Saturday, September 18, 2010

Confirmed Tornado Hits Brooklyn

This is my local park.  In 1989 the City Council renamed this park after Maria Hernandez, a community leader who gave her life in the fight to rid her block of drug dealers.  Before that it was called Bushwick Park.  Bushwick came from the Dutch that settled this area in 1660 and called it 'Boswijck' meaning 'heavily wooded area'. 

As I walked around and saw all these trees uprooted, I felt a little stab in my heart.    How ironic that this 'heavily wooded park' is no longer so.  Sure, it is the cycle of life and new trees will take its place.  But I can only imagine how old some of these trees are and for those who have grown their own plants with tender loving care from seed to seedling to maturity, the idea of loosing your plant to a freak of nature presents a little bit of anxiety.

Luckily, I managed to get all my containers inside. My tomato plant is a little stressed and my basil plant was as erect as the leaning tower of Pisa, but they'll bounce back.  I'm waiting to find out what the damage at Boswyck Farms is.  They have a hydroponic farm on top of a roof a few blocks from this park and I hope there crop is intact.

It just goes to show you, that no food supply is ever guaranteed.  And I've been toying with the idea to focus a little bit more on indoor growing lights.  Something to keep my plants safe from tornadoes in Brooklyn.  Sounds funny, but this is the new reality....

(BTW, this park has no bushes, anything that appears to be a bush in this park is a tree...)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Hydroculture Basics & The Importance Of A Water Level Indicator

The trick to keeping plants in Hydroculture is knowing your plants water requirements, your plants root depth and your reservoirs water level. The latter is easily measured with a Water Level Indicator. (These Indicators are fairly difficult to find, which is why I make my own or eyeball it. But they can be bought here.)

There are three zones to keep in mind when planting in hydroculture, 1) the dry zone, 2) the moist zone, 3) the wet zone.  Depending on the water requirement, it's important that the roots will end in one of the appropriate zones.  The majority of plants will be most comfortable with their roots in the moist zone.  The moist zone is determined by the absorption rate and retention of the soil less media.  Clay pebbles will retain water differently than for example vermiculite, perlite or rockwool. Below is a diagram showing the three zones.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Hydroponic Lettuce

I Love/Hate this video. On the one hand it shows the power of hydroponics and growing crops without soil, on the other hand, it's mass production for mass consumption. I wonder how much of this lettuce spoils or gets thrown away?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Organic Seeds and Beans for Sprouting

Organic seeds and beans for sprouting can be found in brick and mortar stores as well as online. Many common seeds such as alfalfa or mung are easy to find, but others like broccoli sprouts or radish sprouts might be a bit more difficult to procure.

View full post on Organic from LoveToKnow

Sunday, August 29, 2010

How To Start Seeds In Hydroculture

I recently saw a sale on seeds in my local ace hardware store. The seed packets were expired, so I had my pick for 50 cents. I ended up getting Thyme (Thymus Vulgaris), Chives (Allium schoenoprasum), Sage (Salvia officinalis), Italian Flat Leaf Parsley (Petroselinum crispum), Dill (Anethum graveolens). The packets had an expiration date of December 2009. One year shouldn't be so bad...

I wanted to start all of these in hydroculture and grow them as if I was using soil. On top of that I thought it would be fun!!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

DIY Soil Less Seedling Tray

This is my makeshift seedling tray. It's a plastic egg container with the bottom spray painted silver (I think black would be best, but I still had silver spray paint left over). I like this triple sided container because it's very versatile. Close the lid on one side and you have a dark environment, close it on the other side and you have a humidity dome.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Don't Throw It, Grow it!

Magic and wonder hide in unexpected places — a leftover piece of ginger, a wrinkled potato left too long in its bag, a humdrum kitchen spice rack. In Don't Throw It, Grow It! Deborah Peterson reveals the hidden possibilities in everyday foods.

Peterson, former president of the American Pit Gardening Society, shows how common kitchen staples — pits, nuts, beans, seeds, and tubers — can be coaxed into lush, vibrant houseplants that are as attractive as they are fascinating.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle & Hydroculture

By now we're all familiar with the famous slogan 'Reduce, Reuse, Recycle'. Most of us have and are (and shame on you if you're not) recycling our products. That is... we sort our garbage accordingly and place it outside for the recycling truck to come pick it up. But how many of us are actively reducing and reusing our non-biodegradable products? With hydroculture, we can 'Reduce, Reuse and Recycle' and be more environmentally friendly with our gardening.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

My Plant Wish List

Here a top twenty list of plants that I would like to grow using Hydroculture, (I'm growing some of these the traditional way, but I want to see how they do using hydroculture). I started this list with ten, but it just keeps growing.  If you have experience with any of these please leave a comment. I would love to hear from you!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Hydroponics & Hydroculture, What's The Difference?

Hydroculture is a hydroponic wick system. huh?

I know hydroponics can be confusing to the traditional gardener at first.  It was for me.  There are so many varieties and seems so high-tech with the air pumps and air stones, but it's really quite simple.

Hydroponics it is the art of gardening without soil.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Clay Pebbles, A Choking Hazard?

As I was re-potting my plant in Hydroton, I realized that I have strong emotional memories of clay pebbles. As a young kid I lived in Holland and my parents had all their indoor plants in this stuff. Including the containers that held various palms and ficus trees and that were placed on the floor. I actually can't recall ever seeing a plant potted in soil in my house, ever. Soil was for the garden. And whilst they were using the clay pebbles for their plants, I was using it to stave of boredom.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

My Impulse Buy!

I Couldn't help myself, but I always wanted a Venus Fly Trap (Dionaea muscipula).  I haven't repotted her, although I think I might have to, she's growing some nasty green slime.  Here she is catching some rays before she needs to go into hibernation.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Why You Should Go Hydro...

I do not have a large backyard to get dirty in, so my opinion is a little biased, but for the apartment gardener or for those who have limited space, there are many reasons to go 'hydro'.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Start Of My Project

Urban agriculture has become quite a trend in my Brooklyn neighborhood.  Within a 1-mile radius, I have over 3 well-established rooftop farms and everybody seems to be growing something on their roof, windowsills or hard-to-come-by gardens.

My neighbor is one of these and when I recently saw her flowering tomato plant, I must admit, I had a pang of jealousy. I've tried on several occasions to get plants to grow in my apartment, but they all withered and died.  I just assumed gardening wasn't for me.

The good thing about having neighbors that grow plants is that they are full of information and after picking her brain for a couple of minutes, I decided to give it another go.