Hydroponics Online Home Home Store Blog Forums FAQs Lesson Plans Pictures

Go Back   Hydroponics Forums Discussions > Hydroponics Discussion Forums > Hydroponic Nutrients and Mediums

Can maincrop potatoes grow in soil-less environment?


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 03-03-2017, 09:08 AM
kr3t3n kr3t3n is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 19
Default Can maincrop potatoes grow in soil-less environment?

I've searched the Internet for answers but cannot seem to find anything about maincrop potatoes being grown in soil-less environment. Do any of you have any experience or knowledge on the subject?

My idea is to grow potatoes in 3 stages in aeroponic/aquaponic systems (depending on viability):

Incubator for small plants ready to become cuttings
Suspended aeroponic system for maximum yield of seed potatoes
Suspended aeroponic system for growing the seed potatoes to mature potatoes.
Has anyone tried growing maincrop or mature potatoes in aeroponics system? Or in aquaponic?

I was thinking of a plastic net, much like the ones potatoes are sold in bulk, attached to the tank on several heights where you would place your cuttings, with side holes for the plant stem and leafs to grow upwards.
The plastic net (if correctly chosen) should provide structure without covering the tubers too much, leaving them no air.

Having no other media to take up the space for growth and having top to bottom watering with nutrients might work?

Here are some drawings of the concept: http://imgur.com/a/QfSzw
As you can see in drawing 1, I'm thinking of securing two levels of plastic net with space in between them a bit more than the diameter of a fully grown potato. Those are inside of a barrel or a tube.

The tube has holes on its south facing side where the potato cuttings would grow out and feed on sunlight as described in drawing 2.

Then in drawings 3, 4 and 5 are three separate methods of watering with nutrients
drawing 3: with a mist making machine
drawing 4: with sprinkler type system
drawing 5: with top shaworing system

As for the plastic net, I am thinking of something like this: https://sc01.alicdn.com/kf/HTB1kKALG...Xq6xXFXXXO.jpg

Also, as the plants grow, they could potentially be pulled back inside the barrel (in the plastic net area where the potato growth would happen).
If the leafy part requires some structure to climb on, I can build a wall from another type of plastic net: https://www.sure-green.com//media/pr...s/thumb388.jpg

And end up with a situation like this: http://imgur.com/a/B8cyl

That should provide them the area to grow and wrap around if my logic is correct.

Please share your thoughts!

Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 03-03-2017, 01:12 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Lake Havasu AZ.
Posts: 1,812
Default

Hello kr3t3n,

I haven't grown potatoes hydroponically yet, but do have plans to grow them using an aeroponic system. My plans include building a insulated box with a removable side. Insulated to help keep the roots cool. A removable side in order to be able to access the root system and be able to harvest the potatoes while the plants are still growing.

I wouldn't use the netting inside, otherwise the root system will become attached and intertwined in the netting. You won't be able to harvest the potatoes without killing the whole plant. If you tried to just cut the potatoes off and leave the dead roots attached to the netting, you'll provide food for pathogens and cause disease. I also wouldn't use a fogger for a few reasons. I would use mister/sprinkler heads at the top and let the water/nutrients rain down over the root system. You can use either a high pressure or low pressure system, but the low pressure system would be much simpler and cheaper to build.

If you want to use a 55 gallon barrel, I would create a door/opening on one side large enough to access all the roots inside. Make sure it's waterproof when closed. Then insulate the barrel to keep the root zone cool. Make small openings in the top of the barrel to place the mister/sprinkler heads into for easy access and maintenance, and so the water/nutrient will rain down over the entire root system. Then assuming it's a recirculating system raise it up high enough so it's above the reservoir, and create water return line from the bottom of the barrel back to the reservoir.
__________________
Website Owner
Home Hydroponic Systems
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 03-03-2017, 03:35 PM
kr3t3n kr3t3n is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 19
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
Hello kr3t3n,

I haven't grown potatoes hydroponically yet, but do have plans to grow them using an aeroponic system. My plans include building a insulated box with a removable side. Insulated to help keep the roots cool. A removable side in order to be able to access the root system and be able to harvest the potatoes while the plants are still growing.

I wouldn't use the netting inside, otherwise the root system will become attached and intertwined in the netting. You won't be able to harvest the potatoes without killing the whole plant. If you tried to just cut the potatoes off and leave the dead roots attached to the netting, you'll provide food for pathogens and cause disease. I also wouldn't use a fogger for a few reasons. I would use mister/sprinkler heads at the top and let the water/nutrients rain down over the root system. You can use either a high pressure or low pressure system, but the low pressure system would be much simpler and cheaper to build.

If you want to use a 55 gallon barrel, I would create a door/opening on one side large enough to access all the roots inside. Make sure it's waterproof when closed. Then insulate the barrel to keep the root zone cool. Make small openings in the top of the barrel to place the mister/sprinkler heads into for easy access and maintenance, and so the water/nutrient will rain down over the entire root system. Then assuming it's a recirculating system raise it up high enough so it's above the reservoir, and create water return line from the bottom of the barrel back to the reservoir.
Thank you very much for the reply! It is very useful. The more I thought about how I will have to seal the holes to keep the light away from the roots, the more it became clear that having a box/table makes a lot more sense than a barrel. Now I'm thinking of a big box with side opening and the only thing I am unsure of is how to help the growing potatoes from falling off due to their weight. That was my primary reason to use plastic net. I am trying to avoid soil at all costs and other growbed media appear restrictive for the growth.

How are you planning to grow them? In soil?

And why are you against foggers?

Last edited by kr3t3n; 03-03-2017 at 03:53 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 03-04-2017, 11:59 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Lake Havasu AZ.
Posts: 1,812
Default

Hello kr3t3n,

As I mentioned in my earlier post I plan to grow them using an aeroponic system. The potatoes won't fall off because of weight. The plants roots are quite strong, as well as get bigger and thicker as the tuber (potato) gets bigger. The bigger the potato gets the bigger the root supporting it will be. It's not like a melon or pumpkin that can get over 10 pounds. Even the large baking potatoes only weigh about one pound.

You do need good plant support to keep the whole plant from falling through the opening into the root zone though. Support the main root ball at the base of the stem while allowing the roots to grow through, and support the foliage above as well.

Foggers by themselves simply don't supply nearly enough moisture. The fog always falls to the bottom making it very hard to get even coverage throughout the entire root system. The ultrasonic pads tend to clog (even the Teflon ones can), and foggers have been known to aid fungal growth.
__________________
Website Owner
Home Hydroponic Systems
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 03-04-2017, 12:14 PM
kr3t3n kr3t3n is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 19
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
Hello kr3t3n,

As I mentioned in my earlier post I plan to grow them using an aeroponic system. The potatoes won't fall off because of weight. The plants roots are quite strong, as well as get bigger and thicker as the tuber (potato) gets bigger. The bigger the potato gets the bigger the root supporting it will be. It's not like a melon or pumpkin that can get over 10 pounds. Even the large baking potatoes only weigh about one pound.

You do need good plant support to keep the whole plant from falling through the opening into the root zone though. Support the main root ball at the base of the stem while allowing the roots to grow through, and support the foliage above as well.

Foggers by themselves simply don't supply nearly enough moisture. The fog always falls to the bottom making it very hard to get even coverage throughout the entire root system. The ultrasonic pads tend to clog (even the Teflon ones can), and foggers have been known to aid fungal growth.
Thanks very much for the answer and the explanation, good to know! In that case, I guess you would use a low-pressure system with "sprinklers"?

How would you calculate the watering frequency and gaps between?
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 03-04-2017, 01:25 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Lake Havasu AZ.
Posts: 1,812
Default

Hello kr3t3n,
Yes, it will be a low pressure aeroponic system. Not only is a low pressure system much easier and cheaper to build, but a low pressure system would also produce larger diameter roots, and thus I would think potatoes as well.


Quote:
How would you calculate the watering frequency and gaps between?
Like always, by plant observation mostly. There are so many variables that the only real way to know if a plant is getting what it needs is by observation. I would probably start with a regular timer that has minimum 15 on/off times, and run it alternately. 15 on, and 15 off. If I felt that was to long between cycles, I would switch to a cycle timer and probably start running it for 5 on, and 5-10 off.
__________________
Website Owner
Home Hydroponic Systems
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 03-04-2017, 02:50 PM
kr3t3n kr3t3n is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 19
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
Hello kr3t3n,
Yes, it will be a low pressure aeroponic system. Not only is a low pressure system much easier and cheaper to build, but a low pressure system would also produce larger diameter roots, and thus I would think potatoes as well.



Like always, by plant observation mostly. There are so many variables that the only real way to know if a plant is getting what it needs is by observation. I would probably start with a regular timer that has minimum 15 on/off times, and run it alternately. 15 on, and 15 off. If I felt that was to long between cycles, I would switch to a cycle timer and probably start running it for 5 on, and 5-10 off.
I was thinking that a possible way to avoid the problem with mist falling down is to place the mist maker(s) on the top of the root container. I've tried to make a quick sketch here: http://imgur.com/a/e11Kd

Unfortunately, it is neither the best sketch nor a good photo, apologies if very difficult to understand. I was thinking of making a basin for the mist maker(s) near the top of the container which will overflow and the mist will presumably overflow as well, falling down through the roots. Would you think such a system would work?
In the top drawing I've tried to draw a box which has 4 plants
In the second drawing I've tried to draw where the mist makers basin would be with their positions (I've forgotten to add some padding from the top)
In the bottom one I've tried to make a "close-up" of the mist makers basin.

The only reason I'm looking at mist makers as watering method is because sources on the Internet claim that the roots accept nutrients easily (more naturally) when the drop size is near (if not exact) as what the mist makers produce.
Quote:
Plants absorb elements most efficiently in the range of about 1-25 micrometers (Ám), and though foggers work somewhat differently depending on the manufacturer and model, a fogging system will supply vapor at between 5 and 30 Ám.
Source: https://www.maximumyield.com/figurin...gponics/2/1361
Having this in mind, if the mist really covers the roots, shouldn't it produce better growth? Although it would probably make watering frequency very different.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 03-04-2017, 04:10 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Lake Havasu AZ.
Posts: 1,812
Default

Hello kr3t3n,
First foggers and misters aren't the same thing. Foggers produce fog, not mist. Fog is dry, mist is wet. Have you ever went outside on a foggy morning? Did you get wet? That's because there is very little actual moisture in fog.

While I'm not scientist, I can tell you that the water droplet size doesn't determine the size of the mineral element molecule. Plants can't absorb nutrients/mineral salts unless they are in their single raw chemical state. That is unless they are a single molecule. If they bond with another molecule, their not usable to the plant regardless what the water droplet size is.

With that said what makes the water droplet size important is aeration. The small water droplet size allows for better aeration and oxygen uptake. Thus the root growth is much smaller and finer. Like millions of small hairs. These tiny hair like roots are much more efficient in absorbing nutrients because their's a lot more surface area to absorb them. This is why I said a low pressure system would be able to grow bigger potatoes. The water droplet size in a low pressure aeroponic system is much bigger than in a high pressure system. Bigger water droplet size means thicker roots. Bigger thicker roots can support bigger potatoes than tiny thin roots will. With the smaller thinner roots you may get more potatoes because there will be more surface area, but the potatoes will be much smaller as well.

P.S.
Even if you had the fog drop down from the top into the container, it will quickly drop all the way to the bottom. The only way to get even coverage is by creating enough fog to constantly fill the entire container. The fog will fall out of the first opening in the container it can as well. Even if you are able to fill the container with fog for even coverage, there still isn't enough moisture in it and you would have to get more moisture to the plant another way.
__________________
Website Owner
Home Hydroponic Systems
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 03-04-2017, 05:14 PM
kr3t3n kr3t3n is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 19
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
Hello kr3t3n,
First foggers and misters aren't the same thing. Foggers produce fog, not mist. Fog is dry, mist is wet. Have you ever went outside on a foggy morning? Did you get wet? That's because there is very little actual moisture in fog.

While I'm not scientist, I can tell you that the water droplet size doesn't determine the size of the mineral element molecule. Plants can't absorb nutrients/mineral salts unless they are in their single raw chemical state. That is unless they are a single molecule. If they bond with another molecule, their not usable to the plant regardless what the water droplet size is.

With that said what makes the water droplet size important is aeration. The small water droplet size allows for better aeration and oxygen uptake. Thus the root growth is much smaller and finer. Like millions of small hairs. These tiny hair like roots are much more efficient in absorbing nutrients because their's a lot more surface area to absorb them. This is why I said a low pressure system would be able to grow bigger potatoes. The water droplet size in a low pressure aeroponic system is much bigger than in a high pressure system. Bigger water droplet size means thicker roots. Bigger thicker roots can support bigger potatoes than tiny thin roots will. With the smaller thinner roots you may get more potatoes because there will be more surface area, but the potatoes will be much smaller as well.

P.S.
Even if you had the fog drop down from the top into the container, it will quickly drop all the way to the bottom. The only way to get even coverage is by creating enough fog to constantly fill the entire container. The fog will fall out of the first opening in the container it can as well. Even if you are able to fill the container with fog for even coverage, there still isn't enough moisture in it and you would have to get more moisture to the plant another way.
Thank you very, very much for this reply. It has answered a lot of questions in my head. I hope I'm not irritating you as I find your answers very useful and learn a lot!

Now I completely understand why fog/mist does not help but even harms the intentional growth of potatoes (while it might be very helpful for growing other plants where saturated root growth is desired).

What are your thoughts on using plastic grill (for weight support) under foam for growbed media? Any ideas what would work best?
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 03-06-2017, 11:42 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Lake Havasu AZ.
Posts: 1,812
Default

Hello kr3t3n,
No your not irritating me at all, that's what forums are for, asking questions and sharing what you know. I can't always reply right away as I am quite busy these days. Sometimes I may even forget to get back to it when I have more time, but I enjoy trying to help people.

I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "using plastic grill (for weight support) under foam for growbed media?" Are you referring to same aeroponic system your planing for potatoes, or another type of system and or plants? Anything that comes in contact with the water/nutrients should be some type of plastic. If it doesn't come in contact with the water/nutrients, then you can use just about any material to support the system with.
__________________
Website Owner
Home Hydroponic Systems
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 03-06-2017, 12:00 PM
kr3t3n kr3t3n is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 19
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
Hello kr3t3n,
No your not irritating me at all, that's what forums are for, asking questions and sharing what you know. I can't always reply right away as I am quite busy these days. Sometimes I may even forget to get back to it when I have more time, but I enjoy trying to help people.

I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "using plastic grill (for weight support) under foam for growbed media?" Are you referring to same aeroponic system your planing for potatoes, or another type of system and or plants? Anything that comes in contact with the water/nutrients should be some type of plastic. If it doesn't come in contact with the water/nutrients, then you can use just about any material to support the system with.
Imagine something like that: https://sc01.alicdn.com/kf/HTB1ByiNF...Xq6xXFXXXn.jpg

With better spacing and hole dimensions, to fit the spacing required for the foliage growth as well as to accommodate the growbed. The whole thing would be light isolated with foam and foil (non-toxic) and the tubers would grow in the air in a plastic container.

Do you have any predictions for root maximum length? I guess it won't be a good idea to let the roots reach the bottom of the container as there would always be a pool of water and they would rot?
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 03-06-2017, 02:42 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Lake Havasu AZ.
Posts: 1,812
Default

Hello kr3t3n,
Yes I understood what you meant by a plastic grill, but not sure how you meant you wanted to use it, or purpose it served. If your trying to replace the plastic netting with the plastic grill, your going to wind up with the same problem. The roots will still become intertwined with the plastic grill and be impossible to separate when you wanted to harvest a potato. If you try harvesting a potato and leave the cut roots attached, the dead roots will just feed pathogens and cause disease. To keep that from happening the only option would be harvest the whole plant, clean the system out and start new plants.

You will have roots all the way to the bottom for sure. You would have to build it 2-3 stories tall to keep all the roots from reaching the bottom. Roots don't rot because their wet or submerged. They rot because of suffocation. With the water/nutrients raining down from sprinkler heads and circulating back to the reservoir, as well as fresh air getting into the root zone there will be plenty of dissolved oxygen in the water to keep the roots from suffocating.
__________________
Website Owner
Home Hydroponic Systems
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 03-06-2017, 02:58 PM
kr3t3n kr3t3n is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 19
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
Hello kr3t3n,
Yes I understood what you meant by a plastic grill, but not sure how you meant you wanted to use it, or purpose it served. If your trying to replace the plastic netting with the plastic grill, your going to wind up with the same problem. The roots will still become intertwined with the plastic grill and be impossible to separate when you wanted to harvest a potato. If you try harvesting a potato and leave the cut roots attached, the dead roots will just feed pathogens and cause disease. To keep that from happening the only option would be harvest the whole plant, clean the system out and start new plants.

You will have roots all the way to the bottom for sure. You would have to build it 2-3 stories tall to keep all the roots from reaching the bottom. Roots don't rot because their wet or submerged. They rot because of suffocation. With the water/nutrients raining down from sprinkler heads and circulating back to the reservoir, as well as fresh air getting into the root zone there will be plenty of dissolved oxygen in the water to keep the roots from suffocating.
My idea of using the plastic grid is to put the growbeds on it and the plastic strength to support the weight of the plants. It is not for under the roots but above them.

If I don't need to worry about roots reaching the bottom of the container (generally, not only for potatoes), what root area height, width, depth should I plan for each potato plant?

My latest idea is for a vertical box with balconies at certain heights (to allow for the foliage to grow without competition) with the growbeds while the container itself is completely isolated from light, with side opening and the plastic grid acting as surface to place the growbeds on, which will support the weight of the growing potatoes.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 03-06-2017, 02:59 PM
kr3t3n kr3t3n is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 19
Default

I just realized you are the website owner of homehydrosystems.com! I use a lot of the info on your website, thanks a lot for taking the time to put it all together!

Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Tags
potatoes, soil-less

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 02:38 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.