Thursday, April 6, 2017

A Month Later

Generally in pictures:
Starting where we left off, with strawberries
Seven of the ten survived. growing well, new sprouts starting.

Then the NFT system
The other day, a student said he was hungry. we went out to the greenhouse and made him a small salad.
The long view
Either cucumber, watermelon or cucumber. Things were not always labeled.
But this is a cucumber
Rosemary poking itself up
After we got rid of the mice, we were attacked by a groundhog.
It was producing bell peppers.

He likes peppers

We have many starts started,
starting some herbs
Peppers and tomatoes

Outside, with the hard work of students and staff, some raised beds have been prepared for planting.

Planting will take place when we return from our one week vacation.

We took some plants out of the drain and fill system, either to root in soil such as the pointsettias, or the roots were choking some things out, like the tomato and snapdragon

tomato, now in dirt

snapdragon ,started from a stick

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Strawberries Grow Forever

This past week was so warm, stores decided to trick people into buying plants too soon. A major retailer had some ever bearing strawberry crowns for sale, so I got them.

The students plopped these into the hydroponic system to see what will happen. Hopefully they will produce strawberries.
in the NFT system
Not doing well, put into the flood and drain system

We took a tomato seedling out of dirt, and plopped it into the system
tomato and lettuce

Tomato roots after a few days

Took a nearly dead poinsettia and put it in too. It died

We think that poinsettia cuttings work real well in the flood and drain system.

The lettuce plugs are sort of hanging around, some growth noted

The seeds from the other day are showing some movement, we think.

J transplanted some melons into larger containers.
The flood and drain tomato has blossoms
Future tomatos

I am learning along with the students, so mistakes are being made, but that is part of learning.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Hydponics - up and running

Planted some seeds last week during break, and we have some lettuce popping up, with roots pointing down.

O and I started up the hydroponics system and added some nutrients.

We then took a plastic webbed pot, added some clay pellets, and put a seeding in. Later I put an immature spinach seedling in

Then, later on in the day, we just put some seeds in the system to see what happens. 

Some observations-we planted a tomato seed in soil and one in the flood and drain system. The one in the aquaponics is much bigger.

H transplanted some sunflowers to larger containers

Radishes are still doing well, this is fun

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Watching the Plants Grow

Not too much excitement over the past week.
Greenhouse (R's first picture attempt)

The radishes are getting secondary leaves.

Radish leaves

Beans are growing.
Beans on string

The NFT system is clean and running. We are doing water tests and making sure all is well for planting in two weeks.
NFT system

Seeds are ready to go for starting sets and the NFT system. We have a few types of peppers, spinach, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelon and of course, radishes.
Planning on starting a herb garden this spring in the courtyard, we have rosemary and basil seeds are ready to plant, and we need to get a few more seeds, oregano, sage, tarragon to name some.
The poinsettia cuttings seem to like the flood and drain system, so we put more in there. We tried to save some that were frozen, but no luck.
New leaves on a poinsettia

Thursday, February 9, 2017

We had an idea

Remember this big tank?
This big tank

One of the students has suggested cutting the top off and making a floating raft hydroponics system.
Awfully large for that, but we will look into it.
OR we may just cut the top off and make an outdoor planter

We plugged in the water pump on the NFT system, and then spent part of the day leveling it off so the baskets are slightly in the water. The pump ran all day with no water loss, so we will run it tonight too. Tomorrow we clean.

By they way, radish greens taste good.

One Week of Radishes in Cups

One week into our plants and we see some good growth, and the expensive seeds seem to be doing better than the cheap. We are able to check on the plants every few days, and here are some of the results
Bunch of Radishes
One Radish per cup?
With the other crops we started last month, we have solved - for the time being- the mouse issue and replanted some. The few that were not damaged have been moved to bigger pots.

The Nutrient Film System, or the old hydroponic system is almost ready to go, we bought parts and re-assembled. We are at a point where we are ready to run it for a bit to check for leaks, and then run some cleaner through. We have break at the end of next week, so I do not want to start any plants without us around. So hopefully the 27th or 28th we can start it all up.

Checking the water depth

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Let's Get Ready To Radish!

Two days ago we started to look at the difference between 'cheap' and 'expensive' seeds. Each student put 5 of each type of seed into petri dishes and made observations. Today some of the seedlings are going to be transplanted to soil.

seeding instructions
seedlings in dishes


With that all set, it was time to do some planting.
Let the planting begin!

Filling Cups With Soil

Ready to Plant

One seed per cup, which makes 10 cups per student-or so.
Ready for the greenhouse

Then the plants were set up in the greenhouse.  The sprinklers don't reach this end of the bench, so we will need to do some hose watering.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Setting up the 'old' system

We dragged the old hydroponic system out a few days ago, and then put it together.
We think we have it set, now it is a matter of getting the elevations set up. We ran water though with a hose the other day and it all held and the water did water things.
We now have to figure out how it all sets up together, with the drains and the like.

We have a very large farm tank, and a smaller 50 gallon tank, I am hoping to use the 50 gallon. The piece of pipe sitting on top in the above photo is what I think was used to fill when it was first used. We need to figure out how to re-attach so we can control the flow. We also need a pump.

This is a less confusing picture of the pipe, the piece closest goes into the system, at the T is the input and then the right side is the overflow.
Me trying to figure it out- Thanks to S for the photo

Looks like a trip to Lowe's this weekend, and maybe Harbor Freight.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017


Upon further review, it appears we may have some mice nibbling on our plants.
When H looked at his sunflowers, there were no leaves, and the shoots look as if they have been cut off.
The watermelons and cantaloupe look as if something has dug up the seeds.
This afternoon we will put covers over the seedlings to see if that helps. Perhaps over the weekend we will need to pick up a few dozen mouse traps.
We finished pulling the older hydroponic system out and now it is a matter of finding a place to set it up and piecing it together, several of the connecting pipes have been cut, so we will need to re-glue a few things.
R looked up how and when to thin the basil seedlings, he learned what thinning is and why we need to do it.
Many things to do....

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

We Have Sprouts

After a week, some seeds have sprouted.

Many basil plants have started, so much for 2-3 seeds per pot.

The sunflowers have popped up, but waiting for H to observe the plants.

The watermelon has not come up, we feared a mouse came through, but T dug into one of the pots and saw a germinating seed.

E's cantaloupe has a couple of sprouts, but it was started a day later than the others.

As for S's plot of many plants....
S's many plantings

We have had a couple more poinsettias donated. These seem to be rotten from freezing, but we will let them try to rehabilitate. Right now our inventory is 8 plants, with three cuttings in various stages. In about a month we will cut all of them back and try to propagate from the cuttings.

The drip system works, now to get permission to use it, we are starting to get a good number of spider plants, and I would like to put them in hanging baskets
A couple of seeds are working in the aquaponics bed too