This is going to be my first time growing pole beans in my Dutch buckets. Can they be trained to climb a single bailing twine (per plant) suspended vertically over the bucket? Would the twine be too small a diameter for them to climb?
oldude- I am starting to grow in 5 gallon grow bags fed by sprayer stakes . I have a 32 gallon brute as the nutrient tank. All is on a timer feeding 4 times a day for 2 minutes each time. I bought everything from Hydro-gardens in Colorado Springs. They have a grow bag with compressed coconut coir in it. I love it as a growing medium. Just add water and it puffs up and fills the bag.
How is your grow bag results? Is it better then your bucket systems?
I have Earthboxes and homemade bucket systems. I also have Hydrostackers Next pic)
I get most of my toys from Hydro-gardens and I did look at the little home system that they offer. When you say that you spray four times a day for two minutes, are you spraying only a fertilizer/water mix? How long does the 32 gallon nutrient tank last and how many bags do you have in the system. The reason that I ask is that I have two tomatoes in each bag and I water three times a day for 2 minutes. I use the mittleider method with 1 teaspoon of fertilizer per plant per week. The soil mixture is composted cow manure and peat and so far it has done very well. I think that I will experiment with the mixture a little next year. The only thing that I dislike about the grow bags is that when the tomatoes are lowered it collapses the sides of the bags and my sprayer water tends to escape down the side of the bag. This does not happen with the 5 gallon buckets.
I like the looks of the hydro stackers. What material are the made of?
Oldude- It's so nice someone else is interested in hydroponics besides me!!!!!!!. Are you saying you only feed your plants once a week? The owner of Hydrogardens told me every time you water you feed. Therefore my 12 grow bags with one tomato plant in each (you can have two I was told), fed 4 times a day for 2 minutes each time, uses 1/3 of my 32 gallon brute tank filled with nutrients and water. Am I over feeding them? I downloaded the mittleider system a long time ago, I'll have to review it again. I'm using the general purpose nutrent from Hydrogarden. That's the one suggested to me.Do you prune to a single stem on your tomatoes? How high do your tomatoes grow before you let them down?
The Hydrostackers are made of styrofoam. Should last 5 years. Below is a pic of a 10 acre farm 15 minutes from me that has 25,000 of these suckers. When they opened last year I was so impressed, I bought 5 stacks of 5 from them. They are very good with shallow root veggies, i.e lettuce, strawberries and herbs. Not great with tomatoes, cukes, peppers. They get root bound to easy.
The best way to see what I am doing is to read this link. http://davesgarden.com/community/blogs/t/CricketsGarden/2429/ I was inspired by cricket to grow tomatoes this way and so far everything she said works very well.
I feed once a week because it is a dry fertilizer mixture. It is also possible to dissolve this dry mixture and feed just as you are doing. The tomatoes and cucumbers are growing with this system, but the Eggplants and beans are in buckets filled with fired clay pellets that are used to make light concrete.
This is my first year growing tomatoes pruned to a single stem and I doubt that I will ever use cages again. Itís just my opinion but once you are set up, it is no more hassle to grow them vertical. The vertical growth slowed down on my tomatoes because I was hesitant to cut off the bottom leafs, but they are pushing for the sky since I did it. I lowered once so that I could keep the tops of the plants at six feet.
That is an impressive picture of the hydostacker system. I would be very interested to know how your strawberries grow in them.
I agree I wish more people would try hydroponics. I enjoyed the Alabama hydroponics forum and learned a lot there but last year they just ended the website. Oh well maybe this addiction is not for everyone.
Glad things are working out for you.
My main crops are tomatoes and okra.
I grew many tomato plants in cages this year and I am not satisfied with the production like I am with the single stem tomato plants. The set up is so much easier -----like you said once the the initial set up is done.
For the Garden areas----I think the clothes line method is also wonderful. Same single stem plants---just tied to a clothes line system in the soil=ground.
Also with the clothes line system , you can build the system so that you can construct small pvc hoops on top of the clothes line system and throw poly over it for either an early start or late protection. The clothes line system can also be built when using
Grow Bags or Pots.
I cannot afford the Coconut fiber grow bags. Very tight budget here for more important expenses until i get completely set up. I still water manually most of the time too. It really doesnt take that long. PLus---while watering, I inspect the plants.
Mark - I have tried to buck the strawberry growing season down here. All the farmers plant in the fall for winter and spring production. Well, all I'm getting is pretty plants with lots of runners, but no fruit. I hope if I can keep the plants alive until late fall, maybe I'll get fruit. We'll see.
Thanks for the compliment. Bugs yes, but no more than any south Louisiana gardener and I am sure you know about that. I saw my first stink bugs about a week ago, so I am doing battle with them. They really do go to sunflowers first so I spray the heck out of them as I see them on the sunflowers...
The fertilizer that I use is described in the link by Cricket. Itís a combination of micro-nutrients, Epson salt, calcium nitrate and plain old 13-13-13 fertilizer. Itís called the Mittleider Magic Mixture.
I just got thought stripping out the old cucumbers and pole beans. The tomatoes are still producing but have slowed down because to the high temperatures. In place of the cucumbers I replanted three of those containers with cucumber seeds and three fall (solar set) tomato plants.
My wife finally told me that she did not want any more tomatoes for processing so what I produce now is for fresh eating, family and friends.
I will try to post a picture soon.
Well, remember the saying that if a little is good then a whole lot would be better. Thatís me with tomatoes this year. I started early and ended up with over 90 tomatoes in the greenhouse. Most were repotted into 1 gallon nursery pots like Cricket suggested.
I kept 28 which are planted into the hydroponics grow bags inside the greenhouse with another 25 to be planted in my son in lawís garden. I am giving tomatoes away to friends as quickly as I can to allow room for pepper and egg plant starts. I am planting mostly big beef, jet star and C-tex but experimenting with other heirlooms got me in trouble with too many plants. Some of the trial tomatoes are Kellogg, Druzba, Solar Fire, Giant Belgium, Tropic, Magyar Prios Booker, Mountain Spring, KBX and Bella Rosa. If everything goes well, we will have enough tomatoes from the old reliable like big beef and have some fun with the heirlooms.
If the weather forecast cooperates then everything will be moved outside by the end of this month. 16 tomatoes( not counting the 28 in grow bags) and some peppers will continue to grow in the greenhouse with the plastic rolled up on the sides and one end.
I will wait until the middle of March to hydroponicly plant the beans cucumbers and eggplant
So, I am ready if the weather cooperates.
This is where I am Cricket. The support stakes are getting short as I trim to a single stem. I was set to plant today but this cold front is bringing temps down too low to move outside. They go outside mid next week when things warm up. I will cover with frost blankets if needed.
Bob, I will try some of the coco choir this fall but as you can see, Cricketís formula at about half the price is awesome.
I am also trying Crickets formula, price is a biggy for me too. Oh, do you mean his fertilizer or growing mix? I meant his granular fertilizer formula. The coir, I love it too much to change back to anything else.
Are you considering the mitleider mix as a liquid for hydroponics? It can be dissolved and used that way but I am not sure if anyone has tried pumping it through emitters. It would be good to hear from anyone who has tried that since it would be a big savings in fertilizer cost.
I like the cow compost/peat mix because it is cheap and it works. In the fall after my tomatoes are history, I spread the compost around my orchard trees so it has a dual purpose for me. I have absolutely nothing against coir, nor have I heard anything negative against it except price.