I have been looking forward to writing this post for… nearly a year?
So, in early 2017 I started to read a lot about hydroponics. For those of you that are side-eyeing your screen right now, hydroponics is a way of growing plants without using soil. The thinking goes a little-summin-like-this… Soil is actually a pretty poor nutrient delivery system. Water, on the other hand, is very efficient- a clean and direct middle man between your plant and all the things it needs. Also, let’s be real here, growing plants without soil is futuristic and cool.
I first heard about hydroponics when I saw that Ikea were starting to sell the KRYDDA/VÄXER system. I watched the little video, I went to see the actual unit in store and… I was hooked. It looked like a pretty neat hobby. I’ve always loved watching little plants grow (they then usually die in the cold but… you know) and I am always one to pick up a new project. It was my style.
Buuuut. I didn’t like how the Ikea one looked. It wasn’t exactly my aesthetic. I wanted everything to look all future-y and spacey like my Elon Musk mars-based fantasies. We’d just moved into a new flat with this huuuuuuge pantry cupboard which covered the entire width of the kitchen and it seemed like a really cool place to house a hydroponic masterpiece. So I started looking around forums, reddit and everywhere I could gather vital info to hack and build my perfect system.
So after much research and plotting, I bought all my supplies…and then stalled. Have you ever done this? You get so excited about a project but then when it actually comes to starting you get, I dunno, hobby block? I was stuck in my tracks. I don’t know if it was just a bit ambitious or I was scared about wiring the massive tube light I’d bought… but damn I was scared.
January was my month. I was intent on crossing everything off my to-do list. And right at the top was starting off my first hydroponics crop.
Not bad, huh? The photos in this post were taken when the plants were about 4 weeks old and they’re looking pretty damn healthy. At the moment we have two boxes of Butterhead lettuces, some basil propagated from a shop bought plant and some shop bought lettuce which is staying remarkably alive but not growing in any way. We also just started propagating some dill and growing some basil and coriander seedlings in the propagation box.
Once we get our first crop (so I know for a fact that every thing’s actually working!), I’ll share a proper guide to what I did but for now I’m really excited to share some updates on how the little green shoots are doing. Because I check every morning I don’t really get a sense of how quickly they’re growing but after taking these photos and then spotting my first instagram post about them I was really surprised how much they’ve grown in a month.
Also, I have to share a video of when I first got the tube light to work. 0% knowledge and 100% persistence, you guys. Woooooohoooo!