Hydroponics Forums Discussions

Hydroponics Forums Discussions (http://www.hydroponicsonline.com/forums/index.php)
-   Hydroponics (http://www.hydroponicsonline.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=2)
-   -   When to move rockwool seedlings to dutch buckets (http://www.hydroponicsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4344)

Stan 03-04-2019 07:18 PM

Lemon juice, vinegar or citric acid will bring ph down.

I wouldn’t worry so much with water temps i’ve grown mine with reservoir temps at a steady 85 degrees. When water starts going above 90 drop frozen gallon to get it back down between 80-85. If you go way down to 60 you’ll be shocking the plant. Last summer we had so many consecutive days in the 90’s I kept nutrient temps at 85 didnt cause any damage to the plants at all.

gdgdad 03-04-2019 10:37 PM

Update, problem discovered & fixed,temps to plunge!
Plants are thriving – I think you caught the “chemical mishap” in time.. Checked plants at end of day yesterday and the first plant hand some branches (with flowers) badly drooping. I took off the lid and the perlite was bone dry 5 / 6 in. down. Pulled up hoses, ran pump, and discovered roots had completely blocked the tubes. Replaced hoses, watered manually, and the next day the limp branches had sprang back! Concern now – a “freak” cold snap – Wednesday could drop to upper 30’s overnight. Moving them into garage is no longer an option. I have a small heater working it’s butt off, and so far I’m able to maintain low 60’s. I’ll probably plug in the water heater, warm water may help. Pump is still running 30 min off 5min on, 24/7. My temporary greenhouse is being put to the test. I may add old blankets around the bottom tomorrow, possibly some on top. I’ve been here over 12 years, never seen a cold snap this late. Fingers crossed - will keep you posted.

Stan 03-05-2019 08:17 AM

I’ve also had that happen. The plants will droop almost looking like it’s over for them. When they receive a couple hours of water they spring up back to life but might find a branch or 2 or 3 that might need to be clipped off. The rest of the plant thrives.

Tomorrow we will be getting temps in single digits crazy for this time of year for us. As long as the plants themselves are not exposed to 32 degrees or below they should be fine.

gdgdad 03-06-2019 04:11 PM

Another “harvest”,green house worked,1 more cold night…
1 Attachment(s)
Stan, pulled 2 tomatoes today – nice and red with barely discernible yellow at top (see pics). I was going to wait until they were 100% red and slightly soft, but my farmer neighbor said they should be picked now. One was 7.69 oz. 3-1/8” tall, 2 ¼” wide, and the other 5.4 oz., 2 ¾ tall, 2” high. I’m keeping a “harvest log”. I purchased another (albeit small) heater for the green house. I could not find a decent size space heater – stores down here stopped carrying them a month ago. BUT… though we went to 31 f, the lowest the green house got was 51 f. The digital thermometer I have saves minimum / maximum temps between resets. I tried to keep temp above 55, I read blossom drop occurs at 55, but I didn't see any obvious changes to the blossoms (and there are many). The PH I ordered is scheduled to be here today so I’ll bring that down to around 6.5. Since the “chemical mishap” I’ve only been adding straight water (from well) to top off the tank. I think I may start adding nutrients at 50% in a day or two – your thoughts? Thanks again for all your help! GDG

Stan 03-06-2019 07:05 PM

If you have temps in low 50’s in the greenhouse that’s fine. Even the upper 40’s won’t kill the plants. Blossom end rot will only form on the newest of tomato blossoms or in other words the infant tomatoes but won’t be noticeable until they get a little larger. So if you get maybe 4 tomatoes with blossom rot you’ll still have 30-50 that won’t.

I usually wait until the tomatoes are red and a little soft before I pick them off in the beginning. When I have a ton of tomatoes starting to change all at the same time I will pick them when they are ripe and ready to eat. Most times I’m giving a lot away to the neighbors so they don’t go bad. If you know how to do canning this would be perfect for that.

Do you know what type of variety plants you are currently growing?

Did you cut the tomato open and try it out? Should be really really good.

I forgot to ask you what brand of PH down did you buy?

gdgdad 03-07-2019 10:00 AM

Still cold, tomato types and PH chemicals
Stan, temperature in my “greenhouse” went to 49 f briefly, early this morning. Little heaters simply couldn’t keep up. I’m definitely upgrading when I build the more permanent greenhouse. Plus the next greenhouse will be much better sealed. But - now we're in the warm up phase, into 80's by Saturday and the foreseeable future.

I agree on waiting until tomatoes are fully bright red and soft before picking, I’ll wait it out next time (should be soon). On my varieties – I know one is a Florida 91 (plant is obviously smaller than the rest) , the other 3 are either Big Boys, or Heatmasters (both Beef Steaks). During the aeroponic “stage”, I lost track, moving them around and replacing ones that didn’t make it. I’m getting tags for the next batch. I haven’t cut the 2 tomatoes open yet, I wanted them to get a little riper.

As for PH down, the first brand I used was Root Farm®, the most recent (1 quart size) is Hydro Crunch General Hydroponics® which just came yesterday. Not sure of the differences in brands, I usually went with whom ever could ship it the fastest. If there’s reasons to change or use another, let me know…

So… I’ll let you know when I slice into the two recent tomato picks and take pics, describe taste. Thanks again GDG

Stan 03-18-2019 03:00 PM

Sorry I’m posting late.

The ph you bought is fine.

Yes pic those tomatoes when they are red and soft to the touch they will be juicy and amazing tasting due to epsom salt. When you have a load of tomatoes that’ll ripen at the same time pick some offbefore they are ripe so you can have them later or if you know canning then pick them when they are all ripen.

I wish I could grow in my area in the winter months but it gets way to cold up here.

2Easy 03-25-2019 12:34 AM

Thanks, my plants are looking good and healthy. :)

gdgdad 03-26-2019 11:22 AM

Possible bug / parasite issue? and status…
5 Attachment(s)
Stan, Plants are MASSIVE and super thick, they require thinning and trellising regularly (good problem to have). There are MANY tomatoes – some easily a pound or more, though very few turning red as yet. Problem: I’ve notice yellow spots and even “snake like” yellow trails on some leaves (see pics) so I sprayed plants with Neem today. The spots and lines look more like the pics on post 11/20/18, rather than the pics posted on 1/5/19 (nutrient deficiency). The bushes are so thick it’s difficult to spray with my “windex type” sprayer, so I’m picking up a small pump sprayer today. I’m still running nutrients at about 50%, and I add about 5 grams of Epsom Salt to the 55 gallon drum once a week – Question: is it time to back off on nutrients? You would not believe the nutrient mix they’re consuming – from 3/15 through 3/23 I’ve added 55 gallons to keep the barrel topped off!!! I’m keeping PH at about 6.5, reservoir temp varies between 69 and 70, and I add a frozen jug when it goes over 70. Appreciate your assessment of the yellow spotting and lines. Also – I’m battling Lubbers (https://www.tampabay.com/features/ho...hopper/1223224) - they’re small grass hoppers that eventually turn into Locust – the largest grasshopper in North America, and they’ll decimate a garden. They’re in their “larve” stage now and I seem to be keeping up with them. They cluster in groups and Spectricide is effective at this stage. I’ve not seen any on my plants as yet. I’ll keep you posted and thanks again. GDG

Stan 03-26-2019 05:33 PM

The trails on the leaves might be caused by slugs. They are not easy to see just really look around that area and pluck’em off. The spots I’m not sure what it could be. Possibly water that was on the leaf getting baked and burned by hot sun? I would clip those leaves off.

Yes it’s incredible how fast and full of fruit these get when growing this way and the amount of water they drink is unbelievable. You can start to gradually cutting back on nutrients. Start with the 50% you currently use per week and make it last 2 weeks with only that 1 dose. If plants look fine drop down to a 40% dose that will last for 2 weeks. Again if plants look fine just keep on reducing by 10% and have it last 2 weeks until you’ve gone to 10% or if you feel the plants have reached their limit just give water till the end.

gdgdad 04-11-2019 03:51 PM

TOMATOES GALORE!!! and update(s)
6 Attachment(s)
Stan, the Neems® seemed to do the trick on what was ever ailing the leaves and the spotted leaves I removed. They seem healthy and WOW are they producing – I’ve attached many pics. I’ve already started handing out tomatoes to neighbors. I never imagined this outcome! I keep a log (spreadsheet) on adding water/nutrients, salts, PH levels and anything I do - and since putting in the 55 gallon reservoir on February 27th. The plants have gone through 260 gallons! I let them ripen until slightly soft and man are they juicy! (again see pics). I’m still running nutrients at about 50%, watering is every 20 minutes for 5 minutes (24/7). Temps here are starting stay high, with sunny clear days, so it’s been a challenge keeping water temp under 73 ° f. I’ll likely be adding water/nutrient tomorrow (typically 20 to 25 gallons) and I’m dropping nutrients to 40%. My neighbor is helping “train” the vines horizontal, and I’ve run so many trellis strings (and clips) to hold up weighty tomato groups that it looks like a puppet show. I’m not sure where the “limit” is – the top vines a still flowering. Gonna’ keep this going as long as I can! Wish I could share some tomatoes with you! I’ll keep you posted as we head into the really hot periods….

Stan 04-11-2019 04:54 PM

Your plants and tomatoes look beautiful!!! I told you, you would have so many tomatoes you would have to start giving them away. Each plant must weigh a lot with all the tomatoes growing all over. You did an amazing job with your first successful grow, congrats!!!

I wouldn’t worry so much with temp of the nutrient water. if you are able to keep it in low 70’s upper 60’s great. I’ve had my reservoir in the mid 80’s and tomatoes were still doing fine.

Make sure you save the seeds from some tomatoes. Scrape them out of 2-3 tomatoes into a window screen type colander, rinse them off with fresh water until you get that gel off of them. Let them sit and dry on a cutting board for a couple hours. Use a butter knife to get the seeds that are sticking to the board all piled up and place them in a paper envelop for a few months and they’ll be ready to be used for a future grow.

I already have a couple seedlings growing won’t be able to get them in the 5 gallon buckets till mid May when there’s no chance of frost at night. We’ve had crazy fluctuations in temps the past 2 weeks up here.

gdgdad 05-01-2019 01:09 PM

Status, updates and ambitious endeavor…
7 Attachment(s)
Hey Stan, hope all’s well. Tomatoes are doing great and to date we’ve picked well over 70 pounds! Canned 8 pints of Salsa, 8 pints whole tomatoes and still have people coming by and picking tomatoes! Plants seem to be slowing down a bit, still easily a hundred in the green stage, but not as large as in the beginning (early March). Is that normal? (see pics) I did back off nutrients to 50% on March 7th. – should I stay at that ratio? As for my ambitious endeavor… being the hydroponic/Dutch bucket tomatoes turned out so well, I’ve started on a four rail / 31 net cup NFT system (see pics). I just completed building a 21 net cup aeroponic cloner/ seed starter (with a varmit guard that will double as a humidity dome when covered with Saran wrap). I need to order an additional interval timer. Later in the summer, I’ll be building a permanent half-hoop green house (uncovered most of the year) to house the Dutch buckets and rail system. Again, an ambitious plan but I think I can pull it off. I’ll keep you (and the blog) posted.

Stan 05-01-2019 05:08 PM

OK you should start getting new plants ready to replace the ones you have. When these plants get over 10ft the size of the tomatoes gets smaller unless you are growing cherry tomatoes. Here's 2 different ways to do this.

1. The fast way pluck big suckers from your current plants put them in neoprene collars then into that cloner.

2. Start new plants from seeds in rockwool in net cups.

If you go with #1 run the cloner 24hrs a day until you see a good amount of roots forming. Then you can reduce the watering time. Use 10% nutrients in the cloner for the suckers.

With rockwool you want to run the water for 10 minutes or until the rockwool is completely saturated. Then again as you did the first time you don't want the sprayers off for long and let the rockwool dry out. So you might have to run it 24hrs a day until it spouts and roots start forming. Once roots start to show add a small amount of nutrients.

Once you start 1 or 2 or both and they have roots drastically cut down on the nutrients of your current plants down to maybe 10 percent since they are on the last stage.

With the rails I suggest putting the large plants on top and the smaller plants on the bottom. As for making it a NFT system I' am not a fan of doing it this way. I started with rails and found using the 360 degree sprayers with give you healthier plants. The root system will be gigantic with a aeroponic rail system. With a NFT system only those roots sitting in the water will thrive. With aeroponic spray system the root system will be like a bush coming out of the net pots. After a while you won't be able to lift those net pots to see the roots in an aeroponic rail. Thats just my opinion you could build it either way.

When you get the hole cutter for the net pots make sure you drill the holes with the drill in reverse for the rails. Yes in reverse otherwise it won't cut the net pot hole smooth using the drill the other way. The other way you will end up with big chips and will need to buy a new post.

As for the new cloner very nice work!! You are becoming a pro at this!

gdgdad 05-02-2019 11:27 AM

Rail system plan and questions..
1 Attachment(s)
Stan, Thanks for all the great advice and tips. I can see your point about the NFT flow technique – although water height can be adjusted, it would rely on roots being the same length. That’s unlikely for different varieties of plants. How did you configure the sprayers in the 5X5 fence post? A single PVC line down the center with sprayers between net cups? I’ve attached a preliminary rail layout plan and if I went with sprayers, it looks like it would take about 27 sprayers. I’m not sure the pump I have could run that many (or I could upgrade to a bigger pump). Also, I may be way to “aggressive” in the number of net cups. Any recommendations on net cups per 4’ section? This is still in the planning stage, no 5X5 fence rails (and caps) purchased as yet, but I have enough sprayers and PVC. Your thoughts / advice?

Stan 05-06-2019 12:13 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Why make 4 5X5 4ft sections when you can make 2 5X5 8ft sections? I did it this way a couple years back 1 8ft rail had tomato and pepper plants in 11 3/1/2 inch net pots. The other 8ft rail I had 17 2inch net pots mostly for strawberries. Both ran off the same reservoir I used a splitter to feed both rail sprayers at the same time. I place 1 sprayer between every 2 net pots. The below thread link has pic of both rails.


Pic 1 below shows how i get the PVC into the rail. I use a rubber grommet.

Pic 2 is look inside the rail for what I use as a drain back to the reservoir. I bought this piece at Lowes/Home Depot in the electrical section for less than $2 1 side has thread (male) and the outside piece is female. I drilled the openings so the water could drain.

The end covers for the rails I used "Food Grade Caulking" to seal them in place to prevent leaks. I also used the caulking for the inside drain again to seal so no leaks. Don't use any other caulking it's toxic except for food grade.

Last but not least yse you need a strong pump for the sprayers but you will be watering the plants less than you do with Dutch Buckets.

Stan 05-06-2019 12:20 PM

I forgot to mention you'll nee to insert 2 screens 1 on the bottom of the drain piece in the 5X5 and 1 right where the water drains back into the reservoir. This will prevent the sprayers from becoming clogged by root mater during the grow season.

gdgdad 05-13-2019 03:31 PM

Ambitious endeavor update…
6 Attachment(s)
Stan, thanks for the great advice and tips. I placed one 360 sprayer between “pairs” of net cups, not in between each – that GREATLY reduced the number of sprayers. I’m down to 12 – 360 and 3 180 sprayers. I too used grommets to get the feed line into the rail. For the drain line, I cut PVC couplers and made ~ ¼” high “rings”, then I fed ½” PVC pipe through the rail and glued to either straight or angled coupler (see pics). Water level in the rails should not exceed about ¼”. I did find the food grade caulk you suggested. As for the pump, I just happened to have a ¼ hp. 1,800 GPH Submersible pump from years ago. Now it’s clean and test, check for leaks and make repairs where necessary. I do have to order another interval timer – then I should be good to go. As for my next “crop”, I’m anxious to use those seeds you sent me, so I’m staying with 4 Dutch buckets: 2 with the “3 lb. tomatoes”, 1 with the other seeds you sent and one cherry. I’ll be “firing up” the cloner soon for tomatoes and veggie seeds. Lastly, tomatoes still going strong, whole new "batch" up high. Had to wrap hoop house in bird netting - wood peckers were ruining tomatoes.


Stan 05-28-2019 10:25 AM

Those plants will grow 14+ft if you let them but the size of the tomatoes will start to get smaller if you let them grow that long. Always better to start up new plants and as they start to get almost to flowering stage clip the tops off the old plants and disconnect them from the reservoir. Just pour regular water with a little bit of dissolved epsom salt into the bucket twice daily early am and at sundown so the tomatoes still on the plant can ripen until the last plant. As you do this start feeding the new plants the reservoir nutrients. By the time the last tomato is pluck from old plants the new plants will already have tomatoes forming. Try to keep a log of how long the plants disconnected from reservoir lasts for and how long it takes new plant to start forming tomatoes so you can adjust the timing for both so tomato production never stops.

Very nice setup with the rails. Let me know how it works out for you since you will have 1/4 inch of still water at the bottom of each rail. My rails completely drain so the roots get plenty air in between watering.

gdgdad 06-27-2019 02:59 PM

Seedling issues again……..
4 Attachment(s)
Stan, I “fired up” the cloner again but…. as in the post from October of 2018 “This is where / when I seem to have the most problems…..” . I started 6 Rockwool cubes 5/29/19 from the seeds you sent - 3 of the 3 lb. seeds and 3 of the Cherry. By 6/15, 3 did germinate and 3 did not. So I re-seeded 3 cubes – all with the 3 lb. seeds (I am obviously anxious for those!). On the 3 seeds that did germinate, one exhibited the same issues I had in October, it got tall and fell over. I carefully, delicately propped up all 3 of the 1” to 2” seedlings with hydroton. Days later, 1 just fell over. I have 2 ~ 1-1/2” seedlings still hangin’ in there as of 6/22/19, though I noticed the tips of the cotyledons on one seedling had yellowed. (see pics). NONE of the new seeds placed 6/22 have germinated.
So…. Cloner setup and environmental conditions:
- 5/29 Rockwool cubes were pre-soaked (overnight) in 1/8th strength Miracle grow adjusted to 6.0 PH post nutrient
- 5/30: Placed 3 to 4 seeds per cube Rockwool cube (in 2” net cups), then placed cloner
- Timer set to 5 seconds on 15 minutes off per your October post. Note- every time I pull up a net cup, it is dripping – too much water? Top of cubes seems slightly dry, water from top occasionally?
- Same as last time, the cloner is on my covered Lanai, though is does get some direct sunlight after ~ 6:30 PM.
- Temps and humidity are HIGH. Low to mid 90’s and humidity 85% +
I’m wondering if I should cover the cloner dome with some type of cloth to minimize sunlight - would that encourage root growth? As of 6/25 I simply removed the cover, I can’t imagine a humidity dome necessary in this climate….
The reservoir water temp is running 79 degrees. I could make a batch of nutrient/PH balance ice cubes to lower the temp if we suspect that’s a problem.
If heat and humidity is stifling seedling start, what about moving cloner indoors until seedlings get to a certain point? This is frustrating – I have the greenhouse 90% done (see pic) and was hoping to have seedlings ready to move into Dutch buckets in a couple months. I'm ready to start from scratch…..

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 11:54 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.