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Help for Hydroponics Design at roof


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  #1  
Old 12-22-2015, 11:58 AM
issaconan issaconan is offline
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Question Help for Hydroponics Design at roof

Hello everybody

I'm starting a home farm project at the roof of the house to grow "lettuce and mint", and i wold like to help me about :
- the choice of the Hydroponics system (DWC, NTF, Towers, ...?)
- design and exploitation of the space

For information i have water-well, and i live in favorable agriculture climate and sun most of the year.

Here is a photos of space and draw plan.
Tnx all for help

Link to photos folder : https://mega.nz/#F!hxgSRTSK!TodtYaJWGegREsTAG48p6A


Last edited by issaconan; 12-22-2015 at 12:08 PM.
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  #2  
Old 12-22-2015, 12:14 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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How many of each type of plant are you wanting to grow?
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  #3  
Old 12-22-2015, 12:23 PM
issaconan issaconan is offline
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Hi,
I plan first to start with lettuce and mint 50/50% production.
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Old 12-22-2015, 07:37 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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How many of each type of plant are you wanting to grow? 1, 2, 3, 10, 50, 100 etc. ???

How big does the variety of mint plant's you intend to grow get? Are you planing to harvest/pull the mint plants before they get to big? Most variety get very big, and can even quickly overgrow anything else.
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Last edited by GpsFrontier; 12-22-2015 at 07:41 PM.
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  #5  
Old 12-22-2015, 08:57 PM
issaconan issaconan is offline
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I want to grow 100 plant of each type.
For mint i want harvest big mint, so that i preserve the roots and cut the mint from middle, to keep a fast growing period.
tnx for help and excuse my english
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  #6  
Old 12-22-2015, 10:05 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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OK, for growing 100 lettuce plants I would probably go with a NFT system with a minimum 100 gallon nutrient reservoir, and even larger (150 gallon) nutrient reservoir if they are large lettuce plants. You could use a water culture system, but with that many plants, it would have to be very large, and probably need to hold at least 1,000 gallons or more to be big enough.

As for the mint well you didn't really answer my question about what variety and how big they are expected to get. So I have to assume they will get as big as the ones I'm used to that we had growing at the condo complex I used to live at in Calif. Those mint plants grew to be hedges. 5-6 feet tall, and just as wide. And that is with the gardeners trimming them back every week. I have no Idea what your planning to do with this many huge mint plants. Even if you want to sell it, the stuff grows so fast like a weed, and gets huge. You could probably expect to harvest at least 5-6 ponds of mint from each plant weekly. 100 plants should yield at least 500-600 pounds of product weekly.

There is no doubt that I would use a drip system to grow large plants like this. Each plant having it's own 5-10 gallon bucket for the roots for plants expected to get this size. The size of these plants will require a much larger nutrient reservoir. Minimum 5 gallons of water volume per plant (100 plants) totaling a minimum 500 gallon nutrient reservoir but more realistically closer to 750-1,000 gallons total for the 100 plants. However I would break it up. Instead of one 750-1,000 gallon nutrient reservoir. I would prefer to use four 250 gallon nutrient reservoirs, that feed 25 plants each. I seriously don't think you would have room for this large of a setup on that roof. 100 large mint plants like this would probably take up 1/2 acres of space. The mint plants we grew in Calif never died, they lived for decades. They just got trimmed back every week.

As for your statement that you want to preserve/harvest the roots as well. Again I'm at a loss because you didn't answer my question about when you planing to harvest/pull the mint plants. As I mentioned, they won't die, they'll live decades. But if harvesting the roots is a goal, I would never let the plants get so big to begin with. Maybe even use a different variety that doesn't get so big, and/or harvest before they get very big. This way instead of using a drip system, I could construct a low pressure aeroponic system to grow them in. That way I can keep the roots clean and not need to separate them from the growing media when I harvested them. That not only saves labor separating it, but money as well because you don't need to buy all that growing media. And because the roots aren't in a growing media, their clean and much better product.

But again everything depends on the questions I asked about the variety and how big they are expected to get. Without that info it's just working backwards and spinning wheels.
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Old 12-24-2015, 01:30 PM
issaconan issaconan is offline
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Hi tank's for your help again, and marry Christmas;

As i'm new to the hydroponics world, i think that step by step is better for me.
So i plan to start with lettuce as first experiment and training, like you said NFT system is fine.

My questions for growing 100 lettuce plants :

- brand of good water pump + technical sheet
- nutrient needed and how to use it (doses + how many time)
- change water tank or not? if yes when
- oxygen pump is necessary?
- setting timer?

If you have a full tutorial or document it's well be great, tnx a lot man.
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Old 12-24-2015, 06:21 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Hello issaconan,
Quote:
brand of good water pump + technical sheet
As far as brands of water pumps, it doesn't really mater. Any brand of submersible pond or fountain pump should be just fine. Just make sure it's big/strong enough for your needs. And I know your next question, that's why I wrote this article: What size pump should I get? As for "technical sheet" each pump should have the specifications right on the box.

Quote:
nutrient needed and how to use it (doses + how many time)
Make sure their designed for hydroponic plants. For growing lettuce you don't want them to flower or seed, so you want nutrients designed for vegetative growth. Their are tons of manufactures that make good hydroponic nutrients, but they don't need to be expensive to be good. I have started a list of cost effective nutrients, and add them to the list as I find them. Cost effective nutrients. Each manufacture is different, and will be able to provide their own instructions. Typically you want to mix them on the weak side, especially for lettuce. All you need to know from the nutrient manufacture is how to mix them for a full strength nutrient, then you can dilute or adjust the strength of it as needed from there.

Quote:
change water tank or not? if yes when
Yes, you will want to change the water in the nutrient reservoir. When and how often varies and has many variables. And again I wrote this article: What size reservoir do I need? to help answer those questions.

Quote:
oxygen pump is necessary?
No, Not for an NFT system. It won't hurt anything, but it wont really help anything either. First the roots hanging in the air inside each of the rows of the NFT channels will allow the roots to get plenty of oxygen. Second the constant falling water back to the reservoir will be it's own oxygen pump. With the falling water acting as the oxygen pump, the only reason the dissolved oxygen levels should fall low would be from high water temps. And if your water temps are to high, that's a much bigger problem.

Quote:
setting timer?
What timer? A N.F.T. system runs 24/7 so it doesn't use a timer? Your growing outside so you don't need artificial lights that would be on a timer? Along with the other articles I already posted above, I wrote this tutorial/description on how N.F.T systems work as well. I also wrote this article: Tips for Growing Plants in Hydroponic Systems

Considering you have a goal of 100 total lettuce plants, this is how I would calculate harvesting and production for them. First most lettuce plants can go from seed to harvest in 6 weeks. But this may be different and even 8-9 weeks depending on the specific variety, so you'll want check seed to harvest times for your specific variety. For this example I will use the standard six week time frame.

Weekly harvest 100 divided by 6=16.6 plants able to be harvested per week.

Starting seedling transplants to rotate into the main system to replace harvested plants.

In order to transplant seedlings into the system to replace the harvested ones, you will need to make sure the roots are long enough to reach the bottom of the NFT channel and the flow of water. The easiest way to do this is to build a secondary small water culture system to propagate the seedlings. The seedlings can be packed close together because they wont be very big before their transplanted. They should be in this propagation system for about 3 weeks before their big enough to need to transplanted. So if your harvesting 16.6 plants per week, and the propagation system holds 3 weeks worth of seedlings that means the propagation system should be able to hold at least 50 seedlings (16.6x3=49.8).

Now with 3 weeks worth of seedlings in the propagation system (50 plants). This means four things.

1. If you only want 100 plants total, then you can downsize the main system to hold only 50 plants because the other 50 will be in the propagation system.

2. If you still build the main system to hold 100 plants, and you have 50 in the propagation system, you have a total of 150 plants. With the 6 week cycle you can harvest 25 each week.

3. Or you can increase the amount of seedlings to 99 so you can harvest 33 plants a week from the main system.

4. Or you can just leave the plants in the main system longer to get bigger before harvesting. But regardless you need to know the seed to harvest times for the variety of plant/lettuce your growing.

Little tip
Once you run the numbers and know how many plants you will be harvesting each week. I would design the system so I can harvest the entire row of plants so the NFT channel can be cleaned properly between harvests. If you still have plants growing in it, you can't ever take it out and clean it. Then over time dead roots and plant material will build up in the system causing pathogens, and you will have to shut the whole thing down to clean and sanitize it. Then start all over.
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Last edited by GpsFrontier; 12-24-2015 at 06:56 PM.
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  #9  
Old 02-02-2016, 04:20 AM
Nanana12 Nanana12 is offline
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Very nice, it makes me understand more.
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