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My First system


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  #41  
Old 08-24-2011, 02:22 PM
jamromhem jamromhem is offline
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I will have to think about that and perhaps regulate my dosing a bit better.. I have been haphazardly putting bleach in as I felt it needed it rather than testing for the levels.

I am trying not to use H2O2 as a clenser for the simple fact that I am unfamiliar with it as a clenser, and also the chlorine levels in the tap water (I am still using tap water till I can manage the money for RO) are high and I don't have a setup to clear the chlorine yet. H2O2+chlorine (in a couple forms) makes salt water... I think that could have been part of what happened before.. I think the H2O2 was reacting with the chlorine still in my water and making the airstones work like a protine filter.

I am going to have to give this more thought.. I do need to get my larger res's set up to make measuring other things easier.

I will let you know what comes of everything as it progresses.. Right now the only plants affected are the basil plants, but even the loose polyester keeping the water from spraying out is showing some discolor. I am wondering if the bleach could be causing the discoloration of the polyester? I will have to run a test of it on full strength bleach to try to hurry the reaction if that is the case. There are concerns of using bleach on similar things because it will break down some of the protine strands in certain plastics, and the loose filaments of the polyester batting would probably be more vulnerable. I will let you know what comes from that test.

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  #42  
Old 08-25-2011, 12:49 AM
jamromhem jamromhem is offline
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ok. Had the poly sitting in bleach for a little bit now, but I had another idea come to me while I was doing dishes.. I have crappy tap water... I found sand on my dishes in the dishwasher so the stains could very well be sediment collecting in the poly.. The nutrient is being sprayed onto the poly with a small bit of force, so I am thinking the poly could possibly be working as a sediment filter catching the dirt and crud.

I am going to leave the bleach on the poly over night to see if I notice anything else
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  #43  
Old 08-25-2011, 03:57 PM
jamromhem jamromhem is offline
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I have a very important update on the water quality of the area i am in. And the results also lave me some room to think about what I am doing..

The water in the area has very high iron and manganese levels. I noticed some fallout while doing a PH test and it was small black bits. I called the local health depeartment to ask about a quality test on the water to find out about the most recent test, and they pushed me over to someone that said the fallout was most probably the iron and manganese, and that it would cause the staining of the polyester like I was describing. I am going to proceed with the hopes that is what is happening, and I will be looking for some filters as I go to try to make it not a problem in the future.

As an update.. One of the basil's survived the frying. the other ate it. (the one in the seedling tray died, and the one in the hydroponic system is growing and looking fine apart from the burnt leaves)

I know i might get a better plan t by starting a new seedling, but I want to see where that one goes. I am also currious about another plant. An amish paste that should probably be put down. It came out all strange looking and with only one leaf. The stem is wavy. It is just all sad looking. I am going to let it grow to see if it produces fruit or not. If it does I am taking bets on what it will taste like. Perhaps I will be in the market selling applamatoes (apple flavored tomatoes) lol..
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  #44  
Old 08-25-2011, 08:10 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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That actually sounds like good news to me, because if that's the case a simple water filtration system should take care of it. And that the fungus growth you had before isn't coming back after all. Also if the coloring in the growing medium is precipitate particles I wouldn't start new seeds either. The precipitate particles wont be able to be absorbed by the plants roots anyway, and even if they were it would only be around a small portion of the root mass as the plants grow.

The fallout (precipitate) does however change the composition of your nutrient solution. Because as the mineral salts bond and solidify, they become "unusable" to the plants. So to keep your nutrient solution balanced you'll want to filter the extra mineral elements out before using it to make your nutrient solution.

P.S.
Good job finding out what the discoloration is. Most of the time the precipitate is white (from bonding with calcium), but other minerals precipitate as well. And considering the past problem, I never thought to ask if it was giving off a bad smell or not (I just assumed it was reaccuring), and just never accrued to me that it could be a precipitate.
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  #45  
Old 08-25-2011, 10:14 PM
jamromhem jamromhem is offline
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I thought it outstanding news as well lol. I thought I mentioned previously it didnt have an odd smell, and just smelled like bleach. I might have forgot to add that bit to it. I just thought it odd that I saw no particle evidence in the res of new growth. I don't have any small particle filters in the res, just the large filters to prevent damage to the pumps. The res is thankfully nice and clear.

I now have the chlorine and PH balanced out where I want it. The PH is set around 6.6 because as the chlorine disipates into the air the acidity rises. That is just a theory I am working on to keep it from getting to acidic. (bleach is rating way too basic for any of my drops to measure) The bleach is atleast 8.6 on the PH scale if not much higher. After about 5 minutes a test vial goes from 6.6 to 6.0 exposed to air and light.

I am thinking about trying a carbon filter using some of the poly fill I got to use as the small particle filters.. It won't catch everything, but it will work.

On a side note. The poly fill is not very wicking in comparison to the finer fiber poly batting for quilts. I will be using the poly fill for the tomatoes as I am going to try them as a drip return system. My main concern with the poly fill is that I have to ensure I don't fill the nets completely with it, because it is hydrophobic and will collect a little water on the top before it lets the water drain through.

I took a ton of pics today to give some updates.

I will start with a spacial test I did just to see if it will work lol

It is oregano and cilantro in a simple plastic planter box. This one cost me about 4 dollars and has perfect sized holes to push a 1/2" pvc conduit bulkhead through and seals up perfectly.. It holds about 2" of water on the bottom that has not circulated in about a week and is still nice and clean. I am not sure why nothing has settled into it yet, but I am just going to count myself lucky. I am going to add some mutrients circulating through it later, but I have just been letting it do it's own thing and I am impressed with the results.

1st pic is the MANY oregano seeds that will most likely croud themselves out over time. They have about 90%+ sprout rate just sitting there in whatever moisture happened upon them. This was a VERY lazy germination on this system and I will try to keep it as lazy as I can to see how long the plants in it live with minimal help lol..

2 and 3 are some of the cilantro seeds that if you look close you can see some roots.

4 is of the planter just sitting there

5 is of the drain line sitting under the oregano side of the batting.

6 is the other side of the drain line that runs to the res.

7 is just a pic of the thermometer I use. The res stays about there now that I closed the window next to the system

8 is a pic of the inside of the res. It shows the UV filter. nice clear water. The white probe wire for the thermometer, the air stones (turned down for the pic) sitting on the bottom of the rest, and you might be able to see the pump in the back that runs the system.

9 Is a pic of the tomato plants for an update. They are pushing new leaves and getting ready for real growth. The blank one is a learning experience that I will have to make sure I take cuttings from the believe it or not if I like the tomatoes it makes. The seeds take forever to germinate, if I can even get them to. I had 2 seeds fail to germinate so far of that variety. After I get that plant going perhaps I will offer to send some rooted cuttings to some people here as a thank you lol.

10 is a pic of the "special" amish paste I mentioned before.

I guess I will have to post another of the Living Basil. I am surprised on how well it seems to be trying to bounce back. The only signs of damage it shows is that the seedling leaves are mostly burned away, but the non burnt portions of them are actually looking strong and the new leaves are growing larger.
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Last edited by jamromhem; 08-25-2011 at 10:20 PM.
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  #46  
Old 08-27-2011, 02:35 PM
jamromhem jamromhem is offline
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I figured I would give an update on my system. After some inspection I found that the humidity in my root zone was WAY too low. It is probably a no brainer being in an air conditioned house with one of the ends wide open.

I sealed off the open end with the end cap that was supposed to be there and I just never got around to putting back on. I also opened more holes on the pipe running through the main tube. to provide water from more angles. The pump is barely providing enough preasure so I might have to think about some new ways to deliver the water to the roots.

I am thinking about either adding a fogger or perhaps changing out the water delivery tube with one that I can place landscape misting emiters. I am also considering replacing my current lettuce system with a continuous flow WC. Similar to commercial lettuce production.

I will just have to think of a way to get it all built and prevent water leaks, and collect any water leaks that do occure.
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  #47  
Old 08-29-2011, 10:52 AM
jamromhem jamromhem is offline
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Well Seems I have another problem that is creeping up. I am guessing it is over watering maybe? I really cant tell. There is no warning and it happens over night (this is the second plant to do this)

They get soft and then turn into what is on the pic. Any ideas?

I was running a 24/7 watering and there were no complaints. I have moved back to the 15:15 onff cycle. I am hoping it is adiquate.

See the attatched image to see what I am talking about.
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  #48  
Old 08-29-2011, 06:57 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Being that I'm not familiar with that growing medium, nor can I actually feel it for dampness, I just cant say if your over watering or not. I think your system is the one with a tube running through the square tubing to spray water on the baskets/roots, but again without being familiar with that growing medium, and not being able to feel the growing medium. I just cant tell how saturated it is. Though I have a couple of questions:

1. How strong is your nutrient solution?
2. What is the air temp?
3. What is the nutrient solution temp?
4. Are you covering the seedling to keep in humidity?
5. What is the plant/s (lettuce)?
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  #49  
Old 08-29-2011, 07:49 PM
jamromhem jamromhem is offline
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Well I found what the problem with that one was. The top half of the medium became dry. It was not established enough for it to maintain moisture from just the lower half of the medium. And the others that are thriving are doing great in comparison. But the medium is moist on top. My current solution is just to put a little solution over the top of the medium when I check the system. It is a manual fix, but one that works.

The nutrients are at around 1/4-1/3 right now still. And I am cycling the nutrients on a daily basis. After filling to normal levels (not much water needed for that) I will a gallon out to use elsewhere, and replace with a fresh gallon of 1/4 strength.

I will add some pictures of the other lettuce plants. They are a loose leaf lettuce. probably 2-4 weeks old lol I will have to look back at the date I said I set up the new seedlings.

I have been clipping lower leaves on any sign of the plant aborting them (They still end up touching the medium for now so the plant won't keep them too long). That will stop when the leaves gorw out a bit larger.

Just a kinda disapointing update for me. I put some of my tomato plants in dirt. I will see how they like the STG cubes being in there with them.. But they were growing out of the germination tray and had some 4inch long roots, and I am still a bit away from getting my tomato system set up. Not to mention I still havent decided how I want to build it.

Another thing that has changed. The staining of the medium has gone away and it is white on the bottom again (small traces left) I guess whatever was collecting went back to the water lol..
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Last edited by jamromhem; 08-29-2011 at 07:53 PM.
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  #50  
Old 08-30-2011, 03:06 PM
Stan Stan is offline
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Are you keeping those plants that low in the basket all the time? I would worry about light being able to shot through the basket and reach the water.
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  #51  
Old 08-30-2011, 05:59 PM
jamromhem jamromhem is offline
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They are sitting that low right now. The problem with moving them higher is that the water doesnt wick up enough to reach the roots if I set them higher. Some light does get in but with how I am growing there is no way for anything to grow in the nutrients lol.

I think there might be an advantage to it with using bleach (it works like a PH up). I set the PH a bit higher than optimal with the bleach and in 2 days it scales through the entire range the plants take the nutrients in.

I would like to get the plants higher, but with my current methods I am stuck with what I am stuck with. I am wanting to change it up a bit, but that will have to wait a little while until the money is a bit more available to let me do so.
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  #52  
Old 08-30-2011, 07:45 PM
jamromhem jamromhem is offline
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They are sitting that low right now. The problem with moving them higher is that the water doesnt wick up enough to reach the roots if I set them higher. Some light does get in but with how I am growing there is no way for anything to grow in the nutrients lol. I have it maintained to pool standards and also have UV lighting in the res to ensure nothing tries to grow. The water is still crystal clear after a few weeks.

I think there might be an advantage to it with using bleach (it works like a PH up). I set the PH a bit higher than optimal with the bleach and in 2 days it scales through the entire range the plants take the nutrients in.

I would like to get the plants higher, but with my current methods I am stuck with what I am stuck with. I am wanting to change it up a bit, but that will have to wait a little while until the money is a bit more available to let me do so.
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  #53  
Old 08-25-2016, 11:50 AM
shillamus shillamus is offline
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Default Thanks for sharing..

Haven't read your whole discussion yet.. But good to know there are serious enthusiasts here.

Peace and Happy Growing

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