I want to talk a little about a hydroponic system in our store. I’ve just done a water change (w/c) on our Vertical Garden (vertigro.com); it would be a great system for anyone tight on horizontal space, a complete system that would be pretty good for beginners. It’s almost a hybrid of three types of hydroponics, a built in reservoir, soiless mix/coco coir, and top watering. How it works is a series of planters filled with soiless mix, perched atop each other, and top fed from planter to planter below, supplied with a water nutrient solution, pumped up by a submersible pump, from the reservoir on the bottom, and controlled by just one timer.
All you need to do is add light, everything else, submersible pump, soiless mix and even powdered nutrient is included. You could set it up outside, but here in Chicago, you would have to bring it in seasonally and always make sure you secure it from strong winds. We are using this system to grow strawberries, the type that send out runners. It’s a natural, you plant the mother plant on top and she sends out runners to the pots below. Strawberries thrive in nutrient solution more to the acidic side, we’re set our pH at 5.2. I think we’ll have to be patient, I am not expecting any fruit for quite a few months.