Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hydroponic Nutrient Solution Rant: Boy, the peppers are good, though

Sweet Red Hydroponic Peppers

Modern nutrient solutions yield incredible results, but at what cost? My hydroponic peppers have more nodes, blooms and fruit then any I've ever seen. I had to narrow the scope of my crop throughout the season because growth was, literally, through the roof.

I started with the intentions of growing organic hydroponics.I tried products like Fox Farm, Humboldt Nutrients and Dutch Master. Each of these products have incredible results, but proved to clog pumps and valves. I fell back one of the most reasonable product on the market, the General Hydroponics, florabloom/floramicro/floragro trio. Cleaner, easier and relatively idiot proof, but even after searching for discounts, E-bay and internet searches for the best price and trading worm casting to the local grow store guys for product, cost me $200+ for a season of growing in my 100 gallon reservoir hydroponic system.

The indoor garden - Peppers and Basil
If my system was growing "medicinal" marijuana, like many of my peers, the cost of high-tech solutions, or the "kind" organic blends, I wouldn't bat an eye at the horrifying cost. I, however, am a wholesome farmer attempting grow the sweetest green peppers, and some tasty fresno chilies and serrano chilies, in an effort to yield some hot sauces and salsas to share with friends. Often I feel as if I could simply purchase some high end products at the farmers market and save myself months of effort and even some dough.

What's the answer? Is it aquaponics? Becoming a fish farmer?

What should I be learning from toxic fish farms here in the PNW? Will I be equally as guilty? Should I be growing talapia, with little more claim to fame than being a tasteless fish that was never meant to swim/live in nature?

Am I selling out or disconnecting?

Anyone have tips? I'm open to suggestions.

And does anyone have a great hot sauce recipe? The peppers are still coming. Boy, those nutrient solutions sure work.

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