Kratky Hydroponics

I decided to pick up a new hobby. I wanted to choose one that didn’t consist of anything to do with weight training or me having to exert much physical energy into, but something that would challenge me and force me to learn something new. After pondering for a while, I got the mental stimulation I needed from a Joe Rogan Experience podcast. I forgot who the guest was, but they were talking about The Walking Dead, and the logistics of how to survive, like acquiring water, food, etc. I started thinking to myself how I would survive. I could hunt, but eating only meat would suck, what would I eat along with it? And I realized that I’ve never grown any food in my life

As I started gardening, I realized how awesome and relaxing it is. You are ultimately playing a god-like figure. You are creating this new life, caring for it through its life cycle, and at the end of its life, you harvest it and it gives you nutrition in return. I, for some reason, can’t get over how awesome that is. Call me a hippy or whatever, gardening is the shit. I also feel that it is important to learn these skills. I mean, humans have only very recently in time, not been growing their own food.

Let’s go over my setup. I converted my spare closet into a grow closet. Translation: I took all of Annie’s clothes and put them somewhere else. Since a closet has obviously much less space than my backyard, I decided I needed to use a method that was space conservative, and I also wanted limited working parts. I researched a lot, and discovered Kratky’s hydroponic method. All you do is  start out a seed in something like rockwool, or clay pebbles, Jiffy pellet, etc. and beneath that grow medium, sits in a bucket or container of water and nutrient solution. As the plant grows, the roots grow down and submerge themselves, sucking up the nutrient rich water. The roots out of the water take in co2. No watering or feeding necessary once you set it up. You also need a light source to mimic the sun, and a timer that cuts the light off and on at the same time. I just use cheap shop lights you’d see in a garage and they work fine. I have been using mason jars, protein jugs, and storage totes as containers. I have 2 basil plants, 8 heads of lettuce, a big tomato plant, and I just started germinating cilantro, spinach, more lettuce, California wonder bell peppers, and a handful of strawberries.

A few weeks days ago, I harvested my lettuce. I left about 3 inches from the base, so my lettuce will continue growing more heads for me. One seed can produce multiple plants if you leave the base intact and keep feeding them.  I am proud of myself for learning a new skill and following it through. I am totally addicted to gardening now, and will always be growing vegetables and herbs. I just recently ordered some peppermint, parsley, and dill seeds and I am excited to start germinating those suckers. After these lettuce finish up, I will be growing California wonder pepper plants in the big storage totes that my lettuce is currently in.

I am getting very interested in aquaponics, which is a self sustaining system that uses live fish to give nutrients to the plants through their waste products, the plants suck up the nutrients which filters the water back into fresh water that is recycled back to the fish.  Next year me and a friend are going to build one at his place and see what we can grow out of it. Too bad The Walking Dead characters don’t know about aquaponics or Kratky’s hydroponic method!

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