The nights are getting downright cold. I haven’t found the time to start seedlings of lettuce or choi under the lights in the bedroom to put into the hydroponic 10 gallon bins on the deck. (I’ve been too busy with the beans, new peas, basil and tomatoes in the soil containers in the front yard).
But, the cuke, eggplants and pepper (planted out in the hydro bins June 17th) are still going gangbusters in their Kratky method hydroponic containers on the deck, so I thought I’d show you and give you some additional info on the growth progress and variety names etc.
These ‘H-19 Little Leaf’ pickling cukes get easily 4+ inches long and they are firm and tasty. As of Sept 8th, I have picked a cuke every day for a salad, for 2 weeks now.
I have not needed to replace any nutrient solution in the 10 gallon bin/tote yet. (It went in around the 3rd week of June, but since the early small leaves had spider mite, the newer stronger leaves didn’t take off, and make lots of flowers and large cukes, until mid August). They have the same nutrient solution as all the rest (see earlier posts for details).
Hansel and Gretel (the names of their varieties) are in 5 gallon Kratky method hydroponic 5 gal buckets, both loaded with eggplants and flowers. They are also growing taller by the day…. I hope they stop growing taller now (should be at their 3 foot height) and just put all their energy into eggplants.
The Hansel & Gretel eggplant variety (from ‘Johnny’s Seeds’)are a small, long oriental type. Hansel is the purple and Gretel is the white- same size & length. They reach about 5-6 inches in length and are about 1.5 inches in diameter. They are totally non bitter and slice up perfectly in anything (stir fry, eggplant parmesan etc.). As you can see they grow in clusters- easy to see & pick.
I would definitely recommend growing this variety in a hydroponic bin (Kratky non-circulating method), but the size of the container needs to be bigger than 5 gal (which really only starts out with a little over 3 gallons of nutrient solution). For the past 3 weeks, I have added to each bucket- 1.5 gallons of freshly mixed nutrient solution as the level drops to almost nothing within 5-7 days.
I don’t really mind mixing it by the gallon and adding a milk jug’s worth of solution (lift up the top of the bucket net cap, with plant tilting on top, and pour in carefully), but if I could find a larger capacity container that has the same features as the bucket- I might go that route in the future. The bucket-covering 6″ net cup and the tomato cage that goes into the bucket through holes drilled in that net cup/bucket cover, is important. The cage holds up the netting cover until the plants are huge and flowering well, and after the netting comes off, the cage helps support the 3 foot eggplant from toppling etc. I just don’t know what other system/container, net cup, cage system I could use to get the same results of protection and support. So 5 gallon buckets are my choice for now, and I’ll just keep adding solution. It’s still easier than watering everyday (as I have to, for my container soil plants in the yard).
Gretel grows a little slower than Hansel, but if you look in the middle you can see her little white eggplants coming on strong.
The Boris pepper and behind it, the 2 eggplants, sit on the deck in their hydroponic (Kratky non-circulating method) 5 gallon buckets. They are covered (as are the now-empty lettuce bins), over all with plastic over an old canopy frame. The nights are getting colder, so the extra protection is good for both types of plants.
The Boris pepper up close. We have already harvested 4 peppers that were easily 6 inches long, and a good diameter. The size and production of the Boris variety is great- but the taste is not as good as any old banana pepper (not as sweet or as pepper-ry tasting).
I am however, definitely impressed with the ease and production of growing peppers in a 5 gallon bucket