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round vs square gullies/channels aeroponics


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  #1  
Old 01-20-2017, 09:28 AM
kevin24018 kevin24018 is offline
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Default round vs square gullies/channels aeroponics

I think I have watched every video and read everything I can find. All I have found is opinions and preference, but I'm looking for facts. My goal is to set up a couple of channels (this would be my first) sometime soon. The plan is to do something like this.
https://youtu.be/UgC20Wtx0Eo
if you look at the 11:10 mark

There seems to be more advantages to using pvc pipe vs the gutter downspouts or fence post cover.
pvc pipe advantages

cheaper
more common and readily available
variety of fittings
more durable
available in more sizes

downspout/fence post cover advantages

easier to cut holes in, and keep them straight
avoids pooling better than round pipe
lighter weight
doesn't roll around

feel free to add to the list, while it will be more difficult to install the pipe with the spray heads inside a round pipe, it can be done fairly easy, which is what I am leaning towards.

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Old 01-28-2017, 01:03 AM
Alberta_grower Alberta_grower is offline
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In my opinion, it's not the best aeroponic system. The idea behind aeroponics, is for the roots to hang in the air completely. In a few short days or a week at most, those roots will be on the bottom of those fence posts, sitting in nutrient solution. The problem with that, is at that point, he'll have 3" of aeroponics and a very poorly functioning NFT system. With aeroponics, you only want your mist on for about 1-3 minutes every 10-15 minutes. So what's going to happen is that the roots on the bottom, are going to get flooded by nutrient solution, which eliminates the gas exchange benefits of aeroponics. During the off stage, the nutrients will pool, and become oxygen deficient quite quickly, especially if the nutrient temperature is ambient 25C. One solution could be to tilt the trays to reduce nutrient depth, but the fast moving nutrients won't be used by the roots effectively, meaning uptake would grind to a halt 10% of the time.

If you're planning on building this system, don't bother. It would be more effective to simply build it the same way, but as a NFT setup. In the early stages, use drip emitters directly at the plant sites, and then turn them off once the roots establish in the NFT stream. The only issue is that if you're planning on keeping a plant like peppers for a while, the roots will overgrow this system as an aero or nft setup. You could be fine with a quick finishing crop like lettuce, or various cooking herbs. Something that will grow for months will give you problems.

What did you want to grow in this setup? If I have a better idea of what you want to grow, I can help you find a system that will be cost effective, and give you the best results.
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Old 01-28-2017, 01:12 PM
kevin24018 kevin24018 is offline
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Originally Posted by Alberta_grower View Post
In my opinion, it's not the best aeroponic system. The idea behind aeroponics, is for the roots to hang in the air completely. In a few short days or a week at most, those roots will be on the bottom of those fence posts, sitting in nutrient solution. The problem with that, is at that point, he'll have 3" of aeroponics and a very poorly functioning NFT system. With aeroponics, you only want your mist on for about 1-3 minutes every 10-15 minutes. So what's going to happen is that the roots on the bottom, are going to get flooded by nutrient solution, which eliminates the gas exchange benefits of aeroponics. During the off stage, the nutrients will pool, and become oxygen deficient quite quickly, especially if the nutrient temperature is ambient 25C. One solution could be to tilt the trays to reduce nutrient depth, but the fast moving nutrients won't be used by the roots effectively, meaning uptake would grind to a halt 10% of the time.

If you're planning on building this system, don't bother. It would be more effective to simply build it the same way, but as a NFT setup. In the early stages, use drip emitters directly at the plant sites, and then turn them off once the roots establish in the NFT stream. The only issue is that if you're planning on keeping a plant like peppers for a while, the roots will overgrow this system as an aero or nft setup. You could be fine with a quick finishing crop like lettuce, or various cooking herbs. Something that will grow for months will give you problems.

What did you want to grow in this setup? If I have a better idea of what you want to grow, I can help you find a system that will be cost effective, and give you the best results.
was just thinking about lettuce, the gullies would be at a slant so they would drain. From what I have read an nft wouldn't work so well in round pipe and the flow rate is very picky and or must be very precise. So my thought was sprayers hanging from the top and the pipe slanted to drain, kind of an aero nft hybrid.
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Old 01-28-2017, 03:00 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Hello kevin24018,
The easiest way to run misters in either a round or square tube is to drill holes in the top, stick the mister head down inside, and run the water supply line/s on the outside. That makes doing maintenance easier.
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Old 01-30-2017, 03:17 PM
kevin24018 kevin24018 is offline
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Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
Hello kevin24018,
The easiest way to run misters in either a round or square tube is to drill holes in the top, stick the mister head down inside, and run the water supply line/s on the outside. That makes doing maintenance easier.
that's what I was thinking at first, would it have to be on a timer if they only sprayed at the bottom of the cup and lower?
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Old 01-30-2017, 04:04 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Hello kevin24018,
While you could probably run the misters 24/7, I would use a timer to run them in intervals. Especially if you have the system set up as a combination aeroponic/NFT system.
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  #7  
Old 01-30-2017, 04:22 PM
kevin24018 kevin24018 is offline
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Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
Hello kevin24018,
While you could probably run the misters 24/7, I would use a timer to run them in intervals. Especially if you have the system set up as a combination aeroponic/NFT system.
I'm just trying to decide which methods or combination of I can ignore the most and have less moving parts so to speak.
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Old 01-30-2017, 05:04 PM
Alberta_grower Alberta_grower is offline
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Originally Posted by kevin24018 View Post
was just thinking about lettuce, the gullies would be at a slant so they would drain. From what I have read an nft wouldn't work so well in round pipe and the flow rate is very picky and or must be very precise. So my thought was sprayers hanging from the top and the pipe slanted to drain, kind of an aero nft hybrid.
If you're going to grow lettuce, the most economical methods are Deep Water Culture, or NFT. Aeroponics works great too, and I'll explain how to build such a system too.

DWC is really nice because it gives you a lot of error room, especially if you're just learning to use hydroponics. With NFT and aero, a power outage or worse, pump failure, will kill your crop quick. The risk isn't as bad with lettuce compared to long life plants like strawberries and tomatoes.

You have a few options with DWC. You can build it as a raft or fixed lids, and as a constant nutrient level circulating system, or a simple add by hand system. My suggestion would be fixed lids and circulating. Unless you're growing a lot of lettuce, rafts aren't needed. The circulating and self-leveling is really nice to have, and reduces daily efforts. Here's a great link using DWC with rafts, and it's an excellent read that teaches you everything you need to know about DWC lettuce. http://www.cornellcea.com/attachment...andbook%20.pdf If you choose to go DWC, I'll gladly guide you through building a very good and low cost setup to be proud of.

The next best option is NFT. If you really like the idea of using the fence posts, and not having a water table that could leak, then NFT is your best choice. All you have to do is cut those fence posts in half, making two trays. Table saw or a sharp blade and straight edge will do the trick. Do the same with the end caps. Make some some lids from corrugated plastic with panda film glued to the tops to block light, and cut your holes square or round for your plants. I believe if you cut 1" squares, grodan makes a tapered rock wool starter that fits perfect, eliminating net cups. Put a drain at one end, and a feed tube with a mini valve connected to a header, at the other end. The slope of the trays should be between 50:1 and 30:1. You want to avoid high and low spots, so sitting them on a flat piece of melamine should prevent this.To space the slope, simply add 1cm of spacing every 30-50 centimetres; if you're using imperial 1/2" every 15-25". If you're using an 8' sheet of melamine, raise one end up 2" higher than the drain end. I believe those posts you're using are 108", so just overhand the drain end off the melamine board. For flow rate, it should be 1L/min or 1qt./ min. Simply adjust the little valve until you can fill a measuring cup one litre in a minute, and insert the tube. You can use a sturdy tote for your reservoir, and a pond pump. The support board shades your reservoir quite nicely. When setting it up, make the res accessible, and set up your plumbing so your pump can be used to drain the tank. Change nutes with the lights off or at night, so the flow isn't interrupted during photosynthesis. Ideally, it's best to have two reservoirs. Keep your res change outs as short as possible. If you're growing in batches instead of perpetual harvest, a large res can last the entire life span of the lettuce, with change outs done between crops.

For nutrients, you should have a NPK ratio of 3-2-5+micros. EC should be around 1.2 max in a more humid reasonably lit area, and reduced for higher temperatures and lower humidity. If you use the 500 scale for ppm, that's 600 ppm. pH should be around around 5.5-6.5.

If after reading all of that you're still dead set on earoponics, here's how to build a proper setup. The cost is higher for aero cause you need misters, like the ones that mist produce at grocery stores. Micro sprinklers at home depot are not a good choice, as the large droplets damage the fine root hairs. You're also going to need a higher pressure pump, and what the misters require for pressure to operate, will determine pressure. Most likely 35psi or more. I've used a sprinkler pump from home depot, and it wasn't cheap like a pond pump. You're also going to need a inline filter, just in case a small particle in your res gets sucked up. Once you've dropped your cash, start building the planter, which isn't hard. Use a rigid board, something that won't rot, and blocks light. Drill your plant sites. For a nice perpetual harvest, have the wholes increase in spacing from one end to the other. Under that top, you'll need a air gap, at least 12". Under that, you need to make a poly sealed mist containment and drain system to bring the nutes back to the reservoir. Build a manifold for your sprayers, positioning them so the mist wets the net cups, and will saturate hanging roots. Once that's all done, go and buy yourself a pump timer, or make your own if you have the electronics knowledge. 3 minutes on, 10 minutes off should suffice for most environments. In aeroponics, you run lower concentrations of nutrients, and you'll have to play with this a bit until you find the sweet spot.

In all honesty, if you're not going to do aeroponics the correct way, don't bother. I think you'll save yourself a lot of money by building the NFT system. Indoors, I don't like DWC because I'm worried hundreds of litres of water will flood my house. Outdoors, I wouldn't worry. NFT is nice because you can run a much smaller reservoir, and it's easy to keep clean. If you're concerned about pump failure, there are ways to build a back up pump circuit that kicks on when the primary fails. Can be setup with an alarm if you want to be fancy. If you're worried about power outages, theres a few options. One is to build a water tower with a lift pump, like small towns used to use. You can setup a UPC, or a solar backup too.

I'm planning on building an NFT system in my home using the same fence posts you want to use. If I get around to it, I'll also make the files available for a restrictive flow meter you can 3D print if you have the technology. It will allow water to be pumped at any reasonable rate, and it will deliver 1L/min using a hole as a flow limiter, and any excess flow goes back to the reservoir. It's pretty awesome, cause you don't need to set the flow with tiny valves for every tray, and it's impossible to screw up.
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Old 01-30-2017, 05:33 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Hello kevin24018,

Quote:
I'm just trying to decide which methods or combination of I can ignore the most and have less moving parts so to speak.
I'm not sure what you mean by "which methods or combination of I can ignore the most." Ignore what? Also I'm not sure what you plan to grow, or where you plan to grow it. I design the custom hydroponic systems for the plants that will be growing in it. So I would need to know exactly what you plan to grow, how many plants you plan to grow of it, and if your going to be growing inside under artificial lighting or outside under natural lighting to be able to help you design the easiest and most economical method to grow it.

Your original question stated your were looking for fact rather than opinion, so I didn't think you wanted more opinions, and don't know what facts you were actually looking for. And details of what you plan to grow and how many plants weren't in the post.
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  #10  
Old 01-31-2017, 09:13 AM
kevin24018 kevin24018 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alberta_grower View Post
If you're going to grow lettuce, the most economical methods are Deep Water Culture, or NFT. Aeroponics works great too, and I'll explain how to build such a system too.

DWC is really nice because it gives you a lot of error room, especially if you're just learning to use hydroponics. With NFT and aero, a power outage or worse, pump failure, will kill your crop quick. The risk isn't as bad with lettuce compared to long life plants like strawberries and tomatoes.

You have a few options with DWC. You can build it as a raft or fixed lids, and as a constant nutrient level circulating system, or a simple add by hand system. My suggestion would be fixed lids and circulating. Unless you're growing a lot of lettuce, rafts aren't needed. The circulating and self-leveling is really nice to have, and reduces daily efforts. Here's a great link using DWC with rafts, and it's an excellent read that teaches you everything you need to know about DWC lettuce. http://www.cornellcea.com/attachment...andbook%20.pdf If you choose to go DWC, I'll gladly guide you through building a very good and low cost setup to be proud of.

The next best option is NFT. If you really like the idea of using the fence posts, and not having a water table that could leak, then NFT is your best choice. All you have to do is cut those fence posts in half, making two trays. Table saw or a sharp blade and straight edge will do the trick. Do the same with the end caps. Make some some lids from corrugated plastic with panda film glued to the tops to block light, and cut your holes square or round for your plants. I believe if you cut 1" squares, grodan makes a tapered rock wool starter that fits perfect, eliminating net cups. Put a drain at one end, and a feed tube with a mini valve connected to a header, at the other end. The slope of the trays should be between 50:1 and 30:1. You want to avoid high and low spots, so sitting them on a flat piece of melamine should prevent this.To space the slope, simply add 1cm of spacing every 30-50 centimetres; if you're using imperial 1/2" every 15-25". If you're using an 8' sheet of melamine, raise one end up 2" higher than the drain end. I believe those posts you're using are 108", so just overhand the drain end off the melamine board. For flow rate, it should be 1L/min or 1qt./ min. Simply adjust the little valve until you can fill a measuring cup one litre in a minute, and insert the tube. You can use a sturdy tote for your reservoir, and a pond pump. The support board shades your reservoir quite nicely. When setting it up, make the res accessible, and set up your plumbing so your pump can be used to drain the tank. Change nutes with the lights off or at night, so the flow isn't interrupted during photosynthesis. Ideally, it's best to have two reservoirs. Keep your res change outs as short as possible. If you're growing in batches instead of perpetual harvest, a large res can last the entire life span of the lettuce, with change outs done between crops.

For nutrients, you should have a NPK ratio of 3-2-5+micros. EC should be around 1.2 max in a more humid reasonably lit area, and reduced for higher temperatures and lower humidity. If you use the 500 scale for ppm, that's 600 ppm. pH should be around around 5.5-6.5.

If after reading all of that you're still dead set on earoponics, here's how to build a proper setup. The cost is higher for aero cause you need misters, like the ones that mist produce at grocery stores. Micro sprinklers at home depot are not a good choice, as the large droplets damage the fine root hairs. You're also going to need a higher pressure pump, and what the misters require for pressure to operate, will determine pressure. Most likely 35psi or more. I've used a sprinkler pump from home depot, and it wasn't cheap like a pond pump. You're also going to need a inline filter, just in case a small particle in your res gets sucked up. Once you've dropped your cash, start building the planter, which isn't hard. Use a rigid board, something that won't rot, and blocks light. Drill your plant sites. For a nice perpetual harvest, have the wholes increase in spacing from one end to the other. Under that top, you'll need a air gap, at least 12". Under that, you need to make a poly sealed mist containment and drain system to bring the nutes back to the reservoir. Build a manifold for your sprayers, positioning them so the mist wets the net cups, and will saturate hanging roots. Once that's all done, go and buy yourself a pump timer, or make your own if you have the electronics knowledge. 3 minutes on, 10 minutes off should suffice for most environments. In aeroponics, you run lower concentrations of nutrients, and you'll have to play with this a bit until you find the sweet spot.

In all honesty, if you're not going to do aeroponics the correct way, don't bother. I think you'll save yourself a lot of money by building the NFT system. Indoors, I don't like DWC because I'm worried hundreds of litres of water will flood my house. Outdoors, I wouldn't worry. NFT is nice because you can run a much smaller reservoir, and it's easy to keep clean. If you're concerned about pump failure, there are ways to build a back up pump circuit that kicks on when the primary fails. Can be setup with an alarm if you want to be fancy. If you're worried about power outages, theres a few options. One is to build a water tower with a lift pump, like small towns used to use. You can setup a UPC, or a solar backup too.

I'm planning on building an NFT system in my home using the same fence posts you want to use. If I get around to it, I'll also make the files available for a restrictive flow meter you can 3D print if you have the technology. It will allow water to be pumped at any reasonable rate, and it will deliver 1L/min using a hole as a flow limiter, and any excess flow goes back to the reservoir. It's pretty awesome, cause you don't need to set the flow with tiny valves for every tray, and it's impossible to screw up.
wow thanks a lot, I think dwc is the way to go after reading all of that, I've been doing a ton of reading, have some books etc, guess I'll do some more, thanks again.
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Old 01-31-2017, 09:16 AM
kevin24018 kevin24018 is offline
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Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
Hello kevin24018,



I'm not sure what you mean by "which methods or combination of I can ignore the most." Ignore what? Also I'm not sure what you plan to grow, or where you plan to grow it. I design the custom hydroponic systems for the plants that will be growing in it. So I would need to know exactly what you plan to grow, how many plants you plan to grow of it, and if your going to be growing inside under artificial lighting or outside under natural lighting to be able to help you design the easiest and most economical method to grow it.

Your original question stated your were looking for fact rather than opinion, so I didn't think you wanted more opinions, and don't know what facts you were actually looking for. And details of what you plan to grow and how many plants weren't in the post.
I thought I new what I wanted, but now I'm not so sure again. I want something that requires as little attention as possible. To start out I figured lettuce would be the best, it does get very hot during the summer so I haven't decided if outside or inside would be best. Weighing all the pros and cons isn't as easy as I thought or hoped it would be lol.
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Old 01-31-2017, 12:49 PM
Alberta_grower Alberta_grower is offline
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Originally Posted by kevin24018 View Post
I thought I new what I wanted, but now I'm not so sure again. I want something that requires as little attention as possible. To start out I figured lettuce would be the best, it does get very hot during the summer so I haven't decided if outside or inside would be best. Weighing all the pros and cons isn't as easy as I thought or hoped it would be lol.
Don't get discouraged. All the information you need is right here:
http://www.almanac.com/plant/lettuce
and here
http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/

When you're on the farmer's almanac site, you'll notice lettuce will grow in zones 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. Then go to the map, and see what zone you're in. It will basically grow everywhere, and it likes partial sun coverage. This might sound funny, but if you live in a place where forests can grow, lettuce will be an excellent crop. The reason is that lettuce is a ground cover crop, and would be found under a forest canopy in nature. That's why it likes partial light, because the light that falls through the holes in the canopy, are good enough. In a open area, some screening will simulate that environment.

Just remember in the summer heat, you'll probably want to run your nutrients at about 75-80% of maximum EC or TDS of your plants. If you have a EC pen, keep track of the EC. If you see it rising, then you need more diluted nutrients. If the EC is dropping, increase the concentration. Dropping is better than rising. The reason you dilute in the heat is because plants will start taking up extra water to cool themselves to optimise photosynthesis. The problem with the extra water usage, is that the roots block salt uptake, and the salts condense. When the nutrients become like sea water, the plants die of thirst, just like us.

Just think of the varieties of lettuce you want, and check out where they thrive. If you can create those conditions, start growing your lettuce.

Good growing.
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Old 01-31-2017, 02:32 PM
kevin24018 kevin24018 is offline
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Originally Posted by Alberta_grower View Post
Don't get discouraged. All the information you need is right here:
http://www.almanac.com/plant/lettuce
and here
http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/

When you're on the farmer's almanac site, you'll notice lettuce will grow in zones 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. Then go to the map, and see what zone you're in. It will basically grow everywhere, and it likes partial sun coverage. This might sound funny, but if you live in a place where forests can grow, lettuce will be an excellent crop. The reason is that lettuce is a ground cover crop, and would be found under a forest canopy in nature. That's why it likes partial light, because the light that falls through the holes in the canopy, are good enough. In a open area, some screening will simulate that environment.

Just remember in the summer heat, you'll probably want to run your nutrients at about 75-80% of maximum EC or TDS of your plants. If you have a EC pen, keep track of the EC. If you see it rising, then you need more diluted nutrients. If the EC is dropping, increase the concentration. Dropping is better than rising. The reason you dilute in the heat is because plants will start taking up extra water to cool themselves to optimise photosynthesis. The problem with the extra water usage, is that the roots block salt uptake, and the salts condense. When the nutrients become like sea water, the plants die of thirst, just like us.

Just think of the varieties of lettuce you want, and check out where they thrive. If you can create those conditions, start growing your lettuce.

Good growing.
so I'm in a 7a zone, hadn't thought about artificial shade, great ideas! I'm thinking of checking the local grocery stores for free food grade buckets. Icing buckets are smaller than the 5 gallon, which are probably much deeper than I would need. But I could add some plumping to make a recirculating setup.
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Old 01-31-2017, 03:39 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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kevin24018
Designing your hydroponic system is all about designing it for the plants your growing. Using buckets to grow lettuce in a water culture system will work, but not the best use of space and water volume. You'll want something short and wide to make the best use of space without wasting water volume. Again here is where knowing how many plants, and what variety you want to grow makes a big difference in the design. As an example: butter crunch grows low, and Roman grows tall and can get top heavy. Neither require the water depth of more than 4-6 inches. So knowing what is going to be growing in it, and how many plants will be in it is essential to designing a good working hydroponic system.

As for temperatures, Most verities of lettuce prefer cool weather (below 80 F). But if you look around you can find some more heat tolerant varieties. Regardless of what plants you want to grow you'll still want to make sure your water/nutrient temperatures are within range. Water/nutrient temps that are to high will cause heat stress as well as other issues, and water temps to low will stunt plant growth. I wrote this article Nutrient Solution Temperature is Important, and it includes every method I know of for cooling your nutrient solution.

What are the average day and night time temperatures in your area now, and for the next 4 months. Avoid using artificial lighting as much as you can because it costs money not only to buy the lights, but in electricity to run them as well. So if you can use natural sunlight to grow your plants, it's a lot more economical to grow them.

P.S.
You don't need to use food grade plastics unless your trying to grow certified organic produce. I like to use short storage totes like this: Expandable Hydroponic Water Culture System to grow lettuce. I built that system for about $25.
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Old 01-31-2017, 03:59 PM
Alberta_grower Alberta_grower is offline
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Originally Posted by kevin24018 View Post
so I'm in a 7a zone, hadn't thought about artificial shade, great ideas! I'm thinking of checking the local grocery stores for free food grade buckets. Icing buckets are smaller than the 5 gallon, which are probably much deeper than I would need. But I could add some plumping to make a recirculating setup.
Remember, for lettuce, they only use 1-2 gal of nutrients over their lifespan, per plant. Instead of buckets, look for under bed storage totes. They can be found at Wal-mart, Lowes, Home Depot. If you're using 8" spacing, 4" of water depth will give you just over a gallon per plant. If the tote is transparent or allows light to penetrate, you can paint the outside of the totes with plastic safe paints to block the light. Black first, and then white to reduce heating by the sun. Or you can make some covers out of white/black poly as an alternative. I've used poly with good luck, and no algae. Pails are more suited to larger plants like tomatoes and peppers.

Not sure how many plants you're planning on growing. A decent tote will produce 15 or so heads of lettuce. A large kiddie pool is a cheap alternative if you want to grow a lot of lettuce. Then there is just building custom waist high setups out of wood, lined with plastic. Easy to drain, and work with the plants.
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Old 01-31-2017, 04:47 PM
kevin24018 kevin24018 is offline
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Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
kevin24018
Designing your hydroponic system is all about designing it for the plants your growing. Using buckets to grow lettuce in a water culture system will work, but not the best use of space and water volume. You'll want something short and wide to make the best use of space without wasting water volume. Again here is where knowing how many plants, and what variety you want to grow makes a big difference in the design. As an example: butter crunch grows low, and Roman grows tall and can get top heavy. Neither require the water depth of more than 4-6 inches. So knowing what is going to be growing in it, and how many plants will be in it is essential to designing a good working hydroponic system.

As for temperatures, Most verities of lettuce prefer cool weather (below 80 F). But if you look around you can find some more heat tolerant varieties. Regardless of what plants you want to grow you'll still want to make sure your water/nutrient temperatures are within range. Water/nutrient temps that are to high will cause heat stress as well as other issues, and water temps to low will stunt plant growth. I wrote this article Nutrient Solution Temperature is Important, and it includes every method I know of for cooling your nutrient solution.

What are the average day and night time temperatures in your area now, and for the next 4 months. Avoid using artificial lighting as much as you can because it costs money not only to buy the lights, but in electricity to run them as well. So if you can use natural sunlight to grow your plants, it's a lot more economical to grow them.

P.S.
You don't need to use food grade plastics unless your trying to grow certified organic produce. I like to use short storage totes like this: Expandable Hydroponic Water Culture System to grow lettuce. I built that system for about $25.
I think that's what I'll do but set one up in the basement just to get started. Lights shouldn't be too bad for a small setup I don't think. My long term goal is to get some going and keep it going and replanting, all year if possible, my wife is a vegetarian so....
from what I have read the common Bibb Lettuce seems like a good one to try.
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  #17  
Old 01-31-2017, 04:49 PM
kevin24018 kevin24018 is offline
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Originally Posted by Alberta_grower View Post
Remember, for lettuce, they only use 1-2 gal of nutrients over their lifespan, per plant. Instead of buckets, look for under bed storage totes. They can be found at Wal-mart, Lowes, Home Depot. If you're using 8" spacing, 4" of water depth will give you just over a gallon per plant. If the tote is transparent or allows light to penetrate, you can paint the outside of the totes with plastic safe paints to block the light. Black first, and then white to reduce heating by the sun. Or you can make some covers out of white/black poly as an alternative. I've used poly with good luck, and no algae. Pails are more suited to larger plants like tomatoes and peppers.

Not sure how many plants you're planning on growing. A decent tote will produce 15 or so heads of lettuce. A large kiddie pool is a cheap alternative if you want to grow a lot of lettuce. Then there is just building custom waist high setups out of wood, lined with plastic. Easy to drain, and work with the plants.
I'm going to have to see what space I can use in the basement, but I'd like to grow as many as I can, whatever might not last or get used I can give to co-workers.
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Old 02-03-2017, 12:44 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Hello kevin24018,
It's a lot more productive to start your seedlings in a prorogation system, then transplant them in the main system when they get big enough as you harvest the older plants. Doing it that way is more productive for three reasons. First the seedlings don't need nearly as much water or nutrients as the larger plants. Second is spacing. The main system needs to be spaced so the plants can grow to full size without over clouding, but the seedlings can be spaces much much closer. Third is time.

As an example: most lettuce can go from seed to harvest in about 6 to 8 weeks. If your main system has spots for 30 plants and it took 6 weeks to go from seed to harvest, you would be able to harvest 5 heads of lettuce a week. But using the same 30 plant system, and starting your plants in a prorogation system you can harvest 10 heads of lettuce a week. How? The plants will spend about 3 weeks in the prorogation system growing from seed s until they get big enough to put in the main system. Cutting the time they spend in the main system in half. Therefor dubbing the amount you can harvest in the same space.

A prorogation system is easy to build and takes up hardly any room since the seedlings can be placed so close together. Thus making your space much more productive.
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  #19  
Old 02-03-2017, 02:48 PM
kevin24018 kevin24018 is offline
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Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
Hello kevin24018,
It's a lot more productive to start your seedlings in a prorogation system, then transplant them in the main system when they get big enough as you harvest the older plants. Doing it that way is more productive for three reasons. First the seedlings don't need nearly as much water or nutrients as the larger plants. Second is spacing. The main system needs to be spaced so the plants can grow to full size without over clouding, but the seedlings can be spaces much much closer. Third is time.

As an example: most lettuce can go from seed to harvest in about 6 to 8 weeks. If your main system has spots for 30 plants and it took 6 weeks to go from seed to harvest, you would be able to harvest 5 heads of lettuce a week. But using the same 30 plant system, and starting your plants in a prorogation system you can harvest 10 heads of lettuce a week. How? The plants will spend about 3 weeks in the prorogation system growing from seed s until they get big enough to put in the main system. Cutting the time they spend in the main system in half. Therefor dubbing the amount you can harvest in the same space.

A prorogation system is easy to build and takes up hardly any room since the seedlings can be placed so close together. Thus making your space much more productive.
top notch info, I read some stuff about a prorogation area, but never read the reasons and benefits explained as clearly as you did, so thanks for that. I'm going to need more room than I though, hope to get out tomorrow and start looking at containers, may get some pvc pipe to build some stands with.

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