Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Won't be long now


   I should have some tomato's before long almost every plant has tomato's on it

 The tomato's in that green tote have gone slap ass crazy. They are huge,I trimmed them up some the other day and it looks like they have grown 6 inches. There are blooms in all that mess of limbs so they should be putting out tomato's before long.

I checked the water temp a couple of days ago and it was 78 degrees in the buckets with the hot weather coming on I need to keep checking the temp and make sure its not over 86 degrees in there or I'll start having some problems. I brought a empty 5 gallon hydroponic bucket into the house and will put a plant in it to grow through the hottest part of the summer. My wife loves me for bringing that damn bucket as she called it in the house I thought since we use the kitchen for cooking that a tomato plant would look great in there. She wouldn't have far to walk to pick fresh produce and after all who else do you know that has a tomato plant growing in their kitchen. We will be one up on the neighbors. You see I'm a country boy from Texas and she is a city girl from "cough" California. I don't let her forget where her roots are from and that we do things different down here and she ain't to old to learn the right way to do things. As she walks away I hear her saying something under her breath that sounded something like damn red neck hillbilly.

My cloning is doing pretty well, I have 2 plants in dirt now and will switch them over to hydroponics when they get a better root system on them.

I'm, trying a few different ways of cloning these things. The one above I just stuck in my hydroponic bucket with water running over it and in a week it had roots. I trimmed some more tomato plants a few days ago and just put them in a cup of water to see what they will do,I'll let you know how that works out.

I have a covered seed starter that I'm using for a cloning chamber. I have some different plant cuttings in there and hoping that they will root. One is a Limon tree and another is a Dewberry vine. We used to have Dewberry vines all over our place when I was a kid and now you can't find one growing in the wild around here anywhere. My 2nd cousin found one somewhere and gave it to me.I used to come home with my hands and my ole month purple from picking and eating those dang berry's.
The ole boy's at the hydroponic place tells me that if I have any problems cloning anything to bring them a cutting and they would try cloning it for me. These people are great, you don't find businesses like them anymore.

I'm heading out Terlingua way come Saturday so I'll have something else to talk about other than this hydroponic stuff.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

More Hydroponics

Well I had me a little accident with my tomato in a 5 gallon bucket. I lifted that lid off that bucket so many times showing people how it worked that I broke one big limb off that dang tomato but all was not lost, I've been studying up on cloning and am trying my luck on cloning a few limbs off of that plant.

I caught me around 600 gallons of rain water from our last rain and I thought I would get my new bucket system up and running with some of that rain water.

I filled those buckets up first and checked the PH in each bucket and all looked good, that rain water came out with great PH readings so I filled up that tote and then I added the fertilizer and fired it up.

I thought I'd let it run overnight before I put anything in it. The next day I went out and checked the PH just for grins and I'm glad I did. The more in the yellow to orange the PH reading is the lower the PH is and when I checked mine it was blood red. What in the hell happened here? I grab my bottle of base for raising the PH and put some in my system,now it doesn't take a whole lot of this stuff to raise the PH of the water. I put some in the water and retested it and it did not change one little bit "what the hell" I pore some more in the water and nothing the PH is still blood red. I'm getting a little pissed off now and pore what is left in the bottle in that system. I check it again and it has come up some but not near enough and I'm out of the Base for raising the PH so off I go to the Hydroponic place and it is closed on Sundays so I stop at Pet Smart and get me a bottle of stuff that will raise the PH. I get home and start with that bottle of Base and $9.00 later and a empty bottle my PH is still to low now I'm pissed, something is not right with my system.

This is what I use to raise the PH and this to lower it

 I was told when I first started this Hydroponic stuff that rain water was the best water to use in a Hydroponic system, the lying bastards. Well it is great for Hydroponics but you do have to add something to it. It seems that rain water is missing a few trace minerals and the fertilizer will not bond to rainwater. They forgot to tell me that so that was throwing my system out of wack so I buy this stuff.

I follow the directions and in no time my PH was great. So if you are going to use rain water you might want to get some of this stuff or you will go broke trying to get your PH just right after you add the fertilizer.

My damn tote with the tomato's in it has just about outgrown that damn tote,I had to put some pieces of granite on the Net Pots to hold them down so they wouldn't fall over in the tote. The stems on these plants are huge so I don't think they will break from getting top heavy but they will tip over in the tote, I just need something to hold them in the tote. If the rocks don't work I will try some twist ties and tie them into that dang tote.

April 7th

April 2nd

March 15th

All of my tomato's have blooms and some tomato's already. I think I might cut back on the fertilizer. I put a pepper in that new bucket system and its already trying to bloom. I'll be pinching the blooms off because its way to small for peppers now.

 I hope I answered some of your questions on this stuff. I'm still learning but I'm real happy with the results. If you don't have a Hydroponic or Aquaponic business in your area you can buy all of the above stuff off of Amazon.

One other thing,once your plants are ready to start blooming you need to switch over to a Blooming fertilizer. I use this stuff.

Before I used this my blooms were falling off the plants now they are staying on the plant and forming tomato's.

I also read that if you put red Christmas balls out around the tomato's that the birds will not peck holes in the tomato's, they peck on the red balls and by the time your tomato's start turning red the birds figure that all they will get is a headache trying to peck the tomato. If I could just find something to keep the squirrels away I would be a happy camper. I tried putting a fake owl out there and the squirrels made friends with it. I tried rubber snakes and that didn't bother them, I even put mouse traps at the base of the plants and that didn't stop them.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A little more on this ponics stuff

I guess by now your probably getting tired of this stuff but its all I've done lately.

I started this just to see how these systems worked. My goal is setting something up out in Terlingua when we move out there and the one thing I know is that heat will be a killer on the fish and the plants because of water temp so the only way a Aquaponic system would work out there is you need to have one big ass water tank to keep the water at a reasonable temp or I have been thinking that burying the system with the fish in it under ground with just the top above ground and covered and shaded so the ground can keep your temperature down and the grow beds above ground should work. I really don't know I need to get out there and do a little experimenting with different setups. Evaporation shouldn't be a problem, there are different grow pots that the top seals the whole pot except the stem of the plant so I could make a sealed system out of the grow bed with a piece of Plexiglas with the holes cut out for the pots to set in covering the whole grow bed so I wouldn't have a lot of evaporation.

I built another 18 gallon tote for my strawberry's and other plants. They were not growing in with the tomato's. The tomato's had them covered up and no sun was reaching them. This system is the cheapest to do. All you need is this 18 gallon tote from Walmart for $5.00, 11 Net Pots at around .50 cents apiece, and a air pump for around $10.00 with a air stone and your in business.
 You don't need to have 11 pots, you can put 2 big pots or how ever many you want it doesn't matter.

                                I just built this Hydroponic system and have it up and running.

It's a 18 gallon tote with a pump in it to pump water up to the 5 gallon buckets and then drain back down into the tote.

I did get my 330 gallon IBC's that I'm going to make a Aquaponic system with.  I still need one more but the guy could only haul two at a time. They look brand new and have had a mixture of 80% water and 20% salt in them. They were one time used IBC's. I have no idea what that mixture was used for.

I have them set up to catch rain water so I will have the water to get the Aquaponic system up and running. I will have one fish tank feeding 3 grow beds when its all over with.
 We received a inch and a half of rain last night. I caught 330 gallons off the first storm that came through and noticed that the rain water was almost muddy looking so I dumped that 330 gallons and caught about 300 gallons on the next rain system that came through and its a lot cleaner looking water than that first batch.
One thing I did find nice about hydroponics is when you are forecast to get large hail you and another person can carry your garden inside out of the hail and carry it back out after its over, instead of having it beat all to hell.

It won't be long now before I have my first batch of tomato's. I have blooms coming on every plant now. The tomato's in that dang 18 gallon tote has just went crazy.

                                                           6 days ago


 I hear thunder outside so maybe I will get that IBC filled up now.