I spent the holidays back home in Denver — where the local news is a steady stream of both-sided stories about (what was then) the impending marijuana legalization. As the local media will attest, there are all kinds of stories and new ideas developing around the new (and huge!) industry. So against that backdrop, when my upright father gave my straight-laced mother a hydroponics kit for Christmas, I felt the immediate joy of potential irony...
The truth is, the legalization of pot in Colorado and the giving and receiving of hydroponics kits between my parents were completely unrelated, except for probably some subliminal suggestion with all the 'growing' talk. My parents are reasonably serious gardeners and they are interested in extending their supply of seasonal produce as well as increasing their yields. Hydroponics promises to do both.
Even before legalization, I just knew it was a matter of time before the techniques and tricks of the horticultural rockstars in the illicit drug world would start to become acceptable to traditional gardeners... and I'm happy that my parents are part of the trend. Mainstream gardening hasn't had an infusion of 'cool' or 'new' in generations, and I think that hydroponics and aquaponics (that is, the addition of fish to a closed ecosystem for feeding and fertilization of the plants) have the potential to revolutionize our food system.
So, as they (my parentals) are embarking on this adventure, armed with knowledge gleaned from a day long course at The Grow Haus, they have agreed to supply with me regular status reports and tips of their own that I will be sharing on my own blog. We have already acknowledged that my dad (who is a serial hacker of all things house and garden related) will quickly tire of the limits presented by their measly 'start-up' kit. He's already identified a 6' x 10' area in the their basement that would be "perfect for sealing off for climate control" and his engineer mind is busy at work "upgrading". (It is totally out of hand already —he even mentioned pulling a 'Saving Grace' for retirement funds. This will be interesting for sure.)
But, as they are just getting started, I am sharing (with them and you) this fantastic post that I found today over on Urban Gardens. It covers designer Antonio Scarponi's Eliooo, a design plan for IKEA-hacking together a wall mounted indoor garden. There is even an accompanying ebook with what appears to be a very handy set of instructions to get you going.
I'm curious, have you tried hydroponic growing? What worked (and didn't)? How were your yields? Maybe you have built this or something similar to the IKEA system? I'd love to hear more about your hydroponic 'growing' adventures.