Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Hydroponic system

I got given a hydroponic system the other day, I'm pretty excited about it. Its a conventional Nutrient Flow Technique system big enough for about 15 tomato plants which is a pretty decent number of tomatoes, peppers whatever. Iv gained some enthusiasm for hydroponics from work and see it on the same level of environmental impact as watching tv riding in a car going shopping etc. Many of the fresh vegies we eat are grown hydroponically and for people with limited space its an option I would recommend considering.

Much cooler would be if I used it as an aquaponics system in conjunction with the pond I'm turning the pool into. This would be much more sustainable an low impact and would be a really cool demonstration unit to the public. Iv read some stuff by the new alchemy institute that makes aquaponics sound workable but have to do some more detailed research.

Peak oil

Peak oil is seeping into popular culture, apparently it was the lead item on the news a few days ago saying that oil would peak in 3 - 5 years. Whether this chatter turns into action is highly unlikely but the more people know the better. Also urban self sufficiency is popping up a lot in garden and current affairs shows, I really think greenies could capture interst rather effectivly if they tried.

Im reading the upside of down at the moment and from what I have read I highly reccomend it. The description of the Roman collapse caused by diminishing returns from agriculture and the complex nature of the Roman civilisation is fascinating and definetly deserves a post.


Marcy said...

I don't quite understand what you mean by environmental impact of hydroponics being similar to riding in a car and going shopping. Do you mean that hydroponics has a NEGATIVE environmental impact?

Can you recommend any sites/resources for info on hydroponics? I live in an apartment, but I have LARGE windows. I was thinking about just growing things indoors by the traditional method, but I have two cats who would probably dig in the soil. Although, they might be inclined to drink the fluid in a hydroponic system, unless there was a way to keep it covered.

John said...

Yea I didnt phrase it well, I was feeling guilty about the negative impact of hydroponics, energy for pumps and light, nutrients made out of fossil fuels or strip mined and components which are all made of plastics. Hydroponics can be the epitome of industrial agriculture and shows the extent to which we desire control of every living thing on the planet. I think its better for people to be using small scale hydroponic systems than relying on the industrial food chain but it I dont think its a very ideal way to grow plants. Hydroponics can be done in a huge range of ways so its very much a spectrum from good to bad.

Growing things in pots would be fairly easy, the most important thing would be which direction your windows face in New Zealand north facing is sunny but I guess for you its south facing. Herbs and salad vegetables could be easily grown in pots and combined with a worm farm would mean you could process and use some of your waste in the apartment.

But if you are interested in hydroponics it can be fascinating, most systems have the water covered to prevent algal growth so it should be ok with cats. I have been searching for good hydroponic sites on the internet for ages and will post any if I find good ones. For my info Ive taken to searching through dope growers forums as they have good tips on growing things in small spaces also most public librarys carry introductory hydroponic books. This is probably a good intro http://www.ag.uiuc.edu/~vista/html_pubs/hydro/hydroponic.html and then a local hydroponic supply show could provide more info