10/21/10 water leakage

After running the system since Tuesday morning, we came into the lab to notice the wood around the bottom of the box buckled outwards due to water swelling. After opening the garden, we were not able to discover where the leak came from, but we think it may be due to us adding to much of the nutrient solution in the beginning. After cleaning the water up and inspecting the whole system for any sign of a leak, we decided to fill the system back up, but this time with less water, and run the system for an hour or two to see if it continues to leak.

on a plus side though, one of the plants began to sprout, so at least we know we’re going in the right direction if this leak is sorted out!

(update from two hours later)

After checking the system two hours later, we haven’t found any leaks, so it looks as if we’re up and running again.

We still dont know what caused our leak, although we feel that it may have been we just overfilled the system the first time.

10/19/10 First planting

After Brett finished the construction and testing of the hydroponic system over the weekend, we were finally able to place it under the grow light in the lab and fill it with the nutrient solution. After running it for a few minutes to make sure everything was alright, we planted three different baby mesclun seeds in our presoaked rock wool, and we’re now simply waiting for them to start growing.

Our hydroponics system is a simple 9″x10″x12″ wooden box that with a separate top and bottom tray. the bottom tray holds our water pump and reservoir, and the top holds three PVC tubes which each hold one plant in rock wool. the pump is run into a PVC delivery system which, through the ball valves on each tube, allow us to fine-tune the amount of water each plant receives. within each tube the water flows from the inlet pipe, through the tube, passing through the rock-wool, and out the outlet tube which is raised to ensure a constant water depth to keep the rock-wool constantly submerged. this system is known as a continuous solution culture, since the plant is constantly receiving new nutrients. Lastly, the water falls out from the tube into the reservoir, aerating itself when it falls.

Pictures will come soon