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Hydroponics and Indoor Gardening in the Winter

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Picture of Hydroponics and Indoor Gardening in the Winter
This is my Hobby Greenhouse made mainly out of 110 year old lead glass windows. It took me over 1 1/2 years to build on my free time. It was built as a memorial to my mother and 16 yr.old daughter. This picture was taken on a hot day in August 2013. I was still and probably always will have problems keeping the temperature regulated. I tried using 70 % shade cloth on the top and sides and it seems to have helped a lot, along with some fans and exhaust fan. On the inside I have constructed a hydroponic channel system on one side and on the other side pepper plants in potted soil.     John 3:16                                                                                                                                                                    

 
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Step 1: GT70: 6.5"W x 2.75"D (supply side)

Picture of GT70: 6.5
This system is the Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) using channels constructed from UV-stabilized, recycled plastics, 6"Wide x 2.5"Deep. It is suitable for large, leafy plants and vine varieties, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, capsicum and zucchini,  in which the recycled nutrients flow past the roots 24/7. I am learning this technique before starting a second type. You can see I have the channels, holes for the 2" net pots, the tank with pump inside, the air pump for the air stones inside the tank. there are water flow supply hoses going into the channels that are duel. A lot of systems I have seen only have one. They say the second one is a backup in case one gets clogged. (makes sense to me)

Step 2: GT70: 6.5"W x 2.75"D (return side)

Picture of GT70: 6.5
This is the return side if the system. All the channels have a a down slope to them. I forget to what degree. I guess as long as water flows down it that should do. The water gravity feeds into the trough and flows back into the water tank. Since I used PVC as a stand it has a tendency to be a little slippery PVC to PVC and the channels slid around some. So, to prevent that I used velcro under the channels, works well.
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R-A3 months ago

Hi,

I'm quite interested in your greenhouse project and have a question for which I can't seem to get a clean answer.

Where do you place the temperature sensor, inside the greenhouse? And how do you protect it from the sun, and moisture / wind?

i.e. how do you know the temperatures reported are accurate, and not affected by the elements?

Thank you for company info. I read your statement about the incline/slope:

"...channels have a slope to them. I forget to what degree. I guess as long as water flows ... it ... should do."

And thought to share some feedback:

Actually, there may be some reason for the degree of slope to be 'important.' Since the water will drain, even if the channels are perfectly level, the degree to which they are sloped toward the drain opening (assume at one end) will impact the time the roots are exposed to the nurtrients, right?

If the drain is relatively small, the channels could conceivably fill with each cycle and drain ever so slowly (think "THUNDERSTORM" effect where the rains deluge the ground and the soil drains well.

In the altenative, with a slope (but larger drain openings), the tendency to barely 'fill' the channels as the fluids exit almost as fast as they enter without full inundating the roots.

Interesting setup. Where did you get the square PVC tubes to put the plants in? Or, did you make them?
jddelta (author)  charlessenf-gm7 months ago

charlessenf-gm, thanks for asking, The company called Farmtec.com calls them channels. The lids and channel are sold separately. I like them because they are removable for cleaning.

zikzak18 months ago

Peppers are getting hotter and hotter. Trinidad Scorpion isn't at the top anymore...

Carolina Reaper is 2,200,000 SHU, and I'm sure something is already in the works to replace that LOL! Very nice job on the greenhouse BTW!!

jddelta (author)  zikzak17 months ago

zikzak1, Thanks for the nice remarks, Yes, you are correct. the carolina reaper is the hottest now. I saw a video on youtube showing a mother, father and son eat some. haha, check it out. these people who do that are nuts. I tried about 1/3 and you read what I thought of it. Dang. take care

wildbill0018 months ago

NICE job on both greenhouse and plans! Can you share where you got your channels and cover? They look far stronger and sturdier than anything I have seen to date.

jddelta (author)  wildbill0017 months ago

Thanks wildbill001, I got them from a place call farmtec. they have thousands of things and some excellent training videos and pdf files with instructions on how to build a system. prices are reasonable, shipping freight a little high but I can live with it.Appreciate the nice remarks.

tn.8 months ago

bhut jolokia was at one point a few years ago the world's hottest pepper. it was blown out of the water by the trinidad moruga scorpion which is so high in capsaicin that it started to melt the protective gloves worn by the lab measuring the scoville units.

Silence tn.8 months ago

And people eat them ?

tn. Silence8 months ago
Yup. I have a couple pounds in my freezer right now straight from Trinidad. Youngest daughter's father is from Trinidad. You develop asbestos mouth tissues PDQ.
Gordyh tn.8 months ago

I worked with a guy from northern Iowa how said there was a store there that sold only hot sauce. They have many varieties that you have to sign a waiver releasing the store of any responsibility for what you do to yourself ;-) Recommended use is to dip a tooth pick into the sauce then stir the soup or whatever with the tooth pick, repeat as necessary to get the desired heat level.

Oh, and you need to develop asbestos on the output side too :-O if you know what I mean ;-)

Gordy

tn. Gordyh8 months ago
oddly enough, i never had that trouble (heard of it, though).

i don't do that toothpick thing. my daughter's father makes a hot sauce that's basically blended scotch bonnet with a bit of scorpion tossed in and then a bit of onion, garlic, chaton benine, salt, lime juice, and.... can't remember what else. that might be about it. he throws it all in the blender and leaves it in the sun for about a week:
https://fbcdn-sphotos-a-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/333495_10150900323960911_109951121_o.jpg

and that's it: hot sauce. i make two pieces of toast, put on some block cheese (old cheddar for favourite), then use a spoon to drop the hot sauce all over it (it breaks down and goes mushy and more saucelike as it matures).
jddelta (author)  tn.7 months ago

tn, I opened the picture link and was impressed, I think the sauce is very pretty, would love to have the recipe, do you think he would send it to me? jddelta@msn.com if he will. I saved the picture and put it on my desktop background at work. I like the jars he uses, recycled is best.

tn. Gordyh8 months ago
it really is true: you don't feel the heat after a while. i can eat jalapenos like they're apples - there is literally no heat to them.
doccat58 months ago

Fascinating. I'm an experience organic gardener, but since I've gotten older, my bend don't work quite like it use too. I've been researching using hydroponics as an alternative. Thanks for sharing. Your information is clear, concise and easy to follow.

jddelta (author)  doccat57 months ago

Thanks doccat5, yes, if your back is giving you trouble then this will work for you, raise the plants to where you are comfortable and no soil to deal with. be looking for more instructables from mr in the future, working on new system Butch Buckets an the way in about 3 monthe I should have them in service.

rbrazil8 months ago

Home grown tomatoes are always better and besides you are still able to grow them in late November is a plus also. Thank you for your service to this great country of ours!

jddelta (author)  rbrazil7 months ago

Thank you rbrazil, they were delicious appreciate the nice comment, take care

zawy8 months ago

Use the $100 heliostat in my instructable for this size greenhouse and the sun intensity will be the same as summer. I'm still working on the details to make it a more realistic instructable (primarily wind problems).

jddelta (author)  zawy7 months ago

Thanks zawy, fantastic instructable, I'm not quite sure about it for me just now, I need to do some thinking on this one. I'll get back to you.

you mention the slope within the article...

per wikipedia:

it is recommended that slopes of 1:30 to 1:40 be used

jddelta (author)  shortcircuitaz7 months ago

Thanks for looking that up shortcircuitaz, I will keep that in mind. I plan on redesigning the channels real soon. I going to put them along the wall four high and grow short plants. I'm currently designing a grow bench to put some dutch buckets on, tomatoes and cucumbers. I will make an instructable on it from ground zero. Thanks

VeganJuneDad7 months ago

Thanks for the instructable and great work. I particularly like your reason for growing peppers - all the power, indeed. May I humbly suggest you try some other things, such as rosemary or lavender? Perhaps not as powerful on their own, but you might enjoy the smell of rosemary each time to use it. Same is true of the lavender - it's smell is quite long lasting. Or perhaps other herbs? Simple roasted potatoes are much better, in my opinion, with some fresh thyme, or even rosemary, for that matter. You can put herbs in cocktails, dry them for future use, make stocks, etc. Cheers

jddelta (author)  VeganJuneDad7 months ago

What a great suggestion VeganJuneDad, yes indeed I enjoy herbs. I currently have basil growing in two of the channel holes. I have rosemary and spanish sage in Mother's garden outside, however they are taking a winter break, but will be back in the spring. As far as the other herbs you mentioned I'm all for it. I have a dehydrator and will dry some. Thanks for the nice comment

sheripres8 months ago

What a fantastic read! Sorry for your loss and this goes to show that your memories will live forever.

Congrats on creating this wonderful garden center!

jddelta (author)  sheripres8 months ago

Sheripres, Thank you for the be nice comment and condolences. I really enjoy working in the living garden. Take care.

totszwai8 months ago

Hi, your "winter" looks pretty green, i'm wondering how cold is your winter over there? Cos I don't think i saw any mention of heating system in the instructable?

jddelta (author)  totszwai8 months ago

Hi totszwai, your right, compared to northern U.S. states we have pretty mild winters. It does freeze here though and must be careful or the plants will suffer. I don't have anything special, just some space heaters on timers. During the day it warms up nicely with all the windows. One day I would like to run a natural gas line for some heat instead of electric heaters or maybe some solar power.

totszwai jddelta8 months ago
Nice, look forward to your gas and/or solar addition in the future! I want to build something like this too, but with -25c easy here in winter, i don't think that would be possible. :(
jddelta (author)  totszwai8 months ago

totszwai, I did a copy and paste with this information. reader Silence from below says "There are greenhouse designs that will passively heat all winter. Most of them take into account the low sun and sharply angle one side of the roof. http://vergepermaculture.ca/blog/2011/01/09/how-we... The good ol traditional greenhouse is great for warmer climates, but not up here in Canada.

some dig into the ground as well to get below the frost layer which helps to heat the greenhouse. (pit greenhouse) http://www.inspirationgreen.com/pit-greenhouses.ht...

A good thermal mass will help in collecting and storing heat for the night".

Maybe this give you some ideas and when I make a decision on the the heat I will post it.

take care

flag

Rohit.Agrawal8 months ago

Very inspiring and positive feeling after reading your "building the hydroponic" and the story behind it. Every one goes through some kind of pain in his life but nothing can be compared with loss of your nearest and dearest ones.

One should learn from you how to fight with loss and pain.

Thanks

Rohit

jddelta (author)  Rohit.Agrawal8 months ago

Thanks Rohit.Argrawal, There is a song named the Scientist that keeps saying "nobody said it would be easy" If you can watch the video. I appreciate your support and I tell everyone these things so they know it is going to be OK

pdionne8 months ago

Good project. I used hydroponics for the first time last year and had trouble with cukes also. I used tubes, but it seems your system worked better.

Thanks for sharing.

jddelta (author)  pdionne8 months ago

Thanks pdionne. Look on the website Farmtec. there are lots of ideas there and some training videos. I'm trying dutch buckets soon.

Mikeyfl8 months ago

Hi, It was a pleasure to read this article, your hydroponics set up does you credit, I had quite some success with various systems but the extreme heat here took its toll, congratulations

Mike

jddelta (author)  Mikeyfl8 months ago

Thanks Mikeyfl, I know what you mean about the heat. Unless you have big bucks it is hard to get the climate right but I'm glad you have had some success. I'm going to set up a 7 dutch bucket system pretty soon. I will make an instructable on it also.

Congratulations, very well done and described! A cost calculation might have been interesting, but a nice hobby can have a price.

jddelta (author)  rolandcontreras8 months ago
Thanks rolandcontreras for the nice remarks, I saved all the receipts and some day I will add it up. I tried to repurpose as many things as possible. Went to swap meets, a couple of construction sites,craigslist.
Habitat for Humanity store. I would buy as I went so costs were not all at once and your are right, hobby's have a price.
tkjtkj8 months ago

Thank you John .. for opening up about your terrible losses ..and showing us how you managed it all .. You constructed a wonderful and powerful thing that brings its beauty to all of us, ..

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