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LVDeb

Cook
Joined
Jun 25, 2022
Messages
65
Location
Las Vegas
So...for a few years now we've been "wishlisting" the greenhouse we'd like to turn our back room/porch into. Don't want to do the whole glass walls thing, but we do want to do raised beds and some kind of self-sustaining hydroponic system (The Man wants to use fish).

I keep telling him, "Before we do anything, we have to clean that room out. Period. End of story."

That will get done. In the meantime, I'd like to start with a small kitchen herb garden. I've never really been a gardener, but at one point in NY did have a lovely little herb garden I let run wild with excellent results. I'd like to get used to growing things again.

What are your best tips/products for a small countertop herb garden? Window space is extremely limited and I don't want the LV Cat Boys to get into it either, as I do plan on growing some catnip for them.
 

larry_stewart

Master Chef
Joined
Dec 25, 2006
Messages
5,183
Location
Long Island, New York
I used an aero garden for years. they come with their own light ( complete units) so lighting isn't an issue.
When I haad it, you could buy pods that already had the seeds and growth medium in it. Just place the pods in place, fill he basin with water, set the program ( depending on what whaat you were growing, they had different light schedules preprogrammed in). I think it let you know when to add the liquid fertilizer ( which it came with) and when to fill up with water.

Worked well for leafy things and some herbs ( lettuce, basil, parsley).
they have flower pods, self pollinating cherry tomatoes also ( I never tried those, so cant comment).

They also have pods/ system where you can grow your own seeds.

All in all, it was a good starter system. Mine were in a place the cats couldn't get to. But, for anyone who has cats know, if there is a will, there is a way. They will find it, they will try to open it, they likely will grab one of the pods and it will wind up under a piece of furniture , and if they dont do any of the above, they will chew on the growth then throw it up on the lightest colored carpet you have in he house. My older cats didnt care too much, the younger ones were more curious.

I have since moved to an 'aquaponics' system, which is basically aa 20 gallon fish tank, with fish in the bottom, and the plant system up top. There is a light that can be height adjusted as the plants grow. A pump which keeps the liquid flowing. No need for fertilizer as the fish provide it all (They release a a lot of nitrogen). Ive been relatively successful with that ( lettuce, basil, parsley).

Im sure Pepperhead will chime in ( if he hasn't already while im writing this lengthy reply), as he has more sophisticated systems, along with more experience and knowledge on the subject.

***IF YOU PLAN ON GROWING CATNIP, THEY WILL DESTROY IT, KNOCK IT ON THE FLOOR WHEN TRYING TO CHEW/ ROLL AROUND ON IT....***
 

LVDeb

Cook
Joined
Jun 25, 2022
Messages
65
Location
Las Vegas
Thank you, Larry. The "aquaponics" is more like what The Man has in mind and I'd love to know how you built your setup and what kinds of fish you use. All the good details, if you're willing to share.

I figure if I can create something on a small scale, The Man, whose a structural engineer (and a Virgo, aka: Vulcan) will come up with something bigger and better.

I'll be sure to write it all on a napkin just to annoy him.
 

dragnlaw

Site Team
Staff member
Joined
Feb 16, 2013
Messages
7,507
Location
Waterdown, Ontario
I can certainly agree with Larry on the catnip part!

After destroying everything around it, the plant made a quick exit to the garden.

I realize you live in a dry desert but maybe you should just buy your 'nip for now... :LOL::LOL:
 

LVDeb

Cook
Joined
Jun 25, 2022
Messages
65
Location
Las Vegas
LOL...I know how it goes. One: Kota (15yrs old, bob tail) is not a jumper. I doubt even catnip growing on the counter is motivation enough. Tiger (5yr old Siamese) might attempt it ONCE. Both of them know countertops are strictly off limits and won't do it.
 

dragnlaw

Site Team
Staff member
Joined
Feb 16, 2013
Messages
7,507
Location
Waterdown, Ontario
But catnip is powerful stuff! :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:

I actually had one cat who could pull open a heavy drawer to get to it. the other cat couldn't have cared less! Never touched the stuff. Go figure.

Actually my cats dishes are on the counter. but just that one. They are not allowed any other - like yours, they know it.
Had to... dogs loved the cat food treats!
 
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taxlady

Chef Extraordinaire
Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Sep 13, 2010
Messages
28,748
Location
near Montreal, Quebec
Believe it or not, we had a cat who had continual access to catnip. It was exciting for him at first, but then he self-regulated and wasn't stupid about it. If his catnip bowl was empty and he wanted some, he would ask for it. He was about 12 or 13 years old when we started doing that. He seemed depressed because the other cat had died the year before. We thought it might help. It seemed to.
 

pepperhead212

Executive Chef
Joined
Nov 21, 2018
Messages
3,599
Location
Woodbury, NJ
I just took down my hydroponics today! I do this when I get enough basil growing outside, and things inside are getting messy. A few days ago I harvested a large bunch of the epazote, and took it up to the guy at the Mexican restaurant/grocery. That's another thing I have growing outside now.

I keep 27 gal and 12 gal deepwater tubs under lights in my basement - definitely not countertop! I grow basil and Thai basil, the Oaxacan red epazote, and some greens - lettuce, bok choy, chard, and mizuna. I keep an airstone in each, and a small powerhead with a sponge on it in each - things that I got from my aquariums, and "digests" the dead plant particles, and feeds the roots. I don't grow any fruiting plants indoors - takes too long to start, and I get enough of those outside! The essential herbs, plus some leafy greens grow quickly, and keep growing back, after harvesting.

I'll be starting it again in late October or early November. So I actually grow longer in that, than outside!


 

LVDeb

Cook
Joined
Jun 25, 2022
Messages
65
Location
Las Vegas
Dragon & TLady: They're such fascinating little buggers. The things they do. This is a topic I could go on and on about all day long, too. TL, Kota went through a bit of depression too when our Cougar left us. At the time I didn't know about this one product by Jackson Galaxy (My Cat From Hell guy). He makes herbal essences for all kinds of things, including a Loss Solution. I haven't used that one yet, but the others are total winners and I keep them in the Boys' medicine basket. The "Separation Anxiety" worked well for Kota, and Tiger gets "Easy Breather" from time to time. He'll start to cough, like he has a hairball, and we give him some of that and he stops right away. "Bully Solution" is great when Tiger gets a little too pushy with the Old Man.

Pepperhead: Thanks for chiming in! Yes, please do post a photo if you have it. Do you have any links to "how to's" for this?
 

pepperhead212

Executive Chef
Joined
Nov 21, 2018
Messages
3,599
Location
Woodbury, NJ
Pepper, would you post a picture of your hydroponic setup? Hopefully you have one from before you took it down [emoji16]
GG, Here's a photo from this winter's setup, only a little over a month after planting, showing some bok choy, the dill starting up, and some parsley, lettuce, and mizuna. A few more photos the same day - click on the photo, then use the arrows to move right or left, to see those.
Bok choy, in hydroponics, 12-2 by pepperhead212, on Flickr

And here is a collection of photos from a few years ago, showing a lot more, including setting up.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/91097628@N06/albums/72157710578587486

And here's another album showing hydroponics setup used for rooting cuttings:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/91097628@N06/albums/72157711169250402/with/48777893306/
 
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HeyItsSara

Senior Cook
Joined
Feb 5, 2020
Messages
272
Location
NYC
you can also sprout. those doesn't need artificial light. you can sprout raw sunflower seeds, lentils, garbanzos, many things.
 

larry_stewart

Master Chef
Joined
Dec 25, 2006
Messages
5,183
Location
Long Island, New York
here's a link to a newer version of what I got.

https://www.ecolifeconservation.org/product/eco-cycle/

I got mine on amazon in 2015. From what I remember it was almost $100 less at that a time. I dont think it comes with the fish tank, so if getting it, read carefully as to what it comes with and what you need to provide.

As I mentioned, it worked best with leafy things like lettuce, basil, parsley ...

I would just get some of the feeder Goldfish ( they are like 15 cents each). Initially they lasted a year or two, but more recently , the fish would die more frequently. Im not %100 sure why the sudden change in lifespan, as Ive been doing the same thing for 7 years. At one point I may have had cat fish and. a few snails. Can't overload the tank with fish.

Mine is in the basement, so the plants rely %100 on the artificial light. Cats sometimes make their way into that room to drink water from it ( they dont touch the plants).

Could get a little messy, as some of the plant leaves die and fall off.

I usually use mine during the outside off season ( October - March) too give me something o do ( along with growing mushrooms indoors too).

although lettuce works well, with. small system like this, I spend a few months going it for a weeks worth of lettuce. So, primarily grow basil and parsley, that keep producing and I dont use up all at once. Also, nothing better than smelling fresh basil in the middle of the winter, when there is a foot of snow on the ground.
 

dragnlaw

Site Team
Staff member
Joined
Feb 16, 2013
Messages
7,507
Location
Waterdown, Ontario
Larry, that doesn't make sense that your fish only lasted a year or two. Very bizarre. Unless they got waaay too big for the tank? Or perhaps the plants were taking too much oxygen for the size of the tank?

I got a bunch of feeders, for the horse tanks, to eat the larva of nasties. Out of 12 I lost 7, but to racoons, only 1 did I find as a 'floater'. Then I lost 1 when I brought them into the house. But had them for .... 6 years or more? Had to leave them behind, sniff :(. Actually miss them! LOL.
 

larry_stewart

Master Chef
Joined
Dec 25, 2006
Messages
5,183
Location
Long Island, New York
For awhile, my fish had a summer/ winter home. They came inside for the winter when I needed them for the plants, then outside during the summer . Unfortunately, the raccoons got into the pond several times and got he fish, along with some frogs. They got big but not too big. One lasted 3 years, but that was my record as far as longevity goes. Lately they make I a few months. No sure exactly what's going on, but Im not ( knowingly) doing anything different. Same plants, same routine. Ive changed the water and cleaned the tank to make sure it wasn't environmental. Just took the system down today. Ill set it back up again in September or so.
 

pepperhead212

Executive Chef
Joined
Nov 21, 2018
Messages
3,599
Location
Woodbury, NJ
I agree with that about the basil, larry! In fact that's why I started my hydroponics originally - for basil and Thai basil. Everything else just came afterwards, bit by bit.

 

GinnyPNW

Head Chef
Joined
Aug 20, 2021
Messages
1,917
Location
Somewhere in the PNW
I have about a dozen AeroGardens. I probably have at least 1 of each type they sell. From the smallest "Sprout" to the largest "Farm 24 XL". I enjoy them very much, although they are all dormant for the moment. Life and summertime activities get in the way...LOL. Although I'm strongly considering starting up a couple of gardens before summer's end. I want to have flowers in my kitchen again...and I want to start peppers that take a couple of months to start producing peppers. Anyway, they are fairly easy. It doesn't take a green thumb or a lot of research to be a successful AeroGardener.
 

Anna Embry

Assistant Cook
Joined
Jul 20, 2022
Messages
5
Location
New York, USA
But catnip is powerful stuff! :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:

I actually had one cat who could pull open a heavy drawer to get to it. the other cat couldn't have cared less! Never touched the stuff. Go figure.

Actually my cats dishes are on the counter. but just that one. They are not allowed any other - like yours, they know it.
Had to... dogs loved the cat food treats!

I agree catnip is great but little worried because Catnip is non-toxic to cats. Although rare, overindulgence can cause vomiting or diarrhea, so I may want to limit my cat's exposure if she's overly interested.
 

dragnlaw

Site Team
Staff member
Joined
Feb 16, 2013
Messages
7,507
Location
Waterdown, Ontario
I would also limit exposure, the main reason being, it is very possible they will become blase (put an accent on the last e pls). I gave them catnip to amuse them and didn't want them to become bored from having too much.

I much prefered dry catnip, they don't actually eat it as they might have done with the fresh. Vomiting and diar hea would be extreme and as you say rare.
 

Roll_Bones

Master Chef
Joined
Oct 19, 2013
Messages
5,522
Location
Southeast US
GG, Here's a photo from this winter's setup, only a little over a month after planting, showing some bok choy, the dill starting up, and some parsley, lettuce, and mizuna. A few more photos the same day - click on the photo, then use the arrows to move right or left, to see those.
Bok choy, in hydroponics, 12-2 by pepperhead212, on Flickr

And here is a collection of photos from a few years ago, showing a lot more, including setting up.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/91097628@N06/albums/72157710578587486

And here's another album showing hydroponics setup used for rooting cuttings:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/91097628@N06/albums/72157711169250402/with/48777893306/

Amazing!

here's a link to a newer version of what I got.

https://www.ecolifeconservation.org/product/eco-cycle/

I got mine on amazon in 2015. From what I remember it was almost $100 less at that a time. I dont think it comes with the fish tank, so if getting it, read carefully as to what it comes with and what you need to provide.

As I mentioned, it worked best with leafy things like lettuce, basil, parsley ...

I would just get some of the feeder Goldfish ( they are like 15 cents each). Initially they lasted a year or two, but more recently , the fish would die more frequently. Im not %100 sure why the sudden change in lifespan, as Ive been doing the same thing for 7 years. At one point I may have had cat fish and. a few snails. Can't overload the tank with fish.

Mine is in the basement, so the plants rely %100 on the artificial light. Cats sometimes make their way into that room to drink water from it ( they dont touch the plants).

Could get a little messy, as some of the plant leaves die and fall off.

I usually use mine during the outside off season ( October - March) too give me something o do ( along with growing mushrooms indoors too).

although lettuce works well, with. small system like this, I spend a few months going it for a weeks worth of lettuce. So, primarily grow basil and parsley, that keep producing and I dont use up all at once. Also, nothing better than smelling fresh basil in the middle of the winter, when there is a foot of snow on the ground.

Thanks. You have peeked my interest. Seems kinda small? I will do some reading about this.
 
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