Do I have to keep fish?
No, we made the tubes initially to work with a nutrient solution whether that is from fish waste or from a solution of trace elements and fertilizer.
What can I grow?
The real answer is just about anything but mostly people grow herbs, salad crops, vegetables and fruits but we can also grow some special items:
Herbs - mint, basil, tarragon, coriander, sage, bergamot, stevia and parsley.
Salad crops - lettuce, rocket, cucumber, tomatoes, celery, spinach and cress.
Fruits - strawberries, water melons, tomatillos
Vegetables - broccoli, garlic, peas, onions, kale, beans, chilli peppers and sweet peppers, aubergines and pak-choi.
Salt water - Samphire, sea weeds
Asian - water chestnuts, lemongrass, Chinese cabbage, garland chrysanthemums, spring onions, mangetout
But the list is endless and we are growing a helping community to give you some pointers on how to grow almost anything you want to tackle!
What sort of nutrients can I use?
You can use any pre-prepared hydroponic nutrient or you can do a bit of studying and create your own. We make a preparation that we call 'Fishaliser' which is an organic teabag that is safe to use with fish in the system and creates a natural nutrient boost.
How much space will I need?
We recommend a nice sunny wall or fence to attach the grow tubes to. Our five tube kit take up just over a metre of wall space and typically could house about 50-60 basil type plants. Our commercial growing units would house about 100 plants per linear metre.
Where can I put it?
We always say the grow tube kits are perfectly at home on a sunny wall or fence but they are equally happy in a greenhouse or conservatory to extend your growing year, on a balcony or roof garden works well if you are short of garden space and we team up with specialist LED grow light suppliers to create totally enclosed growing facilities in warehouses if required.
Will I need outside power?
You will, although the pumps typically only use 20-30 watts so we are working towards running the systems totally from solar power.
What about in the winter?
If these are outside then sensible precautions have to be take in winter. We normally leave garlic growing over winter in our tubes and switch the system off on freezing nights to protect the pumps.
Do I need extra lights?
If you are growing outside during the normal growing season then no, but if you want to grow indoors or out of season then yes. Let us know what you are intending to grow in the forum and we can arrange for grow lights to suit your exact needs.
Does the food taste different?
It does, but it depends what you put into it as to what you get out. We find you can grow lovely tasty fruit and veg using a nutrient mix but when you add fish to the mix, then you are adding some nice organic material to the roots which does make a difference in taste.
We also encourage you to grow heirloom seeds in the system which, given the perfect nutrient, water and oxygen mix to the root system, not only give a great flavour but also as high a yield as you will find in hybrid plants.
To really get the best flavours you do all of the above and add a handful of worms into the tubes which live perfectly happily amongst the roots and make a huge difference to the chemical availability of elements like phosphorous which in turn boosts fruiting plants enormously.
Why isn't more food grown this way?
Actually, a lot of the food you eat today is grown hydroponically but this system gives you the chance to control what it is grown in, what is sprayed onto it, how it is washed and packed and which seeds it has been grown from. We are now supplying supermarkets to grow specialist herbs and produce in this country, near the stores to make the supply cheaper, more fresh and cut food miles altogether.
Where can I get my first kit?
You can order directly from us in the shopping area, we have designed the system so that it is folds flat to transport it and is light to send. This also means it is light to handle and you are very unlikely to break a nail yet alone hurt your back in assembling or using our growing system.