Easter on the Beach

DIY Hydroponic System

Growing food indoors isn't as hard as you may think. You can even get a jump on your gardening a little early if you're doing hydroponics by building the system you're about to see.  We built these hydroponic systems to house our tomato and pepper plants long enough for it to warm up so we could move the plants outside into our Deep Water Culture, Hydroponic System.

We started our seeds in soil pods, that you can see pictured above, in the black tray.  The photos we've posted below show them being transplanted into the net pots with clay balls, in preparation for moving them into the hydroponic systems. 

Moving your baby seedlings into net pots is simple. Remove the netting around your soil pod and place the soil with roots and baby seedling into the bottom of the net pot. Fill the pot with clay balls or whatever grow medium you choose.  

Here are all of our tiny seedlings that have been moved into their net pots.  Make sure you keep the labels with them! When they start producing you'll be interested to know which variety they are and whether they are a determinate or indeterminate tomato variety. Learn more about the differences, HERE. 

Fast forward just a few short weeks! We took some regular rubber-maid, shallow storage bins and drilled holes in the lids with a hole saw. Next we purchased a small air pump and some air-stones from Walmart in the fish department.  We drilled a small hole in each bin near the lip just under where the lid sits and then ran the plastic hose that came with the pump through it.  Attach your air-stone to the end of the tubing and place inside the bin that you'll be filling with water.

After we got all of the holes drilled, and pump and air-stones installed, we filled the rubber-maid.
You'll place your net pots with baby seedlings inside the holes you drilled and add appropriate nutrients to the water inside each bin.

Our plants are at a stage now where they desperately need to be moved into our larger Deep Water Culture beds, but you could easily grow smaller plants, and maybe one or two tomato plants per bin of this size if you wanted too. It really is that easy to grow food hydroponically at home.

Here's the brand of the pump system we used. About $6 whole dollars at Walmart...and the bin cost just $8. Seeds were $.99 a pack.  Building a Hydroponic system doesn't have to break the bank and systems like these are just as effective as some of the pre-made ones you'll find advertised online.

My favorite part about hydroponic growing? NO WEEDS.  Garden on friends, hydroponically of course! You won't regret it.

Meyer Hatchery Review

When we lived in Washington state, I frequently would "shutter" at the thought of buying baby chicks from anywhere but local farms.  I was a total snob in the fact that I swore I'd never buy spring chickens, or any baby chicks from an online ordering source.   Boy,  I had it all wrong and now I'm regretting every "put down" I ever made towards others who ordered their chicks from a website. 

When we moved to Perdido Key, Florida we knew we wanted to have chickens again.  Finding a source for baby chicks in this part of the country can be really hard. Trust me, I looked everywhere with no such luck to make a local purchase from a farm or a neighbor. People here just aren't into the "urban farming" like they were in Seattle.  Most of the people who live here are retired, or they are just here for vacation so nobody really has the time or desire to put in a chicken coop and raise them for eggs or meat. 

Because of my reluctant nature to make a chick order online, I kept putting off getting more chickens.  We arrived here in September and found ourselves not really in any big hurry to get another flock going.  I finally had enough of casually trying to find a local farm or hatchery.  It was no use.  For heaven's sake we don't even have a real post office in this place, how was I ever going to find a neat little place like Baxter Barn in Seattle to sell us baby chicks? So upon me completely giving up on a local source, I stumbled upon Meyer Hatchery online.  

...with that being said, I'm glad that we found them! 

We placed our order for chicks in January, to make sure we'd get the varieties we were wanting. Chicks go fast once Spring arrives, and if I was going to order chicks online, I wanted to make sure they were the breeds we were really desiring.

With my order placed a few months ago, they didn't even charge my card until a few weeks before the actual hatch date.  I had gotten an e-mail a few days ago telling me that the chicks were being shipped and that I could expect them any day now. Their e-mail contained a tracking number for us via USPS.

Two days after receiving our e-mail, I woke up to a phone call from the USPS.  They told us the babies had arrived, and I could hear them chirping happily in the background.  Because we don't have  a regular post office in Perdido Key, I did have to drive a short distance to a real post office where the chicks had been sent to.

Noahh was beyond thrilled that we were bringing home baby chickies! Here's a picture we posted to our Instagram account of us picking them up at the post office. Her expression says it all!

I was as anxious as she was to get home so we could open the box and take a peek! Sure enough we had a beautiful mix of chicks, and all of the "special orders" we requested as well.  We ordered up all rare breeds, because they are our favorites...and we grew to love them so when we lived in Seattle. We're excited however to raise some different rare varieties from what we had before.

Carefully inspected, all chickies were healthy and happy! I can't tell you how pleased we are with our order to Meyer Hatchery.  In fact, I highly recommend using them and would do so again.  To all those chicken snobs out there...don't knock it until you try ordering chickens online.  Realize that not everyone has access to fabulous local farms selling chicks and sometimes ordering online is the only way to acquire chicks for a backyard flock.


Spring Break, 2016

Spring break is here, and the weather so far is cooperating nicely! We've been playing at the beach everyday with the kids and we took the boat out also.  We were hoping to catch dinner, but no such luck. Guess the water hasn't warmed up quite enough yet for them to start biting.   We enjoyed the day island hoping and gazing at sugar sand white beaches.  Spring break is certainly here, as you can notice a bit more boat traffic and people "out and about".  

Scoville Heat Index Rating for Hot Peppers

Before you start planting your hot pepper seeds, have a look at this handy info-graphic from SeedsNow.com!  They've created a beautiful graphic that illustrates how hot your hot peppers are going to rate on the Scoville Scale, which is a measurement used for determining how SPICY your chili peppers will be.  Of course, there's always ways to increase the HEAT in your peppers, and those tips are listed at the bottom! 

On Instagram

© Virtuously Surrendered. Made with love by The Dutch Lady Designs.