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New Immigration Laws Pave the way for Hydroponic Farming
Powdery and Downy Mildew
Building your own Indoor Grow Room part 2
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The Benefits of Chelated Micro-nutrients
Is the pH really that important?
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
Indoor winter greens using flood and drain system with PVC pipes
cucumber leaf problems
How good a hydro grown plants?
What are your main difficulties with water in hydroponics?
My homemade deep water culture
can imagine the water running back through the pump
Smallest cubes
Light recommendation for Tomato Hydroponic setup (first timer)
what TDS level for leafy greens and herbs in indoor Tower Garden?
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Lettuce and Germs... We've got mold
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How You Can Cure Root Rot
Ipower 400w light with hps bulb and MH bulb
Cucumber nutrient
Kale Problem
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Question and Answer Page 14

Subjects

increase the levels of CO2 Tips on finding SDR 26 (Thinwall) PVC: what's the best lighting system
nutrient pumping cycle 430 watt sun agro bulb ideas as to the best and least complicated
germinate in paper towels very fine cob webs "topping off" the solution?
photosysthesis needs water can ebb & flo system be modified is it necessary to use solo cups
How long should you run the pump? How important is humidity "correct" HID bulb for plant growth?
I can buy only thick wall algae growing in the rockwool difficulty in getting nutrient for hydroponic
how big a nutrient tank to use? How long do I run the pump seedlings are growing at different rates

  Date:

3/16/99
Time:
8:46:24 AM

Comments

Ron, Help!!! I have 500 strawberry plants coming soon. How do I plant them. I have done a 1 gal. system before to grow tomatoes. Any other ideas? What about medium. I'm afraid grow rocks will be too expensive. Thanks...Greg

Hello Greg
I have a half dozen strawberries that is just now producing fruit. I have them in grow rocks in one gallon system but I don't think they need that much root room. I am going to try to grow them in 2 liter bottles with the 16 oz Solo cups.
I haven't tried any medium but grow rocks so I can't give you much help on the success of other mediums until I try them my self.
I will be building all kinds of hydro gardens this spring to put on film. I will post pictures as I complete them.
Ron

Date:
3/16/99
Time:
8:46:24 PM

Comments

I have a small garden and a friend told me tha you can use baking soda to increase the levels of CO2. Does this sound right to you ? If so please explain.Beside from bying a CO2 regulater do you know of any other ways of increasing CO2 levels in limited space. Clay. tiona@tac.com.au

I have heard of using Dry Ice that gives off CO2 when it melts. 2 pounds of dry ice will raise the CO2 level in a 10 by 10 foot grow room to about 2000 ppm for 24 hours.
Fermentation's is another way to produce CO2. Use a plastic gallon milk jug and mix one cup of sugar and a packet of brewers yeast with about three quarts of warm water. This mix smells horrid but produces an initial burst of CO2. The mix is changed one to four times daily. Half of the solution is poured out, and then 1 1\2 quarts of water and another cup of sugar are added. If the yeast does not continue to grow during the fermentation process, add another packet of yeast. As long as the yeast continues to grow, the mix can be used indefinitely to generate CO2.
Another way to produce CO2  is to spend a lot of time heavy breathing in your room because your breath gives off CO2.
Ron

Date:
3/17/99
Time:
8:43:18 AM

Comments

Greetings from South Africa I am seriously considering starting a garden along the lines of your design. One question, when the nutrient pumping cycle is on I can understand that the excess is returned to the sump via the overflow, but when it is the off cycle how does the system drain back into the sump? Does it simply flow back through the pump, that is that the pump cannot be of a positive diplacement type? Thanks for a very informative site. If possible could you e-mail me at colinho@bf.new.iscorltd.co.za Thanks a stack Coiln Holman

Yes that is correct. Submersible pumps are better for flood and drain systems or when solution reclamation is a must. Positive displacement pumps are used for drip or other systems when a litter excess runoff isn't a problem.
Ron

Date:
3/17/99
Time:
4:18:25 PM

Comments

Ron,

Excellent site! You say that you germinate in paper towels yet you also say that you start seeds in vermiculite/Olivia's. I know there is no "right" answer here but I'd like to get the process down once and for all. If I germinate in paper towels, then do I move the seedlings to vermiculte/Olivia's until they are a few inches, and then to soil until they are large enough to go into the system? Is there an extra/missing step here? A step-by-step would help if you can spare it. Thanks. Keep up the good humor!

1 - Start the seeds in a Olivia's or Ortho's B1 Plant Starter soaked paper towel. They will start to germinate in 2 or 3 days.
2 - Transfer to the vermiculite tray when the root is about 1 inch long and before the root starts to dig into the paper towel.
3 - Let the plants mature a week or two in the vermiculite tray. Start feeding with a weak nutrient solution (200-400 PPM) if the        plants start to yellow.
4 - Transfer to your hydro system when the plants have at least their second set of true leaves for most plants or when they are big enough to grab hold of.
5 - Skip the soil part.
Ron  

Date:
3/17/99
Time:
9:30:45 PM

Comments

in hydroponics, do you also feed the plant even at night ? isn't it photosysthesis needs water and sun light to make plant food ? what if you dont use HID lamps in your growing room, only sun light, wont the water kill the plant if you water them at night ? thanks RON
CARTMAN

Hi CARTMAN
Yes you don't need to water at night but from experience I have never had a problem watering at night. When I have multiple gardens running on the same timer sometimes I don't have much choice. When the timers cost 80 bucks apiece you can see timers are a big problem for everybody including me. A light sensor hook to your timers would save you a lot of work.
Ron

Date:
3/18/99
Time:
12:37:36 AM

Comments

I have a six plant syetem like the 11 plant syetem on this site.I would like to ask a question. How long should you run the pump? Does your plant get it food when have your lights on or off? How often should I run my lights with my seedlings? Thank you for all your surport.. Kev

Hello Kev
You only need to let the water rise to the desired height and then drain immediately back to the tank. Do this about every 20 minutes or so when the lights are on. For seedlings 18 to 24 hours of light for vegetative stage.
Ron

Date:
3/18/99
Time:
12:08:11 PM

Comments

I can buy only thick wall pvc in Mass. Will your 1" tee accept 1" thick wall pipe? John J

Hi John J
Yes. The only place you need the thin wall pipe is where the bottle cap with the hole fits.Another name for thin wall is 200 PSI PVC Pipe.
Ron

Date:
3/18/99
Time:
1:28:51 PM

Comments

Hi Ron, How do you figure out how big is a nutrient tank to use? My hydroponics garden has 40 plant heads connect by 1 inch pcv (modified from your 9 plant garden).

I like to use at least twice  as much as the system holds. That gives you a little buffer before refilling.
Ron

Date:
3/19/99
Time:
4:35:36 AM

Comments

today is day 3, 3 days ago my wife brought home what she said was new growth on a rose bush, for 3 days(thursday is #3) they have been in a mixture of perlite/vermiculite there is some visable changes on the 8 rose bush samples all shown continued growth, now to see how long i can keep them alive. how long until i should start them on drip irrigation, never having done anything with roses before this is all new to me.

If they have roots you can start any time.
Ron

Date:
3/19/99
Time:
9:41:22 AM

Comments

Tips on finding SDR 26 (Thinwall) PVC:

This stuff can be hard to find. It is not used for general plumbing applications. Therefore, most hardware stores and do-it-yourself chains don't carry it.

To find it, try an Irrigation Systems & Equipment company near you. Try the yellow pages at www.yahoo.com, input your address, and search on "Irrigation Systems". It will list a host of comapnies in our area.

Truthfully, the EASIEST way to get this is to order it from Ron for $.25 a piece. Most of these Irrigation companies won't even sell you the small amount you need, unless they happen to have it sitting around. It will make a difference in the maintainability of your system. And no, Ron does not know me and has not paid me to say this. Good luck! - Shango

Also check out www.plumbingsupply.com. Excellent selection of Drip Irrigation Equipment and hardware. Also carry submersible pumps. No SDR 26 though.

Date:
3/19/99
Time:
4:28:04 PM

Comments

anyone ever tried to grow roses in a hydroponic greenhouse?

Date:
3/20/99
Time:
1:34:13 AM

Comments

Dear Ron: My wife and I live in Queensland, Australia, & are small commercial growers of culinary herbs in 2" propogation tubes. We only produce 100doz per week in a gravel system and a few in pipes. The gravel is in a material called "clip lock", which is an industrial galvanised steel roofing; the flat tray being about 200mm wide(8"). The beds are 1.8m (6') wide and 40m (? 130' long). We get this product 2nd hand from large industrial buildings when demolished, for about 80c to $1 a linear meter.Now we also do similar numbers of potted colour (which are annuals like petunias, marigolds and doz of others)in 4" pots.We always grew these on weed-mat on the ground and overhead watered, until one day I decided to clean out a spare hydroponic gravel bed of the gravel, and put the potted colour in, and irrigate them by pouring the water in one end and returning it to the dam from the other.(identical to the hydroponics). Our total losses have deminished by around 8-12%, our overhead irrigation had used 15,000litres/day. Now we use 1,200 litres day(recycled of course), and it now seems it is costing me more in electricity and annual repairs to run my pump off the dam than it would cost me to purchase water from my local Council (throw the pump in the bottom of the Dam and fill it in). Now for the CRUNCH: We are moving in to seedlings (veg and flower) in small 6 & 8 cell punnets. The traditional method of delivering water is by overhead propogation misters, with an array of balance arms, heads, pipes etc,etc. My question to your readers: (1) has anyone sucessfully raised seedling in punnets by "flood & drain" (2)Has any one any ideas on what I could use as a container to flood and drain, keeping it mind it must be around 2.4m (8') x 1.2m(4') (32sq feet). I could (and probably will) try my clip-lock roofing material, but I am looking for other ideas,so if anyone can comment, I would be pleased to hear from them. Cheers, Phillip.

Date:
3/21/99
Time:
2:31:01 AM

Comments

My question is will a 430 watt sun agro bulb fit in a fit in a Socket assembly out which is made to fit the following bulbs: 150, 250, 400 watt sodium bulbs and 175, 250, 400, and 1000 halide small bulb also the 150, 220, and 360 conversion bulbs?????

Yes the sockets are the same but that doesn't mean that the ballast are the same. You should only use the ballast that is made for the kind and size of bulb or have plenty of fire insurance.
Ron

Date:
3/21/99
Time:
4:42:32 AM

Comments

just a quick question, i just noticed that on top of the mixture in one container there is what looks like very fine cob webs, i have not seen this before, i was wanting to know if (1)this will effect the growth of the seedlings in the container? (2) should i remove this container away from the other ones?(3) could this spread to the other containers?(4) what can i do to prevent this from coming back on the other containers? thanks for your time.

You could have spider mites. Just waiting to attack your seedlings when they get big enough. Spray with Pyrethrum to rid.
Ron

Date:
3/21/99
Time:
6:14:17 AM

Comments

Hi Ron,

Love your web site. Could your ebb & flo system be modified/configured as a continuous flow system and still operated properly. I was thinking that you could run drip hoses from the pump to each plant container and just let it drains continuously back to the tank via the PVC frame. If you think this will work, do you know where I could find a manifold of sorts to direct water to each pot? What is your opinion on this and have you ever tried it? John

Yes that will work. You can find a multiple control manifold at a fish supply store.
Ron

Date:
3/21/99
Time:
3:45:07 PM

Comments

I am looking for someone from the massachusetts/connecticut area with knowledge of hydroponics. Please email me. gustave_brad@bentley.edu

Date:
3/21/99
Time:
4:29:47 PM

Comments

>Hi Ron,

>Love your web site. Could your ebb & flo system be modified/configured as a continuous flow system and still operated >properly. I was thinking that you could run drip hoses from the pump to each plant container and just let it drains continuously >back to the tank via the PVC frame. If you think this will work, do you know where I could find a manifold of sorts to direct >water to each pot? What is your opinion on this and have you ever tried it? John

John, You do not need to purchase any specialized equipment to run a drip system like the above mentioned. All you have to do is connect a 1/2" poly pipe to your pump, and run it between every two rows of plants. You the usea drip punch to punch holes for 1/4" drip tubing adaptors. To these adaptors you connect your 1/4" drip line with the flow emitters attached. The only thing that you will have to watch for is that your pump must supply enough pressure to force the water out of the emitters. I believe this is around 40-60 psi. Drip irrigation was designed to be used with standard water pressure.
Brian

Date:
3/21/99
Time:
6:31:59 PM

Comments

Hey Ron, Cool site man!! My bro and I just built the 11 plant set-up. We have a two questions; 1. Using rockwool,how often do we have to run the pump, and for how long?(24hr light) 2. How important is humidity, and what level do we keep it at?  Steve and Sam

Hi Steve and Sam
Rockwool holds moister better than grow rocks so you don't need to water as much. If your plants wilt between watering than you need to water more often.
Keep humidity well under 80 % to prevent mold and bug problems.
Ron

Date:
3/21/99
Time:
8:36:19 PM

Comments

hi ron,
is algae growing in the rockwool of my growing cup a cause for alarm ?
pathetic grower

Hi pathetic grower (been their)
Algae is a by-product of hydroponics and is caused when light shines on water. It's not harmful but you can cut down on it growing by blocking the light from reaching the water with a paper plate, with a hole and a slit to wrap around the stem of your plant. The white paper plate also reflects light back up to your plants.
Ron

Date:
3/22/99
Time:
9:46:40 AM

Comments

I am new to hydroponics and am working for foundation in Georgia (United States) that is considering establishing a program to teach farmers how to use hydroponics in commercial applications. Does anyone know if it hydroponics would be commercially viable on a larger scale in Georgia? Does anyone have any suggestions on contacts/resources to investigate this? I plan on talking with the USDA and and agricultural scientists at the universities. Please e-mail any suggested contacts/resources to cvadnais@fuquacapital.com Thanks for your help.

Date:
3/22/99
Time:
1:40:23 PM

Comments

Ron

How long do I run the pump if I'm using rockwool and have the light on 24 hours a day?

Mike

Rockwool holds water longer than grow rocks so I wouldn't water as much. Maybe every couple of hours or so. Only let the pump run long enough to wet the rockwool and then let the solution drain back to the tank unless you have to use a timer that runs longer then you don't have much choice but to let the pump run the minimum on time of the pump. A Dayton 1or 2 hour Cycle Timer from Grangers is the best but cost about $80.00. For serious growers you will have to buy one of these no matter what they cost.
Ron

Date:
3/23/99
Time:
9:05:18 AM

Comments

what's the best lighting system considering cost as the first priority?

I would go with a 400 watt High Pressure Sodium or Metal Halide. I found three 400 Metal Halides at my local flea market for $30. apiece a few years ago.  Those orange looking street lights you see in parking lots are HPS lights and Metal Halides are used in large buildings. Next time your in Home Depot look up and you might see them. You can start with a 250 watt if you are really on a budget but I would stay away from florescence lights because of the cost per watt of using them. They are only good for the first few weeks of plant life then they need more light.
Ron

Date:
3/24/99
Time:
11:33:45 AM

Comments

Dear Ron, I just found this web site. My daughter would like to perform and experiment for her science fair comparing soil planting to hydroponics. I have taken out several books for her and have searched several web sites, and yours so far has had the best information. Any ideas as to the best and least complicated way for a 9 year old to set up a hydroponic test garden? I bought gravel, some seeds and a plastic container. I'm unsure of the nutrient mixture, if I can buy it and dilute it or if I have to find all the ingredients separately. Any advice would be a tremendous help as I am a novice hydroponicist. Thanks! Cheryl Long Island

Hi Cheryl
The Gurgle Garden is a simple and inexpensive drip garden that use an aquarium air pump ( about $5.00 ) instead of the more costly submersible pump systems.
As for the nutrient solution, I have been using Miracle-Gro at 1/4 strength with surprisingly good results.
Ron

Date:
3/24/99
Time:
9:41:34 PM

Comments

Could anyone please tell me some of the Colleges & Universities particularly good to go to for learning how to own a hydroponic food production business? any replies would be greatly apprieciated. much thanks, - coolerthenyou@yahoo.com

Date:
3/25/99
Time:
2:46:43 AM

Comments

nice site i built a 6 bottle system i used t's that were theaded were the bottle cap mounts used sylcone worked grate 3/4 inch t/s nice system

Date:
3/25/99
Time:
2:52:49 AM

Comments

when you post how long dos it take to show

It shows right away but you have to close or refresh and then open the bullentin board again to see it.
It's a different story as for when I get time to answer the questions. I do have to make a living to pay for this web site.
If people are getting rich from the internet, it ain't me.
Ron

Date:
3/25/99
Time:
2:37:28 PM

Comments

Ron,
What do you mean when you mention "topping off" the solution? I have no idea what it means.
Mike

Topping off means filling up your nutrient solution tank when it gets low. You should add nutrient solution to the water every time you top off to keep the correct PPM. The only exception is to add just water if you want to lower the PPM because you might have put to much nutrient solution in your tank.
Ron

Date:
3/25/99
Time:
3:52:39 PM

Comments

Ron,

Mike here again, I hate to bug you so much but I have another questions regarding rockwool and solo cups. Since I am using rockwool, is it necessary to use solo cups? I figured I didn't need them because the rockwool is not loose but in blocks. Hope you can help and thanks.

Mike

I have never tried it but it sounds logical to me. I would use the cups only for loose rockwool.
Ron

Date:
3/25/99
Time:
5:57:22 PM

Comments

STUPID QUESTION #1001

I have been wondering about the lighting issue for sometime now, and what I have been wondering is : If I go to Home Depot and purchase a 400W HID fixture, and one 400W HID bulbs (for around $25). Will this be the "correct" HID bulb for plant growth? Or is this bulb only suitable for illuminating parking lots? The same question posed except for HPS lights.
Thanks a few hundred (Inflation, you know!)
--jeff

Hi jeff
Just make sure it says Metal Halide and not mercury vapor or some other kind. Just because it gives off light doesn't mean that it has the right light spectrum for plants.
Ron

Date:
3/25/99
Time:
7:56:36 PM

Comments

Hello All,
I live in the Midwest and was considering converting my spare bedroom into a room devoted mainly for growing hydroponic tomatoes. The room measures about 12'x10' and is made from wood and plaster. Can someone point me in the right direction please?
Rick.

You can learn to build your own hydro garden here at this web site but be ready to shell out about 2 grand to buy the rest of the equipment you will need. I hope them are some kick ass tomatoes cause growing indoors ain't cheep. Growroom picture.
Ron

Date:
3/25/99
Time:
10:00:34 PM

Comments

dear Ron,
i am having difficulty in getting nutrient for hydroponic system from where i am. furthermore, i cant find any chemist who will do the formulation for me nor guranty that the nutrient mix is correct.
right now, i am using 30-10-10 for my veggie. the content are as follow :
N ... 30% P2O3 ... 10% K2O ... 10% Magnesium ... 0.120% iron ... 0.040% manganese ... 0.020% boron ... 0.015% copper ... 0.007% zinc ... 0.005% molybdenum ... 0.002% calcium ... 0.090% vitamin B1 ... 0.075%
will this water soluble fertilizer work in hydroponic system ?
thanks,
o2ten

I am using Miracle-Gro with good results. Haven't tried other kinds yet but is on my list of things to do in the future. I will post the results when I do.
Ron

Date:
3/25/99
Time:
11:11:01 PM

Comments

Hi Ron, I'm just getting to soilless gardening and having a good time experimenting. I just started seeds in sand and vermiculite . Just to let you know there are more enthusiasts out there. xcuse spelling. I'll be glad to learn more.

Sincerely Jim Barlow jeb53414

Date:
3/27/99
Time:
2:14:51 PM

Comments

Ron, My seedlings are growing at different rates. Should I wait to put them in the system untill the smallest one is adequate, or does it matter if there are a couple of small ones. Thanks, The Matt-hatter

No it doesn't matter. As long as they have roots they should be ok. Put them in the best place in the garden so they will have a chance to catch up with the other plants.
Ron

Date:
3/27/99
Time:
8:28:52 PM

Comments

Ron, My plants are only 2" tall and the lower leaves are turning yellow and curling up. I just transplanted them into the system last night, so they will be receiving more nutrients. Will they be OK thanks Rick

Hi Rick
That's what they might need. Keep a close eye on them to see if they start to green up. If the new growth doesn't look healthy in a few days then dump your solution and start with a new batch.
Ron
 

Date:
3/28/99
Time:
10:58:14 AM

Comments

Anyone looked at the hygroscopic disk rain sensors like the one sold at www.smarthome.com, item 7194, Rain Sensor. I think it also goes by the name of Mini-Clik. It says it simulates the drying of turf. I was thinking you might be able to replace the timer with this, if it could be adjusted to simulate the drying of clay pellets. It has a built-in 10.amp switch so you could drive the pump from it. Price is about $32.95. What do you think???

I will check it out.
Ron

Date:
3/28/99
Time:
11:10:27 AM

Comments

Finding thin-wall PVC. I couldn't find this, until someone told me that 200psi PVC is thin-wall. He was right. Take the bottle cap with you and check it for fit before you buy it:)

Date:
3/29/99
Time:
5:37:04 PM
Remote User:
 

Comments

Ron,

What do you think is the best way to get rid of spider mites and spiders?

Pat

Date:
3/29/99
Time:
10:41:01 PM

Comments

Ron: Best site on the Web. I was blown away when I ran on to it. I joined the club, want to be a part. I e-mailed Wormsway for a catalog told them I was a member of H.O.C. Maybe they will in time give discounts. I need the conversion tables for E.C. to C.F. to PPM from anyone out there. Send to site or e-mail at (tharmon@barbourville.com ) Again thanks for such a great site. Nurse Ducket

Date:
3/30/99
Time:
1:48:30 AM

Comments

ron can you use lime in the water to keep the right ph like in soil or is it better to use the up or down i thought lime mite be easy since i have no tester thanks

I had the same thought and I added a little lime to my tank where I am using Miracle-Gro. Here are some recent pictures of my plants in my pool gallon garden. I might never buy hydro solution again. Ron

Tomato blooms

Better Bush Tomato

Tomato Plants Strawberry Plant

Date:
3/30/99
Time:
2:50:46 AM

Comments

Hi Ron, After success with my 11 plant 2 liter garden for the past year, I am now looking at building a gallon system. The only question I have at this time is what is the advantage of using the bleach bottles over the 2 liter bottles for this system?
It seems that the 2 liter bottles with solo cups would be a lot more practical.
Mitch

Hi Mitch
The gallon size is just for larger plants. Some plants like Spider Plants or Ivy will slit a solo cup because they need more root room. If you are growing short term plants then I would go with the 2 liter.
Ron

Date:
3/30/99
Time:
11:31:48 AM

Comments

hi ron,
what is the capacity of the tnak you are using. the smallest i can find around town would be a 1/2hp jet pump with a capacity of 11lts per hour. if i were to use this pump for a system you have designed, do i have to install a foot valve at the inflow pipe ?

Not sure what a jet pump is but you might need more than a foot valve. You might need a yard valve.
I use a 120 to 200 GPH (gallon per hour) Submersible Pump depending on the size of the garden.
Ron

Date:
3/30/99
Time:
7:21:14 PM

Comments

Ron,

I have a problem with my garden area being too hot. Do you think it is wiser to blow cold air in with a fan or suck the hot air out with a fan?
Pat

You can put a fan at the top of your room to suck the hot air out and a vent at the bottom of your room so cooler air can be suck in. You can also vent just the light hoods with dryer hose and a little ingenuity.
Ron

Date:
3/30/99
Time:
10:13:52 PM

Comments

Do you ever use the 3 or 5 gallon poly bag system? I am planning to grow several cherry tomato, asian cucumber, asian eggplant and yellow and orange bell pepper plants. I have heard that a good system uses the poly bags, gro rocks, sprayer heads inside the bags and no return flow to the nutrient tank. Do you sell or know of anyone who sells the bags? Thanks for your help.

I used poly bags with dirt years ago but I have heard of the system you mention. Disney World grows tomatoes in bags of perlite. Worms Way sells the poly bags in all sizes. 800-274-9676
Ron

.

Date:
3/30/99
Time:
11:38:59 PM
Remote User:
 

Comments

Ron, I read that over watering is a problem most beginners have. What are the signs of over watering? thanks Rick

Root rot and damping off are the first things that come to mind. Adding an inexpensive air stone and air pump to come on when your pump does can solve over watering problems.
Ron

Date:
3/31/99
Time:
5:18:27 PM

Comments

Hi Ron, I'm thinking of using Miracle Gro 15-30-15 for my hydroponics system. Do I need to add anything else to this solution? Thanks Jack Minn

I have been adding Epsom Salt with Miracle Gro for tomatoes for a couple weeks now because a member said so. I will let you know how it works.
Ron




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