|The tomatoes are looking good. I limited the plant to two trusses for obvious reasons.|
|The Pepper has started to flower.|
|Not much room left.|
The hydroponic Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) tank I'm using is basically two chambers stacked on top of each other. The lower, larger chamber contains 20l of water, a 20W aquarium heater and a pump to lift the water from the lower chamber up to the sloped upper chamber which is lined with spreader matting for the roots to grow in.
The green-ish block you can see below is made rock wool, a fibrous material which is generally resistant to typical soil-based moulds etc. This is what the seedling plugs are transferred into.
|This is the tomato plant root system on the right hand side of the tank.|
|And this is also the tomato root system on the LEFT side of the LOWER water chamber. Oops.|
The tomato has not only taken over the upper above "ground" area, it is threatening to completely clog the water in the lower chamber. This is bad for a couple of reasons:
1 - I don't have an airstone in the lower tank. While the water is circulating and getting aerated to an extent as it does so, an airstone in the tank would do a lot to prevent the water growing stagnant. All the same the water doesn't look too bad. In theory I should be changing the water every 4-6 weeks but... I haven't.
2 - If the roots grow into the pump, the green-blue square you can see about the middle of the above picture, they'll clog it and the whole system will grind to a halt. The matting will dry out and the roots will die. I really ought to get a couple of spare pumps.
If i can bring the tomatoes to near ripeness before the system dies I'll consider a decent first experiment. If I can get a couple of decent sized peppers then all the better. Now I have an idea what I'm doing the next stage will be a more permanent chilli pepper and herb garden.
I am loving hydroponics. I wave around my pipettes and pH meters like a mad scientist. When I win the lottery I'm buying a house with a big garden, so I can concrete it over, throw up some poly-tunnels, install a fluorescent lighting system and lay down about a mile of piping for the hydroponics. Outdoors? All that mud and bugs? pfft.