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Old 04-25-2012, 07:38 PM
hammerpamf hammerpamf is offline
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 34
Default Growstone Trial Update 1

Hello all again,

I have received a shipment from the company and I've begun setting up the different systems for the experimental trials. Today I kept plugging away at building a flood and drain bucket system for the first experiment: I'll be growing different cultivars of tomatoes in growstone, expanded clay, and a mixture.

I'm still tweaking my ideas for the other experiments; another is testing the soil aeration properties of the medium-sized media, probably using it to blend with each of the following in different proportions: coco, peat, perlite, shredded rockwool.

They provided me with enough media to run a couple more experiments, so if you have any ideas let me know. Arrion - could you expand on what you have in mind for an experiment: and does "drip n/r system" mean a drip non-recirculating? Thanks for any clarification you can give me.

First thoughts - Positives
Growstones are light, thus easy to move around; quite literally I have never moved the number of cubic feet I did without breaking a sweat (well, a little sweat, but then again it was in the 80's today). Also, though I only ran a few preliminary cycles in the system, the stones showed a good water holding capacity; in other words, they remained moist for a decent amount of time after flooding. I'm interested to test the claim of the company that their media is excellent for steering the plant into different phases of growth.

First thoughts - Negatives
Oh my goodness was this stuff dusty right out of the bag - no more so than hydroton, but dusty nonetheless. A company representative recommended a pre-use soak to adjust the pH down from its initial value of 8. Combine soaking with dust and you get one messy muck in your buckets. So I'm going to be monitoring to see if this is a one-time occurrence or if the stones will keep dusting over the course of its useful life. The other thing that might pose a challenge is the tendency of the stones to float during the flood stage; this really isn't a surprise given how light they are. I'm pretty confident they will anchor down better as the tomatoes develop.

Attached is a photo of the growstones in the FAD bucket system; I would have taken more photos, but a thunderstorm was brewing in the distance. More updates to come, and seriously offer some experiment ideas if any spring to mind.
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