Sunday (04-January-2020) — New Jersey

Wintertime Indoor Hydroponic Gardening

Prior to my trip to Florida, I shut down several of the hydroponic gardens since I would not be able to add water or plant food. I harvested and froze the Bok Choi, Swiss Chard, Kale, and Basil. I was amazed to see how big the roots were in some of these systems. I let the AeroGarden Farms at floor level remain on while gone. These have the ability to add water via an auxiliary 1 gallon bottle with a gravity siphon. The AeroGarden Farms at floor level were programed for “Vacation Mode” which reduces the number of hours per day that the LED lights were on. The thermostat for the house was also reduced. This way, I hoped that some of the plants would survive. When I returned, the water levels in the hydroponic systems were pretty low but as you can see in the following images a good deal of the plants did survive.

AeroGarden Farm 01-Left. Tomato plants at 107 days. Harvested a few small yellow tomatoes. Reset the LED lights to 16.5 hours on per day, and the pump to 60 minutes on, 0 minutes off (Tomato, High Growth Setting). After topping off with DI water, the pH was 5.01 and the TDS was 278 ppm. Added 16 mL of Miracle Grow/AeroGarden plant food and 1 mL of buffer up solution.

AeroGarden Farm 01-Left. Tomato Plants (107 days). Image taken with a Leica TL-2 camera and 35 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 500, 35 mm, f/8, 1/50 sec). (DAVID J MATHRE)
AeroGarden Farm 01-Left. Tomato Plants (107 days). Image taken with a Leica TL-2 camera and 35 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 500, 35 mm, f/8, 1/50 sec). (DAVID J MATHRE)

AeroGarden Farm 01-Right. Various “edible” flowers (Dianthus, Snapdragon, Marigold, Calendula) at 109 days. Trimmed and pruned the dead flowers and leaves. Reset the LED lights to 17 hours on per day, and the pump to 5 minutes on, 55 minutes off (Lettuce, High Growth Setting). After topping off with DI water, the pH was 5.55 and TDS was 102 ppm. Added 24 mL Miracle Grow/AeroGarden plant food and no pH/buffer adjustment.

AeroGarden Farm 01-Right. Flowers: Dianthus, Snapdragon, Marigold, Calendula (109 days). Image taken with a Leica TL-2 camera and 35 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 500, 35 mm, f/8, 1/50 sec). (DAVID J MATHRE)
AeroGarden Farm 01-Right. Flowers: Dianthus, Snapdragon, Marigold, Calendula (109 days). Image taken with a Leica TL-2 camera and 35 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 500, 35 mm, f/8, 1/50 sec). (DAVID J MATHRE)

AeroGarden Farm 02-Left. Pepper plants at 106 days. The plants are still pretty small. Reset the LED lights to 16.5 hours on per day, and the pump to 60 minutes on, 0 minutes off (Peppers, High Growth Setting). After topping off with DI water, the pH was 5.4 and the TDS was 150 ppm. Added 24 mL of Miracle Grow/AeroGarden plant food and 1 mL of buffer up solution.

AeroGarden Farm 02, Right. Pepper Plants (106 days). Image taken with a Leica TL-2 camera and 35 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 400, 35 mm, f/8, 1/50 sec). (DAVID J MATHRE)
AeroGarden Farm 02, Right. Pepper Plants (106 days). Image taken with a Leica TL-2 camera and 35 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 400, 35 mm, f/8, 1/50 sec). (DAVID J MATHRE)

AeroGarden Farm 02-Right. Herb plants (Dill, Basil, Chives) at 106 days. The dill and parsley doing OK, others not as good. Reset the LED lights to 17 hours on per day, and the pump to 5 minutes on, 55 minutes off (Herbs, High Growth Setting). After topping off with DI water, the pH was 5.24 and the TDS was 816 ppm. No additional plant food or buffer added.

AeroGarden Farm 02-Right. Herb Plants - Basil, Dill, Parsley (106 days). Image taken with a Leica TL-2 camera and 35 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 400, 35 mm, f/8, 1/50 sec). (DAVID J MATHRE)
AeroGarden Farm 02-Right. Herb Plants – Basil, Dill, Parsley (106 days). Image taken with a Leica TL-2 camera and 35 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 400, 35 mm, f/8, 1/50 sec). (DAVID J MATHRE)

AeroGarden Farm 03-Left. Pepper and Basil plants at 106 days. The plants are still pretty small. Reset the LED lights to 17 hours on per day, and the pump to 60 minutes on, 0 minutes off (Peppers, High Growth Setting). After topping off with DI water, the pH was 6.11 and the TDS was 607 ppm. No additional plant food or buffer added.

AeroGarden Farm 02, Right. Pepper Plants (106 days). Image taken with a Leica TL-2 camera and 35 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 400, 35 mm, f/8, 1/50 sec). (DAVID J MATHRE)
AeroGarden Farm 02, Right. Pepper Plants (106 days). Image taken with a Leica TL-2 camera and 35 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 400, 35 mm, f/8, 1/50 sec). (DAVID J MATHRE)

AeroGarden Farm 03-Right. Various flowers (Dianthus, Zinnia, unknown, poppy) at 58 days. Dianthus and Zinnia blooming. Unknown one growing, but no flowers. Red and California poppies not blooming yet. Reset the LED lights to 17 hours on per day, and the pump to 60 minutes on, 0 minutes off (Flowers, High Growth Setting). After topping off with DI water, the pH was 5.74 and TDS was 750 ppm. No additional plant food or buffer added.

AeroGarden Farm 03-Right. Flowers - Dianthus, Zinnia, Red Poppy, California Poppy (107 days). Image taken with a Leica TL-2 camera and 35 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 500, 35 mm, f/8, 1/50 sec). (DAVID J MATHRE)
AeroGarden Farm 03-Right. Flowers – Dianthus, Zinnia, Red Poppy, California Poppy (107 days). Image taken with a Leica TL-2 camera and 35 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 500, 35 mm, f/8, 1/50 sec). (DAVID J MATHRE)

AeroGarden Farm 05-Left. Various flowers (Snapdragon, Celosia, Coreopsis, Dianthus, Gazania, Poppy) at 58 days. None blooming, pruned some of the large zucchini leaves from the next tray blocking the plants. Unknown one growing, but no flowers. Red and California poppies not blooming yet. Reset the LED lights to 17 hours on per day, and the pump to 60 minutes on, 0 minutes off (Flowers, High Growth Setting). After topping off with DI water, the pH was 5.4 and TDS was 518 ppm. No additional plant food or buffer added.

AeroGarden Farm 05-Left. Flowers - Snapdragon, Celosia, Coreopsis, Dianthus, Gazania, Poppy (58 days). Image taken with a Leica TL-2 camera and 35 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 400, 35 mm, f/8, 1/50 sec). (DAVID J MATHRE)
AeroGarden Farm 05-Left. Flowers – Snapdragon, Celosia, Coreopsis, Dianthus, Gazania, Poppy (58 days). Image taken with a Leica TL-2 camera and 35 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 400, 35 mm, f/8, 1/50 sec). (DAVID J MATHRE)

AeroGarden Farm 05-Right. Zucchini and other vegetables at 58 days. The zucchini plants growing vigorously, others not as good. Reset the LED lights to 16.5 hours on per day, and the pump to 60 minutes on, 0 minutes off (Vegetables, High Growth Setting). After topping off with DI water, the pH was 5.1 and the TDS was 180 ppm. Added 16 mL of Miracle Grow/AeroGarden plant food and 1 mL of buffer up solution.

AeroGarden Farm 05-Right. Zucchini Plants (58 days). Image taken with a Leica TL-2 camera and 35 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 500, 35 mm, f/8, 1/50 sec). (DAVID J MATHRE)
AeroGarden Farm 05-Right. Zucchini Plants (58 days). Image taken with a Leica TL-2 camera and 35 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 500, 35 mm, f/8, 1/50 sec). (DAVID J MATHRE)

AeroGarden Farm 07-Left. Strawberry plants at 85 days. Most plants growing well, harvested several strawberries. Noted fruit flies. Reset the LED lights to 17 hours on per day, and the pump to 60 minutes on, 0 minutes off (Flowers, High Growth Setting). After topping off with DI water, the pH was 4.27 and TDS was 128 ppm. Added 20 mL of Root Farm Base solution, 20 mL of Root Farm Flower and Fruit solution, and 2 mL of buffer up.

AeroGarden Farm 07-Left. Strawberry Plants (85 days). Image taken with a Leica TL-2 camera and 35 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 640, 35 mm, f/8, 1/50 sec). (DAVID J MATHRE)
AeroGarden Farm 07-Left. Strawberry Plants (85 days). Image taken with a Leica TL-2 camera and 35 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 640, 35 mm, f/8, 1/50 sec). (DAVID J MATHRE)

AeroGarden Farm 07-Right. Strawberry plants at 85 days. Most plants growing well, harvested several strawberries. Noted fruit flies. Reset the LED lights to 17 hours on per day, and the pump to 60 minutes on, 0 minutes off (Flowers, High Growth Setting). After topping off with DI water, the pH was 4.3 and TDS was 753 ppm. Added 2 mL of buffer up.

AeroGarden Farm 07-Right. Strawberry Plants (85 days). Image taken with a Leica TL-2 camera and 35 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 640, 35 mm, f/8, 1/50 sec). (DAVID J MATHRE)
AeroGarden Farm 07-Right. Strawberry Plants (85 days). Image taken with a Leica TL-2 camera and 35 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 640, 35 mm, f/8, 1/50 sec). (DAVID J MATHRE)

Hydroponic Tubs 01 and 02. Strawberry plants at 85 days. Plants in tub 01 not doing well, Plants in tub 02 growing with some strawberries and runners.

Hydroponic Tub 01-02. Strawberry Plants (85 days). Image taken with a Leica TL-2 camera and 35 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 250, 35 mm, f/8, 1/50 sec). (DAVID J MATHRE)
Hydroponic Tub 01-02. Strawberry Plants (85 days). Image taken with a Leica TL-2 camera and 35 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 250, 35 mm, f/8, 1/50 sec). (DAVID J MATHRE)

Hydroponic Tubs 03 and 04. Strawberry plants at 85 days. Plants in both tubs growing well with strawberries and runners.

Hydroponic Tub 03-04. Strawberry Plants (85 days). Image taken with a Leica TL-2 camera and 35 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 1000, 35 mm, f/8, 1/50 sec). (DAVID J MATHRE)
Hydroponic Tub 03-04. Strawberry Plants (85 days). Image taken with a Leica TL-2 camera and 35 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 1000, 35 mm, f/8, 1/50 sec). (DAVID J MATHRE)

Hydroponic Tubs 05 and 06. Strawberry plants at 85 days. Plants in tub 01 not doing well, Plants in tub 06 growing with some strawberries and runners.

Hydroponic Tub 05-06. Strawberry Plants (85 days). Image taken with a Leica TL-2 camera and 35 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 250, 35 mm, f/8, 1/50 sec). (DAVID J MATHRE)
Hydroponic Tub 05-06. Strawberry Plants (85 days). Image taken with a Leica TL-2 camera and 35 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 250, 35 mm, f/8, 1/50 sec). (DAVID J MATHRE)

Hydroponic Tubs 07 and 08. Strawberry plants at 85 days. Plants in tub 07 alive, and the ones in tub 08 growing well with strawberries and runners.

Hydroponic Tub 07-08. Strawberry Plants (85 days). Image taken with a Leica TL-2 camera and 35 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 200, 35 mm, f/8, 1/50 sec). (DAVID J MATHRE)
Hydroponic Tub 07-08. Strawberry Plants (85 days). Image taken with a Leica TL-2 camera and 35 mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 200, 35 mm, f/8, 1/50 sec). (DAVID J MATHRE)

Daily Electric Energy Used (61.5 kWh) from Sense and Daily Solar Electric Energy Produced (4.17 kWh) from SolSystems and Locus Energy. Cloudy most of the day, not much sun. A deficit of 57.3 kWh. Some of the hydroponic gardens are still off, but the GeoThermal HVAC system and hot water heater are back up to normal temperatures.

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Author: David Mathre

I am a scientist by training (Eckerd College, BSc; Caltech, Ph.D.). I worked for 27 years as a Chemist in the Pharmaceutical Industry developing processes to manufacture medicines for human and animal health. I now spend my time as a photographer updating images in My Image of the Day Photoblog, and My eBird (with images of nearly 450 bird species). hope post COVID-19 to be a world traveler again. My interests include the natural world, wildlife, landscapes, sky, and seascapes, travel, and astrophotography. I look for unique ways of viewing the world and presenting my images. I have traveled to over 55 countries in six continents, often on Semester at Sea voyages. While at home in New Jersey, I spend time on home renovation and expansion of a wildflower garden/meadow.

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