the stuff they sell at the grocery store.

    If you are still reading this congratulations. I didn't mean to type so much but plants (like bikes) are something that I am excited about and i want to get other people excited about as well. Good luck with the herbs and if you need any advice i know some stuff and I'm an excellent liar about the stuff i don't know. :D
     
  9. Industry_Hack

    Industry_Hack Total noob (& forum admin) Admin Staff Tavern Member

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    Ryan, what do you know about writing/internet marketing?
     
  10. HandsomeRyan

    HandsomeRyan ♥'s Bicycles

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    I would say nearly nothing to nothing at all. I'm aware of Gary Vaynerchuk's work in self promotion and internet marketing but only as an idea and nothing specific.
     
  11. Industry_Hack

    Industry_Hack Total noob (& forum admin) Admin Staff Tavern Member

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    I was sent a link to this yesterday.
     
  12. HandsomeRyan

    HandsomeRyan ♥'s Bicycles

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    Thanks, I'll check it out.
     
  13. Industry_Hack

    Industry_Hack Total noob (& forum admin) Admin Staff Tavern Member

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    If it was part time, I'd jump on it myself.
     
  14. funetical

    funetical Slowin it up.

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    Haven't seen this thread in a while. How's the job Ryan?
     
  15. funetical

    funetical Slowin it up.

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    G'day back to you! He hasn't been on in some time. He got a new job and just sort of dropped of. I sent him a pm but never heard back.
     
  16. Industry_Hack

    Industry_Hack Total noob (& forum admin) Admin Staff Tavern Member

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    Don't ask about my new job. I just logged into a two hour conference call. Should be able to get caught up on all my surfing...
     
  17. funetical

    funetical Slowin it up.

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    Sweet! I take it you're liking it then?
     
  18. Industry_Hack

    Industry_Hack Total noob (& forum admin) Admin Staff Tavern Member

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    I don't have any complaints.
     
  19. Hardtail

    Hardtail Ridin Dirty

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    Very interesting stuff!

    I hate conferance calls with a passion; right on par with the only mode of communication being emails!
     
  20. funetical

    funetical Slowin it up.

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    I like only having emails. It means I get to worry about things at my own pace.