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-   -   Newbie Building N.F.T system & growing watermelons! Need help! (http://www.hydroponicsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1396)

BlackRabbit 07-24-2009 09:38 AM

Newbie Building N.F.T system & growing watermelons! Need help!
Hey everyone

First off, I am new to this site (obviously) and i am new to Hydroponics. I hope that i don't annoy you guys to much with my horrible questions :p.

I am trying to grow watermelons. So far i am just germinating the watermelon seeds. I am doing this by placing a seed in a grow cube, Not sure if that's the correct term but its like a hard sponge i think they call it Rock-wool. I have poured a shot glass of water over each one, and set it up on the window sill.
Should i water everyday? with 30mls?

I only started germination today, so that gives me about 10 days to get my Hydroponic setup up and running. So here is my plan; i am taking a 100mm x 1 metre pvc pipe and putting end caps on with pvc glue. Than on one of the caps, and on the bottom of the pipe at the other end, i am drilling a 15mm hole to screw my 15mm to 13mm plastic piece.

Obviously most of you don't even need me to tell you this, but i need some questions answered that i haven't been able to answer myself using the internet.

I will be using an aquarium water pump that pumps at 400Litres/Hour. It has a variable switch so i can restrict it to 2Litres per minute, which i am told is what you want for a NFT system.

I will be using clay pellets as the growing medium. Will it matter that my grow cube, surrounded by these pellets, doesn't touch the water? Will the roots make their way into the stream? Its a pretty big concern for me.

Another is nutrients, I plan to use Dutch Master nutrients and am opting to go with Dutch Master One. Only while i learn the basics of hydroponics.

A site told me to replace the nutrients every two weeks, but the Dutchmaster site confused me.

The calculater section on their site says 50mls per week. Does that mean they expect me to change the nutrient solution each week? It has confused me, especially because i plan on getting a ECC pen to use the calculator more efficiently. In one scenario, not related to me, it says 20ml in week one and 30 mls in week two.. It made me ponder if they wanted it to be replaced, or to add 30mls to the current nutrient solution. Seems so pretty expensive if your replacing it every week.

I am not bothering with lights at the moment, i am using the sun, as i pretty much don't have the spare cash right now.

Sorry guys, this is a pretty big first post.. This does seem a little rude to me, to come onto a site and ask so much.. But i am pretty concerned, and with the seedlings starting to sprout i want to sort out everything before they go in.

When i get it running i'll be sure to take progress shots of both my hydro setup being built, and the growing of the watermelons (sugar baby).

I thought i had more questions but i can't think of them right now (lucky yous :p). Sorry once again guys, any help would be greatly appreciated.



n1zjd 07-24-2009 12:55 PM

First of all you went about the germinating with the rockwool cube wrong. What your supposed to do is soak the cube and give it a few hard shakes to get rid of excess water, like you were shaking water off your hands. How wet is the cube now? You dont want it soaked, when I germinate using them I only wet it that one time but that might not work for you depending on the humidity and the temperature. Just dont let it dry out, keep it MOIST, not saturated.

No it will not matter if the cube doesnt touch the water. The roots will grow down into it, but until it does keep the cube from drying out completely.

Not sure where your located or whats available but I would use the General Hydroponics 3 part nutrients. They are the best available IMO. First of all they have pH buffers in them so you wont have to adjust the pH as often. Second of all they are cheap, and third because they are 3 part nutrients it is easier to tweak your feeding schedule to accomodate your plants. Your RES should be changed every 2 weeks realistically. You could go alot longer without changing the res by adding back nutes. Thats hard for beginners though because plants uptake nutes in different ratios and that all depends on the specific plant. I would just add back plain water and change the res every two weeks. If you dont you will end up with salt buildup which will cause nutrient lockout and pH issues.

Ask away man thats what the forum is here for

BlackRabbit 07-25-2009 01:22 AM

You have been very helpful. Cheers :).

The rockwool is a bit damp, but i gave it a little shake and no water came out. No water dripping from it, it looks alright to me. But than again i am a newbie at this.

Hoping to get the components bought/ordered either today or tomorrow. Sooner the better.

Thank you for your fast, informative and helpful advice.


n1zjd 07-25-2009 04:53 PM

Sounds fine to me my friend.

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