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My Setup


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  #1  
Old 05-15-2010, 07:28 PM
Aengineer Aengineer is offline
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Default My Setup

Hi,

I'm new and wanted to show off the system I just built. I have a few design photos attached if anyone is interested.



I have seeds sprouting in rockwool and a couple swiss chard have been put in the system already. I have an extra lid and will be drilling it for standard 2" net pots. Will be able to make a 15 site "greens" garden with it.

Ordered an led UFO Light the other day. This hood I built is fine for now. The LED is for flowering plants.

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Last edited by Aengineer; 05-15-2010 at 08:11 PM.
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  #2  
Old 05-15-2010, 09:52 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Looks like a nice setup, the green baskets look like drain pipe caps or fittings. Were they expensive? The insulation on top is interesting, it will help reflect light back up, as well as help protect the reservoir from the heat of the lights. Although using led's wont put out much heat at all. The drain spout is an interesting idea also.
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Old 05-15-2010, 10:26 PM
Aengineer Aengineer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
Looks like a nice setup, the green baskets look like drain pipe caps or fittings. Were they expensive? The insulation on top is interesting, it will help reflect light back up, as well as help protect the reservoir from the heat of the lights. Although using LED's wont put out much heat at all. The drain spout is an interesting idea also.
Thank you.

The green baskets are 3" atrium grates with UV inhibitors. I can get them online for less than $2.50 each. They are extremely heavy duty and will last forever, so I think they are worth it in the long run. A 2 - 1/2" hole saw is perfect for these.

The two cfl's put out a little heat, but the dashboard reflector is mainly for reflecting light back up to the plants. As an added bonus we have plenty of extra light in the living room. I made the hood from a galvanized metal tote they sell at Lowes. The trapezoid shape is perfect for focusing the light.

I love having the drain spout. Easy to take samples for testing the ph and draining the reservoir.

Glad you like.
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  #4  
Old 05-16-2010, 11:31 AM
ohman11 ohman11 is offline
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Are you using this for clones? If not that may be too many baskets but I really like the design. You did a great job!
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  #5  
Old 05-16-2010, 12:32 PM
Aengineer Aengineer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohman11 View Post
Are you using this for clones? If not that may be too many baskets but I really like the design. You did a great job!
Thanks!!

The design calls for two nested totes. So I have another lid that will have holes drilled for 2" net pots (15 sites) . Mostly for leaf lettuce, but I can clone with it at some point.

The lid is very strong. If you look at the lid before I painted it, you'll notice lines squaring the atrium screens. Those are 1/2" reinforcing ribs molded into the bottom of the lid. The atrium screens have an over-sized lip that overhangs those ribs also. I don't know what the stress limits are on these lids, but I just supported a gallon jar of calcium nitrate and it didn't flinch.

The totes are made by Iris. They are called ultimate totes, I get them at Lowes. A little more expensive but you get what you pay for. Just wish they had black ones so I wouldn't have to mess with painting them.

I can probably get them cheaper online.
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  #6  
Old 05-16-2010, 07:18 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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I could be wrong but I think ohman11 was thinking that with 15 plants in the same amount of space, they may be to close together to really grow into full size plants. I was thinking the same thing, but not clear if you planed 15 sites in one tote, or if you planed to use two totes for the 15 sites. Also I don't know how big the plants you intend to grow will need will get.
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Old 05-16-2010, 08:26 PM
Aengineer Aengineer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
I could be wrong but I think ohman11 was thinking that with 15 plants in the same amount of space, they may be to close together to really grow into full size plants. I was thinking the same thing,
Ok, I see.

With 15 plant sites. The centers are 3" horizontal and and 3.5" vertical. So yes, you, and he, are right.
I'll have to re-think the spacing or just use the second lid as a cloner.
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  #8  
Old 07-02-2010, 08:35 PM
Aengineer Aengineer is offline
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Update:

The only thing I needed to fix was to spray paint the inside of the hood with a high gloss white enamel. The lettuce was leggy and the leaves turned down towards the reflector.

Using five gallons with two tablespoons of 20-20-20 as my nutrient. I was using one tablespoon each of Calcium nitrate and Magnesium sulfate. I'm dissolving them separate but they are reacting in the system so I will be cutting back. My pump would be toast had I not wrapped it in a jelly strainer bag.

Running the pump 1/2 hour on and 1-1/2 hours off. There is a little leaf curl going on but there are no dying leaf margins. Lights are two 45w CFL's.

The cups in the center have Bhut Jolokia Peppers with their second set of true leaves just starting to pop. Eventually the Bhuts will be the only plants growing in here.
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  #9  
Old 07-06-2010, 08:10 PM
eduardomachado eduardomachado is offline
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nice setup... but you need to use hydroponics nutrients
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  #10  
Old 07-06-2010, 08:38 PM
Aengineer Aengineer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eduardomachado View Post
nice setup... but you need to use hydroponics nutrients
Thanks....

I use Nutri-Leaf 20-20-20 water soluble fertilizer with chelated micro-nutrients. Calcium and Magnesium are added independently. This is the only hydroponic nutrient you need.

Last edited by Aengineer; 07-06-2010 at 10:03 PM.
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  #11  
Old 07-14-2010, 02:10 AM
Aengineer Aengineer is offline
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Everything but one swiss chard was removed to make room for a couple Bhut Jolokia pepper seedlings.
Calcium nitrate and Magnesium sulfate were cut back to a single teaspoon per five gallons. I deliberately held back on the Calcium to see what would happen without it. The leaves started to roll up within a couple days including the chard.
Calcium was added and leaves have resumed their normal shape.
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  #12  
Old 08-07-2010, 01:48 AM
Aengineer Aengineer is offline
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Default Update

I'm still in the process of tweaking the nutrient solution. I found published measurements and mixing directions yesterday on GardenWeb. So last night I mixed up a new batch of nutrient. I'll give it a couple weeks to see if it needs adjusting again.

I'll let you know what works for me when I find it.
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  #13  
Old 08-07-2010, 04:55 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Just wanted to say thanks for the updates, and I look forward to seeing more.
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  #14  
Old 08-08-2010, 01:42 AM
Aengineer Aengineer is offline
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You're welcome....

With the previous measurements I was using. There was definite signs of calcium and magnesium deficiencies. Lime green newer growth and mottled older growth with green veins. With some leaf curl thrown in as well. Just couldn't figure out how to mix the Calcium nitrate and Magnesium sulfate together, and in what proportions, to keep them from reacting together.
This new formula I found calls for equal parts Nutri-Leaf and Calcium nitrate with only 1/10 that of Magnesium sulfate. Had to convert liters to gallons, divide and then round up to get the proper measurements for five to six gallons of nutrient.
The dark green is coming back already, much to my relief.

24 Hours After Changing Nutrient:


48 Hours Later:


24 Hours Later:


24 Hours Later:


24 Hours Later:


24 Hours Later:


Ok that's all I'm going to document on the new nutrient formula. Much better color and new growth has taken off. Some of the leaves are a little curled but I think it may be a heat or over-watering issue. I've dialed the timer on the water pump back another notch. As long as there is no wilting I'll see how this watering schedule works out.

For Five Gallons:
Nutri-Leaf (20-20-20) 25g
Magnesium Sulfate 2.5g
Calcium Nitrate 25g

Last edited by Aengineer; 08-13-2010 at 12:11 AM.
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  #15  
Old 08-22-2010, 01:46 PM
Aengineer Aengineer is offline
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At about 5" tall, the Bhut Jolokia on the left is beginning to set its first flower buds. <inset>

It's been about two months to get to this point. On 7-2-10 they were in the system and had their second set of true leaves. It's now 8-22-10 and a recent change in my nutrient mix has resulted in lush, explosive new growth.

Last edited by Aengineer; 08-22-2010 at 07:33 PM.
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  #16  
Old 08-23-2010, 12:54 PM
NorEastFla NorEastFla is offline
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Nice recovery, Aengineer!

Once your plants are bushed out to the size you wish, they would benefit from one more alteration of your nutrient.

Potash/Potassium (K) promotes fruit and vegetable formation and decreased nitrogen will lessen the amount of the plants energy that is applied to stem and leaf growth.

During the period that you wish to have fast stem and leaf growth, a nutrient mix of NPK like LARGE-MEDIUM-SMALL is best. Then, after the plant has enough foliage and is large enough, an NPK mix like SMALL-MEDIUM-LARGE will promote more fruit and less foliage.

As an example, hydro-gardens.com has a pepper nutrient of 11-11-40 at http://hydro-gardens.com/111140.htm

The Bhut Jolokia is a fine pepper! One pepper goes a long, long way.

If you decide to stay with your current nutrient mix, you'll get peppers, just not as many as you will with a good quality flowering mix with less nitrogen and more potassium.

Good luck!

Last edited by NorEastFla; 08-23-2010 at 01:24 PM.
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  #17  
Old 08-23-2010, 04:01 PM
Aengineer Aengineer is offline
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Thanks!!

When that time comes. I'm considering a tweak to my current formula using Potassium phosphate.
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  #18  
Old 09-09-2010, 08:34 PM
Aengineer Aengineer is offline
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Default Update: Peppers!!



Still trying to get the knack of fertilizing by hand. I need to trade this cheap nylon brush for a small horsehair one. Still I was able to get a few flowers pollinated. I have to brush the flowers several times a day to catch one dropping pollen.

The pepper plant is still not showing any nutrient deficiencies on the same tank of water. I've moved the smaller one out and potted it in composted cow manure with the rockwool cube still around the base.

You can see I've trimmed the bottom leaves. She's standing at 9" tall now. I moved the light hood up a few inches as well.
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  #19  
Old 09-09-2010, 11:37 PM
NorEastFla NorEastFla is offline
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Beautiful plant!

It just makes me feel great when I see a plant covered in fruit!

My outside Bhuts are producing like crazy! Big pimply peppers! They even *look* hot!

Good luck to you!
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  #20  
Old 10-09-2010, 02:22 AM
Aengineer Aengineer is offline
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She's getting considerably larger and the fruit set is respectable. I measured it 12" tall by 24" across. I was had by an Ebay seller. It's not a Bhut Jolokia. Maybe Red Savina if I'm lucky. Pods are still green.
I still have not made a fresh batch of nutrient since the latest one on this thread. It's growing, still healthy, flowers are setting fruit with the help of a small paint brush. I've topped the nutrient off a couple times with well water.


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