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Noob looking at a "dual-mode" system


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Old 01-15-2014, 12:47 PM
MontyJ MontyJ is offline
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Default Noob looking at a "dual-mode" system

Hola to Everyone,

Admitted newbie here!

I want to start an outdoor hydroponics system for a variety of veggies and fruits. I have an old, unused fountain on a large open patio that can hold around 220 gallons in the base. It is circular with a center podium and a very thick outer retaining wall (good thermal insulation?).

From what I have read so far, this would lend itself nicely to a DWC or raft type system for lettuce, spinach, lighter plants and perhaps strawberries. But I would also like to do some heavier plants like tomato's, cucumbers, beans, peas, bell peppers, etc and and would like to consider a drip bucket system for those.

One kicker is that I live in the Sonoran desert in northern Mexico and the summer heat can be brutal. I had planned on building some custom Peltier coolers to take care of keeping the water temps low enough to not damage the roots during the hot months.

I was thinking that a fairly tight fitting raft lid made of perhaps 2"-3" styrofoam would help insulate the water better than the usual 1" foam, but I can experiment with that when summer arrives.

So, if I put a properly sized pump in the reservoir for the drip buckets, what are the negatives to running both a raft type system and a drip system out of the same large reservoir?

Another question is about bubblers. I have read that some kinds of nutrients recommend to not use a bubbler with their product. Any thoughts on that with this kind of setup? I would prefer a liquid part AB type nutrient system as it seems easier than having to stir a lot to dissolve flakes, but like I said, I am new at this and still in the research stage so am certainly open to comments from you more experienced folks!

Thanks for any and all ideas!

MJ

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Old 01-17-2014, 09:41 AM
mj2 mj2 is offline
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I'm gathering that you want to use one reservoir and do both leafy greens (lettuce) and flowering veggies like tomatoes?

That won't work... The nutrient requirements are greatly different in these - you would end up burning the lettuce to feed the tomatoes, or starving the tomatoes to keep the lettuce level right.
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Old 01-17-2014, 10:16 AM
MontyJ MontyJ is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mj2 View Post
I'm gathering that you want to use one reservoir and do both leafy greens (lettuce) and flowering veggies like tomatoes?

That won't work... The nutrient requirements are greatly different in these - you would end up burning the lettuce to feed the tomatoes, or starving the tomatoes to keep the lettuce level right.
Thanks for the comment! I was hoping a "somewhat happy compromise" could be reached, knowing it would not be optimum for any of the plants. But if the choice is that stark, then looks like I need to rethink things!

MJ
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Old 01-17-2014, 10:18 AM
mj2 mj2 is offline
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Basil, lettuce, kale, chard, parsley, cilantro will all do fine around 700-800ppm (thats everything I run in my NFT system).

Tomatoes would be fine for a little while, but once they get 8-12" they're going to need much more.

If you gave the first group of plants tomato nutes (1400-1800ppm), they'd burn out in a few days.

Lighting is also different for both, but not sure that matters if you're outdoors.

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