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Question and Answer Page 63

Subjects

problems getting my tomato plants to produce. basic setup for making a lab  how many plants can i get in 6'x 4'x7'
Kitty litter as hydroponic grow media? general N-P-K fertilizers Hydroton/Buildex grow rocks
should keep adding water to a reservoir to keep the water level how to mount the gallon jugs to the 4" PVC pipe what is hydroponics?
what variety of toms you have the best luck should I be using the 250 watt light for the vegetative phase plants are going to start falling over
fish water would make a good solution to growing a batch of tomatoes. how does pollinization take place with out bees
Date:
19 Jan 2001
Time:
00:51:38

Comments

An international Agriculture & Vegetable Fair will open in China on 20th to 26th April 2001 A Hot Commercial Opportunity! You could meet over 8,000 enterprises concerned with Agri coming from more than 20 countries! Please view the website http://2001sgfair.51.net

Date:
19 Jan 2001
Time:
13:05:43

Comments

Hi, I would like to try growing strawberries using hydro. Is the 11 plant hydro a good solution for that? Or would a different setup be better? If anyone has given that a try, what is a good variety to use? And what sort of yield could I expect from each 11 plant unit? I'll probably set this up in my garage under a 400W HPS if that is enough light for strawberries. (Could I put more than one plant per bottle?)

GP Lexington, KY

Date:
19 Jan 2001
Time:
19:07:55

Comments

I am having problems getting my tomato plants to produce. I can get them to grow, but they do not flower

I tried for the first time this season a product called Tomato Bloom Spray 2 an Aid to: Increasing Tomato Set and in the production of larder crops. Made by Green Light. I bought it at Lowe's. I think it worked. I would give it a try.

Date:
19 Jan 2001
Time:
20:31:52

Comments

Kitty litter as hydroponic grow media?

non odorous and non clumping kitty litter as media

The argument is that the cheap stuff is just plain clay

So I wonder if you bake the kitty litter would it end up like growrox? Maybe ya have to nuke it instead? I am going to buy some tomorrow and experiment. Also has anyone ever heard of using crushed coral (aquarium grade) as a medium? I would think it would hold oxygen well with all those holes. It runs 6 bucks for 30 lb. 60 bucks for 50 liters of growrox is just a bit much for all I want. I checked the yellow pages online and the closest Hydro store listed is 78 miles away. I havnt called them yet to see if they even stock it. I tried the home depot route with orchid rocks per Tailwheels tip. They say they cant get(order)that item any longer. There is a similar product at the depot called orchid mix that has grow rocks and charcoal and some other ingredients in it. I am not sure about using that. I have sifted 5 gallons of smaller gravel out of a load of regular granite gravel and as soon as your hydro mix reaches me my sprouts are going in my 2 liter garden... Ready to hydro in Ga.

Grow rocks are clay fired in a kiln and that's pretty hot. Not your basic household oven. Coral or any inert substance can be used as a medium. All you have to do is make sure that it doesn't brake down to quick (like vermiculite) and it doesn't leach undesirable substance into your system thus harming your plants.
I promise to set up test gardens this spring to see which mediums work best.   

Date:
19 Jan 2001
Time:
20:33:25

Comments

Anybody used quantumponics? I've been checking out their website at www.quantumponics.com.au and it looks bloody amazing! Just before i buy one i thought i'd ask around a bit.

john.

Date:
20 Jan 2001
Time:
13:52:06

Comments

Hi Ron, just wondering if you should keep adding water to a reservoir to keep the water level the same as the plants drink it up or if its ok to just let them drain it down to almost nothing and then just refill it. I've heard that plants use a lot more water that nutrients and if you let the reservoir just drain without refilling it then the concentration of nutrients will be too high, and the plants will get over fertilized. So again, let it drain to the bottom or keep the level constant? Your wisdom is appreciated my friend!

It depends on how much time we are talking about. That's why I don't use to large of a reservoir so the solution gets used up in a few days. That way I'm not tossing out to much. Nutrients can get out of balance with large reservoirs. 
When I hear that sucking noise and my plants are screaming feed me that's when I add nutrient mix.

Date:
21 Jan 2001
Time:
05:20:09

Comments

So, the kitty litter will just dissolve in water. I ended up buying perlite/vermiculite and coco peat. I think I will load the cups with just perlite and aquarium gravel. I did find multiple companies that produce expanded clay/shale pellets here in the US One is north of Atlanta. Problem is you have to buy 30 yards. Still, it may be worth Ron or someone with incentive to buy a load and resale it. As for me, I am going to the company next time I am in Atlanta and see how willing they are to let me drive off with a pickup load. Here is the product info... http://www.buildex.com/product.htm This is a site listing all the Hydroton/Buildex manufacturing companies in the US... http://www.escsi.org/escsimap.htm Tommy

Date:
21 Jan 2001
Time:
08:06:16

Comments

Hi Ron

ive been a long time viewer of your web site and enjoy it very much. Definitely the best hydro site on the web, congrats on your success with it. I have started up a system for tomatoes and wanted to know if you could tell me what variety of toms you have the best luck with and if they are indeterminate or determinate.

Thanx alot Scott

I use what ever they are selling at my local nursery. Big Boy, Better Boy, Heat Wave, Roma. But I am partial to Super Bush a stocky patio type that only grows about four feet by maturity. And they can be grown in the 2-liter systems or the gallon drip systems.
I am sure if I ordered the expressive real hydroponic seeds I would get higher yields but first I got to finish my greenhouse as soon as this cold weather is over. We have had more freezes this year than in the last 5 years. 
  

Date:
21 Jan 2001
Time:
18:01:17

Comments

hey ron,geo.in cc fl.just a thought but if folks with questions would include an email address with their questions other members could reply with their thoughts possibly easing your load.

some do and some may have something to hide

Date:
21 Jan 2001
Time:
21:53:20

Comments

I currently have a 55 gallon african cichlid fish tank with a undergravel filter. I was curious if the fish water would make a good solution to grow a few plants hydroponically. I wanted to assemble the 11 plant system at waist level next to the tank since the tank in question sits on the bottom of a double stand. the ph is 8.5 would this be two high and what plants would you suggest I try first. Also what other water tests should I do and what results should I look for.

Yes it is called aquaponics. I helped build one for the Biology Lab at Fisk University a few years ago.
You can only grow low nutrient hungry plants like lettuce and some herbs. 
The problem is that fish like the water pH 8.5 and plants like it at 6.0 so the only thing you can do is compromise at set the pH at around 7.0
It would also be a good idea not to use expensive fish because you might be feeding your plants expensive fish emulsion when your fish start croaking.  
   

Date:
22 Jan 2001
Time:
17:39:50

Comments

We are learning about hydroponics in our science class, and we are going to be setting up a hydroponics lab in our room. What would be the basic setup for making a lab, and do you have any tips? Thanks a lot!

For learning purposes a lot of small gardens are better than larger systems so they can be compared with one another for testing nutrients and light differences. 
Four students can be assigned to each garden to compare results. 
I will be setting up a virtual reality model this spring that schools can copy or just use the VR one as their teaching model.
Ron
  

Date:
23 Jan 2001
Time:
08:45:54

Comments

I left a request for a remedy to acid chewing up my pump housing and got a response from George in Cresent City FL (04 Jan 2001). One word . . . "excellent". Thank you George.

Date:
24 Jan 2001
Time:
15:14:29

Comments

Hey Ron, quick question here. I'm currently using a general N-P-K Bloom fertilizer. I'm wondering if this is the way to go? I've heard talk of epsom salts and other things that go into a different kind of solution. Could you give an opinion on general N-P-K fertilizers and also give me an idea of what a good alternative Bloom solution would be comprised of? Thanks my man.

Sorry but fertilizer is just not my forte. This season is the first time I used a general commercial mix that called for adding calcium nitrate and epson salt. I have always used Formula One A&B for years and became spoiled with it's ease of use and results. But just to expensive for large scale growing. The mix I an selling now says to add 1/4 teaspoon of epson salt per gallon if you are growing tomatoes or cucumbers.
I also ordered a mix just for tomatoes (4-18-38) that calls for calcium nitrate and epson salt and will be testing that this coming season. 

Date:
25 Jan 2001
Time:
03:33:34

Comments

I'm looking for brands of growbags or peatbags adaptable to field- or greenhouse sizes! It would be to grow strawberries. If you have information about "big" growbags or about the way to grow strawberries hydroponically, I would be very glad to hear from you!...

carl.guillemot@caramail.com

Thanks for your answer, Tschüß,

Date:
25 Jan 2001
Time:
06:09:25

Comments

3 questions - Can you be a little more specific as how to mount the gallon jugs to the 4" PVC pipe, the pictures aren't all that clear? And, what nutrient would you use if you're growing a variety of vegetables, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, etc, all being fed from a common nutrient tank? What emitter rate do you use in your drip system?

I just drill a hole big enough for the gallon jugs to pop threw the 4" sewer pipe. The jug is held up by the wood or metal frame. The kind I sell is a general purpose hydroponic mix ( 10-8-22 ). It does say to add 1/4 teaspoon of epson salt to the gallon mix if you are growing vegetables like tomatoes or cucumbers. 
I don't use emitters I just let the solution flow every 20 minutes. 

Date:
27 Jan 2001
Time:
13:01:27

Comments

How's it going, Ron? Listen, I just bought a hydroponics system (250 watt MH) and have a nice a little variety of sprouts. I have already transferred the sprouts (4 leaves - 2 of which are spiked) in their rock wool starter block into the aggregate, lava rock. My question is, should I be using the 250 watt light for the vegetative phase or would fluorescents work just as well? And how far should they be away? I am also running the solution 3 times a day, at 8 hour intervals.
Thanks,
Daddyo

Fluorescents are only good for the first few weeks of plant life. Use the 250 W and put it between 18 to 24 inches from your plants.

Date:
27 Jan 2001
Time:
14:02:20

Comments

Hi Ron I am a beginner in growing tomatoes with hydroponics. I heard i few different things from people on what to do and don't know which to trust

I have been growing a batch for maybe two weeks i am using two different seeds of tomatoes. So far the big ones have a long stem and two leaves. I have been keeping my light on 24/7 and i manually water them twice a day using a pump to fill my tank from a reservoir. I always make sure the rockwool looks as wet as possible.

Keeping the light on 24/7 is that bad for the plants at all?

No

How important is a micronutriunt tester?

I can't imagine growing without one.

How important is a PH tester?

Can get by with an inexpensive test kit that I will be selling nest week. pH meters have to many calibration problems.

What temperature should I keep my plants at?        

 75 degrees

Any suggestions would really help me out thanks...

Brett Kalluminait2001@yahoo.com

Date:
27 Jan 2001
Time:
16:58:30

Comments

a question about the good stuff, i now have a 6'x 4'x7' grow area what size system, how many plants can i get in that size room. i have a little experience with ebb and flo, what type of system would you recommend. also lighting i was thinking 2 430watt sunago or 2 1000watt. mh, and hps. thank you for your input and thank you for your time.

What ever system you use you should allow 1 sq. ft. per plant. That would be 24 plants with no room for you though. 

Date:
28 Jan 2001
Time:
11:07:46

Comments

I'm planning to use this system for the first time. I've decided to use perlite as a medium. What I'm wondering about is the PET 2 litre bottles do you cut them in half or at the bottom just what thanks budmanic@hotmail.com

Date:
28 Jan 2001
Time:
17:14:31

Comments

http://www.buildex.com/uses.htm#5

Hydroton/Buildex

Heres a follow-up. The salesman for this company called me from NC and told me that they ship it on rail to the local concrete company <lightweight block division> here in Augusta. So I was able to go there and drive off with a dually pickup load for 30 bucks. Never having seen grow rocks and going by online pics, they look rust/orange in color? The product I have is blue/gray in all shades from light to dark. There are some pieces that are orange/rust but that seems like a glazing that's on some of the rocks. It has as many holes it as sponge. Its a kiln fired shale...some pieces are rounded like grow rocks in pictures but most are in gravel shapes <not pea-like but like septic tank fill aggregate>.The sizes range from 1 inch to fine pieces in the shake. They weigh half what gravel does at least. I have not tested the pH, but it being a fired rock, I am sure its neutral. My question at this point is, what size should I screen it to <how large are grow rocks> and are grow rocks nice and round? None of these have sharp edges, but I could put em through a tumbler if it were necessary. Also if you dont mind, I will send a few of these rocks to you and have you check them out. They probably have these at a concrete company near everybody... Tommy

Hi Tommy I too called them and I got a sample coming any time now. Mine is coming from Tampa. The salesman wanted to sell me the bird shot size and I said to small. I said 3/8" to 3/4" and he said OK. I have to buy 40 yds of the stuff. I bet I could sell it cheap if I buy that much. 
So that would be my size recommendation.  I use this old coal bucket with 3/8" holes drilled in it so any rocks smaller than 3/8" will fall through. You can use the large stuff with large plants like my banana tree. Make sure you flush all the very small pieces and the dust before use. 

Date:
28 Jan 2001
Time:
17:54:15

Comments

I'm doing a project for school. 2 questions - what is hydroponics? Also, what are the benefits of hydroponics?

Hydroponics, from the Greek words (water-working). Hydroponics is a system of gardening without soil. In hydroponics, you provide all the nutrients to your plants through a water/nutrient solution. There are lots of ways to apply hydroponics but, basically, all of them supply nutrient solution directly to the plant's root system. In most cases you mix nutrients into water and feed this solution directly to your plants. Soil doesn't make plants grow. It's just something for the plants to hold on to while they search with their roots for the food and water that's mixed into the soil. Since the food and water are randomly scattered about, plants have to use up energy growing ever-larger root systems to reach out in a constant search for these elements. In a hydroponic garden, a soil-less, inert growing medium is used and food and water are delivered directly to your plant's roots. Your plants grow quicker and harvest sooner because they can direct all their energy into the vegetation growing above the surface instead of the root system below it. Ron

Please copy and distribute!

Thanks for doing my report Ron, I got a B+ it would have been an A but I got some bbq sauce and koolaid on it.

Date:
28 Jan 2001
Time:
22:23:38

Comments

Thanks for the answers Ron I have a few more though..... i'm a little worried my plants are going to start falling over.... Again I am growing tomatoes and they are 2 to 3 weeks old. The water was getting dirty and i took the plants and put them somewhere so the water could drain out while i cleaned there tank.... i left them out of the tank for the day so the dirty water could drain a little and in the morning i would feed them some fresh new water. I came home this morning and the rockwool was still water but half what it usually is and a few plants are falling over a little so i poured some reverse osmosis water over them... no minerals and a few more fell over.... One day without any new water is that not good? they still had water in the rockwool... I propped them up with bottles till the morning. Will i need to put up sticks or something for them to grow against they are still real young and other tomato plants i have seen looked like they didn't ever need to be held up. Any thoughts? If it helps any i posted a few messages up from here

thanks Brett kalluminati2001@yahoo.com

Tomatoes can come back from no watering after about 24 hours if the roots do not dry out but no longer. 
And yes you have to build some king of trellis system to hold the plant up especially when they produce fruit. 

Date:
29 Jan 2001
Time:
08:43:25

Comments

i've heard you can increase yeild of a hydroponics crop with oestrogen. when should it be added to the grow feed and in what quantities?

Date:
29 Jan 2001
Time:
19:47:53

Comments

In a green house set up , how does pollinization take place with out bees etc?? plants we wish to grow are tomatoes, tobacco, and some other assorted vegies...thanks

With some fans to blow the pollen around and they do sell a vibrating tool for 20 bucks to shake the pollen from the flowers.




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