The system is suitable for growing any plants other than deep root crops.
Beans, brinjals, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, chillies, cucumber, kale, leeks, lettuce, marrows, melons, onions, peas, peppers, pumpkins, radish, rhubarb, spinach, spring onions, squash, strawberries, tomatoes and many more.
Anise, balm, basil, camomile, cannabis, chives, coriander, cumin, dill, fennel, marjoram, mint, mustard, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme, watercress and many more.
Almost all varieties of flowers can be grown including edible flowers like nasturtiums and violets.
With a medium depth of only 60mm, the system is unsuitable for growing large root crops such as carrots, potatoes, garlic and beetroot.
A place that gets full sunlight all day (minimum 6 hours) with good air movement and protection from strong wind. It must be close to an electricity plug (10 metre cable) and to a water tap, and be convenient for daily checks and for dosing. The best place if you are growing a selection of vegetables and herbs for the table is close to the kitchen.
If the system is exposed to rain it has to be managed. Rain water will collect at the rate of 2 litres per tray per 1mm of rain. This water will dilute the nutrient, and slow growth. A waste valve is fitted which allows water from the system to run to waste. This valve is opened, and the nutrient pump switched off while it is raining. Should this not be possible, the system can be emptied and re-filled correctly when the rain has passed. Other than slowed growth, there is generally no harm done to the plants by short term dilution.
Yes - all produce grown is organic. Plant nutrients comprise 12 minerals salts and trace elements. Whether one grows in soil or using hydroponics with some other medium, plants will only take up the nutrients in their elemental form when in solution in the water. There is no difference between salts that come from a packet or from soil.
The use of chemical controls for pests and disease is a grower's choice. One can use natural methods to manage these problems. Natural methods such as mixed and companion planting, screens, traps and organic preparations can be effective in small domestic and mixed planting situations. When mono cropping or cultivating large areas though, the judicious use of chemicals is by far the most effective way of dealing with pests and diseases.
Because the plant is being perfectly fed, it will develop to its full potential in all respects. This includes taste which will be as good as it gets for that plant type. This also means that the nutritional value, colour, aroma, texture and size will all be optimal.
A daily check to ensure that the nutrient is flowing and the tank is not empty. Weekly (or as required) re-filling the system with water and nutrient. Planting and harvesting - as required.
Annual stone medium wash.
Any water soluble hydroponics fertilisers may be used. Many manufactures are now making a hydroponic blend to be used in conjunction with calcium nitrate for a generally well balanced nutrient supply. The tray systems are supplied with a starter pack of nutrients which will last about 6 months.
No - not specifically through the use of this system. Seasonal growth and fruiting patterns are generally influenced by seasonal changes and conditions such as temperature and the number of daylight hours. Growing seasons are extended using this type of excellent feeding system, but to really cheat the seasons one also has to fake the environment. For example plastic tunnels, shade cloth covers and controlled indoor settings can all be used effectively. Many plants can be grown throughout the year.
Both can be planted into the medium. Using a seedling germinated in a small plug outside the system does however have some advantages. Seed germination is not always 100% which leaves gaps when the plants come up. Handling some of the really small seeds is not easy to do, often resulting in more than one seed being dropped. The growing space is wasted during germination period. Our recommendation is to only plant seeds directly when bunching is desirable eg spring onions, watercress or where the germination is fast and the seeds are big enough to easily handle eg beans. All other plants should be introduced as seedlings.
A lot of plant pests and diseases are soil borne and these are largely eliminated. Other problems are water borne, wind borne and mechanically introduced, and while the system itself cannot resist these, managing them is easier with the option of in-line (in the nutrient solution) application of preventatives and remedies that act systemically through the plant.
The process of photosynthesis shuts down without light, and although respiration continues, the plant will not 'feed' in the dark. To extend pump life the system can be switched off at night. A plug timer switch can do this automatically.