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NFT Setup in Florida Keys


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  #1  
Old 10-31-2014, 07:19 PM
Mattm Mattm is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Florida Keys
Posts: 16
Default NFT Setup in Florida Keys

I haven't posted since last year, so here it is:

The pictures are of my outdoor NFT setup, tomatoes, jalapenos and basil.

The jalapenos were seeded 08/16/14, they are placed in 3 "pvc, spacing is 12 inches. The tank is 30 gallons and covered with shade cloth under a large shade tree in yard. I won't use PVC for jalapenos again as the root mass is pushing the plants out of pipes. The japs are producing well and very hot but it looks messy. The seed is called " mucho nacho hybrid". Real tasty.

I seeded tomatoes on 09/02/14, "Bella Rosa" determinates. I have a ton of flowers now and hope to have maters in November. I stagger out my seedings throughout year. One of the pics you can see my new transplants and the other pic has new seeds in oasis cubes.

It's a challenge in the Keys due to the critters, iguanas and rats are a major problem. I kill them non stop and there is no end to them. That is one of the setbacks to growing outdoors. I lose 25 percent of my maters.

It is fun blasting iguanas with the pellet rifle as they are non native and it is legal to kill them.

The last picture is the root mass from last year, it still has not decomposed, the root mass will completely cover the bottom of the troughs by about 70-80 days. If you zoom in you can see the original oasis cubes and main plant stem.

Hope you enjoy the pictures.

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Old 11-01-2014, 03:53 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Location: Lake Havasu AZ.
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Default

Hello Mattm,
Thanks for the pictures. What are you using for the troughs? They look much wider than the standard rain gutters. How tall do your tomato get? Are they bush (determinate) varieties? Also, do you experience water flow issues when the root mass gets big?
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Old 11-01-2014, 09:53 AM
Mattm Mattm is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Florida Keys
Posts: 16
Default NFT questions

GPS,
Below response is what I sent you on private message on your earlier questions. I apologize for the poor pictures as they are taken with a camera phone, I'll include some new pictures in next post of my 1st stand which are ready to fruit.

The tomatoes are determinates(bush), they get about 3-4 foot high, I have not been able to grow indeterminates in my NFT system.

GPS,
Thanks for the quick reply.
As for NFT questions: I took a bunch of pictures so you can see my setup. I guess I can't send them on this private reply message so I will send you a new message with pics.

1)NFT system has worked out great for me, my tomatoes are consistent and any one who eats them tells me they are best they have had.

2) I don't use tubes, I use troughs, they are 12 foot in length, 12 inches wide, 3 inches in depth, they are supposed to be used for roof facia applications, I get them at home depot, about $25.00 a trough, I cover them with plastic soffet material that I cut to length, and then cut circular holes in the top piece(plastic soffet piece) to put plants.

3) My spacing is about 12 inches, I know that is too close and things do get messy with the plants hanging all over each other when they mature. A better spacing would be 18-24 inches.

4)I will send a pic of one of the trough's root mass from last year that I threw on one of my trees, it still has not decomposed and you can see the original oasis cubes with main plant stem, the root mass will completely cover the troughs after 70 days or more.

5) I do get water blockages and have to raise my troughs a few times during grow cycle ,from the water inlet end, as you'll see in the pics, I put 2x2's under inlet ends of troughs and just raise as needed or the water will back up.

6) My water inlet tubes are 1/2 inch tubing attached to 1/2 " ball valve, they only go about 3-4 inches down trough. You'll see in pics.

7) Even when root mass is huge, the water/nutrient flow never gets sucked up, there is always good drainage even when roots grow all the way down 2" drain pipes into my tanks.

I know I break a lot of rules with my setup, like, water temps are usually in 80's, my tanks are only covered by shade cloth so I get some algae, not a lot.

I think the main reason I have success is the height at which my drain pipes drop the water into tank. It's a least 12 inches or higher and therefore supremely oxygenated. I took a bunch of pics of the drains into tank and with between 2 to 4 drains depending which hydro stand, the water/nutrient tanks are rolling with bubbles.

All in all, I think NFT is easiest and least maintenance intensive setup depending on your crop.

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