Now that the sun has deigned to grace us with its presence thoughts naturally turn to cooling oneself down. It’s a human instinct. As if we were only really waiting for summer in order to find new ways of managing heat. With that in mind we’ve set cucumbers and melons on the grow using AutoPot modules – in order to demonstrate just how easy it is to create a ready, quick-to-harvest supply of cool, fresh, body-harmonising fruit and veg.
Vine growing from easy2grow modules is the perfect technique for producing a veritable wall of self-watering, mouth-watering crops. All you need above your modules is a beam over which you can rig the strings for the plants to climb. Indoors this beam could simply be part of the room structure – as in our grow room. Outdoors you could take advantage of a trellis. Alternatively, suitable free-standing trellis kits are a handy and inexpensive addition to any garden. Cheaper still is the option of crafting your own A-frame, always ensuring that the structure is sturdy enough to take the plant’s weight. Because boy (or girl), will those plants be climbing!
Making a mockery of our efforts to accurately update you, our plants are racing to new heights faster than we can write this newsletter. Only three weeks in and already the cucumbers own to an impressive 1.8m / 6ft in height with the melons not far behind. That’s an average of around 9cm /3.5 inches of growth a day! So much growth requires a little management in order to avert cucumber chaos or, if you will, melondrama, thankfully said management is really simple.
Take a razor and (carefully – do we really have to say it?!) trim off the side-shoots before they get going. This should keep your climbers on the up-and-up, the straight-and-narrow, and minimise the topsy-turvy. It certainly seems to be focussing the energies of our cucumbers and melons. In order to pollenate (the plants) we’ve been gently flicking the flowers of late. Pollination would normally have fallen to pest controlling bees. The bees, however, are currently ‘otherwise indisposed’ having been eaten by the pest control spiders. One can imagine that being a lifeguard is hungry work but you’d really rather not see lifeguards eating each other. That’s not summertime behaviour.
One might wonder if we’ve done anything stellar to incite such plant growth in the first place but the answer is ‘not really’. Good, solid, reliable, easy-to-use feeds and substrates – the kind you’d prefer to know had been in contact with your food, are all it takes. If there is any slightly greater investment in these products it is massively offset by the yield and longevity they offer. Which products? Glad you asked.
GHE 3-Part Series by Terre-Aquatica (no connection to General Hydroponics) is one of our very long term favourites. We’re talking about 25-30 years of happiness with a clean feed that has almost no drop out. Plenty of scope to mix the parts to match your plants or preferred substrate and don’t be perturbed by the dark colour when mixed in your tank, it’s just rich, well-constituted nutrient goodness. pH is at about 5.5/5.6, EC 2.2/2.3 and the GHE is excelling with a lovely bit of Biobizz Coco in the 8.5 L / 2.2 gal pots of the easy2grow modules.
A little Fish Sh!t goes a long, long way towards keeping leaves in tippy-tippy condition and promoting new growth. How far exactly does a little go? Well it’s devilish economical at just 1ml:100ml and fast becoming a staple in the grow room for its capacity to keep plants on an even keel. This is so important when you’ve multiple environmental factors in action, supporting a wide variety of plants, in an enclosed space. All the essential elements are in place. So how are the crops themselves fairing?
Delightfully snackable the cucumbers are already harvesting. Meanwhile the melons are right where we need them to be for a juicy jamboree of subtle, sunshine-synonymous sweetness. By allowing different crops to feed exactly to their own requirements within just one system the easy2grow modules are instrumental in all of this. It certainly bears mentioning when you consider that many growers would like to see a wide variety, even if their growing spaces are limited. As you head out into the dreamy days of summer we’d like to wish you all the best in leisure and simple happiness. Have an excellent time.