"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Friday, 20 May 2016

Hydroponics vs ground 1

Following my posting on the basic hydroponic system we set up, I thought I'd give you all an update.

But first, I omitted to share with you the analysis of the alpaca poo we had done.

Alapaca poo analysis
The gentleman we saw told us that the alpaca poo results were fantastic.  Even asked us if we want to market it lol  Perhaps if we had 50 alpacas, but with only 4 - they just don't poo enough to make it viable...
Results of grape waste (pomace) analysis
For comparison, I am also giving the sample results of grape waste that he gave us.  As you can see, the alpaca poo is far more nutrient rich than the grape waste.

Of the various experiments I am trying out, I planted some cabbage seedlings in the gravity fed hydroponic system, and some in the ground below the hydroponics.  [One of my brothers reckons that cabbage needs a firm footing (in the ground) and he is doubtful that growing them hydroponically will work.  I'm not looking to grow champion sized cabbages, so let's see ;) ]

But, and for update on the cabbages I planted only three weeks ago:

This is the cabbage in the ground.  Not much change there, is there.  They were planted with some additional alpaca poo.
The control "ground planted" cabbage -
 not much change from when it was planted
 out from the seedling tray
And the hydroponic one...
The hydroponically growing cabbage - almost
double the size and far sturdier looking
 leaves and plant, and more abundant growth
As you can see there is quite a substantial change.

Water catchment tank specifications
The only feeding that the hydroponic system gets is some Seagrow (seaweed extract) and a knee high stocking which has been half filled with ground alpaca poo, and which is suspended in the receiving tank so that the nutrients can leach out into the water as it fills the tank.

Very encouraging.

I will update as the two plants progress - until one of them reaches cabbage head stage... :)


Dawn McHugh said...

Great post, Alpaca poo is just the best I find, its the only fertilser I use now along with seaweed extract, I havent come across any plants that dont like it, it will be interesting to watch your experiment unfold

Sue said...

Very interesting about the cabbage--I would have NEVER guessed that hydroponic would be so amenable to it. It will be neat to see what sort of head it forms. Good luck!

possumqueensa said...

My sister owned a hydroponic cucumber farm and their big problem was keeping the bollworm out of the tunnels. Before they planted, they sterilised everything to within an inch of it's life. The slightest hint of infection would mean re-sterilising everything all over again. I suspect that trying to keep everything so clean was the problem. Nature isn't CLEAN.

Dani said...

Dawn - Dunno what I would do without alpaca poo. I'd spend a fortune on compost, that's for sure...

Dani said...

Sue - I, too, was amazed. Check out: http://www.modularhydro.com/ArticleLibrary/WhatCanYouGrowHydroponically.html

Dani said...

pqsa - Banish the thought... lol

Leigh said...

I've never given hydroponics a thought, but your results are pretty amazing so far. I know you're encouraged!

Dani said...

Leigh - This experiment is due to above average temperatures of 39 - 42oC last summer. India hit 51oC this week - how is that bearable? I am trying to ensure that IF we have those temperatures this summer, my ability to grow, and harvest our normal produce can still be assured, WITHOUT being concerned with excess water use / requirements. No point in waiting until things take another negative path - I belong to the group of taking precautions / alternatives whilst I still can, as opposed to having nothing to put away next summer / autumn. How would that help us?

Harry Flashman said...

Lacking access to alpaca poop, we are using pig poop. The stench would knock a buzzard off the death cart at twenty paces, but people tell us it is good fertilizer.

Dani said...

Pig poop, chicken poop - all good for the garden :) Not dog poop though... Dog poop can go to the normal trees, flowers, but not food plants.