Fresh Salad
Full Member
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 2:26 am

Please help... I'm a newbie gardener with hydroponic setups

Hi,

I'm running 4 DWCs and 1 30+ site ebb and gro. I'm running 2 1000W HPS and 2 - 4 T5s (6 bulbs each).

How would you setup a hydroponic garden that would continually produce food?

What would you plant?
When?
How long can I get the plants to bloom (tomatoes, squash, cucumber, eggplant, various herbs, lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, and peppers...)? to maximize yield...
What would you do with the light cycle? 18-6 for 4 weeks and 12-12 for 8 weeks... ??? I really don't know, but I'm in 18 now.
When do you change the water in DWC and Ebb and Gro?
What nutrients do you recommend? I'm using Humboldt natural now. Any substitutes out there that are more cost effective and/or better?

Thanks ahead of time for any help I get.

Rob
(Sorry about the double post, but I figured my post really belonged here ) :roll:

[img]https://img96.imageshack.us/img96/4849/dsc04812w.jpg[/img]

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

Impressive collection of equipment you got there Rob! I ran and Ebb & Grow for several years and its a mighty fine system. Has it's draw backs though: you had better enjoy washing rocks! a 50L bag fills 6 of those 2 gl pots and with your 30 pots thats a whole darn bunch of rocks to wash. I had 48 pots running and I found that soaking the hydroton in H2O2 does a good job. Just don't wash them with bleach.

Another limit to your perpetual grow room is the E & G runs off a 55gl. drum. This will limit you to one nutrient solution for all your plants. Different plants require different concentrations. Tomatoes like it around 1500 ppm when fruiting but peppers go around 900 - 1000. You have to find a happy medium for all your plants. Young plants like a solution high in nitrogen while flowering plants like it high in phosphorus.

A rule of thumb I ran with is when you have replaced 50% of the original volumne of your resv. the next time you need to add change it out completely. Meters only tell you the concentration not what individual nutrients are present.

The 1K lights work well for a 4 x 4 area, so your looking at a 4 x 8 space for light loving plants. Herbs and lettuces will do fine on the outside of your system. Heat is one issue you will run into but it looks like your vent setup will move some air for you. Whats the cfm rating of your fan? Vortex makes a nice quite fan as your gonna need to exchange the room air often with that amount of light. I ran 3.6K of HID, summer time heat will be an issue.

Never ran Humbolt so can't help you there. Been running Technaflora's BC line for years and just love the stuff.

Best of luck with your grow, keep us updated if you can.

hydroguy

vorkus
Newly Registered
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2012 2:37 am

Nice setup. Just a few comments to add to what hydroguy said...

Some plants can be grown for long periods others have a predetermined life. For example you can keep lettuce alive for quite awhile if you continuously prune the plant (harvest) instead of cutting it off completely. I've had great luck with this. Tomatoes are commercially grown hydroponically and can last for over a year and a half. There was an interesting program on TV about a place in North Carolina doing that.

One thing you can do is take cuttings from your plants and start clones of them. That way you can replace the mother plant with a new young one. Stagger your planting so you have plants of the same type in different life stages. The issue of course as hydroguy mentioned is the varying nutrient requirements. I did this outside last summer using 5 gallon DWC buckets. It gave me a long harvest season. I started some of them inside and had big plants to set out as soon as the weather permitted.

Some plants are light cycle dependent. Many are not. The common wisdom about 18/6 and 12/12 is just not generally true. In my area the sun never shines for more than 14 hours a day and it isn't until late in the season before the sun returns to a 12 hour cycle...way too late to trigger flowering. However, I'm in zone 6 and most things grow just fine outside here. Do a little Net searching to see the actual light requirements for the plants you want to grow.

As mentioned the biggest issue for some plants will be heat. You have to keep lettuce and spinach for example cool. If the temperature rises too high they bolt. It happened to me this winter with my spinach (raft system).

Fresh Salad
Full Member
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 2:26 am

Hey Hydroguy, Hey Vorcus,

Thanks for the comments and tips.

I have 2 in-line 500 cfm fans. I'm drawing in fresh air from outside, using it to cool the HIDs and maintain the room temp at 72 degrees. I plan on installing a fresh air ventilation system soon, so I can vent the HIDs during the summertime on a closed loop setup. Summertime, I plan on reversing the direction of the in-line fans so that the the heat from the lamps is exhausted. The grow room is in my basement.

Lettuce and spinach bolting... yup, happened to me too last month... and now I know why... I have to chill the DWCs somehow?...

I have more pics of the garden on my facebook page...
[url]https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.398403823506671.109153.100000111696013&type=1&l=b0313f4d62[/url]

Fresh Salad
Full Member
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 2:26 am

I run the E&B at 1450ppm, 5.7pH and 4 DWCs... 650ppm for lettuce, 1250ppm for spinach, 550ppm for peppers. The fourth DWC is empty right now, but I may try putting some herbs (oregano, parsley, basil and sage) in it. I have 4 more "low profile" DWCs that I plan on running for smaller plants waiting for the main DWCs. All the DWC's are under T5 325w fluorescents.

I may try Technaflora's BC line next...

Thanks again,

Rob

vorkus
Newly Registered
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2012 2:37 am

What is the temperature of your reservoir? My plants got hot under the lights but my reservoir never got that hot. The water might have been 72F but the plants hit 80F. More airflow from a cooler source would be my recommendation.

Fresh Salad
Full Member
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 2:26 am

vorkus wrote:What is the temperature of your reservoir? My plants got hot under the lights but my reservoir never got that hot. The water might have been 72F but the plants hit 80F. More airflow from a cooler source would be my recommendation.
I assumed you meant the water got hot on your setup. I haven't actually figured out the root cause of my lettuce and spinach bolting. I wasn't recording the water temp, but will start now.

Fresh Salad
Full Member
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 2:26 am

btw... I keep updating my facebook garden pics... so check it frequently. :D

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