Saturday, May 01, 2010

Hydroponic Mint and Foliar Feeding

I finally did it!  I managed to put jargon in my title.  Today, I'll talk about another chapter of my mint adventures.  First of, let me tell you about the multiple varieties I now have:  my original Chocolate and Japanese mint, my Jean donated Peppermint and Lemon Mint, my new Swiss Mint and my Sua donated Spearmint.   Whew!  It's a good thing I've become somehow familiar with their leaf shapes and scents.  Otherwise I'd mix them up.

Now, ever since I discovered that mints can be propagated by letting cuttings root in a glass of water, I've been completely hooked.  To date, I've probably made about 30 cuttings or so in a span of around two months.  So where do I put them all?

Well, first I exhausted all the spare pots in the house.  Then I planted some on the ground.  Lately, I've been planting them alongside my other plants in the same pot (tomatoes, mangoes, etc).  I've really run out of places.  And besides, they die sometimes after being transplanted.

So I decided to go hydroponic, which is really just a cool way of saying growing on water.  Instead of using inert media, I opted for no soil-type medium at all.  Just the bottle, the plant and the water.  It's cool because I can put in multiple cuttings in one bottle. (Picture from left to right: Swiss Mint, Japanese Mint, Chocolate Mint and Peppermint).

And so you might ask, how long can you keep these plants in water?  Well, my Peppermint has been there for a month already and it looks fine.   I suppose you can grow them like that indefinitely.   It's also very cost and space effective.   You don't need to water them much, especially since my bottles just get afternoon sun.

What about the nutrients? Well, I put in a drop or two of organic fertilizer whenever I add water, or I just spray it on the leaves (otherwise called foliar feeding). I even mix it with chili peppers, thereby combining my fertilizer and my pesticide.  Does it work?  Well, they're alive and doing well.  Can't argue with success. The best time to foliar feed is early morning because it allows the leaves to dry before it gets dark.  Second best would be late afternoon, but then there's a chance your leaves will remain wet and be susceptible to disease.  Worst time to do it is at noon because the refraction of the light on the water drops will burn your leaves.

I'm also trying this with my Sweet Basil, Cinnamon Basil and Tomatoes.  I'll let you know what happens next time.

1 comment:

  1. Great post, I was wondering what other plants have you tried through your brand of hydroponic? have you ever tried growing vegies?


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