Saturday, 23 May 2020

Vivigrow Soil-Less Planting

I haven't grown tomatoes in years, something I have never been very successful at. Whilst in lock down I have Facetimed my sister loads. She is a big veg grower and told me about these tomatoes she had found, that if left on the plant 'self dry'.
I always like to try something new and bearing in mind I had sold/given all my tomato growing 'stuff' away it meant starting from scratch. The problem with my greenhouse is it is in a south facing garden and even with shading it gets extremely hot and no matter how much watering I do it never seems enough.
So I did a bit of research and came across a website Greenhouse Sensation where I found Hydroponic Planters. Hydroponics has always fascinated me and I was delighted to find a rather interesting piece of kit 'Vivigrow' and yes I went mad and bought a kit and a very large parcel arrived.


Inside was everything I needed, it all looked very scary. .

 I had to make up bottles A & B and I wrote on them so I didn't get them mixed up. Eventually during the set up I will have to add 3ml of bottle of A to the water and then 3ml of bottle B has to be added separately.


The all important pump.


So off I went to the greenhouse with the Vivigrow kit.


Apologies for the reflection in the above pic it was very sunny when I set this up.


The pump outlet, pumps water with added nutrients from the reservoir below to the growing area on top. The fun bit was getting the PH level correct.


I live in a very hard water area so it took a number of goes, the above is our water with only the nutrients added after an hour of running. The PH is supposed to be between 6.2 and 7.2.


Because it was way off and at the top of the scale I had to add the 'downer' and run again for another 1 hour and as you can see it went to the opposite end of the scale.


To achieve this I had to bail out about 1 litre of water from the reservoir and add 1 litre of tap water and we got there in the end.


So in went my tomato plants that I had potted up. Yes the whole plant soil and all went through the little hole to sit on the membrane and thats it. I have to check the reservoir to make sure it doesn't drop below the pump. Pump it out every 3-4 weeks and refresh the water going through the same PH checks. But being in a nardwater area I have to do regular PH checks.


The photo above and below was taken after just 2 days, you can see the roots stretching out to the membrane.


Its quite odd not going down all the time to water.


The photo above and below are on day 5. The roots are really going for it. I find it a bit creepy but fascinating as well.



The plants themselves are looking really good.


I have to rig up something called a 'yoyo' which is a string support for the plants. I will keep you posted on how my new hydroponics system goes and how the tomatoes grow.
Lots more to come as the great big plant out begins for me.


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