Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Thrifty Hydroponics

After analyzing last years results of my AeroGarden and the fact that the air pump went out on it shortly after the first year. I've quickly realized that yes the herbs are fresh, fun, and good to eat but not economical. While pondering different hydroponic options that I could experiment with for this next year I stumbled upon the fact that the AeroGarden seed holders will fit perfectly inside the mouth of a Welch's® grape juice container. A hole saw can also be used to make 2" and 3" netpots work as well.

Here is a list of materials for my next experiment.

  • Welch's® Grape Juice bottle or similar container.
  • Aquarium air pump.
  • 3' feet of air hose.
  • Silicon
  • Seed holder
    • Net pot 1.5" or 2" with clay 
    • Used AeroGarden® containers w/rockwool)
  • Seeds
  • Paint (I used black spray paint)

Aluminum foil - to prevent light from reaching the nutrient solution.

Drill a hole the size of the air hose in the top near the mouth of the container and near the bottom preferably on a flat side.

Cut a length of hose just longer than the container is tall. This piece will extend from the bottom of the container up to the top to serve as a water level indicator and a way to drain it when the water needs changed.

Use a hole saw to create a larger opening in the top of the container. I found that the easiest way to do this was to place the cap on the container and use it to help keep the hole saw centered. Be careful to go slow so that the container doesn't tear or melt. When the holesaw starts to bind put drill in reverse.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Juwel 1000 Cold Frame: Temperature Testing Research Part 1

A while back I was given a Juwel 1000 and this spring I finally got around to testing it out. The current temperatures over the last couple of days have ranged from about 20F to 55F.

To start with I've placed the Juwel 1000 on my back porch. It is a wood deck type porch that is currently surrounded by snow and has ventilation through the floor. With this setup the cold frame is not sealed on the bottom. Over the last couple of days I placed one of my Thermachron sensors inside and one outside and created the temperature graph above. The maximum temperature difference was 21.6F and the minimum was 0F. The maximum temperature inside was 83.3 and the maximum outside was 63.5. Minimum inside and outside temperatures were 23 and 21.2 respectively.

I have plans to put it on top of a simple plywood box that will house some containers or hydroponic systems, some water containers as a heat sink/stabilizer, and a light bulb or a small heater hooked up to a thermostat. I'll post the info when I get it set up.