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 11-28-2018 09:57 PM

PM me your mailing address I’ll send some down to you along some other tomato plants that did well with Dutch bucket grows.

As for epsom salt I only add a maybe 3 tablespoons once a month when I see tomatoes starting to form. Just make sure it’s pure epsom salt and not the type that has other things added to it like boutique epsom salt.

gdgdad 12-03-2018 02:34 PM

Blooms?? And leaf discoloration concern
6 Attachment(s)
Stan, The plants seem to be growing (height wise) fast (see pics). One plant (2nd. From left) appears to be starting blooms (you may have to zoom in, but there appears to be three – Epson salt time?) However, today I noticed some discoloration on the leaves on the plant with blooms. Not every leaf, but more than one (again, see pics). On all four plants, the tips or edges of the cotyledons appear brown or dried out. Should cotyledons be cut off? Nutrient timer still running 15 min off, 3 min on, 7/24 (any suggestions on timing?). The aerator and heater run 7/24 as well, and PH seems stabilized @ 6.0 (checked every other day). I try to get the plants as many hours of sunshine as possible, but between recent cloudy days and exceptionally high winds, I doubt its more than 8 or 9 hours a day, but I do leave lighting on through the night or whenever the garage door is closed. Appreciate your “prognoses” of what I’m seeing, and any advice you have. Thanks, Gary

ehsannp 12-03-2018 05:05 PM

try to use some grease and industrial oil on it.

Stan 12-03-2018 05:18 PM

When tomatoes start to form clip the leaves going up to that level. I can’t tell from the pic are those the bottom leaves? If yes clip them off. If not could be 2 possible things.
1. plant might be getting stressed from being moved in and out of the garage.
2. Plants not getting enough water of which I don’t think is the case here. You’re not using a drip feed right?

Are you using General Hydroponics drops ph tester or a battery operated 1? I find the GH easier and more accurate to deal with. Also what type of fertilizer are you using now with the plants?

The pics of the soon to be tomatoes looks like a great healthy plant.

You don’t need the air stone running 24hrs a day it only need 2 hours at the most.

gdgdad 12-03-2018 10:52 PM

Discoloration - answers to comments / questions
3 Attachment(s)
Stan, thanks for the quick response. I’ve provided a (hopefully) better pic and circled the “discolored” leaves that shows their position. On your comments / questions:
-The plants aren’t moved in and out, and actually have never been moved since being put in the Dutch buckets, BUT…. They’re only inches from the garage door (to get the most full sun) that I open in the morning, close in the evening.
-Watering: still set at 15min off/ 3 min on 24/7 (reduced from 5 min on). I use an “open” (i.e. nothing on the end of the hose) dual ¼” drip line per bucket. See the pic with the “hoop”, I cut the hoop at center and left ends open, pushed down ~ 2” into perlite. Per my measurement on the return line, I believe each bucket gets about 10 gph. (if running continuously). Increase time on?
-My PH tester is a battery operated ATC – iMeshbean PH tester (https://www.amazon.com/iMeshbean-Dig.../dp/B00LE3MZ7S). I also bought Atlas Scientific calibration liquids and check the tester ~ once a month and it’s dead on.
-Fertilizer: still using Miracle Grow® for tomatoes (@1/4 strength) – open to your recommendations – type and strength….
-On the air stone(s), I’ll turn them on manually in the morning for ~ 2hrs. until I grab another timer from good ‘ol Harbor Freight.

Stan 12-04-2018 11:48 AM

2 Attachment(s)
PH Tester - Ok I had 1 of those ph testers when I first started they were never very accurate and a PITA to adjust. I use General Hydroponics ph tester it's always accurate and easy to deal with and cheap 5 - 7 dollars that'll last for the year. The ph color in the pic is what you want.

Fertilizer - I tried once growing with Miracle Grow it works in the beginning stages but I never got it to grow to the end. Plants need more than what that fertilizer will give them. I've been using Verti-Gro for a long time now always had success with them. They have a sale going on now for the same fertilizer I've been buying from them.
They have instructions on the package of how much to dilute in 1 gallon bottles You need strong 1 gallon containers not the flimsy milk containers. Both fertilizes need to be in separate containers. Instructions also include how much of the nutrients should be added to the reservoir of which I never went full strength with. Now my growing season is from May thru October growing 11 tomato plants of which I only used a total of 1/2 gallon of each solution.

Watering - I never used that ring does it drip out or flow out? If it drips out increase the time double it. I take my black tubing and push it down close to the stem of the tomato plant pics below. Those plants grew so fast they came over the top of the cages and grew down below the cages easily over 10ft tall. I also shot a very short video of my Black Cherry Tomato plants that was loaded with forming tomatoes. It was shot after an extreme heatwave that lasted about a week. You'll see my feed line running from PVC pipe into the perlite. The leaves aren't perfect but the tomatoes didn't suffer from the heatwave. I will remove the video in a couple days.


gdgdad 12-04-2018 06:34 PM

PM receieved and updates....
3 Attachment(s)
Thanks so much Stan! I’m following your suggestions from your recent and previous post:
- I put the aerator on its own timer – 1hr. in morning, 1 hr. in evening
- I’ll order the fertilizer you suggested, though I may have to wait a week
- Ditto on the PH tester – though I don’t totally trust my ability to color match (per the wife)….
- Watering: I’ve attached an excerpt (pic) from my CAD drawing, and the ¼ inch lines are “open ended” (no ring), free flowing (good steady streams) buried ~2” down in the perlite on each side of plant(s). Also 2 pics of line leading into bucket(s) from ½ PVC line.
- Watched the video (thank you) – I’m envious…. But I’ll get there.
Got your PM on the seeds – thanks again! Lastly, I temporarily “decommissioned” the cloner today, sanitized and storing for when I get the new seeds. The remaining “back up” plant still in the cloner I put into a pot (standard dirt mix). It seemed to be wilting, I’m guessing it didn’t like the spray intervals – I only had that old timer and it was “feast or famine”…..

gdgdad 12-10-2018 12:55 PM

Update & fertilizer change question
1 Attachment(s)
Stan, I’m getting ready to do the first “complete flush” of the Dutch bucket reservoir. I’ll be leaving to Michigan the 16th. For ~2 weeks, and I have a neighbor and a brother coming by to check on things and add pre-mixed / balanced water to the reservoir when necessary. Everything is on timers, i.e. pump, aerator, lights and automatic heater in reservoir is always on. The neighbor will open the garage door when sunny and warm enough (he says he was a farmer in Jamaica and is blown away by this “system”). My question: The plants are about 20” high now and I was thinking of increasing the fertilizer from 25% to 50% (yes, I’m still using the miracle grow). I plan on ordering the fertilizer you suggested just before I get back. One plant has a flower just starting (see pic) and I’m wondering if that’s an indicator they’re at a stage where I should increase nutrients. I know you said add Epsom salt when tomatoes actually start to form – and I’m guessing that’s weeks away. Thanks again for all your help – things seem to be going (growing?) good.

Stan 12-10-2018 02:34 PM

When you see flowers forming on all the plants up Fertilizer to 50%. The pic of the plant looks really good and healthy. It has plenty trichomes (hairs) which is excellent. It doesn’t look like it needs to go to 50% yet. It will when all the plants firm flowers then tomatoes.

What you should do is self pollinate any flowers you see that are open usually mid morning to midday. You can do it 2 ways either by slightly tapping on the stem the flower is forming on or by using a battery operated toothbrush and let it vibrate the stem. Here’s an amazing slo-mo video of the pollen that comes out of the flowers. That flower is pollinated.


I would start putting a little bit of pure epsom salt in with the nutrients. First mix the miracle grow ph the water let run thru the system wait 1 hour. Add small amount of pure epsom salt in a bottle of warm water let desolve add to reservoir ph the water. This will make plants bloom lots of flowers and as tomatoes grow add 1 time each month will make the tomatoes taste amazing!

Can your neighbor send you pics of the plants in case of any changes while you are gone? I would stay with same strength of nutrients but would make 1 batch of 50% just in case as these plants will skyrocket when you do and you want to be present for it or only be gone a week at most.

You’ve done an incredible job with your plants. It really is easy once you get that first grow out of the way and you’ve built confidence in yourself.

Stan 12-10-2018 02:58 PM

I forgot to mention can you take the neoprene sleeves off the plants and make the openings larger than the actual stem? If you take a look at the stem on the pic I posted the stems are really large. I'm wondering if the sleeves will prevent those stems from getting larger. The larger the stem the stronger the plant will be. If those stems stay slim and lots of tomatoes form it might split the stem killing most of the tomatoes on the plants. Just something to think about.

gdgdad 12-11-2018 08:44 AM

Neoprene off, hydroton & Epsom salt question
Thanks Stan,
I’ll be flushing the system today and I’ll add in (separately per your instructions) some Epsom salts. You mentioned in a previous post “…maybe 3 tablespoons once a month”, is that per my ~ 16 gallon reservoir, or per gallon of water? I removed the last neoprene collar and added hydroton around the stems, do you think that will still constrict the plants? My intent is to block out sunlight to prevent algae, but I doubt that’ll be a problem this time of year. Just a note on the pump timing, it remains at 15 min off & 3 min on, 7/24, and the plants seem to be OK with that, so I’ll leave it be – though I do have an additional timer to run the Spartan® timer. I custom built a panel to house the four timers so it doesn’t look like the wiring in the Griswald Christmas vacation movie! I’ll post a pic when it’s complete. And... that video was awesome - I'll be the "bee" for now, though I have actually had a couple bees wander in when the garage door is open.

Stan 12-11-2018 01:07 PM

LMAO Griswald Christmas !!!

I use a palm full which is about 3 tablespoons in a 48 gallon reservoir. I would start with 1 tablespoon in an 18 gallon.

Hydroton won’t constrict it the stem will actually move the hydroton as it gets larger. I don’t even use a lid on my 5 gallon buckets and they sit in sunlight for 14 hours a day in the summer. When it rains they get fresh water. I usually keep reservoir 3/4 full when I know it’s going to rain.

Pump timing the plants will let you know if you need less or more time. As long as the plants look good keep the timing unless you want to adjust a little at a time either reducing watering by 30 second - 1 minute intervals. You could also play with the time the pump goes on from every 15 minutes try every 18 - 20 minutes see if plants look good after 24 hrs. Again these are things you will eventually dial in for your area and the time of the year.

gdgdad 12-29-2018 02:46 PM

Just an update / status
Stan, just thought I'd touch base and give an update. Hope you had a good Christmas. I'm still in Michigan but the neighbor "watching" my plants says they're growing like crazy. He's opening the garage during the day - we're having 70's to even 80's with lots of sunshine! He's only added 1 gal of my PH balanced nutrient solution. I'll be home in a couple days and will send pics. When I left - tallest plant was just over 2 feet. I'm remaining optimistic!

Stan 01-01-2019 07:54 PM

Glad to hear the good news!! Happy New Year to you and family!!

I’m 100% sure you will be very surprised of how fast those plants grew. :cool:

gdgdad 01-05-2019 11:21 AM

Update and (hopefully) minor issues
7 Attachment(s)
Stan – Got back to Florida the 3rd. , settled back in and back I’m on the tomatoes. First off – WOW did they grow! The tallest is 40” ! There are two tomatoes – the larger 1 ½” and the smaller <1/2”, on 2 different plants. My concern is there’s yellowing on the center on many of the leaves, and brown curling on a few (see pics). I checked the PH, it was slightly low @ 5.5, but that’s still within range (I shoot for 6.0). I can’t attest to how much sunlight they’ve been getting – it was hit and miss with a neighbor opening the garage on sunny days, weather permitting and him being home – so some issues might be from sunlight deprivation? OK – some details: Fertilizer was at 25%, temps were low 80’s and now upper 60’s to mid 70’s but sunny. I contacted Verti Gro about the fertilizer you suggested – turns out they’re about an hour away so I’ll be picking that up in a day or so (confirmed they still have the 2 bag set). I’ll add Epsom salt to the mix in the dose you suggested. Next concern: suckers all over. My neighbor (the Jamaican farmer) had to fight every urge to cut them off! He also says I should be removing all “lower” leaves/branches. Your thoughts / suggestions. Again, thanks so much! Can’t believe I have 40” tomato plants in early January! Best “crop” since I’ve lived in Florida (>10 yrs. Now).

Stan 01-06-2019 08:55 PM

At 40” tall you should have lots of tomatoes forming and tons of flowers. The discolored leaves is a nutrient deficiency. Like I said in an earlier post I’ve never grown a tomato plant to fruit using miracle gro. When you start the new nutrients the plants should get better hopefully it’s not to late.

You should cut the lower leaves up to the first set of tomatoes. Also cut discolored and brown leaves off. I usually pluck the suckers off up to the 3rd - 4th set of tomatoes for large tomatoes. For cherry tomatoes I’ll let the suckers grow above the second set of tomatoes.

gdgdad 01-07-2019 10:33 AM

Concerned but will persevere...
2 Attachment(s)
Darn…. not what I wanted to hear but it is what it is, I just can’t throw in the towel yet. Verti-Gro is only open Wed thru Sat so this Wednesday’s the soonest I can get the new nutrients. I read the yellowing was likely a magnesium deficiency so days ago I added Epsom salt @ just over 1 gram per gallon. I’m also moving the plants into full sun every morning (pic) then back in in the evening (nights are still chilly). In addition to getting the right nutrients ASAP, here’s what I’ll do:
- I’ll remove discolored and brown leaves. Question: On the “yellowish” discolored leaves that (I believe) are the result of magnesium deficiency – cut those too? Will they not recover? They appear healthy except for the discoloration….?
- As for suckers, since there’s only two tomatoes, I’ll have to “guess” how high up to go.
- As for cutting “lower leaves”, I’ll cut off lower 3 branches.
- I'll flush the reservoir, boosting nutrient mix to 50% (albeit MiracleGro), maintain Epsom salts @ just over 1 gram per gallon, and do it all over again when I have the new nutrients.
I’ll be crushed if these plants fail, or fail to produce. I’ll take even a meager crop…. Thanks.

Stan 01-07-2019 11:16 AM

You should know within the first week when you give the plants the Verti nutrients if the plants will survive. You should see a drastic change if it works. I’ve used M Grow once and never successfully gone to a full cycle when plants showed signs of deficiency. MGrow works great in the seedling stage up to maybe 1 ft then but it doesn’t have what’s needed for massive fruiting. I start the Verti nutrients. Still keep your fingers crossed it should work since you don’t have a lot of fruit forming.

Keep some suckers on clip the browning leaves keep the yellowing leaves if they look healthy as they will let you know if the VG nutrients are working.

In case you see within the first week no change in plants when switching to VG you can still salvage some things. You can clip the longer suckers put the stem in rockwool cube and put them in the aeroponic seed starter you built with a little bit of nutrients. They will form roots quickly so you will save yourself 45 + days with work if starting from seed.

Stan 01-07-2019 04:01 PM


Originally Posted by gdgdad (Post 14746)
I’ll be crushed if these plants fail, or fail to produce. I’ll take even a meager crop…. Thanks.

Please don’t feel that way. Remember in my first attempt I tried MGro and it didn’t succeed. It didn’t stop me I bought good nutrients on my second attempt plus I was growing out of a 4X4 hollow fencing post which made it even harder and I succeeded. I got lots of tomatoes growing from the post but my plants could only grow about 7ft. I eventually switched to 5 gallon buckets. They made a world of difference. More tomatoes and they all grew over 10ft tall. My Black Cherry tomatoes grew over 14ft. So you see it’s all about trial and error. I don’t think you will find anyone that will say the first time they grew hydroponically was the best crop they ever had. You are doing amazingly well for the first time.

gdgdad 01-09-2019 10:30 PM

New nutrients, status and preparations
1 Attachment(s)
Hey Stan, made the trip to VertiGro, got the plant nutrient and Calcium. Mixed the batches per instructions including their suggested Epsom Salts, placed into heavy duty containers (as you suggested) and flushed / refilled the reservoir with nutrients at the prescribed rate. Fingers crossed. Turns out VertiGro is also an actual hydroponics green house(s). They use the vertical method (hence the name) and had beautiful tomatoes going (see pic I took) – and it’s early January! I’m re-inspired, even if this crop doesn’t fruit out, like you said I have a head start with the suckers (can branches be used?). I also ordered an aerator and heater for the aeroponic cloner (used the originals in the Dutch bucket system) so I can “clone” simultaneously. With the help of my “Jamaican Farmer” neighbor, the plants have been trimmed substantially, and the majority of suckers removed. We’ve spotted more flowers, but not nearly what there should be. The largest tomato had blossom rot. Hopefully the new nutrients turn things around. Plants are being placed in full sun all day, every day since I’ve been back, and though it may be wishful thinking, I genuinely believe the yellowing is receding. I’ll keep you posted on progress (or otherwise) and thanks again for all your help! GDG

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 11:21 AM.

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