Small Hydroponic Unit (12/11)
Image by Colleen Cavagna

Small Hydroponic Unit (12/11)

Small Hydroponic Unit 1/10
Image by Colleen Cavagna

Small Hydroponic Unit 1/10

Small Hydroponic Unit 1/25
Image by Colleen Cavagna

Small Hydroponic Unit 1/25

Small Hydroponic Unit 2/15
Image by Colleen Cavagna

Small Hydroponic Unit 2/15

Large Hydroponic Unit 12/13
Image by Colleen Cavagna

Large Hydroponic Unit 12/13

Large Hydroponic Unit 1/10
Image by Colleen Cavagna

Large Hydroponic Unit 1/10

Large Hydroponic Unit 1/25
Image by Colleen Cavagna

Large Hydroponic Unit 1/25

Large Hydroponic Unit 2/15
Image by Colleen Cavagna

Large Hydroponic Unit 2/15

Green Beans in Large Hydroponic Unit 1/25
Image by Colleen Cavagna

Green Beans in Large Hydroponic Unit 1/25

Trellising of soil and hydroponic plants
Image by Colleen Cavagna

Trellising of soil and hydroponic plants

Gardening

Hydroponic Units - Do they really work in the winter inside your home. 

Follow Colleen Cavagna as she tackles that question all this winter. Learn if using Hydroponics is for you. 

Small & Large Hydroponic Units (General Hydroponics): For pictures of the units and plants, check out the one month later pictures above!

2017/2018 Hydroponics Experiment

November 21st – 2017

Seeds planted in soil (lettuce, peas, beans,tomatoes, lemon balm, cucumbers) for transplant to hydroponics units and for planting in soil as a control. Potting soil used with bottom heat, planted in 72 tray cell with lid, lettuce planted in open tray and covered with transparent lid.

24th - Beans germinated. Two banks of florescent lights (cool/warm) turned on in the morning – 6-8” above soil.

25th – December 10th – Other seeds germinated – plants growing first and second set of leaves.

December 11th – 2017

Small Hydroponics Unit setup. Clay balls used in large open area, after they were washed. Constant drip irrigation unit with air pump forcing nutrient water up to O-ring that keeps clay balls and plant roots moist. Planted in unit: 2tomatoes, 1 pea, 1 cucumber, lettuce seeds sprinkled on top of clay balls in one area to see if they will germinate on moist balls. Approximately 2.5 – 3 gallons of water added to unit. 1 tsp of Flora Gro added to water per Hydroponic Unit instructions.

12th – Large Hydroponics Unit setup. Clay balls used in 6 pots washed. Constant spider drip into each individual pot. Air pump forces nutrient solution through spider drip. Planted in Unit: 1 tomato, lettuce (both transplant and seeds), 2 cucumbers, 2 green bean plants, and seeded spinach in one pot to see if it would germinate in-situ. Filled with water to manufacturers starting level, added 5 tsp Flora Gro.

17th - Covered small and large hydroponic units with T5 grow lights.

19th – Drained Small Hydroponic Unit (SHU). Balanced water to 6.5 (lowered pH). Added: MicroFlora (1.6 tsp), FloraGro (2 tsp), FloraBloom (1/2 tsp).

20th – Coco Coir disks topped with brown fabric added to 5 of the Large Hydroponic Unit (LHU) pots. Spinach seed in 6th pot appears to be opening – but are very soaked. May rot? Coirs installed to slow or stop any development of algae growth. SHU not covered as lettuce is interspersed throughout open area. Seeds have germinated and are very spindly. Transplanted are not doing much. Added Micro (1.5 tsp), Gro (2 tsp), Bloom (1/2 tsp) as tomato leaves appear a little yellow. Using ph Meter and PPM meter to monitor nutrients and their availability.

21st – Drained LHU, changed water. Went from Early Seeding to Early Growth nutrient range per Unit instructions. LHU holds approximately 13 gallons at this level. Level slowly reduced as plants develop more roots.

Micro (20 tsp), Gro (26 tsp), Bloom (6.5 tsp)

LHU: pH 6.5   998 ppm
SHU: pH 7.45 added ph down – 6.25 pH correction – 880 ppm – added ¾ tsp raised to 938 ppm

22nd – SHU: pH 6.74   946 ppm
LHU: pH 7.49   795 ppm – added 3 tsp gro, 3 tsp micro & ph down. Corrected to: pH 6.45 and 972 ppm

23rd- SHU: pH 6.54   1084 ppm
LHU: 6.17 pH   889 ppm – added 3 tsp micro

24th – SHU: 6.67 pH   1074 ppm
LHU: 6.68 pH   950 ppm

25th – SHU: 6.7 pH   1079 ppmadded vinegar to drop pH 6.40 pH
LHU: 6.65 pH   958 ppm - added vinegar to drop pH 6.41

26th – SHU: 6.8 pH   1019 ppm
LHU: 6.64 pH   962 ppm

27th – SHU: 6.82 pH   997 ppm – added vinegar, Gro, Bloom – 5.7 pH   1076 ppm
LHU: 6.66 pH   932 ppm – added vinegar, Gro, Micro, Bloom – 6.20 pH   1017 ppm

28th – SHU: 6.86 pH   1094 ppm
LHU: 6.61 pH   1044 ppm

LED Grow light mounted over Hydroponic Units for Red and Blue light. T5 grow lights still running. Soil plants are using Florescent lights and getting some cast-off light from T5 and LED light.

29th – SHU: 6.96 pH   980 ppm – added vinegar and micro – 6.51 pH   1054 ppm
LHU: 6.69 pH   1001 ppm

30th – Drained LHU – reduced water from 13 gallons to 9 gallons (recommend slower reduction in future as this seemed to cause issues with the newly developing green bean leaves and the cucumber leaves). Added 18 tsp Micro, 18 tsp Gro, and 9 tsp Bloom. Added pH Down to reduce pH to 6.56 pH   1084 ppm

Drained SHU – used same amount of water per unit instructions. Added 6 tsp Micro, 6 tsp Gro, 3 tsp Bloom.
pH 5.92   1486 ppm

January 1st, 2018

SHU: 6.56 pH   1265 ppm
LHU: 6.16 pH   964 ppm

2nd – SHU: 6.57 pH   1331 ppm
LHU: 6.25 pH   993 ppm

Eating lettuce from soil planted seeds - hydroponic lettuce small but growing.

3rd – SHU: 6.53 pH  1359 ppm
LHU: 6.36 pH   995 ppm – added Gro, Micro, Bloom – 6.20 pH   1149 ppm

Peas in Units and soil trellised. Cucumber in soil trellised and blooming.

4th – SHU: 6.54 pH   1371 ppm
LHU: 6.26 pH   1126 ppm

Cucumbers in Hydroponic Units trellised. 2nd salad from soil planted lettuce, hydroponic lettuce still not ready to harvest.

5th – Plants in both units are using a lot more water. Added water to both units.
SHU: 6.91 pH   1129 ppm – added pH Down – 5.9 pH   1215 ppm
LHU: 6.43 pH   1099 ppm

6th – SHU: 6.56 pH   1212 ppm
LHU: 6.46 pH   1066 ppm

Green bean plants blooming – hand pollinating

7th – SHU: 6.66 pH   1157 ppm
LHU: 6.46 pH   1054 ppm

8th – Drained LHU – Kept water at 9 gallons. Added 18 tsp Micro, 18 tsp Gro, and 9 tsp Bloom. Added pH Down to reduce pH to 6.56 pH   1203 ppm

Drained SHU – used same amount of water per unit instructions. Added 6 tsp Micro, 6 tsp Gro, 3 tsp Bloom.
pH 6.57   1486 ppm

Small green beans are started to grow from pollinated blooms. First blooms seen on cucumber plants

9th – SHU: 6.77 pH   1339 ppm – added pH Down – 6.00 pH
LHU: 6.90 pH   1094 ppm – added pH Down & Bloom - 5.91 pH   1149 ppm

3rd salad from soil planted lettuce - lettuce in small hydroponic unit getting larger.

10th – SHU: 6.57 pH   1256 ppm
LHU: 6.27 pH   1149 ppm

11th - Added water to both units - added Gro to LHU
SHU: 6.41 pH   1331 ppm
LHU: 6.15 pH   1259 ppm

12th - 6.43 pH   1331 ppm
LHU: 6.15 pH   1259 ppm

13th - Added water to both units
SHU: 6.51 pH   1215 ppm
LHU: 6.11 pH   1193 ppm

14th - SHU: 6.29 pH   1417 ppm (Green beans 1")
LHU: 6.05 pH   1249 ppm
1st pea blooms developing in soil pea

15th - SHU: 6.31 pH   1305ppm
LHU: 6.04 pH   1265ppm (Trellised tomatoes)

16th - SHU: 6.12 pH   1371ppm
LHU: 5.84 pH   1290ppm

17th - SHU: 6.15 pH   1280 ppm
LHU: 5.93 pH   1265 ppm

18th - No data

19th - Drained SHU & LHU:

SHU - 4.5 tsp Micro - 1.5 tsp  Gro - 9 tsp Bloom 6.75 pH   1449 ppm
LHU - 9 tsp Micro - 3 tsp Gro - 18 tsp Bloom (reduced water to 6 gallons) 6.27 pH   1242 ppm

20th - SHU: 6.09 pH   1422 ppm
LHU: 6.41 PH   1162 ppm

21st - SHU: 5.85 pH   1496 ppm
LHU: 6.09 pH 1169 ppm

22nd - Added water to both units, Peas blooming on hydro plant - Small pods on peas in soil.
SHU: 6.04 pH   1371 ppm
LHU: 6.09 pH   1099 ppm added Micro change 1431 ppm

23rd - SHU: 5.84 pH   1449 ppm
LHU: 5.89 pH   1335 ppm

24th - SHU: 6.36 pH   1339 ppm
LHU: 6.09 pH   1265 ppm added bloom
(Fourth salad from soil lettuce - hydro lettuce growing but small)

Cucumber leaves in hydro units have pocked leaves - lots of blooms. Even with hand pollinating only one cucumber growing from three plants. Not sure if pocking is just variety response to hydroponic growing or if they need different nutrients? 

25th - First harvest of green beans from LHU.
SHU: 6.35 pH   1371 ppm
LHU: 5.83 pH   1371 added pH Up

26th - SHU: 6.45 pH  1301 ppm
LHU: 6.29 pH 1356 ppm

27th - SHU: 6.67 pH   1259 ppm
LHU: 6.14 pH   1321 ppm

28th - SHU: 6.84 pH   1105 ppm added Micro
LHU: 5.82 pH   1331 ppm added pH Up

29th - SHU: 6.00pH   1359 ppm added water and pH Up
LHU: 5.94 pH   1309 ppm added water and pH Up

30th - SHU: 6.50 pH   1203 ppm
LHU: 5..75 pH   1308 ppm 

31st - SHU: 6.86 pH   1152 ppm added water and Gro/Bloom
LHU: 5.68 pH   1312 ppm added pH Up

2/1 - SHU: 5.89 pH   1572 ppm added water and pH Up
LHU: 6.13 pH   1371 ppm

2nd - SHU: 6.30 pH 1502 ppm
LHU: 6.05 pH 1339 ppm

3rd: Drained SHU and LHU                         Trellised tomato plants and clipped to wires.
SHU: 4.5 tsp Micro          LHU: 8.5 tsp
1.5 tsp Gro                       2.5 tsp
9 tsp Bloom                     16 tsp 

4th - SHU: 5.91 pH   1355 ppm
LHU: 6.67 pH   984 ppm added micro and bloom

5th - SHU: 5.84 pH   1449 ppm added water and pH Up
LHU: 5.85 pH   1359 ppm added water and pH Up

6th - SHU: 6.69 pH   1137 ppm aded water and Gro
LHU: 5.99 pH   1316 ppm

7th - SHU: 6.72 pH   1127 ppm added water
LHU: 6.03 pH   1308 ppm 

8th - SHU: 6.87 pH   1103 ppm added water
LHU: 6.11 pH   1309 ppm

9th - SHU: 6.96 pH 1099 ppm     2nd batch of hydroponic green beans -
LHU: 6.13 pH 1316 ppm

10th - SHU:  6.50 pH   1298 ppm  ADDING WATER DAILY
LHU: 6.28 pH    1283 pp,  ADDING WATER EVERY OTHER DAY

11th - SHU: 6,14 pH   1283 ppm
LHU: 6.28 pH   1283 ppm

12th - new flowers on green beans LHU - lemon balm finally growing well. Tomato plants 3-4 feet tall - first blooms on SHU tomato plant. 

13th - SHU: 6.20 pH   1280 ppm     Cucumbers growing. Hand pollinating
LHU: 6.30 pH   1250 ppm

14th - SHU: 6.31 pH   1244 ppm
LHU: 6.42 pH   1200 ppm

15th -SHU: 6.36 pH   1222 ppm added micro/bloom
LHU: 6.54 pH   1157 ppm added micro/bloom

16th -

Contact

Colleen Cavagna
Allegany County Community Educator, Horticulture
cc746@cornell.edu
585-268-7644 ext 12

Last updated February 15, 2018