Introduction from Beth


Beth Kirkley:
First off, Welcome to everyone here. If it wasn't for all the fantastic people who have joined in on these forums, it wouldn't be as wonderful as it is. I've had so much fun being a part of it - watching it grow, meeting fasinating people, and making friends. If you've never posted before, or are new to the forum......join in! It's a great place to be. :)

Let me give a small introduction to who I am, and where I stand with hydroponic gardening:
We started growing tomatoes and cucumber last year in an NFT (nutrient film tecnique) system my husband built. He had spent the year before very sick from Hodgkin's Lymphoma cancer, so on his strong days he would study on the internet all about hydroponics. He's become quite the scientist because of it all, and he's really the expert in our family. But I've enjoyed the results from growing hydroponiclly so much I'd love to share and learn from anyone who wants to participate in this particular forum.

Last years system was outside, and this year we plan to finish off building our 20ft x 40ft greenhouse to enclose the plants and hopefully save them from too much thrip damage. We had a real problem with that last year.
This year we're also going to expand by growing strawberries.

This is where the bees came into the picture! I realized that the strawberries would need pollenating, but I felt if they were enclosed in the greenhouse that they would be lacking this. I had really just looked into having bees for the strawberries, but once I started learning about bees...I got hooked. And after finding this site where I read John's Bee Log, I didn't care if we never gardened again.....I wanted BEES.
But, we are still gardening. :) I enjoy it too.....but I'm no expert. I'm sure I'll learn more from all of you, and where ever I can help, it'll probably be from getting the information from my husband. :)

Once again, welcome to all, and enjoy sharing what you do, and any tips you have. I know I'm not the only hydroponic gardener as a member of this beekeeping forum. So join in, and enjoy.

Beth There is some good research going on using bumblebees for greenhouses.  They don't need a big hive and you can harvest honey from them.  I can't remember any sites off hand but do a google search and I know you will find it.  The dept. of ag. Has some research going on

Agility Mom:
This sounds like a really fascinating topic. I have an area in our small barn that my husband fixed up for me to start seeds for our gardens. I know nothing about hydroponics but would like to learn. I'll be watching this topic.

Beth Kirkley:
Not only is hydroponics actually fun, but very productive. You can grow more plants in a smaller space - they're not fighting for nutrients like they would in the ground. You get larger plants, because they get all the nutrients they want/need. No weeding or tilling soil. And actually can be something easy for elderly because the plants can be at table height, so no back bending work.
My favorite is just the More Production in Less Space.

Hydroponic systems don't have to be big or expensive. They do take maybe more work - or just equal work depending on how often you would have normally spent in a garden. Other people have to tend the garden by pulling weeds. Hydroponic gardeners have to tend to the WATER. You have to make sure the nutrient solution is accurate, and refill the solution storage tank now and then.
Last year we had about 40 cucumber plants & 40 tomato plants in one system. Then 30-40 tomato plants in another system.

And a picture of the cucumbers. We received 20 pounds of cucumbers every TWO days! Boy, people sure were sick of seeing us coming. They were water logged from stuffing their faces with cucumber. They were huge too, but not from being "over-ripe". The seeds were extremely tender, and not tough like you would find with a cucumber that had been grown on the vine too long.

This year we’ll be moving everything into the greenhouse, and it’ll be different. There are so many ways to do hydroponics. But this year we’ll also be adding 60 strawberry plants, along with doing tomatoes and cucumbers, and I’m not sure what else. I’ll share photos as we go. I’m looking forward to it.



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