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Cucumber nutrient
Kale Problem
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Question and Answer Page 1

Subjects

chlorine as a disinfectant agent cool white fluorescent
various growth stages best growing rocks
How far should a 1000 watt light be from plants Halogen and Metal Halide lights
Miracle-gro as hydro solution help with tomatoes
greenhouse heating problem ability of a medium to hold oxygen
reduce the algae population how long you run the pump
Leaves started to turn brown  

Date:
12/17/96

Comments

I just wanted to thank you for the incredible work that you are doing by sharing your gift with the world. I am in the middle of a
major move; lock, stock and barrel. The first thing I am building before I break ground on our new home is to put together a
starter system. I just saw a discovery channel edition on TV covering the use of foam material instead of rocks to grow in. Any
thoughts on that? They seemed to start out with a 1" sq. and then move it into a larger system similar to yours, but made with
tubs. What ever works. We could probably feed the world and stop hunger over the entire planet in less than a year or two if
countries used your system. Thank you again. I have some ideas in will sharing with you soon, I just wanted to drop a note and make contact. JD.

08/03/96 -- 15:26:32

Hello Ron. I am from Honduras and practice Hydroponics as a hobby but have plans to develop a commercial level unit. I do
not have any support in Honduras. I learned about hydroponics on an old 1938 book that I found at my father's house. It is
great pleasure to know about your job, I would like to know if I can join you from Honduras. Honduras has a great potential
for hydroponics and I believe that having people like you in the web will be of big help in the commercial growing and selling of hydroponics in Honduras and Central America. Congratulations and keep up the good job. Best regards, Cesar Ruiz San
Pedro Sula Honduras
Cesar

Hi Ron I would like to know about using chlorine as a disinfectant agent. is there any potential problem after using it to clean the system and the growing media? regards

Hi Cesar You can use chlorine or bleach to disinfect at a ten percent mix with water. For my large systems I plug up the intake pipe then fill the cups full with water and then pour a little full strength bleach in each cup and let it sit overnight to loosen up any slime.
Ron

Erik -- 07/19/96 -- 17:35:58

Ron, Keep up the good work. I stumbled across your site while doing some reading about hydroponics. You are one of those
kinds of people that make America the great place that it is. I hope that your rent-a- garden works. Great idea.

2/18/97

Ron, Don't pay the ransom, I escaped!!! Man I thought you were gone for good. I haven't had my E-mail system working. It was great to hear from you. I have a 1,080 tomato plant system going great guns. I planted them in the system on 1/23/97. They are already loaded with blooms.
The plants are called Sunpride. I bought them for 4.5 cents each in LaBelle.
Thanks for all the help and I will be in touch now that I have your web address.
Gary

4/17/97
To Ron Kleinman hygro@gte.net
Thanks for the explanation re: PPM, milliseimens, EC.
Ron, can you give me some idea on the various growth stages (in inches) on some of the more common vegetables i.e.
tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, kale etc. My system has been running now for about two weeks and I have nothing to gauge my
progress against.
For instance my tomatoes from which I started from seed on 3/16/97 are about 5 inches tall now on 4/17/97. They look
healthy with purple stems and purple under leaves (is this purple coloration normal?), but for some reason I think they should
be growing faster - especially when I see Ron's web site pictures. I also have some cayenne peppers which are about two
inches tall with two sets of leaves - I started these from seed on 3/23/97. Does this sound like a proper growth rate. My lettuce seems to be doing good as well as the summer squash. The kale also looks good (started from seed on 3/23/97 - about 3 inches tall now and the leaves are getting bigger). My system is based on Ron's 2 liter soda bottles ( I have 16 bottle system.
On 4/7/97 I placed the system under with the plants under a 1000 watt metal halide light. My medium is pea sized river bed
gravel. I'm using formula one nutrients with an EC of 2.5 milliseimans.
Any info or comments will be greatly appreciated.
Thanks, john in new jersey

To Dan:
There are several important things to consider for good, healthy hydroponic plant growth:
A balanced, hydroponic nutrient formulation is the best way to go - especially for beginning through intermediate gardeners. The TDS level is also extremely important as is maintaining the nutrient solution pH at a level acceptable to the plants grown.
For example: beans and tomatoes require TDS from 500ppm (when seedlings) gradually increasing to around 1500 when maturing and fruiting heavily. An acceptable pH for these plants is 5.5 to 6.5.
If using a liquid formula it should be at least a 2 part formula to contain an adequate amount of sulfur and magnesium - something that single part formulas neglect because of chemical combination problems.
Aeration of the nutrient solution and plant roots is very important as well. Healthy roots should be white.
Adequate feed frequency is important too. In ebb & Flow systems feed often. This may vary with temperature, size of plants, etc. but I've found that feeding every couple of hours for a long enough period to fully saturate the roots works very well. If a growing media with good aeration ability is used it is hard to "over water" because the roots will be properly aerated to provide the very important oxygen they need.
Ron K. hygro@gte.net

4/17/97
Question
How far should a 1000 watt metal halide light be from the tops of my plants? Any ideas.
Thanks, john in NJ

4/18/97
For a 1000 watt light without glass or a mover about 24 inches. Ron H.

4/19/97
Question From: Mathieu Loiselle
I am planning on using a product, Miracle-gro, that has all the necessary nutrients except for calcium
and magnesium. I will add epsom salt and lime to substitute. My question is about the nitrogen in the solution. It has 15%
nitrogen, 8.2%ammoniacal nitrogen and 6.8% urea nitrogen. The oxygen is from ammonium phosphates. can someone please
tell me if this is good for tomatoes. I have heard that urea nitrogen is not good for tomatoes. Why?

4/19/97
To Mathieu Loiselle:
Mathieu, my recommendation would be to not use Miracle Grow for hydroponic applications. The reason is that it is basically
formulated for soil gardening. For example: MG has a fairly high content or Urea (6.8) which is useless in hydroponics because
Urea must be acted upon by soil-borne bacteria to be converted to a form usable to plants. Also, the ammoniacal Nitrogen is
high (8.2) which could cause very fast, leggy growth because it is absorbed very fast in hydroponics solutions. Like Urea, in
soil it is used by micro-organisms and broken down. Ammoniacal nitrates should be kept close to 0 percent in hydroponic
applications. Plants absorb Nitrogen in the nitrate form more slowly giving the plants a proper amount of vegetative growth
(light & other factors in specs.) and allowing blossom and fruit development.
There are many, proven hydroponic nutrient formulations available to the home gardener that have "the right stuff" for
hydroponic gardening applications.
Ron K. hygro@gte.net

Hi everyone: I live in KY. (USA)Is a greenhouse economically feasible after considering heating cost during the winter? I wonder if anyone farther north with a greenhouse could give me some tips on offsetting the heating problem.

Hello Kentucky You could use 1000 watt HID that would give off heat and supply your plants with more light that they need in
the winter anyway. For most plants you could run the lights 24 hours a day. Ron

Agri-Cool Lighting
To make winter time growing feasible it is almost essential to use some type of supplemental lighting. We manufacture water
cooled HID growing lights. For wintertime operation the use of a small fairly inexpensive heating pad on which the plants sit can
provide enough heat in an area where it will do the most good to make a significant difference providing you are not trying to
heat a greenhouse in subzero temperatures. For more info contact me at ahr@intergate.bc.ca

M. Gunasekaran
To reduce the algae population.wash the cups and system with an algaecide (the kind used in
swimming pools) before the final washing with bleach. This will reduce the algae growth (slimy growth) during the plant growth..
Another way of controlling the algae growth is by covering the top of the cup with black cloth (weed preventor, like cheese
cloth available at Walmart, K-mart, Home Depot) around the stem.
This approach not only blocks the light but also reduces air borne algae contamination. However fresh air will still go through
the mesh.

Question From Dan
Hi I am using an ebb and flow system in a greenhouse. This is my first experience with hydroponics
and I planted tomatoes, pole beans and peas.
I am training them up a string and they all started great the beans really took off and I was able to begin harvesting after about
six weeks.
About this time the leaves started to turn brown and curl up and now the plants are really dying off. I change nutrient every 4
weeks and I thought the problem might be potassium so I add extra potassium, magnesium and iron to the solution but nothing
seems to help.
I pulled up one of the plants and the roots while they are brown in color appear to be healthy is the color an indication of the
problem?
The tomatoes are doing fine and the peas seem all right although I am getting some white mold or fungus on some of the leaves.
Any help you might give would be greatly appreciated.

4/20/97
To Dan:
There are several important things to consider for good, healthy hydroponic plant growth:
A balanced, hydroponic nutrient formulation is the best way to go - especially for beginning through intermediate gardeners.
The TDS level is also extremely important as is maintaining the nutrient solution pH at a level acceptable to the plants grown.
For example: beans and tomatoes require TDS from 500ppm (when seedlings) gradually increasing to around 1500 when
maturing and fruiting heavily. An acceptable pH for these plants is 5.5 to 6.5. If using a liquid formula it should be at least a 2
part formula to contain an adequate amount of sulfur and magnesium - something that single part formulas neglect because of
chemical combination problems.
Aeration of the nutrient solution and plant roots is very important as well. Healthy roots should be white.
Adequate feed frequency is important too. In ebb & Flow systems feed often. This may vary with temperature, size of plants,
etc. but I've found that feeding every couple of hours for a long enough period to fully saturate the roots works very well. If a
growing media with good aeration ability is used it is hard to "over water" because the roots will be properly aerated to provide the very important oxygen they need.
Ron K.hygro@gte.net

Rob from Boston, MA
I have just completed Ron's 11 plant garden. I am getting ready to transplant the seedlings
into the system today.
My biggest concern is my lighting. I have cool white fluorescent with 2 150
watt incandescent grow lights shining down. Unfortunately, sunlight is a little hard to come by around here this time of year. Any
ideas on some cheap lighting?
The metal halides and sodium's are out of my budget range.
In the old MSN Forum there was a woman named Kathy who said she had some success with cheap grow lights - any
thoughts?

4/20/97
Rob - there are several applications for Fluorescent plant lighting and some very good plant spectrum tubes that work well.
Some uses include seedling/root propagation and growing "low energy" requirement plants. These include some herbs, salad
greens, etc. Fluorescent lights cannot be used for high energy plants; ie: Any blossoming, fruit producing plant. Incandescent
"spot-grow" bulbs put out more energy (lumens) but cost more to operate.
When considering "cheap lights" consider this: A standard 100 Watt incandescent spot grow light puts out about 1260 lumens;
a 100 Watt High Intensity Discharge (H.I.D) light puts out about 9000 lumens. With H.I.D. lights you are getting 8 times the
output than standard incandescent lights using the same power!
Also, H.I.D. lights put out better color for plant growth than any of the other choices at better light penetration. So, in my
opinion, even with the initial cost (and there are good deals out there!) H.I.D. lighting is really the best choice for indoor plant
growth.
Ron K. hygro@gte.net

4/20/97
What are the best growing rocks to use. Ten years ago I used to use pea gravel because it was cheap.

4/21/97
I have used several kinds with no noticeable different growing results.
I like the light weight kind as opposed to the heavier stuff.
I have never tried pea gravel because I'm not sure it holds enough oxygen to handle all the abuse I can give a plant..
Ron

4/22/97
1. What is the difference between Halogen and Metal Halide lights?
2. For a six plant garden, wouldn't 1000 watts be excessive?

4/23/97
1. Tungsten Halogen lamps are as inefficient to operate as incandescence and are very expensive to operate. Their
lumen-per-watt output is very low.
2. 400 watt Metal Halide or High Pressure Sodium is good for 2 to 6 ft. square area and they last longer too.
Ron

help with tomatoes
Hello I am currently growing several varieties of tomato plants, ranging sizes from 4 inches to 2 feet. I have noticed that recently, a lot of the branches are starting to curl under. Everything else appears normal. I am watering on 30 minute intervals, using one of your systems that I built last year. Does this sound like over watering? I have them growing in a greenhouse.
Thanks, Kevin

4/23/97
Re: "Help with tomatoes"
Hi Kevin - If you are using a growing media that allows good aeration it's hard to over-water. There are some hydroponic systems that keep the roots submerged continuously and air is constantly fed to the nutrient solution - this keeps a very important oxygen supply available to the roots. I generally water according to plant appearance: eg: If the plants start to wilt, and the temp of the growing area is less than 100 degrees F, then watering frequency needs to be increased. If the roots are receiving plenty of oxygen then the nutrient or nutrient solution may be at fault.
I'm really not a know-it-all but I've been there on water/oxygen/nutrient problems - My first gardens looked very much like
swamps!
Ron K.
Note from HydroRon: He is being modest, if you have seen any of Ron K's hydroponic videos you would know that he knows hydroponics.

4/24/97
RE: Best grow rocks
To both Ron's (Hydro ron and ron K.)
when we talk about the ability of a medium to hold oxygen aren't we talking about the air gaps between the particles that makes up the medium. If this is the case then it seems to me that plain gravel would be just as efficient as clay gro-rocks.
Or are you guys referring to the porosity of the medium?
I'm using pea gravel and everything seems to be fine, although I was hoping for a faster growth rate vs. soil. It's only been 4
weeks now and I started almost everything form seed so maybe I'm over reacting.
In your experience is there a point in a plants growth cycle when it really kicks in and starts to take off. If so when?
Maybe I need to try gro-rocks and do some comparison studies vs. gravel.
Anyway thanks again.
John in NJ.

4/24/97
Grow rocks work so well because they are pours and gravel is not. Picture of Geo-Lite grow rocks.
Here is Ron K's URL link to his hydroponic how to videos and my review of one of them.
HydroRon

4/25/97
I have just started this project, and I would like to know about pump size output. Is there a difference, or just how long you run the pump.
The garden spot is 26 foot long using 3/4" PVC. thanks

200 or higher GPH

4/26/97
A bigger pump is better (180 GPH or larger) because then you can put a valve to slow the flow of water and then just open up the valve as you expand your garden.
Watering times very,  depends on the size of the plant, the kinds of plants and how hot your growing area is and what medium you are using. I water about every 20 minutes with growrocks.
.Ron




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