Happy Hydroponics

I have read about hydroponics for a number of years. This winter in Florida is the first time I’ve tried growing plants from seed without soil. Dolly and I now have a number of lettuce, tomato and pepper plants growing in three different modes:

      • Milk jugs outdoors
      • An outdoor plastic pipe tower with nutrient pumped to the top and trickle down
      • A tray in the garage under flourescent lights.

        Tower with thirteen grow sockets.  Small electric pump is located in Kitty Litter bucket at base of tower.  The pump is on a timer that sequences on or off each half hour.  Seeds were started in small peatmoss or fiberglas cubes at the end of November.

      The same nutrient mixture is fed to the plants in each case.

      Pepper plant outdoors in milk jug. It receives about two hours of direct sunlight per day.
      Pepper plant blossoms and one small pepper. January 9th.
      Tomato in milk jug. Some blossoms appeared this week.

      The tops have been cut off the milk jugs and a 2″ grow basket inserted to hold the plants.

      Initially, the jugs were wrapped in aluminum foil.  Now, the jugs are painted black to prevent algae growth and then silver to prevent the nutrient solution heating in sunlight.

      An unpainted strip down the handle reveals the nutrient level.  I add reverse osmosis purified water as necessary.

      I have been amazed at the growth rate of the lettuce, tomato and peppers seeded in Fiberglas and grown under the florescents.  The plants in the photo above were seeds 28 days ago. An initial charge of nutrient solution is supplemented with additions of plain water to keep the cubes moist.

      Dolly and I should be eating salads in March.  The overall results have been very encouraging.  I am planning a larger installation for next year using LED grow light strips and shelving units in our screened lanai.

      It may not be economical to grow your own on this scale.  Yet, the convenience of picking and eating fresh, no pesticide fruits and vegetables may offset the cost.

       

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Triple Tree Fly-in

Triple Tree is a unique place created over many years by Pat and Mary Lou Hartness. From undeveloped land they wrestled out a beautiful airdrome in South Carolina.

It’s centerpiece is a 7,000 foot grass runway of Bermuda bent grass that is irrigated and maintained like a golf course green.

For one week each year the private airport is opened up to all things airborne. All persons are invited provided they can show a pilot’s license or some other direct connection to aviation.

Facilities include the pavilion shown above, plus showers, wet and dry camp sites, an educational center, aerodrome control tower, a museum/hangar, pilots lounge and other necessary infrastructure. Pat’s prime aviation interest has been model aviation although he also has a full scale mirror polished Spartan Executive and a P51.

Pilot’s Lounge

DC3’s?

These two birds put on an airshow Saturday afternoon.

Shade from the sun and hangar flying conversation – Triple Tree hospitality.

Food at TTA is plentiful and delicious. There is a different menu for the cookout every evening. Thursday is “pick out and grill your own steak” night with tasty fixings and chocolate cake. Yumm!

On Saturday we lined up for a pulled pork dinner near the top of the hill by the hangars. A quartet played old songs and friends caught Dolly and I dancing. We had worked as volunteers all week; Dolly helped in registration and I drove six person courtesy golf carts.

Try it next year?

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Back to Michigan

The paint job was finished on May 17.  Dolly and I closed up the house and departed for Michigan on the 21st; she in her car and I in the Dreamweaver.

It took me 6 hours 38 minutes flying from Florida to Michigan, plus one fuel stop.  Dolly required three and a half days.  She plans on leaving her 2006 HHR in Michigan next winter and flying back with me.

 

 

 

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