All posts by trish

About trish

I'm a 26 year old PhD student doing research in the use of Semidefinite Programming in solving QPCCs (Quadratic Programs with Complementarity Constraints). There often isn't information available about the specific problems I'm facing, so when I figure things out the hard way I'm going to blog about them in hopes that some future googler might find them helpful. In the same spirit, I'll probably post about other interests sometimes, again with the goal of providing information on topics that could use more coverage.

Hydroponics workshop: Introduction

hydroponics def

…can involve grow lights (but doesn’t have to)
…can involve mechanisms like water pumps, air pumps, float valves, drippers, etc. (but doesn’t have to)

As long as the roots are not in soil and nutrition is delivered to the plant by water rather than soil, it counts as hydroponics.

Continue reading Hydroponics workshop: Introduction

Hydro workshop: Lighting

Different plants need different amounts of light.

Generalizing, we have four kinds of light at our disposal.  From weakest to strongest they are:

  1. Ambient indoor lighting
  2. Indoor window light (ie, light which has passed through a window)
  3. Outdoor natural light (season permitting)
  4. Grow lighting

Continue reading Hydro workshop: Lighting

Hydroponics Workshop: TABLE OF CONTENTS

(This is a work in progress.)

  1.  Introduction
    1. About hydroponics
    2. About me
    3. About you?
  2. Plants’ basic needs and how we meet them in hydroponics
    1. Lighting
    2. Rooting medium
    3. Root aeration
    4. External support
    5. Water, nutrition (covered in ongoing care section)
  3. Other variables when designing a hydroponics system
    1. Reservoir size / water volume
    2. Net cup vs. grow bag style and their sizes
    3. Choosing materials
    4. Preventative measures against algae, mold, bugs
  4. Ongoing care elements:
    1. Nutrients, supplements
    2. Nutrient solution pH and TDS/EC
    3. Water temperature
    4. Monitoring for deficiencies, illness
    5. Monitoring for algae, bugs, mold
    6. Pollination (if applicable)
    7. Ongoing support needs
  5. Factors in choosing the right system for you
  6. BREAK TIME (drill your holes and get your nutrients!)
  7. Your new system
    1. First a little more theory: Kratky hydroponics (here for cucumbers)
    2. Case study: Corey’s plants (in their infancy,
    3. How your system works
    4. How to care for it
    5. What to do if you’ve mastered it:
      1. Fogponics, anyone? (Results from 19:06)
      2. Add an airstone to make a mini Deep Water Culture
      3. Make a float level indicator
      4. Start thinking about electronics, scaling up, lights, etc.
      5. Start evangelizing.
  8. Other case studies
    1. Wick hydroponics
    2. Yamazen LED planter
    3. Deep Water Culture
    4. Ebb and Flow
    5. Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)
    6. Lufa Farms
    7. Dutch bucket (from 4:00, then from 8:04)
    8. Aeroponics (reservoir/pumps not shown, but freeze at 0:30 to see piping)
    9. Hybrid
  9. Hydroponics and making
  10. Closing remarks

Hydroponics workshop: Factors in choosing the right system for you

Different people have different priorities and different dealbreakers.  These factors should be taken into account when choosing the right system.

  • Cost to build
  • Cost to maintain (electricity, nutrients, etc.)
  • Effort to maintain (cleaning reservoirs, checking pH, adding/changing nutrient solution)
  • Your space: indoor/outdoor, how much space, how much light
  • Risk of water leaks
  • Reliance on power (how soon will the plants die if it’s cut off)
  • Reliance on maintenance (how soon will they die if neglected)
  • The type of plant you want to grow
  • Noise of pumps or other mechanics
  • Childproofing, petproofing, clumsy person proofing…

Hydroponics workshop: Case study – Lufa farms

A couple weeks ago, Lufa Farms held an open house.  They operate a large rooftop greenhouse in Montreal as well as a produce subscription box program.

Naturally I went to scope out their system…

I got to see two basic system types: one for relatively small, relatively short-lived plants like lettuce, swiss chard, and other leafy greens, and another one for peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers.

Continue reading Hydroponics workshop: Case study – Lufa farms