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Advice on DWC


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  #1  
Old 05-29-2016, 10:50 AM
Reddace Reddace is offline
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Default Advice on DWC

Greetings! I am new to the forum and was wondering if anyone has any advice on setting up a home made Deep Water Culture system? I will be growing mostly herbs and possibly vegetables. So basically, smaller plants.
Thank you!

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  #2  
Old 05-29-2016, 12:04 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Hello Reddace,
I don't know what advice your looking for, but for me personally I don't like to use water culture systems for long term plants (plants that will be in the system longer than about 2 months). In those cases I like having the reservoir separate from the root zone. Mainly because long term plants aren't really that small, and having the reservoir separate from the root zone makes maintenance easier, while still being able to easily accommodate the root size/mass when the plants reach full size. But I guess my advice for long term plants in a water culture system is:

1. Make sure you design it to be able to support the plants when they reach full size. Both in top support so the plants don't tip over, and water volume (What size reservoir do I need). Most of the time people will build their hydroponic systems without thinking about how big they will actually get, and the plants outgrow the system before they get a chance to harvest anything from them.

2. Make sure you design it so that doing maintenance (checking and adjusting pH, nutrient changes, replacing the water the plants drink) will be easy and withough't harming the plants. If doing the regular maintenance becomes a chore, you will neglect doing it, then your plants will suffer because of it.
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  #3  
Old 05-29-2016, 04:07 PM
Reddace Reddace is offline
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Yes I can see your point on the DWC. So, is the drip system better?
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Old 05-30-2016, 02:48 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Hello Reddace,

I would use either a drip or flood and drain system for long term plants. It really depends on what particular plants. I prefer drip systems a lot because I think in general their very simple and easy to build, low cost, easy to maintain and very easy to adapt. I don't know what vegetables you plan to grow, but I made a drawing of a simple drip system set up to grow herbs. It's nothing more than a 18 gallon storage tote for the reservoir, a plastic dish washing tub to hold the plants you can get at any Walmart. Total cost for for both would be about $10-$12. You can probably grow up to 2-4 of the dish washing tubs full of plants with the same 18 gallon storage tote reservoir. You can use almost any materials to build it, but the idea is still the same. Depending on the water pump you get, the pump would likely cost you between $20 and $45 and be the most expensive part. Timer about $5-$10.

If you prefer a flood and drain system, here is an example of a simple flood and drain system I have built in the past. Again you can use almost any materials to build one, and construct it in many different ways, but the idea is always the same.
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Last edited by GpsFrontier; 05-30-2016 at 03:18 AM.
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  #5  
Old 05-30-2016, 09:57 AM
Rye Rye is offline
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I started with the DWS, and made some mistakes along the way. I used a long tub asthe resivor. It was a rubbermade tote used to store the kids toys under their beds when they were younger. It was about 4 foot long and maybe 8 inches deep. It work well for being able to get a large number of plants in with room to grow. I used a piece of paneling I scrounged as the top board.

Mistakes with this.
1) moving a 4 foot tub of water to change it, not easy.
2) Paneling started to show damage in the first week or two from the areators throwing up water on to it.
3) hard to check or adjust levels.
4) had to paint it black to block out light, didn't work super.

What I found was at Wally World they have smaller 18x20x 8 black tubs. Easier to move, totally blacked out the light. can unclip the lid, pick up and set to the side for changing water, and testing.
I'm moving to these on the next grow cycle. I will have to build a bigger light stand to straddle three tubs, but depending on what you are growing, you can get between 12 and 20 2" baskets in the lid. Use a 1 7/8 hole saw in reverse to cut the holes in it.
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Old 05-30-2016, 12:54 PM
Reddace Reddace is offline
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Thanks for all responses. I will check out these ideas.
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Old 06-02-2016, 05:45 PM
Reddace Reddace is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rye View Post
I started with the DWS, and made some mistakes along the way. I used a long tub asthe resivor. It was a rubbermade tote used to store the kids toys under their beds when they were younger. It was about 4 foot long and maybe 8 inches deep. It work well for being able to get a large number of plants in with room to grow. I used a piece of paneling I scrounged as the top board.

Mistakes with this.
1) moving a 4 foot tub of water to change it, not easy.
2) Paneling started to show damage in the first week or two from the areators throwing up water on to it.
3) hard to check or adjust levels.
4) had to paint it black to block out light, didn't work super.

What I found was at Wally World they have smaller 18x20x 8 black tubs. Easier to move, totally blacked out the light. can unclip the lid, pick up and set to the side for changing water, and testing.
I'm moving to these on the next grow cycle. I will have to build a bigger light stand to straddle three tubs, but depending on what you are growing, you can get between 12 and 20 2" baskets in the lid. Use a 1 7/8 hole saw in reverse to cut the holes in it.
How many gallons is this 18x20x8 black tub?
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Old 06-02-2016, 09:08 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Hello Reddace,
I know you were asking Rye, but I can help answer that with a little math. A container 18 inches x20 inches x8 inches equals a total of 2880 cubic inches, and 1.6666 cubic feet. There is 7.48 gallons in one cubic foot. 1.6 cubic feet X 7.48= 11.968 gallons. Maximum water volume would be just under 12 gallons. Realistic water volume closer to 8-10 gallons because you wouldn't be filling it up to the rim with water.

Container size
18x 20= 360
360x 8= 2880 cubic inches total

One cubic foot
12x 12= 144
144x 12= 1728

Water volume
2880 (total container cubic inches) divided by 1728 (cubic inches in a cubic foot) = 1.666666

1.6x 7.48= 11.968
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  #9  
Old 06-20-2016, 01:31 PM
Reddace Reddace is offline
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Default Herbs

What system would you recommend for just growing herbs?
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Old 06-21-2016, 03:52 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Hello Reddace,
I don't know if you were asking me, Rye, or anyone in general. But I'll be happy to give you my opinion.

First it really depends on what herbs you plan to grow, how many of them, and how long you intend the plants to be in the system (whether their long term or short term plants). But for most herbs I would probably use either a drip system or flood and drain system. For smaller/short term herbs I may go with a water culture system and/or even a NFT system depending on how many I planed to grow.

Some people let the plants keep growing and just cut off what they need at the time, and some people would rather harvest the whole plant while it's still young and tender (like micro greens). If your not going to be growing that many and wanted to harvest them while their small, young and tender, I might go with a water culture system. But if you wanted to grow a lot of them, I would probably go with a NFT system. I might even go with a low pressure aeroponic vertical tube system.

If you wanted to grow more long term (only cutting off what you want and leave the plant growing), their going to get bigger. So I would use either a drip or flood and drain system. Flood and drain system would be fine depending on how you designed it unless you wanted to grow many of them, simply because the more plants you grow in a flood and drain system, the more water volume you need to flood the entire system. And the bigger the plants get, the more water the plants will drink. So not only do you need more than enough water volume to flood the entire system, but also to keep up with how much the plants are drinking daily or the pump will run dry.

Some herbs especially can get quite big and bulky, and would be much better off grown in a drip system even if your not growing that many. Herbs like mint, dill, or rosemary can get as big as a tomato plant. Even basil plants can get fairly big. Not only does that mean they will drink much more water, but they will need more root and top support as well. But besides being better for growing large plants, Drip systems are very easy to build and maintain.
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  #11  
Old 06-21-2016, 06:25 AM
Reddace Reddace is offline
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Thank you for the information GPS frontier. I was basically thinking of small stuff for the time being such as Cilantro. I have been a bit drawn to the drip system.
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  #12  
Old 06-21-2016, 08:28 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Hello Reddace,
Since Cilantro tends to bolt and go to seed quick, especially when it gets warm, I would grow it as a rotating crop rather than a long term plant. Probably Flood and drain, NFT, water culture. or low pressure aeroponic vertical tube. In any case the key part of the design being easily removable baskets so you can rotate (take out) older plants and replace them with newer seedlings. That way you can continually replace the bolting plants with new seedlings withough't having to pull all the plants and start over.


It's funny you mention Cilantro because I just checked today to see if Dr. Lynette Morgan had any new articles out, and this is her latest article.

Getting the Most From Hydroponic Basil and Cilantro

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