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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hey gang,<br><br><br><br>
i picked up some organic lettuce yesterday at whole foods (i'm in northern calif.). i noticed that they were grown in new zealand. can it be that they ship *lettuce* from the other side of the globe?<br><br><br><br>
it was on sale and a lot cheaper than locally grown organic lettuce in another store.<br><br><br><br>
how crazy is this?<br><br><br><br>
i think there's a business opportunity here. i should get into wholesale lettuce growing.
 

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could be. i watched a thing on tv where they showed how lettuce is grown commercially in hothouses. pretty cool stuff! it looks pretty easy to grow huge batches of it at once and it's just sorta floated in water so i imagine the cost to do it is fairly low once you get the equipment
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
hm, actually hydroponics is one of my hobbies these days. I'm growing some gigantic lettuce heads right now (can post pics if any1 is interested in a self-plug). in fact i'm planning a huge system with some 100 plants... what can i say - lettuce is one of my staples... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br><br><br>
the problem with commercial hydro is that in the U.S. hydro produce can't get the organic certification, even if you use organic nutrients. bummer.<br><br><br><br>
p.s. here are some pics of a commercial float system LadyFaile mentioned:<br><br><a href="http://www.bee.cornell.edu/extension/CEA/LettuceHandbook/Lettuce%20Prod%20p1.htm#day0" target="_blank">http://www.bee.cornell.edu/extension...%20p1.htm#day0</a><br><br>
(you have to click through the pages to see the whole life cycle of a lettuce plant)
 

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Hydroponics will be a hobby of mine as well once i can get enough money to build an encolosure and get the equipment that i need.<br><br><br><br>
Oatmeal. what type of system do you use ? i will be using the wick system.
 

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I did not even know that Hydroponic could be organic. My how things have changed<br><br><br><br>
Kamila... leaning on her cane
 

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oatmeal, i'd love to see pics of your hydroponic lettuces. (lettici?)<br><br><br><br>
we have always been interested in trying to grow much of our own food and haven't got much yard to work with (at 50 square feet).<br><br><br><br>
how are your electric bills? does it use much power?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
cool - hydro questions! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/thumbsup.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":up:"><br><br><br><br>
right now all i have is a small NFT system for learning. i built it out of a piece of 4" sewage pipe - no, the pipe was new of course. the plants grow in styrofoam cups with holes in them (holes in the cups, that is). the cups are filled with pumice (see pics later). so far i have grown lettuce, basil and spinach successfully. i want to grow so much more, but decided to stay with small plants first.<br><br><br><br>
the main problem with tomatoes (and generally larger plants) is that they grow so damn fast in hydro systems - you need to build some solid support or else the plants will crush it. so it's more like a construction project then. which is fine with me, but first i want to get a feel for hydro.<br><br><br><br>
the power usage is negligible. i use a 150 GPH (=very small) pump which runs all the time. i think it uses < 5W so it should not amount to more than a few kwh / month. you can design systems where the pump runs only a few times a day for a few minutes. You can also run the system with solar power of course. there are systems without pumps too (like V3gan mentioned the wick system). It's a different story if you grow indoors with lights though I think it pays even then.<br><br><br><br>
if you are good with your hands (even somewhat), i recommend building your own systems, because it's simple to build, and much cheaper than buying. with 50 sqft you'd be able to grow a decent amount of plants. Check this garden out - it's 40 sqft averaging 100 heads of lettuce / month at peak season:<br><br><br><br><a href="http://www.fesersoft.com/hydro/SaladMachine.asp" target="_blank">http://www.fesersoft.com/hydro/SaladMachine.asp</a><br><br><a href="http://www.fesersoft.com/hydro/SaladMachinePart1.asp" target="_blank">http://www.fesersoft.com/hydro/SaladMachinePart1.asp</a><br><br><a href="http://www.fesersoft.com/hydro/SaladMachinePart2.asp" target="_blank">http://www.fesersoft.com/hydro/SaladMachinePart2.asp</a><br><br><br><br>
BTW if you look at his <a href="http://www.fesersoft.com/hydro/TomatoGreenhouse.asp" target="_blank">tomato project</a> - he grew over 500 lbs tomatoes and 30 lbs peppers on 140 sqft in one growing season!!<br><br><br><br><br><br>
Kamila, yes, hydroponics can be organic, if you take organic fertilizers (worm tea, manure, bloodmeal, bone, bat guano etc) and turn (clean) them into hydro nutrient.<br><br><br><br>
fuzzpuddle, the problem is that it's not quite clear what the term "organic" means. And many certification agencies would consider the refinement of the organic fertilizers a non-organic method.<br><br><br><br><a href="http://www.genhydro.com/article.html" target="_blank">http://www.genhydro.com/article.html</a><br><br><br><br>
it's unclear when and how this gets resolved - but hydroponics is a very small niche in the U.S. so this issue is not very important to legislators i guess. but basically it's always about the nutrient, and not about pesticides.<br><br><br><br>
My problem with the organic nutrients is that every one I checked out contained animal farming byproducts (the ones I mentioned above) - bleh.<br><br><br><br>
BTW, there is one hydro system which is easily certified organic even in the US, and it is aquaponics. Basically you have a large fish tank, and use the fish waste water to grow the plants in. So it is organic, b/c the only input (besides water and sun) is the fish food. This system works perfectly, but personally I don't like any animal farming - i'm such a weenie. But for a couple of thousand bucks you can buy your own "hobby"-aquaponic system here<br><br><br><br><a href="http://www.cropking.com/aquaponics.shtml" target="_blank">http://www.cropking.com/aquaponics.shtml</a><br><br><br><br>
(i love this country! is there something you can't buy here?? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"> )<br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br>
building the new garden will take me weeks b/c i'm quite busy otherwise but i can keep you posted about the progress. it will use plastic gutter covered with styrofoam, which is even cheaper than PVC pipe and much easier to cut (if you ever tried to cut holes into 1/4" thick PVC with a dremel, you'll like to hear this - ouch!). i want to use either the old styro cup setup or rockwool as growing medium.<br><br><br><br>
so people post if there are any more Q's or suggestions b/c i think hydro is very interesting! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D"> i have a lot of hydro links and info! (i've been thinking about starting a hydro bulletin board for some time now.)<br><br><br><br>
ok i head for the garden now and take a few pics. be right back & post them...
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
That's the system. Sorry for the bad quality pics. It's really small, but i had some nice veggies already from it.<br><a href="http://cdn.veggieboards.com/8/80/8072469c_vbattach234.jpeg"><img alt="LL" src="http://cdn.veggieboards.com/8/80/525x525px-LL-8072469c_vbattach234.jpeg" style="width:525px;height:394px;"></a>
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
This is the rewervoir. It's covered with aluminum foil b/c i had too much algae growth recently.<br><a href="http://cdn.veggieboards.com/9/96/967984f8_vbattach235.jpeg"><img alt="LL" src="http://cdn.veggieboards.com/9/96/525x525px-LL-967984f8_vbattach235.jpeg" style="width:394px;height:525px;"></a>
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
This is still growing. The can is a standard size food can. The variety is called "Long Standing Batavian". You can see the head forming. In ~ 2 weeks it's harvest time. It should then have a nice round iceberg-type crisphead (only much more tasty!) <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><a href="http://cdn.veggieboards.com/c/cc/cc5e1388_vbattach236.jpeg"><img alt="LL" src="http://cdn.veggieboards.com/c/cc/525x525px-LL-cc5e1388_vbattach236.jpeg" style="width:525px;height:394px;"></a>
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The root system of a young plant.<br><a href="http://cdn.veggieboards.com/e/e6/e6a75d42_vbattach237.jpeg"><img alt="LL" src="http://cdn.veggieboards.com/e/e6/525x525px-LL-e6a75d42_vbattach237.jpeg" style="width:394px;height:525px;"></a>
 

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damn, that's cool, oatmeal! however i must admit most of that explanation went completely over my head, heh <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br><br><br>
man, i wanna grow a bunch of lettuce!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
hehe.... thanx! hydro is not difficult! sorry 4 the technical details - i tried to keep it simple. you should see dedicated hydroponics websites / books though...<br><br><br><br>
but you can grow lettuce in containers too like muppetcow said!<br><br><br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D">
 

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Oatmeal. do you add hydrogen peroxide to your water? i have read mixed feelings about this, mainly thebad was form people who dont know what they are doing. but either way it does oxygenate the water and kill's alge.
 

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i used to grow a bunch of sprouts - lentil, brocolli, alfalfa, radish....i should start doing that again.<br><br><br><br>
greens! give me greeeeeeeeens!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
V3gan: nope I don't use H2O2. If you keep the system covered, there should be no excessive algae. You'll always have some, but a little algae does no harm at all.<br><br><br><br>
With NFT you don't have to worry much about oxygen in the solution. If you do (or use another system e.g. float) than you can use an aquarium air pump+airstone in the reservoir.<br><br><br><br>
If you look at the reservoir picture, I have the backflow + flow from the regulating valve pouring back into the solution which oxygenates it somewhat. But as I said with NFT there's usually no problem with oxygen b/c only not all of the root system is submerged in the nutrient and so the roots can always breathe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
sprouts is a good idea. i sprouted some mung beans recently <<<--- yum<br><br><br><br>
but it's a lot of work all the rinsing so you have to be dedicated...!
 
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