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PH Down ??


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Old 08-20-2011, 01:27 AM
T'Mater T'Mater is offline
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Default PH Down ??

I was looking up stuff to use for a PH Down. And i ran across Battery Acid like you put in a car battery. Has anyone used this? Seems cheaper and most auto part stores carry it. Locally i can get a 5gal jug of it for $24.

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Old 08-20-2011, 03:58 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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I need to try and remember where I saw that list (2 or 3 products) of alternative pH adjusters in order to post it. But my opinion is most all household products wont provide a stable pH. That is, they will fluctuate quickly after being adjusted. The question is valid (I've asked it myself), and there may be people who can give better advice based on their experiences with using it (I haven't). When I first started growing hydroponically I was always (still do) looking for cheaper alternatives (especially because I often need to have things shipped). But one of the things that I don't feel necessary to find is a cheaper alternative for is pH adjusters.

It would be good to know if a supply got hung up in mid grow (and I had no choice). But other than that I don't see a need. I can get a 1-2 year supply for about $10-$12 (plus shipping). I'm cheep, but I can easily work with that. And now that we have a hydroponic supply store in town, I don't even need to pay for shipping. Keep in mind that just changing pH isn't the only factor involved either. Depending on what's used, the nutrient availability and/or amount of elements can be affected too (especially if you need to reapply it regularly). Also by adding something to the nutrient solution, you change (raise) the EC/TDS/PPM each time. But that wont mean you have a balanced mix, just that a certain amount of minerals (regardless of what they are) are conducting electricity in your water (that's how all meters read nutrient/mineral level regardless of how they convert/display it). The more you add, the more it will conduct (thus the higher reading you get). But that dosen't mean you have a good nutrient mix. To test that theory, just pour a bunch of baking soda into plain water until you reach the desired reading. Then see if then plants grow.
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Old 08-20-2011, 10:45 AM
jamromhem jamromhem is offline
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I have been testing sulphuric acid (battery acid I baught at the auto store) for about 2 weeks now. My seedlings are taking off while using it and the nutrient solution I am using for them is PH stable and clean while sitting stagnant in a spray bottle.

I haven't had any problems with my sulfuric acid from the battery acid. Just remember to get clean fresh acid and not used from a battery lol... That being said there are some other sources. Some "professional" strength clog drainers are actually a strong acid in a bottle.. I have seen some in ace hardware and similar places and they tend to be in a bottle wrapped in a plastic bag. I would do some research on the brand that is available to you if you choose this route. they tend to be less clean than battery acid depending on the company that makes them.
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Old 08-20-2011, 12:41 PM
T'Mater T'Mater is offline
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The reason i got to looking it up, is mainly i dont have a hydroponic store locally and my order of PH Down appears to be running late (haven't gotten an email back as to why) and i'm about down to my last couple of scoops of PH Down.

So i just got to looking mainly as a bandaid till i get my shipment.
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Old 08-21-2011, 01:46 PM
jamromhem jamromhem is offline
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That is a similar reason I was looking at it. The only hydroponics around here is the virtigrow office and they have very little as far as the accesories.

The package of battery acid will make me about 2 1/2 to 3 gallons of PH down and with only using about 10ML for 4 gallons of tap water (this will drop as I up my nutrient strength) it will last me a long time. Not to mention it is the same cost as a thing of PH down anyway lol

It is also the route I went because it doesnt react with the other choices I made for the system. I wanted to use bleach as my sterilizer due to the low cost and high availability of it. I was going through a lot of H2O2 trying to fight that infection and having owned a pool I am more confident in my ability to manage chlorine levels.
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Old 08-21-2011, 02:30 PM
T'Mater T'Mater is offline
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Just learned that White Vinegar seem's to do a pretty decent job at being a PH Down.

Again just looking for a bandaid till i get my bag of PH Down here.
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Old 08-21-2011, 06:02 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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In a pinch I've also herd of people using lemon juice too. But I have no idea how well it works, or if it react with the mineral elements in the nutrient solution.
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Old 08-21-2011, 06:06 PM
fintuckyfarms fintuckyfarms is offline
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I used White Vinegar when my PH down was backordered. It will work for about a day, but it jumps right back up then next day. I have not tried lemon juice but would think you would get the same result.
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Old 08-21-2011, 06:59 PM
T'Mater T'Mater is offline
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Not sure about you all, but it seem's i have to lower my PH every morning. By the end of the day my ph will go from around 5.8 to over 6.5. I also feed about every 2 hr's and i'm thinking of switching that down to every 4hr's.
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Old 08-21-2011, 07:11 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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If you can find something called "Sour salt" at the grocery store, it's nothing more than citrus acid. Thus the same stuff used in some hydroponic pH adjusters (like the one I use). Or if you have a restaurant supply place, health food store, food specialty shop etc. they may carry citrus acid also, and even at a much better price.

P.S.
If you are adjusting your pH every day (regardless of watering cycles), something is wrong.
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Old 08-22-2011, 10:28 PM
T'Mater T'Mater is offline
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Like what bro. Please preach to me or give me a link. My PH goes up to the point i have to lower every day. Now i do have to say at the same time my plant's are growing decently every day too.

I know i had read that when your plant's start to bloom your PH should start to drop??? But it seems everything i read is backwards.

Could i not be using enough H202 and algae on the Sure to Grow cubes is causing it to go up so quick?

Or is it the high temps i'm getting, i better start watching my tank water temp closer...

Last edited by T'Mater; 08-22-2011 at 10:38 PM.
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Old 08-23-2011, 04:50 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Algae and other things growing in your nutrient solution can cause pH to change, but I cant say up or down for sure. However it would need to be a fairly good amount, or small water volume to really notice. The water temp itself shouldn't change pH, but could cause something in the water to grow more rapidly. Though if your using a electric meter to test your pH, water temp will affect its calibration/reading (check your manufactures instructions). The amount of mineral salts in your nutrient solution can change the pH, and if I remember correctly you said your EC/TDS/PPM rises. If so, that may be the problem right there. But because I cant remember, or keep straight the details about everybody elses setups, I need to ask some questions before I have any ideas.

1. Exactly how much does the pH change regularly?
2. What nutrients are you using?
3. How often do you change your nutrient solution?
4. Do you completely flush the system between nutrient changes?
5. What growing medium are you using?
6. Are you using a pH meter, or drops to test your pH? And if your using a pH meter, are you double checking your readings with pH drops as well?
7. What pH adjusters are you using?
8. Are you adding any additives to your nutrient solution?
9. Are you spraying the foliage with anything that might drip down into the growing medium?
10. What type of water are you using for your nutrient solution.
11. does the pH ever reach a certain point then stop rising on its own anymore?
12. Does your EC/TDS/PPM rise along with pH? And if so do they rise and/or stabilize together?
13. How many gallons of water does your system hold?
14. How much water is your plants drinking daily/weekly?
15. Are you replacing the water the plants drink with straight water, or nutrient solution?
16. Does it look like there's anything growing in your nutrient solution.
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Old 08-23-2011, 12:01 PM
T'Mater T'Mater is offline
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1. Exactly how much does the pH change regularly?
I have had it go from 5.50 to wake up to 7.0+

2. What nutrients are you using?
Atm i'm still using Floramato.

3. How often do you change your nutrient solution?
7-10 and of course the PH goes up the closer to the end of the period.

4. Do you completely flush the system between nutrient changes?
Try to as best as possible.

5. What growing medium are you using?
Sure to Grow-it's pH neutral, sterile and inert

6. Are you using a pH meter, or drops to test your pH? And if your using a pH meter, are you double checking your readings with pH drops as well?
Meter and ya, with it going up i tend to check it prolly close to every couple hours or so.

7. What pH adjusters are you using?
GH PH Down

8. Are you adding any additives to your nutrient solution?
Not since going to FLoramato, trying to stay as simple as possible.

9. Are you spraying the foliage with anything that might drip down into the growing medium?
Not on a regular basis,have spray'd the plant's a total of 3x's since being outside.

10. What type of water are you using for your nutrient solution.
RO

11. does the pH ever reach a certain point then stop rising on its own anymore?
Not that i'm aware of

12. Does your EC/TDS/PPM rise along with pH? And if so do they rise and/or stabilize together?
Ya up until the point i add water, but if you remember right i was starting my PPM at 900.

13. How many gallons of water does your system hold?
It's a 45 gallon tote, i prolly fill at least 3/4 of the way.

14. How much water is your plants drinking daily/weekly?
Going to have to mark and keep a better eye on it. Just to make sure i'm refilling to the same spot.

15. Are you replacing the water the plants drink with straight water, or nutrient solution?
Just straight RO water, then i check the PH cause i know it will go up after adding fresh water.

16. Does it look like there's anything growing in your nutrient solution. I do get Algae from time to time, tends to be at the very end before i change. Altho i'm sure it's got to be growing sooner then that i'm just not spotting it.

I literally am in the process of changing my nutes, i flushed pretty much all day yesterday. I will mark and keep an eye on it and get back with you with better/fresher answer's.

I know that when you add fresh water the PH will go up. So i'll see what it uses and make sure i'm bringing it back up to that level and see what happens. Thanks GPS
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Old 08-24-2011, 01:09 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Ok I am a little confused because you said it goes up when you add fresh water, but then you said it can go from 5.5 to 7.0+ overnight. So are you saying it goes up both when you add water, as well as without adding water? I also forgot to ask how many plants you are growing in this system, as well as how big they are?

You said you have a 45 gallon reservoir you fill about 3/4 of the way. That sounds like about 33-34 gallons. But if I'm not mistaken you are using bato buckets, and each one of those would hold some water as well. I'm still not sure how much water your adding on a regular basis as the plants drink it up (1 gallon a day, 10 gallons a day, 25% etc.). I'm wondering about how much flocculation to expect (depending on water to plant ratio), as well as pH change from adding fresh water that isn't pH adjusted. If the plants are drinking a large percentage of water daily, a larger reservoir may stabilize things better. Also you should expect pH changes (especially when replenishing lots of water) when adding water that isn't pH adjusted first and/or the pH of the fresh water you ad back is off by more than 1.0 or so.

As an example if you are replacing 5%-10% of your water daily, I wouldn't expect to much fluctuation in pH unless the pH of the water you replace it with was far off (1.0 or more). However if you are replacing 25% or more daily I would expect to see a lot more fluctuation, even if the pH of the water you are replacing it with wasn't that far of. Simply because if your replacing half of the water volume every other day, or 100% of it within 4 days, the pH is bound to change much quicker. Unless the water you replace it with was pH adjusted first of coarse. But in order to be able to compare EC/TDS/PPM, and/or pH readings/changes. You really need to mark the starting water level in the reservoir first. Otherwise you cant really be sure what your comparing one reading to another.

I'm also unclear about weather you use a "pH drop test kit" to verify the readings your meter is giving you. Meters need consent care, and can give false readings at any time. If there is ever a question as to weather the reading is corect, you should always verify it by using a pH drop kit. That's always the first place I would start, and the reason I don't even use a pH meter in the first place.

What I can tell so far is, I don't see a problem with the nutrients your using because the GH line of nutrients have pH buffers. Also the RO water is fine because the RO system takes out as much as possible of the minerals that could cause pH to change. However it still needs to be pH tested and adjusted before adding. 7 to 10 days between nutrient changes shouldn't be a problem either, however that depends on water volume to plant ratio, and how much the plants are drinking daily. But "under normal conditions" quick pH fluctuations generally indicate it's time to change nutrients (especially when plants are large and drinking a lot of water). GH pH adjusters wouldn't be a problem either. It sounds like the algae growth is not enough to cause the type of fluctuations you say your getting. If your flushing the system adequately, you should be able to flush out most of the built up mineral salt deposits that could change pH, as well as cause EC/TDS/PPM to gradually rise. If you have any concerns as to weather flushing with straight water is, or isn't working well for you, you may want to try using some Flora Kleen too.

How I flush my systems. First completely drain the system as best I can. Then empty the reservoir, quickly wash it with soapy water and rinse well. Then I take apart the pump and wash each part with soapy water as well. Then I put it all back together, fill the reservoir (about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way) with fresh water, I just use regular tap water to flush with because it takes to long to get RO, and it will just be dumped out anyway. I let it run for 15 to 20 min, then drain and dump. I do this 2 to 3 times to get as much of the residual nutrient solution out of the growing medium, and system as possible before I flush. Then I fill the reservoir with fresh water again (all the way this time), and let run for 30 min or so, then drain and dump. I do this a few more times, usually letting it run longer each time. Of coarse I often alter how long I flush depending on how much daylight I have to work with that day (once it gets dark I cant see outside very well at night).
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Old 08-24-2011, 04:22 PM
T'Mater T'Mater is offline
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I have 10 plant's that are about 6ft tall.

When i add water the PH goes up to be expected, and i lower it. Every morning before the first feeding i alway's check my PPM and PH to see where it's at. When i do this, i make sure that i drop the PH down to as close to 5.5 as i can get. Usually by night time after the last feeding it has been up as high as 7.5+. Usually i check it through out the day but those day's where i have kid functions i don't get to.

For the record i don't believe white vinegar was a good PH down to use. Seem's all my damn plant's have started wilting on me. Looks like i'll be flushing the system again. Just hope my PH down get's here soon.

I haven't ever flushed/clean my system as well as you have. Today i will. And now i'll make a mark and find out how many gallons i'm actually putting in the tote. Guess this is a good lesson to learn that you should be more accurate about your stuff.

I have the drops, and will test it both way's, with my meter and drops to see where they stand.

Last edited by T'Mater; 08-24-2011 at 04:34 PM.
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Old 08-24-2011, 06:24 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Yes, I expect white vinegar "NOT" to be able to keep a stable pH at all, and with the consent adding of it to continually lower your pH, I can easily see having other problems as well if using it for any length of time. I have never used it as a pH adjuster myself, but know it wont be stable.

The only thing I use white vinegar for in hydroponics is to soak grow rocks in after the grow is over. That's to clean the mineral salts off (but only after the plants were done). That cleans them off quite well, and get's them ready for reuse later. But you do need to rinse them out real well after (I often use boiling water), until you cant smell the vinegar anymore, and/or let them sit for a few weeks to let the vinegar degrade before reusing them. But I usually start with soaking in white vinegar to clean the salts off, rinse a couple of times. Then soak in bleach-water to sterilize them too, then rinse a couple of times more before letting them dry, and storing them.

P.S.
I thought you said you were using GH pH adjusters?

10 plants, and about 35 gallons of nutrient solution, comes out to 3.5 gallons of nutrient solution per plant. Depending on heat and humidity levels, I can see 6 foot tall plants drinking at least 1 gallon each per day (more than 25%). But if their bushy plants, in warm climate with relatively low humidity, and/or have a lot of fruit on them, I can see them drinking as much as 2 gallons of water a day (more than 50%). Water to plant ratio may be a problem, causing too much nutrient fluctuations.

Here is an example of water fluctuations causing inaccurate readings. If you add water in the morning before the first feeding, then take readings and adjust pH to 5.5, and have a ppm of 900. Then through the day the plant is continually drinking water. You take readings later in the day (without the water level being the same as it was with the first reading), you will naturally have a much higher ppm, and pH changes as well. That's because you also have a much lower water level (concentrating the nutrients in it), simply because the plants have used (drank) about 10 gallons of water. So instead of 35 gallons of water in the reservoir, your down to 25 gallons.

If you were to take 25 gallons of water and add nutrients to it (like mixing a fresh batch of nutrient solution), and take ppm and pH reading. Then you add 10 more gallons of water you will get completely different readings every time (because you diluted it). This works in revers too. If you take 10 gallons of water out, your concentrating everything in the water. So you naturally get higher ppm readings. Concentrating (and diluting) the mineral salts can change pH. Then throw in the added issue of altering pH by adding water that wasn't pH adjusted first. That all adds up to inaccurate readings because there isn't any consistency when/how they were taken, so they cant really be compared with any accuracy.

P.S.
I don't know if the example apply's to how you've been taking readings or not (because I'm still unclear about that), but I used it as an example of how the water level will affect your readings. As well as the importance of taking the readings with the same water level each time, before assuming pH, EC/TDS/PPM readings are "abnormal."
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Old 08-24-2011, 10:25 PM
T'Mater T'Mater is offline
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Normally i do use GH PH Down, atm, the company that i bought my latest batch of PH Down decided to be lazy, i was supposed to have gotten them yesterday. So instead of letting them keep drinking water that i couldn't control at all, i made some fresh and just used the white vinegar to PH Down. Soon as i get my GH i plan on dumping and flushing and making a new batch using the GH PH down.

SO your saying my plants should be drinking roughly 10-20 gallon's of water a day? They are def. not doing that. At most i'm only having to add maybe 4-6gallon's at best.

For the most part my PPM doesn't go up much. Say when i was doing 900ppm, start out, it would take i don't know 3-4day's for it to reach 1400ppm.

Now the PH is a different story, typically after a fresh change. It would take it maybe a day or 2 to go from 5.5 to 6.5. But i would say by the 3rd day or so. I'm starting to watch the PH like a hawk.

Today i marked a line and paid strict attention to the number of gallon's. My line is set at 30gallons.

And i think i understand what your saying, i should take my reading's at 30gallon's. Next morning fill my tank back up to the 30gallon mark and then check again?

You should start a tech line at your house LOL

So right now our temp is 88.4 with a humidity of 68%. So should they be drinking more or having a rough time?
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Old 08-25-2011, 08:55 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Quote:
SO your saying my plants should be drinking roughly 10-20 gallon's of water a day?
It's not that they "should," just that they "could" under the right conditions. One persons 6 foot tomato plant may have 4 times more foliage than someone elses. Each leaf transpires (exhales water vapor), so 4 times more leaves will transpire 4 times more water. As the plants transpire and exhale water vapor, they suck up water through the roots to replace it. So the amount of foliage is a huge factor as to how much water your plants use. Also not everybody's tomato plants have the same amount of fruit, the fruit sucks up a good amount of water as well.

That's even before you factor in the environmental conditions like temperature, humidity, amount of light, and even co2 level. All have an effect on plant growth, as well as how much the plants transpire. 68% humidity is a good level for tomato's. Here where I live our relative humidity is normally below 20% (without a greenhouse), unless we're having monsoons, then it could go as high as 30%-50%. As a result, your same plants would transpire a lot more here due to low relative humidity. I have had 4 foot tall, and 4 foot wide tomato plants drink over a gallon of water (each) daily. And that was without a heavy fruit load, but low humidity, and air temps over 100.

And 88 degree air temp is fine, though around 82 or 83 would probably be just about perfect (depending on variety). Though 88 degree water temp would be a big concern for me. Plants abort fruiting with high water (root zone) temps, and the fruit that had started generally are poor size and quality. Though there are heat resistant varieties that would probably be able to handle heat stress better.

Quote:
At most i'm only having to add maybe 4-6gallon's at best.
In a system holding 30 gallons of nutrient solution, adding 4 gallons a day you wind up replacing 100% in a week (about 13% daily). At 6 gallons a day you wind up replacing 100% in 5 days (about 20% daily). As the plants get bigger (if they do) they'll continue to use more water daily as well. I don't know if this is an issue yet because I don't know if there's a regular pattern between how much your pH rises, water use (levels), and/or EC/TDS/PPM readings yet in order to compare them.

But regardless if there is a noticeable pattern or not, 30 gallons for 10 tomato plants is about the minimum water volume you would want for each plant. It comes out to 3 gallons a plant, and the minimum recommended is about 2.5. Personally I would want about twice the minimums for large tomato plants. Not necessary when their smaller, but when they get bigger and begin drinking up more water and nutrients, That's when I would want a larger volume of water for slower fluctuations as the water level drops (from plants drinking it), and rises (from me replacing it), and thus maintaining a more even balance of nutrients and pH for the plant. Not to mention less fluctuation from nutrient depletion.

Quote:
And i think i understand what your saying, i should take my reading's at 30gallon's. Next morning fill my tank back up to the 30gallon mark and then check again?
Yes, though adjust the pH of the fresh water before adding it to the nutrient solution (to keep the test results even), but also cycle it through the system first to let it mix with all the nutrient solution in the buckets, growing medium, tubes etc. (again for accuracy), then take the reading when it's thoroughly mixed. If you can, add the water and take your readings at the same time every day. Keep a log of all your readings, and note when you do nutrient changes, if you add anything to the nutrient solution between changes. Also make notes of how much water the plants are drinking, if there is any EC/TDS/PPM changes (of course pH as well).

If adding water and taking readings in the morning, I would also keep a second log and take the same readings later in the day after the water level has drooped, and without adding any (again at the same time every day if possible). Basically log everything, and make it a science experiment. Eventually you should be able to see a pattern between the pH rising and other changes.
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Old 08-25-2011, 11:43 AM
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GPS I like the amount of effort you put forth and the knowledge level you have. That is pure effort on your part.

we are where you just described and am now wanting my greenhouse ever more because we will change the way we feed these and that is a drain to waste system as it is not cost effective to use mixing reservoirs on larger amounts of plants like tomatoes and peppers as they consume some water. we have been looking at constant feed systems and the mixing systems.

there will be some cash invested but the long term benefits will pay off. the real key is gonna be how many plants in a row in the bags and how fast the nutrient solution moves through the bags.

we are going back to normal garden spacing as well of 12 inched on Peppers and 16 on tomatoes. we are going to start our rows 2 weeks apart as the crop should produce for about 9 to 12 months. that way we are continuously producing vine ripened fruit for our customers.

we have found several of the local restaurants that are willing to try our fruit. So we hope to be in the restaurants early next year.

We would like to know how you plan to market? and what you have found in your local market areas for prices?

We means me and my bride (crad and cradsbride)

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Old 08-25-2011, 12:08 PM
T'Mater T'Mater is offline
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In a system holding 30 gallons of nutrient solution, adding 4 gallons a day you wind up replacing 100% in a week (about 13% daily). At 6 gallons a day you wind up replacing 100% in 5 days (about 20% daily). As the plants get bigger (if they do) they'll continue to use more water daily as well. I don't know if this is an issue yet because I don't know if there's a regular pattern between how much your pH rises, water use (levels), and/or EC/TDS/PPM readings yet in order to compare them.

So does that mean i'll need to add any nutes or just leave it alone and add my PH balanced water and just take notes?

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