SQWIBS Urban Garden Adventure

Discussion in 'Small Spaces' started by sqwib, May 28, 2015.

  1. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Doug no problem riding my coat tails...lol , I'm learning a lot.

    I love the Self Watering/Wicking idea and always wanted to try it...Maybe someday on the deck. The closest I have come to that system is the air pruning system its self watering/wicking but only 5 containers (Grow Bags) problem is I have to store this stuff in the fall, I figured I could leave the grow medium in the grow bags, store on the hill, cover then in the spring add some fresh compost.

    Here's my end of season cleanup/storage.

    End of Season - The NFT rails  - are velcroed in place and can be removed in the fall and stored, all the net pots are removed, the strawberries will be planted and mulched in the raised beds for next year the hydroton/growstones are put in a 5 gallon bucket for storage , the net cups are stacked and stored. I just unplug the pump and leave it in the pond.

    The Deep Water Culture System is drained, hydroton/grow stones are removed, net cup lids are stacked and stored, tote is placed on the hill and the buckets are flipped, The water pump and air pump and stones are stored inside. The water supply is disconnected and valve is left open.

    I may build a platform for the Recirculating Deep Water Culture system.

    The Self Watering/Wicking Air Pruning System -  is drained, Disconnected from the water supply and the valve is left open, Grow bags are removed and stacked on the hill with grow medium still inside, reservoir is placed on the hill over top of the Grow Bags. Cedar plank is put back on the veggie filter and the 2 6x6 supports are stacked on the hill.

     Aquaponics (Veggie Filter) - Clay Pots are removed, grow medium is composted, pots are stacked on the hill and the cedar plank top is placed over the top, I will turn off the pump to the veggie filter and drain.

    Aquaponics (Veggie planter) - Clay Pots are removed, grow medium is composted, pots are stacked on the hill. I will turn off the pump and drain by a small valve underneath the planter.

    Vertical Towers - Plants are removed from the vertical tower strawberries will be planted in the raised beds and mulched over for next season and the towers will be stored on the hill soil still intact.

    Dirt Farming - Soil plants are just cut back, trashed, composted or burnt.
  2. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I better get a few with milk!

    Dam that's a lot of rain, I just beat the rain, we just got a steady heavy rain for a couple days, ...funny, it took weeks for the yard to dry out, now its a swamp again, too messy to do anything until it dries out again! I'll be camping with the scouts this weekend so maybe by next weekend I can get back out there.
  3. My Buddy that lives about an hour north of me got his onions and potatoes planted before the monsoon  he got 12 inches still has water standing said it washed out a lot of his onions.

  4. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I topped off half of all my peppers last year to see how it worked, I got bushier plants but not any more peppers.

    I may try supercropping on a few plants this year.
  5. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    March 16th, 2016 -  (4 days and their is obvious growth)... No leaks in the rails yet, strawberries are coming along nicely, once the root structure shows new growth, I'll add some ferts to the pond.

    Everbearing strawberries arrived earlier this week, temporarily transplanted into the raised beds till next weekend
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2016
  6. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You'll have to monitor strawberries closely will you not? Just a little bit two much h2o and strawberries taste like water instead of strawberries and rot super fast. They will look beautiful and be super juicy, but they loss that strawberry taste. 

    With all the flooding here right now, even high water, and they are pulling all the berries now and throwing them out to rot. Too much water. Was going to be a bumper crop this year too with no cold this year. The plant will replace those pulled and maybe after another complete pull, the water table will drop enough to get berries. <shrugs> Probably most will loose their whole crop this year.

    And with me expecting a bumper crop, I have been having strawberry shortcake real often, emptying the freezer stockpile...>LOL
  7. jaxrmrjmr

    jaxrmrjmr Smoking Fanatic

    I've never had luck with strawberries.  Low yields and they are either really tart or tasteless.  Easier to want until They put the Driscolls on sale for $1.25 a pound for me - and not many things I give up on.
  8. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I'll compare the NFT Ozark Beauties to my Soil Red Everbearing during the season, but as long as the roots get air, water and nutrients the plant will not know the difference and fruiting should be the same. There have been numerous studies on this and as long as the plants needs are met there should be no difference in taste or nutritional value. 

    borrowed quote "Hydro has its benefits like In aquaponics, the nutrients that the plants normally derive from the soil are simply dissolved into water or another liquid instead, and depending on the type of aquaponics system used, the plant’s roots are suspended in, flooded with or misted with the nutrient solution so that the plant can derive the elements it needs for growth. The same goes for taste. Hydroponics farming also uses up as little as 1/20 of the water conventional dirt farming uses, so it is also more eco-friendly. With hydroponics, 1 plant will have a larger yield per harvest, and they grow faster. With hydroponics, you can eliminate conventional farming issues such as pests in the dirt, poor soil drainage and salt build-up from fertilizing soil. It also allows gardeners to grow plants/fish in environments that wouldn’t otherwise support them, such as gardens with poor soil or even indoors. Gardeners can grow plants and fish out of season to enjoy year-round vegetables, fish, or flowers, too. The careful control of the environment that goes along with a aquaponics system can eliminate problems such as lighting and temperature issues as well.That’s why in Australia, hydroponics is commonplace. They made the good decision."

    I quoted this because this has been my NEWBIE experience as well.

    I like the Hydro/aquaponics, but I also like to play in the dirt, one will never replace the other only compliment it.
  9. jaxrmrjmr

    jaxrmrjmr Smoking Fanatic

    I have never compared cropping vs non-cropping side-by-side.  Our seasons may be different.  Down here there are basically two seasons - March to June and August to Nov.  I never get many big peppers the first half of the year.  So, I have decided to grow the plant during the first half of the season and harvest peppers during the second part.  I usually get 10-12 smallish peppers during the first part, but I'll get 20+ good sized peppers the second half if I have bushy plants.

    My hots and superhots seem to do better the subsequent years than do bells.
  10. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    March 26th, 2016 - Repotted twenty plants.


    Yeah its time!



    Had to snip off a few buds and flowers.


    There was no room for everything so I took my chances planting the California Wonder Pepper Plants in the aquaponics, the gerber daisy and Marigolds on the front hill, Parsley, Leeks and Basil. Some of the Basil looks like it ain't gonna make it, I don't know if its root burn from my compost or the fact that I didn't harden them off at all.


    Dam I have plants everywhere and I'm getting a bit frustrated, my Hydro Seedlings are not doing as well as my Soil Plants, so I upped their nutes I started hardening off some plants and it got so windy I figure I would bring the plants in so they don't get knocked over, so guess what the *&%!## I do, I knock the soil plants over right on top of the hydro plants, now there is soil in with the nutes (you got chocolate in my peanut butter moment).

    Anyhow I learned a bit this year and think one of the things I'm gonna change is to start right in solo cups with potting mix, germination takes longer in soil but in the end its less of a hassle, sure I'll have to clean the soil off the roots for the hydroponics but that's a small price to pay to have everything more uniformed.

    March 26th 2016 - A dozen Leeks are planted in the planter and some on the hill next to the planter.

    March 25th, 2016 - The turtles finally came up, speedy hibernates at the other end of the yard but they love going under the playhouse, after speedy marked his path I removed the trellis, dug out and replaced the soil, planted my snap pea seeds, put in some copper pipe for a fence, then placed the trellis back in place.
  11. Dang Buddy Looking Good, Really coming on.   Like the Turtle

  12. jaxrmrjmr

    jaxrmrjmr Smoking Fanatic

    You have been busy.  I am jealous of that summer sun that is not blistering hot where it scalds your produce.

    I finally got all of my stuff in, so I'm looking at the sprouts you sent me.  I need to find a place with little to no light......
  13. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Got one vertical tower up and running.

    March 28th -  I moved the Vertical Tower to another location and planted the strawberries.


    I decided to use this toro water timer and connect it to the 55 gallon tank that was intended for the Self Watering Air Pruning system. A 5 foot hose runs from the timer down into the wicking tube. As of now it cycles every 24 hours for one minute, I have the Timer hooked into a "Y" so I can throttle the flow back a bit or increase as needed as the lowest setting is one minute. I timed it so that the self wicking tube will fill up and overflow for about 10 seconds then kick off. I am sure this will change with head pressure as the water drops in the barrel and weather conditions.


    This is the potting mix I am using in the Tower Gardens.
    • Sphagnum peat moss
    • Manure based compost
    • Perlite
  14. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    March 22nd, 2016 -   (10 days and their is obvious growth)... No leaks in the rails yet.



    March 30th, 2016 -  (18 days)... No leaks in the rails yet, strawberries are coming along nicely. The roots are starting to stretch a bit towards the water, its still running in DWC mode, once I am sure the roots can reach the bottom, I will switch to the NFT mode. I am going to start adding the ferts most likely the 2nd weekend in April.

  15. jaxrmrjmr

    jaxrmrjmr Smoking Fanatic

    If I'm looking at that right, you have about 45 strawberry plants.  How much do you get for that many plants?

    I know growing stuff is a hobby (and I blew my budget, so stuff won't be "paid off" this year like I planned) but they ask $2+ here per plant.
  16. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Wow, you might try these guys......


    I highly recommend the "Chandlers", Best strawberries I ever raised. Not as tuff or hearty as some of the others, but sweeter that any. Its not surprizing to get a few as big as tea cups.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2016
  17. jaxrmrjmr

    jaxrmrjmr Smoking Fanatic

    Dang!  That is quite a price difference.  Even ordering their minimum of 25 is like buying 3-4 at the store around here.
  18. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    If I get some runners I'll propagate them and  I'll mail you some in the spring
    Bookmarked Nourse for next year, may try the Chandlers

    Shipping is what hurts when ordering on line, is best to get a gameplan and order a lot at once. I think these averaged around a $1.00 - $1.10 a plant.

    I'll bury these in the raised beds in the fall and mulch to winter over.
  19. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I always assume things and usually it make one out of me one way or another but................

    Don't you two use your country agent? He's not just for the professionals and he's a lot smarter than Hank Kimball.

    He'll know who the berry farmers are in your area, and you could approach them. They always buy in bulk, and when you buy in bulk they get extras for "guaranteed replacements" in the original deliveries. Listen, you'd be amazed at what you can get when you approach a farmer with your hat in your hand. I know we always have plants leftover wwhen we had all the planting we swore we'd ever do! LOL

    Plus were bought for all the other gentlemen farmers in the area. It really sucked, when they came in, we'd sit at the picnic table for hours and hours counting and dividing the plants. Then drive around delivering them and getting drunk because everyone wanted ya to stay for a beer and some farm talk...LOL

    I am rambling....... seriously find the time to meet your county agent, pull some strings if ya gotta. Once he knows you and what you are capable of..... well it might surprize ya.

    BTW I gave you Nourse because of your address......... did you see where they are located?
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2016
  20. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Whately, Massachusetts

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