Aquaponic Gardening

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I am growing micro-greens for a customer and the last few orders they wanted to know if I could get them darker green.

Usually you grow them to there first true set of leaves in just water. They say you do not need anything more than water because there is enough nutrients in the seed to get it to this stage without adding anything.

I am able to compare them to the competition right next to mine and they are a shade darker.

I have 2 systems setup and #1 has a PH of 6 or lower, Nitrates are at 0

#2 has a PH of 7.8, and nitrates are 0

Both give me the same results in a green color that is okay but not as dark as my competition. They say you do not have to give them any nutrients because they are harvested at such a early stage but yet theirs are clearly darker.

I can't really tell if there are any deficiencies because they do not grow that much to be able to tell.

I have been thinking about getting a Iron test kit and see what I am at in my 2 systems and if low add Iron to them.

I am also thinking about taking them out of the Aquaponic systems and putting them in a hydroponic setup with more Nitrogen.

If I don't get them darker I will not be able to sell to them. Everything else is the same.

Any one have any ideas?

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As a sole source of light, a 400 bulb will light a 4'x 4' area, more or less (actually I know "growers" here that use 1000 W for the same area, but the ends justify the means...)

For UV boost in an otherwise well-lit space can probably be accomplished with a single CMH bulb, or UV t5, on a light mover.

And, I wouldn't used the presence of reds and purples in micro greens as testament to adequate UV either. Many seedlings will contain color from germination that will fade without UV to sustain them.

There are materials that transmit UV, like quartz glass, acrylic plastics, and some film plastics. Actually, the cheapest home depot polyurethane lets UV thru, and is why it only lasts a year or two. Polycarbonate let's it thru too, materialy speaking, but is coated on one side with a UV blocker. If a PC panel is installed inside out, it will yellow and crack in a year or two, when it should last at least 10 yrs. Franz Schreier (my German physicist friend) sells a crystal clear GH film that is super tough, lasts many decades, and let's all UV through. I can't remember what it's called, but is über expensive.

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