Forum Replies Created

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 30 total)
  • Author
  • in reply to: DIY gutter berries – How to Grow Berries in Gutters #581755

    Here’s the hydroponic version of the gutter berries

    This crop can be grown in either the NFT (nutrient film technique) or the media run to waste or media recycled systems.

    1. NFT system.

    Gullies should not exceed 15meters in length and should have a fall of at least 1 in 40 down the 15 meters. Gullies should be rigid PVC in 100mm by 50mm or 150mm x 75mm dimensions. The preferred system uses the rigid PVC 150 x 75mm type for best results.

    • Nutrient flow rate down the gully should be a maximum of 1 liter of nutrient per minute.
    • CF range is 12 – 16 at planting rising to 22 – 24 at cropping.
    • pH range is 6.0 to 6.5 (auto systems set at 6.3 pH)

    It is essential to have good oxygenation of the nutrient, the easiest and cheapest way to ensure this is to use a venturi on a bypass from the pump back into the tank.

    2. Media systems aka Growing Medium

    The crop can be grown in a wide variety of different medias, Pumice, Course washed river sand, Rockwool, Perlite, or any inert sterile material of a grain size to allow air to permeate down to the roots. In the NFT system the plants can be put in bare rooted.

    When recycling it is good practice to have fine filtration of the nutrient to avoid blocking of the feeder pipes. CF and pH ranges as for NFT, again with good oxygenation of the nutrient.

    Monitor run-off CF and pH to ensure the correct root zone conditions apply.

    Maintain the following temperatures until the end of the crop.

    NFT systems

    • Nutrient; Minimum 18 degrees C daytime and 16 C night.
    • Ideal 22 C to 24 C
    • Maximum 25 C
    • Air; Minimum night 10 degrees C.
    • Minimum day 18 C
    • Maximum vent temp 28 C.

    Note…..Some varieties may need different temperatures to these, so check with the plant supplier for the correct temperatures for the variety being grown.


    Insects and air movement all assist in pollination, some varieties require assistance, asks your seed merchant. Minimum air temperatures are required to set good fruit.


    Main ones to watch for are Black spot, Grey mould (Botrytis), Leaf blight, and Powdery mildew.

    Good air movement and keeping the humidity down on cool damp days assists in a reduction of diseases. Potassium Silicate added to the nutrients can assist in fungal protection.


    Mites are the main threat; predators can be used with a totally integrated pest management program. E.g. Spidex for the Two Spotted Red Mite.

    Root Problems.

    Use only clean water, preferably treated with the likes of Ozone, to reduce the introduction of root diseases such as Phytophthora and Pythium. If these occur use the recommended procedures to clean out the system.

    Nutritional requirements.

    Nutrients should contain the following minerals.

    • Nitrogen, Potassium, Phosphorous, Calcium, Magnesium, Sulphur, Sodium, Chloride, Silicon,
      Iron, Manganese, Boron, Copper, Zinc, Molybdenum.

    Leaf analysis;

    • Nitrogen 2.6 to 3.5%
    • Phosphorous 0.25 to 0.35%
    • Potassium 1.0 to 2.0%
    • Calcium 0.7 to 1.5%
    • Magnesium 0.25 to 0.4%
    • Sulphur 0.15 to 0.35%
    • Iron 100 to 200 ppm
    • Manganese 200 to 500 ppm
    • Boron 30 to 100 ppm
    • Copper 5 to 12 ppm
    • Zinc 30 to 80 ppm

    Plant growth promotants are often added to the nutrients to produce quality growth during periods of poor conditions, e.g. in winter under low light.

    The growth promotants, Agronomix at 20 gms per 20 Kg of dry powder mix, and SGP at 500 mls per 20 Kg dry powders may be added to drum ‘B’.

    Nutrient formulation is blended to suit the water supply, so a water mineral analysis is essential for optimum formulation.

    Downwards pH correction is usually with Phosphoric Acid, but there may be situations where Phosphoric/Nitric Acid mixes are used, or even straight Nitric Acid at times, especially if the water supply has a high pH, above 7.8 for example. Upwards pH correction is always carried out with Potassium Hydroxide. Common name Caustic Potash.

    Note… all pH correctors are added in a very weak form; never use full strength acid or alkali to adjust nutrient solution. Dilutions of 500 to 1 with water are normal.

    Nutritional problems.

    Regular nutrient analysis and leaf analysis may be required to assist in producing top yield, especially in the first crop, or crops.

    With NFT systems or any re-cycling system, it’s often advantageous to flush out the nutrient tank regularly to avoid a build up in toxic materials or to remove a nutritional mineral imbalance. Also if the nutrient gets dirty and you don’t fancy drinking it, then flush it out.

    Plants respond to clean nutrient and there will be far fewer problems from diseases if nutrient is regularly changed. Only nutrient analysis will show how long a specific system can run for until it’s out of balance; however 4 weeks is usually the maximum time between flushing.

    Remember, don’t put cold water into the tank and circulate immediately, raise the temperature to that required in the root zone before turning on the pump.

    For run to waste crops this is also essential, don’t chill off the roots on a hot day or freeze them in winter. Pre-heat the water to be applied.

    Points to note.

    The production of quality and quantity of fruit from strawberries is very dependent on the quality of the plant being used. Main things to remember are;

    1. Propagation

    There are four methods, by runners, Division of crowns, Tissue culture, from seed. Only the first three produce plants that are true to type. Seedlings can vary greatly from the parent plant. The main types of plants used by commercial growers are from runners.

    Runners are the daughter’s plants produced by the mother plant; they are produced in the warm, long days of summer and early autumn. Runner production is a relatively inexpensive way to produce new plants. Supplies of virus and disease-free runners are available in many countries when purchasing runner plants, only buy those that are certified from clean stock

    The method of production of new plants by the division of the crowns of older plants can have some drawbacks, disease from the last crop, and division damages the crown and new diseases can get into the plant.

    2. Varieties of Strawberry Plants

    Discuss with your markets, which varieties they prefer, and ask your plant suppliers which are
    the most popular in your area.

    Should they be cool stored or fresh runners?
    There are many varieties available; the main consideration is to determine what varieties will perform in your area, under your climatic conditions.

    Short Day Variety
    There are short-day varieties, that fruit in short daylight conditions, less than 12 hours light; they have a typical cycle of, flower, fruit, and runner. Daylight neutrals are not affected by daylight length, and will continue to produce flowers under all daylight conditions, providing temperatures are not too high, or too low. These plants have a different cycle; they flower, fruit and produce runners simultaneously.

    Ever Bearing Variety
    The third type is ‘Ever Bearing’ varieties, these have a cycle of, flower, then fruit, then flower and fruit, with very few runners being produced.

    3. Strawberry Plants Require Chilling

    Strawberry plants like many temperate berry crops have a need for chilling the plant in order to start the cycle. If the chilling is done correctly, by normal autumn, winter and spring conditions, then the plants grow up and leaf up vigorously, then flower in a definite peak, fruit and move into runner production.

    If chilling is not done correctly, then the plants are not as vigorous, and even, resulting in erratic flowering. Each variety has a certain chilling requirement and will perform best in areas where this is satisfied.

    Cultivars with little chilling requirements perform best in the warmer coastal areas. Those with the highest chilling requirement perform poorly in coastal warm areas but produce well in cooler climates.

    4. Optimal Growing Temperatures

    In addition to chilling, there is a requirement for both air and root temperature to be within the correct range. Air temperature can influence flowering response to daylight length. When warm and hot conditions occur, a temperature of 25oC or over, flowering is inhibited, regardless of daylight length.

    Air temperature also influences the timing of fruit production by its influence on plant growth. After flower buds have formed, some plant growth is needed to produce visible flowers and fruit, in cold areas plants can become dormant even after flower buds have formed, if the air temperature drops too low, the flowers will not develop until the plant is exposed to an increase in temperature.

    A minimum air temperature in daylight hours of 18o C is usual for most varieties (check with supplier) and 16oC at night, with root temperature never below 18o C.

    in reply to: Free samples of Truffle Therapy Serum #453680
    in reply to: MYO: Edible Tempura Paint #453183

    thank you for sharing this, we’re decorating sugar cookies today and these will really come in handy.

    in reply to: Chili’s Gift Card – FREE $10 Bonus Gift Card #446076

    Thanks for sharing this one, we eat at chilis a couple times a month for lunch because its close by. It’s nice to get the free cards for money we were spend regardless!

    in reply to: Countdown to Christmas Day #4 (2 days left!!) #446066

    What one recipe do you HAVE TO HAVE every year? Share your favorite Christmastime Recipe- it can be for breakfast, lunch, dinner, appetizer, dessert etc.

    Only 1 recipe? I’d have to say that it’s just NOT christmas without Gingerbread Pancakes for breakfast!

    Christmas Gingerbread Pancakes
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    2 tablespoons sugar
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
    1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
    1 egg
    3/4 cup milk
    2 tablespoons molasses
    1 tablespoon canola oil
    6 tablespoons maple pancake syrup
    3/4 cup apple pie filling, warmed
    3 tablespoons dried cranberries

    In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice, mixing well. Then add egg, milk, molasses and oil; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
    Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a greased hot griddle over medium heat; turn when bubbles form on top. Cook until the second side is golden brown.

    To serve, place two pancakes on each plate; drizzle with 2 tablespoons syrup.
    Top with 1/4 cup apple pie filling; sprinkle with cranberries.
    This serves 2, but can be doubled, tripled, whatever.

    in reply to: What top 5 things are a *Must Have* in your pantry? #442581

    What 5 items are a “Must Have” in your Pantry and Why?

    I like to keep my pantry loaded, I hate running out of food, it’s a childhood thing, lol.

    two cents Dry Baking Goods, Flour, sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, homemade baking mixes, etc

    two cents Canned goods- store bought, I don’t home can much

    two cents Spices & seasonings- we do make All of our own spices mixes now

    two cents Meal Baskets- I learned this here on the site, you have 5 baskets and put all of your meal ingredients in each basket with the recipe card so anyone in the house can start dinner

    two cents Potatoes & Onion – big basket of both.

    thanks for the challenges, btw, love them!

    Congrats Tash! I saw the notification pop up, but I was in the middle of writing out a new recipe and I have a ninja aleady so I thought i’d let it go to the next person in line. To be honest I was rather curious how this whole surprise challenge thing would play out!

    I love these new additions to the site, it’s fun.

    in reply to: Sunday Morning Roll Call!!! 8-4-2013 #440898

    Hi Everyone, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted, but it looks like I picked a good day to check in! I spent the day cleaning house and trying to get things accomplished around here. I’ve been wanting to decorate for autumn, but its still far too hot.

    in reply to: FREE Metamucil Sample #440021

    for the first 10,000! They will doing this every Monday from May 20 – July 1, 2013

    Limit one coupon per household. Offer includes 2 Metamucil sachets and a $2.00 Metamucil coupon good through 11/30/2014.
    Please allow approximately 4-6 weeks for delivery.
    Open only to legal residents of the 50 U.S. and D.C.

    who are 18 or older, with the exception of residents of al and ne who must be 19 or older and residents of MS who must be 21 or older.

    in reply to: Vidalia Onion Spread #435977

    This sounds like a really simple appetizer recipe! Thanks! I have some family coming up this weekend to stay and this one will be good to snack on, although I may try it with low fat mayo.

    in reply to: Free Sample of SafeHands Alcohol Free Hand Sanitizer #432570

    You can get safe hands classic or safesquirts (for kids)


    • alcohol-free
    • bold, colorful scents
    • foaming sanitizer
    • safe around children
    • planet friendly

    there is a little drop down box at the bottom

    in reply to: Newbie from Minnesota #432446

    Hi! Welcome to 🙂 It sounds like you are a really busy lady most of the time. Do you cook for a lot of people or just for the 2 of you? There is a forum on here for recipes for 2 – for making smaller meals, or you could make regular (larger serving) meals and then freeze the leftovers so all you have to do is reheat them on busier days.

    I’ve been on here awhile myself, I just love this site.:meatballs:

    in reply to: Grilled Chicken and Apple Sandwich #432445

    @mos 228827 wrote:

    Grilled Chicken and Apple Sandwich
    Or cook on dual-contact indoor grill for 3-5 minutes until bread is golden brown. Serves 6.
    Smile, its spring!

    This is very good in sun dried tomato wraps for lunch! I used leftover chicken that I grilled, rather than canned chicken. I knew I wasn’t going to have time to grill it but we lightly heated them in the counter toaster oven.

    Delish! showered with love

    @bridgewitch 239161 wrote:

    just charged me 3.49 for this free book at 12:05..and I sent links to several other people as wel

    That’s odd, it went to $0.00 in my timezone at midnight- and it’s showing $0.00- If it wasn’t showing $0.00 for the price yet, why did you buy it?? You should’ve waited a few more minutes until it could update. It was probably loading a cached page from you looking at it already.

    in reply to: oatmeal question #432009

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen the bacon syrup before! That sounds interesting! My nephew puts bacon on just about everything he eats, that would make a fun stocking stuffer for him.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 30 total)