Category Archives: plants

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My plants, the 2nd batch is on

I keep experimenting with growing some plants, using a very simple “AeroGarden” hydroponics system, which consists of no more than a 2.1 Liters water tank with a water pump, plus a full spectrum LED light, of variable height, which I have set to turn-on for 16 consecutive hours, starting at 16:00, every day.
I am on my second harvest. The first harvest was done using the six plastic pods that came with the system, pre-seeded. Success was 100%. When the plants got big enough, it was my decision to take them out of the “incubator” hydroponics system and plant them on earth or on special self-watering vases, which have an independent water chamber. After the transfer, the system’s pods were free to receive new plant species.

This second time, I got the seeds in bulk, and dropped them into a funnel shaped sponge, long enough to dive into the water + nutrients solution. All the seeds were successful.
The video shows the three weeks old results of the new harvest. I am not entirely sure about all the plants’ names and even species, but this description is accurate enough:

  • Strawberries, not visible, still a very small plant, sitting at the back-row, left pod. I used 4 minuscule seeds.
  • Tomato, "RAF" variety, enormous and growing at an unbelievable speed, occupying the back-row, right pod. I used 7 seeds.
  • "Mooskrause 2", on the middle-row, left pod. Growing strong, and about to be eaten :). I used 5 seeds.
  • "Fitness Mix", on the middle-row, right pod. Growing very slowly. I used 4 seeds.
  • Tomato, "Sweet Italian" variety, on the front-row, on the left. It is growing slower than its “RAF” sibling, but still obviously alive and healthy. I am not sure on this one, but I suppose I used 4 seeds.
  • "Krauter Vielfalt" (Herb Variety), on the front-row, on the right. Seems to be a mix of dill and parsley. I used 7 seeds.

Video titled "My plants (2nd batch) growing 20190829 – 24 hours in 1 minute: "

Two months after birth, here is my plants’ status

My first batch of six plants was planted on 2019-06-25.
I published two videos from their “baby” days:

These plants grew enough to justify their transplant out of the “incubator” system, on 2019-08-07.
On the final week of August 2019, three weeks after the transfer, this is their status:

  • The curly parsley was the vegetal that took more time to grow to a reasonable size, more than any of the other species, but it is now doing well, planted on earth, on a cheap plastic vase; you can see it in the video, at the far left.
  • The basil, Taiwan variety, grew the most and the fastest out of the hydroponics system, and now lives in a special self-watering vase. All was perfect with it, until ~1 week ago, when its leaves started to show some grey spots. It is now on an obviously decadent phase. I suppose this is because of my ignorance on what nutrients to use in the water, or maybe these plants just have much a shorter lifetime than I expected them to have. I am learning, hands-on.
  • The other basil, Genovese variety, was the #2 on growth, but my culinary favorite. I have used its broad leaves three times, for soups! They taste great and its presence is obvious. This plant is now on one of those self-watering vases, planted on a substrate that is permeable to its roots, which descend to the separate water container. Unfortunately, after weeks of full health on that vase, it is also degrading, loosing leaves.
  • The dill, which was the #1 on smell, died on the final week of August 2019. It was on a regular plastic vase, on earth, not on a self-watering solution. There were no problems for weeks, but death came fast and suddenly. I read that dill “self-cultivates”, so I left it dead (?) on earth, hoping that something will one day grow from its remains.
  • The mint is alive, planted on a self-watering vase. It still grows new leaves, but it is also showing signs of decay on its older parts.
  • The thyme is a beautiful plant, now on a self-watering vase. I think it stopped growing and its leaves are turning from obvious-green to something that I describe as brown-green. I think it is also decaying.

My plants are 1 month old

It is now 1 month since I first ventured into growing a few plants, starting with a hydroponics kit with six slots.
Last week, two of the plants have outgrown the kit and now live in their own vase. Their slots have been occupied by two mystery pods – I do not know what will grow from them, if anything at all, because the pods were missing labels, by mistake of the seller.

The starting kit included the following plants, here listed with their original labels, including each plant’s sprout window and if it they are “tall”, “medium” or “short”:

  • Thai Basil (sprouts in 4-7 days) Tall
  • Genovese Basil (sprouts in 6-12 days) Tall
  • Dill (sprouts in 8-21 days)
  • Mint (sprouts in 6-10 days) Medium
  • Thyme (sprouts in 7-14 days) Short
  • Curly Parsley (sprouts in 21-28 days) Short

The two plants that have outgrown the kit and now live in their own vase are the “Thai Basil” and the “Dill”.

Here are the Portuguese names for the plants:

  • Thai Basil = Manjericão da Tailândia
  • Genovese Basil = Manjericão de Génova (cidade Italiana)
  • Dill = Aneto
  • Mint = Hortelã
  • Thyme = Tomilho
  • Curly Parsley = Salsa encaracolada

The idea of growing these plants is to learn, to experience a bit of hydroponics and plant growing, and then use some as food!
I think the Thai basil and the dill are big enough to survive a small pruning, so I Googled for related home recipes.

For Thai basil:

For dill:

Finally, here are six sets of three pictures each; capturing three different stages of growth of the original six plants. From left to right, the first picture is on 2019-06-25 (“planting day”), the second on 2019-07-06, the third and final on 2019-07-26.

curly_parsley_evo20190625_20190706_20190726.png (image/png)


diil_evo20190625_20190706_20190726.png (image/png)


genovese_basil_evo20190625_20190706_20190726.png (image/png)


mint_evo20190625_20190706_20190726.png (image/png)


thai_basil_evo20190625_20190706_20190726.png (image/png)


thyme_evo20190625_20190706_20190726.png (image/png)


Technical Details

24H of plant growth in 60 seconds (2019-07-19)

Here is another ridiculous project of mine.
I bought a starter hydroponics kit and decided to track the plants’ growth.
The kit holds six plant pods, the set immersed in 2.1 liters of water, with two teaspoons of liquid plant food (to be administered every 2 weeks). Each pod is a simple plastic structure holding an argil substrate with the plant seeds. The substrate sucks the water, the water reaches the seeds, hopefully the seeds grow, a plant appears and its roots will feed by drinking the water with nutrients.

To track the spectacular growth of the plants, I bought a small POE (Power Over Ethernet) Chinese camera. The camera arrived one week too late, but is the perfect small size. It delivers great video, but poor time-lapse captures. The poor time-lapse results are due to the effect of the artificial sun light in the camera sensor. The effect is inoffensive in real time video, but becomes obvious on interval snapshots, because the lights and/or the sensor itself are/is irregular in radiation distribution/capture, hence some strips will appear in the videos.

These plants are growing on an 18 hours cycle, meaning they get 18 hours of artificial sun light and 6 hours of whatever natural light I have in the kitchen.

One of the reasons I embarked on this project was to show my kids how kinetic plants are. They move a lot! I intend to regularly publish 24 hours of plant growth footage, smashed in less than 1 minute.
The stripes on video are annoying, I know. Moreover, the video may feature kids’ hands playing with the plants :), or adults’ hands cutting off leaves for cuisine purposes!