Thursday, August 26, 2010

Reusing Rockwool Slab: Removing Okra Plant, Replacing with Sweet Pepper

Reusing Rockwool Slab Experiment
I decided to remove the large Clemson okra plant because it was getting way to large and not producing well enough (The plant last plant in the slab in picture to left). I used scissors to cut the roots. It didnt look like the roots took over the rockwool yet, so I'm attempting to plant a sweet pepper plant on the slab in its place. The Beefsteak Tomato plant is to the nearest right, and is getting huge also, so that plant shouldn't block much light. Its an indeterminate tomato, so it will be viney instead.

Hopefully this experiment will go well. The dead okra roots will most likely rot, so Im going to give the rockwool slab a good flush with Botanicare Clearex once a week, for a month.

Rockwool Cube Roots - Cut with scissors
The okra plant I removed was about 6 foot tall and it didnt develop any side shoots at all. And for some reason, the fire-ants loved the big okra plant and started to harvest aphids. 

I bought Burgundy Okra Organic from Burpee, but the plant I removed was no way Burgundy Okra... It looked like more like the Clemson okra variety. It was not red in color at all. The seeds must have gotten mixed up somewhere, but I didnt buy Clemson seeds.

Removed Large Okra Plant - hole in slab.

I'm not for sure why I wanted to grow okra hydroponically, but I most likely will not be growing okra in the greenhouse next year. I will just grow okra in dirt. Some varieties turn into trees and get huge! When I do plant these in the dirt next season, I will make sure to control the fire-ants better.

My other okra plant (Burgundy) is producing well and has a few side shoots, so I will keep that one in the slab for a while. Its not huge like the other one either, but still large. Im keeping it pruned well to encourage more side shoot growth and more fruiting.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Growing Medium Test (Soil-less, Rockwool, Dirt): Gourmet Lettuce Blend

Gourmet Lettuce Blend Growing Medium Test

Today I planted Burpee Organic Gourmet Blend Lettuce (Grand Rapids, Salad Bowl, Red Salad Bowl, Oakleaf and Prizeleaf Lettuces) in three different types of growing mediums (Rockwool, perlite & hydroton rock and soil. I will keep you posted on the growth & germination rates.

Soaked Rockwool in 5.6ph water for an hour+. Then added ubiogrow/water mixture & sprayed the rockwool.
Soil-less: Perlite & Hydroton Rock Mix
This is a wick/drip soil-less system. I will add the drip system in a couple weeks, until then, it will be hand watered.

Moisture Control Potting Soil

Other Dirt Starters
Doing well. Asian Cucumbers, Lots of tomatoes, sweet peppers, onions, broccoli and more.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday Greenhouse Update

Friday Greenhouse Update
I havent really had much free time this week for much posting. August is the hottest month in Florida, so Im pretty much getting ready for fall. I've removed the eggplant and Hungarian pepper plants from the greenhouse and transplanted them to dirt. It's just too damn hot right now, so Im taking a little break on many greenhouse activities and doing some greenhouse Maintenance.

Summer Greenhouse View (Maintenance time)
Im clearing out many of the old plants and starting more. Its too hot! Im also working to get all my leach rockwool slabs installed. It looks empty now, but it should be flourishing again within the next month or two.
Right View
Left View
NFT View with Rockwool starters chilling on top.

Ghetto Timer Rain Protection - Garbage Bag - DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME.
And the water timer. Turns on for 2 mins, about every 3-4 hours. Its been soo hot, I might need to water every 2 hours.
Air Pump bringing air from inside my house, into my nutrient tank outside :)

Okra Aphids!
My Okra plants have been having fire ant problems. A friend let me know that it was possible that the ants are also harvesting aphids and after a much closer look, it was true :( I will be taking care of this problem this weekend.

Okra & Hungarian Wax Pepper Hydro-to-Dirt

Rockwool Slab Starters
Tomatoes and Sweet Yellow Pepper

Southern Exchange Seed Company: Matt's Wild Cherry Tomatoes in flower.
Rockwool Slab - Cube to slab roots

Greenhouse Plants
Beefsteak Tomato in Flower
Beeksteak Forming Tomatoes
Jubilee Tomatoes Ripening - After they ripen, Im cutting her down :( This is my last bucket in the greenhouse, then its all rockwool slabs.
Rockwool Starters - Tomatoes and Yellow Sweet Pepper
Plants in greenhouse

NFT Plants
I added a little worm tea last week. besides that, I havent added nutrients in a  loong time to this system. Its too hot and Im not going to waste money on adding nutrients to this system until it cools down a little.
Trained Patio Tomato Plant. All tomatoes harvested. More flowers appearing.

Dirt Starters
Tomatoes and Asian Cucumbers
(Left) - Worm Castings drying out (Right) - dirt seed starters, all types of seeds I had
Dinner - Cost: 80 cents
Not bad for an 80 cent dinner =)