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gdgdad 03-13-2021 01:08 PM

Update and cloning issues
4 Attachment(s)
Hey Stan, hope all’s well up there. Thought I’d give an update, the tomatoes are doing fantastic! Weather’s been hot and sunny with cool nights, and they’re consuming nutrients at about 33 to 38 gallons a week right now! 319 Gallons since I first put the tomatoes in the Dutch buckets on November 3rd.

The strawberries don’t seem to have changed or grown much, but they’re not drooping or yellowing or browning-out so I assume they’re still ok. They just don’t look as lush and healthy as the pic on your 11/6/20 post. But I might be expecting too much too soon.

I’ve had an issue with my clones turning yellow, still growing, lots of roots, but yellowing leaves. I did some research and it says either not enough nuets or to much light. It is obviously the latter. I made a cover ( 3 sides and top) from landscape cloth and 2X2” fencing to shade them (see pics), we’ll see how that does. I’ve already given away more than ˝ dozen clones and everyone says they’re doing great.

Lastly, I invested in a PPM meter and I test the reservoir after adding nuets and balancing PH (at 6.0). I’m running right at the 700 PPM level, which from what I read is near what you want. Your thoughts?


Stan 03-14-2021 07:54 PM

I have never found the need to buy a PPM meter. Most people that use them are growing medical marijuana in which you need to almost overdose the plants on nutrients. For veggies and fruit i find PH to be most important.

Could be a nutrient deficiency but I doubt it. If its hot the heat during the day will make the tomato clones yellow. They won't take in any nutrients and will go into survival mode. Maybe move them inside cooler temps and sunlight until they look healthy and get going.

With the strawberry plants as long as the plants look the same as before they will start to take off. Its just like tomato plants going from dirt to hydroponic it takes time for them to get going but once they do they they will produce. Also make sure the crown of the strawberry plants are above the hydroton. Only the roots should be in hydroton and into the rail..

gdgdad 03-22-2021 02:40 PM

Strawberry Stressin’ and Tomatoes gone wild…
8 Attachment(s)
Hey Stan, Hope all finds you well. An update on the crops and some concerns…..

On the tomatoes… They’re doing fantastic (see pics) and via careful trellising, are forming the infamous “tomato tunnel”. We’re at the “give em’ to neighbors” stage… They’re sucking up nutrient like crazy – 362 gallons since 11/20/20 and the reservoirs halfway down as I write this. In their “hyper-growth” period they’re using between 35 and 40 gallons a week! (which includes the green pepper and brussels sprouts).

On the strawberries… They don’t seem do be doing very well or at least as well as I’d expected. I checked the net pots and they’re moist so I cut back the sprayers to 15 seconds on / 30 minutes off. I cut off a lot of dead foliage and even some dead strawberries, but left what I believed to be runners. I wonder if the direct sunlight is too much? We’ve had a few days mid 80’s, but nights go down to upper 50’s. For the rail system reservoir (which only has strawberries now) I’m running nutrients at 50%.

On the clones.. Boxing in the cloner with the black landscape cloth (north side open) seems to have done the trick. All the “newer” clones have stayed green and roots are coming out of the net pots. I’m once again at the point where I have so many I can give them away. 3 previous clones I gave to friends are already bearing fruit – they’re excited!

Anyway, any suggestions on the strawberries would be appreciated. In the mean time I’ll keep you updated.


Stan 03-22-2021 06:14 PM

Tomatoes are looking great!!

As for the strawberry plants they are not looking good at all when they should be looking great by now. You might want to move them back to soil if they continue to decline. Not knowing what type of strawberry plants they are it becomes a guess. Everbearing strawberry plants will produce spring, summer and fall months and most of the other plants will only produce in early spring. My guess they might be early spring bearing plants which means they won't produce when it's hot.

gdgdad 03-23-2021 10:08 AM

RE - Strawberry Stressin'......
Thanks for the advice and assessment. I think you may be right - the strawberries are the wrong type. I'm looking at another source and type of strawberry supposedly compatible with my growing zone (zone 9A). What do you think of these:


It does not specifically list these as everbearing, and most the everbearing varieties get as close as zone 8, two counties north of me. I don't know how important / critical the zone is, especially given the controlled environment they'll be grown in as opposed to "in ground". If you have suggestions and sources let me know.


Stan 03-23-2021 11:08 AM

With the zones you should stick with they type that can grow within your zone or a zone from a hotter climate area. As you know the past 3 - 4 summers have been warmer than they should be. I know thats been the case in my area. You have to go by daylight temperatures not night temps. Going with a zone thats north of you right now is not a good idea. If you have another hotter than normal summer the plants won't do well.

Don't buy those plants they are June bearing strawberries which means they are spring bearing strawberries. You won't get strawberries in the summer or the fall well maybe you might get some with hydroponic but not a lot. This type from the same site would be the type you want to get. Grows in zones 9-11.


They are out of stock and probably will be out of stock until next year but you could give them a call maybe they might have 1 more shipment in a month or so. Also check Home Depot and Lowe's they usually carry everbearing strawberry plants. They would have the type for your zone.

gdgdad 04-20-2021 02:26 PM

Tomatoes gone wild & updates
4 Attachment(s)
Hey Stan, hope this post finds you well and hopefully your grow is underway. Back here everything in Dutch buckets has been growing like crazy. I have abundant tomatoes and have been keeping four neighbors well supplied. The cherries I have to harvest every other day, and the beef steaks twice a week. My biggest beefsteak was almost a pound and a half (see pic). We’ve had about four medium sized green peppers with more on the way. No Brussel sprouts yet, but they’ve gotten huge. Nutrient consumption is phenomenal – 486 gallons since 11/20/20. The cherry plant is nearing the 13 ft. length, I’ve had to re-order trellis clips twice. I literally could not keep up with plants going out of the roof. I got most trellised, but some got to far along – bird food I guess!

I’ve shut down the rail (aeroponic) system. I’m trying to figure out what I might try in that for the fall. We’re right on the edge of extremely hot weather so I think attempting anything right now would be a waste of time. I’m pretty well set with tomato clones for when some of these plants reach their end. Hopefully I can keep the grows continuous right through the winter and eventually year round. I think I’ve figured out heating techniques in winter that aren’t cost prohibitive, but summer cooling is almost impossible. Freezing ice jugs was impractical, they took too long to freeze and took up too much space in my freezer. One thing I need to do is plan crops better - like growing cold tolerant tomatoes for winter and heat tolerant tomatoes for summer. Anyway, that’s my update. Keep me posted on how your season is going.


Stan 04-20-2021 07:09 PM

Wow you got everything working real nice!

I put my tomato plants in the buckets 2 days ago. I am also setting up a high pressure aeroponic system. I will grow mostly lettuce plants but will also include 3 tomato plants just to see how they do in this system. The high pressure system will only use 1/4 of the nutrients and a whole lot less water needed for the plants to grow and produce. I hope the high pressure system performs as I expect it to. If it does I will switch completely over to high pressure next year.

gdgdad 04-29-2021 09:02 AM

Getting’ bugged, update on grow and questions on high pressure system
3 Attachment(s)
Hey Stan, I’ve recently experienced a bug problem (see pic). However these do not look like the Stink bugs I had last year – those were black with large flat feet, these appear orange and almost ant like. I was able to kill an entire group on one tomato with an old rag and haven’t seen anymore since, but I’m sure others will show up. Any idea what they are and what to do about them?

On the “status” of my grow, the tomatoes continue to produce profusely – especially the cherries. I simply cannot believe the water/nutrient consumption. As of the 4/28 it’s 568 gallons. Each “re-fill” now is between 35 and 40 gallons, so I’m alternating nutrients, i.e. one time straight water, next time nutrients at 100%, always balancing PH after either fill. I’m almost out of nutrients (the twin pack, 2 bags each chemical) and will have to re-order in the next few days. I’ve checked and rechecked for leaks – none – Unbelievable!

Lastly, I’m interested in your high pressure set up. What PSI pump will you need for that? And will the sprayers / nozzles be special /different from those used in a typical aeroponic system like my rails? Will this actually be a “misting” technique? I’m disappointed in my rail system and want to replace it this fall. Please keep me (and this blog) posted on your progress and share your design plans.


Stan 05-01-2021 10:19 PM

I have no idea what type of bugs those are. You should try to find out from a nearby garden center. Once you know what they are find out what type of natural scents keep them away.

With your rail are you using sprayers or are you just running water from top and letting it run down to bottom?

I know how you feel about the amount of water needed for these grows. I know the plants are definitely not consuming all that water. I feel most of it is due to evaporation especially during the hotter months which is usually when the tomatoes ripen. In any case its a crazy amount of water.

As for my HP grow I use an aquatec pump. Then you need an accumulator tank with all these attached 2 water pressure gauges, pressure relief valve, HP Solenoid, pressure regulator, 2 shut off valves and 2 very fine particle filters. They are all needed cause an accumulator tank can become a bomb if it gets filled above the highest pressure rating. Once you have all hooked up to the accumulator tank then you need HP tubing, connectors and misters.

I only attach the pump to the inline when the accumulator tank gets low on nutrient water. Once I fill it I disconnect it from the inline. The bigger the accumulator tank the more days the system will run on its own before needing to be refilled. You could also just run the pump but you will only be able to use a couple misters whereas with accumulator tank I can run a lot more than what I need.

The other thing you would not be able to use misters in a rail system. The roots with HP misters become massive it would clog the rail up. I am going to attempt growing tomato plants from 5 gallon buckets. I have a feeling the buckets won't be big enough. I might have to transfer them to big 40 - 60 gallon totes.

All nutrient water that is sprayed on the roots will run off to waste.

bprs9 07-16-2021 09:28 PM

You actually expressed it really well! Fopeez

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