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Powdery and Downy Mildew
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Getting Bigger Yields From your Hydroponic Plants
Tips for getting the most out of your nutrients
Millions of dollars lost in hydroponic tomato plant sabotage
Growing Hydroponic Raspberries, part 2
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Q & A Page 12

Subjects

11 plant garden for growing tomato's what is the best ppm meter
rise or lower the Ph PVC greenhouse
gallon containers for growing tomato's info on timing for nutrients
liquid type organics Ebb and Flow or a Nutrient Flow System
hydroponic wholesalers passive wick system.
best hid's for plant growth spacing when growing tomato plants
plants that normally get shade Regarding Acids for pH control
plants are turning yellow gardening in organic-hydroponics solutions

Date:
10/25/98
Time:
10:57:41 PM

Comments

Ron
Is the 11 plant garden suitable for growing tomato's in or should the distances between the planters be increased to allow for the growth of the tomato's when they fill out.

Yes the 11 plant garden is to close for tomatoes and it doesn't give you much room for roots in the two liter bottle. I do grow a patio type tomato plants sometimes called bush tomato plants in the 2 liter but I like to use the gallon size system at 18 inches apart for full size plants that can grow to 12 feet.
Ron

Date:
10/26/98
Time:
8:38:18 AM

Comments

Amigo Ron:
I just started with my 25, two-liter-bottle garden and I had a hell of a time trying to come up with the right amount of fertilizer and so on. My system works with a sumergable pump (2100 lt/hr) and the reservoir has an 80 lt capacity and I'm using triple 14 as fertilizer and 80 cc of folial fertilizer, too. The Ph level was too high and I used hydrogen peroxide (9% v) to make it go down to about 6.8.
What I would like to know, besides the rigth proportions of fertilizer, is what products can I use to rise or lower the Ph without ruinnig the plants and ,of course, the fertilizer mixture? Can I use the same products people use to adjust the Ph in swimming pools? If so, I will appreciate a list of what i can and cannot used and the amounts in grams, please.
Thank you and best regards
Saludos
Julian Pena D Venezuela

Hello Saludos
Here is what it says in my book Hydroponic Home Food Gardens by Howard M. Rush about pH adjustment:

The pH of the nutrient solution can be raised ( made more basic ) by use of potassium hydroxide (KOH), sodium hydroxide (NaOH), or bicarbonate of soda (NaHCO3). The latter is safest to use; the first two burn the skin.

Great caution must be observed, and goggles and rubber gloves must be worn when using the hydroxides (the first two compounds mentioned above). Carefully observe all of the cautions suggested by the manufacturer. The addition of small amounts (several grams) will quickly shift the pH of the nutrient solution toward basic.

A basic solution is lowered ( made more acidic ) by addition of sulfuric acid (H2SO4)-battery acid; nitric acid (HNO3); hydrochloric acid (HC1)-muriatic acid, sometimes used to treat swimming pools; or acetic acid, such as vinegar.

The best acid to use, from the standpoint of simple effectiveness, is sulfuric acid, but it is especially corrosive and-as with nitric acid and hydrochloric acid-burns the skin. So again, rubber gloves and goggles must be worn to prevent injury to hands and eyes.

After reading that, hydroponics don't seem like so much fun any more does it. That is why I pay 30 dollars a gallon for pH up and down from a hydroponic grow store. I don't know what they use but you don't have to wear gloves and goggles.
Ron
P.S Here is a comment about acids in hydroponics from a fellow member:

The first and more important is that an inexperienced person should never attempt to use nitric acid. It is one of the most unforgiving acids if one accidentally splashes a little on bare skin. As for hydrochloric and sulfuric, If used in small amounts, can be effective, but if you are attempting to control ph in water that has carbonates as most ground water in Florida has, the amounts needed will probably put enough sulfur or chlorine in the solution to negatively effect the plants.
By far the best acid for hobby growers and those who have little or no experiences with acids is phosphoric acid (H3PO4)
The by product is phosphorus, which is used by the plants, and although it is still an acid and should be handles as such, it is far safer than other acids.

Date:
10/28/98
Time:
12:18:51 AM

Comments

Ron
When you use the gallon containers for growing the larger tomato's do you still use the grow rocks or do you use a different medium.

Yes I do. I use a 2 quart plastic pot with a flexible plastic screen in the bottom so the grow rocks won't fall though then that pot fits into the gallon jug. If you use a smaller medium like perlite then you should use paint strainers like Glen does.
Ron

Date:
10/30/98
Time:
7:28:33 PM

Comments

Hey Ron what happend to the BBS?? Oh well, this is still one of the better sites anyhow.

Ok, this may sound stainge but I've only used liquid type organics in any setup I've playd with. I'll mix the nutes let them sit for about a day to let things get going(organisms to start breaking down material) and then use. I change the salution about once a week checking the ph and adjusting daily. So far so good but I've been talked into trying the General Hydro formula as the main fertilizer and just suplimenting with organics. I know that this is the type of ferts to be using to begin with but my roots came from the ground (heheheh). Any comments??????

Also, I will be messing with a small aero unit (the main reason for the GH nutes) and it was sudjested that I get a TDS meter to messure the ppm (strength)of the solution for this type of setup and so that I'm not throwing away good mixture and I am told that aero is tuchy ect. ect. watever. I'm a DIY type of guy, everything is homemade mainly for money reasons and I don't know if I can/want to afford 60-100+ for such an instrament. Is there a cheaper way?? Do they work the same as a multy test meter(ohms)?? Any comments are greatly apritiated.

Play it All That Jazz

Sorry about the BBS. It malfunctioned as computers some times do. I couldn't figure out why I wasn't getting any questions.

When I tried organics (bat shit) I had a hard time measuring PPM even with a TDS meter until I read that it is normal to get a false reading when using organics.
Sorry but their is just  no cheap way around not using a TDS meter.
pH you can use cheap test tape for a reading but for PPM the only way to measure is by adding one gallon at a time to what it says on the bottle to add to give you a correct PPM. Usually 1/2 to 1 1/2 teaspoon of nutrient solution per gallon of water, depending on the age of your plants.
A multi-test meter won't work because it relies on an outside electrical source to get a reading and a TDS meter has it's own battery to send an electric current across it's electrodes to measure parts per million in your solution.
Haven't tried areoponics yet but is on my list of things to try.
Ron

 

Date:
10/31/98
Time:
3:12:04 PM

Comments

Hey Ron, Quick Question. I am considering opening a hydroponic retail store in a large city. The closest place to buy anything hydro is at least an hour away. Do hydropnic dealers make a decent living? And can you direct me to some wholesalers that can get me started? Thanks.

HydroFarm is the only wholesaler that I know of that will sell a complete stocking order to someone opening a grow store.
hydrofarm@aol.com - www.hydrofarm.com
Ron

Date:
10/31/98
Time:
3:47:48 PM

Comments

Ron
What kind of fertilizer do you use for growing tomato's? Is there any brand that is better than the others?

Any fertilizer formulated for general hydroponics will work ok but if you want it just for a particular vegetable then try www.hydro-gardens.com
Ron

Date:
11/1/98
Time:
12:10:11 PM

Comments

Can someone explain how the Rainforest system made by General Hydroponics operate?? As I understand from reading the description, it does not require a misting nozzle. How is that possible?? Hope to hear from you soon. Thanks!!

Date:
11/4/98
Time:
10:55:52 AM

Comments

Need more pictures.

Am working on it. Stay tuned.
Ron

Date:
11/4/98
Time:
6:10:21 PM

Comments

Hi, everyone. I am a 10th grade high school student and am going to do a project on hydroponics for the science fair. I was wondering what plants grow the quickest and show the most drastic changes compared to growing in normal soil. I am experimenting with adding calcium to the nutrient solution. Any thoughts or suggestions are greatly appreciated. I live in Virginia. Brian

Blooming plants like these mums grow faster than vegetables and herbs and spices do also.
Ron

Date:
11/6/98
Time:
10:03:15 PM

Comments

What are the best hid's for plant growth. Most supplyers over here recommend Sodium which I have been using without much success. I keep getting told that my plants need more light: I'm no expert, but the plants which I am growing do not need 30,000 lux. I feel that they would grow much better under metal halide lamps, but I am reluctant to spend any more money until I am sure. I have already bought 250, 400, 600 watt systems on the advice of 'experts' in the UK.
Steve

Metal halide is favored by many indoor growers because of its broad spectrum of white light and is ideal for seedlings and  vegetative growth and then switch to high pressure sodium for flowering because HPS has a light spectrum in the red, orange and yellow range. A combination of the two will give your plants the full light spectrum they need for healthy growth.
Ron 

Date:
11/6/98
Time:
10:37:05 PM

Comments

Why does the nutrient solution tend to get alkaline? I keep adding acid, bringing it down to 5 for my basil plants, and pretty soon it'll be creeping back up to 7 or something.Does the medium affect this? We're using lava rocks that have been boiled. Thanks - john s

If you are using city water you might try filtering it before using it and your lava rocks might be leaching something that's affecting your pH.
I use well water that I don't have to adjust at all but my neighbors have to use a lot of pH down to keep theirs right.
Ron

Date:
11/7/98
Time:
9:10:25 PM

Comments

I have a 50 foot x15 foot building. Electicity, water, insulation, air exchange system. Would this be large enough for a small commercial operation? What would be approximate cost to setup? Thanks anybody. Mike jakeacre@hcil.net

If you plan on using HID lights at one 1000 watt light for every 8 ft by 8 ft of growing area then you better have deep pockets.
Ron

Date:
11/9/98
Time:
2:48:34 PM

Comments

I would like to start out real basic with a passive wick system. Any good literature on setting this system up? Pros/cons, wick thickness/# wicks for 1/2 gallon containers with 6" rockwool slabs? etc. Some say this is great beginner system while others say it keeps the medium too wet etc.

Hello,
Wick systems in my opinion are a good starting point, this is the type of system I messed with at first but went to a drip system (a better choice in my opinion).

I don't think rockwool is a good idea for a passive setup, I've been told the ph is to unstable for such a thing but I've never used the stuff myself, so??? What I do is use a soiless mix of 1/1/1 perlite, vermiculite, super soil. This mixture should be ph neutral or just below and acts as a buffer which is very important in a passive system, it also hold a decent amount of moisture without restricting air (air is one of the main problems with passive systems). For wicks I use 1/4" braided nylon cord, running them threw the bottom and halfway up the sides, 1 wick per gallon of soil but no less than two total so that you can keep the soiless mix evenly moist. Container size will depend on the type of plant so you are on you're own there, just make sure it is large enough to accommodate the entire root mass (I don't suggest letting the roots hang into the res. in this type of system, you may get rot!).

Ok, the reservoir, an air pump and stone or the adequate and a pump of some sort to oxygenate and circulate the nutrient solution is recommended especially if organics are used, otherwise you will have stale water and possibly a stinking mess to deal with. A hydroponic nutrient formula will probably be better if possible (I'm just now learning to use hydro notes so bear with me:). You may have problems with rapid evaporation leading to nasty ph swings and possibly a rise in ppm depending on your setup (got a ppm meter on the way, can't see getting by without one anymore, but from what I've been told you still need to be a good plant reader if you are going to use organics).

This brings me back to my earlier comment, I honestly think that a drip system is a better way to start because of several things- the nutrient tank/res. can be somewhat sealed to avoid rapid evaporation, ph is easier to maintain - the nutrient solution can be timed to eliminate root rot and over watering (specific to type of plant) - the solution being delivered can be aerated along the way - there is no restriction as far as how the plants are placed they can be moved around if set up right - the res. can be remote since it operates off a pump and I think that a drip system is easier to setup and maintain compared to a passive system. Just my two cents.

Hope my babbling helps.

All That Jazz

Date:
11/10/98
Time:
8:14:47 PM

Comments

Thanks for the info, Ron. So for a 10 x 10 room and growing plants that normally get shade or filtered light, what would be the best combination of HID's? I have tried one 400w M/H with the 600w Son T but the plants stretch like crazy then stop growing and start to produce side shoots. Its as if they cannot handle all that orange/red from the sodium lamp. If I use more the problem gets worse.

How much light would a shade plant normally get: Lux, lumens, PAR any advise would be great.

Thanks, Steve.

Light Requirement Categories for All Plants

Milliwatts per square meter (mWm2) is the irradiance produced by one-thousandth of a watt of light energy beamed into a surface of one square meter.

3,000 mWm2: Lighting after flower induction (forcing) during the latter part of cultivation; growing long-day plants, giving a little growth stimulation as well.

4,500 mWm2: Cultivation of vegetables, flowers (for produce and flowers) through harvest; young spaced vegetative plants.

6,000 mWm2: For rooting and young plants while still packed under the HID; high light vegetables, flowers (for produce and flowers) plants.

7,500 mWm2: Rooting some nursery stock and some high-light plants.

9,000 mWm2: Expensive plants; fast and programmed crops; special cases. Producing this much supplemental light in a room is very expensive.

Growing tropical plants (orchids or bromeliads) indoors from equatorial regions, growers give their gardens 12 hours of light throughout the life cycle to replicate the less dynamic photoperiod of the tropics. On the equator, days and nights are almost exactly the same length the years round. When this method is used, plants tend to bloom when they are chronologically ready, after thoroughly completing the vegetative growth stage.

The average house plant is "night neutral" since it will grow and bloom well with six to eight hours of darkness. These plants require 14 to 16 hours of daylight. Examples of these plants include most gesneraids, oxalis, Exacum affine, many begonias, and most house plants.

Chrysanthemums, poinsettias, species columnea, orchids and some begonias, Christmas cactus and related plants will bloom only if given a long night of 14 to16 hours and less than 8 to10 hours of light per night.

Summer-blooming plants and vegetables need 18 hours of light per day and a short night of 6 hours. Geraniums, annuals, tuberous begonias and seedlings of almost all plants are in this category. In fact, African violets will double their blossom production if they are given 18 hours of light rather than 12 hours.

Foliage plants are raised for green foliage; flowers are not important. These plants can have varying amounts of light and dark and growth is not affected. Examples are rex begonias, aroids, palms, marantas and ferns.

From my book: Gardening Indoors by George F. Van Patten
Ron

Date:
11/11/98
Time:
8:07:44 AM
 

Comments

ron please help plants are turning yellow and leaves are droping off rappidly. flushing plants w/ h2o useing gen. hydro. nutrients just switched to bloom formula and everything has gone down hill PLEASE HELP

A pH over 7 could slow down the plant's iron intake, and chloritic leaves with yellowing veins could result.
Incorrect pH contributes to most serious nutrient disorders.
Many growers worry about nutrient application and do not pay attention to the pH.
Ron

Date:
11/13/98
Time:
6:00:29 PM

Comments

Hello,

Any sudgestions on wich ppm meter (within the $50-100 range)I should go with?

I am gathering the rest of the neccesary materials for a green house. Should be able to put it together by the end of the month (probobly in the snow, oh well:). It's a quansa-hut style unit so can I use 4-6 mill plastic sheeting or should I use the stuff sold for greenhouses?

Any sudgestions for herbs? Something that is forgiving, I'll be trying some new things so I need a margin for error. I was thinking mabe basil but I want to try a few others also...just don't know wich ones.

I can't wait, It's got me almost giddy, I'll have a place under the sun year round. Will be setting up several different systems...airo (already built a small prototype,exciting!), flood and drain/flow types (in the works),gravel water culture(curently in use) and of corse soiless in buckets with drip (curently in use) because I still want to mess with the organics some.....I'll also be vermacomposting to make my own worm castings, and put my garbage to good use:)First bin will be built by the end of next week...just gota get those redworms ordered (to many things on one list, but it keeps me outa trouble).

Ok mabe I'm just dense but how dose one reply directly to a comment? Thanks for letting me ramble, I get tired of talking to the dog....he never hase anything to say

All That Jazz

The best PPM meter that has lasted the longest is the Dip Stick. It doesn't need calibrating and has an automatic shut off for people like me who leave the pen on and the batteries die. Cost $110.00 but well worth it.

Here in Florida I can grow just about any herb. Their is a greenhouse down the road that sells 150 verities that I am going to try to see which ones do best in hydroponics. I will let you know.

If you let me know what comment you are referring to I will post it right under the comment so it will make sense.

Ron

Date:
11/15/98
Time:
11:06:56 AM

Comments

Hello Ron -- do you have a "minature greenhouse" plan for our perusal?? The one you built for your hydroponic systems is perfect for our needs since we have limited space and at the sametime, want a roof for our system. There are a couple of minature greenhouse snapshots in your picture index, using pvc pipes (for frame) and clear fibergalss/plastic (for roof). It would be greatly appreciated if you share the plan with us. Thanks, Wayne

I will have to find my old plans because they are my old gardens that I don't make anymore because they were to much work to build for the price that I could get for them. I will get back to you soon if I can find them.
Ron

Date:
11/16/98
Time:
12:06:24 AM

Comments

Question: I've just built an Aqua-Farm type 5 gal bucket system with Air pump. I set it to run 1.5 hours, three times a day during light-on periods only (set to 18 hours of light per day). Anyone tell me their experiences as to whether to much/to little? I'm growing in straight perlite, and it feels dry, even though I've had to add almost 1/2 gallon of water to keep tank level the same in less than 4 days. Thanks

If the water just trickles from the top down I would let it run continuously during light on periods.
Ron

Date:
11/16/98
Time:
10:03:29 AM

Comments

I am doing a term paper on hydroponics. If anyone has any info that would be helpful please email me.

ryan4200@hotmail.com

Date:
11/16/98
Time:
4:59:57 PM

Comments

Has anyone done any work involving introducing an electrical current to a hydoponic nutrient solution?

Yea I tried adding 50,000 volts to my reservoir but I keep killing my employees when they fill the tanks.
Ron

Date:
11/16/98
Time:
6:55:00 PM

Comments

Timers, timers, timers, Who has a cheap timer good for a hydro system?? I've been testing  one built with the 555 chip but it's too flaky. My tried and true method is an old analog clock that I ripped the minute hand off and replaced it with a cam, then glued a roller swith to the face of the clock. This works, but it's hard to change cycle times. So if anyone has a better system PLEASE!! Let me know.
Webby web823@charweb.org

Let me know too.
Ron

Date:
11/16/98
Time:
10:18:32 PM

Comments

Ron
I found a greenhouse on the internet that would be pretty easy to build. I think the link is http://www.ns.net/~bennu/bkyd/green.html It is about 12x14 and uses pvc pipe.

Date:
11/17/98
Time:
9:40:07 AM

Comments

Great Site!! I need some info on timing for nutrients.Using your 11 plant system with grow rocks and a 6 event per day digital timer what would be the best settings? Once every 4 hours? Thanks for the help.

That's the problem with inexpensive timers is that they don't water enough times during a 24 hour period to be adequate for hydro systems that use grow rocks. I have to water every half hour to keep my plants from wilting and to get the benefits from force feeding my plants for them to grow faster.
I use a Dayton 1 hour cycle timer that repeats every hour with one minute pins that I add depending on the size of my gardens. It cost about 70 dollars but I can use it for all my gardens by putting a flow control valve on the smaller gardens to water to the correct height as the largest garden.
Ron

Date:
11/18/98
Time:
1:22:04 PM

Comments

Which has better results: Ebb and Flow or a Nutrient Flow System??

NFT ( Nutrient Film Technique) systems are the most productive for fast growing plants like bib lettuce. They operate on a very simple principle. The roots grow into a shallow mat located in a light-tight draining grow bed. Nutrient solution flows over the roots up to 24 hours per day. The majority of the roots actually grow on top of the thin matting. The nutrient solution flows slowly over the roots. This system allows the most air and nutrients to be absorbed by the roots.

Ebb and Flow or Flood and Drain systems work well for longer season plants like tomatoes. This system works when water floods into the bed, usually from the bottom, pushing the CO2-rich oxygen- poor air out. When the medium drains, it draws the new oxygen-rich air into the growing medium.

Top feed systems apply the nutrient solution to the base of each plant with a small hose. The solution is aerated as it flows through the air. 

The one thing that you will notice in all three of these systems is oxygen that is applied one way or another to the roots for healthy plant growth.

Ron

Date:
11/18/98
Time:
7:02:17 PM

Comments

Conducting a science fair project on hydroponics. Any information concerning this topic will be greatly appreciated. CinnamynSwrl98@netscape.net

Date:
11/19/98
Time:
6:52:17 AM

Comments

Ron

I don't know whether it is in the comments or not, but how far apart should the spacing be when growing tomato plants. Thanks

I like 18 inches because tomato plants can get pretty big.
Ron

Date:
11/20/98
Time:
5:20:18 PM

Comments

retail supplier of 'CANNA' hydro nutrient in Yorks. area needed

CAN YOU HELP PLEASE!!!

richfranks@hotmail.com

Date:
11/20/98
Time:
11:43:11 PM

Comments

Regarding Acids.. If you're a beginner and don't want to mess around with strong hydroxides, the best basic compound you can buy would be something like sodium hydrogen carbonate, commonly called bicarb soda or "baking powder". To make your solution more acidic, you could use diluted acetic acid.. white vinegar would work just fine (one teaspoon/L will raise pH by one point, if I remember correctly), or you could try tartaric acid (in shops as "Cream of Tartar"). Happy growing, mstrates@croftj.net

Date:
11/21/98
Time:
12:00:39 AM

Comments

Hello.. I have been gardening in organo-hydroponics solutions for about one year now, with varied success. Once I learned the correct quantities of organic substances to put in, I was getting comparable results to the general purpose solution. I beleive that the one problem with the organo-hydroponics systems is that the nutrients are not in plant soluble form. Anyhow, I was reading in a book somewhere that carbonic acid (basically CO2 dissolved in water) takes undissolved nutrients from the humus (or other organic matter), and makes them plant soluble. I'm doing some experiments at the moment, but I beleive it is important to let the carbonic acid sit for about 12 hours to let the CO2 dissipate after putting your nutrients in, as carbonic acid is slightly alkaline. Has anybody had any experience with this??

Michael, mstrates@croftj.net

Date:
11/21/98
Time:
12:10:30 AM

Comments

Hi Ron, I am a novice at this and my results are varied. I'm using a commercial two step nutrient solution in a drip system with perlite and metal halide lights My tomato plants do well until they start to flower, and then the leaves start to turn yellow and curl up, sometimes with brown spots. I thought they were getting too much water so cut back to 2x a day, but from what I read, most other hydroponic gardens get watered much more often. Drainage does not seem to be a problem, but my roots did look somewhat brown last time I pulled a plant...Any suggestions?

If your plants don't continue to produce white roots as they mature but turn brown then you do have a problem. Figuring out the problem isn't so easy. Tomatoes need a lot of light to grow indoors so I would make sure that they are getting it. Watering to much shouldn't be the problem if like you said you have good drainage.
Ron

Date:
12/4/98
Time:
11:43:19 PM

Comments

Somebody commented on the bulletin board about his tomato plants going yellow with brown spots. This sounds awfully alot like tomato blight to me. Spray all of your good plants with a chemical called copper oxychlorate, or a mixture of a few spoons of copper sulphate, and a spoon of sodium tetraborate (sp?) sold in supermarkets as Borax. Spray this mix LIGHTLY onto the plants, and run water through your nutrient solution a few times to get rid of the traces. Burn all infected plants. Michael <mstrates@croftj.net>

Date:
11/24/98
Time:
3:17:50 AM

Comments

Is there a difference between Ebb and Flow and Drip Irrigation? If so which has the better results? Also what is the difference bewen these and Nutrient Flow Systems?

I will post some pictures explaining the difference as soon as I get my scanner working again.
Ron

Date:
11/25/98
Time:
12:29:39 AM

Comments

Hi Organohydroaquapeaniacs !!

(Compliment... Im a aquasustainablehydrosolarponic!! )

Is there anyone else like myself out there in the teething stages of setting up a combined system of fish, chicken, goat, algae hydrponic system, using recircirculation techniques??

Maybe we can compare notes? Anyone interested?

Thanks. Sue greensueathotmail.com http://www.members.tripod.com/colibri_cove/myindex.htm

Date:
12/5/98
Time:
2:46:29 PM

Comments

FOUND IT!! Hi Ron, and everybody else. Back on 11/25/98 I left a response to a request for plans to an easy to build small greenhouse. I had a bad address and have found the new one. Here it is:

 

Once again I know the address is long, but well worth typing in. The original request came from Wayne on 11/15/98. Good luck and "Happy Balanced pH"

Date:
11/25/98
Time:
10:15:09 AM

Comments

Hi Ron, We are growing tomatoes, zucchinis, cucumbers and leafy salad veggies in hydroponics here in the Philippines. Because of the extreme tropical weather here, we experience very easily and often, root rot. What is the prevention and cure for this problem. It's driving us nuts !!!
Aussie Bob

I would put an air stone in your reservoir to come on when your pump does to make sure you are getting enough oxygen to the roots. Make sure you aren't watering your plants more often than needed
Ron

Date:
11/25/98
Time:
7:51:11 PM

Comments

ok , this may be a stupid question,,,using your 11 plant system, the pump (controlled by the timer) pumps the water up into the bottles right?, my question is, after the water is pumped i assume that the water drains back into the bucket, so how often should the pump run??-please tell me if i've gotten it all wrong--joe

Yes you got it right joe. You only need to let the water rise in the bottles and then drain immediately every 20 minutes or so. But if you are using a 30 minute on timer then I would water less often or you might have the same problem as the previous question,
root rot.
Ron

Date:
11/27/98
Time:
1:21:52 PM

Comments

looking at buying a Cropking 4 bay hydroponic system would like to know if anyone knows anything about Cropking and there systems please E-mail me at krohm@mail.ohio.net thanks

Date:
11/30/98
Time:
3:56:38 PM

Comments

can someone tell me the average yeild in pounds and the length of time tomato plants live and bear fruit

Bruce McDougald mertis@lantic.co.za

It depends on the type of tomatoes, the kind of system their grown in, how large your garden is, and most important how much time you put into the garden keeping everything at optimal growing conditions the whole life of the garden.
And that can be a long time because tomato plants are indeterminate, which means they grow and produce fruits continually.
Tomato plants are not effected by hours of light or darkness like some plants we know.
Ron

Date:
12/4/98
Time:
9:24:48 AM

Comments

Dear Ron I am a hydroponics enthusiast growing leafy and fruit vegetables. Lately I have been concerned about reports that hydroponically grown vegetables may have a high nitrate content. High nitrates in food have been implicated in gastric carcinoma (cancer).I use a universal nutrient formula containing approx.190ppm nitrogen (supplied by Calcium nitrate and KNO3;no ammonium compounds). I wonder if you or anyone has any information confirming or refuting the theory/any other solutions to the problem. Thank you. Dr.Nagappan Penang,Malaysia

I sure would like to know that too. Hey you don't work for the dirt industry do you. Let me see your fingernails.
Ron

Date:
12/6/98
Time:
6:45:56 PM

Comments

Ron, I tried to go through the whole site before asking questions. Forgive me if you've already answered these a million times! What quantity of grow rocks does the 20oz. Solo cup use? Are grow rocks just expanded clay pellets? I just started the seeds for a 17 plant version of your flood and drain coke bottle design and will need to get some soon (from you). I noticed in another Q&A that you place grow rocks a small distance up the stem for suport. Does it hurt anything if part of the stem gets flooded in addition to the root or do only the roots need to be below flood level? I have an Intermatic electronic timer from home depot which controlls six events (six ons and six offs) Is this enough watering for tomatoes, lettuce, ect in grow rock medium? Should I run a cycle at night to simply keep the roots from drying out overnight? Your site is so helpful, thanks for your time and patience!

A 20 oz. cup holds 4 more oz. than a 16 oz cup. About 4 handfuls.
Yes grow rocks are a man made clay fired aggregate.
Let the water rise only about 1 inch below the grow rocks. Don't fill higher than your rocks or they will float out of the cups.
I love those timers because of the battery in them but for grow rocks 6 times a day just isn't enough. Especially when your plants get large.
You don't need to water at night but I will admit I do sometimes for conveyance. Power outages and such.
Ron

Date:
12/7/98
Time:
8:10:15 PM

Comments

Hi again: I just tried to fit a plastic pepsi bottle to a 3/4 threaded plastic tee. The bottle is slightly larger than the tee. What tees, and bottles work best. Thanks. John Bell jbel@email.msn.com.

If you use 3/4 tees you have to grind a little off the 2 liter bottle and glue the hell out of it to keep it from leaking. A hot glue gun works well. Another way is to drill out the 3/4 inch tee the size of the bottle A 1 inch hole saw works. Put the tee in a vice or you will spin your fingers off.
The best solution is to use 1 inch tees with a 1 inch thin wall pipe inserts and the bottle cap fits snugly with no drilling, grinding and the bottles unscrew for easy cleaning.
Ron

Date:
12/12/98
Time:
10:55:36 PM

Comments

Question: I would like to get started on a beginner's scale with hydroponics in our hobby greenhouse that is 10 by 48. Do you have any suggestions where I could get a setup that would get me started? Mike S

Hi Mike
If you bought a hydroponic system to fit in a 10 X 48 space it would cost you thousands of dollars.
Your best bet would be to read this wep site and build your own and start drinking your ass off of 2 liter soda and start bleaching the hell out of your clothes.
Ron

Date:
12/13/98
Time:
11:37:49 AM

Comments

How often should you change chemicals and what is the best priced/value?

Every few weeks.
Granule nutrient solution is cheaper than liquid but should be desolved in warm water before adding to your tank
Ron

Date:
12/13/98
Time:
7:19:21 PM

Comments

i have little black flying nats in my hydro garden..what can i do?

Yellow Sticky Traps if you don't like poison but if you do then drown them suckers with it.
Ron

Date:
12/13/98
Time:
9:09:21 PM

Comments

when you use solo cups in the 2 liter bottles do you make a hole in the bottom of the cup as well as the sides or just the sides?

No so the roots won't grow strait down into the pipe. If the roots have to grow out the sides first then most of the time they won't grow down the pipe and stay within the bottle.
Ron

Date:
12/13/98
Time:
9:43:53 PM

Comments

Ron in an earlier message you said

" A multimeter doesn't have an internal electrical source to send across its electrodes to get a ppm reading."
But a multimeter can measure conductivity in the form of ohms, correct?
Can one figure PPM from the below equation with an ohms reading?
I E.C. or 1 Siemen = 1 mho/cm of conductivity. To convert E.C. or Siemen to PPM, multiply them by 650. The Mho is the reciprocal of the Ohm of electrical resistance, Mho=1/ohm

Yes you can convert the reading to anything you want once you have the reading but to get the reading you still have to shoot an electrical current through that 1 centimeter of solution to get how many parts per million their is.
And unlike a PPM pen that has batteries to send that current a multimeter does not.
Ron

Date:
12/16/98
Time:
1:00:35 PM

Comments

I am Valdes HYdroponics is a new world for me to explore thanks for the bottle garden specs.

Date:
12/19/98
Time:
5:27:36 AM

Comments

Hello, I am looking for a source to purchase some type of shade to reduce the amount of sun light coming in my solarium. Do you or any one you know of have something like this available? Please let me know via e-mail at plauer@earthling.net Thank You, Paul Lauer

Date:
12/20/98
Time:
7:48:41 AM

Comments

i need to know how to/when to feed my homemade hydroponic system

With hydroponic nutrient solution / when your plants need watering.

Date:
12/21/98
Time:
10:26:27 AM

Comments

Hey Ron, Instead of a ? this time maybe i can help u & other members as well. After a hard struggle w/ ph levels, reaching 7.0 12 hours after adjusting, I found at Lowes garden center pond start ph Decreaser It cost $12.00 for 16 oz. I use 1/2 teaspoon per gal. & only adjust ph when i change my resevoir. however my c02 gen. is still another problem.

Date:
12/26/98
Time:
2:35:40 AM

Comments

Looking for High Quality Cannabis Seed, Come see Stinky At Stinky's Fine Dutch Seedbank. go here http://www.freeyellow.com/members3/stinkyseeds/index.html Or email me at:- stinkyseeds@yahoo.com

Date:
12/26/98
Time:
9:47:47 AM

Comments

Hi Ron,

I've been told the plants that I am growing only need 4,000 lumens; I've never been able to get my head round this lumens thing. Therefore, can you possibly tell me what this equates to in lux or foot candles - even PAR would do.
I would really appreciate any help you could give me and thank you in advance.
Yours sincerely,
Steve.

Hello Steve
One foot-candle equals the amount of light that falls on one square foot of surface located one foot away from one candle.
One lumen is equal to the amount of light emitted by one candle that falls on one square foot of surface one foot away.
To give you an idea a 1000-watt standard metal halide emits100,000 lumens when it's new so you wouldn't need much light to achieve 4,000 lumens.
Ron 

Date:
12/29/98
Time:
2:10:25 PM

Comments

Ron can you post any recipe's that one can use for a foliar spray for N, P, Mg, Fe, Cu, Zn, B, Mo, Mn, supliments anything would be greatly appreciated.

Can't find any formulas in my hydro books but I know they sell foliar spray at the nursery store pretty cheap.

Date:
12/31/98
Time:
2:10:07 PM

Comments

Ron
Thanks for all the great info.

Date:
1/8/99
Time:
11:48:30 PM

Comments

Is it possible to make your own nutrients blend from household compostable material? I have no experiance with hydroponics, infact I checked out this site just today. I don't want to start and immediatly become dependent on manufactured nutrients. Is this possible or am I an idiot?

I have heard of making your own tea from cow manure soaked in a barrel for a long time and then strain the lumps out and use the tee in your hydro system. If you don't mind your garden smelling like a giant fart.
Some members claim to use Miracle-Grow with some success so I have been trying it in my pool garden.
Here is a picture of one of my strawberry plants.
Ron

Date:
1/9/99
Time:
10:35:31 AM

Comments

Hi Ron, The weather is really starting to cool down here in eastern NC.I was thinking about using an aquarium water heater in my tank for some strawberries and lettuce that I am growing in an unheated greenhouse using an NFT system.My question is this,if the roots are suspended in a 65 degree stream of water(air temp 35) will the plant grow as if it were in a 65 degree enviornment?I asked one reputable Hydro store owner that question and he could'nt answer it.What do you think?
Thanks, Kevin
BTW,I have built several of your systems with great success.Thanks for all the info.

Hello Kevin
I think if the plants don't get any heat from the water to worm them up a little, 35 degrees is to low for them to flourish.
They might stay alive but your goal is to produce fruit.
We had a couple of cold nights last week and I didn't add heat in my greenhouse and lost a few plants. My strawberry plants survived but I lost some pepper plants.
Ron

Date:
1/9/99
Time:
6:23:30 PM

Comments

Hello, I have never tried hrdroponics only outdoor dirt growing. Would I have enough room for a small scale hydroponics system in a room 3 feet*4 feet*8to12 feet high?

You could fit a 2 liter garden like the 11 Plant Garden in a space that small or for larger plants you could put a 4 or 6 gallon system with that much height.

Date:
1/11/99
Time:
9:14:39 AM

Comments

if i am not mistaken, the pipe of dream system uses a ebb and flow system. if i am right, how often to you flood the 11 plant garden system ?
green thumb

About every 30 minutes.

Date:
1/11/99
Time:
2:39:02 PM

Comments

Hi Ron,

I am just starting to play with hydroponics for the first time. I have four tomato plants in a Hydorfarm MegaGarden which are about 18" tall and have been doing very well. The system is set up to flood the roots once a day with Hydrofarm 7-7-7 nutrient once a day for 30 minutes starting at about 7 AM. I started using the system at the beginning of Dec. and have changed the nutrient once in the beginning of January. I am using a two bulb grow light flourescent fixture for 18 hours each day. In the last few days I have noticed that the top foliage wants to curl toward the end of the day. When I first noticed it the top stem of the tallest plant was actually curled like a curly cue with the leaves also curling. I assumed that it needed more nutrient and turned on the pump. By the next morning it looked better. I must admit that the plant had grown to within an inch or two of the plant top. I have since raised the light and started to have two 30 minutes of nutrient flooding,but I still have similar symptoms, just not as bad (no curly cues just curled leaves). I also checked the pH this morning and found it to be right at 7.0. Have you got any suggestions as to what it might be or how to eliminate the problem?

I am also interested in trying to do an analysis of the possibility of growing tomatoes for a profit. Where can I get info on the basics for the analysis, such as: - Optimal spacing of plants - Average yield of a typical plant - Wholesale market prices of tomatoes and other potential crops - Typical crop producing life span of a tomato plant

My guess would be that they are suffering from lack of light. Fluorescent lights are ok for the first few weeks of plant life then you are going to have to add a stronger light source. Metal Halide or High Pressure Sodium or move the garden to a large window for natural sunlight.

Date:
1/12/99
Time:
12:09:18 PM

Comments

Ron, How do I get started? Send information on your book and supplies information.
Thanks,
Bob

As soon as I write a book I will let you know.

Date:
1/13/99
Time:
11:41:15 PM

Comments

Hi Ron 1st english isnt my fist language so please dont criticaze me, if i dont spell something\anything right. I have no clue how to grow flovers vegtebles of anykind, but i found this hydroponics a nice thing to do and i didnt have a clue how it is done till i saw your slide show how to build it ( IT KICK ASS ) and now i have couple of questions 1. Im thinking about using up half of a bottel and do i need to put jug in it or i can just put lets say grow rocks and something to prevent to fall thrue in the irigation system? 2. Could i water container on same or higher level than plants, but now to high so that overflow will go back in the water container. I think this is posible, but i need to know how high i can go? Up to the level of grow rocks? 3.If i have lights on 24 hours a day will this work fine if ill have water pump working all the time? 4. And how often i need nutrient and how much. Just give me an exsample. 5. And final do i just put the seeds in grow rock or do i need to start in water of ditr to start up the plant? Thanks in advance Boto

Hello Boto
1 Yes you can use as much of the 2 liter bottle as you want and not use the solo cups and use a screen like this to hold the plants.
2 The water should rise below the top of the grow rocks to keep them from floated out of the bottles. Just make sure the water rises to the roots so they get a good soaking before draining.
3 You can leave the light on all the time for a lot of plants but some plants need a certain amount of darkness to bloom and produce fruit.
4 You should water every time with your nutrient solution every 20 or 30 minutes if you use grow rocks.
5 You should start your seeds in vermiculite or dirt until they are well rooted then wash off the dirt before putting them in your garden.
Ron

Date:
1/14/99
Time:
10:49:47 AM

Comments

Hi Boto again If i water them every 20- 30 minutes for lets say 15 mins now do i know when nutrient solution is consumed? and how do i make this solution? and i would appreciate if you have any contacts with Europe if you can recommend some nutrition's, grow media cause i don't have any idea what to use how to do anything ? thanks a lot for you info ohh and sorry about earlier msg it was written to fast Boto




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