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My First Deep Water Culture


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Old 12-18-2010, 08:33 PM
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Default My First Deep Water Culture

Finally broke free from other obligations and built a couple DWC's.

I cannot seem to get the video to correctly "embed", but it is posted to the blog.

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Old 12-19-2010, 05:25 AM
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Hello halfway,
I saw the video, it looks like it's like a nice simple setup, and should work great. You don't even need to light proof them because of the color and thickness of the plastic from what you said. Looks like you will have a nice supply of lots of good lettuce. I think I may have asked you this before but don't remember. You mentioned using silica stone for a growing medium, and that it's porous. Where do you get it? Is it pH stable? Is it easily available and less expensive than traditional grow rocks?
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Old 12-19-2010, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
Hello halfway,
I saw the video, it looks like it's like a nice simple setup, and should work great. You don't even need to light proof them because of the color and thickness of the plastic from what you said. Looks like you will have a nice supply of lots of good lettuce. I think I may have asked you this before but don't remember. You mentioned using silica stone for a growing medium, and that it's porous. Where do you get it? Is it pH stable? Is it easily available and less expensive than traditional grow rocks?
It is Sunleaves silica stone. It normally costs about the same as hydroton and is easily reusable. I could have went with a cheaper medium, but with the expected life, ease of use, absorption etc., it seemed to be pretty efficient. I caught it on sale cheaper than hydroton, so that sealed the deal for a large bag that will last me many years.
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Old 12-19-2010, 07:17 PM
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Thanks for the reply halfway. I don't have a hydroponics store in town, so I am always looking for growing mediums that I don't need to have shipped in. It usually cost just about as much to ship that stuff as it does for the product. Some places give free shipping but you usually need to spend $200 or more. Anyhow I will be on the lookout for the Sunleaves silica stone, and see if any of the local nursery carry it or at least can get it without charging me shipping.
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Old 01-10-2011, 07:48 PM
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Up and running. The starts have finally sprouted their first "true" leaves, so in the system they went.

Nutrients are at 1/2 strength (10 mil/gallon). The rockwool cubes are about 1/8" into the solution. I am curious to see how fast the roots will dive into the solution.





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Old 01-24-2011, 11:39 AM
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First update. The roots are looking great and getting very long inside the res. The color, as with the last batch, is a lighter shade of green during this stage of growth. That confirms the assumption that it is the lettuce and not environmental.

I have made no changes to PH other than the initial slight change. I like the DWC already!!
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Old 01-29-2011, 12:18 AM
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I have had great success growing salad/lettuce in DWC. The plants have a constant water supply. I did a Soil/Hydro DWC Hybrid under CFLs and there was more salad than I could eat. I started the seeds in a Jiffy Pot with a Soil/Pro Mix mixture. When the roots started to come out of the bottom I put the Jiffys in the DWC.

I like the clean set up of your DWC system. Nice job on the reflective top too. That looks like a solid system. I'm excited to see how big the leaves get. Thanks for the pictures!
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Old 01-30-2011, 09:07 AM
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Default Video Update

YouTube - Update Ebb and Flow and DWC Hydroponic system 29 Jan 11

Here is an update showing the final run of the lettuce in the ebb and flow and the current update on the DWC. I included timelines as well since this somewhat serves as a video journal for my records.

The additional videos are under my youtube channel "misterhalfwaythere1" as well.

I ended up tearing down the ebb and flow after I shot the vid, as I have to many commitments in the next week to do it right. I will also post in the "Ebb and Flow" thread I started to close that out.

As always, much of this has been learned by posters willing to share info on the boards. I greatly appreciate it and I in turn hope to "pay it forward".
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Old 01-31-2011, 02:09 AM
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Hey halfway,
I just saw your latest video and those are great looking roots. I have kind of a dumb question though, are you sold on hydroponics yet?
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Old 02-13-2011, 05:07 PM
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GPS....in answer your question......YES!



Here is a shot of the DWC as of today. We will begin harvesting tomorrow. I posted a shot of the roots on the blog as well.

I will start the 2nd DWC in about 3-4 weeks for a continuous run. I am holding the ebb and flow for now as I am deciding how to put it to use. The batch of herbs being germinated had to be terminated as a vacation snuck up on us and I had no way of keeping them going. No worries.
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Old 02-27-2011, 08:13 PM
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Rolling right along with a couple harvests under the belt for the current grow.

I just finished setting up an identical DWC that will get 6 new varieties from a mesclun mix I have germinated. I'll get some pics up soon.

I have noticed a need to add some PH down over the past week. It must be from the rockwool as I stayed pretty balanced in the ebb and flow with root riot plugs. Just an observation, no worries the plants are growing great.

DWC is definitely the way to go for lettuce...so very simple.
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Old 03-02-2011, 10:31 AM
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Great job! Couple of quick questions:

- how often are you checking & adding water to the tub to make sure the plants don't dry out?
- do you drain/refill at all during each lettuce grow cycle? or only plan to do this between cycles? perhaps adding a drain plug/hose would be a good idea?

Thanks!
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Old 03-04-2011, 03:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ralphkaz View Post
Great job! Couple of quick questions:

- how often are you checking & adding water to the tub to make sure the plants don't dry out?
- do you drain/refill at all during each lettuce grow cycle? or only plan to do this between cycles? perhaps adding a drain plug/hose would be a good idea?

Thanks!
The drain plug is a great idea and I am looking at it for ease of use.

As the ebb and flow proved, I will liklely do 1 nutrient change during the grow. It seemed to work well in giving the lettuce and addiional few weeks.

On the water levels. It can get reduced by about 3 gallons and still provide for the roots, but that level would concentrate nutrients (I belive), so I keep it within about 85% of the optimum. When I forst start the small plants, I drop it about a gallon to force the roots to reache deeper.

This tip was suggested by a forum member and proved itself....so I'm sold on the results.
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Old 03-04-2011, 08:27 PM
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One of the benefits of growing hydroponically is that you can provide better growing conditions than you would be able to in soil. Plants grown hydroponically typically have smaller root systems than those grown in soil. In soil, plants need to expand the root systems in search for the mineral elements they need to grow (as well as moisture). They can only absorb these mineral elements if they are dissolved in the water (soil or hydro). So even though the soil may contain many minerals right next to a root, it still needs to expand in search for some that are already dissolved in the water that's in the soil.

With hydroponics all the mineral elements are already dissolved in the water. Also instead of the plant needing to search out the dissolved minerals, you bring them directly to the roots. Thus the smaller root systems. When the plants roots have all the mineral elements as well moisture brought directly to them, that reduces the energy they need to expend the root system to search them out in order to support the plant canopy (and/or fruit). Less stress results in bigger, healthier, plants and fruits (even with smaller root systems).

Making the roots work to reach the water, as well as the dissolved mineral elements in it that they need to build plant tissue with, just adds stress to the plant. Both in water stress, as well as searching for the mineral elements (food) they need. Sure the roots grow longer faster when you make them reach for food and water. But that's simply because there being deprived from the life supporting water and elements they need to grow the plant. That just diverts energy to the roots that the plant could be using to grow the plant canopy/foliage. Photosynthesis takes place in the plant canopy, and photosynthesis is where all the compounds and building blocks needed to build plant tissue is created. The larger the plant canopy, the more photosynthesis that can take place. Thus, faster growing, healthier plants.

I'm not saying you cant grow nice healthy looking plants by making them work to get what they need (and adding stress), after all that's what they do in soil (nature). Just that I don't see any benefit and/or the point of doing so on purpose.

With that said, in most cases there can be an increased growth rate in the plant canopy by lowering the water level. But this isn't because the roots are getting bigger because they are needing to reach for a water supply (and/or added stress). It's a result of the roots being able to get more air/oxygen (less stress). If the roots are still getting moisture, but then get an increased amount of air they will grow smaller diameter fine roots (even hair like). These smaller roots grow larger, and expand on the overall root system. These smaller hair like roots also absorb much more nutrients than the larger diameter roots. Thus they can support faster canopy growth. This is the principal behind Aeroponics. But there's always a point where by trying to get more air to the roots, that can result in not enough moisture (thus water stress). Aeroponics systems provide the best balance of both.
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Last edited by GpsFrontier; 03-05-2011 at 03:04 AM.
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Old 03-21-2011, 08:50 PM
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Very informative post GPS. Thanks.



Here is the lates pic of the 2nd DWC. It is rolling along smoothly with no issues and well ahead of the soil based timeline.

Still not sure of what varieties as this came in a "mix" of at least 7 types. I was able to distinguish 5 and get them into the system.

So far so good. DWC is so maintenance free and easy with lettuce! I see no reason to grow lettuce in any other type of system. That is barring a raft or NFT in a commercial sized setting, but this is basement produce!
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Old 03-21-2011, 10:59 PM
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Looking good!
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Old 03-22-2011, 12:09 PM
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looking good Halfway

I guess this is were ill start at

Doc.
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Old 03-22-2011, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by ovendoctor View Post
looking good Halfway

I guess this is were ill start at

Doc.
Great system to start with in my opinion. Easy, cheap, low maintenance.

Kind of boring though. Not as much too tweak and "play with" as with the ebb and flow, but it sure does produce.
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Old 03-28-2011, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by halfway View Post
Great system to start with in my opinion. Easy, cheap, low maintenance.

Kind of boring though. Not as much too tweak and "play with" as with the ebb and flow, but it sure does produce.
I can't wait to see what you think when you move to an NFT system.

90% water usage reduction? Not a problem! Same production? Absolutely!

Related to a question higher up posted by Gps - Most nurseries or hardware stores should (key word, should,) carry Hygromite, which is a phosphorous and silica-heavy volcanic rock.
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Old 03-31-2011, 08:29 AM
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Here's an update of the Bon Vivant Mesclun blend in DWC 2. This is really tasty and will be grown again!

hydrophotobio...agreed on the NFT. There is an NFT in a hoop house/greenhouse in my future!


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