To date we have harvested 43.9 kg. But we won't be able to reach 200 kg.
Harvesting 200 kg in 6 months main harvest time - we probably misjudged that. One would have to harvest "every day" approx. 1.1 kg. Who can process / eat 1.1 kg of vegetables, herbs and salads every day? Nevertheless, we are highly satisfied with our result so far. What we harvest is more than enough for 2 people who are not vegetarians. But nevertheless we have misjudged ourselves.
When we talk about 200 kg today, we know better, what a quantity of plant material that is.
Tomatoes grown in hydroponics (expanded clay) with droplets irrigation. Last year we started the first trials - this year we have further optimized the tomato cultivation. We are fully satisfied with the result and they taste great.
My parents still have a city garden as is generally known. Now they are already retired and have time to take care of their garden all day long. The rainwater storage tank has not been sufficient for a long time, they spent approx. 12-15 cans per 10 litres per day, with a garden area of approx. 35 m². On hot days even more. Partially the plants do not survive, or the yields are bad.
As "soil gardeners" they are amazed every time how the plants thrive in our hydroponics balcony project. When I then explain to them that we all "automatically water and supply with fertilizer" from a central nutrient container, they are very jealous. The fact that we can even travel - and the balcony garden is still doing well - is a small miracle for them. For us too - but it works. Every day about 30 - 40 litres of fresh water are filled into the central nutrient container via an irrigation computer - my parents spill about 120 - 150 litres per day. Here the hydroponics clearly show their advantages compared to earth cultivation - everything is pumped in a closed system - water saving approx. 70 % - and no manual watering and heavy water dragging. The plants take themselves only as much as they need, no (little) losses by soil evaporation or percolation in the soil. The 35 m² of horizontal soil cultivation area of my parents correspond approximately to our vertical and horizontal balcony cultivation area of 6.5 m².
The harvest from our self-catering balcony currently determines our meal plan. But it is also fun to keep thinking about what can be processed and how and with which herbs. The freshly harvested enjoyment is really surprising and the combination possibilities are endless.
After the pointed cabbage in the hydroponics plant column became too powerful for us, we harvested it and used it for a wok pan and as a vegetable side-dish. Now the lemon balm has more room to grow, which we use for fresh summer drinks.
Kohlrabis grow very well in almost all hydroponic systems. The tubers are juicy and ideal for raw food, but the fresh greenery is also processed. The cucumbers from the Deep Water System are now climbing strongly and we can harvest cucumbers almost every day. They are very tasty and not watery.
The aubergine, which has been moved from the greenhouse to the open air, is now also starting to produce fruit. We are already looking forward to the first harvest of the aubergine with drip irrigation.
Microgreens not only bring a great optical note to your plate, but also important vitamins, minerals and enzymes - in concentrated form. Microgreens are the seedlings of various vegetables such as red cabbage, which is harvested just a few days after germination. The taste is very intense and delicious thanks to the freshness. We grow our Microgreens - not only in winter - in an attractive porcelain growing dish.
Edible flowers. Many flowers from hydroponically cultivated plants not only look beautiful, but also have their own taste. At the moment we harvest flowers of nasturtium, borage, calendula or marigold, thyme, oregano, basil or chicory - all grown from seeds.
Half time of the year is reached - time for a short status. Our goal for 2019 is to cultivate approx. 200 kg of lettuce, vegetables and herbs on an effective area of approx. 6.5 m². Thanks to the warm temperatures, everything is now growing abundantly - but the big harvest is only just beginning.
10% are done, the "heavy" plants like tomatoes, cucumbers, courgettes, peppers, melon and pumpkins are still to come. The herbs grow abundantly, but don't weigh much.
We supply all the plants centrally from one barrel and circulate the nutrient solution. As a result, we cannot supply individual plants with specific nutrients. So we don't trim for yield, our goal is simplicity.
The two self-bred eggplants have been grown in our greenhouse so far. Here they grew so well and strongly in the drip system that they became simply too big next to the peppers and chillies.
We found a sheltered but sunny place for the eggplants. After the peas had been harvested in the hydroponics, we converted the red hydroponics plant container into a drip system - so that the aubergine could be supplied optimally as before.
Now we are looking forward to our first hydroponically cultivated aubergines.