hydroguy
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Leaf Lettuce

Thought it would be fun to show a run of the leaf lettuce I grow. Variety chosen was some Simpson Elite. Maybe this little grow will show some of the summer gardeners how fast and simple indoor winter gardens can be when growing hydroponically and get a few to try it. Granted start up costs be intimidating but as Halfway and "87 have shown a frugal and creative mind can put together some impressive systems.

Germination takes place under humidity domes where the seeds have been double planted in rockwool sitting in a pot of hydroton. Light is provided from day one with a 125watt CFL. Reason being is these seeds will start sprouting in 36 hours. Water is straight tap water, no fertilizers yet, and ph balanced to 6.0.

11-22
[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Lettuce/1122101008-00.jpg[/img]

11-23
[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Lettuce/1123101613-01.jpg[/img]

11-24
[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Lettuce/1124101542-01.jpg[/img]

hydroguy

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It's been 4 days since the seeds were planted and germination is complete so the humidity domes were removed. Time to thin down the seedlings to 4 plant per cube, 8 plants per pot. This will provide a total of 128 plants grown in a 2' x 2' tray. Playing with plant density for each grow, experience will show which one works best.

11-26 Germinated
[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Lettuce/1126101723-01.jpg[/img]

11-26 Thinned
[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Lettuce/1126101757-00.jpg[/img]

Seedlings are now sitting under a 400 watt MH air cooled light. Added nutrients to get the PPM to around 375, PH balanced to 5.8. Leaf lettuce so far has been a very light feeder, occasional tap water will be added to keep the concentration low.

11-26 400 watt
[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Lettuce/1126101756-01.jpg[/img]

hydroguy

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Awesome hydroguy.

I like how you have completely eliminated a step I use (transplanting from germination to media). That will save me a step and eliminate the need to handle the little sprouts!!

I like the idea of 4 plants per square and 8 per pot as well. I realize now that one per pot is growing well, but it could have easily handle 2-4 more.

Please keep us posted. 8)
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Looks like you are well on your way to a good crop. I found that we can only eat so much lettuce at one time, so I start a dozen plants a week and move them from system to system so that we have a continuous supply, rather than feast or famine.

[img]https://i404.photobucket.com/albums/pp121/hydrogardener/ig.jpg[/img]
https://hydroponicworkshop.blogspot.com/

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hydroguy
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Halfway, glad I could show you another way of germinating. We're here to share and learn from each other hopefully. I split those plugs like you were talking about back when I was into cloneing plants and its a hassle for sure.

Hydrogardner, thanks for stopping by the thread. I tried growing different age lettuce plants in this tray and it just didn't work, the younger plants were just blocked out of the light. Stop back later and you'll understand why. These plants are being grown under a 400 watt MH which totals 100 watts per square foot. Enough power to grow light loving plants like tomoatoes all the way to harvest and way more than these leaf lettuces actually need so they grow tall and fast, real fast. I'll be harvesting this crop about every 6 days for 6 or 7 cuttings before they are replaced. I'll replace them with seedlings grown in the tray next to this one so the down time might be an additional week, tops. Shouldn't be a feast or famine issue if things go as planned but I do appreciate your input and it makes perfect sense when running floro's as your picture shows. Dandy greens you've got growing there. Forgot to mention, I don't even eat this lettuce, 99.5% is given away to my neighbors and friends. My enjoyment is just growing the stuff.

11-29 wk. 1
[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Lettuce/1129101801-01.jpg[/img]

11-29 wk. 1 True Leaves
[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Lettuce/1129101801-02.jpg[/img]

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My hydro shop has a grow tent such as yours on display. Very nice. They are growing peppers including julokias. They are using a T5 VHO system with red and blue spectrum intermixed. I am anxious to see the results over time.

Love your setup hydroguy.....are you gong to keep the nutrient solution at a weak level for the level, or do you plan on increasing it as it gets bigger?
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hydroguy
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Appreciate the kind words Halfway. I'll feed the lettuce as much as it can eat. Thing I've learned over the years is to watch the change in the concentration of nutes in the resv. The plants tell me what they can consume and I try and match that.

For example, I checked the resv for this lettuce crop on Monday and it was steady at 350 ppm, today i just checked it and it had risen to 410 ppm. This tells me they are drinking more than they are eating and can not yet handle the base mix I started out with of 350 ppm. The concentration will just continue to rise and will soon become too rich for the plants and begin to burn the leaves. I'll have to add some tap water to dilute the concentration back down some.

The peppers are just the opposite, concentration dropped from 550ppm to 510ppm in just the past 3 days. These plants are hungry. Solution is not as easy here, will have to add in some nutes or do a resv. change. Either way, to maximize the growth they need a base mix of something higher than 550.

Happy gardening,

hydroguy

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Lettuce is so much fun to grow, you can almost see the stuff growing. The resv. had been diluted a couple times since the plants were set into this sytem so I went ahead and did a full change at the 2 week mark, probably not necessary but the meter just tells the concentration and not what nutrients are there. These greens are fixing to get into high gear and I wanted them to have what they need. Mixed this batch at 350 PPM which they should be able to handle now.

12-07 Week 2 (15 days)
[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Lettuce/1207101929-00.jpg[/img]

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They are coming along very nicely. I like the placement and it looks like it will maximize space/light.
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Halfway wrote:They are coming along very nicely. I like the placement and it looks like it will maximize space/light.
Can't be wasting those Lumens Halfway! Denisty might still be on the high side though. Might cut the next run down some.

The first harvest of the leaves will be this week one night when I get some free time. Maybe day 25 or so. Tonights pic is 21 days from the day the seeds hit the rockwool. Dang this stuff grows!

12-13 (21 days)
[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Lettuce/1213101705-02.jpg[/img]

I did go ahead and start the replacement plants this past week. I had an exact copy (#'s wise) of this grow then mom stopped by and asked if she could have some more lavender. Told her it all got tossed and she wasn't too happy, said she had taken some and dried it then put it out at work, they all want more so 4 pots of the lettuce seedlings were removed and some new lavender planted. It grows well enough with the lettuce but gets crowded out easily. Will have to do some tweaking to the placement.

My goal is to let the new crop of lettuce stay under the floro for a few weeks, maybe even harvest some grown under it. Problem is the trays are 2x2 and this fixture doesn't have the footprint to cover that much space. Since Im down 4 pots for the lavender I moved the light directly over the 12 pots of lettuce. It's a 125watt mogul based CFL in a Hydrofarm hood, dandy light but just not the best light for this application.

[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Lettuce/1213101706-00.jpg[/img]

plants are holding at or below 400, haven't added any nutes to the seedlings yet but will be soon.

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:oops: 8)
You can solve all your problems in a garden/laboratory.

hydroguy
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Howdy Sage :wink: thanks for dropping by the thread.

I went ahead and took the first cutting last night, it was freezing rain outside and a good night to stay in and harvest a crop from the garden. I've never been impressed with the first cutting of any leaf lettuce I've grown but ya can't have a 2nd cutting until you get the first one over with LOL. This is the second run for this variety, Simpson Elite, and I'm still not thrilled with the color. It's a pale green and nothing I've done with the nutes has made any difference so I'm gonna say its genetics. The Green Ice I've grown in the past was a much darker leaf and had more "bowl appeal" if there is such a thing. So far I'm happy with the plant density on this run, sure it's crowded but the plants are easily harvested when removed from the flood tray and there's room for the new growth.

12-15 (day 24)
[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Lettuce/1215101814-01.jpg[/img]

12-15 Individual Pot Pre-Harvest
[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Lettuce/1215101820-01.jpg[/img]

12-15 Individual Pot Post-Harvest
[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Lettuce/1215101824-00.jpg[/img]

12-15 1st Harvest
[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Lettuce/1215101915-00.jpg[/img]

And the next 2 pics show why hydroponics is just so dang much fun. The first one was taken after I harvested and put the plants back in the tray. The second one was taken right at 20 hours later. Just a few minutes ago actually as I didn't get around to downloading last night. You can allmost see this stuff growing!

12-15
[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Lettuce/1215101916-00.jpg[/img]

12-16 (day 25)
[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Lettuce/1216101510-00.jpg[/img]

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Looks great! I have trouble getting lettuce to germinate - no matter how I sow it. I've tried mixing it with very fine, dry dirt and sprinkling it on dirt then barely rake it in, sowing in potting mix, sowing it in Rockwool and Oasis Horticubes. I do have some Swiss Chard (grown in those Horticubes) I added to my aeroponics pot last night. I've read where lots of people like it better than lettuce in salads so I thought I might as well try!

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Looking great Hydroguy! I did notice the color begin to deepen on the Simpson Elite after a few harvests. Mine is now about 45 days old and producing heavily. About 2 full salads worth every other day. The color change was not attributed to nutrients or lights as neither of those variables were changed. I believe it may be genetics in the first few weeks of growth.

Wiz, I germinate the lettuce between paper towels at room temp in the basement which is about 65-68 degrees. Nearly 100% germ rate with Simpson.
Last edited by Halfway on Sat Dec 18, 2010 3:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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hydroguy
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Mike, all I do to these seeds is poke a hole in the rockwool maybe a 1/4" deep drop a couple seeds in and kinda pull the rockwool back over the seed. Then I sit them in beds of hydroton that is flooded, again about a 1/4" of the cube is sitting in water. Fill in the remainder of the pot with more hydroton.

Rockwool doesn't wick moisture very well but it holds it extrememely well so after the pots are filled I take a 60cc syringe and give them a good soaking. On goes the humidity domes and I only flood once a day until the seeds are germinated. I don't add any nutes to the resv until a couple days after the plants have emerged. Simple system but so far its been highly effective, except for the darn chives. 'bout given up on those things. Lettuce seeds are going at close to 85% germination this winter.

Halfway, good to hear about the color change. I've got some Black Seeded Simpson starting now and then I plan on doing some seed shopping. Maybe I'll try some of that Chard that Mike was talking about or some of those red varieties that Hydrogardener has going. Looks cool growing anyways. Glad to hear your system is kicking out some greens for ya!

hydroguy

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Seems I'm a bit behind on updating this lettuce run. Yesterday was the 4th harvest from this grow. 1st was 3gl (15th), 2nd 1.5 (18th), 3rd was 3gl (25th) and yesterday was the fourth getting 4gl so a total to date is 11.5gl zip lock bags full, toss in the 1.5gl from the floro crop and thats 13gl of greens :) . All but last nights harvests have been gifted out to friends and family, taking a really big salad to a dinner at church here in a few mintues from the last cutting.

Lettuce is one hardy veg. I've found out. Have been really busy like most of you folks and not been paying much attention to the hydrogarden. Rarely check the resv.s and not even done a nute change but I will tomorrow only because they've drank it half down and it's a 15 gl resv. Most plants would not be this forgiving of my lack of attention.

Another really interesting thing I found out last night when going through the plants was just how well these plants do grown under floro's. The 8 pots I had started back on the 10th or so of Dec. needed to be cut aswell as the plants under the HID. I might have to re-think running HIDs for lettuce. The growth is a bit slower, but not that much. The color is a darker green since it has a few more days between cuttings which has been my only complaint with the HID. Everything is basically the same except for the lights, throw in the costs of HIDs and those floro's can rock some lettuce.

One more tid bit I learned when cutting is I think I have a few seeds that aren't Simpson's. Will post a pic of 2 leaves and maybe some one can tell me what's growing on the left. That board is marked off in 1 inch squares so you can get an idea of the size of leaves grown in a 7 day period.

2nd Harvest 12-18
[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Lettuce/1218101556-00.jpg[/img]

3rd Harvest 12-25
[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Lettuce/1225101458-01.jpg[/img]

4th Harvest 1-01
[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Lettuce/0101111543-02.jpg[/img]

Floro Lettuce 12-25
[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Lettuce/1225101616-00.jpg[/img]

Floro Lettuce 1-01
[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Lettuce/0101111543-01.jpg[/img]

Name That Lettuce?
[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Lettuce/0101111641-00.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Lettuce/0101111822-00.jpg[/img]

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They look really good HG!

I agree on the nutes, they (lettuce) are not very demanding and produce continuously.

I am glad to hear about your conclusion on the flouros vs. the HID. No matter how I crunch the numbers, HID is not efficient with what I grow or intend to grow at this time.

Not sure on the type of lettuce you are asking about. Maybe Black Simpson Vs. Simpson Elite? I know my Simpson Elite are not stretching upwards like yours, but rather push outwards with a thick middle area. It might be a result of the flouros being very close to them.

I should have a new round of lettuce going into the DWC in about 7 days. I have them now in rockwool developing their first true leaves. Cilantro and spearmint finally cracked open as well.

:)
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hydroguy
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Thanks Halfway! Running these 2 lettuce crops side by side has proved one thing for me, HID's are not worth the added expense. Granted the HID plants grow faster but just by a couple of days, I can do a full harvest 5 days under the HID's compared to 7 days under the floro. Just not worth the expense if lettuce was the only thing I ever wanted to grow. There's other plants that just love the extra light, but not the lettuce.

So, that got me to thinking. How can I up the production and not break the checking account? That one pic I Googled and posted here about the styrofoam raft of greens got me to thinking. I did some DWC back a few years ago but found it frustrating, think I may have come up with a solution. If the roads clear of all this darn snow I'm going to stop by Lowe's or Home Depot tonight and see what I can come up with.

Harvested the 5th cutting off of the lettuce last night and the 2nd from the floro crop, 2gl and .5gl respectively for a running total of 14 gallons of greens off these 2 crops so far. Sounds like a bunch but demand from my neighbors and friends far exceeds what I can grow, time for a new project!

5th Harvest HID
[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Lettuce/0107111718-01.jpg[/img]

2nd Harvest Floro's
[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Lettuce/0107111719-00.jpg[/img]

hydroguy
Last edited by hydroguy on Sun Jan 09, 2011 3:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

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I went with the 8 gallon bins for my DWCs and do not intend on making it a re-circulating system. I don't see a need. These will sit side by side under the flouros and produce lettuce.

I am working out the plans and decision process for some outside systems this year. I plan on using them on the porch next to the 5 gallon soil containers I used last year. Either bubble buckets or a re-circulating with a large reservoir. I think my concern with the heat will push me to the large reservoir. Either way, simple and cheap is what I am after with all the benefits. :)

Thanks for the HID info on your lettuce grow!
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hydroguy
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Look forward to hearing your ideas on the outdoor system Halfway! I started a thread here so folks could maybe share their experiences, ideas or suggestions.

The indoor system I'm building is based on versatility. It will be able to go DWC (re-circulating or not), flood/drain or drip with just a few simple changes to the fill/drain fittings that slip together. Plan is to run it re-circulating DWC with lettuce then switch it over to flood/drain when spring gets closer and get some seedlings started for outdoors.

I am trying to keep costs in mind with this build as I have with the others but when you consider the life span of a system and spread the costs out over all the crops and plants they will start the initial start-up expenses become manageable. One thing I'm going to do to save some $ is to switch over from Grodan rockwool starter cubes ($.40 each) to a fairly new product called Sure To Grow ($.10 each) both come in the 1.5" cube form I've been useing. I'll run some of both in the beginning to see if there is any noticeable difference.

Another experiment for this system is the use of floating lids when running it in DWC mode. I picked up a sheet of styrofoam last night at Lowes, it's construction grade material with the reflective backing. Costs around $15 but is large enough to make 4 lids to allow for different plant densities. The top tray is the where I'm stuck at the moment. I know what the industry has and as usual it's pricey. I've looked around but not found any other really good options. I want something that is compatable with the pots, domes, fittings etc. I already have in use so the industry option is probably going to be the best choice in the long run.

hydroguy

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Did some split harvests this past week. Had a request last Tuesday for a gallon and it had only been 3 days since the previous but there was more than enough. Then another request on Thursday for a gallon. Had a call to supply a meal this coming weekend so I went through on Sunday afternoon and pulled out 2 more gallons, which my neighbors enjoyed, so the entire crop will be ready to cut again this Sunday afternoon. Running total for this grow is 18 gallons with more to harvest real soon.

Density on this grow is beginning to show. 8 plants per pot is probably too dense. With the 4 plants per cube and 2 cubes per pot I probably removed 25% of the entire crop growing under the HID. The plants were just being smothered out. Most every cube is down to 3 plants and some down to 2. Seeds are cheap, experience gained was well worth the money.

Hydroguy

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The dinner this harvest is headed to isn't until Sunday but the crop needed to come down Friday night, it holds really well in ziplocks for 5 or 6 days. Harvest was 6 gallons bringing the running total to 24 gl combined from the floro's and the HID's.

The crop under the HID is just about done, I'll harvest it one more time then clean out the system. It'll be 9 week cycle from start to finish and the yeild from this system alone will push 18-20 gallons of fresh leaf lettuce.

[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Lettuce/0121111539-01.jpg[/img]

The crop under the floro still has several more harvests before it is finished. It grows a bit slower than the HID crop but not that much to justify the added expense.

[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Lettuce/0121111540-00.jpg[/img]

The fluorescent lighting impressed me so much for growing lettuce I decided to put together a system and give it a real test.

[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Flood%20Tray/0121111541-02.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Flood%20Tray/0121111858-00.jpg[/img]

There's 3 varieties planted in this grow with Green Ice being the primary one. Also planted some Red Sails and Red Fire for a little mix in colors. Tried two different seed venders aswell to see if there is a difference. It's all about learning for me and having fun on these cold winter days.

hydroguy

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Want to see some crazy leaf lettuce? Look at these things! If I had some supports I think they would have continued growing for many more cuttings but obviously this crop has run it's course in a matter of 9 weeks. 20 gallons total from a 2 x 2 tray in just over 2 months. That would make a bunch of salads and thats not counting the floro crop, it did another gallon today with a couple more cuttings ahead for it.

[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Lettuce/0128110615-00.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Lettuce/0128110615-02.jpg[/img]

Cleaned everything and moved the lettuce from the floro to the HID. It's getting close to starting some out door plants and time to wrap up growing lettuce in the flood trays. If I can work out a few issues with the new lettuce system there shouldn't be much if any down time for the greens.

[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Lettuce/0128111517-02.jpg[/img]

The crop growing in the floating DWC system is slow to germinate, took me a minute to figure out why and it all boils down to temps. The seeds in the flood trays were covered by a humidity dome with a light shining directly on them. Temp in the tent was 74 and add another couple degrees under the dome and those seeds popped like crazy. The raft has no humidity domes and is sitting in water that I know is not above 70, probably much lower. The room temp is about 70 but with the water re-circulating from the resv close to the floor that brings the DWC water temp in the mid 60's at best. Time to pick up a couple water heaters if this lettuce crop is gonna do anything above average.

[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Flood%20Tray/0128111633-00.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Flood%20Tray/0128111634-00.jpg[/img]

hydroguy

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The lettuce in the tent is winding down, one more harvest from the crop started under the floro and it's over for that run. I pulled 2 more gallons from those plants last night and would have cleaned the pots but the seeds for the spring starts aren't all in yet so I let it run for one more cycle.

As with any new system there's a learning curve that goes with it and I'm sure learning some things with the DWC crop. First thing I noticed was the germination is much slower with the cooler temps. I planted 4 seeds per cub and thinned them down to 2 plants at 7 days. E/F I did this at day 3 or 4. Spring isn't that far off so I'm going to skip the water heater until next winter.

The other part of this grow that I was skeptical of in the beginning was the power to the old 4 bulb fluorescent fixture. Growth from this point on will primarily be determined by light and I'm thinking that for it to be a really successful grow I might need to think about upgrading. I'm staying with floro's for this system but T-5's might be worth the investment. Anyone ever see/use the Quantum Bad Boy Series? That sure is one dandy looking light fixture.

Anyways, here's a comparison shot of the last E/F crop and the current DWC system, both crops are at 14 days planted:

[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Lettuce/1207101929-00.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Flood%20Tray/0205111614-00.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Flood%20Tray/0205111615-01.jpg[/img]

hydroguy

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Anyone ever see/use the Quantum Bad Boy Series? That sure is one dandy looking light fixture.

I have not used the Quantum fixture but T5's are awesome. I think the quantum is ultra reflective too. There is no side hang blocking light. See how the bars on the top of the fixture?

The sunleaves T5s shoot a more focused straight down light. The quantum looks like the end lights are more open. I don't know if it will make a quantificational difference, but I would love to hear a product review of the Quantum since I don't know anyone that has used it.

I would be worried about getting a cheap knockoff haha. I have seen those lights on a lot of dodgy wholesale sites. Make sure you buy it local or do your research.

Great log, can't wait to see the second round. The second round is always better.
My Hydroponics Blog: Hydroponic Economics

hydroguy
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Location: Midwest, USA

Thanks for the insight hydropnics. Just placed the orders. I have used several reputable online firms over the years and yes there are a few not-so-reputable ones out there aswell. I all ways start with a small order of some sort and build a relationship with the firms. All ways call and ask some sort of question etc. to make sure they are real and knowledgeable about the products, I try and ask a question that I alreay know the answer just to get a feel of the company. Brick and mortar stores where I live are not an option unless i want to make a days drive out of it.

So, it's gonna be spring soon so I am making the change to T-5 for 3 of the 5 systems I have. I'll keep the 400MH for the time being on one 2x2 tray but will be changing out the reflector soon. The 600 watt HPS will set idle for the summer months. If time permits I might harden off some plants under it for planting outoors. For the other 2x2 trays I went with T-5 8 bulb units from Hydrofarm all running 6500k spectrum lights. The 8 bulb units seem to be a perfect match for the 2x2's.

The big change for the lights was the purchase of the Quantum Badboy T-5 Fixture. I went with the 12 bulb version which is 3.5' wide and 4' long. Thinking this will provide adequate light for the plants grown on the outside of the tray. I went ahead and ordered their Tri-Phospourous bulb packages as well. The packages come in 8 bulb sets so I ordered one set of 8 Grow (6500K) and one set of 8 Bloom (2900K). Plan is to run 8 grow and 4 bloom bulbs so I'll already have the Bloom replacements for next year.

hydroguy

hydroguy
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Lesson learned with the germination temps but these plants have more than caught up to what the E/F plants. I took this shot at 19 days planted, if I hadn't been the one to take it I wouldn't have believed the growth of these things in less than a weeks time. DWC has turely impressed me so far. I'll be taking the first cutting from these plants in the next couple of days.

[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Flood%20Tray/0210111744-01.jpg[/img]

hydroguy

hydroguy
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Location: Midwest, USA

24 days from planting to first harvest, should have done it a day or two before but time didn't permit. Plant density is WAY too high for this sytem. 2 plants per cell, 84 cells total is twice as many as needs to be in there. Another lesson learned LOL. Next run will be 1 plant per square and that might be crowded. Really enjoying the mix of colors with this crop, not sure how the mix tasted as it was all given to my neighbors but it sure looked nice. The Green Ice is so much darker than the Simspon was, not gonna be growing that genetic line anytime soon if I can keep from it. Performance was fine but I like a darker green leaf.

24 days
[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Flood%20Tray/0214110816-00.jpg[/img]

1st harvest
[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Flood%20Tray/0214110905-00.jpg[/img]

hydroguy

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Halfway
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Location: Northern Rockies

Nicely done hydroguy. Very informative.
Zone 4a.

hydroguy
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Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 3:02 pm
Location: Midwest, USA

Appreciate it Halfway, not everything I try works like its supposed to but its sure fun learning. Your success with fluorescents sure has had an impact on my grow room. The fixture I ordered to finish out this grow is on back order and will be delayed for a few weeks. That will give me the chance to run this system through with standard floro's before going over to T-5's. Will be interesting to see the difference if there even is any.

hydroguy

hydroguy
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Been a little over 60 days (64 actually) and this grow is finished. Didn't keep track of the total harvest but it did respectfully well considering the light source provided, T-12 4 bulb shop light. The T-5 system has yet to come in so I cancelled that order and will be ordering one from an other source.

This was a mixture of varieties and sources. Impossible to keep track of which variety did best but from the pics I can easily tell which had the best stem and more than likely the best production. The Green Ice from either Burpee or Jung did so well I'll be going with just that variety on the next run. Half table from Jung and half table from Burpee.

[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Flood%20Tray/0325110700-00.jpg[/img]

Next is the clean up which I am actually looking forward to. After running flood tables filled with pots and hydroton this clean up should be a breeze in comparison. Washing rocks is not my most favorite project and with this RDWC there are none to be cleaned!!

Today was the very first time I have ever seen the roots on this grow. With it being re-circulating there was never a need to lift the float out of the water. Here's a pic of the roots, guess you have to be a fan of hydroponics to appreciate a root shot :wink:

[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Flood%20Tray/0325110712-00.jpg[/img]

Next grow is going to with the STG cubes that I had such a difficult time with germination on the starter plants. Hopefully I learned something from that grow and can get some lettuce to germinate in this system.

hydroguy

hydroguy
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Location: Midwest, USA

Green Ice leaf for this grow 1/2 is Burpee (right) and the other 1/2 from Jung (left). Went with 100% STG on this cycle. Top watered each cell when it was planted and will continue to give them a few CC's couple times a day until germination if over and there are some roots down to water level. Bit of a pain but the STG is 25% of the cost of rockwool and I have enough to do another couples runs, luckily leaf lettuce germinates in 48 hours. The holes in the float were a great fit for the rockwool but a few are too big for the STG. Had to cut up some of the plant markers (mini-lblinds) and prop up a good number of the cells.

First harvest should be on the 14 of April.

[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Flood%20Tray/0326111642-02.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Flood%20Tray/0326111643-00.jpg[/img]

hydroguy

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Halfway
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Love this system hydroguy! Wow, 60 days already. :shock:

Excellent roots and the cleanup (or lack thereof) sounds better than scrubbing and drying rocks.
Zone 4a.

hydroguy
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Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 3:02 pm
Location: Midwest, USA

Thanks Halfway :)

Clean was so much easier than the hydroton. The sytofoam board had some mold in it that I didn't get cleaned out or the porous portion. Bleach or H2O2 would have taken care of it but I wasn't too worried about it really. Figure I can get 2 maybe 3 grows out of a sheet before starting over.

Pic is a 36 hours planted, taken yesterday morning. Lights aren't on yet this morning but I'm sure there are several plants standing up by now. On a close inspection I couldn't find but 1 or 2 seeds that haven't germinated so the STG did it's job in this system with this type of seed.

[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Flood%20Tray/0328110814-00.jpg[/img]

hydroguy

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Location: Midwest, USA

Day 6 on this crop of greens. Added the first mix of nutrients to the system and got the level up to a weak 250ppm. I'll up the nute level at day 14 to around 400ppm and that about as rich as greens like it. Didn't spend a great deal of time cleaning all the algae off the float and it was real quick to come back on the STG cubes, not a big deal really but maybe should have cleaned it a bit better.

Double planted each cube but learned last round that 170 plants is way to dense so each cube is down to only 1 plant each leaving 85 plants in this 2 x 4 table. Hard to imagine that these plants will give their first cutting in just 14 more days. Neighbors must be missing their lettuce, got home the other day from work and their was a big box of zip lock bags on the front porch, LOL. Glad these greeens don't go to waste.

[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Flood%20Tray/0401111807-02.jpg[/img]

The Quantum system will be here Tuesday, can't wait to see that light shine!

hydroguy

hydroguy
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Location: Midwest, USA

The Quantum BadBoy T-5 12 bulb system arrived on schedule and was installed that day. Darn fine light if anyone is shopping for a T-5 fixture this is one serious light!

[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/plumbing%20lights/0405111644-00.jpg[/img]

I remember back in college in an economic theory class something about the law of deminishing returns, it's more than a theory, it's a fact. Or atleast it is with this light growing lettuce. As with all new gadgets there's a learning curve and I'm sure learning.

This light puts out some heat and is really bright. 2 things I've found that lettuce really doesn't care that much for. Now the light is raised to 12" above the plants and there's air moving across them. Another thing i learned with this system is that with it being 3.5' wide it shines down into the resv. Light and water in a hydro system don't mix that well and algae soon follows. Did a complete change of the sytem at day 14 and again 7 days later. Solution to this problem was to make a cover for the resv. Won't eliminate the algae but hopefully will atleast slow it down for the duration of this grow.

I'm likeing the density on this run, one plant per cell total of 85 plants or close to it. Made a new float for the next run with a smaller diameter hole to fit the rockwool starter cubes. I'll be going back to rockwool but this time with a product from Grodan called the A-Ok starter cubes. difference is they have to be cut from the slab and are 1 1/4 squares vrs. the 1 1/2 wrapped cubes I had been running. These new cubes are about equal to the Sure-To-Grow used on this runin cost. I've given the STG a fair chance and it just doesnt compete with rockwool. Lesson learned. Gave away most of what I had remaining the other day to a lady that ate some of my lettuce and wants to start a hydro system of her own. It works but it's not rockwool.

Folks are asking when the next harvest starts, should be here in a couple of days finally.

[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Flood%20Tray/0417111528-01.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Flood%20Tray/0417111529-00.jpg[/img]

hydrolifeCA
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Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2011 8:05 pm
Location: Central America

Oustanding!

hydroguy
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Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 3:02 pm
Location: Midwest, USA

hydrolifeCA wrote:Oustanding!
Thanks hydrolifeCA!

Decided to do split harvests on this grow, 12 rows so I did 4 on Mon., Tues. and the rest on Wed. Yeild was surprisingly good considering all the mistakes made early on. Lights are a solid 12" above plant tops and the lid stopped all the algae growth, or most all of it anyways. I had to learn how to use the BadBoy light fixture but man does it make a difference. Leaf structure is completely different on the same genetic's grown under the shop lights. If I was selling this lettuce the light would pay for itself real quick.

It's 5 days since the first section was cut, time to start all over:

[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Flood%20Tray/0423111805-02.jpg[/img]

Yeild was a stuffed 1 gl bag and another about 1/2 full. Already delivered to a couple of neighbors:

[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Flood%20Tray/0423111805-00.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Flood%20Tray/0423111808-00.jpg[/img]

hydroguy

hydroguy
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Posts: 221
Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 3:02 pm
Location: Midwest, USA

Tinkering with the hydro systems today as it was too rainy to be outside in the dirt garden. I planted a couple different varieties in the twin flood trays and I had the camera out today so I got some pics of the difference between the 2 variaties. Simpson Elite and Green Ice. Everything is identical from ventilation, medium, nutrients Ph bla bla bla. Difference is the plants. The lite colored leaves are the Simspon Elite obviously the dark leaves are the Green Ice. I grew the Simpson by request from dear Mother, it's what she personally likes and who can say no to mom. It grows a bit slower, leaves are considerably thinner and it is highly susceptable to leaf burn if there is a spike in nutrients or temps. The Green Ice is my favorite to grow, nothing seems to effect it and it grows fast.

Simpson Elite.....................................Green Ice
[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Lettuce/0621111717-00.jpg[/img]


[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Lettuce/0621111718-00.jpg[/img]

These will more than likely be the last lettuce crops I grow in a flood tray. RDWC has proven to be so much easier to manage, clean and grow faster that these trays will be converted after this cycle. I ran these systems again to maintain a harvest while the RDWC system was replanted. I continue to learn with each cycle and each change in medium. This round with the RDWC I ran the A-OK starter plugs, mistake I made was to plant the seeds in the pre-formed hole which was way too deep and moist for the lettuce seeds. Moved the plugs around and got the worst preforming plugs on one end. This gives me a chance to experiment.....

[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Flood%20Tray/0621111635-00.jpg[/img]

hydroguy

The Mad Hatter
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Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:49 pm
Location: Lincoln Nebraska

Very very cool Hydro!

T.M.H.

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