Day 11, November 30, 2011

Today when we checked our plants everything was still going well. Our plants are healthy overall and appear to be thriving in the growing system. The pH of our nutrient solution was around 6.5. We were happy to see that the pH has been fairly consistent over the past couple weeks. Luke warm water continues to be the best for plant growth. A temperature around 65 degrees is what we have been shooting for throughout this process, and it seems to have worked well. One issue we are beginning to have with our plants is due to the fact that they are getting so large. They are actually outgrowing the small system we have in place. The leaves underneath are beginning to wilt because they are not receiving enough light. This is due to the enormous growth that is blocking light from reaching down to the bottom. Today we tried to trim away the wilting leaves from around the edges. It is to large and dense to trim any growth in the inside. Looking back I wish i would have continually trimmed the growth back. This would have kept all the growth healthy. My thought was to trim as little as possible so it would be as large as possible at the end of the semester. I think this worked but it is beginning show some negative impacts. As far as nutrient solution goes, we did not add any today. Since the next class period is harvest day, the plants should have plenty of solution to keep it healthy until then. Throughout the entire semester, the plants only consumed about 6 or 7 gallons of water. We started with 4 gallons of water because that is how much our growing system holds. We never completely replaced the water so some of the water inside the reservoir at this time could be the very same water we poured in when we started this process. We built our water culture system with an emphasis in keeping algae growth to a minimum. I am eager to see if we accomplished that. We have not seen the water since beginning due to the way it is designed.

Overall, i had a good time researching, modifying, and improving our water culture growing system as the weeks went by. We have seen a good amount of success in doing so and are exciting to harvest our plants.

I believe the reason that ours worked so well is because it is extremely simple, yet very logical.

This is a picture of our mesclun the class period before harvest.

Day 10, November 21, 2011.

Today there was tremendous growth, and the system seems to be sucking down water like it should, we had to add nearly a gallon of nutrient solution. The pH was actually around 6.5 which is right where we want it to be. this was the first time during the semester that the pH remained stable since the last time we adjusted it. Since the plants have gotten so large, our growing system is hardly visible. I took a look into the water reservoir for the first time in about a month. I knew since our system blocked almost all the light out, algae growth would not be a problem, and it is not. Our water looks fairly clear still and some of the nutrient solution is still the original solution from when we got out system up and running a couple months ago. The roots of our plants stretch down nearly the whole way to the bottom of the reservoir which is about 10 inches deep. Some of the leaves of mesclun are over 9 inches long and look very healthy. There is almost no dead leaves in our system. I(Greg) Ate a couple pieces of the lettuce today and it tastes fine. I was thinking about trimming back the growth but I decided to just let it go until harvest day which is only a couple weeks away. I may reconsider trimming it again next week. It depends on how much nutrient solution it drinks in the next week.
Looking back, I wish  we would have put the system more towards the front. With everyone elses projects growing, it is getting difficult to check the pH and add Water daily. Other than this, we could not be happier with our results.


Day 9, November 16, 2011






There has been a lot of growth and everything is going well. The leaves of the lettuce are over 6 inches long and long extremely healthy. The water level dropped more than it has in the past. This is probably because of the size of the plants now as compared to before. I had to add almost a half gallon of nurtient solution to the growing system. We will probably need to keep a closer eye on the water level now that our plants have gotten so big. However, our water culture system holds over 4 gallons of solution so it should not dry out. This was a design concept we built in from the beginning. After adding the water I checked the pH it seemed extremely low once again. I added some pH up mixture. I then checked it again and the solution still seemed pretty low, but I figured it still needs time to mix. I will check it again soon and see if it is working out. I suspect it will be fine because we have been having issues controlling and keeping a constant pH throughout, but we still have tremendous and healthy growth.

Day 8, November 9th, 2011

Today after the test we checked on our mesclun. we noticed definite growth since only 2 days before during our last class period. The edge which was slightly discolored has green up and looks a lot healthier now. It seems like centering it under the light helped solve this problem. When we checked pH, it was around 5.o, which is not what we want. We adjusted it to be about 6.5. We are still having trouble maintaining a constant pH level, but our plant is doing great nonetheless. I believe that lowering the lamp has also helped our plants because the leaves grew about a half inch in only 2 days which is as fast as they have grown throughout any specific time in this semester. When I looked down into the rockwool, I noticed that new sprouts are still coming up. It is good to see that new growth is still occuring. I may consider trimming back some of the larger leaves to encourage even more new growth. Up to this point, Kevin and I are very happy with the success of our water culture system.

Day 7, November 7th, 2011

Today during class we took a look at our water culture growing system. It seems to be doing great. The mesclun is growing each time we check on it. We are still having some issues controlling pH levels, but as far as I can tell from plant growth, we are doing a good job with it. We are trying to maintain a pH of around 6.5. As for the actual size of our plants, things are looking up. Each leaf is about, on average, 3 to 4 inches in length and looks very healthy. The lamp which provides heat and light to our plants got lowered closer to our system. Another group who is using this area did this. If it does not hinder our plants growth, we will leave it as it is. Another thing I noticed about our system is the small amount of water it is consuming. We started with about 4 gallons and it has only drank about one half of a single gallon. I am surprised by this, but as long as things keep going in a positive direction, I am not going to worry about it. I did slightly moved our system under the light more directly because the leaves along the edge looked a little discolored. Hopefully moving it more centered under the lamp will help reduce this. Me and Kevin plan to trim some leaves back soon in the hope that new and healthy growth will push out. We will check pH again on Wednesday and see if we need to make any adjustments.

Day 5, October 31, 2011






Today we took a look at our system and it has been making great progress in it’s growth. We do not like the color that it is it seems to be a little too yellowish, and it also seems to wilt a bit. We have been keeping a close eye on the pH level, we think that the pH might be the factor of its color and growth. We added some additional Nutrient solution as the level seemed to drop a bit, we also added a bit pH down with the addition of the new nutrient solution it needed to be brought down.

Day 4, October 24, 2011

Our plants seem to be doing quite well. More stems have emerged and new growth is evident. Our water culture system is working well up to this point. The growth rate has increased since the plants have been moved into the growing system. One problem we did encounter was with the pH of the nutrient solution. When we checked the pH, we discovered it was up around 8. We added pH down until we reached around a pH of about 6.5. The next class when we checked the pH again, it was up to about 8 again. Again we lowered the pH to about 6.5. I am not sure why this is happening, but the plants seem to be doing well up to this point.

Day 3, October 16, 2011

Our mesclun is showing improvement. The plants have emerged from their seeds and have begun to grow. Each of our three cups in which we planted in each seem to be doing well. Since the mesclun has now germinated, it will be transferred into our constructed growing system tomorrow. I expect faster growth at that point because during the germination process, only a small amount of nutrient solution was used. Regular tap water was mainly used up to this point.

Day 2, October 12, 2011

When we arrived back from fall break we found that our plants did not seem to begin to grow. We did not have the system set up at this point however. We had the seeds germinating in the window sill. Our nutrient solution had all but dried up completely. We poured more solution onto the rockwool hoping that the mesclun will begin to grow. Next Monday we will insert the plants into our water culture system and place it under the light.