"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

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Hydroponics vs ground 2

Time for an update on the vegetables which I am trialling in our basic hydroponic system.

Once again, I was let down / felt great disappointment with the manufactures of seedlings.

Last year (autumn / winter 2015) I purchased some cabbage seedlings, and they grew wonderfully - only problem was is that they were cauliflower seedlings :(  This year what was labelled as cabbages turned out to be broccoli.
Broccoli not cabbages grrrrrr!
Finding this out at the end of the growing season does not please me!!  The alpacas love cabbage, and they had to go without home grown cabbage yet again.
The soil grown broccoli is still not producing
 and, 3 weeks ago, was roughly half the size
 of the ones in the hydroponic pots
What I have found with the hydroponic vs soil grown plants was that the cabbage broccoli went to seed very quickly in the hydroponic container, but, as can be seen from the pics above and below, the soil grown cabbage is performing much better.

So, cabbage broccoli won't be hydroponic-ed again.
The red cabbages I planted - as you can see
 the soil grown ones are leaps and bounds
 ahead of the hydroponic ones
The peas, on the other hand are working well.
My hydroponic peas - 3 weeks ago
4 weeks ago they looked like the image above...
The hydroponic pea plants today
 ... and today the plants are twice the size / height - at roughly 1.4 mtrs tall.
There are loads of pea pods on the
 hydroponically grown pea plants
Happily, the plants are laden with pea pods too :)

The comparison between the soil grown pea plants and those grown hydroponically?  The land grown ones were planted roughly 5 - 6 weeks before the hydroponic ones so it's not that easy to demonstrate with pics, but I reckon that the hydroponic pea plants have more pods on them.

Do I need to grow them hydroponically?

Nope - they  normally do well in the ground, but I was so excited about the hydroponic system we had set up that I wanted to grow something - anything - to trial it before the coming summer, and peas were all I had to hand at the time.

But, I am satisfied that the system is working.

I will be growing tomatoes and peppers hydroponically this coming summer - as well as in the ground.  Apart from the piquanté peppers, I do not seem to be that successful with normal red / green / yellow / orange capsicum - the plants are permanently in a state of "wilt" no matter how much water I give them, and the peppers themselves seem to be susceptible to rotting on the plant very quickly.

So again, with this experiment, let's see which produces more and which plants do better?


Dawn McHugh said...

When I dabbled with Aquaponics I found, lettuce tomato watercress, squash melon and cucumber all did well, great to see your comparisons :-)

Dani said...

Dawn - Thanks for the info - for me, everything is trial and error. Unfortunately, watercress is classified as "alien vegetation" in this country so I am unable to find seed. Lettuce, I already have growing in a tub or two, and tomato seeds I planted directly into the vermiculite / coconut coir mix in a few tubs. I am also going to grow them conventionally and see which performs / produces better ;) I'll let you know how I get on :D

Unknown said...

Hi Dani
My hubby and I are looking to live the homesteaders life.You are a great encouragement.We have started a hydroponic system that we are planning to introduce fish into soon.So gonna be an aquaponic system. This is a practice run for our Homestead life.I am very interested in learning all about how your journey has progressed.We hope to wind up affairs and find a plot by March 2018.In the meantime I am learning more skills like soapmaking to help get us self sustaining. Glad I've stumbled onto your blog.Kind regards, Sharon

Dani said...

Sharon - Welcome and thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

Sharon - a more self-sustainable, off-grid life is a pleasure. Yeah, there are lessons / learning to be paid, but, if you read my blog, you should be able to avoid those we made.

Good luck - hope your dreams comes true :D