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Old 06-18-2014, 12:17 PM
MontyJ MontyJ is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 13
Default First effort drip bucket system 14 headed to 20!

Hola to All,

A real experiment, LoL. First time hydroponic effort. Pics show some efforts and results so far.

The idea was a "compromise" system, i.e. a variety of plants, knowing I could not get super yield or quality out of all of them, but hopefully something edible. And it works!

I live on the edge of the sonoran desert. I have a growing season all year long, but the summers are super hot. And so far, I have not solved the nutrient cooling problem. I have measured the inside of the buckets at 104F during the hot part of the day. Yet, amazingly, the plants continue to grow and produce tomatoes and bell peppers, tho the bell peppers are stunted.

I have a new butternut squash and cucumber plant now growing in the buckets and they, so far, are looking good tho blooms only at this point. During cooler weather, I had great crops of red and bibb lettuce, along with a successful test of several green onion plants, which I plan on doing more of when I get some proper nets for the pots so finer media won't drop into the return system.

I started the first bucket on Jan 6, 2014. I gradually added buckets and am up to 14 now, with room for a total of 20 on the base of this old fountain on my patio. This is a rental property, so I cannot make any drastic changes.

The white wrapping on the buckets and the minifridge is called "Panda Film", which is just a plastic sheeting white on one side, black on the other. This of course keeps light out of the buckets and the white reflects a little, but not enough, heat away from the buckets.

My summer feed cycle is 30 minutes ON, 30 OFF. The return line flow is helped by a small pump because the gravity pressure is too low to get all the nutrients in the buckets back to the reservoir quickly. I do need a larger reservoir, so am looking at a 150 qt cooler. This one is 120 qt.

Ok, that is a start, so here are the pics.


[Edit] Main crop is tomatoes. Have Cherry, Grape, Salad, and normal varieties. The "Grape" tomato is the best tasting out of all of them.

Also, you can see a failed attempt at a Peltier cooling unit on the lid of the reservoir. The Peltier thing works, but simply cannot draw off enough heat fast enough, even using a 400 W peltier module. My calculations now indicate I need 16,000 BTU, or 1.5 ton cooling system to keep the nutes at around 70F. Uggghhh!

Attached Images

Last edited by MontyJ; 06-18-2014 at 12:29 PM. Reason: Add info
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