Confessions of a Cereal Killer 4

Photo: Lettuce by Ruth Hartnup (CC BY 2.0)
Photo: Lettuce by Ruth Hartnup (CC BY 2.0)

The other day we started our own hydroponics system. Just a small one.
1 metre x 50 cms (about 3 feet x 1 foot – ish, maybe. I’m terrible at metric to imperial conversions.)

At any rate, it’s pretty small as hydroponic systems go.
A few months ago we saw a documentary on aquaponics and kept searching for info on it. It’s fascinating. Using fish water and stones to grow plants.

No dirt.

If you’ve read my confessions of a cereal killer  (one, two and three), you’ll know my track record with plants isn’t very good. My epiphany was, they only liked me when there was no dirt involved.

Hello, aquaponics.

We wanted to try one. We have a miniature courtyard and that’s about all the space we have. So, small was our only option. Too small, unfortunately, for aquaponics. So we thought we’d give hydroponics a try. Kinda like aquaponics, only without the fish. You use organic liquid fertiliser instead.

Our ‘bed’ has 3 types of lettuces in it, 6 seedlings of each.

We planted them in pearlite and set their little tootsies in the water. And they did well.
For the first few weeks.

You see, in hydroponics the pH levels of the water is important. It needs checking weekly and adjusting when required. Plants work best in pH levels of 6-6.5. Our tap water is higher than 7.6, so we have to keep adjusting.

Planting the seedlings was the easy part. Getting the pH levels right – not so easy. We’ve been at it for a week now and we’re still not in the correct range for the tiny plants. I’m kinda worried. With my track record and plants, this may just be the last for our seedlings. Hubby tells me we’ll get the pH levels right soon and I hope he’s right.

The idea of growing our own food is amazing. Going out to the courtyard and picking greens for dinner would be wonderful. Literally minutes from field to plate. Me…growing food. All plausible.  If my black thumb doesn’t rear its ugly head, that is.

Here’s to success and living plants.
Wish me luck.


Confessions of a Cereal Killer 3; Writing 101 Challenge – Day 16

 Day 16 – On day four, you wrote about losing something. On day thirteen, you then wrote about finding something. Continue our serial challenge, and reflect on the theme of “lost and found” more generally in this post.


I’m sorry. I did it again. I killed another plant.

I didn’t mean to, but I suppose that doesn’t wash anymore. I never ‘mean’ to kill a plant. Yet it happens.

This time it was the basil. I thought I was doing so well. It grew. It was green. It was edible. It even had little flowers growing. When suddenly it fell over – dead.

It was devastating. I had done so well until then.

I have a friend. I think she has a magic garden. Or least she has the envious talent of green thumbs. Things grow for her, and she has a beautiful garden. I love walking through it but I’m always wary that my black thumb is contagious. She hasn’t caught it yet. Thank God.

So, over coffee, I told my green thumbed friend my bitter tale of woe. She told me something astounding.

The basil had gone to seed. It was supposed to die. If I kept caring for the plant I would have little tiny off shoots. The off shoots would become new basil plants.

The clunk you heard…that was my jaw hitting the table. At least I didn’t spill the coffee.

Me, The Black Thumb, had created new seeds? New seeds for new plants?

From the death of one plant, so many more would be given life.

Maybe dead isn’t dead after all. And perhaps I’m not such a Cereal Killer.

Would you like to read the other parts in this series?

Confessions of a Cereal Killer 1
Confessions of a Cereal Killer 2