Blackcabbit (aka. Dionnie Takahashi) is an illustrator living in Japan. She loves drawing whimsical animal characters, as well as doing handmade crafts to beautify the world she lives in.
After we planted the strawberries and tomatoes, my whole family got the gardening bug. So when my husband brought home a new toy – a Green Farm’s Hydroponic system, we could not contain our excitement.Duskin, a company he worked for, has recently partnered Green Farm to launched a monthly cultivation package, which include the rental of a Hydroponic system and a seed start-up kit (with 12 different types of vegetables/herbs to choose from).The hydroponic system will be ours for good after a year of rental (i.e. ¥1,620 x 13 months). The second year onwards, we just need to pay for the seed package on every fourth week (i.e. ¥1,058).
Hydroponic gardening (水耕栽培) is cultivation of vegetable indoor under LED lights without using soil, but mainly with water that is added with mineral nutrient solution. Growing vegetable has never been this easy. I think even people will brown thumbs will agree with me. Fireball, our five-year-old had no problem helping out his dad to set up the Green Farm. In fact, it gave him a great sense of accomplishment.
(1) We chose Komatsuna (小松菜/Japanese Mustard Spinach) for our first hydroponic experience. This is the seed start-up kit for it. (2) We began by adding four liters of water to the water receiver. (3) Next, we added two packets of liquid fertilizer to the water and mixed them well. (4) We soaked the little sponges with plain water, (5) pushed them neatly into the holes, and (6) placed a seed onto each sponge.The final step was to turn on the machine to set up its timer so that the LED lights will turn on automatically for 16 hours per day. (The lights will be off on the first 72 hours). Now that the most tedious work was done, we just waited…
Within a short period of time, we saw a lot of plant activities going on.
We planted 27 Komatsuna seeds, we had to remove 7 of them from the Hydroponic system on the tenth day (or eleventh day in our case), and to reposition the remaining seedlings according to the pattern provided by the Green Farm booklet, thus giving them more room to grow. The seven weaker ones were then re-planted outside as part of our container garden. They did end up in our tummy eventually LOL.
When the red marking level was down for the first time, we had to replenish water to the tank. We added a packet of liquid fertilizer to 2 liters of water and filled the tank through a hole. After this, whenever the red marking came down again, we just added plain water (which was every other day).
In less than a month, the Komatsuna was ready. Every day, I would pick the larger leaves and cooked them. We cleared them all in Day 27 and cleaned up the tank.It is amazing how simple it was to cultivate vegetables hydroponically, and we could grow so many in such a small space. Since we had a lot of fun, we decided to continue with the rental plan. We are growing Butterhead Lettuce (サラダ菜) as I am writing this.