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-   -   When to move rockwool seedlings to dutch buckets (http://www.hydroponicsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4344)

gdgdad 09-12-2018 05:20 PM

When to move rockwool seedlings to dutch buckets
 
I'm new to this (both the forum and hydroponics). I've "built" a 4 Dutch bucket system exactly to the MHP Gardener's specs and it's ready to go. I have 4 tomato plant seedlings in 1" rockwool cubes (foil still on) that are between 3 and 5 inches tall, all with true leaves. My buckets use Perlite as the growing medium, and the nutrient pump and air pump are on a 3 times a day timer. When is the ideal time (i.e. seedling size or root situation?) to move the cubes into the Dutch buckets?

Stan 09-27-2018 01:36 PM

Planting tomatoes from rock wool to dutchbucket can be done as soon as you see a couple roots growing out from the rockwool cube if growing indoors otherwise if outside I. Full sun roots should be 2-3 inches long.

Are you planning to grow these tomatoes indoors or out? If outdoors in full sun your plants will die fast if you only pump nutrient water 3 times a day. At night you can get away with 3 times not during the day.

gdgdad 09-28-2018 04:31 PM

Tomatoes took turn for worst...
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Stan (Post 14341)
Planting tomatoes from rock wool to dutchbucket can be done as soon as you see a couple roots growing out from the rockwool cube if growing indoors otherwise if outside I. Full sun roots should be 2-3 inches long.

Are you planning to grow these tomatoes indoors or out? If outdoors in full sun your plants will die fast if you only pump nutrient water 3 times a day. At night you can get away with 3 times not during the day.

Stan, thanks for the reply and info. Unfortunately, the seedlings died. They got to be between 5 and 7 inches tall with seemingly good amount of "true leaves", but leaves turned brown on the ends, and that was it. I kept them moist, not saturated, under a 3 light system (CFL's - 2 @ 5,00 kelvins, 1 at 6,500 kelvins). Nutrient was MiracleGrow tomato @ 1/4 strength, all PH balanced (post fertilizer) to 5.9 No roots ever came out the bottom and a "post mortem" showed few roots within the cubes. But... I've not given up. I've read I had the wrong size cubes (i.e 1") and that 2X2X1.5" are best for tomatoes. New cubes on the way... I've attached pictures of my "setup". so, to answer your questions:
1. I plan on growing them outside with the ability to "wheel" them into the garage in event of storm or frost
2. The timer can be set to cycle up to 10 times per day, would ask your opinion on frequency/duration.
3. FYI - seed types were Florida 91 and Heatmaster, both supposedly very heat tolerant. I had little luck with Florida 91's in ground as well.
4. Seedling tray is standard 10X20 with 7" high clear lid.

Thanks for taking the time to respond, I've been trying grow tomatoes down here for 10 years. I REALLY need advice, I want this to work! Gary

Stan 09-28-2018 05:34 PM

I use the 1" rockwool cubes to start my tomatoes every years never had any problems. If you want to get big healthy roots before transplant to dutch bucket you should build a small aeroponic cloner for use with seedlings.

You'll need a black tote box similar to this.
http://www.brocktonplace.com/wp-cont...e-capacity.jpg

2 inch net pots
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon....1MNaK5pFNL.jpg


These red 360 degree sprayers
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon....0L._SX425_.jpg

I use this timer for my dutch bucket system can also be used with the cloner.
https://www.hydroempire.com/wp-conte.../12/398934.jpg

You would also need some hydroton to fill in around the cube. You will also need 1/4 PVC piping.

Depending on how many plants you want would determine how many holes you would drill into the tote box.
https://i.ytimg.com/vi/Fc1ruX8ClRk/hqdefault.jpg

You will have to set up the pvc piping and use a tap to insert the 360 degree sprayers with water pump inside the tote with water and just a little bit of nutrients added. The ends of the pvc piping needs to be sealed.
https://i.ytimg.com/vi/IDWzS9tboZg/hqdefault.jpg

The roots will grow very fast using this set up. You can take the plants including the 2 inch net pots they're in and transplant into the dutch bucket as is just cover the top of the net pot with the perlite in the dutch buckets. Use the same watering timing you were using in the cloner for about a week then you can adjust as you see fit.

gdgdad 10-10-2018 11:58 AM

Aeroponic cloner completed, 2nd attempt with seedlings
 
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Stan, I’ve built an aeroponic Cloner as you suggested (see pics). Seems to work OK, all sprayers put out a nice pattern (i.e. 180 degrees each ). The 2” net pots appear to get sprayed from all sides. But…. I’m still stuck at the starting gate as far a starting from seed. I also acquired 2” Rockwool cubes and re-started seeds 10/2/18 (again, Heatmasters and Florida 91’s). So far 3 cubes have sprouted, tallest is 2 ½ tall (see pics). The tall ones looked leggy so I removed the clear cover and lowered the lights (light is on timer 6am to 12 pm). No true leaves yet. This is where / when I seem to have the most problems, any suggestions? See anything I’m doing wrong or not doing?

Thanks, Gary

Stan 10-10-2018 04:44 PM

gdgdad, hope you are a safe way from Hurricane Michael.

Very nice cloner set up. Since you want to transplant the seedlings outdoors the cloner should also be outdoors. The seedlings should not be in direct sunlight but in an area with enough light during the day like under an awning or a carport.

Since these seedlings were grown indoors when you move the cloner outside don't be surprised if only 1 plant survives if any. If you are lucky they might all survive since they're still very young. In case they do die the seeds should be started outdoors in the cloner so they will not suffer from shock from being grown indoors and transplanted outdoors. Right now from the pics I see give them just a tiny amount of nutrients until you start to get a second set of leaves. At that point start them on a little less than 1/4 nutrients.

When the roots come thru the rockwool go to 1/4 nutrients the plants will start shooting upward quickly. When the roots are 4 - 6 inches long transplant to dutch buckets. Stay at 1/4 nutrients in dutch bucket it will take about 1 week for the plants to get used to it's new place. Keep an eye on the growth it will not grow that first week but will the second. When you see new growth go to 1/2 nutrients. When plants are over a foot tall you should start to see flowering when you do go to 3/4 nutrient strength. When you get 3 levels of flowering go to full nutrient strength the plants will skyrocket and will be flowering all over.

When plants are around 6 - 8ft tall (I've grown black cherry tomato plants 14ft) or when you feel they have reached their limit cut the nutrients off and just use plain water. Let some of the suckers(new growth) grow about 5 inches clip them off put them in rockwool cubes and into the cloner you built to start the next set of tomato plants that will replace those in the dutch buckets.

One last thing make sure the water ph level is between 5.5 - 6.5 not higher or lower than those numbers including when you add nutrients. When plants are growing some fruit add a little epsom salt once a month to the reservoir.

gdgdad 10-11-2018 11:01 AM

Aeroponic cloner "activated"..... more questions..
 
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Stan, thanks so much for the quick feed back and advice. The hurricane didn’t even phase us, winds gusted at 30 for a couple hours, and very little rain. Thanks for asking. Here’s what I’ve done and where I’m at as of today:

- I’ve moved the 3 seedlings into 2” net cups on the aeroponic cloner, on 2 of the 3 net cups I was able to place the neoprene collar. (see pic) We’ll hope for the best…..
- I’ve started 3 more rockwool cubes (2” cubes cut to fit the 2” net pots semi snuggly). New cubes (in their net pots) soaked in ph 6.0 for an hour prior to inserting seeds. No neoprene collars.
- New / additional seed types: Big Daddy Hybrid and Big Boy Hybrid (seeds I had from last year) – 2 seeds per cube, and the last cube I used the 2 remaining Heatmaster seeds.
- No nutrients have been added to the water (just balanced the ph to 6.0). FYI – I’m on a well so no “unnatural” chemicals, but left alone water runs about 7.5 ph. I use Roots® PH down.
- The aeroponic cloner bucket has been placed outdoors on my north facing, covered Lanai – no direct sun. Temps are running mid to upper 80’s, humidity varies from high to medium (it’s Florida….) see pics
Questions:
- I assume I will I no longer use the CFL lighting, correct?
- What do you recommend for sprayer timing, i.e. intervals and duration of each interval?
o I have a Titan timer that can do up to 10 on/off settings per day, but I also have a mechanical timer the can go on/off in 15 minute intervals.
o Being the new cubes just soaked, and the existing ones are still saturated, I’ve not started the timer – you have a suggestion on when spraying cycles should start?
o Should I aeriate the aeroponic cloner bucket? (I have an aquarium bubbler for the Dutch buckets).
o 4 of the netcups do not have the neoprene collars, should I make center holes in the collars and cover those (to block light?). In the pic’s you can see the “openings” around the sides.
Thanks so much for your help and advice! I’m determined to make this work and I’m certain I’m making mistakes / mis-steps along the way.

Gary in Florida

Stan 10-11-2018 12:13 PM

Glad to hear the hurricane avoided your area. I've watched lot's of news reports from the area I feel bad for the people that lost homes and personal belongings.

Ok I'm not a fan of neoprene collars with seedlings. With the stem not being strong they sometimes with either choke or damage the stem. I have used the collars with large suckers around 5 - 8 inches long. I use hydroton and carefully put them in a little at a time until it reaches the top of the net pot. When I transfer into dutch bucket I put the net pot as is with hydroton and bury it in the perlite.

As for watering schedule it all depends on temperature and humidity also if plants are in sun or shade. This is why I like the Spartan timer I would do 5 seconds on 15 minutes off. The timer of 10 times a day should not be used. With the timer you mentioned can go on/off for 15 minute intervals can you set it at 15 minutes on 30 minutes off? Also soak a rockwool cube put it outside where you have the cloner see how long it takes to get just slightly damp but not completely dry. The set your timer for 15 minutes on 15 minutes before the time it takes to get slightly damp. Since you're using fresh water and adjusting the ph keep eye water temps make sure it doesn't get to high. Use a gallon milk container fill it with water freeze it place in the cloner to cool down the water. Make sure you take off any labels that are on the container otherwise it will peel off inside the cloner and clog the sprayers.

When you eventually move them to the dutch bucket 15 minutes on will be way to long. I had mine in full sun 90 degrees with high 70 to low 80's humidity for 3 minutes on 15 minutes off. When the plants are 4 feet tall which means it has a large root system I had it running for 1 minute on 25 minutes off and just adjust as you see fit. At sundown it ran 1 minute on 45 minutes off.

Last but not least yes use an aerator/bubbler. You can run it at night when it's cooler for 30 minutes then off till the next night.

gdgdad 10-11-2018 04:44 PM

Adviced followed and more questions....
 
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Thanks Stan, a lot of good info. On the neoprene collars, I removed them and cut out the centers so the stems aren’t squeezed. Hydroton clay pebbles aren’t available locally so I’ve ordered a bag on line. When those arrive I’ll remove the neoprene.
On watering – for the timing are you saying the duration and interval is 7/24? i.e continuously through out the night? I notice that time you have has a “daytime” sensor.

I’ve soaked and set out a “fresh” cube on top of the bucket (see pic), recorded the time I set it out, and will check periodically for when it’s “slightly damp not dry”. I have a feeling that will be a long time…. Possibly hours? The aeroponic cloner bucket is in the shade, per your previous post – not direct sunlight. Those cubes really hold the water and I have a hard time accurately determining “slightly damp”, and really go more by weight.
Cube question, I attempted to use a couple “used” rockwool cubes for the damp time test, i.e. from seeds that never sprouted or seedlings that died. But they would not sink when placed in water to soak. Can (should) rockwool cubes be re-used?
On water temp – what temp are you shooting for? I’ll have to get an aquarium thermometer, (and I always have several frozen milk jugs that I use for fishing). Again, sounds like another timer for nighttime only operation??

Can’t wait to get to the point of moving plants to the Dutch bucket system. On the Dutch Bucket watering timing, I’m a little confused…. Once the plant got larger, watering time was reduced, and intervals less frequent?

Lastly the bubbler….. run at night only while (if) sprayer system runs though night?

Sorry if I’m asking dumb questions, the more I learn, the more I realize how little I know. Early on in I was convinced by everything on-line this was the simplest most successful way to grow, now it seems quite a science and much more complex – but I’m ready for the challenge! Thanks for all your help!

Gary

Stan 10-11-2018 07:09 PM

When you get the hydroton really rinse them they always have clay dust on them before putting them into the net pots.

The Spartan timer can be set with daytime on/off and night on/off settings. It has a photocell which will tell it to switch to night settings. If you have that timer you set it for 5 minutes on 15 minutes off during the daylight hours.
At night set it for 5 minutes on and 45 minutes off. When you get a good amount of roots coming out of the rockwool change timer to 5 seconds on 15 minutes off in daylight. at night 5 seconds on 1 hour off.

With a regular timer it all depends on what the least amount of time it can run. If the least amount of time is 15 minutes then on for 15 minutes off 1 hour then if you can do on/off all day and into the night if the timer doesn't have separate day/night. If you don't have enough setting on your timer to do that then you'll need to run the water for a longer time during daytime. Start it off at sunrise let run for over an hour if you have to. Then space out the timing during the day make sure it gets watered around sunset. Save 1 setting for a middle of the night watering run once for at least an hour.

Water temps for seedlings if you can get the temps between 65 - 78 degrees you'll do fine. When roots are coming out of rockwool you can be between 75 - 80 degrees. When in dutch buckets just make sure water temps don't go over 85 degrees.

gdgdad 10-12-2018 04:12 PM

Rockwool cube "soak test" results....
 
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Stan, per your post, I soaked a rockwool cube and placed it on top of the aeroponic cloner bucket (see pic in previous post). I marked the time @ 3:20 pm, and when I checked at 7:00 pm is was still wet and a fairly "heavy". So as I suspected, these things will hold water for many hours. I picked up the cube again today and it is indeed still damp - the next day! Any suggestions on sprayer timing revision?
Also, I added in an aerator,(two stones), and just left that running, figure I can't over oxygenate the water.....
Two tallest seedlings seem to be "stretching" toward sunlight, but they appear to be starting "true leaves", albeit very small (see attached pic - 2, might be difficult to see). I'm turning the net cups periodically to get them to lean in the opposite direction. Again, bucket is sitting outside on my lanai.
Temps have cooled to upper 80's, humidity 46% today, tomorrow morning in 60's, upper 80's by afternoon and humidity about 52%.
Thanks!! GDGDAD

Stan 10-12-2018 08:46 PM

Water it 3 times starting at sunrise, 12 noon and at sunset. Water once at night around 12 0r 1AM.

When you see a couple roots starting to come out of the rockwool switch the water schedule with the 1 I quoted earlier (more frequent watering schedule) as you don't want the exposed roots to dry out. That would kill the plants.

gdgdad 10-13-2018 09:34 AM

Timer set, installed and running - fingers crossed
 
Stan, I’m using my Apollo timer, which has a minimum duration of 1 minute, so here’s what I’ve programmed:
Sunrise 7:30 am - duration 1 minute
Sunset 7:02 pm – duration 1 minute
Nighttime: 1:00 am – duration 1 minute
Aerator runs continuously
I’ll check for roots frequently and adjust timing when I see some. I’m betting it will a while before I see roots, never did when I started them indoors even though they got 5 to 7 inches tall, and now I’m using 2” cubes (as opposed to 1”). Again I’ve not added any nutrients, using only PH adjusted water. Fingers crossed…..

Thanks!

Stan 10-13-2018 05:50 PM

Ok just check once a day on the plants if you notice they look weaker give an extra watering or 2 during the day. Aerator only needs 15 - 60 minutes once during the night.

You will see roots faster outdoors. Under artificial lights they become leggy fast and the roots don't. In an aeroponic cloner outdoors the stem gets thick and the roots get long. Keep me up to date on how things go. Keep a yearly journal consisting of watering schedule, amount of nutrients, ph with outdoor temps to see what works and when and what doesn't.

gdgdad 10-16-2018 12:01 PM

Hydroton added & more germination
 
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Stan – keeping you posted. The Hydroton arrived and I’ve carefully added it to the net cups (see pics). After THOROUGHLY rinsing pebbles, I first filled the gaps (left via putting a square cube in round net cup) with small pebbles, then used larger pebbles to fill in and prop up seedlings. All 3 of the seeds started on 10/11 are sprouting, one just over a half in high. On the “new” seedling cups, I only placed Hydroton on the perimeter, mainly to block light. Tallest seedling is about 3 ½“ high, but still no roots out of the cube yet. To me it looks "leggy", but there are true leaves. When (i.e. in height or time) would you expect I’d see roots protruding from cubes? Everything else remains the same, i.e. bucket is kept in shade on lanai within10 feet of direct sunlight, watering is 7am, 7pm, and 1am for 1 minute. Temps running upper 80's with humidity in the low to mid 70's. Thanks again for your advice and direction..... fingers crossed!

Stan 10-17-2018 10:24 AM

The seedlings are still in infancy. The stems are still white when they should already be turning green. When that happens the root system will take off. So maybe another week or 2 before roots come out of the cubes.

I would add the slightest amount of fertilizer to the water now it will quicken the process. Increase nutrient watering once every 2 hours during daylight hours the seedling will suck up all the nutrients they need to grow faster.

gdgdad 10-17-2018 08:10 PM

Update - nutrients added, timing changed
 
Stan, I’ve drained the bucket and re-filled with nutrient solution (MiracleGro for Tomatoes @18-18-21) at ¼ strength and balanced PH at 6.0 (post nutrient). The timer’s set for daylight hours 7am/9/11/1pm/3/5/7pm (every 2 hours) - one minute durations. Can’t believe the “new” sprouts, one day a ½ inch, next day >1”!! BTW – we have some “followers”!!!! 285 views! Good advice spreads fast! I’ll keep you posted on progress.

gdgdad

Stan 10-18-2018 08:21 AM

gdgdad, glad to hear the plants are doing fine. Like I said the cloner method is the best when starting seedlings as they really grow fast. When the roots start coming out of the rockwool the stems will start to get thick.

It's funny you mentioned using MiracleGro for the seedlings as I was going to suggest you to use it since it's cheap. I use it for my seedlings all the way into the first week when switching to dutch bucket. After that first week in Dutch Bucket then switch to the nutrients you plan to use the rest of the way as I wouldn't use MiracleGro after that first week.

I didn't take notice of the views on this thread until you mentioned it. Good to see that interest in the thread you started. If anyone viewing the thread wants to chime in to ask questions or add some suggestions please do.

GpsFrontier used to run this forum I have no idea what happened to him and hope he is well. He would answer everyones posts. He was a goldmine of info I learned a lot from him that's why I always check into this forum once in a while to see if I could help.

Please keep me up to date on this. If you need any seeds I have saved from my hydroponic grows like giant heirloom tomatoes some getting 3+lbs or black cherry tomatoes let me know I will gladly mail them to you.

Stan 10-18-2018 09:27 AM

gdgdad, if you have Dollar Stores close by stop in and buy a couple of these sun shields for cars.
https://www.mediacollege.com/lightin...d-sunshade.jpg

When you open the package open them up fold them in half the (the long way) make a crease then cut them along the crease so end up having 2 long pieces. Each piece will fit perfectly wrapped around the 5 gallon buckets starting about 3 inches below the top lip it will cover a little more than 3/4 of the buckets preventing the inside from getting steaming hot from direct sun.

gdgdad 10-18-2018 10:20 AM

Will get sun screens and a bucket question
 
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Stan, Great idea and yes I do have a dollar store near me (I go there frequently!). I actually though about buying aluminum foil to do the same thing, but yours’ is a much better method. Question on the Dutch buckets, when I first constructed them, I ran the system regularly to test for leaks and insure timer operation. As a result, it’s been sitting since the start of September with likely 2” of water in each bucket (I didn't expect to still be trying to get seedlings going). Today I hooked it directly to hose and ran water through it for about a ½ hour, pushing between 10 and 15 gallons through. Should I add a small amount of bleach to the “flush” to eliminate the possibility of any bacteria or mold in the bottom of the buckets(assuming chlorine eventually dissipates)? Maybe a few days before moving plants to Dutch buckets? They’ve been inside the garage so no direct sunlight exposure. Hoping I don’t have to completely empty the perlite out, clean buckets, and re-rinse perlite, but I will if it mold or bacteria is a possibility. Don’t want to have gone this far and screw it up…. Also, added a “status” pic as of today… Thanks,
gdgdad

Stan 10-18-2018 09:25 PM

Seedlings are looking good,

I have never used bleach but I've read many people do. I use a 5 gallon paint strainer bag in all my 5 gallon buckets. At the end of the growing season I rinse all out with fresh water and let it dry up on the ground in the strainer bag. When dry I pour the perlite out of the bags into an extra large trash can and leave it out for the winter then do everything all over again for the following spring.

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon....eL._SX355_.jpg


Since you're down in a warm climate all year that wont work so you are probably better off using a little bit of bleach. I would check the perlite at the bottom of the container first to see if it needs cleaning.

gdgdad 10-22-2018 10:01 AM

Varmint issue, remedy and status
 
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Stan, had some kind of varmint get on the bucket, scatter the Hydroton all over the lid, knocked down the two tallest plants – breaking one. I’m pissed. Made a cage (see pics) and “propped up” the tallest plant with a wooden skewer. Tallest plant seems to be doing OK, just too weak to stay vertical on it’s own. One of the sprouts is starting “true leaves”. I’ve also started yet another seed(s) where the varmint broke my seedling (fresh rockwool cube soaked in 6.0 ph of course). Temps really cooling down, mid 80’s all week, upper 70’s all next week.

Stan 10-23-2018 09:00 AM

That sucks! That’s why I build the larger cloner as I can pick and choose the healthiest of each tomato plant variety to be moved to Dutch bucket.

I had squirrels decimate my giant heirloom tomatoes this year. I was only able to get 6 ripe tomatoes in the beginning then the squirrels started chowing down on any tomato that started to ripen. I must’ve thrown out at least 40+lbs of giant heirloom tomatoes. They didn’t touch the cherry tomatoes luckily for me. Next year I plan to set up low voltage wiring around the bottom so when they try to climb up they’ll get a small shock that will keep them away but won’t kill or injure them.

gdgdad 10-28-2018 04:10 PM

Update / status of seedlings
 
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It’s October 28th. And here’s where the seedling are at (see pics). The tallest is just under 5” tall, but still no roots coming out of the rockwool cube- see pic #3. Three other seedlings are "barely" starting new leaves. Things cooled down significantly here (west central Florida) so I moved the Aeroponic cloner into the garage. The garage is south facing so temp stays in the low 80’s range. Because the garage is typically shut from late afternoon until 9 or 10 in the morning, I’ve added back in the CFL lighting (via timer) from garage closure to midnight, and then on again at 6 am until garage is opened. Just started that today – any concerns? It just seems these seedlings are growing so slow….

Stan 10-28-2018 07:02 PM

Ok how cool is it actually getting? I’ve had a cloner outdoors in 55 degrees.

Roots should already be seen the pics of the leaves look like a pale green and not a darker healthier green. If this is true then you need the timer I posted earlier set it for 30 seconds on 15 minutes off running like that 24 hours a day with nutrient water that is ph checked.This will basically flush any water thats in the rockwool out and replacing it with fresh nutrient water. Whatever roots you have in the rockwool will suck up the nutrients more often making the plant healthier.

gdgdad 10-28-2018 09:50 PM

Timer ordered, but in the meantime.....
 
Thanks Stan, I broke down and ordered that timer off Amazon as we speak, should be here between 11/1 & 11/6. As far as temperature this morning, it could have been as low as 48 / 49, I’m not positive – but 50 to me is cold! On the nutrient, when I last “flushed” the bucket 10/17, the fresh water I put in was balanced PH at 6.0, and ¼ strength nutrient (Miracle Grow for tomatoes). The color is indeed NOT a rich dark green, and some leaves seem slightly wilted. Now….. I’ve not checked the PH since the flush, but I’ve not had to add water either. In a “static” system, do I need to still check PH periodically? In the mean time before my new timer comes, I can increase the spray cycles up to ten per day with my current timer, minimum 1 minute duration's. Every time I’ve checked, cubes were wet or saturated. Also, I currently have the aerator running only while the sprayers are, vs 7/24. As I said in the last post, I re-introduced the CFL lights when not in indirect sun light (except for nighttime) because the seedlings were always leaning / stretching toward indirect sunlight. I “rotate” the bucket daily to get them to lean the other way. The seedlings seem to be growing frustratingly slow – but I’m determined and hangin’ in there… all advice appreciated..

Stan 10-28-2018 10:35 PM

49!degrees yes you need to move them in. Keep the lights as low as you can get to the top of the plant so they don’t get stretchy. They were looking good and should’ve had much more growth so yes I would Check the ph maybe every 2 days and as I mentioned earlier increase the watering cycle to as many times as you can till you get the other on/off timer. If you don’t notice a difference within 2 days increase the amount of nutrients you are putting in the reservoir just a little bit more to see if any changes happen a day or 2 later. Like I said earlier you should’ve been able to see some roots sprouting from the rockwool by now.

gdgdad 10-29-2018 10:31 AM

Timer adjust, PH balance & nutrient strength
 
Stan, turns out my digital timer only has 8 programmable times per day. However, my mechanical timers can go on/off in 15 minute duration's. So… until the new timer arrives it seems I can only water too little or too much. I’ve set the digital timer back to evenly dispersed durations during daylight and 1 nighttime duration (all 1 minute on durations) as follows:
Time on Time off
1:00 AM 1:01 AM
7:30 AM 7:31 AM
9:30 AM 9:31 AM
11:30 AM 11:31 AM
1:30 PM 1:31 PM
3:30 PM 3:31 PM
5:30 PM 5:31 PM
7:30 PM 7:31 PM
Again, every time I’ve checked, the cubes are wet to saturated, but If you think going “mechanical” with minimum 15 minute “on” durations is better, let me know. Also, before I check PH today (which I will adjust to 6.0 if necessary), you mentioned changing the nutrient strength. I had the nutrient at ¼ strength. What percent would you recommend increasing it to? Thanks!

gdgdad 10-30-2018 11:36 AM

10/30/18 update
 
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Flushed and replaced aeroponic cloner bucket nutrient solution. I increased nutrient to 50% strength, PH adjusted to 6.0 (as always). Prior to flushing the system, I checked the PH and it had increased to 6.3. I’ll be checking PH every 2 days in the future – need to get my hands on a turkey baster to pull out samples for testing PH, that way I only need to pop out a net cup. Bucket has been wrapped with reflective cover (car sun shield) as suggested. Waiting for the new timer.....

gdgdad 11-02-2018 01:15 PM

ROOTS!!! at last
 
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The largest plant has a couple roots between 2 and 3 inches long -finally. New timer hasn't arrived yet so sprayers are only running eight times a day right now, 1 minute durations. I do run them briefly, manually, in between the 2 hour intervals if I happen to be in the garage. Apologize for the poor pics, it's difficult to hold the netcup and cell phone simultaneously, but look closely or zoom, and they should be visible.

Stan 11-02-2018 05:17 PM

Great as you can see the increased watering has given the seedlings enough fresh water and nutrients to absorb. Soon you will see roots coming out of the sides of the net pots when that happens the stems will start to get thick.

gdgdad 11-08-2018 09:01 PM

Update - timer in and on....
 
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Timer arrived and is installed. Currently running 24/7, 15 min off - 5 sec on. Will switch timer to "daytime" only mode tomorrow - with one caveat; I still run the CFL's after I've "shut down" the garage (on a separate timer) until midnight, then on again at 6am., until I "open" the garage in the morning. Plants are in full sun during day now and seem to be doing good. Adjusted PH today, it scooted up to 6.5, so I lowered it to 5.8, but I did not flush the bucket, simply added PH down. Tallest plant has 1 or 2 roots about 3" long. I will test tomorrow to see if the new Spartan Repeat Cycle Timer is "fooled" by the CFL's and continues to run until CFL's shut off. Otherwise I have to come up with a plan B, i.e. likely running the Spartan Repeat Cycle Timer off the CFL timer (cascading the timers). Not certain how the Spartan will react (recover?) from power loss and return. Attached current pics.

Stan 11-12-2018 09:03 PM

The plants are looking really good and healthy. You’ll be seeing a lot more root mass pretty soon. Try adding a pinch more nutrients to the water and the plants will start shooting up. You’re doing great!!

gdgdad 11-14-2018 03:21 PM

Concern on yellow tips and TDS meter question
 
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Stan, While changing and adjusting PH today, I noticed some slight yellowing of the tips on the largest tomato plant (see pics). I’ve been checking PH every other day and notice it creeps up to as much as 6.5 and once 6.7 (I always adjust to 5.9 to 6.0), nutrient started at 50%. I’m going to start checking and tracking PH daily. I’ve not been checking the nutrient level since I have no means to. Your thoughts on a TDS meter – do you use one? Or is it better to simply “flush” the bucket contents weekly or some other interval? Just an FYI – largest plant is just over 7”, shortest 5” – and I’ve added a pic of the entire bucket, lastly - timing cycle remains 15 min off / 5 to 7 sec on during day. Thanks!

Stan 11-14-2018 08:16 PM

Have you checked to see if the 360 degree sprayers are working correctly? If not use a toothpick to clear them out. If sprayers are fine increase the time the sprayers are on maybe 45 seconds to a minute. Change water in the bucket every 2 weeks. Only give plants 1/4 dose of nutrients.

gdgdad 11-20-2018 07:46 PM

Concerned over spotting & update
 
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Stan, Installed an aquarium heater today (nights getting cooler) and I noticed one of the plants has some “whiteish” spots, almost like a blemish – see pics. Hard to believe it could be bugs – halfway through November – but I am in Florida…. Overall plants are doing well, tallest is 9”, the rest easily 7”, all seem full and dark green, stems are getting fat – I believe I might be near Dutch bucket time. Some roots are long, but there’s not a thick batch of roots like I’ve seen shown on some on-line aeroponic cloner videos. My roots are sort of like 4 or 5 inch “scragglers” per net cup. On the white spot, hopefully I don’t have to introduce an insecticide, but I do have some Spectracide malathion for vegetables unless you have better suggestions. Thanks!

Stan 11-21-2018 01:30 AM

Use Neem oil or you can make your own mixture 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 2 teaspoons of dawn soap then fill the rest of spray bottle with water. Spray under side of leaves. Plants look to be ready to transplant to Dutch bucket.

gdgdad 11-24-2018 07:08 PM

The “big move” – aeroponic to Dutch buckets
 
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Stan, moved 4 of the plants from the cloner into the Dutch bucket system today. Turned out to be a bigger project then I envisioned. Just balancing the PH in the 14 gal reservoir was a challenge. Based on return line flow, pump’s pushing ~ 42 gph, so after each PH down I added, I had to wait about 20 minutes to account for water in the buckets before re-testing. Finally got the PH to 5.9, and I’m running nutrients at ¼ strength. Anyway, the flow works out to ~10 gph per bucket, each has dual feeds. On the timer, I’ve set it for 15min off / 5 min on - too much? Daytime temps have been in the middle to upper 70’s, night time upper 40’s low 50’s, but garage rarely gets below 60 and I have an aquarium heater and aerator running 24/7. You can see in the pics the setup is in the garage at the door (facing south). I’ve read during this transition they don’t want a lot of sun/light – if you feel differently, please advise. I know there will be some type of reaction to the move, but not sure what to expect. Lastly, purchased and applied the neem, and will re-apply in a week. Let me know if you have any other suggestions or tips – in the meantime “fingers crossed”.

Stan 11-25-2018 03:02 AM

You’re using perlite correct? Did you give the perlite and complete drenching of fresh water before putting the plants in? Reason being fresh perlite is very dusty it needs to be flushed throughly. Most likely reaso for fluctuation with ph.

Put plants in full sun if only in the 70’s. 15 off 5 on is ok you can lower it down to 2 minutes on if you can but start with 5 minutes for now. It will take 9 - 14 days for you to see some growth as the plants need to adjust to new enviorement. They will skyrocket after that. That’s when you go to 3/4 nutrients.

gdgdad 11-27-2018 09:29 PM

Transplant to Dutch bucket update
 
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Stan, 4 days since the move and plants appear OK (see pics). Applied another dose of Neem, seen white area but may have been the original one. Since the day I moved them we’ve had incredibly high winds, even in the garage I had to close the door ¾’s the way. Tonight and tomorrow exceptionally cold but garage will stay above 60F, and the reservoir has an aquarium heater. Adjusted timer (today) to 15m off – 2m on per your advice, I’ve also added a couple standard 4’ fluorescent bench lights to (hopefully) supplement the lack of sun light. Seems the PH is finally stabilizing, did not have to add as much PH down to get it back to 5.9. Question on epson salts – you mentioned a while back adding some, you have a recommended amount per gallon? Lastly, in a previous post you mentioned you had some tomato seeds from your plants that produced 3 lb. fruit. If they’re still available I’d like ask for some – if this goes well (and I’m optimistic) I want to start another bank of Dutch buckets in time for spring. Please let me know and thanks again for all your help!


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