Flowers!

The system, 10-17-2010

Another project of mine is flowering, you could say! I’m currently experimenting with growing tomato plants hydroponically. If you aren’t familiar with hydroponics, it’s a method of cultivating plants by using an inert, soilless medium combined with a system which provides a water-based nutrient solution to them. It’s a very efficient, very controllable method of growing, and it offers a lot of ways to optimize your growing environment for higher yields, improved quality, quicker time to market, reduced water consumption… the benefits are too numerous to list here.

In any case, I have ten plants in a simple ebb-and-flow system which provides them with a bath of nutrient solution for thirty minutes every three hours, and a timed grow light which provides 12 hours of supplementary light a day.  I’ve been fortunate enough to be given a space in one of the botany laboratories at my college, and they’ve been doing remarkably well!

Obviously, it’s been quite a while since this last picture was taken. I’ll try to put some more up when I get the chance. By now, the plants have grown so much that I’ve had to extend their stakes to 3.5′, and the most vigorous among them has actually grown so much that it’s now touching the ceiling of the lab!

With so much growth, I’m very excited and proud to say that they’ve also had time to put out some little flowers. Two of the plants put out some tiny buds a few weeks ago; these bloomed and then closed and began to wilt. But there are more on the way, and now fully 5 of the plants have small, identifiable flower buds which are growing in the elbows between branches. With some time, I’m hoping I can pollinate these flowers and have them begin to produce fruit!

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