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Question and Answer Page 76

 

Subjects

looks and feels like jello can I make a MH ballast into a HPS ballast Walmart and Kmart have cycle timers
doesn't drain all the way tomatoes for the local markets. what kind of rocks or clay balls
different type of cheap system do i leave the nodes intact clipping the root of a plant
won't perlite fall though the pipes question about how to use the timer. get weed out of your system
computer control for their hydroponic systems? plants have become long and spindly can't get my seedlings to grow.
Date:
19 Aug 2001
Time:
16:09:47

Comments

Ron, I am planning on using your Miracle grow/Calcium Nitrate/Epsom salt nutrient in an aeroponics system. I was wondering if I should maybe cut the nutrient in half, and use 1/2 tsp of Miracle grow 1/8 tsp of Epsom salt, and 1/8 tsp of Calcium Nitrate per gallon of water there will be no medium, and therefore no buffer for the roots. I would also ask the same question about a water culture/aero hybrid system that I am building that is similar to the AeroFlo by General Hydro. Thanks a bunch.

Darren

Not a clue. 

Date:
20 Aug 2001
Time:
03:37:56

Comments

is the water from a pond inhabited by fishes and decayed leaves be beneficial for use in a hydroponics system? and why?

not enough fish and that other stuff would too.

Date:
20 Aug 2001
Time:
17:46:24

Comments

i am looking for someone who knows something about an outdoor plant by the name of air potatoe...if anyone knows how to a person might order some from someone please let me know...mharper@kanokla.net.....thanks mendy

Date:
21 Aug 2001
Time:
13:37:10

Comments

I friend of mine recently went to London, England on a visit. She stopped off at a store that had colored soil for plants. It's not really soil. It looks and feels like jello. The substance can be a variety of colors. They are these little pebbles I guess you would say. The size of fish food. You put some of them in water and after 4 hours it thickens and feels like jello. Plants grow in this and it's suppose to be good for it.

My question is do you know what this is called? She forgot to ask for the name.

Thanks

They sell that stuff everywhere. I bought it years ago in 5 gallon buckets  to mix with soil in pots so you don't need to water as often. They hold 10 times their weight in water. People just added food coloring, put it in a fish bowl with a plant. It has already swept threw all the flea markets years ago. 
If you can't find any just cut open a baby diaper. same stuff   
   

Date:
21 Aug 2001
Time:
19:48:42

Comments

Yeah a friend of mine said that we can grow hydro, by just using a fish tank and a pump. Now is this true.

Yes

Date:
23 Aug 2001
Time:
17:15:18

Comments

I built a garden and it worked great but I wanted to use larger containers so i built a new one with funnels. It works great until I turn off my pump. For some reason it doesn't drain all the way any ideas?

Thanks Joe

When the pump shuts off the water drains back through the pump so if any debris is blocking that or the hole is to small for your garden to drain before the next watering cycle then you need to lengthen the off cycle to give the garden time to drain.  After you check for debris in the hose first.

Date:
24 Aug 2001
Time:
19:10:45

Comments

Ron, I wondered if any of your readers would be interested in a different type of cheap system that they can build using a 45 gallon plastic drum.

(1).Find plastic drum, the best type have three segments on them which are divided by two bands in the molding. 

(2).Drill a 3/8 hole just above the second band. 

(4).Take a jig saw and cut around the perimeter of the barrel, following the line just above the second band, using the 3/8 hole as a start point, totally remove the top 1/3 of the barrel. 

(5).Remove the two plastic bungs, 

(6).Scrub and clean the barrel completely including the threaded holes where the Bungs go, and the Bungs themselves make sure you remove any particles of plastic from the cutting process. 

(7).steralize the barrel with 10% bleach solution to 90% water, rinse out afterwards. 

(8).Take the top portion of the barrel and use a hole saw or a butterfly cutter to make a 1 1/2 round Hole in the center of the flat surface between the two bungs. 

(9).Use the same hole saw to cut a hole in the side of the bottom 2/3 of the barrel 8" from the top ridge, remove any plastic shavings, this hole is where the pump wire and air tube will pass through. 

(10).Purchase from your local hydro shop a plastic 1 1/4 " drain fitting that consists of a drain tube that is threaded and has two gaskets and a plastic nut, also you will need the plastic overflow stem tube and rubber "o" ring that goes with the fitting, this fitting control's the level that the water will sit at before it overflows back to the tank storage compartment. 

(11).Place one of the rubber gaskets on the fitting push the fitting through the hole in the top part of the barrel, the fitting is inserted from the inside, place the second washer on to the fitting followed by the nut and tighten by hand until you cannot tighten any more. 

(12).Take the top part of the barrel and turn it upside down inside the bottom part of the barrel, do not force it in, as it should sit there itself, next roughly level the top part with the bottom part and place a couple of clamps to hold the two pieces together. 

(13). Drill four 1/4 " holes 1" down from the rim of the top edge of the barrel spread them equally around the perimeter, note"" if the rim of the top part of the barrel sit above the rim of the bottom part of the barrel, then use the rim of the bottom part of the barrel as your drilling guide for the 1/4" holes. 

(14).Place 4 x 1/4" x 1" bolts through the holes and screw on the nuts, hand tight is sufficient. 

(15_.If the inside rim does sit above the outside rim then simply take a pencil and mark the excess and trim it of with the jig saw later. 

(16).Take a hacksaw or knife and cut a mark in both rims, this will ensure you know where the top goes in relationship to the bottom every time you separate them. (17).make sure you clean away with fresh water any dust or debris. 

(18).Take your submersible pump and place inside, and feed the outlet line and electrical cable and also the air stone line through the hole in the side wall of the bottom part of the barrel. 

(19). Assemble the top part to the bottom part as discussed earlier with the four 1/4" nuts and bolts. 

(20).Set the height of the flow stem using the "o" ring and place the flow stem in the overflow fitting in the center of the upside down top portion of the barrel. 

(21).You are now ready to fill the holding tank area with water to 1" below the level of the hole drilled in the side wall of the bottom portion of the barrel, do not add solution until you are sure that you are happy with the pump and discharge rate, I have found that a 70 GPH water pump and small air pump work fine.

summery" Hopefully I did not confuse you too much, the design is very simple and self contained, the fluid being pumped out of the bottom portion of the barrel into the top maintaining a level and draining the excess, the drain fitting has a notch cut in it which allows the fluid to drain slowly when the timer turns the pump off, but is not enough to exceed the pump rate. I hope this is useful to somebody, if you need more info e-mail me, sorry I don't have any photos at this time, CHRIS HOGGARD, CALGARY, CHRHOGG@HOME.COM

Thanks

Date:
25 Aug 2001
Time:
10:20:27

Comments

I have some cucumber plants, that seem to be doing great, but some of the cucumbers have strange shapes, thin at the top but then get really fat towards the bottom, like a pear, and the bottom part is a lighter shade then the rest of the cucumber, any diagnosis. Thanks Chris

Date:
25 Aug 2001
Time:
13:20:03

Comments

I have built the 11 plant garden and I need some help. I know you need to use perlite, but where can I get some. When you put the perlite in the plant chamber, won't it fall though into the pipes, thus, won't the roots of the plants grow into the pipes also. I will be thankful for any help. Thanks.

Everybody sells perlite. K-Mart, Wal-Mart, Home Depot. Lowe's, and your local nursery. And use a painters strainer to hold it. 

Date:
25 Aug 2001
Time:
16:05:24

Comments

Were can I find a tutorer or consultant to help me with my grow room problems. IE nutrient balance, plant problems ect................Bill

Date:
28 Aug 2001
Time:
08:21:56

Comments

Hello, can you please tell me the best way to germinate my seeds? What medium should I use for germinating seeds that are intended to go in to my hydro system, and how do I go about transferring them after they have sprouted into the hydro system?

Date:
29 Aug 2001
Time:
05:57:56

Comments

Anyone using computer control for their hydroponic systems? I'm in the process of building a system which will be controlled by an Applied Digital programmable controller. The control program will be written on a PC using their Windows based software. I will be controlling such things as pumps, fans, lamp heat exhaust. System will also monitor temperature, humidity, and tank liquid levels and sound alarms when things are not going right. Anybody out there using control technology on their hydroponic systems? I would be interested in hearing about your application.

Dave

I have the capability to computerize my hydro systems if I had the time by using X-10 technology. I have the hole house system that can control everything if I ever take the time. It works though your electrical system in your house. Very inexpensive. www.x10.com or  www.smarthome.com  

Date:
29 Aug 2001
Time:
11:19:36

Comments

Hello everyone My ? is can you make a Metal Halide ballast into a High Pressure Sodium ballast by adding an igniter? I have one extra MH and was wondering if it is possible. Thank you Wade BTW i have learned a lot from the forum/keep up the good work.

No. Can you say- FIRE! Only conversion bulbs are safe.

Date:
29 Aug 2001
Time:
11:37:04

Comments

Ron,

I am considering starting a small commercial greenhouse, growing tomatoes for the local markets. I am trying to do some planning, and want to get your expert opinion on what type of system would be best for commercial purposes. I am considering either a drip/flow system like your gallon bleach bottle setup, or a water culture system which uses square PVC tubes with net pots, and a spray line to infuse oxygen into the nutrient solution. (Similar to the AeroFlo by GH ) I have built both of these systems on a small scale (Both very cheap compared to buying them) but haven't done large scale testing on either. There are pro's and cons for each I'm sure. I'd just like to hear your opinion on them. Thanks. PS I live in the Atlanta GA area, so year-round growing is pretty feasible.

The gallon drip is a good commercial retrieval system to build and maintain for tomatoes and the perlite bag system is another widely used commercial system where the solution is not reused.  Tomatoes can also be grown in large rockwool slabs but can get expensive on a large scale.
Water culture and aeroponic growing are mostly use in growing plants like bib lettuce and basil type plants.

Date:
29 Aug 2001
Time:
19:17:21

Comments

when trimming leaves off of clones do i leave the nodes intact and what if the nodes have turned into small tips

keep only the top node and maybe two leaves.

Date:
29 Aug 2001
Time:
19:26:56

Comments

I have just completed building the 11 plant system. Now I need to purchase an EC meter. Do you have a mail order source for Hanna Instruments?

Soon

Date:
29 Aug 2001
Time:
22:48:56

Comments

How do I get started, what materials do I need, what kind of plants should I begin with, what kind of nutrients do I need?

Thanks,

Jerry

Date:
30 Aug 2001
Time:
08:10:25

Comments

Hi Ron, I just bought a timer and some other things from you (received them VERY QUICKLY by the way, thank you!) and have a question about how to use the timer. The timer has a minimum on time of 30 minutes and 30 minutes off time. In an earlier post I read that ideally, you only want to wet the plants for 1 minute every 15 minutes. I can't really find a timer that will do that. So, Should I just cycle every 30 minutes or should I do something different? Should I allow more off time to make up for the excessive on time? What do you think Ron?

That is the problem with inexpensive timers. That is what the overflow pipe is for so the garden can water the minimum amount of time on your timer. Even though your plant roots only need to be watered then drain.
If you are using grow rocks then their is no problem watering 30 minutes on 30 off because the rocks hold so much oxygen.  And yes you can water less ( 30 on 60 off 30 on ) when the plants, are small. If your plants show signs of wilting at the end of the 60 min. off cycle then you will know to set the timer to 30 on, 30 off.

Date:
31 Aug 2001
Time:
12:41:58

Comments

Ron,

Where do you buy your Hydroponic Special nutrient mix? What sizes does it come in? I'm assuming a 50lb bag?

Thanks

From Hydro-Gardens Inc.

Date:
01 Sep 2001
Time:
09:33:27

Comments

I have only recently started to experiment with hydro and have a small setup at home. I tried Pak Choi in an NFT system. I bought the plants as seedlings and washed the roots, inserted them into tubes with a small block of grow wool for support. Instead of the leaves forming a spinach type bunch as I believe Pak Choi and Bok Choy etc should the plants have become long and spindly with the leaves separated 30-40mm along the stem. The plants have been in for around 6 weeks and are now starting to flower. Is this normal for Pak Choi in hydro? Has anyone had similar with chinese cabbages?

Long and spindly usually means not enough light. 

Date:
03 Sep 2001
Time:
06:49:50

Comments

Date:
03 Sep 2001
Time:
06:50:11

Comments

Re: Pak Choy

There are many kinds of Pak Choy. Some are large like you see in any market, and some are classified as "baby" types. Some have tightly grouped leaves and some are spread out a little more. By and large, when small yellow flower buds appear, it's time to eat them, flower and all. We normally use them for stir frying, or in soup noodle dishes.

Tailwheel

Date:
03 Sep 2001
Time:
08:03:18

Comments

Re Pak Choy.

Thanks, That was basically all I needed to know. I guess I'd better start eating.

Much of my, so far... limited, hydro knowledge I've learnt from reading this site over the past few weeks (thanx Ron). Prior to proudly growing my eight lanky Pak Choys my thumbs have been so brown that I have trouble growing fingernails.

Mick Coffs Hbr - Oz

Date:
02 Sep 2001
Time:
05:50:47

Comments

I read here that Walmart and Kmart have cycle timers. How about some more info on what to look for? What department are they in, what do they look like (digital/mechanical)? Thanks

Wal-Mart's sometimes has the GE 24 hour 15 min. on 15 off timer. Can't find a cycle timer with more than 6 on times a day and that is still not enough.

Date:
02 Sep 2001
Time:
15:11:36

Comments

what kind of rocks or clay balls do i put in my hydo-system

grow rocks - a porous clay kiln fired material that can be used over and over again after cleaning with a 10 percent bleach solution. 

Date:
02 Sep 2001
Time:
23:53:10

Comments

Does clipping the root of a plant if it goes into the piping apply to all plants?

So far I had no problem clipping them but some will go through a slight shock period. 

Date:
03 Sep 2001
Time:
09:00:01

Comments

Hi, members of my family in S. Africa are wanting to start a commercial hydroponics operation. They plan to do a variety of veggies, but especially marrows, which is a type of squash. I have been asked to see what I can find out about hydroponics for them. This operation will be located in Noodtgedacht in the Cape Proviince S. Africa. Any assistance will be greatly appreciated. Thanks a bunch, Stan Putter

Date:
04 Sep 2001
Time:
11:26:14

Comments

whats the cheapest way to get weed out of your system

pesticide 

Date:
07 Sep 2001
Time:
23:19:31

Comments

Hi Ron,

People are always looking for the right kind of lights to use at a good price and I have (20)Complete 400 Watt Metal Halides with the hoods and enclosed multi tap ballasts and a removable top plate for adding a cooling fan for just under $80. + shipping. I can e-mail pictures if anyone is interested. Thanks for having the best site about hydroponics!

Mike from Mo mpsweeney@hotmail.com

Are these lights new or used?

Date:
08 Sep 2001
Time:
00:42:57

Comments

hi, how are you?. I produce chinese cabbage or patchoi in Trinidad. Could you tell me the cause of very rough leaves please?

Date:
08 Sep 2001
Time:
12:21:04

Comments

Hi im building my own hydroponic system{11 plants} using the instructions you provide using pvc and my question was. How do i plant the seeds? we have everything ready and working but if we put a seed in there it just goes into the system. So what do we use to keep that seed in bottle with out it going into the system?

Date:
10 Sep 2001
Time:
03:58:55

Comments

Hi From Australia, I am new to this and can't get my seedlings to grow. They have gone to about 1 inch and stopped. They are in coconut medium and getting nutrient. I have a 400w hps light which I have tried at different heights but no go. They have been at this size for about 3 weeks now. Can anyone help please?

Date:
10 Sep 2001
Time:
04:46:17

Comments

Re: Plants not growing

You didn't mention what Ph range your plants are in. My local hydro shop doesn't handle coir because he says it's too difficult to maintain Ph and not consistent in quality.

A one inch high plant seems awfully small to be transplanting. Generally, I grow from seed and transplant only when the second set of true leaves have appeared and the plant is in the neighborhood of 4-6 inches tall. By then the roots are fully developed and I've had no failures or serious setbacks yet, the plants take right off.

Tailwheel

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