Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Restarting the 72 Plant NFT Hydroponic Garden | 2020

If you have been following our YouTube channel or blog back at the end of 2018, you may remember me showing off some of this garden. If you haven't, then welcome to Greens and Machines and I'll give you the cliff notes...This is a hydroponic garden which has the capacity to grow 72 vegetable or herb crops in ~8 square feet. That's a lot of produce! It operates by principle of the NFT method, or nutrient film technique, where the plant roots gather water and nutrients through a thin film of nutrient solution. If you want to know more about that nutrient blend, here's the link.

So why did I build it? In my previous video I give a better explanation as to my logic as to why, but the "too long didn't watch" version is that I wanted to grow more vegetables in the pitifully small front yard I had in this condo I was living in, so I built the garden to accommodate my ambitions.
And that same video where I started seeds to bring the system back online for the spring of 2019 happened to be the last time you had probably seen it. I ended up moving out of that condo into the house I'm living in now and that whole series of events really brought into question what I planned to do with this garden.
Initially I wanted to sell the garden... It wouldn't have hurt to get some money out of it, even if I took a loss. I did write up plans on how to build more of these systems if I needed more in the future, so I will always have those no matter where this garden ended up. But unfortunately when I listed it on Craig's classified ads, my listing was instantly shadow banned! (I guess some keywords in my listing triggered some red flags for what this garden could potentially grow, if you catch my drift) That made it difficult for me to getting rid of it.
So instead of selling the garden, I employed one of this system's greatest abilities to move it to my new residence. Modularity. The way I have designed each of the grow channels and frame allows me to break it down for easy movement and storage. For starters, I broke down the system and moved it out of the front yard of the condo until it was time to move it again. You can see how easily the growth channels simply lift right off the frame from the other linked channels. A marvelous design. I could fit all the grow channels and frame subsections into the back seat of my car. Isn't that awesome?!?!?
With the garden relocated to my new place, there was a bit of adjustment I had to do when moving in. Firstly though I didn't really have a good place to setup this garden, immediately because it had been late in the season. So I setup the container garden I blogged about last year instead. Now I had planned to get this hydroponic garden restarted at some point, but my landlord had a bit of landscaping to do, which interrupted my plans...

With my landlord landscaping going on, there was no opportunity to setup the garden around the yard. So instead of reactivating it, I was able to store the growth channels and frame pieces in the yard until the time would come to bring this garden back...
Now that the landscaping is done and the weather has gotten a lot better, it has come time to reassemble and reactivate the garden! This series growing with the hydroponic garden will continue into this year, I promise this time! I'll go more into the inner workings of this design along with what vegetables I am growing or attempting to grow. There is more than meets the eye with this stack of PVC pipes!
So be sure to subscribe to the Greens and Machines YouTube channel for more updates on this garden. Follow the Greens and Machines Instagram account for more frequent updates @greensnmachines. We'll see you in the next update!

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