This is my 1st system, it's been great for working the kinks out, it's not very neat or efficient but I'm happy with the 1st setup.
I used a 100 gallon old livewell with a 90watt pump, my troughs are aluminum, 10' lenght, 1' width, 3" sides, I raised it up with lumber I had laying around.
I keep two separate 32 gallon rubbermaids with nutrients and use a hanna 98129 for PH and EC measurements. I seeded 32 tomatoe plants, 8 brocolli, basil and a some other herbs. I seeded on 3/15 and started picking fruit in June. I had some problems with blossom end rot, I doubled my calcium nitrate and it solved the problem.
I live in Florida keys and have been at war with the iguanas. I used 2 different tomatoe seeds, determinate, bushsteak and super tasty hybrid I got from Burpee. Both are great tasting and a 1000 times better than the grocery store fruit.
I've had problems keeping the nutrients below 88, it's affected yield. Our tap water is pumped in from Miami and very alkaline, 9.8 on my tester. I just use nutrients to lower PH. My daily measurements are PH, EC and temp.
Next week I'll be breaking down system and will re seed in middle of august. My system will look much different when I rebuild, I'll be going two tiers high and much more streamlined with sun shade. I've attached 3 photos, any feedback would be appreciated.
Nice to have a new member, welcome. Thanks for the pictures, however I can't tell much from them. It's hard to tell how you have any of the pluming running. Water temp in summer is my biggest issue as well (even more so than insects). On the note of water quality, have you considered filtering it? Also have you tried pre-adjusting pH before adding your nutrients? You will likely have better results.
Home Hydroponic Systems
Thanks for your response. Here are some better photos. I need to start filtering my water, I use as much AC water as I can, I get about 10 gallons a day in this heat. Real briefly, below is a list of problems I had and will be correcting. I was able to pick some great tomatos for about 3 weeks. Everything is rotting now due to tropical storm debby, my nutrients washed out and I was out of town for 7 days. My wife was adding almost no nutrients due to a miscommunication, or (she was pissed at me for being out of town). Either way:
-lack of air circulation, plants were smothering each other
-no sun shade
-brocolli and basil were planted too close to the tomatos
-irregular PH count in nutrient tank
-not enough calcium nitrate
-cheap trash cans that I used for 100 x stock solutions leaked, also with humidity and heat produced mildew, photo included
-troughs not covered well enough cuasing a ton of algae
-My overall setup needs to change, some form of trellis for plants,
-I will be buying a more poweful pellet gun for the iguana infestation
I'm pretty physched about starting over with a more streamlined system. Also, any suggestions on seeds, do you think I should try indeterminate? What do you think about 5 or 6 inch PVC instead of my troughs? Do you think it will be too small for root mass?
As GPS suggested try adjusting the PH before adding the nutrients. Personally I use battery acid as my PH out of the well is quite high.
Broccoli is a cool seaon crop in FL and in the Keys would be a perfect winter crop.
Personally I stick with determinates with my system and have to prune them often to keep decent airflow
Thanks for your reply. I like the album photos of your setup. I have a bottle of phosphoric acid that I'll try for PH when I restart. I'm going to rebuild in middle of august. Who do you buy your tomato seeds from and what type? What are you growing and what type of system is it? Also, any hogs in your area?
Mostly I use the Verti-Gro vertical system I also do some growing in landscape pots filled with coconut coir. I buy seeds from all over the place I like to see what does well and what doesn't in my system. My best results with tomatoes has been with a variety called charger so far. Right now I'm growing mostly lettuce in the greenhouse with shade cloth and a misting system going. Outside it's peppers and okra with a little bit of corn.
So far no hogs on my place but it seems they are moving this way we have them in