The Current State

Things are finally starting to settle down, post holidays and new pets. (How has this new cat got so much energy?!)

It’s finally time to fully reassess my current grow room and how my hydroponic plants are fairing. This means chopping down unwanted plants, pruning the “new” growth back severely, and planting new produce.

The Basil

We still eat a decent amount of basil, and thankfully it’s one of the easiest things to grow hydroponically.

I pruned back all my basil to their lowest junctions. This keeps each bush nice and compact, and encourages more foliage growth and less long branching. The 400g (yes that much!) that I have pruned back is currently being dehydrated and consumed fresh in smoothies.

I’ve decided to expand the types of basil varieties I now grow to include Piccolino, Thai and Purple basil. All very delicious, and all with their own tastes.

The Strawberries

I lost track of exactly which variety germinated and grew; but I believe I they were the Florian F1 and Elan’s.

These plants are a bit of a hit and miss for what’s growing. For a while they were my most prolific growers; the amount of foliage per plant caused me to repot half of the plants as they were just too crowded.

Since we have such limited space in our grow room, we killed all but 6 plants (two plants each bucket). So far they aren’t producing in big batches, but smaller batches on a regular basis. My husband and I regularly pick at them throughout the week.

The Tomatoes

San Marzano

The San Marzano tomatoes are gone. Destroyed.

We were getting rather bland tomatoes. A bit of research has led to some interesting insights; if the parent plant produces bland tomatoes, the seedlings will too. Many people sell seeds for San Marzano, but many on the market are harvested from bland tomato varieties. If you plant to grow this species, I suggest trying a tomato from the parent plant first.

Marmande

Instead we have planted Marinade Tomatoes. I’m glad I did. They are less fussy about water and nutrient levels, they don’t have half the blossomed rot issues, and the tomatoes they produce are some of the best I’ve eaten in Kuwait! They are super fleshy, so perfect for all varieties of meals, and have a sweeter taste to them that’s just yummy.

Tiny Tims

Considered a dwarf variety, this plant variety grows to 12 inches (30cm) tall! He’s so little! He produces miniature fruits in clusters that are only 3/4″ in diameter a piece (that’s 2cm!). He’s a determinate species – so it’ll be one harvest and replant.

Red Centiflor Tomato

Another compact and “miniature” variety of tomatoes, perfect for hydroponics and container gardening. This species is considered “very rare”. But they are so cute!  They will produce up to 40 tomatoes per cluster (compared to 2-3 typical on San Marzano trees). They also have apparently an extremely heavy yield.

The Lemon Cucumber

I destroyed this beast. He produced two or three fruits only. He produced a zillion flowers, almost all male. I mean… flowers everywhere!

On top of that, we discovered that I was pretty allergic to this plant. Touching it in any way gave my skin rather bad rashes; and to fertilise the flowers you had to get elbow deep in vines! It was not an ideal situation.

The Lettuce

We have three lettuce plants growing constantly in a bucket, and they provide ridiculous amounts of lettuce leaves for salads and sandwiches. I don’t think I have ever eaten so much lettuce in my life.

The Rhubarb

My husband had rhubarb pie a while back, and got addicted. Problem is its really hard to source here in Kuwait. So of course I’ve planted him some in our hydroponic garden… four pots worth of it. It’s literally taking over. Good thing its easy to grow and I like the taste of rhubarb. Its a slow grower, so expect it to be around for a while.

The Peppers

Now this is one I am very excited about. I have come across the concept of Bonshi. Not bonsai, but bonshi. It’s the practice of growing pepper plants with the same techniques as bonsai. They can be highly ornamental with their coloured fruit and flowers, whilst also being quite edible. I’ve loved the idea of growing bonsai since I was like 12, so this idea was great!

It’s pretty hard to do bonsai in Kuwait since I haven’t found suitable training pots, display pots, soil mixtures, and even plants (most are mass produced nursery stock that would require many years of growth to become display ready). A normal bonsai tree can easily take up to 30 years to grow from seed!

But pepper plants, and bonshi, can be produced within 1-2 years. They are suitable for indoor climates (unlike many traditional bonsai plants), and their fast growing nature is absolutely perfect for beginners and impatient enthusiasts (ahem, me).

So of course I researched pepper plants, and both 18 total varieties to grow. More on this in another post.

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