The LED lighting is up in part of the greenhouse, and we can see it's already made a difference. The growth habit of the lettuce is more compact and even, and the red lettuce has colored up beautifully. Our plants really love getting the light denied them by our usual fall/winter weather. We've tried camping out to get our share of the light but it's hard on the eyes after awhile.
Finally rolling here on the farm! All irrigation going and lights almost up!
Its time to start sowing our first sets for our first zone! The challenge has been getting our tables. Still waiting on the final tables we made a temporary one.
We have had challenges with height and stretch too. We just installed our HPS Parsource lights. We will have our propagation on lights by end of week! This should help a lot. That said we are shooting for 14 hours a day. For example 6am-8pm, which will promote more growth.
Below is picture of what proper propagation looks like without artificial light. We are excited to see the difference.
Above is 'Rex' seed date 08-30-2016 Picture 09-06-16 Day 7 +/-
Whoa! It has been a busy couple weeks. We are excited to have a lot of the design and layout done for our feed and drain lines! Here are some pictures. Mainly so we do not forget what we did!
A great movie about our broken food system. Another great reason why to support local farmers!
This for sure has been the biggest challenge to date for myself in my growing career (4years ) the greenhouse! That is building out an NFT hydroponic system from scratch with no experience at all. For the past 4-5 month we have been learning how to grow the crop along with designing our system.
Now finally it is all coming together well the understanding of our system and the crop it self.
Below is a 20 day picture from in tank of our Pre-Empt + Biowish. Are we behind or ahead? We have about 10 more days to go :)
I think we are on track with this, if we are behind it may be a propagation from the start!?
Well we are happy to have our 1405 +/- tank in the ground safe and sound. It took two full days about 5 people to take of the job. WE had our challenges but it is taken care of. Next steps are grading GH 1 to put weed barrier down after grading is finished.
Over all progress on the propagation challenge has been great. To put it simply we are putting trays in same house as mature plants with a black out cover for 24-36 hours. Then once most seeds are obviously cracked they are brought to light and watered accordingly.
Right now I have two seperate in propagation this week. Once organic and one synthetic in rock-wool. See below!
One last thing we got a great crop out of organics with the proper weight! See bleow
A lot going on at the farm these days! Been out of town a week or so and things are moving right along. First thing is getting our ORGANIC fertilizer program in order.
Below is a picture of the before and after of one variety. Due to poor propagation we had to dump most of the set. There was a weak stem due to heat or stretching?
As for construction, this week we are digging out the tank for GH 1, we have decided to put inside and stick with one. A total of 1450 gal. for the tank on our zones. More detail to follow!
Looking ahead we are on track for the most part for the project. Some exciting things in organics and propagation will be happening as well.
Looks like the end of the Crop King 'Leafy Greens' so far has produced the best crop / largest weight!
Zone A is winning the race for fertilizer right now! We are using the Crop King 'Leafy Greens' fertilizer w/calcium nitrate 4.5-14-34 https://www.cropking.com/catalog/nutrients-nutrients-and-additives-nft-growing-accessories/hydro-grow-leafy-greens
The 'Crop King' is a synthetic blend. Currently on track to not use the 'Natures Source' fertilizer. Mainly because the plants are not growing as fast as we like, this is a OMRI organic blend. However we have not lost confidence in the organic front.
Our next set for the 'Pre-Empt' (https://www.cropking.com/catalog/nutrients-and-additives-nutrients/pre-empt-organic-hydroponic-fertilizer) we are confident to run a bit higher eC of 1.3 or so will get the growth we want!
Also with Organic lettuce comes the organic media. We are currently trialing the coco coir from HORT AMERICAS http://hortamericas.com/organic-plugs/
Please with germination rate of nearly 95%! The challenge has been the watering regime. The plug itself hold more moisture, so continuous flow is not needed. SO the watering regime varies on the weather.
Overall making some pretty good progression on the project mainly R&D. As for construction we are beginning a heavier load next week. We got the tanks this week though! See below!
With our flower time almost over we are starting to finally demo GH 1-3. This is exciting and overwhelming of course as well.
We have had rough plans and a timeline to have our first sow August 1st in our nursery of this year. Then a goal to have the first set trial? By September 30th.
So the focus is to plan well and execute daily. This week we are taking a step back but below is some stuff we have gotten done thus far.
The goal is to have GH 3 (nursery) mostly done by mid July or end of June! Currently we should get that far and/or meet that goal.
As for the R&D system, Zones A&B are coming along. The battle for conventional / organic growing is on!
So we had some issues color and roots on the 'Rex' Buttercrunch in ZONE C (Pre-empt). Through research and some phone calls we figured out it was over watering and possible pH imbalence. So we changed our watering from not continuous flows to timed ones at 15 min for every 4 hours.
Given the cool weather and cloud cover we have been having this made sense as well. So really change your watering practices to what the weather and plants are showing you.
Overall pleased with Zone C making a comeback for now. Stoked to see what the other zones produce. As of now pH levels are steady and will continue to measure daily and adjust accordingly.
We have put in our last set of plugs. So now all three R&D zones are up and going. It will be interesting to see the results. We will be managing / monitoring pH as needed.
We changed back to our original way of water flow in the system. We are not having continuous flow, we are now back to flow on a timer. Ex: 6 x / day 15-30min (depending on temps etc.)
Will follow up on this. We are thinking this is why we received the growing / root problem in ZONE C?!
Managed to lower pH to 6.1 for Zone C yesterday 5/17. Below is a picture of the roots, will give 3-4 days to see if the lower pH helps with this issue.
Also going to measure water flow. Ideally you want it at 4 cups / min :)
5/182016 roots on 'rex' Buttercrunch Zone C Pre-Empt fertilizer high pH?
Recently noticed on the 'rex' variety on the Buttercrunch lettuce. An obvious yellowing of the crop.
Pre-empt allows you not to adjust pH given the organic base of the crop. I ended up testing and came up with 8.0 and was able to bring it down to 6.1 on the meter.
We will see if this updates. Looks like we are about 10-12 days into the crop with a goal of 28!
This is our 2ND set in Zone C. Zone B and Zone A are still in the 'nursery' phase of the plugs. They also had a high pH that was adjusted. However there were no signs of nutrient deficiency.
We decided to use hortamericas.com coco plug 32mm for propagation and got great results. The results were even better when I actually follow the directions by using 'vermiculite'
Currently testing 3 different zones with 3 different types of fertilizer. Two types of organic OMRI listed fertilizer and one non organic.
We are at the end of our first set. Will be putting in the next set shortly.
IT tastes good by the way!