I have been a garden guy since I was a kid. I helped my dad plant his gardens and felt it was a little bit of my own. It was a spring ritual each year the tilling, planting, weeding and harvesting. I kind of think my first wife kicked me out because the kids and I were spending to much time in the garden rather than paying attention to her. Boy, did I had some great gardens back then. Since that time I have not always had a yard or even a place to have a big garden.
Living in apartments and rentals you start to improvise by growing tomatoes, herbs and peppers in pots on the back porch. Now that I’m a home owner again a have keep a small area each spring for a garden, but I have little success keeping it going all year. I have my water garden with 20 or so goldfish and thought it would be cool to hook up an aquaponics system. The plants I tried didn’t really do that well from just the water off my water garden. There has been a lot of talk about hydroponics lately so I started to look into it. A hydroponics store recently opened up a couple of miles from my house called Hydroponics Systems here in Port St. Lucie Fl. I went and was impressed at the quality of plants they had on display. I purchased some clay balls they call hydroton, some rock wool for starting plants, a water pump and a box of nutrients from Technaflora Plant Products LTD. I got some hoses and fittings and an electrical timer from Home Depot and bought a a tub and a couple trays from Walmart. I spent under $120 for what I needed to get started on a simple ebb and flow hydroponics system.I started some bib and romaine lettuce seeds in the rock wool too have something to get me started. I hooked up a drain and fill fitting to my trays and ran tubing to the water pump and an over flow tube with a drain to back to the tub.he nutrients kit I bought included 10 different bottles of solutions for different stages of growth of your plants.
They give you a recipe for each of the stages so you need to mix up a batch of 4 to 6 different solutions and add that to your tub. I adjusted my timer to run the pump once an hour for 15 minutes during the day and every two hours during the night. I bought a couple small banana pepper plants from Home Depot and placed it the larger tray and added the lettuce to the smaller tray once they were about an inch high.
This was a month ago and these plants are really smoking. The peppers are over two feet tall and have peppers over 6 inches long with lots for smaller ones and blooming flowers. The bib lettuce is ready to harvest and the romaine is over 10 inches tall.