Welcome All! I'm a dreamer, I hope you are too! A Posse ad Esse, or From possibility to reality, is a general state of mind. I hope you'll share your possibilities with me as I will with you. Namaste~

July 16, 2007

Hydroponics and local food

I have been mulling over the idea of starting to grow some of my food through the use of hydroponics. It’s something that I have been interested in for a long time, researching here and there, and always having an itch in the back of my head to try. The itch recently acted up again while looking through Rhonda Jeans “down-to-earth” blog entries detailing her experience with Aquaponics. (Aquaponics is essentially a hybrid form of hydroponics that, rather that using nutrient mixes to nourish the plants, utilizes the natural waste from fish farming to sustain and grow the plants. Check out her blog for more detail.) At any rate, I began thinking again hydroponics, and perhaps Aquaponics as a way to provide fresh veggies and greens throughout our very hot summers, as well as our freezing winters. Yes we get the best of both worlds here in Northern Utah. I really like the idea of Aquaponics, and I think at some point in the future it is certainly something I want to invest some time into, but for the short term, I have to consider that I have minimal funds that I can invest in this venture, as well as the fact that I and one of my boys are really the only fish eaters in the home. Another reason I am leaning more towards the traditional Hydroponics is that I can do it indoors in a relatively small area. This will allow me to better control temperature and light variations, as well as insect and disease problems. I was lucky enough to learn that there is a very good Hydroponics supply store not a half hour from my house and stopped by there to talk this weekend. The owner was an incredibly nice and very knowledgeable woman that gave me some great advice and a bunch of free hydro magazines to study in consideration of options. (Oh how I love free magazines!!) So here I am, trying to figure out to what degree I want to indulge myself in this, and how exactly I would do it if I did.

Have any of you got any experience with Hydroponics or variants there of? I would love to hear any experiences that you’ve had.


On the local foods front, I haven’t been to our local farmers market because it doesn’t begin until the last week of July; figure that one out? I have however stopped by a couple of local farmers and picked up some sweet corn and cucumbers. They were a little smallish, but they were oh so tasty. Last night we ate local corn and potatoes, and the last of my HG (home grown) salad with some cucumbers and not so local avocado. We also had some HG chard with onion and Portobello mushrooms. It was a tasty meal, and I love having the freshest stuff on the table. Wish I’d taken a picture for you, but my kids would certainly have laughed at me, they already wonder “why is dad taking pictures of raspberries?”

Till later.



Rosa said...

Hydroponics is an awful lot of money, person energy, and electrical energy. Do you need another hobby?

I've done the cold frames (wooden box, solar-slanted top, old storm windows on them), and if you've learned to like kale you can probably have it all winter. Tender greens and peas thrive well into November and very early in spring. I don't think you're much colder than here (some, we have a city heat bubble) and I was really happy with the cold fram.

Anyway, that's my plug for low-tech, scavenged materials season extension. I'm not being snide about the hobby thing - hydroponics looks fascinating, and like it could suck up endless amounts of time if you wanted it to.

P~ said...

rosa, I'm sure your right about both the potential for electrical and person energy. And no I probably don't need another hobby; my wife would say I certainly don't. I have used some small cold frames for starting seeds early in the spring, but never for extending in the fall, good idea though. If I did decide to do some hydroponics I would no doubt find a way to utilize some recycled materials, and would build most of the system myself. The electricity is a tough one to swallow, but I think that I could probably get away with primarily using the sun that I do get in the winter and mixing it with some supplememtal lighting. As I said, I am not decided on it yet. Either way I will start small for sure.
Thanks for your input, it's always appreciated.

Rhonda Jean said...

My only concern would be that you use an organic form of hydroponics. The beauty of aquaponics is that it's organic. If you can source organic fertilisers, or if you can make your own (which personally I think would be quite easy to do), you're on easy street. I wouldn't worry about the electricity costs. We are using our submersible pump 45 minutes every hour of the day and our electricity costs have gone down. This is mainly from changes we're implementing in the hosue, but the pump hasn't even made a dent in our usage.

I say go for it. There are few things better than harvesting fresh food from your backyard (or greenhouse).