Apartment homesteading?

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Alphaville
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Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by Alphaville »

sky wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 11:42 pm
I made this video some time ago and now grow and eat differently, but this should give you an idea.

https://youtu.be/ZCH6Efp7wAA
that was great, watched it earlier this morning.

what's changed since you made it?

sky
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Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by sky »

I now grow hydroponically and eat microgreens in a green smoothie. My grow spaces are currently tied up with seedlings, but when I get back to growing microgreens, I will probably just grow broccoli. Sunflowers are great but pulling the hulls out takes a lot of time.

Alphaville
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Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by Alphaville »

So it looks like I got a plot in a nearby community garden...

Alphaville
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Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by Alphaville »

sky wrote:
Mon Mar 30, 2020 2:12 pm
I now grow hydroponically and eat microgreens in a green smoothie. My grow spaces are currently tied up with seedlings, but when I get back to growing microgreens, I will probably just grow broccoli. Sunflowers are great but pulling the hulls out takes a lot of time.
wait, so you don’t use dirt trays anymore? what are the advantages?

sky
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Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by sky »

With broccoli, I use a perforated tray with a paper towel on the bottom, and scatter the seed on the paper towel. Then put the tray in a flood and drain system set to 6 hour cycles, using water. After 5 days, switch to 8 hour cycles and turn the lights on. Use a mild hydroponic nutrient solution from day 6 to harvest on day 9 or 10.

This method is less cost than soil.

Alphaville
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Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by Alphaville »

sky wrote:
Thu Apr 02, 2020 7:07 am
With broccoli, I use a perforated tray with a paper towel on the bottom, and scatter the seed on the paper towel. Then put the tray in a flood and drain system set to 6 hour cycles, using water. After 5 days, switch to 8 hour cycles and turn the lights on. Use a mild hydroponic nutrient solution from day 6 to harvest on day 9 or 10.

This method is less cost than soil.
oh! figured less mess too, and in a small apartment that’s a huge plus

could you point me to any websites/books/materials you’d recommend for instruction?

sky
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Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by sky »

Corey's Cave on youtube

Alphaville
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Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by Alphaville »

sky wrote:
Thu Apr 02, 2020 10:23 am
Corey's Cave on youtube
many many many many many many many many many thanks

white belt
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Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by white belt »

Does anyone have any experience with the Kratky method of hydroponics? The research I've done highlights that it is "set and forget" with minimal resources and no electricity necessary like most hydroponic systems. I believe it is only viable for certain leafy vegetables though.

Alphaville
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Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by Alphaville »

white belt wrote:
Mon Aug 24, 2020 8:35 pm
Does anyone have any experience with the Kratky method of hydroponics? The research I've done highlights that it is "set and forget" with minimal resources and no electricity necessary like most hydroponic systems. I believe it is only viable for certain leafy vegetables though.
i haven’t, but thanks for bringing it up. i was reading about it last night.

the limits as described are that root vegetables won’t grow in a pot of stagnant water and fruiting vegetables like tomatoes need a lot more nutrients, and there is a risk of algae and water infestations, but they describe ways to deal with them. seems to be a cheap and easy way to get started...

white belt
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Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by white belt »

I’ve taken my first steps into apartment homesteading by setting up my worm composting bin in my 300 sq ft studio apartment. It is in a plastic bin that I already had that I placed on the bottom of a metal shelf. The bin takes up the entire bottom shelf and measured about 24 x 18 x 12. I followed these instructions: https://homegrown.extension.ncsu.edu/wp ... -sheet.pdf

I have a pound of worms in about 2 sq ft of bedding surface. I feed them 1-2 lbs of food waste (mostly egg shells and banana peels) and more bedding (paper, cardboard, egg cartons) once a week. It took me a few days to get the worms settled in, so contrary to what some sources say I would highly recommend having food scraps already mixed in with your bedding when you first add the worms to prevent mass exodus.

Alphaville
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Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by Alphaville »

white belt wrote:
Fri Nov 27, 2020 5:14 pm
I’ve taken my first steps into apartment homesteading by setting up my worm composting bin in my 300 sq ft studio apartment.
niiice.

i really want to get started with this soon. covid confinement has been a huge detour.

can i ask where did you get your worms? local, mailorder, friends?

white belt
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Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by white belt »

I ordered online from redwormcomposting.com because Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm was sold out of one pound red worm bags. There wasn’t a local vendor or friends that have any in my area. I should never have to buy worms again unless I for some reason move and have to restart the box from scratch.

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Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by jacob »

FWIW, if anyone from the Chicago area wants red wigglers, they can pick up a starter colony from me for free.

white belt
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Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by white belt »

My first iteration of growing microgreens in my 300 sqft studio apartment was a success! Here are pictures of the setup:

Image
Image

My total setup footprint is about 2x3 ft and I am using the bottom 2 shelves of a cheapo metal garage/storage shelf you can find anywhere, which leaves 3 shelves on top for normal storage. The worm bin started with 1000 worms and I used a plastic container I had on hand. I was a bit worried about using 24 inch lights over 3 trays (width of 30 inches), but I still seemed to have pretty uniform growth across all the trays. The gaps you see on the corners of the middle tray were because I let it dry out a little too much just prior to harvesting so some of the broccoli microgreens began to lean over.

This was a proof of concept so I pretty much followed exactly what Corey's Cave told me to do in his youtube course for microgreens. My trays, seeds, and soil all came from True Leaf Market and the lights were from Amazon and came highly recommended as LED grow lights. I grew broccoli, spicy salad mix, and salad mix with a total yield of about 600g. With a set of trays germinating and another under lights always I could continue with 600g weekly output indefinitely with the current setup.

My next iteration will move towards optimizing the cost of inputs. I plan on growing on paper towel as a grow medium using some Miracle-Gro fertilizer I have on hand and will see if I can get comparable results (I'm still a few months away from harvesting worm castings). As Sky pointed out earlier in the thread, usually the most expensive input per tray of microgreens is the soil. My ideal system would look something like this:

Inputs
-seeds
-water
-paper towel
-electricity (LED lights use 10W/.079A each and I calculate they will last me 9 years at 12 hours per day of use) (not sure on electricity cost because it's included in my rent)
-fertilizer (worm tea from worm bin)

Outputs
-microgreens
-paper towel and roots to feed to worm bin


I think this is a valuable way for the apartment dweller to grow fresh leafy greens in a controlled environment year-round, which could free up outdoor space for staple crops and more exotic fruits and vegetables.
Last edited by white belt on Mon Dec 14, 2020 2:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Alphaville
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Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by Alphaville »

@wb

wow, congrats, that's a spectacular success, and photos are much appreciated.

sky
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Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by sky »

This youtuber reuses the soil and puts worms in the tray soil.

https://youtu.be/1x-GyPikLNc

So far, I have eaten microgreens:

Raw as a lettuce on sandwiches, and salad
Processed in a smoothie
Chopped and added to soup
Frozen, chopped and added to baked vegetables (casserole)
Dried and added as a powder to soup

I found the radishes and mustards, as part of spicy mixes too hot for me.

The sunflowers taste excellent and are probably high in protein, but they are susceptable to mold and they attract rodents.

Broccoli are highly nutritious and easy to grow.

white belt
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Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by white belt »

sky wrote:
Mon Dec 14, 2020 2:04 pm
This youtuber reuses the soil and puts worms in the tray soil.

https://youtu.be/1x-GyPikLNc

So far, I have eaten microgreens:

Raw as a lettuce on sandwiches, and salad
Processed in a smoothie
Chopped and added to soup
Frozen, chopped and added to baked vegetables (casserole)
Dried and added as a powder to soup

I found the radishes and mustards, as part of spicy mixes too hot for me.

The sunflowers taste excellent and are probably high in protein, but they are susceptable to mold and they attract rodents.

Broccoli are highly nutritious and easy to grow.
Thanks for the link and recipe ideas.

I’ll have to dig more into the soil re-use option. From the videos I watched, it looks like he is still using new soil starter like coco coir on top of the re-used soil with worms. I guess my concerns would be disease/plant pathogens and losing nutritional value. I think worm composting and microgreens are a good combination, I’m just not yet sure of the ideal implementation whether it be worm tea, worm castings in soil, or worms directly in soil like what he did.

It seems like there is some debate over whether microgreens actually need any fertilizer, since many people have success growing them in something like coco coir or dirt without fertilizer. However, I feel like at least a little fertilizer will improve total output and nutrition of the final product?

sky
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Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by sky »

They do need nutrients, perhaps not much but they need some.

He is using a Burpee seed starting soil mix as a thin layer over the previous layer. He has posted a number of videos about this, but all are pretty much the same. He adds 30 to 50 worms per 10x10 half tray.

white belt
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Re: Apartment homesteading?

Post by white belt »

sky wrote:
Mon Dec 14, 2020 3:04 pm
They do need nutrients, perhaps not much but they need some.

He is using a Burpee seed starting soil mix as a thin layer over the previous layer. He has posted a number of videos about this, but all are pretty much the same. He adds 30 to 50 worms per 10x10 half tray.
That makes sense to me. I've been watching a lot of side-by-side experiment videos from On The Grow on Youtube and they had improved growth with small amounts of worm castings, but showed negative results when they added too much. I still think I'll do testing with growing on non-bleached paper towels next but I might try re-using soil down the line (I already added the soil/roots from this batch to my worm bin).

Alphaville wrote:
Mon Dec 14, 2020 2:02 pm
@wb

wow, congrats, that's a spectacular success, and photos are much appreciated.
Thanks. So are you planning to implement some kind of microgreens or worm composting system at your apartment? In the past 6+ months since you started this thread, have you found any other home production strategies that work well on the small-scale?

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