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Pictures of my Hydro systems


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  #1  
Old 03-24-2009, 04:51 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Talking Pictures of my Hydro systems

I just thought I would post a few pictures of my two different Hydroponic systems. The plants in the short flat containers are strawberry plants and at the point of the picture were in the Hydro for 5 days. The plants in the upside down two liter bottles are 7 peppers, 1 sage, 1 Basel and 1 small mint plant. Hope they all play well together. I look froward to the strawberry shortcake's.

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  #2  
Old 03-24-2009, 05:31 PM
HydroACR HydroACR is offline
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wow, what a setup.... thanks for posting the pictures.... I really want to do strawberries as well.... the kids would love picking and eating them....

how about other berries? raspberries? blueberries?
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Old 03-24-2009, 05:33 PM
Cliver_McGyver Cliver_McGyver is offline
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WoW -- that's some collection - I am guessing all ebb and flow.

Do you induce oxygen into the solution with H2O2 --?
How do the units drain completely?
How does one stop the rain from contaminating the solution?

If that's the weather where you are you are very fortunate - we have a foot of snow left on the ground from last weekends snow storm. We cant plant outside till the end of may. <-----<<<<< that sucks...

I am building some units for out side and will get some photos as soon it is in a reasonably advanced state.
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Old 03-24-2009, 05:44 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Default raspberry's, Blueberry's

I want to do raspberry's also they are one of my favorite fruits that I don't get much because there expensive and don't stay good for more than a couple of days. but when I do grow them I would need probably a 3-5 gal size growing container and would use the drain and fill or a drip system to keep the roots moist for better efficacy. Blueberry's are a bush also and I imagine I would grow the same as the raspberry's. But I will search the net and see how others are doing theme first to see what works for them. Goad you liked the pic's.
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Old 03-24-2009, 06:34 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cliver_McGyver View Post
WoW -- that's some collection - I am guessing all ebb and flow.

Do you induce oxygen into the solution with H2O2 --?
How do the units drain completely?
How does one stop the rain from contaminating the solution?

If that's the weather where you are you are very fortunate - we have a foot of snow left on the ground from last weekends snow storm. We cant plant outside till the end of may. <-----<<<<< that sucks...

I am building some units for out side and will get some photos as soon it is in a reasonably advanced state.
Yes they are ebb and flow although I plan to convert the strawberry's to an aeroponics system after these strawberry's are done for better efficacy. It takes both trashcans of nutrient solution to fill the system without running the pump dry.

I have one air pump I got at wa-mart in the pet department for fish tanks (it is the black thing on the table between the peppers) that feeds both reservoirs right now but hope to get one for each (electric bill permitting).

Both systems drain back into the reservoir through the pump when it shuts off. Because the holding tanks are below the systems and water seeks its own level it siphon's right back into the reservoir. I cut an 8ft section off the garden hose as a siphon hose to go between both trash cans because one trash can didn't hold enough water to fill it and a 60 gal tank would cost an arm and leg. But I got an extra 32gal trash can at wal-mart for 10 bucks.

We don't get much rain here in Lake Havasu city AZ. but it can pour when it does. You can see a wooden frame in the background of some of the pictures. Is going to be covered with shade cloth to keep birds from getting to the strawberry's as well as giving them some shade from the hot sun here and also a wind break. When it rains I will just cover it with plastic. For the peppers I will take the covers from the plastic margarine containers and cut a slit through it and a hole for the plant stem so it will sit on top of the two letter bottles that should keep most of the rain out. But if it rains hard I guess I will just change the nutrients.

Well there is another side to that weather thing. Yes the weather is in the high 80s right now and even 90-92 four or five times in the last two weeks. I don't suppose most of the country gets summer temps in the 125-130 degree range. By late early June the temp will be well over 100 degrees every day and I am trying to work out a way to keep the nutrient cooled down but other than shade cloth I am not sure what I am going to do to keep the plants cooled down. A greenhouse would just concentrate the heat and would take a lot of electricity to run swamp coolers and or AC full time and I would hate to bring the hole thing inside and use all that electricity to run lights when we get all that free sunlight. So I am not sure what I will do.
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  #6  
Old 03-28-2009, 06:34 PM
andy andy is offline
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Default keeping nutes cool

i burry my resivor (40gal trash cans) in the ground the earth keeps a cool constant temp, in my area it stays about 60 most of the year,cold or hot
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Old 03-28-2009, 07:43 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Originally Posted by andy View Post
i burry my resivor (40gal trash cans) in the ground the earth keeps a cool constant temp, in my area it stays about 60 most of the year,cold or hot
Thanks, the ground here in Lake Havasu is more rock than dirt and would make digging a whole the size I need just about imposable without a back hoe. I am thinking of running a line inside the house and keeping the reservoirs inside if I can do so without putting a hole in the wall or making the line run so high the pump can't lift the nutrients effectively. I am also thinking of using a larger container and filling it with insulation foam then placing the reservoir in it. Kind of like making a large ice chest.
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Old 03-28-2009, 07:58 PM
Cliver_McGyver Cliver_McGyver is offline
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Default Mother Natures A/C

Some people I know that are working on a biosphere, in Amarillo, discussed a cooling system, using a tall round tube of porous cloth and they dripped water from the top down and the principle of latent state of evaporation caused a chilling affect. I am thinking maybe some type of wind tunnel with recirculating pump soaking up the lack of Btu-s. Heat will alway jump to the cold side.

The system they talked about was in a town square in Europe some where.

I use to have a huge hedge in front of a house I rented. When it was real hot I would set the hose up in the hedge and the air coming through was very cold. In the yard ware a shirt and in front of the hedge you will melt...
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Old 04-29-2009, 05:44 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Talking Picture update

Well it has been a month or so and I just thought I would post the new pictures of my plants. They have grown quite a bit despite some problems with the wind and heat.
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  #10  
Old 04-29-2009, 08:13 PM
drcruikshank drcruikshank is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
Well it has been a month or so and I just thought I would post the new pictures of my plants. They have grown quite a bit despite some problems with the wind and heat.
What a beautiful setup,I'm new to the havasu area and interested in doing the same type of garden. Please email me ; avess@npgcable.com

Thanks, Denny
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Old 04-30-2009, 10:00 PM
Cliver_McGyver Cliver_McGyver is offline
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You have a very large collection for a home hobbyist!
I still have 3 week before I can plan out. I want to do strawberries and the guy at golden acres and sunny side nursery's say they get starters with out dirt for transplant.

I will be doing an aeroponics system with a spare bellows pump I have!

I will feed for 1 minute every hour - spraying in to rockwool!

So what PH are you trying to maintain? - solution temp, and frequency of flooding?

Are strawberries a light or heavey feeder?

And do you add the flowering minerals when they start to flower or after a few flowers have formed...?

And pinching back or adding humidity? this topic has so many questions, I am sure they have been asked before but are not in a tutorial page...

A lot of questions I know but you seem to have much experience in this.
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Old 05-01-2009, 02:46 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cliver_McGyver View Post
You have a very large collection for a home hobbyist!
I still have 3 week before I can plan out. I want to do strawberries and the guy at golden acres and sunny side nursery's say they get starters with out dirt for transplant.

I will be doing an aeroponics system with a spare bellows pump I have!

I will feed for 1 minute every hour - spraying in to rockwool!

So what PH are you trying to maintain? - solution temp, and frequency of flooding?

Are strawberries a light or heavey feeder?

And do you add the flowering minerals when they start to flower or after a few flowers have formed...?

And pinching back or adding humidity? this topic has so many questions, I am sure they have been asked before but are not in a tutorial page...

A lot of questions I know but you seem to have much experience in this.
I don't really have that much experience yet. I have been looking into Hydroponics for over ten years, but these are the first systems that I have ever put in use. I do want to some day grow commercially though, to sell at the farmers market and locally. Originally I wanted to move to Alaska and build a indoor Hydroponic farm and sell fresh produce to the restaurants and such in the dead of winter when it is 30 below outside. Real fresh produce grown locally rather than being shipped in from thousands or miles away should fetch a good profit and still be reasonably priced.

Some how I took a right turn from California to Alaska and ended up in Arizona. But, I figure there's no time like the present to get it going (ten years later). I am using the pH tester drops to check pH level and I am trying to keep the pH at 6.0 for both the peppers and strawberry's. Just do a search for "pH level for hydroponic strawberry's" or any other plant you want and compare a few different results to get a good Idea of what to keep it at. Here is one I found: Level of pH in Hydroponics

The flood and drain cycles are different for the strawberry's and peppers. For the peppers I am using a 1/2hr on and 1/2hr off during daylight (night it only goes on twice for 30min each) mainly because the timer only has 1/2hr minimum on and off times. It only takes 10min to flood but I don't want the roots to go more than 30min without getting water and getting to dry. Also with the peppers I am using grow rocks for a growing medium but with the strawberry's I am using coco chips. The coco chips hold moisture much better and so I don't need to water as much. The strawberry's are getting 1hr on (it takes 40min to flood the whole system) and 2hr or 1 1/2hr off depending on the heat. I can change that to 1hr on and 1hr off when it gets even hotter.

I am planning to change the Strawberry system into a aeroponic system next time because that will use a lot less water and thus nutrients for the same amount of plants. But I am not finding much in the way of pumps that don't cost an arm and a leg with the pressure required for that many emitters.

The nutrient solution temp is a problem here in Arizona. Ideally it should be between 68 and 72 degrees. I check this by just sticking my fingers in it to see if it feels cool (high tech I know), if it is warm then I am dumping ice (made from revers osmosis water) in to cool it down. That also replaces the water lost by evaporation and the plants drinking. I cant really dig in the ground to keep them in the cooler ground because it is mostly rock. Soon I will be insulating the nutrient solution tanks by using a little larger container and lining it with spray insulation foam (from Home Depot) then placing the nutrient tank in it basically making it an ice chest. I also cover them to keep the sun off of them.

I am currently looking into the feasibility of using food grade Liquid Nitration to cool the nutrient solution down. Weather directly added to the nutrient solution or in a recirculating system running through metal coils in the solution. Plants need nitrogen to feed on anyway, but I don't know if the addition of Liquid Nitrogen will throw off the balance of the rest of the nutrients. It doesn't have any bad affects on humans and is safe to eat (they pour cream in it to make ice cream instantly) you just cant touch it while it is at a sub zero temp. It looks like the price for the Liquid Nitrogen would be around $2.00 a gallon and easily obtained from any welding supply house. There is also the cost of the storage container that I think might be a bit pricey, but only needed to be purchased once then just refilled. Also a concern is, how long that it will retain its sub zero temp in the storage container.

I know that the peppers are heavy feeders but I don't really know about the strawberry's. I have read that it takes 1/2 letter of nutrient solution to feed 1 strawberry plant (I am not sure if that was full grown or not) but if that is true and I have 32 strawberry plants that would be 16 letters or about 4 gallons of solution required to feed them. It takes 55 gallons of solution to flood the system and leave a few gallons in the reservoir so it doesn't run the pump dry (that's the reason I am considering changing it to an aeroponic system). So if they are heavy feeders it isn't really a problem for me. But General Hydroponics has a tech department that you can e-mail and find out: tech@genhydro.com they ususly get back to you within 24hr's.

I am using the Flora series nutrient system from General Hydroponic. It is a 3 part nutrient system that you need all 3 parts to make work, but you can adjust the parts to your plants and there phase's of growing. According to the General Hydroponic tech department plants like peppers and strawberry's that flower and produce fruit through their entire life cycle require equal amounts of all 3 at 10mil (2 tsp) per gallon of water and that seems to work well for me, I am getting a lot of growth as well as flowers.

I am growing outside so I don't have control of humidity. It's dry this time of year in Lake Havasu until late July when the monsoon season starts. but I would suggest not keeping strawberry's in a humid environment if you have control of that. In California I grew strawberry's in the ground and know that they don't really like wet leaves and it also causes the berry's to rot right on the plant. As for peppers they generally grow well in the hot southwest where it is dry and not humid so I would keep them well ventilated with dry air if you can also.

I saw the pictures you have in the "building my system" thread and it looks like you are doing two different systems, a drip system and the aeroponic system. I like the way you cut out the holes, I did mine freehand and that was a pain.
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Old 05-27-2009, 08:37 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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I just thought I would post an update about the Idea of Liquid Nitrogen for cooling the nutrient solution.

Unfortunately this does not seem feasible. Although the temperature of Liquid Nitrogen is about -320 F, It rapidly evaporates/boils away when introduced to the atmosphere. The density of Liquid Nitrogen is lighter than water so like oil and water the Liquid Nitrogen does not mix with the water but just floats on top until it all evaporates/boils away. Even though I poured 1 Letter of Liquid Nitrogen directly into the nutrient tank for my strawberry's, the direct contact between the Liquid Nitrogen and water did not seem to transfer any of the cold temperature of the Liquid Nitrogen into the water before it all evaporated/boiled away (in about 5-7 min). I didn't have a thermometer to put into the nutrient tank but I felt the water temp before and after adding the Liquid Nitrogen to it, and unfortunately I didn't find that there was any difference in temperature.

The only way I can see to use Liquid Nitrogen to cool the nutrients is in a pressurized recirculation system (I don't have the funds to experiment with this right now). Because the Liquid Nitrogen would freeze any pump and make it unusable (I am sure), the system would need to be pressurized to be able to get the Liquid to flow through a set of metal coils that can be submerged into the nutrient tank. Because the direct contact with with metal will cause the metal to reach a temperature of something like -40 F, the metal coils would then directly cool the nutrient solution.

A system like this would need to consist of two holding tanks for the Liquid Nitrogen, with the coils between them to run the Liquid Nitrogen back and forth through. Each holding tank would need a pressure relief valve, a pressure gauge and an open and close valve leading to the coils. As well as a fitting for injecting the compressed air and a sealable opening for filling with Liquid Nitrogen. You would also need a air compressor to pressurize the system. It would also take some research to find out what pressure range to use, and the system of coarse would need to be able to withstand pressure higher than its intended use (this could be tricky because nobody has done it before).

Like me, this might be a bit much to invest in (time and money) but for larger operations, even commercial Hydroponic farms in very hot regions of the world it may be a reasonable alternative to other methods (once the bugs were all worked out). Although I am not sure how large operations are addressing this problem but I would imagen that the "Geothermal (underground)" method is probably still the most efficient.

As for me I am looking into better ways of insulating my Hydro systems, nutrient tanks, fill and drain lines. I am also considering renting a back hoe to dig into the the rockey ground here in the desert of Lake Havasu AZ.. But the nutrient tank would need to be deep enough and surrounded with dirt to get the best Geothermal affects. This makes it more perminate and hard to take out and clean with every nutrient solution change as well as making the pump need to pump the solution another 3-4 feet high. I will probably need another higher volume pump for that.

Last edited by GpsFrontier; 05-27-2009 at 08:42 PM.
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Old 12-06-2009, 10:21 PM
Amigatec Amigatec is offline
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And better way would be find an old refrigerator and mount a coil inside of it, use a thermostat switch to turn the pump on and off to recirculate the solution through. With a big enough coil and enough insulation on the tank it should work nicely.
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Old 12-07-2009, 02:05 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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And better way would be find an old refrigerator and mount a coil inside of it, use a thermostat switch to turn the pump on and off to recirculate the solution through. With a big enough coil and enough insulation on the tank it should work nicely.
I had considered that back in the summer also but unfortunately it would cost way to much to run the refrigerator, especially in the 128 degree days we have here in the desert during the summer. That's why we don't have a second fridge in the garage for food. I now have a few designs in the works, most revolve around geothermal energy, with coils at least 2 feet underground.
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Old 12-23-2009, 02:22 AM
Harlequin Harlequin is offline
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I had considered that back in the summer also but unfortunately it would cost way to much to run the refrigerator, especially in the 128 degree days we have here in the desert during the summer. That's why we don't have a second fridge in the garage for food. I now have a few designs in the works, most revolve around geothermal energy, with coils at least 2 feet underground.
Would you consider using a system that possibly would use a lot of water? If not then I would use an evaporation cooling system. My understanding is that where you live is high heat low humidity in which case these systems work very very well.

What you need is a large surface area and then a thin flow of water over that surface area. The water will evaporate cooling the surface.

From wikipedia these are some rough temperature cooling rates.

Some rough examples clarify this relationship.

* At 32 C (90 F) and 15% relative humidity, air may be cooled to nearly 16 C (61 F). The dew point for these conditions is 2 C (36 F).
* At 32 C (90 F) and 50% relative humidity, air may be cooled to about 24 C (75 F). The dew point for these conditions is 20 C (68 F).
* At 40 C (104 F) and 15% relative humidity, air may be cooled to nearly 21 C (70 F). The dew point for these conditions is 8 C (46 F).

You could build this system one of two ways. One is a large radiator (truck radiator?) and simply pump water to the top of it and let it run down the outside with your nutrient being pumped through the inside. Or build yourself a swamp cooler which is simply a couple of sprayers infront of a fan and direct it at the radiator. The first way would consume less water as you would recirculate the water and only have to top up the reservoir of coolant water. The other method would probably be more effective.

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