Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Time to Start Growing Indoors

Do something important for you and your family. You need to really start growing food in your home. Where? Well every room in your house is the answer. Why? It will soon be really hard to grow food outside at times. If the sun's sunspot record is any indication of what is coming, and all the early cold temperatures and snow are any indication, its time to do some planning. Its September the 17th. 2019 and things are starting to cool off quickly. We are seeing huge flooding in Europe and some really cold weather is headed their way. The North West is seeing snow at higher elevations and all those snow bunnies are digging in. Parts of Russia are seeing record cold, and there is an uptick in volcanic eruptions.

 With global cooling, food production should become the most primary thought in your mind every day.  Am I talking about something fancy like in the picture below? Actually NO unless you have a lot of extra cash. What I am talking about is something more simple that most of us can work with and the cost is much much less.


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OK, before I go in that direction - GET YOUR SEEDS NOW.
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While this is about growing indoors, here are some places you can think about growing. Always have options and multiple places you can grow food. Some may fail and if you follow those mono culture farmers you may be SOL as they say.


  • Indoors
  • Ruth Stout outside garden
  • Cold Frames
  • Greenhouses
  • Protected Areas
  • Grow Bags

I am writing a new book called "Growing Food in the Super Grand Solar Minimum". Below is is a little piece from the book on cheap hydroponic systems that you can use to grow greens and herbs which you will need to make sure that you are getting enough vitamins with your food. I have a lot of experience doing this as I grow microgreens and other types of food in an indoor type of environment and have been doing it for the past 15 years.

The Bubble Machine

The Bubble Machine is a very simple but productive hydroponics system. The system consists of a plastic storage container with a lid. Holes are cut in the lid to receive plastic pots. An inexpensive air pump and bubble rock make up the rest of the system. A small plastic reducer is inserted in the side of the container and a piece of clear aquarium air pump tubing is used to gage the nutrient level. The number and size of the holes that are drilled in the lid depends on the plant and pot size. A large  plant might just have one hole in the middle of the lid. The author's system has 5 holes and uses  4 inch pots. I drilled holes in the pots so the roots could grow through then and into the nutrient. This is a very trouble free system. This is the first hydroponics system I built and has remained my favorite.

The nice thing about this system is that I can grow a spring crop of lettuce in the system before I dump the nutrient, and start over. This may not be possible with slower growing plants, or later in the warmer days of spring, as the plants will use more water. All you need to do is to add pH adjusted water until you have replaced the same volume of nutrient you started with. In my system, I started out with seeds placed in perlite and watered. After the seeds sprouted, I fed the plants a 50% nutrient solution. I then waited until the plants had true leaves, and were about 1-1/2 inch tall before moving them into the 4" pots that had been whetted with nutrient. I filled the nutrient tank until it over lapped the pots by about 1/2 ". I did this because the new plants did not have long roots and I wanted to be sure that the perlite in the pots came in contact with the nutrient. Remember that if you are starting this system a little late, you can go to your local nursery or home center and get your plants. If the plants you purchase are in a peat / soil mixture make sure to wash the roots before putting them in the media. I used perlite as a system medium, but "Grow Rocks" would work just as well. What can you grow in this type of system? Things like lettuce and herbs do quite well. You could grow other plants like green beans, squash and peppers. One squash plant would probably cover the entire system because of its large leaves. Make sure you think about how large a mature plant will be before adding a bunch of plants that later will compete for their place in the sun. If you want a trouble free system and want to enjoy successful hydroponics growing the first time out, then the Bubble Machine is it.

The results on the left. This was taken in late December in my new hobby greenhouse. I have already enjoyed a good salad from this system. The bubbler system is 5 years old and going strong. Once a year you will need to clean up the unit because of all the nutrient salt buildup.










The 1 Gallon Bubbler System

This bubbler system is a good example of making a hydroponics system from most anything. This system is constructed from 1 gallon plastic jugs. Two of them are milk jugs and the other one is from a distilled water jug that my wife used. Because you can see through the jugs, I painted them green with spray paint that is especially manufactured to paint plastic.  When cutting off the tops, go slow, as the plastic is rather thin and easy to cut. If you are not careful, you will quickly cut the hole too big for the 2 inch net pots. Also, be careful not to wrinkle the plastic as you will create a crack. Because the plastic is so thin, they will probably only last one season. This system is a good project for school or for just having fun. Note that the end of the air tubing is connected to a small bubbler rock.




The graphic below is the completed 1 gallon bubbler. The air rock (stone) is placed at the bottom of the jug. Also note that when I painted the jug, I put some tape on the side of the jug so that when I removed it, I would have a small window (nutrient level window) on its side. Using this window, I can monitor the nutrient level of the jug. For this system, I made three of them and ran the bubblers from one air pump. If you have a lot of jugs and a lot of air pumps, there is probably no limit to how many of these could be made and put into operation.

Just as I had finished building the 1 gallon bubblers, my wife asked me if I could grow parsley for her as we were expecting a freeze and when that happens all her parsley is destroyed. The graphic below shows the parsley we pulled from her garden and placed in the system. Note in the graphic that I have used LECA rock to hold the parsley plants she pulled out of her garden.  I am thinking that if I had about 10 or 15 of these systems that I could grow almost all the herbs I would ever need. 





















On coming blogs, I will talk about LED lighting and what I use. Also a bit on hydroponic nutrients that you will want to use in your bubbler systems.

Its almost time for dinner here in Central Texas. Those crappy cruddy weather gods have run a low pressure into Houston at the moment. Wonder if it will make it this way? Oh my Dinner is Eggs Benedict and fresh Asparagus. Sorry your not here, but I have to eat all the crap food my wife cooks every day- Ya its tough!

Prepare
Winter is on its way
Purchase your 7 years of seeds
Grow a garden
Start a bubbler system

Cheers and best of everything
Dennis

NEW BLOG. I have a new blog on Microgreens at this URL.
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Super Grand Solar Minimum Radio and Survival Equipment Store at this URL


 


All the equipment in my store is used personally by me or recommended by me.



I have updated and enlarged the Surviving the Super Grand Solar Minimum book. I also have the SGSM book and three others at this URL. They all come in a PDF format.

I am plan to keep the paperback book (older version) which was very popular at Amazon at this URL for a bit longer. Its a great book to pass out.


Need Seeds?

These are my two of my recommended seed suppliers at this URL

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