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.


  1. Beware of fungal and bacterial problems associated with decomposing roots in the Rockwool. You can use strong hydrogen peroxide solution to dissolve the roots and then rinse thoroughly and leave to stand before reusing. hydrogen peroxide will cause the Rockwool to become acidic but as it degrades to oxyogen and water the Ph will drop.

  2. Yeah, that is my fear. Along with the clearex, Im also going to use "SM-90" from Nutrilife with the feedings. Hopefully this should help. I have two other plants living in the rockwool, so I cant precondition reuse too much =(

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