Friday, March 26, 2010

Automated hydroponic planter- Update!!

I could not resist sharing the pictures of my babies growing so nicely in the hydroponic planter that I had created sometime back.

In my previous post, I had explained about the system and shown pictures of 15 day old plants. Have a look at the latest pictures. These are 25 day old plants (32 days from seed).

The plants are growing vigorously, much faster than the that in soil. This growth is remarkable since this hydroponic planter is kept in the open (on my terrace) and the temperature is hovering around 32 deg. C.  Lettuce is not bolting, Chinese cabbage and red ruby cabbage plants are not wilting because of heat.

In spite of the hot and dry weather, the feeding cycle is 15 days. The 25 litres of hydroponic nutrient solution which I pour into the system lasts for 15 days (It will drop to maybe 10 days or so as the plants grow bigger). What is remarkable is the efficient use of water and nutrients. No wastage at all.

I will keep you posted on further progress. If you would like to know more about hydroponic gardening  please visit Indian Hydroponics


Radha said...

Hi, low-cost, maintenance-free hydroponics is one of my hobbies. I have tried several simple techniques, but its been only failures so far. You have a cool green system. Nice work! Congratulations. I am wondering about your nutrient system. Wont it get concentrated in due course (say two weeks) due to water loss in the hot weather? Do you provide the plants with a second dose of dilute nutrient supply or is the concentration same each time?

Raja Bhat said...

Thanks for your comment Radha, nutrient solution does not get concentrated as it is in a separate reservoir.
But you are right, concentration is the grow media (cocopeat) does increase over time due to water evaporation from the surface.
But this problem is only in the initial stages when the plants are small, later on when the foliage becomes dense and absorption of nutrients by plants become more rapid, water evaporation evaporation from the surface reduces drastically.
To overcome this problem, I fill the system with fresh water instead of nutrients once after every 3 rounds of nutrient feed.
Although this is not 100% accurate, it works fine and reduces the salt build up in the grow media.

Radha said...

Thanks for your clarifications. Flushing the system once a while with plain water is an excellent idea.
I hope I too can start one small unit, at the earliest.
I am looking forward for further updates. Till then...