The Urban Farmer, Issue #016

September, 2009: Get Them Kids Involved! * And Grandma, too * Dear Simon: Windowsill Greens?


"Gardening requires lots of water - most of it in the form of perspiration". 
            ~Lou Erickson


Get Your Kids Involved in Hydroponics!

Hydroponic gardening is a natural to awaken the love of plants and horticulture in your children. Why? It is futuristic, fun... and a fascinating learning experience for them. We have some free plans on our website for a small lettuce raft system, which is easily and cheaply made and makes a very prolific hydro garden that children can tend to. 

With school starting recently, it won't be long 'til your young student is called on to create a science fair project, too. This would make quite a splash on the exhibit floor, trust me!

Whether for a quiet home project, or for an A+ science project, hydroponics fits the bill.

How to? Click this link, then go to FREE LETTUCE RAFT PLANS HERE. Then, from the compact PDF file, plan your project. But, instead of a black plastic tub as the nutrient reservoir, use a 10 or 20 gallon aquarium tank; they can be had cheaply at the Petsmart or pet supermarket if purchased without all the aquarium do-dads. A glass aquarium allows your young'uns  or science fair observers to see the root systems develop!

Follow the directions to assemble the rest of your lettuce raft as directed, and adapt as needed. You can even buy a cheap styrofoam cooler to get a slab to make the raft out of. Direct your kids to read all about nutrient solution and seedlings by using the NavBar links on the website.

Have fun ya'll!


Now Get Grandma Up 'N Growin'...

Hydroponics: A solution for green thumbs living in small spaces


When Patricia A. Clark downsized from a home with a yard in Indiana to a small apartment in Winter Haven, Florida, she said one of the pastimes she missed most was her small patch of land for gardening.

"I enjoyed gardening when I lived there," said Clark of her former home in Fort Wayne, Ind. "I had a small strip of land where I grew asparagas, rhubarb and other veggies. I also planted trees like white birch, and I grew azaleas. It was fun being outside, tending to the plants and watching them grow."

"I don't sew, I don't knit and I don't crochet," said Clark, 80. "I wanted something to do with my time."

Clark discovered a solution when she found an advertisement for Aero Garden, which allows plants to grow indoors with a hydroponic system.

In times when the economy is forcing many people to downsize to smaller living spaces, and when grocery prices for fresh vegetables are high, Clark said growing one's own vegetable plants indoors is an easy solution.

"I've grown cherry tomatoes, green beans, lettuce, herbs and chives in my apartment," she said. "You also can grow flowers that are beautiful and add a lot of color to your home."

An apartment gardener can grow salad vegetables like leaf lettuces and radishes and herbs such as chives, thyme, parsley, sage and marjoram. Flowers such as daisies, impatiens and marigolds also grow well in the hydroponic setups.

Clark said she recommends that people looking for an indoor hobby consider gardening not only because of the edible benefits, but because of the joy growing plants brings.

"It's been so much fun to learn how to grow these plants inside in hydroponics, to watch them and care for them," she said. Clark currently has three Aero Gardens, growing lettuce and cherry tomatoes, set up in her one-bedroom apartment.

"I love to fix a sandwich and go to one plant and pick a couple of leaves of lettuce, and then go to the other one and pick off some tomatoes to put on it," she said. "My goal is to be able to grow lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers. Then, I'll have a whole salad waiting to be picked."

~Patricia Clark

Dear Simon: Greens on the windowsill?


Hello, from Fadrique
> Country: Costa Rica
> Write Your Message Here: I was wondering... can I setup a small bed to grow some greens on a window which doesn't receives direct sunlight but is very bright during summer?

Dear Fadrique,

You could use that location for any plant that would grow there planted in soil. In other words, many herbs and greens could thrive on a bright windowsill, and especially if they get some direct sunlight each day. You would have the best luck if you could supplement with a small fluorescent lamp. These are really cheap here in the States, just don't know how easy to find in Costa Rica.

Try ebay?

Good luck!

We hope you have enjoyed this issue of The Urban Farmer Ezine. Each month, we will bring you another inspiring photo, gardening quote or idea, plus fresh new hydroponics news, techniques & products.

Insiders tips to get you growing...


~Stella and Simon from Hydroponics-Simplified.


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