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When to move rockwool seedlings to dutch buckets


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  #1  
Old 09-12-2018, 05:20 PM
gdgdad gdgdad is offline
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Default When to move rockwool seedlings to dutch buckets

I'm new to this (both the forum and hydroponics). I've "built" a 4 Dutch bucket system exactly to the MHP Gardener's specs and it's ready to go. I have 4 tomato plant seedlings in 1" rockwool cubes (foil still on) that are between 3 and 5 inches tall, all with true leaves. My buckets use Perlite as the growing medium, and the nutrient pump and air pump are on a 3 times a day timer. When is the ideal time (i.e. seedling size or root situation?) to move the cubes into the Dutch buckets?

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Old 09-27-2018, 01:36 PM
Stan Stan is offline
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Planting tomatoes from rock wool to dutchbucket can be done as soon as you see a couple roots growing out from the rockwool cube if growing indoors otherwise if outside I. Full sun roots should be 2-3 inches long.

Are you planning to grow these tomatoes indoors or out? If outdoors in full sun your plants will die fast if you only pump nutrient water 3 times a day. At night you can get away with 3 times not during the day.
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Old 09-28-2018, 04:31 PM
gdgdad gdgdad is offline
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Default Tomatoes took turn for worst...

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Originally Posted by Stan View Post
Planting tomatoes from rock wool to dutchbucket can be done as soon as you see a couple roots growing out from the rockwool cube if growing indoors otherwise if outside I. Full sun roots should be 2-3 inches long.

Are you planning to grow these tomatoes indoors or out? If outdoors in full sun your plants will die fast if you only pump nutrient water 3 times a day. At night you can get away with 3 times not during the day.
Stan, thanks for the reply and info. Unfortunately, the seedlings died. They got to be between 5 and 7 inches tall with seemingly good amount of "true leaves", but leaves turned brown on the ends, and that was it. I kept them moist, not saturated, under a 3 light system (CFL's - 2 @ 5,00 kelvins, 1 at 6,500 kelvins). Nutrient was MiracleGrow tomato @ 1/4 strength, all PH balanced (post fertilizer) to 5.9 No roots ever came out the bottom and a "post mortem" showed few roots within the cubes. But... I've not given up. I've read I had the wrong size cubes (i.e 1") and that 2X2X1.5" are best for tomatoes. New cubes on the way... I've attached pictures of my "setup". so, to answer your questions:
1. I plan on growing them outside with the ability to "wheel" them into the garage in event of storm or frost
2. The timer can be set to cycle up to 10 times per day, would ask your opinion on frequency/duration.
3. FYI - seed types were Florida 91 and Heatmaster, both supposedly very heat tolerant. I had little luck with Florida 91's in ground as well.
4. Seedling tray is standard 10X20 with 7" high clear lid.

Thanks for taking the time to respond, I've been trying grow tomatoes down here for 10 years. I REALLY need advice, I want this to work! Gary
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Last edited by gdgdad; 09-28-2018 at 04:46 PM.
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Old 09-28-2018, 05:34 PM
Stan Stan is offline
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I use the 1" rockwool cubes to start my tomatoes every years never had any problems. If you want to get big healthy roots before transplant to dutch bucket you should build a small aeroponic cloner for use with seedlings.

You'll need a black tote box similar to this.


2 inch net pots



These red 360 degree sprayers


I use this timer for my dutch bucket system can also be used with the cloner.


You would also need some hydroton to fill in around the cube. You will also need 1/4 PVC piping.

Depending on how many plants you want would determine how many holes you would drill into the tote box.


You will have to set up the pvc piping and use a tap to insert the 360 degree sprayers with water pump inside the tote with water and just a little bit of nutrients added. The ends of the pvc piping needs to be sealed.


The roots will grow very fast using this set up. You can take the plants including the 2 inch net pots they're in and transplant into the dutch bucket as is just cover the top of the net pot with the perlite in the dutch buckets. Use the same watering timing you were using in the cloner for about a week then you can adjust as you see fit.
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Old 10-10-2018, 11:58 AM
gdgdad gdgdad is offline
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Default Aeroponic cloner completed, 2nd attempt with seedlings

Stan, Ive built an aeroponic Cloner as you suggested (see pics). Seems to work OK, all sprayers put out a nice pattern (i.e. 180 degrees each ). The 2 net pots appear to get sprayed from all sides. But. Im still stuck at the starting gate as far a starting from seed. I also acquired 2 Rockwool cubes and re-started seeds 10/2/18 (again, Heatmasters and Florida 91s). So far 3 cubes have sprouted, tallest is 2 tall (see pics). The tall ones looked leggy so I removed the clear cover and lowered the lights (light is on timer 6am to 12 pm). No true leaves yet. This is where / when I seem to have the most problems, any suggestions? See anything Im doing wrong or not doing?

Thanks, Gary
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Old 10-10-2018, 04:44 PM
Stan Stan is offline
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gdgdad, hope you are a safe way from Hurricane Michael.

Very nice cloner set up. Since you want to transplant the seedlings outdoors the cloner should also be outdoors. The seedlings should not be in direct sunlight but in an area with enough light during the day like under an awning or a carport.

Since these seedlings were grown indoors when you move the cloner outside don't be surprised if only 1 plant survives if any. If you are lucky they might all survive since they're still very young. In case they do die the seeds should be started outdoors in the cloner so they will not suffer from shock from being grown indoors and transplanted outdoors. Right now from the pics I see give them just a tiny amount of nutrients until you start to get a second set of leaves. At that point start them on a little less than 1/4 nutrients.

When the roots come thru the rockwool go to 1/4 nutrients the plants will start shooting upward quickly. When the roots are 4 - 6 inches long transplant to dutch buckets. Stay at 1/4 nutrients in dutch bucket it will take about 1 week for the plants to get used to it's new place. Keep an eye on the growth it will not grow that first week but will the second. When you see new growth go to 1/2 nutrients. When plants are over a foot tall you should start to see flowering when you do go to 3/4 nutrient strength. When you get 3 levels of flowering go to full nutrient strength the plants will skyrocket and will be flowering all over.

When plants are around 6 - 8ft tall (I've grown black cherry tomato plants 14ft) or when you feel they have reached their limit cut the nutrients off and just use plain water. Let some of the suckers(new growth) grow about 5 inches clip them off put them in rockwool cubes and into the cloner you built to start the next set of tomato plants that will replace those in the dutch buckets.

One last thing make sure the water ph level is between 5.5 - 6.5 not higher or lower than those numbers including when you add nutrients. When plants are growing some fruit add a little epsom salt once a month to the reservoir.
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Old 12-03-2018, 05:05 PM
ehsannp ehsannp is offline
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try to use some grease and industrial oil on it.
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