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Thread: Hydroponic System

  1. #1
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Hydroponic System

    Traditional gardening is not something I want to do. Way too much work and where I live, the critters get most of the stuff anyway.

    Any experience with indoor hydroponic systems would be appreciated. Looking to grow veggies and maybe mushrooms for two people and suitable for use in a basement.

    Thanks.
    Don Verna


  2. #2
    Boolit Master Good Cheer's Avatar
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    Hope someone chimes in with lots of experience in hydroponics. Perhaps the wavelength specific LED's available nowadays could really make it work well and keep down the lighting costs. Been experimenting with them for seedlings weeks in advance of the last frosts. So far I'm still working on better ways to thwart the legginess.

    South of Lake Michigan I'm using vertical trellises inside a 900 square foot patch of ground surrounded by 120' of eight foot tall remesh (with chicken wire) barriers and stand alone moveable auxiliary barriers of folded remesh. As long as I don't forget to close the gate the critters are held at bay. I'm retired to the north and learning how very different gardening is from the third coast, how to maximize yields within the small space. Herbs, summer and winter quash, bush beans and pole beans, peppers, broccoli, green and Turkish eggplants, Armenian and regular cucumbers, potatoes, onions, carrots and melons.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Very different requirements for mushrooms. Have you looked into just buying seeded blocks to get started with them?

  4. #4
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    JonB_in_Glencoe's Avatar
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    I've seen a couple documentaries, where they grow fish with a hydroponic garden. Check that out.
    The fish provide fertilizer for the plants...and the plants clean the water for the fish. Symbiotic baby!
    BUT, I haven't seen a system like this that would be small...like to feed only 2 people.

    ALSO,
    Check out what your local university is doing.
    Here is an article from U of MN
    https://extension.umn.edu/how/small-scale-hydroponics
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    “If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.”
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  5. #5
    Boolit Master Randy Bohannon's Avatar
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    Energy required for ‘ grow lights’ which you would need in the basement to support 10-14 hours of light a day of the correct wave length will be expensive. You are also limited in the variety of plants due to size of the plant, you’re not doing watermelons in your basement, corn would be a challenge . Can’t imagine a full grown tomato plant in my basement either,so you end up growing things like lettuce and herbs maybe carrots . Cost benefit analysis says plant outside spend the money on defending your garden.
    Now if you want to do marijuana in a basement you would be golden on a cost benefit analysis. Not to mention the smell of fertilizers and what not. I would not enjoy that inside my house, outside yes not inside.
    Last edited by Randy Bohannon; 07-17-2022 at 10:17 AM.

  6. #6
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    MUSTANG's Avatar
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    Following. Been toying with trying some hydroponics (Fish Aqua-culture) for the last five years. Lot's of "Success Stories" on the inter web; but my observation is those using natural light do so in the states below the Mason Dixon Line and the southwest where we see somewhat moderate Temps.

    I have not pulled the trigger on Fish Aquaponics because of the dang Federal and State Governments finger, fist, entire arm up the wazzo in any project with a Fish in it. Initial discussion for doing it at the Moapa Nevada House - Too close to the Muddy River (What if the get loose - get up and walk out one night? Initial discussion for doing it at the Kalispell Montana House - Too close to the creek nearby (What if the get loose - get up and walk out one night?)

    Suppose I could go and put in a $1M grant request with the Fed/State/s and they might consider it a worthy research project - with kick back for State/Fed inspectors.
    Mustang

    "In the beginning... the patriot is a scarce man, and brave and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." - Mark Twain.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    there are all kinds of indoor garden advancements made since pot got legalized in Colorado and other places. portable grow chambers that use low energy cost led variable spectrum lighting and they are just as good at growing pot as veggies. like said before mushrooms is a whole other thing. shrooms can be grown in coffee grounds and other substrates in plastic bag lined plastic tubs. there are quite a few systems for this also. do some internet searching and you will find all kinds of options

  8. #8
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    rancher1913's Avatar
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    look at wolfdogs post on here, he does a small version with fish.
    if you are ever being chased by a taxidermist, don't play dead

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy
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    Unless you're growing "cash" crops, the cost of running the lights and pumps will be greater than the value of the produce you grow.

    Mushrooms are a completely different situation. They just require a 60%-ish relative humidity space, regular fresh air exchange, and time. Making your own blocks is complicated...Much better to buy them already inoculated and just fruit them. Please be aware, though, that fruiting mushrooms in your living space can result in contaminating your air with spores and, over time, can lead to health issues. I wouldn't recommend it without proper filtration of the air, or the ability to exchange the air to outside.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    My daughter was part of a team that built an aquaponics system. The fish were in an outdoor pond, plants were in a greenhouse. Pond water was pumped into an elevated holding tank where it passed through a coarse filter before being fed to the gravel beds for the plants. Water from the gravel beds fed back to the pond. They produced both fish and vegetables for consumption. I forget what they fed the fish.

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Thanks for all the input.

    It seems like it is not easy or cheap to do.
    Don Verna


  12. #12
    Boolit Mold
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    It does add up, but can be easy. For the lights use 90% red light and 10% blue, leds are easy to do this with. A small recirculating pump to oxygenate your water/fertilizer mixture. We have use simple racing gutter with a top on it, and holes for the plants. Getting the right fertilizer mix is the harder part if you are using concentrate.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master gnostic's Avatar
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    The new grow lights are LED and the type of 'crop' determine the red blue combination of the light. Hydroponics is a lot of work, as daily you have to measure and adjust the PH and refill the nutrient level with distilled water and nutrient. We used 5 gal buckets painted black on the outside, apparently the roots don't respond well to light. Most growers use air pumps designed for aquariums as they do a good job and they're inexpensive. The seeds are germinated in a coconut husk or peat moss. We ran the lights 24 hours a day in what's called the greening stage. When you want the plant to flower, cut the light down to 12 hours a day. Once the plants start the flowering stage you can go back to running the light 24 hours a day.

    This is where it gets tricky, often plants will become hermaphrodite and not flower or produce a crop if you stress them out. I used nutrients from Holland and distilled water and my crops were about 8 feet tall when harvested...
    Last edited by gnostic; 07-18-2022 at 12:30 AM.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Bohannon View Post
    Energy required for ‘ grow lights’ which you would need in the basement to support 10-14 hours of light a day of the correct wave length will be expensive. You are also limited in the variety of plants due to size of the plant, you’re not doing watermelons in your basement, corn would be a challenge . Can’t imagine a full grown tomato plant in my basement either,so you end up growing things like lettuce and herbs maybe carrots . Cost benefit analysis says plant outside spend the money on defending your garden.
    Now if you want to do marijuana in a basement you would be golden on a cost benefit analysis. Not to mention the smell of fertilizers and what not. I would not enjoy that inside my house, outside yes not inside.
    We tried growing lettuce and spinach in an indoor garden just last winter. It did not do well. We used the correct type of lights with a timer that turned the lights on for about 14 hours per day. Never noticed any difference on our light bill.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master Thumbcocker's Avatar
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    My experience with hydroponic growing involved forfeiting all the grow equipment. The equipment was later given to a local college.
    You'll go far providin' you ain't burnt alive or scalped."

    Will Geer as Bear Claw in "Jeramiah Johnson"

  16. #16
    Boolit Master


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    Disney in Florida in the Epocot section has a ride called “The Land” and they show how they grow vegetables for the restaurants using hydroponics.
    It is large scale but it shows the basics.

  17. #17
    Boolit Grand Master popper's Avatar
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    It seems like it is not easy or cheap to do. Correct. Mom had a relative in Ca yrs ago that did it commercially with strawberries. There are several 'methods. that a called hydroponic, original was NO soil.
    Whatever!

  18. #18
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by popper View Post
    It seems like it is not easy or cheap to do. Correct. Mom had a relative in Ca yrs ago that did it commercially with strawberries. There are several 'methods. that a called hydroponic, original was NO soil.
    It looks like that. Cost is not a huge factor for me, if it is easy. I stopped gardening because of the work and how much I lost to critters. Fresh veggies are great.

    Last year I bought 20 cases of canned veggies for $.20/can. No way I could grow food that inexpensively. Quality is not great, but it is food.

    I think I will prep stuff that I catch on sale and leaving growing quality food to others.
    Don Verna


  19. #19
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    MrWolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dverna View Post
    It looks like that. Cost is not a huge factor for me, if it is easy. I stopped gardening because of the work and how much I lost to critters. Fresh veggies are great.

    Last year I bought 20 cases of canned veggies for $.20/can. No way I could grow food that inexpensively. Quality is not great, but it is food.

    I think I will prep stuff that I catch on sale and leaving growing quality food to others.
    The hard work is what has me thinking about freeze drying. We grow vegetables now, but keep thinking about the pain vs reward. Only two of us and we aren't getting any younger.

  20. #20
    Boolit Grand Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    Easy is not so much as it seems to require a steady stream of work.

    I started with quart jars wrapped in black plastic garbage bag. Basic Kratky method. And it worked fine for growing some lettuce mid winter in ND. Then I switched to plastic tubs and DWC.
    The next winter I grew a great crop of Boc Choi. Then I tried strawberry's and something went wrong and I lost them all in 3 days. Finally figured out the water should have been changed, but in the location I was using that was not an easy thing to do. So I dumped it all.

    Now this spring I have 3 tomato plants growing outside in a cat liter bucket. Just put starter plants in 3" basket with some rock wool. Drilled 3 holes with a hole saw in the lid. Drilled a small hole in the side of the bucket so a big rain won't overfill it and drown them. I check water level once a week.

    Not a lot of work, and they are sitting on concrete on south side of my deck where nothing will grow.

    As for the lights, I've had my best luck with the cheap harbor freight LED Strip lights. Also on Amazon I found some 6' cords with switch and socket for a light bulb. Also some single socket to 3 socket adapters. Lets me put in a pair of LED screw in bulbs and maybe a twist Fluorescent.

    All depends on how much work you are willing to do for how much stuff. Me I'm pretty lazy.
    I truly believe we need to get back to basics.

    Get right with the Lord.
    Get back to the land.
    Get back to thinking like our forefathers thought.


    May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you
    and give you His peace. Let all of the earth – all of His creation – worship and praise His name! Make His
    praise glorious!

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