Growing Kale in Aerogarden, Manual Hydroponics, and Soil

Ginger's picture

Tags: 

Vegetable production outside in summer provides more than we need, so, good time for experimenting indoors. On the Windowfarms site, they sell a "cool microclimate mix" of starter plants - including "baby dinosaur kale".

Isn't that just too cute? Had to try it. And of course bought two kinds of kale instead of one, and a red cabbage variety as well, and more toy choi seeds because mine are old... Yeah.

So, the AG7 is now growing dinosaur kale, curly blue dwarf kale, and one red cabbage (maybe).


Also started 2 of each in soil to go outside for caterpillar and aphid traps. Yeah, don't have high hopes for those, but we'll try. And, started some new manual hydroponic "outriders", growing the kales and lettuce.
 
    

The term "outriders" doesn't make any sense, since I'm not growing them with overflow light from some other project. "Greens shakers" perhaps. For the moment, the shakers are using plain rainwater. But I'm going to try MaxiGrow dry one-part nutes on them. While growing same-age plants in the AG7. They're sharing a 23W 6500K bulb in my crop pen, since the crop pen is sitting idle for summer.
 
 

The coffee-can shaker is actually lettuce, not kale, fwiw. The inner container is a 15oz ricotta tub, with holes.
0
No votes yet
Ginger
Ginger's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 days 9 hours ago
Joined: 2008-06-23 15:55
The red cabbages look pretty,
The red cabbages look pretty, except for all the cabbage holes. Apparently I should use floating row cover or biological controls on caterpillars... But in previous years, my biggest problem with the cabbage family outside was the aphids. Floating row cover won't do much against aphids. There's no particular shortage of aphids this year on other plants. Maybe caterpillars suppress aphids?

They're both a good reason to grow the cole crops indoors.

red cabbages, lots of parsley, peas not very visible, December's indoor peppers still trucking along  cabbage caterpillars especially love cabbage, unsurprisingly...

The kale splasher is still going, much ignored outside. Except by caterpillars, who had no trouble finding it on the 3rd floor balcony. I picked off 3 caterpillars from the dinosaur kale today, and up to 4 per leaf from the dwarf blue curly kale. Alas, that's not good enough to make it work as a trap crop. Anyway, they're still alive, and get nutrients and splashed, sometimes.

15 week kale, much neglected. Caterpillars prefer curly, it seems - but they like both, a lot

They still live so I can try out that "tastes better after frost" thing.

The hydroton and tubs are very green with algae. Indoors, you can mostly get away with not covering the splasher sides to keep light out. Not outdoors... A green coffee can would probably work well.

Moderator. Author of Indoor SaladEcigs 102, and the Calm Act climate apocalyptic series.

Ginger
Ginger's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 days 9 hours ago
Joined: 2008-06-23 15:55
P.S. There's another nice
P.S. There's another nice list that includes the "dirty dozen" and "clean 15" - worst and best to buy at a conventional supermarket.

Cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, hot peppers, sweet peppers, summer squash, kale, and spinach are all veggies I grow at home that rank on the "dirty dozen".

It's interesting that potatoes are one of the "worst" and sweet potatoes one of the "best", in terms of pesticide content.

Moderator. Author of Indoor SaladEcigs 102, and the Calm Act climate apocalyptic series.

Ginger
Ginger's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 days 9 hours ago
Joined: 2008-06-23 15:55
An article in HuffPost Green
An article in HuffPost Green lists kale and spinach as among the top 7 foods to buy organic due to especially high pesticide/whatever content.

The 7 are
  1. potatoes
  2. beef
  3. milk
  4. apples
  5. strawberries
  6. kale and spinach
  7. peaches
Out of that list, kale is by far the simplest to just grow your own. Potatoes aren't hard, but the yields for me have been kinda small relative to how we eat potatoes. As in, if a container produced the same poundage of tomatoes or potatoes or peppers, you'd be impressed with the tomato yield, astonished at the pepper yield, and back to the supermarket to stock up on more potatoes.

And no one could eat that many pounds of kale.

Moderator. Author of Indoor SaladEcigs 102, and the Calm Act climate apocalyptic series.

Ginger
Ginger's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 days 9 hours ago
Joined: 2008-06-23 15:55
The cabbage and the kale
The cabbage and the kale splasher live on. I'm hoping frost will help.

13 week kale still in half gallon splasher, outdoors - looks like the butterflies found it upstairs  https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-8SjpRAkBJaw/UlIFCf2tOcI/AAAAAAAAQwU/kGVlBWRdqUk/w781-h556-no/DSCN1178.JPG

Moderator. Author of Indoor SaladEcigs 102, and the Calm Act climate apocalyptic series.

Ginger
Ginger's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 days 9 hours ago
Joined: 2008-06-23 15:55
The kale project got very
The kale project got very neglected. Harvested out the kitchen Aerogarden and replanted with toy choi last weekend. The splasher kale languished between two AG3's in spillover light. It moved outdoors on the 3rd floor this weekend, to get some cold to improve its flavor. Maybe the cabbage white butterflies and their brood won't find it up there. Threw out most of the kale in the garden. Caterpillars hide especially well on the dwarf blue kale... The cabbages might survive the caterpillars. I like cabbage better, and hunt caterpillars harder on cabbage...

 

Verdict:  kale is easy to grow in all these configurations. But caterpillars like it a lot, so growing it indoors is good...

Moderator. Author of Indoor SaladEcigs 102, and the Calm Act climate apocalyptic series.

Ginger
Ginger's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 days 9 hours ago
Joined: 2008-06-23 15:55
Moved the lettuce splashers
Moved the lettuce splashers to another topic.

And I'm tired of posting pictures tonight. So here's the latest status on the kales, no recap of previous weeks:
    

The splasher kale would have done better with better light - it doesn't have enough between the Aerogardens. But even so, intermediate growth between Aerogarden and soil was expected. Ish. Actually, toy choi and mustard greens grow nearly the same soil vs Aerogarden, and I was expecting that, not the huge difference we see here.

Moderator. Author of Indoor SaladEcigs 102, and the Calm Act climate apocalyptic series.

Ginger
Ginger's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 days 9 hours ago
Joined: 2008-06-23 15:55
Though the hydroponic kales
Though the hydroponic kales still look healthy, their stems split, so unclear how long they'll stay healthy. The AG stems had more trouble sooner, but I noticed today that the curly blue kale stem in the splasher split, too.

  

On the lettuce splasher test:  so far the 1-part organic liquid Urban Farm Fertilizer Vegetable, and the 1-part dry GH MaxiGro, seem to be doing about the same, and the growstones and hydroton seem to grow about the same, too. Definitely think the 1-quart tubs are the best shape for growing 2 lettuce plants. But they're all adequate - the quart is just sturdier with a longer-lasting capacity, without the overkill of the half-gallon size tubs the kale is growing in.
 
 

 

Moderator. Author of Indoor SaladEcigs 102, and the Calm Act climate apocalyptic series.

Ginger
Ginger's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 days 9 hours ago
Joined: 2008-06-23 15:55
Age 2.5 weeks, the hydroponic
Age 2.5 weeks, the hydroponic kales definitely look more advanced than the soil kale. Weirdly, the most advanced seem to be the kales in the lettuce splasher (aka outrider). That, I was not expecting.

  

Lettuce splashers - comparing UFF Vegetable vs Maxi-Gro, hydroton vs. growstones. So far, I'm thinking the lettuce splasher product for IndoorSalad will use growstones - made in the US of recycled glass. Nothing to choose between so far, on the UFF vs MaxiGro question - they may work equally well, with MaxiGro cheaper and easier to package, but UFF providing an organic option to those who'd prefer it.
 
  

Moderator. Author of Indoor SaladEcigs 102, and the Calm Act climate apocalyptic series.

Ginger
Ginger's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 days 9 hours ago
Joined: 2008-06-23 15:55
At age 10 days, the kale
At age 10 days, the kale looks pretty similar across soil, manual hydroponic splasher, and Aerogarden. Soil getting the Miracle Gro on-board fertilizer only. Splasher getting Maxi Gro dry one-part nutes. Aerogarden getting Flora series nutes.

  

I replanted the lettuce splashers - wanted to run a different experiment. They haven't sprouted yet.

Moderator. Author of Indoor SaladEcigs 102, and the Calm Act climate apocalyptic series.

Log in or register to post comments