Home Hydroponics with Tyler Baras

Episode 14
Sustainability Book Chat

During the drought of 2012 when everything in our garden was dying after months without rain, I really started to think about hydroponics and aquaponic growing systems.

In today’s show, author and farmer Tyler Baras is talking about what hydroponics is, as well as how it is different from aquaponics. He also talks about how some foods can taste different when grown hydroponically and what you can do to compensate.

We discuss the best foods for growing hydroponically, as well as whether they can be grown organically and whether you can do it on a really small scale. And in case you’ve been tempted by some of those super expensive systems advertised online, you’ll learn about inexpensive DIY options.

Tyler talks about where you can put the hydroponic system with ideas for your living room, kitchen, and bathroom, as well as costs to get started.

Tyler Baras’ other books:

  • DIY Hydroponic Gardens: How to Design and Build an Inexpensive System for Growing Plants in Water
  • Roadmap to Growing Leafy Greens and Herbs

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Learn more about Tyler Baras

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Want to learn about aquaponic gardening and how to get started? Check it out here>>

Home Hydroponics – Transcript

Deborah Niemann 0:04
Whoever you are, wherever you live, whatever size your living space, you can do more than you think to lead a greener lifestyle. In the “Sustainability Book Chat,” we are talking to authors and experts about all the different ways that achieving sustainability is within your reach.

Deborah Niemann 0:28
Hello, everyone, and welcome to today’s episode. I am personally very excited about this episode, because this is something that I have absolutely no personal experience with, but I’m really excited to learn a lot more about it, and that is Home Hydroponics. That is the name of the book, and the subtitle is Small-Space DIY Growing Systems for the Kitchen, Dining Room, Living Room, Bedroom and Bath. And the author, who’s joining us today, Tyler Baras, who is known by most people as Farmer Tyler. Welcome to the show!

Tyler Baras 1:02
Oh, thank you. Thank you, Deborah. Yes, it’s a long subtitle. You made it through it.

Deborah Niemann 1:08
Yeah, I survived. You know, I had to read it, though. Like, I wasn’t even gonna try to do that without reading it.

Tyler Baras 1:14
I sort of forget, as well. It’s Home Hydroponics book. That’s what I call it.

Deborah Niemann 1:19
Yeah, I think it’s a great title with a super descriptive subtitle.

Tyler Baras 1:27
Yes, I agree.

Deborah Niemann 1:27
So, just to get started, let’s tell people—because some people may not be familiar with hydroponics, even the concept of hydroponics. So, what exactly is that?

Tyler Baras 1:37
Sure. So, “hydroponics” can encompass a really wide range of growing styles. It pretty much means you’re delivering the nutrients or your fertilizer through the water. And some people, you know, usually think of just, like, a glass full of fertilizer, and a plant sitting in it, and the roots just growing in the water, and that’s sort of, like, your pure hydroponics method. Or, like the floating rafts, or a rain gutter where the water is trickling through the gutter and the roots are just sort of sitting in there. But it can sort of also encompass things that look like growing in cocoa coir or perlite or something that’s not soil, where there’s no nutrients that are actually incorporated into the soil, and you’re just—every time you water the plant—you’re delivering your fertilizer. So, it can look sort of like soil sometimes with some potting mixes that have no nutrients blended in and you just—every time you water—you add fertilizer. Or, it can be just pure water growing.

Deborah Niemann 2:36
Okay. And what is the difference between this and aquaponics? Because the names sound kind of similar.

Tyler Baras 2:44
Oh yeah, there’s hydroponics, aquaponics, aeroponics, all these different “ponics.” So aquaponics, you’re taking fish culture—aquaculture—and mixing it with hydroponics. So aquaponics, fish culture, one of the byproducts is all the fish waste, which is usually high in nitrogen; it also has a lot of your other micronutrients. So, you can almost meet all of the plant’s nutrient needs through the fish waste. It’s definitely a really popular method for, like, backyard gardeners, and there are some commercial operations doing aquaponics. Hydroponics, however, you’re adding all the nutrients through some product addition. So, that could be a chemical fertilizer, like a synthetic one; it could be an organic fertilizer. It’s pretty much instead of using fish for the waste, you’re just going straight and giving it straight to them. And, for a home gardener, this can take out a lot of the complexity. You know, I think aquaponics is really fun. I’ve definitely done some, but it adds the extra complexity of: You’re taking care of fish. And if you have a problem with your fish, then your plants also die or are struggling, where in hydroponics, you can really just focus on your plants’ health—just really make sure that’s doing well—and it removes some of the factors, the complication. Yeah. I think both are fun, though.

Deborah Niemann 4:01
Yeah. All right. Now, this really surprised me. I thought—I’ve always thought—like, “Oh, hydroponics. That sounds cool. Aquaponics. That sounds cool.” And then, in 2012, we had a horrible drought. And I happened to be speaking at an event in Chicago, and I made a comment. I don’t even remember why, exactly, I made this comment. But I said, “Wow, I am really wishing this year that I knew more about hydroponics or aquaponics, because with this drought, like, nothing in our garden is going to survive. There is just no way that we can water enough to make up for the fact that we have had no rain for months now.” And, I got some major pushback from two or three very opinionated and vocal people in the audience, who were like, “That’s not natural!” Which really shocked me. Especially with the aquaponics. I’m like, “What’s more natural than just, like, plants feeding on fish poop?” I mean, my garden feeds on goat poop, you know?

Tyler Baras 4:59
Yeah.

Deborah Niemann 5:00
So, what do you say to people who say that this isn’t natural?

Tyler Baras 5:04
Sure. I mean, there’s plenty of critiques that can be made about hydroponics: chemical fertilizers, growing in plastic systems… And there’s definitely ways it can be improved. But, I think there’s also a lot of benefits. So, you know, let’s say, on the fertilizer side. You know, there’s definitely a big carbon footprint with creating sort of synthetic fertilizers. But, on the other hand, currently 50% of the nitrogen used worldwide to grow, like, all the food for all crops is from synthetic processes. So there’s not even, like, enough organic nitrogen out there to feed the world. So it’s already… I mean, it’s being done. And, by using a synthetic nitrogen, you can use it in a system that recirculates the water forever, and you don’t have to dump the water as often. So, you can maybe get a lot of water savings, even if you have a slightly higher carbon footprint on the fertilizer.

Tyler Baras 6:02
On the plastics, there’s ways to do hydroponics without any plastic. But there’s definitely a lot of more creative ways to do it with the plastic, and almost all of our water’s being delivered through PVC pipes, you know, like that already. So, we’re already in a plastic world. There’s pros and cons to all of it. When I first started horticulture, I was at the University of Florida, and I specialized in organic crop production. And all I was focused on was organic, sustainable, no-till everything. And through my career, I slowly moved to doing more hydroponics. And even though I still do some organic-certified hydroponics, I’m also looking at, you know, non-organic, and just slowly seeing, you know, there’s benefits to each of these cultivation practices. You know, I see a lot of bleed over from organic to conventional, especially, like, using beneficial insects and sort of these new pest management strategies moving into the non-organic world. And then, some of the non-organic techniques, like plastic culture, which is pretty intense. I mean, you pretty much cover a field in plastic, and then you put your plants in it. That’s being used by so many organic growers now, because the weeding is so difficult. You know, that’s probably not the best example of conventional to organic, but there is a lot of crossover, and I think there’s good in—through—all these production practices, and there’s ways to improve them all as well. So, you know, I can’t say hydroponics is, like, the one and only answer to solve hunger or the best production method of all. But it does open up the opportunity to do a lot of fun stuff, like some really unique system designs, like vertical towers and all this stuff like you’ll see the book. It does have its own set of benefits, especially on the water savings.

Tyler Baras 7:50
So yeah, I think it involves a lot of research. And even as you do more research, you find out it’s so conflicted, the answers. I’m going on another long ramble. But, one of the big ones is, like, nutrient content. I think that’s one that usually people will hit upon is, you know, the nutrient content in hydroponically grown produce isn’t as good as organic produce. And so much research has been done on that. And, you’ll have a couple that says the organic one had higher nutrients, and then the other one says the conventional did, and so much didn’t boil down to what nutrients you were feeding. You know, it usually boils down to: what kind of light it was receiving, the growing season it was in, was it a winter or summer, how quickly did the crop grow? There’s so many other factors that are bigger factors on, like, nutrient content and flavor than what nutrients the plant was provided.

Tyler Baras 8:42
I hope I’m not going on too long of a ramble, but one more thing: so, what nutrients a plant can actually eat. You know, there’s a list of, I think, about sixteen different molecules that a plant can actually uptake through its root system. So, even if you feed a plant organic fertilizer, those nutrients have to break down into those simple molecules before a plant can actually take it into it. And in hydroponics, generally, you’re just providing those plants that simple molecule right away. So, you’re not depending on the soil microbes to break down these, you know, manure or these larger inputs to these simple molecules; you just provide it straight to the plant. The plant can’t tell the difference between nitrate or ammonium or phosphate or potassium that came from manure or a synthetic source. So it’s… You know, when it comes to the fertilizer, pretty much plants can only eat a short list, and it doesn’t truly matter for the plant’s nutrition where it came from. Now, as big sustainability and sort of bigger picture for the world, it does matter. And I think that then boils down to such a bigger conversation of, like, carbon footprint and… Anyways, it’s so complex.

Deborah Niemann 9:58
Oh yeah. These things do get very, very complex.

Tyler Baras 10:03
So complex.

Deborah Niemann 10:03
It seems like this would use less water than planting out in a garden.

Tyler Baras 10:09
It definitely does. You know, the plant is only pulling up the water it needs, and the rest of the water is recycled, it’s reused, so there’s no water escaping through the soil or excessive evaporation from the soil surface. The water is leaving through the leaves, through transpiration. And that’s it. So, definitely huge on the water savings. You know, a lot of the stats coming out, it can be like 90-95% more efficient. It truly, actually, depends on what you’re comparing it to. I’ve seen some that… It’s definitely not that. You know, maybe you have, like, a little bit of improvement. But, there’s some systems where it can be really good.

Deborah Niemann 10:52
Okay.

Tyler Baras 10:53
So: nuanced. As all these things are.

Deborah Niemann 10:56
Yeah. And I’m sure that depends on the system, too, and how open the system is and everything, because a super open system, you’re gonna have a lot more evaporation than if the system is more closed.

Tyler Baras 11:06
Definitely.

Deborah Niemann 11:07
So, is there a difference in the taste of food that’s grown hydroponically or not?

Tyler Baras 11:13
I would say for some of them, yes. There’s some plants that are really nutrient-hungry, and if you feed them a hydroponic fertilizer that has a lot of nutrients in them, they pull it all up, and it almost tastes, like, too strong. Like, the flavor is too intense. So sometimes arugula, if you feed it too much, it almost tastes really bitter. Celery, you know, it pretty much is like a sponge just soaking up what’s in the water. That one can taste a little bitter or, like, too strong of celery flavor. Cilantro sometimes. But the other ones, you know, like tomatoes… You know, a lot of the commercial tomatoes you might find in the grocery store are grown hydroponically. And I think the bigger factor on a lot of the crops is how ripe were they picked. You know, so a tomato, if you leave it on the vine longer—whether it’s grown hydroponically or in the soil—it’s really about how long did you let it stay on the plant? You know, you can harvest it green and let it ripen, but it’s still not gonna have, like, that same, like, deep flavors that you get from leaving it on the plant. So, a lot of it comes down to the decisions made by the grower, not the growing system.

Deborah Niemann 12:20
Okay. You mentioned quite a few foods there. Are there any foods that you can’t grow hydroponically?

Tyler Baras 12:28
Technically no, but I wouldn’t recommend all of them.

Deborah Niemann 12:35
Not celery. I think celery is strong enough already. So, if you’re telling me it’s gonna be stronger, then I would not try celery.

Tyler Baras 12:41
There’s ways around it. Pretty much, you’d give it a very, very dilute nutrient formula. Like, if you were looking at a hydroponic fertilizer bag and it said “Do this,” do like 10% of that for some of these crops that are just… that would soak it up. But, you know, usually the crops that do best in hydroponics are your leafy greens. So your lettuces, your brassicas, all the Asian greens like bok choy and tat soi and mizunas, kale—those all do really well. Swiss chard. And then, on the fruiting crops, peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, those all do really well. There’s a lot of other fun, like, specialty crops that I like to grow: salad burnet, toothache plant—or the “buzz bombs”—the one that make your mouth go numb. So in the back of the book, there’s… I don’t know, a dozen or so pages of just crop recommendations, of fun varieties to try, what crops really grow well in hydroponics. I would say that’s usually one of the big spots where people might face difficulty with hydroponics, is they might just take some of the plants that they grew in the yard and just expect them to do well in a hydroponic system. But just as, you know, certain plants would grow well in different zones, some plants just do well with, like, wet feet that you’d experience in hydroponics. So there’s certain lettuce varieties that do really well. Certain tomato varieties that do really well. So…

Deborah Niemann 14:11
I would assume root crops, like carrots and stuff, would not be a candidate for hydroponics?

Tyler Baras 14:17
They can work.

Deborah Niemann 14:18
Really?

Tyler Baras 14:18
They can definitely work.

Deborah Niemann 14:19
Oh, wow.

Tyler Baras 14:20
Yeah, yeah. So, in these little floating rafts, I’ve grown carrots and beets. It’s fun; you pull it out, and it’s a completely clean carrot. No soil.

Deborah Niemann 14:31
Yeah!

Tyler Baras 14:31
It’s sort of crazy-looking. Potatoes are actually… So most of—a lot of—the potatoes that are grown in the field, they start as seed potatoes. And the seed potato farms grow a lot of them aeroponically, so in these big—it looks like a fish aquarium. And they’re misting the roots, and they want to grow these seed potatoes in a really clean environments so they don’t carry any diseases when they sell them to the farmer. So they were like, you know, this completely disease-free starter seed potatoes, and a lot of them are grown hydroponically.

Deborah Niemann 15:02
Oh, wow, that is so interesting!

Tyler Baras 15:05
I’m gonna send you a photo of that one, too, because it’s so cool seeing these potatoes dangling and getting misted. It’s so cool.

Deborah Niemann 15:12
Yeah, that sounds so cool. All right. And so, I just want to back up a quick second here. If somebody does want their food to be all organic, can you grow organically? Can you use all-organic fertilizers in hydroponics?

Tyler Baras 15:28
You can. Yeah, you can. It’s usually a little bit more expensive. And usually, you want to pick a system knowing that you’re going to be doing organic, not just find a hydroponic system and then say, “Hey, I’m going to do this one organically.” It’s really… It needs to be sort of a mindful thing from the start. A lot of the systems that are using coconut coir or perlite, that are almost like a traditional garden bed, or—you’ve probably seen them—but some of the ones with the sub-irrigation sort of thing, where it retains some water at the bottom. The “garden boxes,” I believe they’re called. Or, there’s a lot of those self-watering pots. A lot of those actually work really well with an organic hydroponic method. And usually the fertilizers that are used in organic hydroponics, a lot of them are purely plant-based. So, sometimes made from molasses and, like, sugarcane waste. Beets. And there are some that are made from fish byproducts, like bone meal and stuff. But a lot of the the animal byproduct fertilizers, they tend to sort of go rancid when they’re sitting in water, which could get pretty gross-smelling and stuff. It just sort of rots in a weird way. So, my favorite one is Pre-EMPT. If you’re looking for just a straight brand-name recommendation, that’s one of my favorites. And you can find some YouTube videos I’ve made on how to use it. P-R-E-E-M-P-T is the name of that one.

Deborah Niemann 16:56
Okay, that is good to know. And so, one of the things I’m curious about, too, is how small a system can be to actually be productive. Because, it seems like every time I get on Facebook now, I get ads for these hydroponic systems. And, you know, some of them are, like, desktop and huge towers. And—

Tyler Baras 17:19
Yep.

Deborah Niemann 17:19
—you know, it just, like, makes you wonder, like, “Okay, do all of these really work?”

Tyler Baras 17:26
Yeah, you know, some of the claims of them of, like, self-sufficiency for pretty much a kitchen-counter kind of system, are definitely insane. It really comes down to crop selection. So, on those like kitchen-counter systems or something like that, or the towers, you know, selecting a crop where the finances make sense. Right now, I’m writing a… I’m doing this presentation at a local Gardening Extension Service. And the title is “The $100 Salad.” So, I mean, you’ve seen, like, the $64 tomato book of like, you know, growing these leafy greens indoors in a hydroponic system, you know, what do these actually cost? Is this, like, a $100 salad? Is it just insane? And, there are some actual crops that you can grow it cheaper than getting it at the grocery store, but it really depends on selecting the right ones. Herbs, almost always you can do that, you know, in a way that makes sense. You know, basil, parsley, chives, dill—a lot of the herbaceous herbs. Some of the woody herbs, as well, work—rosemary can. Sage. And then, the salad greens can as well. Your lettuces. But, when you start looking at, like, tomatoes, peppers, strawberries, it’s probably unlikely that you’re gonna grow those in your home and actually make it make economic sense when you’re starting to factor in the cost of the lights, and running the electricity, and… In the book, I actually get into some actual, like: What kind of yields can you expect per square foot in your garden per year? Being reasonable, you can’t expect that much from a square-foot of a garden. You can expect it to meet your herb needs, but if you need a couple salads… Let’s say you get a salad a day, seven salads in a week; you’re gonna need, like, 8 square feet, 9 square feet or something, on your kitchen counter, which may be your whole kitchen counter. So, I think it’s definitely important to be realistic with some of these indoor systems.

Deborah Niemann 19:40
Okay. And then, if anybody ever Googles “hydroponics,” you know that you will immediately be inundated with ads, like, for the next week about these fancy systems, some of which easily can cost $800-900. And so, you know, like I always tell people that are like, “Oh, I would love to live like you! But it’s too expensive.” And I always tell them, like, “Yeah, I know there are people out there happy to take your money for, you know, like, an $800 chicken coop for three hens. But, you can do it a lot cheaper on your own.” So, I assume the same is true with hydroponics. If somebody doesn’t want to buy one of these fancy $800 towers to put in their kitchen—it looks beautiful. And you know, if I could afford it, I’d get one. But if they can’t afford that, or they just want to do it themselves, what can somebody do to get started on their own in terms of the equipment required?

Tyler Baras 20:38
Sure. There’s definitely a lot of those expensive pre-manufactured systems. There’s a couple, I would say, that are actually potentially worth it. Even though my whole book is about DIY systems, usually I do DIY a little bit, not only for, like, doing something cost-effective, but to have it be yours and have a custom thing that fits well in your location that’s really yours. But, for the cost side, I have definitely done some DIY projects where it’s gotten away from me. And I’ve just spent a couple hundred dollars building something way more ornate and fun, but I probably should’ve—would have if I could have bought a kit—it might have been cheaper. So, in the book, there’s sort of a price range it gives of, like, is this a less-expensive or more-expensive system. And you can really help guide your decisions around that. The floating raft systems are usually fairly cheap. There’s a lot of ways to do it inexpensively, without any pumps, without any of, like, the complexity. And then, most of the price just comes down to the grow lights: whether you’re going to be using artificial lighting, or do you have a window that’s bright enough, do you have a little greenhouse area, do you have something that can work to provide the light? You can even do a hydroponic system outdoors in the open without any protection. So, it can be very cheap. But, I find a lot of the times the people that are getting into hydroponics are usually the sort of the tinker kinds, who want to be mad scientists, who want to build the towers, who want to build, you know, moving systems that are really crazy. And that usually comes with expense. I mean, that’s usually not cheap; it’s also not going to be, sort of, the most hands-off system. Usually these complex systems require more maintenance; they’re not just like a garden, where you water once a week. You might have to check it, you know, more often than that. So, there’s a wide range of how you sort of want to approach it.

Tyler Baras 22:42
You know, my personal favorite is this floating raft system, which pretty much looks like a little pool—a little pond—with a pond liner. And it has a floating surface; it can either be a styrofoam raft, or it can be like HDPE, or there are some non-plastic options, but it gets a little bit trickier. And the roots pretty much sit in the water, and they grow. You mix up this fertilizer-and-water mix, you set your plant there, and you come back in, like, two months, three months—no maintenance—and the plants are done. And that’s usually how I like to grow plants. It’s not the very most flashy setup, because it’s just a box, and you come back in two months and your plants are done. So, I have that system in the book, and you know, secretly that’s, like, one of my favorites and my go-to. But I also do enjoy the mad scientist side, where you open a locker and there’s vertical towers, or there’s the circular Ferris Wheel of plants moving… So, it depends on your goal.

Deborah Niemann 23:44
Okay. So, when you said “pond liner” and stuff like that, that sounds like it’s really big, but your subtitle was, like, “living room, dining room, kitchen, bathroom.” So, that sounds like it’s gonna be smaller, like, not a pond liner kind of a thing.

Tyler Baras 24:02
So, some of the smaller ones are… There’s a salad bowl system that I like a lot. It pretty much is, like, what you’d serve salad at the table, like sort of a bigger bowl, and there’s some hydroponic nutrient water at the bottom, a little plate on top, and the plants are through the plate with their roots dangling, and there’s a little umbrella LED on top. No more than, like, a foot-by-foot, and it can grow your herbs. You can pick whatever bowl you want that fits the style of your home. I have, like, a nice little white porcelain one that I like. And you know, that’s just a very easy, fairly low-maintenance way to get started. Some of the other smaller systems can be windowsill suction-cup sort of systems that you stick to your window. There’s some picture frame ones, where it’s pretty much the size of a picture frame; you hang it on your wall, but it’s a hydroponic system with a grow light in it, and it’s growing plants. It’s possible to shrink down a lot of these principles—even that pond liner system. You can shrink that down to, you know, a really small footprint.

Deborah Niemann 25:11
Okay. So, a couple times you’ve talked about roots in water. And I imagine there are some people listening who think, “Why don’t they die?” Because, I think most people have, like, overwatered a plant at some point, and it dies. So, if plants can die from overwatering, like, this sounds like the ultimate in overwatering.

Tyler Baras 25:32
Oh, for sure.

Deborah Niemann 25:32
How do they not die when you’re trying to grow them in just water?

Tyler Baras 25:38
Yeah, it definitely comes down to crop selection as part of it. So, some of these lettuces really do well with that sort of wet environment. And there’s a bit of a difference between, you know, overwatering in a soil pot and in a hydroponic garden. In a soil pot, you have a lot of other things competing for that oxygen dissolved in the water. So, your microbes… It can turn anaerobic; all the oxygen can be ripped out of that really quickly. In a hydroponic system, we’re sometimes actively adding air with aeration, some air pumps, some little bubblers in there, or the water level may be at a certain height where some of the roots are submerged, but some of the roots are actually sitting above the water’s surface. So they can access the air; they can get that oxygen they need. And the other roots are really pulling up some of the water. So, it definitely is important that these plants—the roots can breathe. They need oxygen. But yeah, there’s different ways to do it. And then, there’s different plants that have different root oxygen demands. And in that sort of crop spreadsheet that I talked about in the back of the book, I know which crops have, like, a low, medium, or high sort of root zone oxygen demand. So, does this crop needs a system where you’re really bubbling it, or can this plant actually just sit in a cup of water and grow? And there’s plenty of those that can do the really simple “sit in a cup of water,” and there’s others—maybe, like, tomatoes and peppers—that are a little bit more demanding. You want to have some air for their roots. And, yeah.

Deborah Niemann 27:15
Okay. That’s a really great tip. What are some common mistakes that you see—or just like, one big one? Like, common mistakes that people have when they get started.

Tyler Baras 27:26
Sure. Not specifically to hydroponics, but just growing plants indoors is under-lighting the plants—not providing enough light. And using just their eye to measure the light, thinking, “This looks strong. This is enough.” There’s plenty of, like, phone apps; there’s ways to inexpensively measure the light where you can really know how much light the plant’s getting, and then there’s charts in the book of, like, recommended light levels. So, “Oh, you measured this amount, that’s good for these crops,” or “That’s good for these crops,” or “These…” You know, medium-demand or high-demanding light levels. You know, really making sure that the plants are getting the light they need is usually where a lot of these systems fall apart. And it’s unfortunate, because you’ll invest in this hydroponic system that’s so optimizing, giving the plant, like, all the things it needs—like the right nutrients it needs in the water and stuff. But then you’ll miss the one critical factor of: It also needs the light.

Deborah Niemann 28:23
Yeah, and that is a great tip about getting a phone app to check light. Because, I have a space in my basement where I start plants. And you see some people say that you need to replace your fluorescent lights, like, every couple years. And I’m like, “Why? They look good to me.” So, we can use an app on our phones to see if they’re emitting enough light that the plants needs still?

Tyler Baras 28:51
So, you’ll be able to measure how much light is coming. And then you’ll need to compare it to a reference guide. Usually a lot of the phone apps will measure it in foot-candles, and in the book—and I believe that there might be some other resources online—saying you know, “This foot-candle range is good for these crops,” or “For these seedlings.” So then you can really know, “Well, it’s not light, why my plants are dying.” It’s maybe 100 other reasons, but it’s not light.

Deborah Niemann 29:20
Yeah! That’s an excellent tip. Thanks so much for that. So, this has been really informative on so many different levels. And I know you have a really great online presence. Can you tell people how they can find you online?

Tyler Baras 29:34
Sure. So, I have a lot of educational videos on hydroponics and indoor growing on my YouTube—YouTube.com/TheFarmerTyler—including some of these really low-tech hydroponic systems that have no moving parts. Really easy things to get into. Then, Facebook.com/TheFarmerTyler, Twitter.com/TheFarmerTyler, Instagram @TheFarmerTyler. Somebody had already taken “Farmer Tyler,” so I’m stuck with “The Farmer Tyler.” But anyways, also my website FarmerTyler.com, and that you can find links to all these things, blog post, find links to all my books and my videos. Yeah.

Deborah Niemann 30:15
Awesome! That’s great, and it has been so much fun chatting about this. I learned a lot, and I think our listeners probably got a lot from this, too. Thanks so much for joining us!

Tyler Baras 30:24
Thank you for having me.

Deborah Niemann 30:26
And that’s it for today’s episode. You can find show notes at ThriftyHomesteader.com/BookChat, as well as a transcript. If you haven’t already done so, be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss any future episodes. You can also find Thrifty Homesteader on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. See you next week on “Sustainability Book Chat.”

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