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  #1  
Old 06-23-2014, 04:18 AM
Remembering Remembering is offline
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Default New member with a question.

Hello everyone and well met.

I am trying hydroponics for the first time as my wife will not let me take out any of the grass at out new house. This first year is more of an experiment than anything else. I have two 5 gallon buckets. one has 2 tomato plants (one lemon boy and the other is big beef). and the other has 4 bean plants (purple string beans that i have been growing for many years, always letting some pods go to seed for the next year). The buckets are black with black lids so there is no issue with algae. I am using a zeer cooling setup to ensure that the roots do not get too hot in the black buckets. I am using the EcoPlus Commercial Air pump I got online. When I started I added a cup on azomite in each bucket and maxigro at one tsp per gallon. I want to go simple so I have not even check ph. I also am not changing the liquid. I use a dip stick in a hole to check the level of the water. I use this same hole add water when the system get low. when adding water for the first 4 weeks I used the maxigro and the weeks after I have been using maxibloom. I am very happy with the plants. Very large, producing well (no harvest yet). only slight problems with bugs. Not enough to take action against the bugs. Here a couple of pics from week 3.
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I have not taken any newer pics.

So what is my problem. I am using 5 gallons of water every two days for only two buckets. Is this normal? It seems like a lot for just two buckets.

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Old 06-23-2014, 03:46 PM
Stan Stan is offline
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Can you post some pics of the reservoir setup?
Theirs 2 things I would do from reading your post.
1. You must check the PH of the water. You can buy a PH checker along with up/down liquid for less than $20.
2. You need to wrap the 5 gallon containers with something that will reflect the sun instead of absorbing it. I know you said you are using something to cool it down inside but when it gets very hot that sun will make it like an inferno inside those buckets. Most dollar stores sell those sun reflectors that unfold and go inside the car up to the windshield of a car. They usually cost a dollar or 2 buy them and wrap up the baskets.
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Old 06-23-2014, 06:28 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Hello Remembering,
Quote:
So what is my problem. I am using 5 gallons of water every two days for only two buckets. Is this normal? It seems like a lot for just two buckets.
Yes, that's why growing large plants in a 5 gallon water culture system isn't the best choice of hydroponic systems to grow them in. Especially for plants like tomato's that need lots of water to support all the water filled fruit. Way to much maintenance. The bigger the plants get, the more water they will continue to use. Also, as your water level fluctuates, so does your nutrient concentration level.

P.S.
I'm guessing you live in a hot dry climate. Humidity levels greatly affect how much water a plant drinks.
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Old 06-24-2014, 02:46 AM
Remembering Remembering is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stan View Post
Can you post some pics of the reservoir setup?
Theirs 2 things I would do from reading your post.
1. You must check the PH of the water. You can buy a PH checker along with up/down liquid for less than $20.
2. You need to wrap the 5 gallon containers with something that will reflect the sun instead of absorbing it. I know you said you are using something to cool it down inside but when it gets very hot that sun will make it like an inferno inside those buckets. Most dollar stores sell those sun reflectors that unfold and go inside the car up to the windshield of a car. They usually cost a dollar or 2 buy them and wrap up the baskets.
Thanks Stan for your input but I do not want to do the PH thing. I have grown in ground since before I was in kindergarten. Never had to check PH. I feel that most of the PH stuff is just another way to sell you more stuff. So far no problem with that. plants look good. Only difference as far as that goes is they grow faster and there are less impact from insects attacking roots. The other note is that the terracotta pots with the sand in them in the bottom. when there is water in the sand ( I use gray water from washing dishes) the evaporation seems to keep the temp in the buckets 10-15 degrees cooler than the air temp outside. I now think that the buckets being black speeds the evaporation in the sand and increases the cooling on the roots. As far as the pictures of my reservoir the pics above are what I have. I have no external water source. only the buckets.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
Hello Remembering,
Yes, that's why growing large plants in a 5 gallon water culture system isn't the best choice of hydroponic systems to grow them in. Especially for plants like tomato's that need lots of water to support all the water filled fruit. Way to much maintenance. The bigger the plants get, the more water they will continue to use. Also, as your water level fluctuates, so does your nutrient concentration level.

P.S.
I'm guessing you live in a hot dry climate. Humidity levels greatly affect how much water a plant drinks.
Thank you GpsFrontier. I am sure you are correct for it not being the best choice. It was the cheapest start though. Next year I might get a different setup that I can stack on the equipment that I already have. But for now it is OK, just a lot of water. You are very right about the nutrient fluctuations. I have been using the nutrients on the low side to ensure that when the water goes down it does not get too concentrated. some times I even fill the buckets with just plain water with no nutrients. This has not seem to have changed the growth rate any. I know what you are saying about the tomato drinking a lot of water. But beans on the other hand drink a lot lot less and both buckets seem to dropping at about the same rate.
On the PS medium temp and humidity. I live about 30 miles from the west coast. a couple days over 100 so far this year but mostly in the 80. Humidity not high enough to even be checking so I do not know for sure.
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  #5  
Old 06-28-2014, 06:24 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Hello Remembering,
I would never suggest spending money when you don't need to. However pH test drops, and pH up and down don't cost much at all. But as Stan mentions, pH is important. I understand you have been growing in soil for a long time, but there are a lot of variables in soil conditions that you don't have in hydroponics. Also even though plants are resilient and adaptable, the science clearly shows that plants absorb nutrients best within a specific pH range (regardless). pH conditions outside of that rage can lead to nutrient deficiencies, even when the nutrient solution isn't lacking anything.

It's up to you, but if you don't want to check the pH in your hydroponic systems, you don't have to. But we won't be able to help you much when you can't give us the basic information. It's just a mater of time before you start having problems, and one of the first questions will be, what is the pH?. If we don't know the answer, we don't know if it could be pH related or not. It's that simple. So what's the point in replying when the person can't (or wont) give the vital information needed?

Quote:
some times I even fill the buckets with just plain water with no nutrients
How often do you change your nutrient solution? You should always be replacing the used water with just plain water. Except maybe once a week. But when the plant is drinking that much water, and you have that small of a reservoir, you should be changing the nutrient solution weekly anyway.

Quote:
It was the cheapest start though
Not if you build your own hydroponic systems. Even if you wanted to use the same parts you bought, simply redesigning it would be much better. The size of the buckets isn't the issue, the type of hydroponic system it is, is. As well as the maintenance of each bucket because of it, like the water used daily (that will quickly increase). A simple drip system (designed correctly) with a separate (central) reservoir would solve those issues and still provide enough root space.

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Last edited by GpsFrontier; 06-28-2014 at 06:54 AM.
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