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looking into starting a system


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Old 01-30-2011, 02:04 AM
sean sean is offline
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Default looking into starting a system

Hi the last few days i have been reading up on hydroponics and am thinking about building a simple system to start off with to learn the basics. I have seen some vids on youtube and found this on and thought a deep water culture would be a easy start YouTube - Deep Water Culture hydroponic system design and build 18 Dec 2010
Just wanna see what the pros input would be thank you ahead of time

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Old 01-30-2011, 02:24 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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That video is from halfway, a member of this forum. He generally posts updates on it in this thread. http://www.hydroponicsonline.com/for...r-culture.html You can also see the link to his blog with updates and videos of all his hydroponics in the signature of his posts.

The water culture systems work great for most plants, and are probably the easiest and cheapest to build. I'd say definitely a good choice for your first grow. But also many after that as well. I'll be putting some lettuce into one again in a couple of weeks.
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Old 01-30-2011, 11:44 PM
sean sean is offline
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Default thanks for the help

I'm looking at starting to order and buy supplies this upcoming weekend. The one thing i haven't gotten is with the nutrients. With what i have read and seen online the company General Hydroponics makes three types of Nutrients a floragro a floramicro and a florabloom and u mix each into the water and the amount depends on the type of plant and at what stage the plant is at. I understand there is more then one company making nutrients and that there are more then just these three types. but are theses three good enough to keep the plants alive or is there others that needed to be added.
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Old 01-31-2011, 02:24 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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sean
The flora-grow, flora-micro, and the flora-bloom are not different types of nutrients. They are all part of (one) 3 part nutrient that general hydroponics calls the flora-series. But as you mentioned it is designed to be mixed differently depending on the type of plants your growing (but you need all three parts for it to work).

Flora series
Gro
Micro
Bloom

Hydroponic nutrients come in all kinds, and from many different company's, and in one, two, and three part solutions. As well as in both liquid and dry form. So there a lot to choose from. Ya, General Hydroponics has probably the most experience in the field of making nutrients their is (not that other company's nutrients don't work well). So Ya, General Hydroponics nutrients will keep your plants alive and healthy, as long as you fallow directions (use all parts etc.). When I started growing hydroponically, the flora series nutrients is what I used because I wanted good results, and I haven't had any problems with them. Though they are not the cheapest on the market, and when you decide to expand your hydroponic gardens, you may eventually start looking into cheaper options (and as you gain experience).
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Old 02-01-2011, 12:26 AM
sean sean is offline
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alright thanks for sorting that out for me. when starting from from seeds the way i understand it is i can just start them normal in soil and just wash them off when ready to put them into the pots with ease. I'm planning on using jiffy pellets or can u start seeds in a hydroponic system.
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Old 02-01-2011, 05:25 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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You can start seeds in a hydroponic system, provided you make sure the moisture level the seeds get is adequate. Too wet and the sprouts will drown, and too dry and they wont grow. I have never started seeds in a hydro system because it just seems a bit impractical to me. I don't see a need to run the the entire system, use all that water to fill the system etc. just to sprout some seeds. I like to wait until they get a couple of inches tall before I place them in their permanent home. Also I always start more than I need, and choose the best ones to put in the system.

From what I hear the jiffy pots and rapid router pots work well, but they do hold a lot of moisture. So I would take care to make sure they don't remain saturated in the system. If they stay real wet all the time it could lead to stem rot for plants that get that real easy like tomato's and strawberry's.

P.S. Thanks Pinewoods, I have seen that video before, it is a nice easy to build system. They also have a few systems in there that peek my interest. Particularly the stackable tube setup (you see in the very beginning), however I don't think I would design it as a drip system because I wouldn't want to deal with all the individual drip lines.
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Old 02-02-2011, 10:17 PM
sean sean is offline
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This is an air pump i picked up at walmart its made for a 5-15 gallon tank and comes with a check valve so water wont run back up into the pump and ruin it. It pumps 1200cc per minute.


not much to say here just 8' of tubing


heres the stone thats 10" long.


its a 10 gallon container i picked up with lid


a set of 72 jiffy pellets and green house box.

all i got left to do now is order some nutrients and some pots and il be set i still go the receipts if you guys think i got a wrong item or theres a better set i should pick up.
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Old 02-03-2011, 03:34 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Hello sean,
Before I forget there is a easier, and in my opinion a better way to add images to this forum. Most forums are old technology and require a URL to be posted. But here you can add them as an attachment directly from your computer in seconds. And they all get thumbnail images you can click on for the full size image. Just use the "Manage attachments" button just below where you type in the text, and browse to the file (picture) and click save file. That's how I attach all my pictures anyway.

Anyhow I'm familiar with all of those products. Looks like you were at Wal-Mart shopping today (so was I). I was even considering that same gray storage tote as a reservoir for a new system I plan for radishes, green onions, and chives. I would go with that brand of air pump myself (wal-mart only has two brands, in my town anyway). The other one claims to be whisper quiet, but I think their about the same. I've first bought the $22 one just for that reason, but bought one of the other type at a thrift store (brand new). Though it's a 5-15 gallon, it's not loud at all. Even if it were I would rather be able to buy 2 pumps (for the same price as the other brand) and double my air output, but need to insulate the sound. That's also the air stone (type) I would go with, the round ones seem to tend to clog and tear easily (and I haven't been able to clean them sufficiently without problems).

Make sure your air pump is at least 1 foot above the water line in the system Those check valves clog and are imposable to clean. By keeping the air pump well above the water line they wont be subjected to the mineral elements in the water that clog them. In fact If you keep the pump well above the water line you don't even need the check valve at all.

I don't see anything wrong, but I'm not sure If I remember how you plan to construct the system. If I'm not mistaken, you plan a water culture system like halfways. But you will need something to support the plants, those jiffy pots will just fall apart if they are not placed inside some kind of basket (to hang in the lid). Also, if you can upgrade, I would go with the $12, 20-60 gallon dual output air pump (next step up from that one). You can never get to much air to the roots, but if not it should do (but again, I forget what plants you plan to grow in the system).

P.S. just for fun of it, the parts in your pictures run about:
Air pump $7
Tubing $2.50
Air stone $2.50
Storage tote $4
Jiffy pot house $6

I was looking at all of them today at my Wal-mart, (as I do every time I go, as if the prices ever change). I was also looking for sand (that they didn't have in stock), I plan to use as part of a growing medium for the radishes, green onions, and chives.
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Old 02-03-2011, 12:42 PM
Twilly Twilly is offline
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In the video posted above, there is nothing to circulate the water under the floating plants... Wouldn't some air stones or a pump help to move the water around and increase the oxygen levels?
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Old 02-03-2011, 01:53 PM
Pineywoods Pineywoods is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twilly View Post
In the video posted above, there is nothing to circulate the water under the floating plants... Wouldn't some air stones or a pump help to move the water around and increase the oxygen levels?
That point was brought up on another site and an Email sent to ask about it and here's what was sent back


Mr. Hochmuth says:
"The aeration occurs in the root zone above the water level. So, the tip of the root ball touches the solution and the rest of the root ball must stay out of the solution. If the root ball stays too wet, it will not work as well."

A hearty thanks to Mr. Hochmuth for his timely and informative answer.

I have to admit that I missed that explanation in the video. It makes perfect sense that the majority of the root ball is suspended *over* the nutrient solution and not *in* it.

The part touching the solution wicks the moisture up into the rest of the root ball.
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Old 02-03-2011, 09:35 PM
sean sean is offline
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alright thanks for telling me about that for uploading pics. il make sure to do that next time i upload some pics. Yea i was out getting some v-day items and went to wal-mart. I got to keep her happy if im going to be able to set up a hydroponic garden lol. i ran the pump just to test it and it wasnt noisy at all. i couldnt see the need to spend extra to make it whisper when this one already does. thank you for the heads up on the check valves il just keep it in the box and not use it. i had seen everyone use the same type of airstone so when i saw the small round one for a little bit cheaper i just went with what iv seen others use. i am planning on making a water culture system like halfways. i havent picked what i want to grow yet im thinking lettuce iv seen alot of people grow that and il eat it up. would lettuce be a easy good start? i am planning on geting some mesh pots just got to order them online. yea i was wanting to get the duel but they were out so i just got the single and thought it would be fine for what i need same reason to i got a 10 gallon tub. dont want to go over board when just learning the basics and get overwhelmed. yea ur guess at the prices are about right over all it was cheap. maybe im thinking wrong or i didnt explain it right im planning on starting the seeds in the jiffy pots then taking the plants out once there a few inches in high and place them in the mesh pots with gravel. im thinking this will work. let me know if its a useable plan. u said that u dont start seeds in a hydroponic system cause of the amount of water and waist of power. how do u start your seeds.
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Old 02-04-2011, 02:56 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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sean
Ya, I was wondering because you said all that was left was to get was the nutrients. However, now I re-read, it and you said the pots as well. That makes plenty of scene, (sorry, my bad, you understood what I meant fine). All I would recommend is being careful with the roots when washing them off. Small young roots damage easily. Lettuce is particularly well suited for growing in water culture systems (that's technically what halfways system is), and a fine choice to start with (in my opinion). I always try to grow what I eat, and you say you will be able to make use of it, I see that as a great start.

P.S. I just thought it was funny that we both were at Wal-mart, looking at the same stuff, on the same day.


Twilly
Yes, there is a benefit to having air stones (and/or water circulation) in the water of a water culture system (regardless of the water level in relation to the roots). Air stones do both help circulate the water, and increase dissolved oxygen levels in the water. Besides a direct benefit to the plant, both of witch also help reduce pathogens and algae. The water movement also insures that the nutrient elements don't settle at the bottom of the reservoir and remain evenly mixed. Also with stagnate water there's likelihood of pockets of significant pH ranges, the water movement insures that doesn't happen. That's not to say the plants wont grow, just better conditions give better results. Plants have evolved over millions of years, and adjust the best they can to changing conditions, in the soil. Both above (foliage), and below (roots) in the ground. They also do the same in hydro.
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Old 02-06-2011, 09:29 PM
sean sean is offline
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yea that is funny that we were both at wal mart looking at the same things. thx for all the info how do u start ur seeds do u do it that way and just be careful with the roots or is there a different way you do it
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Old 02-07-2011, 02:28 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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sean,
I don't always start plants from seeds. In fact I'm quite impatient that way, so I often buy plants at the home improvement store (nursery), and just wash off the roots before transplanting them into the hydro system. But yes When transplanting that way I try to be careful with damaging the roots. I usually just submerge them into a bucket of water, and work the roots gently with my fingers to get as much of the soil off as I can. I also have the hose within reach, and with a shower head set at low pressure to further rinse the roots off with before transplanting. The roots can take damage, but the less the better. They call it "Love."

When I do start seeds, I just use a small plastic Tupperware container (with a lid to hold in moisture). and a wet paper towel at the bottom. I just set the seeds on the paper towel, place the lid on it and set in a warm place. Then check it daily. Once the seeds sprout, I place them in some type of growing medium. If I don't the roots will attach themselves to the wet paper towel and be hard to separate without damage. The growing medium might be regular potting soil, or a growing medium like vermiculite. Potting soil wont require added nutrients, but a regular hydroponic growing medium will. With seedlings (and/or sprouts), I start with about a 1/4 strength nutrient. Either way, I will hand water them daily (as needed). I can easily build a setup that will do this automatically, but don't really start enough seeds this way to bother. I have some started now in fact, both in soil and straight vermiculite.
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Old 02-08-2011, 06:39 PM
Twilly Twilly is offline
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GPS, If you don't start seeds often, How do you keep things going? Do you use cuttings? If so, do you use soil for this also?

Thanks

Twilly
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Old 02-09-2011, 05:02 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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I don't really grow large numbers of plants (yet), and due to my climate it's hard to grow outside year round. At least until I can afford to do some updating in the backyard with regards to putting in some more in-ground (geothermal) reservoirs, and get some fish tank heaters for the reservoirs in winter time.

I usualy don't start plants from seeds because I'm just not really patient enough to watch seeds grow from scratch (that's just me though). So I usually just buy starter plants at the local nursery (you know, those 6 and 9 packs for about 3-4 bucks). Then gently soak and wash off the soil from the roots before transplanting them into the hydroponic systems the same day. It takes about a month to get seeds to turn into plants that size, so I just get a jump start on them. But I have started some plants for my hydroponic systems from seeds like peas, butter lettuce, and cantaloupe. I'm waiting on some butter lettuce sprouts to get big enough right now. I also try to save seeds from fruited and veggies I buy at the grocery store. I have some Tomitillo seeds that I may try in hydro, I don't remember seeing any Tomitillo plants at the nursery, and I love Mexican food.

Also I have some radish seeds that I already sprouted, and are in vermiculite growing medium, waiting to get big enough to transplant into the system. I attached some pictures of some seeds I started in the past. Like I mentioned I start them on a wet paper towel (just plain water) inside a covered Tupperware container, then just stored in a warm place. Those weren't the radishes, but they radishes were started the same way. The radishes are in the orange container, with 100% vermiculite as the growing medium. I made a bunch of holes in the orange container, then lined the bottom of it with something like cheesecloth to keep the vermiculite from going out the holes.

Then just added some vermiculite to the container, then I placed the sprouted seeds as evenly as I could on it, and just added about 1/3 inch more vermiculite. Two days later they started popping up. I hand water them with nutrient solution diluted to 1/3 strength daily. I just simply put the nutrient solution in a small container, then set whole orange container with the plants in the water (1/3 nutrient). The water soaks up through the holes in the bottom of it ad saturate the vermiculite. I let it soak about 15 minutes and take it out again until tomorrow. Just keep the growing medium moist and this works fine until you are ready to transplant them. Although in about a day or two I will probably go to a 1/2 strength nutrient solution. Then say about 4 or 5 days later I will probably up it to about 2/3 strength. Then by the time I transplant them into the hydroponic system I will probably be ready to up it to a 3/4 to full strength nutrient solution. For me I generally like to mix my nutrient solution a little weaker than manufactures instructions.
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Old 03-13-2011, 08:03 PM
sean sean is offline
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Ok so this week I'm going to order the last few things i need to set up.
I'm going to get some 3 inch pots and Hydroton. heres the test kit i am thinking about getting
General Hydroponics pH Test Kit
do i need any other testers or is PH all i need to worry about
also i was thinking about getting this starter kit but not sure what all comes in it and what they all do
Go Box Starter Kit
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Old 03-14-2011, 12:16 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Hello sean,
That's the exact pH tester that I use myself. Although I'm not sure if you know that once you test the pH, you will probably need to adjust it. The tester just tells you what the pH is. To adjust it, you need to use pH adjusters for that, using pH down if it was to high, and pH up if it was to low. General Hydroponics often sells the adjusters (pH up and pH down) along with the pH tester like this: PH Control Kit (ph up&dwn & ph tester), General Hydroponics PH Up/Down, or separately like this: pH down and pH up. Along with the liquid pH adjusters General Hydroponics also makes dry pH adjusters. I use dry pH adjusters by Earth Juice myself: Earth Juice Natural pH up & pH down - Plant It Earth. I don't know about the GH pH adjusters (because I have never used them), but I know the Earth Juice dry Christal's last a long time. The one pound containers of each, lasts me well over a year.

As for other testers (EC/TD/PPM), they can be useful if you have an extra $100 to spend, but are not really necessary. Cheap and/or inexpensive ones will likely just not work well and cause you many problems anyway. In about 3 years now of growing hydroponically, I still have not bought one, or found a need for one.

As for the Go Box Starter Kit, that's a organic nutrient line by general hydroponics. To be honest I have never used them, or have really herd much about them. But it looks like they are a complete set, and I found GH's feeding schedule for them: http://www.generalhydroponics.com/ge...-FeedChart.pdf, and going by the feed chart it looks like all the components are in the kit. But there a couple of things to consider, first is that kit looks like everything except the GRO that is a 16 oz bottle, everything is only 8oz bottles. Again going by the feed chart and 10mL (2tsp) per gallon, that only comes out to 47 gallons of nutrient solution it makes at best (and that is the 16oz bottle of gro). If you have a 20 gallon reservoir that is only 2 nutrient changes, and if you changes your nutrient solution every other weeks, that's basically one months worth nutrient solution. Not even enough to grow the plant's to maturity.

As a new person to hydroponic gardening, you may not get good results from organic nutrients. Organic nutrients are not completely broken down into the raw minerals the plants can absorb. They rely on micro organisms to finish breaking them down, and because of this, it's hard to really know what mineral elements are in the nutrient solution at any given time. PPM/TDS/ and EC meters wont be able to tell you either. In fact, I could be wrong but I believe due to the organic nature, the meters are not even very accurate with organic nutrients. But regardless they still cant tell you the levels of each individual mineral element of any nutrient (of any nutrient solution, organic or not), and that's where the issues with organic nutrients are.

You also need to be much more aware of how the plants are reacting to any change in the nutrient solution. There are a lot of components to that line of organic nutrients, and each preforms different functions. It's generally hard enough for new hydro growers to get used growing hydroponically, without adding the need to learn how to control the micro-biology of a living nutrient solution. It's very similar to aquaponics, just without the fish. In fact most of those components are used in aquaponics. So unless you really want to grow certified organic produce, I would suggest starting with regular hydroponic nutrient solutions (at least at first).
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Old 03-16-2011, 04:50 PM
cable24601 cable24601 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sean View Post
Ok so this week I'm going to order the last few things i need to set up.
I'm going to get some 3 inch pots and Hydroton. heres the test kit i am thinking about getting
General Hydroponics pH Test Kit
do i need any other testers or is PH all i need to worry about
also i was thinking about getting this starter kit but not sure what all comes in it and what they all do
Go Box Starter Kit
Hi Sean

My first system look much like the one you are going to build. One of the first problems I had was with the Hydroton. I thought that I washed it real good and then on my first water change the whole system and roots were covered in clay goo. I am not saying don't use Hydroton, I am just saying when you think you are done washing the stuff let it sit and then wash it some more.

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