User avatar
Chaesman
Senior Member
Posts: 263
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2010 2:49 pm
Location: Missouri, usa

l'd love to learn hydroponics

I was accually surfing the web trying to gain information and insight on irrigating an outdoor garden and ended up on a hydroponics site and the pictures intrigrued me. So now I am intrested in learning all about it. I spent several more hours reading over several hydroponic sites and it seams there are many diffrent types as well as many choices for how to configure each type.

I am intrested in trying to do a diy setup but I want it to be very buget oriented and accually very compact since it will be my first experiment and space is some what limited till the greenhouse gets purchased.

I was thinking something simple like maybe the size of a ten gallon aquarium and around the same capacity if possible just big enough for 2 or 3 plants as an experiment. My next question is lighting it seams there are many types also I was wondering if something like a 24 inch flourescent could be used and would it benefit from throwing a grow light or plant light available at pet stores for aquariums in the fixture.

any help tips and guidence would be greatly appreciated like I said this will be my first and after reading I am well Confused

Thank
Jon

User avatar
Halfway
Green Thumb
Posts: 600
Joined: Sun Nov 08, 2009 2:48 pm
Location: Northern Rockies

Sounds like you are following the same path I have. I pulled a lot of great info from folks on this site and a couple others. Many, many hours of reserach and study and now adding practical experience to the equation.

I built my blog as a running journal and as a video and photo log for family and friends interested as well.

There are some other really great blogs created by folks on this forum. Hydrogardener comes to mind, but there are many others.

https://frugalhydroponics.blogspot.com/ It's "frugal" for a reason. I don't want a hobby turning into a $10 head of lettuce!!.
Zone 4a.

User avatar
Chaesman
Senior Member
Posts: 263
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2010 2:49 pm
Location: Missouri, usa

Liked the blog and the plants look great.

First question I can get the 48" 6500k t8 bulbs locally will they fit a standard 48 inch shop light or will I run into balast problems.

I am not overly concerned about the reflector it is easy enought to line with a more reflective surface than the plane white

next question. do you have any drawn plans on your design or video showing the accuall build proccess? (maybe I just missed it)

as far as ph testing and balancing I am very familar with how this is done first job was maintaining fresh and saltwater aquariums in a small pet store.

thanks for the information so far
Jon

User avatar
Halfway
Green Thumb
Posts: 600
Joined: Sun Nov 08, 2009 2:48 pm
Location: Northern Rockies

My first shop light was on sale with a manufacturers coupon which made the final price about $8.00. It was sold at menards and has a white reflector. It is a 48" 2 bulb T8/T12 (it runs both). Instant start with a pull chain.

I watch the menards circular and only buy additional lights when it goes on sale which is about every 3 weeks.

For the ebb and flow, I have 3 of these lights fastened together and all hooked up to a timer. I added locking pulley's a month ago for about $20. I tired of moving them up and down by fastening and unfastening the chains. The pulleys are awesome. Can't remember the brand, but check online at hydro dealer sites.

Plans: I don't have any plans, but I'll look around for a couple of the videos/sites I may have used to develop the ideas for the system.
Zone 4a.

User avatar
Chaesman
Senior Member
Posts: 263
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2010 2:49 pm
Location: Missouri, usa

That will be appreciated halfway. Thank you for the information on the lights. I accually have 1 four foot shop fixture and about 12-15 more 2 bulb fixtures with lenses and 2 4 bulb units with lenses
So I should probably befine for fixtures for a long time to come

I watched a few videos allready and have a general idea but it seems they all leave gaps to be figured out.
Jon

User avatar
Halfway
Green Thumb
Posts: 600
Joined: Sun Nov 08, 2009 2:48 pm
Location: Northern Rockies

I may make a video of how I constructed the ebb and flow system once I tear it down in a few weeks for cleaning and a new run of lettuce.

For the bulbs....I found nothing to convince me to buy the expensive "grow bulbs" for a T8 or T12 fixture. Since I am growing lettuce and herbs and NO flowering plants, I do not need anything other than the 6500K bulbs of which I use for starts as well.

If I were to attempt peppers or tomatoes, I would need another lighting system, and to me that is just not feasible for various reasons.

6500K bulbs for 48" fixtures should cost no more than $2.00 each at a box store.
Zone 4a.

User avatar
Chaesman
Senior Member
Posts: 263
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2010 2:49 pm
Location: Missouri, usa

Halfway wrote:I may make a video of how I constructed the ebb and flow system once I tear it down in a few weeks for cleaning and a new run of lettuce.
That would be awsome it would give me a much better idea of the inner workings
Halfway wrote:For the bulbs....I found nothing to convince me to buy the expensive "grow bulbs" for a T8 or T12 fixture. Since I am growing lettuce and herbs and NO flowering plants, I do not need anything other than the 6500K bulbs of which I use for starts as well

If I were to attempt peppers or tomatoes, I would need another lighting system, and to me that is just not feasible for various reasons.

6500K bulbs for 48" fixtures should cost no more than $2.00 each at a box store.
ok are 6500k bulbs the standard flouresent tube usually found in fixtures. I have about half a box of them out back in storage havent read the box to see if it says just curious if you know of the top of your head.

Ok now to new bussiness I have done tons more of reading this morning and from what I have gathered the ebbs and flow is about the easiest for a novice to work with So I believe this is what I will go with. (if I am wrong please correct me.) I did search around and found a few pre-built systems about the size I am considering for under 100.00 but from the looks of it. I could easily build one with what I have on hand for significantly less. Plus this is suppose to be a hobby so Diy seems the way to go even though there may be some trail and error (But lets face it if your hobby is model building you don't buy a model allready assembled)

I did look at some of the fill/drain and over flow connectors available and it strikes me that while for 7 to 10 bucks I could buy a set. But the over all design is pretty simple and straight forward and for probably 70 cents I could buy a few pvc parts I don't allready have and take 30 minutes to an hour and make my own Like I said this is suppose to be fun it is a hobby.

also curious about maintnace. How do you drain and refill your resevor do you have a built in drain or do you lug it out and dump it just currious none of the information I found yet mention this.

well thats enough for right now.
Thanks for any information
Jon

User avatar
Halfway
Green Thumb
Posts: 600
Joined: Sun Nov 08, 2009 2:48 pm
Location: Northern Rockies

Chaesman, you were looking for some design info. Take a look at this vid. It provided some input into the system I designed. That plus some other input from videos and forums.

I tend to follow the rabbit down the hole, so take a look at the other vids that pop up on the right of the youtube screen for different ebb and flow designs.

I will be making another video when I build the DWC systems shortly, and I may add the design details for the ebb and flow as well. I have other things competing for my time at the moment though. I will post them here and on my blog when completed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAzxwpgnVhc&feature=related
Zone 4a.

User avatar
Chaesman
Senior Member
Posts: 263
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2010 2:49 pm
Location: Missouri, usa

Thanks for the youtube link halfway, I had seen the first one before and as sugjested followed the rabbit hole. It appears individuals will make hydroponics systems out of just about anything. With that said let me make a little clarification.

I know I mentioned I want to do this on a budget, however I want it done correctly to the best of my ability and don't want it to look like something I just threw together with no thought (So that is why question after question and hours of reading and watching videos). Just because I want to do it on a budget doesn't mean I am not willing to blow the budget if I must that just means it will take a little longer to accomidate the amount not planned on.

My first thoughts are I don't care for the setup where the overflow tray sits directly ontop of the resevior. I would rather spend a few bucks on extra plumbing and seperate the 2 components. (It seems to me this would make maintnance on the resivor and ph testing ect. easier to perform)(Is this train of thought correct?)
Jon

User avatar
Halfway
Green Thumb
Posts: 600
Joined: Sun Nov 08, 2009 2:48 pm
Location: Northern Rockies

I agree with you on quality, but cost efficiency. That's exactly what I did.

My E&F system is paying for itself in lettuce....and will have completely paid for itself after a couple more batches. It will last for years and is a quality finished system.

See the parts list I provided on the very first post of my blog. To me, that was the low cost /high quality ratio I could find.
Zone 4a.

wordwiz
Green Thumb
Posts: 331
Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2010 9:44 pm
Location: Cincinnati

Probably the easiest and least expensive system to build is a Deep Water Culture (DWC). All you need is a bucket or tub, an airstone or two and a el cheapo pump. So easy, a caveman could build it!

I am also using an aeroponics set-up to grow some basil and soon some Chard. I had a decent water pump, so I built a 4x20" piping system (basically, just two pieces of 1/2" PVC pipe, 20" long with connectors with small holes drilled at angles), sitting in a Sterilite container.

Another grow involves about 32 tomato plants. It's not much more than a drip irrigation system. Pipes run along the plants with holes in them to deliver nuits to the net pot (and subsequently to the roots).

There is a very good book - How-To Hydroponics that is not very expensive. Just about everything you need to know, plus step-by-step instructions and parts list for several different types.

Mike

User avatar
Chaesman
Senior Member
Posts: 263
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2010 2:49 pm
Location: Missouri, usa

I do agree halfway your cost is definatley resonable from the list in your blogg. and I am trying to follow what you where saying mike but a little confused I am trying to work out a solid plan for an ebb and flow (May try DW system later but have to start some where) Pictures would be helpful to me mike :)

On to the initial thoughts in the planning stage.

I was going to dig out an old submersible pond pump I had but choose to go the route of picking up a new one (thought behind this) get one bigger than I need with an adjustable output so that if this works out as well as I hope I can tap into the exsiting plumbing and ad a second or third flood table using the existing system, Yup I know this will mean a bigger resevior initially but that is fine any thoughts on my idea?
Jon

wordwiz
Green Thumb
Posts: 331
Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2010 9:44 pm
Location: Cincinnati

Chaesman,

Seriously, buy the book 'How To Hydroponics' or find a place on-line that has some of the info in it. The writer covers DWC, E&F, NFT, Dutch Bucket, Aeroponic and a couple other types. Detailed, step-by-step instructions on how to build them. Another great book is "Lighting Up Profits."

Not to pontificate, but we spend dozens of dollars on seeds, potting mix, nuits. Why not spend a few dollars on stuff that will make those other expenditures pay off?

Mike

User avatar
Chaesman
Senior Member
Posts: 263
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2010 2:49 pm
Location: Missouri, usa

I do agree mike books are a useful resource, I use the library frequently, Borrow books even buy a few now and then.

However when I am working on the design and have a question, Is the book going to say hey that won't work or hey that is a great idea or hey how about this too. Lets face the internet is an awsome source of articles, videos, bloggs, Social networks and more that to not use it to gain information and insights from others would be insane in my opinion.

The point is on the forum our many knowlegable people on this subject of hydroponics and to not pic thier brains and recieve there input and learn from some of thier trial and errors would be a shame other wise I may make some of the same errors.
Jon

wordwiz
Green Thumb
Posts: 331
Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2010 9:44 pm
Location: Cincinnati

True, but what I like about the book is it tells you what parts you need, how long the pipe, etc. should be, how to assemble it, things to consider or maybe alternatives.

There's no doubt, access to the www is invaluable because one can find a huge amount of experience. If someone would have told me that tomato plants could survive in a hydro system getting maybe a 1/2 cup of water per day for ten days, I would have scoffed at them. But that is exactly what I have experienced. My water pump broke and I had to send it back. Since then, I have been using a spray pump and watering the net pots daily. Thankfully, the plants are not big yet but they are growing nicely and a couple are getting ready to bloom.

In the interest of full disclosure, I think a major reason is because the roots are in those Park Seed Bio-dome inserts which tend to hold lots of moisture.

Mike

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27960
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

I want to learn too! :D

When I'm in the experiment phase, I scavenge. So I now have a small tub that some Duplo's came in and a curious sturdy white plastic container that a Family Pack of pre-formed beef patties came in. It has 4 wells that readily holds 4" pots (I'm thinking I'll just drill extra holes) with a dome in the center that peaks at about 1/2 the depth of the container which would work well for overflow. The plastic container is the same width as the tub so it fits just right, but leaves about 1/2" gaps on either end (or 1" gap on one end) that would be perfect for the cord access. 8)

I have the smaller 1000 air pump that I'm not using for ACT right now and a small fountain pump that should be sufficient for this purpose. I think all I need now is to decide if I can set this up under my seed starting lights (we've had a couple of dips into the teens already with garage floor level at 26ºF near the doors) or if I'll have to find room somewhere in the house (in which case, I'll need to procure some lights). I might have to get another timer -- I think the one I'm using in the garage is going outside for holiday lights soon.

Can I use "tarface" equivalent clay pellets mixed with some gravel or do I have to spring for a proper growing medium..?. Hmmm.... :D

One thing I'm not going to be good at -- and this is one reason I'm hesitant about this project/method -- is consistently testing the nutrient solution. I'm also not up to using a chem-fertilizer. So, I'm wondering if I added a spoonful of compost (in a net "tea" bag) every so often, and cleaned the airstone/aerator and the tub once in a while -- i.e. make a sort of on-going dilute AACT in the reservoir -- would it let me get away with some omissions.... :roll: :wink: The porous growing medium, whatever I end up using, should also create a bio-filter effect -- good or bad? Anyway, that's the direction my experiment is headed. My ultimate goal is an outdoor aquaponics set up, so this is just to get my "feet wet" :wink:

wordwiz
Green Thumb
Posts: 331
Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2010 9:44 pm
Location: Cincinnati

Applestar,

Have you considered using some kind of a heat mat, ala a waterbed heater? Your water will stay warmer than 26 but it probably needs to be closer to 70 degrees for good growth.

As far as nuits, I often use Tomato-tone. I add a tablespoon to about three gallons of water and let it aerate overnight, then pour the solution into the growing container. It's OMRI listed and had all the macro and micro nuits plants need. Another thing I like is a decent percentage of the N in it is not water soluble. Most fruiting plants don't require a lot of it.

IMO, it is worth buying the meters, both a pH and a PPM or EC meter. Some people use test strips, the kind we used in chemistry class to measure the pH but they aren't real close.

Good luck!

Mike

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

Chaesman,

You'll like the simplicity of a flood/drain system and I really like your thoughts on getting the flood tray seperate from the resv. It makes maintenance of the resv. so much easier. The only thing I see from your initial design that I might question is running multiple trays from the same resv. Would work fine IF your running the same age and same type of plants in each tray. Maybe if your running herbs, greens etc. where every thing is a lite feeder it would work but if you do larger plant or plants that bloom/flower then they would need a resv. specific to their needs.

Look forward to hearing more about what your building. I've built many systems from stuff laying around the shop, granted what I run today is a bit more costly but I didn't start out this way. It was all trial and error over the years and man did I make enough errors for all of us!

Got a more specific question, just ask and maybe I've tried it.

hydroguy

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

applestar,

I'm trying to get a mental picture of what your building. Is the meat patty tray going to be a flood tray? When you said something about drilling holes I thought maybe it was going to be a DWC, then the overflow? Anyways, I couldn't get a picture of it and just wondered. More than glad to help if I can.

I think just about anything that is inert, nonsoluable and Ph stable can be used as a growing medium. The medium is there to support the plant, that's all. You want something that allows easy passage of water and air to the roots. I invested in hydroton because of what I read and it works well but it is not the only medium that plants would grow in.

Wish I could help you with the organic tea idea but I'm not familiar enough with it to offer any thoughts. I can say that a balanced ph is really important to plants grown hydroponicaly. I'm running a meter I picked up for less than $30 and its working fine, you don't have to spend a fortune to monitor your water.

hydroguy

User avatar
Chaesman
Senior Member
Posts: 263
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2010 2:49 pm
Location: Missouri, usa

mainly looking to do herbs and lettuce initially till I can figure out if costs of increase in electric and cost of nutrients ect.. make it cost effective for me. Like you mentioned I realy don't want to end up with a 10..00 head of letuce :)
Jon

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27960
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Good idea wordwiz. I think one of you mentioned using aquarium water heater in the reservoir and I *have* one of those. :idea:

Not enough homework to be sure of the terminology, but I believe I'm thinking ebb and flow/flood and drain. The holes to be drilled in the plastic flower pots which already came with series of 8 holes in the bottom (more than some of the other nursery pots I have)... though I'll be drilling small drain holes in the bottom of the meat container as well.

With Christmas around the corner, I don't think I'll be able to play with this until after the holidays. Boo. :?

Chaesman, I hope my piggy-backing on your thread is OK. I hope my ideas and answers I get will also help with your project. If you prefer, I'll start my own.

User avatar
Chaesman
Senior Member
Posts: 263
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2010 2:49 pm
Location: Missouri, usa

Haven't forgoten just doing a bunch of reading and thinking. It seems most systems have hose clamps to disconect the plumbing from the resivoir I was leaning towards a combination of rigid and flexible plumbing with quick disconnects like I use on my well system for maintnance (don't want to have to pull out tools unecessarily) any thoughts?
Jon

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

Chaesman those quick connects would work dandy. Thing to keep in mind is that flood drain systems don't really run under pressure. Sure there's a bit of pressure in the fill line from the pump but it's nominal since the end isnt restricted.

All mine are simple barb end fittings with flexible tubing. Not a single clamp in any resv. or tray. It's a snug fit and is much easier to put together the first time with some form of heat to the tubing but after that they just slip on/off. The adapter that sits inside the pump discharge is the easiest of all to disconnect and that's where there would be pressure if there is any at all in the system.

I'll be more than happy to dig up some photos for ya if that would help. Keeping it simple and low costs were the goals for ya.

hydroguy

User avatar
Halfway
Green Thumb
Posts: 600
Joined: Sun Nov 08, 2009 2:48 pm
Location: Northern Rockies

I use the "barb end" connectors as well and have no need for any clamps.

With the DWC systems, there is basically NO tubing other than airline hose.
Zone 4a.

User avatar
Chaesman
Senior Member
Posts: 263
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2010 2:49 pm
Location: Missouri, usa

Yes you are right simple and low cost are definatley the goals, Thanks for putting me back on the right track.. and yes pictures would be awsome
Visual aids are much better at times than trying to visualize from an explanation

Thank you..

Yea I saw the dwc system too and it looks realy simple to construct but I decided to try an ebb and flow as my first. I will probably try some others as time goes on.

once again thanks for the input and Merry Christmas
Jon

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

Chaesman, couldn't find any decent pics so I took apart the set that was feeding the pepper project. All 3 of my systems utilize the exact same fittings so showing one shows them all, point is the versatility of the set. The complete set can be purchased for around $6 - 8 or you purchase individual pieces and build your own. Home stores have some of these pieces but for $8 you get the whole thing including washers. Here's a link to the hydroshop website I use but there are many other retailers:

https://www.wormsway.com/results.aspx?t=prod&search=sunleaves+drain&cat=all

I used a large drill bit then a dremel type tool to cut out the holes, don't have to be exact but close. The washers included in the set make a good seal. Heating the tubing helps for the initial instal, result is a leak proof system thats low costs.

Hope this helps ya buddy,

[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/plumbing/1225101501-00.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/plumbing/1225101507-00.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/plumbing/1225101510-00.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/plumbing/1225101511-00.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/plumbing/1225101557-01.jpg[/img]

hydroguy

User avatar
Chaesman
Senior Member
Posts: 263
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2010 2:49 pm
Location: Missouri, usa

yes I have to agree the fill and drain fittings for 8.00 is definatly worth the very small investment to save headaches down the road.

But from your pictures I am a little confused.

I am assuming the white tub that says botanica on it is your flood table

and I noticed a Black container below it

also noticed a what looked like a black five gallon bucket...

maybe a picture of it all assembled once you have done that would let me visualize a little more how this is accually all working together. I always thought there was the resevoir and the flood table but it appears from the pics you have a third container?

Also any ideas on where to obtain an inexpensive submersible pump seems the one I have some one thought they needed the cord from. and the only other one I have is an inline pump (not submersible)

Thanks for all the help so far and thank you for dissembling and taking pictures so I can get a little better clue!
Jon

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

Chaesman wrote:yes I have to agree the fill and drain fittings for 8.00 is definatly worth the very small investment to save headaches down the road.

But from your pictures I am a little confused.

I am assuming the white tub that says botanica on it is your flood table

and I noticed a Black container below it


Yes the White tub is a flood tray from Botanicare, here's a picture of that system. It has 2 trays, 2 resvs and 2 light systems. Both trays utilize the flood darin kit from Sunleaves. Botanicare offers a kit aswell but I prefer the one from Sunleaves.

[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Lettuce/1122101008-01.jpg[/img]

also noticed a what looked like a black five gallon bucket...

That is a 5 gallon bucket that the flood kit is assembled in. It feeds 9 pots inside another chamber lit by a 600watt HPS. A better explanation can be found in the "pepper" thread I posted here in the forum. Short explanation is I flood the bucket and the bucket floods the pots in the chamber.

[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Peppers/1120101601-00.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i784.photobucket.com/albums/yy130/hydroguy/Peppers/1120101559-02.jpg[/img]

maybe a picture of it all assembled once you have done that would let me visualize a little more how this is accually all working together. I always thought there was the resevoir and the flood table but it appears from the pics you have a third container?

Also any ideas on where to obtain an inexpensive submersible pump seems the one I have some one thought they needed the cord from. and the only other one I have is an inline pump (not submersible)

ViaAqua and Ecoplus are the brands of pumps I use, all my pumps are less than 200 gph which can move a good amount of water

Thanks for all the help so far and thank you for dissembling and taking pictures so I can get a little better clue!

User avatar
Chaesman
Senior Member
Posts: 263
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2010 2:49 pm
Location: Missouri, usa

Kinda got side tracked from this forum area when started seed starting and greenhouse and chickens and now the outdoor garden.

Anyways I still plan on building a system Flood and drain type. But for now it is on a side burner for rainy days and waiting for the room we have been using as storage to make its way to the shed so we have space..

Last night I was given a "the Ultimate Kitchen Gardener"

This is a small unit that is a Deep well type It has an airstone and a Pair of adjustable CFLs, they adjust from about 8 inches up to about 20-22 inches. It has a 1/2 gallon tank and an airstone.

It did come with 2 pods ready for a seed and 3 empty pods and one plant spacer cover.

I taped up the 3 pods that are not ready for use to prevent light from coming in to the resivor an used the spacer also (so we have a total of 7 small pods)

I went ahead and filled with water to check for leaks and to test the airstone all seems well.

I don't have Nutrients yet so recomendations that I can get at lowes or walmart would be appreciated.

For now I added a little liquid plant food that we had on hand for house plants (high nitro content) added just enough to get the add nutrient light to go out.

In the 2 pods that are ready for use I added a Black cherry tomato seed to one and an unknown hot pepper variety to the other.

Now on to the questions

1. do I need to worry about root rot??

2. can a prune the tops and make them bush as they reach maximum light hight?

3. any other first timer advice will be appreciated.

Thanks

Jon
Jon

hydrolifeCA
Cool Member
Posts: 75
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2011 8:05 pm
Location: Central America

Chessman good luck! Hydroponics is amazing. I recently got into the hobby myself and with tons of research and help from the lovely users here, my system is going well! I have great lettuce plants.

I am not too far off from a harvest.

I used a drip irrigation / DWC hybrid system.

1x Plastic Container (Mine holds 25 liters of water)
Drip tubing.....
Drip stakes
Substrate (I use corn husk & pumice rock, you can use clay pellets too or coir)
A light... or lights. I manage to keep 5 plants healthy with a 6500k 40w CFL in the center. Shop lights work better, obviously.
Fountain Pump
Net Pots

Awesome system, circulates and reycles everything and aerates itself. I love it! My lettuce started slow because I didn't start it correctly (bad lighting) but once I transplanted it, wow!!!!!!!! It took off!

My tips so far:

1. Check pH often. If you buffer the water well, the pH will not flucuate much.

2. Use pH down when needed. Don't try lime or vinegar, their effects don't last.

3. Don't over water!

I am sure you will do great!

User avatar
Chaesman
Senior Member
Posts: 263
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2010 2:49 pm
Location: Missouri, usa

ok checking ph is no problem I should have a few aquarium test kits tucked away if not they are cheap.

as far as over watering maybe I explain the type System 'The Ultimate Kitchen Gardener" is incorrectly. The bottom of the netpots are allways in the water.

Next question to add to my list

what can I use to fill the pots as far as starting media the 2 that came ready to us looked pretty much like a cheap foam is there some thing else I can use like peat or some other product that may be readily available?

Thanks
Jon
Jon

User avatar
Hydroponics
Cool Member
Posts: 64
Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:27 am
Location: Garden

I've been reading through this thread a bit and have an answer to your last post.

You should start seeds and clones in 1 inch rockwool cubes by Grodan. You can fill your net pots with hydroton clay pebbles. It is cheap and cost effective. It is also very easy to maintain in any hydroponics system.

Did I read that you were building an ebb and flow? Sorry if I missed it, is each plant in its own container or do they all share one large tub? Is this system completed or not?

I read you were using the internet because a book can't tell you if something is going to work or not. I agree with that, but you have to remember if you read a few hydroponics books you can get a good grasp on the fundamentals and principles behind a hydroponics system. Those mechanics can guide you to create a successful hydroponics system.

It is nearly impossible to know beforehand on your first run if your system is going to work or not. Trust me, we have all been there. Ebb and flow or just soil-less drip systems are the easiest systems to start with. There are pros and cons to both.

People that use Ebb and Flow argue that the entire root zone is flooded with water and nutrients, no media is missed. The down size is the root zone is flooded which is proven to reduce performance in numerous ways if the root zone is continually flooded, which it is not, but the same effects can apply. Effects of Root zone flooding are weak stems, and lack of gas exchange from suffocation of the root zone.

Top Feed systems that drip into buckets or containers of soil-less media are easy to maintain and if they are set up correctly they will still feed every part of the growth media without suffocating the system. Roots are contained by container size. In a indoor hydroponics system, 3 gallons of media is probably maximum in a top feed system. 1 Gallon of Media could be used in an ebb and flow, depending on the light intensity. Bigger stronger root zones means bigger strong plants with more space to anchor themselves down.

Rockwool and Hydroton are great media for both systems. Easy to use and maintain for high quality results at an extremely affordable price.
My Hydroponics Blog: Hydroponic Economics

hydrolifeCA
Cool Member
Posts: 75
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2011 8:05 pm
Location: Central America

The netpots always being in the bottom of the water is Deep Water Culture (DWC).

My system is not like that, mine hover an inch or two above the water and when the roots are long enough they drop down into the water when they are long enough.

The drip stakes irrigate from above for the rest of the time.

And pH test strips from pool work great.

I use coir for a substrate but you can grow in clay pellets, alot of people have had great results with hydroton. Rockwool is good in many peoples opinions too.

User avatar
Chaesman
Senior Member
Posts: 263
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2010 2:49 pm
Location: Missouri, usa

Thank you for all the advice and suggestions so far and yes an ebb and flow is in the plans just figuring out excatly where i will put it and then I will work out the rest. For now I am trying the DWC to see how it works.

also thank you for the sugestions on media. I will be heading to town on friday and will check out the local nurseries and lowes and see what I can find.

I will post a pic in a few days if the seeds I started sprout by then.

once again thanks.

jon
Jon

hydrotrav
Newly Registered
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 3:09 am
Location: SF bay area

You might want to check out General Hydroponics on YouTube

For Chaesman, and everyone else starting out in their hydroponics experiments and related endeavors, you might want to have a look at the collection of videos posted by General Hydroponics on YouTube.

GH does manufacture quite a range of nutrients and systems, but I like this company because they have been at this for over 30 years, and aren't just yet another company getting onto the hydroponics bandwagon.

Anyway, I had a chance to meet some of these folks at a trade show here in the SF bay area (California) a few weeks ago, and I learned a lot from the people I talked to there, and at their website, but especially from the videos they post on YouTube.

Hope you find this useful and relevant. One thing I have learned about hydroponics is that it can produce fantastic results, but it also requires consistent care, a range of variables to keep track of.

Return to “HYDROPONICS FORUM”