It’s only been in for 10 months, but the hydroponics system is now well established. We have 12 runs in place – 6 x 3 metres and 6 x 2.5 metre NFT runs.

A number of experiments have been run over winter, with varying degrees of success.

  • Kohl Rabi was without a doubt a massive and unexpected success. All 8 plants put in produced good sized and sweet bulbs, most of which were eaten raw, but some we cooked and placed in stews. It was very good as a cabbage replacement in coleslaw.
  • Two varieties of sprouting broccoli were grown Winter Rudolph and Tender Stems. Without a doubt the Winter Rudolph has been more prolific, but both really are too large for a hydroponic system.
  • Broad Beans were overwintered and are now producing huge amounts of pods. Again the hydroponic version appears to be sweeter.
  • Rainbow lights silverbeet has not only provided us with leafy greens all winter (we pick the leaves of the outside rather than harvesting the whole plant) but is very attractive.  We found that the seeds from Kings Seeds gave a much better range of colours than those we have bought from other suppliers.
  • Cauliflowers were mixed. Some produced good sized heads, others were no bigger than a sprouting broccoli head.  I will try again next winter with different varieties and better documentation.
  • Our one space saver cabbage that survived has produced an amazing head but the germination was poor and we lost a lot of plants to winter storms.
  • There were also a lot of choy grown which were plucked and eaten over the winter.

There was certainly no risk of us going hungry.

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