Tuesday, October 19, 2010

New Watering Scheme's Effect

 I was out of town for a few days and before I left I changed the watering scheme for the plants. Previously the plants had been watered four times during a 14 hour day, for five minutes at a time. The plants were looking dry (the leaves were wilted and brownish). Initially I had thought the problem was nutrient concentration and changed the solution. Unfortunately, that only prolonged the real problem of dehydration.

So the new program waters the plants for eight times during a 14 hour day, for two minutes at a time. The reduced water time is because the roots are saturated rather quickly, and after that point, additional spraying doesn't increase the water coverage.

When I arrived home I saw the plants were doing very well! The lettuce, which was particularly effected by the water shortage were now huge.

A particularly large lettuce plant was stunting the growth of nearby lettuce plants. This indicates that the plants are too close together at this size. I rearranged the lettuce plants to have as little overlap as possible. I plan to eat the outer leaves of the largest lettuce plants so that they all stay a reasonable size. I'll try to keep the plants as big as the lower two in the picture below or smaller.

The rest of the plants are also doing better. The peas are still floppy, and I forgot to pick up some stiff wire mesh to make cages out of for them. The broccoli and cauliflower plants look very strong and the stems are pretty tough. I expect it will still be quite a while until flowering though judging by the thickness of the stalk when they're sold in stores compared to the current thickness.

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