We have moved - but just up the street to 38 Chapel Street and our new hours are

Monday 0930 to 1730
Friday 0930 to 1730
Saturday 0930 to 1230

We are available for consultation and site visits at these times- other times by appointment by email (robin@soladome.com.au)

After 35 years at 44 Chapel Street it was time for a change to a web based operation and to offer guidance based on many years of practical experience.

 

 

Outdoor Cultivation

Helpful advice and explanations of the main concepts that you need for growing hydroponically outdoors - both for the hobbyist, as well as the commercial farmer.

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Hobbyist

Try to match your environment to suit the plants you wish to grow. If you have long hot summers then your vegetables may require some sort of shade for part of the day. Look at the conditions that the local soilgrown plants like and try to copy them with your hydroponic system.

To grow hydroponically try using normal plastic garden pots filled with an inert medium like dolomite or quartzite gravel. Sit the pot in a saucer. Mix up a hydroponic nutrient solution - either using the powders or the liquid concentrates - and use this solution to keep the medium in the pots moist.

Plastic buckets can have a 16 mm ( 5/8 inch ) hole drilled in the side wall about 2.5 cm ( 1 inch ) up from the bottom and then the bucket can be filled with medium. If it rains or if you over water then the extra escapes but there is always a little reserve in the base of the container.

A 10 litre ( 2 gallon ) bucket makes a good tomatoe plant pot. Later on several of these pots can be joined together and be self watering.

The development of the grommet has simplified the building of hydroponic systems by allowing plastic containers to be joined together. The grommet is a rubber " top hat " with no lid to the top of the hat - drill a 5/8 inch hole ( 16 mm ) using a hole saw , push the grommet into the hole narrow end first and keep pishing until the rim contacts the outside of the container. The standard 13mm ( half inch ) plastic irrigation fittings can then be pushed into the grommet and the hole is waterproof.

Several containers can be linked together to share one drainline or to share a flood and drain line.

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Commercial Grower

Commercial growers need to be driven by their market. There is no point in spending time and money producing a crop which no-one wants to buy or will only buy at ruinous prices. Most commercial growers started in a small way because they liked growing plants and identified a niche in the market which was available to them.

The traditional agricultural practice of being a price taker is no longer viable for commercial hydroponic growers and they have to be out there searching for their own markets and keeping those markets by providing quality produce at the price the buyer can afford to pay.

Growing commercially is a business and needs to be set up and run on business principles - see FAQ21 and the reading list FAQ5

There are many small hydroponic growers who run hydroponic systems in their spare time whilst building up knowledge and expertise before taking the risk of going full time.

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