Vertical Container Growing - Part 1 - Sowing Seed
I picked up a 5-tier, 20 site container at Amazon for $35.00 including shipping. I have heard that one can sometimes find these containers at the dollar stores. That I cannot say.
The planter has a foot print one foot circumference and a height of twenty-eight inches. That is a pretty small footprint. My theory is that will the proper staggering of planting one can grow enough greens to feed one or two people a week through the months of of December through March.
Whether this can happen remains to be seen. This is the lofty goal. Since the growing will be done indoors we are using a hydroponic mix a 1 part coconut coir to one part vermiculite. This should keep any bugs, beneficial or bad out.
Unlike dirt, hydroponic mixes do not have any nutrients. My plans are two feed with a mixture of crushed alfalfa pellets and a liquid diet of azomite, fulvic acid, and Sea-90. SEA 90 is a fertilizer of mineral crystals produced by solar dehydration of sea water trapped in retention ponds. The stuff is 100% water soluable and makes a great tea when mixed with fulvic acid and azomite.
We started with the following plants.
- Tatsoi (Asian Greens)
- Lettuce - Green Salad Bowl
- Swiss Chard
- Aurora Mixed Orach
The first planting took up two of the trays. We sowed seed directly into the planter about 12 days ago. Germination time was in double digits and the Basil never did sprout. I think the slow germination is partly the result of the cooler temperatures in the room.
We are about to plant the next four. Hindsight being twenty-twenty we are going to start the next four in plastic trays and then transplant. I have found sowing the seed directly into the container I am going to try to start the next tray in little black cells and transplant them into the container. I think this might end up being the preferred method. We shall see.
I would classify this growing technique as passive hygroponics. Every ammendment we are using is natural. No chemicals. In this sense it is organic. Some folks will claim that to be organic one must use soil. The USDA will certify hydroponic operations as organic. From my perspective everything we are using is organic so we are growing organically. We are growing for our own consumption so it really is a moot point.