Day 4: May 24, 2011

After returning to class the next day, we yet again took a look at our plants.  Still there is only one little sprout that is growing, nothing else has appeared yet.  Alex and I decided after seeing this that we would plant additional seeds of Mesculin which has a faster grow rate than that of the Baby Gem.  We also added an additional and larger air stone/air pump to our system, since we have notice there has not been a lot of circulation being done with just one little air stone.

Day 3: May 23, 2011

After returning to class from a three day weekend, we immediately went and checked how our deep water culture hydroponics system was doing.  Out of our twelve cups that each have two seeds planted in them, only one of them has sprouted.  At this point however, we are not concerned, due to the 10-14 day germination that the lettuce seeds have, and we may have planted the seeds deeper than we expected.  We have also checked our pH and it was still in the 5.5 – 6.5 range.

After a three day weekend we have our first sprout out of 24 seeds!

Day 2: May 19, 2011

Today was a good day! Alex and I officially got our hydroponics system up and running.  Our system required us to fill it with approximately nine gallons of the nutrient solution.

Nutrient parts A and B were added together in warm water, and then added to the reservoir.

Once that was finished, the germinating seeds were removed from their wet paper towel home, and two seeds were placed in each of the twelve cups, at a depth of approximately 1/4″.  Once that was completed the cups which have holes poked in the bottom to allow a flow of water to the plant, were placed in their floating holder.  An additional piece of plastic was made and cut to the size of the holes to insure that no light could penetrate through the styrofoam.  This was done to help keep the growth of allege down.  With that being accomplished we place the floater into the reservoir with an air stone.  The air stone is connected to an air pump which creates bubbles in the nutrient solution allowing it to circulate, and introduce oxygen to the plants.

Our up and running water culture hydroponics system

Once running the pH was tested and was found to be around 7pH, which was higher than required.  In our research we found that the pH should ranged between 5.5 to 6.5 for optimal plant growth.  pH down was added to the reservoir to help lower the pH to an appropriate level. Before leaving for the day, the pH was approximately 6.5.

Day 1: May 18, 2011

We began our process of building a deep water culture hydroponics system.  It is designed to hold twelve cup evenly spaced apart.  Before we planted the seeds we took a wet paper towel and placed twenty-four Baby Gem lettuce seeds to be germinated over night.  We premixed in our cups a 4:1 ration of perlite to vermiculite, this was done with the idea that the vermiculite will help to hold moisture in the cups.

Alex preparing the seeds for germination!