Yep, lemon cucumbers. You did read that right. They look like lemons, but they taste like cucumbers. Why? Because I can. Why not?
Strangely enough this is one of the plants I am most excited about. I mention it to everyone – its definitely a talking point. Yet for some reason I haven’t really been tracking the growth progress. So now that the plant has reached one month old, it’s time to make a blog post about it.
I started these lemon cucumbers in my Aerogarden Bounty, and transplanted them to their Kratky buckets somewhere 2 weeks old. In reflection, I think this was a mistake. I waited too long and they had developed too many roots that I lost in the transplant process. The plant went into shock, and it took a long time for roots to re-grow and then for any more visible growth (leaves) to start showing. For two weeks they seemed to be dormant – only I could see root development and knew something was happening.
In the last week that the cucumber plant has started to visibly grow, and in that time it has really taken off! In that time its gone from a seedling with two leaves to… well this baby monster.
Between his upper two branches a small tendril, or maybe a new branch, is starting to grow.
If you look closely under the top leaf you might see a circular spiral. That’s a tendril, getting ready to grab onto a support for the plant to grow! After all, cucumbers tend to be rather like a vine. I’m going to have to add their trellis in, probably tonight. I don’t want them to grow outwards and flop over my floor, but rather train it to grow upwards onto the trellis.
Have you grown cucumbers before? Have you any tips to share with me? Let me know in the comments below.
A bit over a week ago I planted some spinach seeds, and sadly they didn’t germinate. I began a bit of research as to why. Despite my spinach varieties being hardy to warm weather, they still need cooler soil to germinate! The adult growth stage can handle warmer temperatures but the seedlings are too vulnerable still.
I began to wonder what I could grow with my current temperatures. It’ll also be handy to know the minimum temperatures for when the seasons change.
Whilst my plants aren’t being planted in soil, instead hydroponic is usually planted in rock wool or peat moss, the germination temperature should theoretically remain the same.
Amaranth, Red Leaf
Basil, Purple Petra
70 – 90
21 – 32
Kale, Nero Toscana
Lettuce, Little Gem (Romaine)
5 – 24
Lettuce, New Red Fire
Lettuce, Red Sails
Lettuce, Red Salad Bowl
Swiss Chard, Bright Lights
Swiss Chard, Lyon
50 – 75
10 – 24
Taisai, Pak Choy
10 – 27
Tomato, Marmande VR
60 – 70
15 – 20
Tomato (Cherry), Supersweet 100 FT
Tomato, Sam Marzano
I measured my Aerogarden water and it’s hitting a maximum of 85°F (30°C)! No wonder my spinach never sprouted, its ideal temperature is 50-75°F (10-24°C). Its just way too hot for them.
I’ll have to wait a while for the weather to get a bit cooler before I can sprout spinach; in the meantime I can try growing some Bright Lights Swiss Chard and Nero Toscana Kale.
I’ve seen some Youtube videos and articles where they grow their hydroponic plants in pool noodles. They claim to get high harvest yields, and they regularly talk about the benefit of being able to reuse the pool noodles.
I was concerned about the safety of using pool noodles; as we know plastic can leach chemicals and micro-particles into the water and plants (and eventually you). This process is often sped up with exposure to high temperatures… and Kuwait set a world record for the highest temperature in the world reaching 52.2°c (126°f) in the shadows and 63°c (126°f) in the direct sun!
After I bought the collars I realised that there weren’t many people online saying you could start seeds in the collars; they are generally used for transplanting cuttings from older plants.
I decided to do an experiment on whether I could grow seedlings in cloning collars.
I’m starting this experiment on Aug 7, 2019.
I sterilised the cloning collar and the container with hot water.
If you look closely you can see the Lemon Cucumber seed in the middle of the cloning collar. I’ve inserted it so its very close to the bottom of the collar (I’m holding it upside down), but far enough in that it hopefully doesn’t fall out.
Apparently seedlings will grow best when exposed to high levels of humidity. I wanted to make sure that my seedling could get as much light as possible at the same time. So I found this old Ikea air-tight plastic container. It has a de-gas spout which I have kept closed.
Fingers crossed that this container won’t grow algae since my nutrient rich water is also exposed to light.
I’d like to figure out how fast I can expect my plants to grow. Most seed packets and websites tell you how fast seeds grow assuming you are using soil, But hydroponics can grow up to 50% faster!
I doubt very much that my first hydroponic plants will grow 50% faster, however that doesn’t mean that I couldn’t expect to start harvesting from roughly that time onwards. You rarely need to wait until the plant reaches full maturity before you can harvest; just pull off leaves as needed and let the plant keep growing. I added “Potential Maturity” to the table below, but realistically that’s when I suspect I may be able to get my first harvest.
Earlier in the week I announced that we were hoping to grow the following vegetables and fruits in our Kratky hydroponic tubs:
I’d really to have some plants growing, or even harvestable, by late September/early October. Thats approximately 50-60 days from now. We have space for 2 large plants, along with at least 3 smaller plants and maximum of 5 plants.
The San Marzano Tomatoes are planned as a permanent setup, so these will take priority in one of the largest plant spaces. This tomato plant will be approximately 5-6 feet (1.5-1.8m) in height!
Whilst not quite as large as the tomatoes, the Lemon Cucumbers will stand about 3-4 feet (0.9-1.2m) in height. This will fill my second large grow area.
There are debates online about which spinach is “better”; matador apparently grows better in many conditions, but the Lavewa looks prettier and is slightly tastier. We want to test both of these spinaches side by side. They grow at the same rate, so we will test both the Lavewa Spinach and the Matador Spinach together.
I want to stagger the harvesting of my plants; I don’t want all my fresh leaf plants to mature at the same time, and then go one to two months with little food. So I have decided that I will start the Amaranth as well for this first hydroponic growth cycle. Granted, with its growth speed, I may be able to grow two batches of spinach by the time it reaches full maturity.
If I can fit anymore plants in my grow area I will add the Swiss Chard and the New Red Fire Lettuce.
What about you?
What are you growing this season? Did you calculate how long it takes to grow? Did you have to plan around seasons and temperature outdoors? Let me know what you’re growing!
After researching a bit, and probably jumping into the water too fast when it comes to buying products like grow lights, I have purchased some seeds to grow in my Krakty hydroponic room setup.
Buying seeds was a specific hassle in Kuwait; the very few and limited stores that sold seeds only sold the very common varieties. Think Beefsteak tomatoes; the probably most common tomato you can find at any supermarket. Since such tomatoes are so easy to buy, I want to grow something more unique.
In fact, we even found a nursery selling seeds with the giant warning label on the back: “Warning. Treated with poison. Do not consume or grow food products from these.” What?!
They delivered within 48 hours. We have been very happy with the brand of seeds that Sustainable Organic Q8 sells; which is Botanical Interest. They contain a lot of seeds in the pack, and they so far have a really high germination rate (for me its 100%).
Update – 24th August 2019: We found another Kuwait website selling seeds called My Organic World, though the website is all in Arabic (use Chrome web browser for auto-translate to browse in English). We bought from them, and they delivered within 24 hours! Unfortunately they sold brands Sperli and Kiepenkerl which consensus online says they can be quite expensive compared to competitors. One of the packs we bought only had 5 seeds in it! Not a reflection of My Organic World, but the seed producers themselves.
Update – 31st August 2019: Another Kuwaiti website selling seeds called PlantNMore. though the website is all in Arabic (use Chrome web browser for auto-translate to browse in English). I haven’t bought from this company yet.
Do you know anywhere else in Kuwait to buy seeds? Please let us know in the comments.