Organic Hydroponic Vegetables, is it possible?

IMG_5553IMG_5551IMG_5551IMG_5546IMG_5554IMG_5547IMG_5544Organic Hydroponic Vegetables is there such a thing, well yes everything is possible, the growers will tell you, you can only grow hydroponics in a sterile environment utilising chemical fertilisers, well this is my organic hydroponics system that I grow all my own vegetables and food for our very spoilt chickens. the better the food they eat, the better the eggs we eat.

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My basic system is 6 hydroponic channels with a pot system mounted on top, I use wormtec worm extract as the fertiliser its in a drum underneath the hydroponic channels,  A pump that is on a timer pumps the worm extract fertiliser from the drum up an irrigation line to each pot on the system, it pumps 6 times a day for 3 minutes each time that it pumps that’s a total of 18 minutes a day its a very low watt pump that costs nothing to run.

Each pot contains clay balls, this is just a grow medium to hold the plant up, it also allows the microbes in our fertiliser a home to live so they can assist in cycling nutrients for the plants growth and we also use the microbes as a bio control to defend the vegetables from pest and disease attacks, the clay balls also hold moisture for the plants when the pump is not running,  the clay balls are free draining so the excess worm extract drains straight through the pot into the drain channel.

We irrigate each pot and the extract drains down through the pot onto the saucer on top of the hydroponic channel it then drains into the hydroponic channel and flows back to the drum underneath the hydroponic channels, so that it can be re-pumped around the system when the timer switches the pump back on, so this worm extract in re-cycled around the system over and over again automatically, I just top up the drum with water ever couple of days because of evaporation from the plants leaves. I change the Wormtec worm extract after a couple of months, I some times add a little fish or kelp to assist with growth.

This is the perfect system for me as i am away from home most days for 10 to 12 hours and don’t get enough time for watering and weeding, this system has seen a few disasters so I have made more than a few changes from where I started, heat is my main problem at the moment you will notice in the photos I am now using a little coconut fibre on top of my clay balls as they were getting too hot from the sun now summer is here in full force this  has made a huge difference to the system to get the direct sun off the clay balls, my next change is to paint the black pots white to reflect the heat, apart from this my system works great, I can go away in the middle of summer knowing my Vegetables will be alive when I get home.

Is this sustainable yes, we feed the chickens organic waste from the garden, they give us great taste eggs, the chicken waste goes to a worm farm, we make liquid organic fertiliser from the worm castings that goes back into the hydroponics system to produce organic vegetables. Hope this was of interest Greg

 

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