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Old 03-03-2012, 08:48   #1
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Hydroponic Gardening and Getting Off the Grid

Hello all!

We have just purchased our first sailboat...Tayana37. We are very excited! We will be living aboard by next season...hanging out in the islands for a while to start. Anyway, I have a question about hydroponics and sailing...is this something people do? Also, we have a 24" Mac computer that we would like to mount on the boat...would this pull too much power? Are we better off with laptops? How about faraday cages, are they used regularly? Any info in getting off the grid is appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 03-03-2012, 08:57   #2
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Re: Hydroponic gardening and getting off the grid

We will be living aboard shortly and have a hydroponics system we plan to bring aboard. As for the Mac, I'd recommend laptops - they can run on battery for days. We will be bringing both laptops and an ipad. Hope this helps -
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Old 03-03-2012, 09:28   #3
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Re: Hydroponic gardening and getting off the grid

Hydroponics, as in plants?

For beauty or for food, or both? Or are we talking about the unofficial use for hydroponics?

For food, it takes up quite a bit of space for what you get out of it. For the latter use, you clearly do not want to get boarded.
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Old 03-03-2012, 09:33   #4
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Re: Hydroponic gardening and getting off the grid

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweetiepie View Post
Hello all!

We have just purchased our first sailboat...Tayana37. We are very excited! We will be living aboard by next season...hanging out in the islands for a while to start. Anyway, I have a question about hydroponics and sailing...is this something people do? Also, we have a 24" Mac computer that we would like to mount on the boat...would this pull too much power? Are we better off with laptops? How about faraday cages, are they used regularly? Any info in getting off the grid is appreciated. Thanks!
Welcome aboard CF Sweetiepie!

Most people I have meet on board their boats use a laptop or ipad. They use their ovens as a "faraday cage" just remember to look inside before you turn it on.
Am also installing some solar panels, a wind genny and 2 wind turbines (smaller blades) to help reduce the elec grid load. We are upgrading our lightning protection system later this month to kinda make the whole boat a faraday cage of sorts to help protect the occupants...

John
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Old 03-03-2012, 10:25   #5
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Re: Hydroponic gardening and getting off the grid

When my daughter was still sailing with us she tried several hydroponic systems she devised with PVC tubing that she hooked to the life lines that could be taken off in rougher conditions. It was great for herbs and spices but there is just not enough real estate even on a Cat that would produce even a semblance of sustained food. It was a great experiment but took up a lot of space.
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Old 03-03-2012, 11:00   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweetiepie
Hello all!

We have just purchased our first sailboat...Tayana37. We are very excited! We will be living aboard by next season...hanging out in the islands for a while to start. Anyway, I have a question about hydroponics and sailing...is this something people do? Also, we have a 24" Mac computer that we would like to mount on the boat...would this pull too much power? Are we better off with laptops? How about faraday cages, are they used regularly? Any info in getting off the grid is appreciated. Thanks!
Using your oven for a faraday cage doesn't work and is a bit of an old wives tale, see other threads where what would be required to protect electronics is discussed in detail...a microwave would be closer to offering protection....

There is a great book that is no longer in print called "sailing the farm" that talks about food production on boats. We swear by it. However we only really grow sprouts, by the bucket loads at times as we like our greens on long passages.

I have seen and been aboard boats with real green thumbs and seen some limited hydro for chillies and herbs but no proper hydro...however in some ports where people are staying for a season you can find the green thumbs growing tomatoes, and less legal crops via hydro.

For awhile on chagos many moons ago there was a vibrant hydro farm both on and off boat...al gone now I think...
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Old 03-03-2012, 11:26   #7
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Re: Hydroponic gardening and getting off the grid

Years ago we were hanging out in The San Blas isl. We had a bunch of old Burpee seeds some of which we knew what they were!! some we did not, so we planted a garden, watered from a pond !!man that was fun LOL got some pretty good peppers and squash, the rest we got a little but the animals got the corn and other stuff before we could even figure out what it was LOL, at least we know we could grow some if things if things went to Hell !! LOL just a thought ! Bob and Connie
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Old 03-03-2012, 11:33   #8
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Re: Hydroponic gardening and getting off the grid

Main problem with any kind of hydroponic gardening on board is going through customs when arriving in a new country. You will probably find any plants you have growing--food, spices, ornamental, etc. will be confiscated upon entry into some countries.
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Old 03-03-2012, 18:24   #9
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Re: Hydroponic gardening and getting off the grid...please give me more!

Wow....great info. Thanks to all! Maybe I will just try the upside down tomato plant!. Sprouting is a great idea too....hate to say it but my other half was right about the gardening....any comments on canning? Is glass unrealistic? I know the Pardys used it a lot. We won't be surviving on much as we just want to GO! Living in NYC tends to do that to you after a while. Provisioning advice....what are the items you really can't live without? Thanks!
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Old 03-03-2012, 19:03   #10
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Re: Hydroponic gardening and getting off the grid

Over the years I have tried a fair bit of food production on board, with varying degrees of success!

Space is very limited, the boat heels, plants don't like saltwater spray, customs officers will prevent the importation of living plants in many countries.

These days I concentrate on herbs, basil,oregano,chives,parsley. Then I keep a container of 'cut and come again' salad leaves. A plastic trough about 2 feet by 6 inches provides a cutting 1-2 times a week for the two of us.The plants live on deck when at anchor(unless the spray is flying) and wedged in the forward heads at sea.

I sprout seeds, a three tier planter that provides a meals worth every 3 days or so...

A definite yes to canning. We have no refrigeration and once the ice has melted on a voyage we depend on canned meats, butter,cheese etc. It's a great way to carry food away from civilization.

Any long term stays see me growing tomatoes,even potatoes in a bucket once! Watch out in the Tropics for insects though, they can take over in a blink!

Good luck with your endeavors.
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Old 03-03-2012, 19:35   #11
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Re: Hydroponic gardening and getting off the grid

Sprouting is good and we used to grow lettuce in planters that hung under the dodger. Was good until we got knocked down and had mud in the cockpit to bail.
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Old 03-03-2012, 19:53   #12
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Re: Hydroponic gardening and getting off the grid

Quote:
Originally Posted by foolishsailor View Post
Using your oven for a faraday cage doesn't work and is a bit of an old wives tale, see other threads where what would be required to protect electronics is discussed in detail...a microwave would be closer to offering protection....

There is a great book that is no longer in print called "sailing the farm" that talks about food production on boats. We swear by it. However we only really grow sprouts, by the bucket loads at times as we like our greens on long passages.

I have seen and been aboard boats with real green thumbs and seen some limited hydro for chillies and herbs but no proper hydro...however in some ports where people are staying for a season you can find the green thumbs growing tomatoes, and less legal crops via hydro.

For awhile on chagos many moons ago there was a vibrant hydro farm both on and off boat...al gone now I think...
I knew I liked you from previous posts, for a hippy, you have technical expertise, the perfect combination. If a microwave cooking cavity is designed to keep RF contained, then it can offer at least some protection from outside disturbances.
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Old 03-03-2012, 22:27   #13
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Re: Hydroponic gardening and getting off the grid

If you are into video, might think about keeping the monitor for that. Hook it upt to the laptop for movies and when you want a large monitor. What's the vintage of the desktop box, might be interested in just that if it can be made to work with my 27" non apple monitor.

One thing we really missed in the more remote locations was fresh greens. Didn't have a sprouting set up and it was much missed. Green Papaya can only be served so many ways. Doubt that a full on hydroponic set up would work because of the motion of the boat, if nothing else.

Why do you want a Faraday Cage??

Start adding non carbon based generating sources. Windmills will work underway and in anchorages with more wind than is comfortable. Solar works when the sun shines. The most reliable source underway is a towed generator but only works when you are moving. Best thing is to cut down on your electrical usage. Change all the light fixtures to LEDs, etc. Refrigeration is an energy hog. I've never had refrigeration and don't miss it. Cut down on your water usage by disabling pressure water system and you probably won't need a water maker. We caught rain on our awning and never had to schlep water. By all means get wind vane self steering. Doesn't eat electrons and pretty much totally reliable unlike an auto pilot.
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Old 03-03-2012, 22:33   #14
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Re: Hydroponic gardening and getting off the grid

And safer than the auto pilot. When motoring or very light winds, auto pilot is the way to go but for everything else, wind vane for me too.
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Old 04-03-2012, 06:33   #15
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Re: Hydroponic Gardening and Getting Off the Grid

Great, I will look into all of this. The Mac is self contained..no tower. The large monitor is great and can be used for a multitude of things, everything is updated to OS lion, so we can get apps on it. Still not sure. Faraday cage is a just in case SHTF...we are going down to the boat. Later this month...I haven't seen her yet, and need to take inventory on what is there already. Thanks for all of your help!
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