So, I thought about how he's building his Food Rising Mini-Farm Grow Box. And, I decided to put something similar together with the items I have around the house or could easily (and affordably) acquire in town. A year ago, I bought a couple planters on legs from Rite Aid for $25 each. They are very nice actually. I'm not sure how well they would hold up outside because they are brittle plastic. But, they do well inside in my dining nook. I had two 10-gallon fish tanks hooked up (one to each planter) for aquaponics. The aquaponics did nicely for a while. But, with time, the plants faded in vigor. I believe they needed more nutrition than the fish can provide. So, I chose to disconnect one of the planters to use in this test of the Kratky non-circulating hydroponics.
I went to Home Depot and looked around until I found something I liked for the top. It's a piece of foam insulation with a reflective covering on one side. I especially liked that it said it won't mold. I cut the piece of foam with a camping knife by eyeballing the measurements. Hey, this is gardening, not architecture. I chose the reflective side for the top thinking that it would be a nice addition to help warm my plants and bounce the light back up. Maybe that will help promote bushier growth? That side also looks more water-resistant. I like to mist the plants.
Once I got it the size I liked for the top, I flipped it over to cut holes for the 2-inch net pots. I switched to my fishing knife as it's much better in those tight spaces. Basically, put the pot where you want it, outline it with a pencil mark, and then cut a little bit inside the pencil mark so that the lip of the pot will sit on top of the foam board.
OK, back to our regularly scheduled programming....
By the way, all the indoor pictures are pretty yellow because I've got my Mini-Sunburst mounted above this planter. The other planter has a Hydrofarm Fluorowing above it, which I think I like better.
I had ordered a bunch of Ultraclean Super Plant Food from Mike Adam's Supply Source a couple weeks ago, but it hadn't arrived yet. So, I picked up a container of FoxFarm 3-2-6 plant food for hydroponics systems at Valley Nursery today. I added a couple splashes to the water in the planter to get the ppm to around 900.
Oh, and I added another lovely item: a screeching alarm that will trigger if one of our cats tries to put his little paws up on the edge of the planter.
I'd especially like to learn why my plants don't continue to thrive on the aquaponics system after a few months. I am not sure how to increase the nutrition for the plants without causing issues for the tropical fish. My other tank will still be aquaponics (at least that's my opinion today). I have various tetra, a blue gourami, a red-tailed shark, and an algae eater in there.
I have some foam insulation left and lots of net pots and coconut coir. So, I hope to create some other small non-circulating hydroponic grow boxes that I will set out in the garden or the hoop house.
Update: I just got off the phone with a nice lady at Fox Farm Fertilizers. She said I can mix up a foliar spray with the Grow Big to use on the aquaponics plants. That won't bother the fish. Hooray!