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Old 08-25-2009, 05:52 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Lake Havasu AZ.
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Originally Posted by tfrost2002 View Post
I am planning to grow tomatoes with a new system I am building and would like to know if anyone would give me a little help on a couple of issues. I would like to know how often an ebb and flow system should cycle, for what length of time each time and what timer to purchased to make it work? I hope this makes sense. I am very new to this.

Thank you for your help.
Everyone does things a little different but you basically just need to keep the roots moist. The system needs to be on long enough to fill completely, then once off just don't let the roots get dry. If the plants wilt at all it has been off too long. How long? Well that depends on many variables, heat, humidity, water temp, time of day, type of plant and even what growing medium you are using are factors. With my peppers I had it on 30 min and off 30 min, it only took them 5 min to fill but the timer had a min on/off time setting of 30 min intervals. A digital timer usually can be set down to the minute, but be aware of how many on off cycles it is capable of (any timer for that mater). You will probably not want them to go more than 30 min without being watered.

My strawberry's were on a variable schedule. I was using coco chips (they retain moisture better) and the plants were outside. It was hotter during mid day and I was using a digital timer for them. It only had 7 on and 7 off times for a total of 14 settings, so I needed to make sure the plants wouldn't dry out. It took 40 min to fill completely and I would have it on for 1 hr min to 1 1/2 hr during the heat of the day, and from 1 to 1 1/2 hr off mornings and evenings. Also, in general plants only need to be watered during lighted hours, but I would have the strawberry's cycle on for 1 1/2 hr from 11:30pm-1:00am just to be sure. I also had the peppers cycle for 30 min on 2-3 times during the night. Just make sure they get water before it gets light.

As for type of timer, a regular household light timer will work, though I would suggest a "15 amp" one. Also just make sure it has enough on/off settings. I like the ones with the on/off pins built in because they have the most on/off settings. Digital ones are fine also but again be aware of how many on off times it has.
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