The Encyclopedia Hydroponica

Your Hydroponics Compendium

Laid out, Laid back; To-may-to, To-mah-to 22 July, 2008

Filed under: Blog — E.H. @ 8:53 pm
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Well it’s Tuesday. Not just any Tuesday – one of those Tuesdays.

Not that anyone but my immediate family is keeping track, but the ongoing saga that is my reconstructive dental work is a series of alternating Tuesdays that see me laid out on the living room couch (where I can more easily snag passers-by to come over, read what I’ve typed on my laptop screen so that a new ice pack or whatever can be brought to me.) My blood pressure is naturally just low enough that it’s a little too easy for me to get dizzy for awhile after having work done.

In fact, the dentists very quickly learned that if it’s the sort of thing that’s going to leave me with a mouthful of gauze for a few hours, I shouldn’t even try to stand up out of the dental chair until my BP is on the north side of “has a pulse”. Those free blood pressure things at local supermarkets have – more than a few times – told me I didn’t have any. Blood pressure, that is.

So here I am, stuck on the couch, with my Season 4 of MacGyver and the Internet to keep me occupied. I suppose I could work (since I telecommute), but no, that’d just be silly, wouldn’t it? (Honestly though, I’m not slacking – I schedule time off for this and besides, I don’t charge anyone anything for thinking I do while popping a Vicodin every 4 hours.)

In a weird kind of way, it’s nice. We self-employed don’t really get vacation time, paid sick leave, or really very many weekends. So as far as I’m concerned, being “laid out” is a nice way to be “laid back” for a change. I figured I’d take this opportunity to muse for a bit, mention some things I’ve been meaning to update, and so forth. In a word, ramble.

Why? Because I can. It’s my blog, I can ramble if I want to. Besides, since I’m chemically-enhanced at the moment I can just blame the Vicodin if I sound stupid, right?

Let’s see… updates…

The garden in general is doing pretty well. I had some red onions from the supermarket that sprouted way back and I planted them. They grew, went to seed, and I tried to collect some seeds. No idea yet if I got anything viable out of that, but the plants are dying back. I score that one as a big “shrug”.

Got some white bunching type onions that are doing well in the commercial Earth Box I have, and not as well in the garden (but not terrible). I’m probably going to yank the big one and dice it up nice and fine and cook it in my obscenely good secret recipe broccoli cream soup with cheese and ham and such. Since I’m on a no-solid-food diet for the next two weeks at least, I’ve been eating a lot of that. It’s the sort of soup that, if served with a sandwich, results in a left-over sandwich. One bowl will stuff you to the gills. Love it.

The tomatoes are just insane. The giant cherry tomato tree thing growing next to my A/C unit in the barbecue ash pile is doing a fair impersonation of the magic beanstalk, and will have it’s first bunch of tomatoes ripe any day now. This will fall into the category of “Things I’ll Eat No Matter How Much It Might Hurt”. One of the clusters it has higher up has something like 25 growing green fruit on it. Honestly, the plant is a little scary. Score this one as “smile nice and never turn your back on it”.

I have a new basil plant, growing outside in a pot. My Roma tomato has put on a second wind, but still hasn’t set any fruit. The upside-down tomato from my “version 2.0” post is ticking me off. It’s just not growing that much and it’s looking weak. I’m scoring that as a “shrug and glare”. The garlic on the front porch in containers is doing okay, but not impressing me. I didn’t really plant it at the right time, so I’m not worried.

A lot of what I do, like the Compost Guy, Bentley, is done “wrong” either because I’m still learning a lot or because I don’t really care that much. I started some tomatoes late. I planted garlic in late spring. That kind of stuff. A lot of it’s just because I could, and didn’t care so much whether I got great results or not.

In Hydroponics I’ve got a new salad crop started in my DWC. When I did that my drain valve started leaking, so I had to kind of do an emergency replacement of the entire reservoir. I quickly installed a water level indicator in the old reservoir and drilled it for 4 airlines (instead of the 2 it had used previously) and pulled the fancier one out of duty until I can seal the leak. Basically, it’ll go back into use at the next reservoir change. That DWC is now growing Grand Rapids lettuce, Romaine lettuce, and spinach.

I also have a sweet bell pepper plant that’s just about to go crazy-bushy on me and two teeny little tomato seedlings. I’ve got a Brandywine and a Giant Valentine growing the first true leaves. Oh, and I’ve got an oregano seedling peeking out the top of its Jiffy starter… I need to remember to get a pot for it soon.

Indoor dirt plants include a Micro Tom and a strawberry plant that should be appearing above ground soon. They’ve got humidity tents / cat forcefields that are made from my standard unit of construction: the 2L soda bottle.

That’s about it for now I think.  One of these days I need to figure out how to better format my posts so they don’t look like this (all smooshed together and hard to read), but today is not that day.  Today is more of a nap day.


My Friend Vicodin 11 June, 2008

Filed under: Blog — E.H. @ 11:02 pm
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Well technically it’s Hydrocodone that I’m taking, but that’s just the generic name for the brand-name of Vicodin.  (Also known as Lortabs, or any of a dozen or so other names).

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t really see the big deal with it.  I’m a big fan of the show “House, M.D.” in which the main character is a Vicodin addict.  I’m also an ex-smoker, so I’m no stranger to addiction.  Hell, I’m a huge caffeine addict as well.  So far I don’t see the addictive quality of Vicodin.  I’m not saying it’s not there – I just don’t see it.  But I’m definitely glad for the prescription.  It definitely helps with the pain, but beyond that I can’t imagine how the addictive side works.  Asprin helps with pain, but I don’t feel motivated to take it.

I just had some pretty major oral surgery – well I’m not sure if it would be considered major to a dentist, but it’s definitely the most major thing I’ve had done.  I’ll spare you all the details, but I was awake for it so I guess it wouldn’t technically be all that major.  Unfortunately this is just part 1 of 5-6 episodes to repair the damage caused by a hereditary condition (in the same way buying a new car “fixes” the old one).

I got a little work done on the Encyclopedia, but mostly I’ve just been napping.  The Hydrocodone helps a lot with the pain but I can’t accurately gage exactly how much it helps.  For one thing I’ve been in pretty much constant pain to some degree for a long time, which distorts your perceptions of what “hurts”.  For another, I hadn’t bothered to let the medication wear off until today.  A little achy but not bad.

One thing no one told me, which I’ll share with you just in case it helps, is that if the dentist does any kind of serious work on your lower teeth there’s a good chance your whole jaw will be sore for a few days.  If you’ve ever taken a good shot to the jaw in a fist-fight you know the kind of soreness I’m talking about.  If they’ve got to strong arm around the molars in particular they’ll put enough strain on the joints (right in front of your ears) that it feels like they’re trying to yank it off.  Right now that’s what hurts more than anything else.

In other news…

The Mystery Plant is threatening to become the Mystery Shrub.  It’s looking more and more like a turnip.  If it’s a radish I may have to call the EPA or something – a radish that big could be a prelude to some vegetable-based invasion.

The assault-victim basil has died, though the cat is not a suspect.  I moved it outside, we had a windy day, and it appears to have gotten stem rot around the same time.  Too many problems at once, I think.  The basil in my dwc is growing so fast I’ve topped it once and it doesn’t seem to have cared – within days it was just as big as before.  I think I may borrow some ideas from the other side of the legality fence and tie it down.  (They call it LST – Low Stress Training.)

The hydroponics plants are exploding.  I’m going to have to raise the light soon, and a cabinet will probably be required within a couple weeks.


I’m planning to get more work done on the Encyclopedia soon, as well as some photographic updates on how the hydroponics plants are doing as well as the Mystery Plant/Shrug/Invader.  I’m starting to feel more energetic so I ought to be back to normal by tomorrow.