Welcome back, here at Hydroponic Grow Trials Update 1-1. It’s only been a few days since we popped our homegrown hydroponics lettuce transplants into the back yard food production NFT system we have set-up, and are familiarizing ourselves with.
Ah, the eternal struggle….man versus ANT. Yes, that right….ants. We mentioned previous that it looked like something very small was going after the early kale sprouts we placed into the backyard NFT system. Once all of the the young lettuce transplants were placed into the system (three varieties, plus one type of kale), over the next 48 hours the problem progressed. The larger sized and more robust transplants have been left alone to date, however some of the runts from our experimental tray in this test grow were terminated by what has turned out to be ants. Unbelievable!
One could imagine having their last seed for survival sprout on a desert island, only to have it snipped clean off at the base by a tiny little ant as they slept.
Indoors, we have found yellow sticky traps to be a safe, easy and affordable way to deal with a variety of pests. Since we had a few kicking around, they were cut into strips and adhered to areas around the NFT Nursery Gully that has been victimized by the local patio-dwelling ant population. Surely, their doom was imminent—not the case, watching in horror as they simply skirted over the sticky surface…a worthy adversary indeed.
Next Step: get some non-toxic to pets and animals ant bait killer traps and place them around the system. This can take a while to start to work–so live and learn.
Last time, we discussed our concerns surrounding the reservoir temperature, which goes through a range of 67-76 Deg F during what are the hotter days in this geographic region, seasonally speaking to date. The reservoir temperature typically average about 71 Deg F, that while not optimal, may suffice for our experimental test grow of lettuce varieties in this back yard hydroponics NFT system.
In Grozine Issue 12, we spoke with Michael Christian at American Hydroponics about maintaining reservoirs in commercial hydroponics. One of the management techniques discussed was purging, and here’s an example of how we were able to put that to work in our back yard hydroponics grow to keep the lettuce healthy and trouble free as inexpensively as possible: