Episode 35: hydroponics

Photograph:  Handolio  on Flickr

Photograph: Handolio on Flickr

Lots of listeners have asked for an episode on hydroponics, so I called up Kevin Espiritu of epicgardening.com to get the lowdown on what hydroponics is, how it works and what you need to get started.

I'd seen a lot of pricey kit online and was worried this would be a project outside the budget of most of us, but Kevin reassured me that although certain hydroponics growers - people growing marijuana for instance - want to splash out on their equipment, you can start with something as basic as a two litre drinks bottle. You can find out how this works on Kevin's website here. Kevin also talks about some of the hydroponics systems he uses, including a couple of different vertical systems: one called Tower Garden, which Kevin reviews here, and another called Aponics. All Kevin's hydroponics info is here, and he is on Twitter as @KevinEspiritu. Kevin is also open-sourcing a book on urban gardening, which looks like a fascinating project.

Question of the week

Boston ferns love moist spots. And look a bit like Sideshow Bob's hair.

Boston ferns love moist spots. And look a bit like Sideshow Bob's hair.

Elizabeth H's boston fern is going brown and crispy in its hanging basket. Wha can she do? I advise that Nephrolepis exaltata 'Bostoniensis' needs constant moisture around its rootball and humid air, and both these may be lacking in this situation. Misting may help a little, but is a very temporary fix: I suggest instead getting a humidifier and/or moving the plant to a more humid room such as a kitchen or bathroom. Elizabeth probably needs to water the plant by taking it down regularly and soaking it in the bath or sink as the trickles of water it gets from a can while hanging won't be enough to properly penetrate the rootball. If she removes the brown fronds, changes location and watering style, this plant is in with a chance!

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This week's show featured Roll Jordan Roll by the Joy Drops, and An Instrument the Boy Called Happy Day Gokarna, and Oh Mallory by Josh Woodward, all licensed under Creative Commons.

Jane Perrone