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Old 02-22-2010, 06:42 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Lake Havasu AZ.
Posts: 1,855

1. Using mesh bucket lid pots, what size would you use for tomatoes, cucs, squash, pumpkins, and peppers?
Well a lot would depend on how big you wanted your plants. In general hydroponicly grown plants need less root space, because they don't need to stretch/search out to find the nutrients in the soil. But you should still take into consideration the size of the full grown plant when deciding how much root space you give it. I have seen tomato's growing in two liter bottles, but they were not very big plants compared to how big they can get. I have some in 2 gallon buckets, but I am concerned to weather that will be enough for what I want. Ultimately I would use 5 gallon buckets for tomato's.

I am not sure how big cucumbers get. Although all forms of squash are fairly large plants, I wouldn't consider anything less than 2 gallons of root space for them. but would prefer 4 gallons of root space. Although because I can get 5 gallon buckets for $2.50 ea, I would probably just use them (the 2 gallon buckets cost more than that). If you don't want to fill the whole bucket with growing medium like me because of cost, you can fill the bottom portion of the bucket with rock to take up the space but still allow drainage (just clean and sanitize it first).

As for peppers, I had some in 2 litter bottles that did well. Although the roots did grow down into the P.V.C. tubing when they got larger. I built my system so the bottles were removable, so I just cut the roots as they began to go down into the P.V.C.. I would prefer to have at least twice that size (about 1 gallon) for root space for peppers. I plan to grow some to sell at the farmers market, so I want large plants with lots of produce. I will probably go with the 2 gallon buckets for them.
2. Using hydroton, use coco in it or not?
Coco cor, or coco chips? chips are larger and wont go through the holes in the baskets very easily. Hydroton (also known as grow rocks) is reusable but coco cor/chips are not. If you add the coco chips to the hydroton, it will hold onto moisture better. But when it comes to clean and reuse the hydroton it can be a nightmare to separate them. Otherwise it works fine, I did that with my peppers.
3. Would using a coco pot liner with 1/2 perlite and 1/2 coco as good as hydroton?
Hydroton will probably give you better aeration to the roots, especially if using coco cor instead of coco chips. Perlite is not actuality porous so it wont hold any air. It has very small indentations on a rough uneven surface that hold onto the moisture. Also Perlite will float so it's not realy a good choice for a ebb-flow (flood & drain) type system.
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