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Cocos A & B - Help needed


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Old 09-08-2011, 10:29 PM
GoodGilligan GoodGilligan is offline
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Default Cocos A & B - Help needed

Hello -

Does anyone here have experience with Cocos A & B? I can't quite figure out how to read their feeding schedule. I was able to get the first batch mixed up by using the calculator on their website. But they then recommend adding additional nutrients each week. My question is, do I just add these amounts to the existing solution, or do I have to empty the tank and create an entirely new batch of nutrient solution each week?

Thank you
GoodGilligan

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Old 09-08-2011, 11:46 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Generally you'll want to change your nutrient solution every week or two. I'm not familiar with the nutrient your using, so can you post a link to the calculator?

But I did do a search for the product to see what it was and one website states this about it:

"Coco coir requires an extremely precise composition of the various minerals, a task that you can safely leave to Cocos A & B."

This is simply a bogus claim, coco coir dosen't require a different nutrient solution than other hydroponic growing medias.
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Old 09-09-2011, 07:00 AM
GoodGilligan GoodGilligan is offline
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Here's a link to their calculator - nutrient-calculator/" target="_blank">http://www.house-garden.us/nutrient-calculator/

I have a 12 gal reservoir and I did not change any of the other defaults. The reason why I'm confused is that the store I bought the nutrients from had a different version of this calculator. I can see that the math works out to the same quantities of A & B but, as you can see on this PDF they say to flush the system only in the late stages of the flowering cycle.

Store's PDF Feeding Schedule

GoodGilligan

Last edited by GoodGilligan; 09-09-2011 at 07:05 AM. Reason: Adwords was breaking first link
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Old 09-09-2011, 08:33 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Again I'm unfamiliar with these nutrients. But with any nutrient calculator I have seen, when they refer to week 1, week 2, week 3 etc., they are referring to doing a nutrient change. Meaning that you would dump the previous weeks nutrients and make a fresh batch. That said, there is a whole lot of variables to consider. Any company's nutrient calculator should only be taken as a guideline to start with. From there, the grower makes their own adjustments (that's the fun part).

If you look at the first weeks numbers

Cocos A, 5.5 ml
Cocos B, 5.5 ml

Then look at the week two's numbers

Cocos A, 6 ml
Cocos B, 6 ml

You can see that the numbers are proportional, but slightly higher in week two. That's because the plants are older at that stage and a higher nutrient concentration is generally better at that stage. But if you were to add week twos nutrients to the same solution as you started with (week one), you would be just about doubling the strength of the solution. That would be a shock, not to mention too strong for the plants. Also there are usually different stages of growth, (vegetative/fruiting) that affect the nutrient concentration, and/or proportions.

It's also important to consider that plants don't take up nutrient proportionally. So just because the cocos A, and cocos B were proportional in the beginning of week one. Simply adding .5 more for week two wont make it proportional again (yet slightly stronger). Thus the reason for changing the nutrient solution altogether, that brings back the nutrient elements to a balanced proportions regardless of how strong they are mixed (5.5, 6.0, 6.5 etc.). However you may find for your plants you prefer different proportions. But that dosen't change the fact that the plants don't uptake the nutrients proportionally. So any company's nutrient calculator is just a guideline to start from, and changing it is the only sure way to bring it back in balance again. Though the larger the water volume the slower the nutrient will go out of balance (one of those variables I mentioned). As the grower gains experience they generally mix the nutrients as they see fit based on how their plants respond to their systems and any changes. At witch point week one, week two, etc. calculator measurements are fairly pointless (and again just a guideline). You'll probably just abandon the calculator, and just mix as you want within 2 months anyhow.

P.S.
Flushing the system is important, but often a source for manufactures to try and sell products. To be honest I haven't bothered to read the section on flushing in the calculator you posted. Simply because I have read a lot of things about reasons to flush before. As for the reason to flush before harvest I have seen no verifiable documentation (that's creditable) that subjecting the roots/plants to plain water or a flushing agent prior to harvest improves taste. That's just a company trying to sell you a product, or a employee that's just repeating what the company tells them to say to sell a product.

Flushing should be done regularly. The reason is to dissolve built up salts in the root zone (growing media). The built up salts can cause nutrient lockout. That can happen throughout the plants life, "NOT" just before harvest. It will affect flavor of the fruit the entire time the fruit is growing, and can't be fixed by a last minute flushing.
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Last edited by GpsFrontier; 09-09-2011 at 08:27 PM.
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Old 09-09-2011, 07:23 PM
GoodGilligan GoodGilligan is offline
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Thanks GPS -

I appreciate the info. What you say makes perfect sense. I have already started to notice a bit of dry salt stains on the very tops of the pellets in my system. How often do you flush your systems. Is there a rule of thumb you use?

I have been pretty impressed with my lettuce's progress so far. I transferred seven seedlings into the system on Tuesday and Wednesday and already they appear to be growing very well with the first real leaves starting to appear.

BTW - what nutrients do you use. I noticed that I am supposed to be adding a number of other products with the Cocos A & B. I assume that there are other, less costly/demanding products.

Thanks
GoodGilligan
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Old 09-10-2011, 05:16 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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There is always going to be some salts buildup, that's just natural. But you want to do what you can to prevent as much as you can. Then if you still get too much build up you may want to use a flushing agent.

I flush the system with every nutrient change. I dump the spent nutrients on the plants in the backyard, then I use soap and water to quickly scrub out the reservoir. Then rinse it out real well of coarse. Then I take apart the pump and scrub it with soap and water, and clean the flexible tubing best as I can before flushing hot water through it.

Once I have the pump and reservoir cleaned and ready to use again, I try to get out as much residual nutrient solution out of the system as I can (tip it up/to the side etc.). Then I begin to flush it out by putting it back together and filling the reservoir about 1/2 way with just water, and running the plain water through the system for about 20 min. Then I dump that do it again. Once I believe I got out all the residual nutrient solution from the system. I then fill the reservoir all the way and let it run through the system for about 30 min, then dump that and do it again.

Once or twice during the grow when I want to do a particularly good flush. Once I have all the residual nutrient solution out of the system. I will add some pH up to the plain water I flush the system with, I raise it to a pH of about 8. The High pH helps to dissolve the mineral salts. Just make sure you bring the pH back to about 6.0 and rinse it through the system before you dump it out and refill with fresh nutrients.

I've used the FloraKleen from general hydroponics (they sent me some for free once), and just don't think it's really any better than just using a high pH. I clean my grow rocks after the plants are done using white vinegar (just not while the plants are growing) because of the high pH, and that does a better job of cleaning the grow rocks than the FlorsKleen seemed to. I attached some pictures of a test I did once. I picked out some of the grow rocks with the heaviest build up, then soaked one batch in white vinegar, and the other in just plain water that I added some pH up to (to get a real high pH). The results were about the same, so I assume it's the high pH that dissolves it.


I have used the GH flora series nutrients, and liked them quite well. However it got expensive for the amount of nutrient solution I was starting to use. So someone on this forum sent me some of the Verti-Gro nutrients, and I have had very good luck using them. I have found a few others like these I want to try as well;

Buy Hydroponics - J. R. Peters Inc. Fertilizer Products And Services
QuickGrow Nutrient Fertilizer

P.S.
I would have to check with the manufacture of the nutrients you are using, but I don't think that calculator is intended to give amounts for sprouts (you may want to call or e-mail them). Usually for sprouts I use about 1/4 the nutrient strength, then go to about 1/3 or 1/2 when they become seedlings a a inch or two tall.
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Last edited by GpsFrontier; 09-10-2011 at 05:24 AM.
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Old 09-10-2011, 09:11 AM
GoodGilligan GoodGilligan is offline
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Thanks GPS -

I'll give your flushing method a try on Tuesday, the end of the first week. The sprouts don't seem to mind the strength of the nutrient. In fact, it is like I can see them growing. I figured that is why the first week was a weaker concentration. We'll see how they tolerate the increase this week. I will post a question on the company's website and see what they say.

I'll let you know how it goes.

GoodGilligan
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Old 09-10-2011, 10:33 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Ya, your best information is probably contacting the manufacture (they know their nutrients best). But I will give you my reasoning behind my point. First the smaller the plant the less nutrients it needs. In fact it dosen't need any nutrients at all until it has it's first set of true leaves. Once it has the first set of true leaves it still dosen't have a need for more than a very dilute nutrient solution (about 1/4 strength).

That's why I think that nutrient calculator is starting form mid size seedlings (not seeds/sprouts). Going by the calculator if week one is "seeds/sprouts" 1/4 strength is 5.5 ml of both. That would make full strength 22 mL. Even if they were going by 1/3 strength that would make full strength 16.5 mL each. But that's not even close.

If you look at week 7 (almost 2 months) when the plants should be using full strength nutrient solution for well over a month at that point. The recommended mix is only 8.5 ml. So if 8.5 ml is full strength, 1/4 strength would be about 2 mL. And 1/3 strength would be just under 3 mL (5.5-6 is double that). Not that the plants wont grow (though they may suffer), but it's a big waist of nutrients at that point.

P.S.
Also people rarely if ever start seeds in the main system. They usually start seedlings in a different seedling system, or prorogation trays until their big enough to place in the main system. Witch is another reason why I'm sure the week one is not meaning starting from seeds, but rather seedlings a few inches tall instead. Also with sprouts that small, there is no reason to change the nutrient solution in a system each week. The plants are too small to use much of the nutrients at all. So it dosen't go out of balance anywhere near as fast. 27 gallons of nutrient solution should be able to support 27 lettuce plants for at least 3 weeks (probably 4 weeks) even when full grown. 27 gallons should be able to support somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 to 200 seedlings each week with no problem. Sprouts to harvest is generally about 6 weeks (8 max) for lettuce.
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Old 09-10-2011, 07:47 PM
GoodGilligan GoodGilligan is offline
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I actually didn't start from seed in the system. I initially germinated the seeds in another container and then moved them to the system after the roots and first leaves were developed. I admit that it was before the first real leaves appeared. I am trying the same method with a number of other vegatables. I figured I would see how far I could get on a shoe string budget before investing in a proper propagation system.

As for the nutrient, I think I will let the system run for a couple more weeks without a change, just to see how things progress. What are the signs that I should look for which would indicate that the solution has been depleted of the essential nutrients. Will the plants change colour? Or start wilting?

BTW - while my reservoir has a 27 gallon capacity, I've only put about 12 gallons in the system at this point. Looking at the system now, I've only lost about 1 gallon in the last week to the plants or evaporation. Even with this reduced amount of solution, would you agree that I might be able to get at least two weeks before the change? Assuming I don't see any negative effects in the plants.

Thanks
GoodGilligan
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Old 09-11-2011, 03:02 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Quote:
What are the signs that I should look for which would indicate that the solution has been depleted of the essential nutrients. Will the plants change colour? Or start wilting?
The plants generally slow in new growth as the nutrients become depleted. But the big tip off is the color of the leaves. If the new foliage comes out yellowish instead of a nice green, or even older leaves begin to fade from green to yellow, it's probably time to change it. Because either the nutrients are out of balance, and/or to week to support the growth. Also sudden significant pH swings could be a indication that it's time to change the nutrient solution as well. Just be observant of your plants daily, and notice changes. Observation is the most important tool the grower has.

Quote:
Even with this reduced amount of solution, would you agree that I might be able to get at least two weeks before the change? Assuming I don't see any negative effects in the plants.
Easily, especial with the size plants you have. Sprouts like that would do fine with only one gallon of water and only 1/4 to 1/2 strength nutrient solution for at least a week or two. In one system I grew lettuce in (a water culture system) with only 5-6 gallons of nutrient solution in it for 8 plants (more than 1/2 gallon per plant). My plants were about an inch or so tall before I put them in the system. The first reservoir fill was only about 1/3 strength nutrient solution at first, and I would let it run for about 4 weeks (though I added some more nutrient to it about the end of week two because the plants were bigger then). Then I did a change and went about 3/4 strength (because I like my nutrient solution to be a little weaker then manufactures recommendations), then I would let that go for at least 2 to 3 weeks or so between changes.

P.S.
If your nutrient solution is evaporating, you'll want to replace what evaporates with plain fresh water. Otherwise the nutrients in the water will become concentrated.
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Last edited by GpsFrontier; 09-11-2011 at 03:06 AM.
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Old 09-11-2011, 09:52 AM
GoodGilligan GoodGilligan is offline
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Thanks GPS -

I appreciate the info. I'm not sure if it is evaporation or just the fluid that was retained in the medium after the first run. I didn't consider this when I filled the system the first time. But I'll definety add some water to top things up.

GoodGilligan

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