Minnesota to California NFT Lettuce
by Mark Molitor
Hey all! Mark from Junko's Garden in MN here. My wife and I have picked up and moved for the winter to Los Angeles. We have been growing approximately 900 (about 250 per week turn) plants in our greenhouse in MN and have some yard space out in LA (but no greenhouse).
I am contemplating bringing out about 20 8 foot channels and my micro green nursery. BUT, I do not have the capabilities to bring out or construct a greenhouse here. Since the weather is fairly mild, can I get by without using a greenhouse and set up my NFT channels out in the back yard?
I would keep the nute tank covered to minimize rain diluting my solution and also have it half buried in the ground to moderate temp (and besides the last week of near flooding, LA hardly gets much rain). I don't think insects would be too much of a problem, not any more than a normal dirt garden would see. I am at the residence every day so I can check PH and EC morning and night for any fluctuations. I would be using GH Flora Series and have water barrels to fill with the garden hose (city water) to let the water neutralize from chlorine since I cannot use RO or filtered water where I am at - too expensive for a 100 gallon reservoir (with 20 channels I will probably only be mixing 50 gallons per tank change).
Where I am at is also surrounded by trees so I get decent sunlight but not direct so I don't think a shade cloth would be necessary.
I think I should have most basis covered...
Anyone have any opinions / experience / insight with growing in this type of climate and outdoors with no cover in a hydro (particularly NFT) situation?
Thanks in advance!!
Junko and I hope you all have a very happy holiday season!!
Answer from Stella/Simon:
My only concern would be flooding of the NFT channels by rainfall. If they are not covered would'nt the water dilute the nutrient solution?
I can't really give advice on this as I have never grown hydroponics outside, uncovered. I will tell you that you'll have more bugs and insects than you ever thought possible, so be prepared for that.
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