Hydroponics – Day Five

Project One – Countertop Sprouts

Alrighty then! Just five days after putting three tablespoons of alfalfa seeds in a 32 0z. Mason jar with some water and I think I will harvest them this evening. I’m having constant thoughts about food – and what sort of sandwich really deserves these beauties! We are super busy preparing to send home two Service Dogs this coming weekend, but I still think that an extra trip to the store for just the right ingredients is in order.

3/10/2020 Alfalfa sprouts nearly fill the jar before the rinse step.
Mung bean progress, shown after 12 hours of growth and before the rinse step.
Mung beans (left) and alfalfa spouts (right) after a water rinse and during the 15 minute draining step.
Alfalfa sprouts back to vertical position, after draining for 15 minutes.
Mung bean sprouts back to vertical for 12 hours, after a rinse and drain cycle.

Project Two – Lettuce Greens

The lettuce and arugula seedlings continue to grow in their rockwool cubes. Yesterday, I put them under the grow lights for a few hours. This morning, they have shot up more. The arugula has grown above the tops of the cubes. I am waiting to see roots extending down through the bottom of the cube. Then, they can be transferred to the next vessel.

Arugula (front) and leaf lettuce (back) are opening their primary leaves to the world.
My new LED grow light that attaches to the side of a table – shedding light onto the little plants.
A view from the other side of the grow light.
The grow light also offers better lighting for photography!

I’ve received all the supplies to be able to transfer the lettuce and arugula to their final growing jars. Once the seedlings are ready to transplant, I will mix the nutrients in distilled water, separate the rockwool cubes. Cull plants to one per cube. Put one cube in a net cup. Surround with a supporting medium (I happened to purchase clay balls – not shown in the photo below.) Then, suspend the cup in the water so that the roots just barely reach the surface of the water. The roots will “sense” the water and grow downwards into it. At that stage, it will be important to shield the jars from excess sunlight, or algae will grow which will harm the roots. I’ve purchased a large, black dishpan in which I will put all the jars. What I’ve read is that about 14 days later, the first leaves can be harvested.

Nutrients for hydroponic plant growth (replaces the nutrients typically found in soil.) Net cups that will hold the class balls and rockwool cube containing the plant. Mason jar to hold the nutrient water and suspend the net pot.

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