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First of four new systems


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Old 10-12-2009, 07:41 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Default First of four new systems

I just finished the first of four new systems. This one is a drip system with 4 Broccoli plants. I got everything I needed from Lowe's hardware and Walmart, except the pump (I already had) and the growing medium.

5 gallon buckets $2.34 ea x4 $10
through holes (bulkhead fittings) $1.97 x4 $8
spray paint, 2 black and 2 white $.99 ea $4
1/2in vinyl tuning $9
one size larger than the 1/2in vinyl tuning, 2ft $2
storage container for reservoir from Walmart $3.50
furnace heater filter, to keep the growing medium from going down the through holes and clogging $2
Total $38.50

I will be changing the rings of clear tubing to black tubing shortly. I just used the clear for now because I will be building 3 more hydroponic systems and was not sure if I had enough black tubing for the others, so that is just temporary. It took a little thinking and adjusting to get them all to drain back to the reservoir properly but I finally figured it out. Two problems with that were the angle of the tubing needed to be a genital sloop back to the reservoir. The other was by just placing the ends of the tubing into the nutrient solution some how caused air pockets in the lines, that caused it to stop flowing. I used some tubing connectors I had leftover to connect the ends to P.V.C. tubing then down into the top of the reservoir.

I will be growing a total of 7 plants in 4 different systems:

Broccoli
Tomatoes
Butter lettuce
Spinach
Peas
Snow peas
Green beans

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Last edited by GpsFrontier; 10-12-2009 at 07:52 PM.
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Old 10-14-2009, 02:46 PM
GGM GGM is offline
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nice and it has given me some ideas. A bit off topic but can peas and other legumes be grown hydroponically? I am sure in science class many moons ago we were taught that legumes get their nitogen source from a symbiotic relationship with bacteria?
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Old 10-15-2009, 04:42 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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nice and it has given me some ideas. A bit off topic but can peas and other legumes be grown hydroponically? I am sure in science class many moons ago we were taught that legumes get their nitogen source from a symbiotic relationship with bacteria?
I don't know of anything that can't be grown hydroponically (I am not an expert though). Even trees are grown hydroponically. As far as the nitrogen it is in the hydroponic nutrients already, and in a form that plants can drink up. I will be growing green beans, peas and sugar snap peas hydroponically as soon as the seeds sprout.
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Old 10-16-2009, 05:56 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Quote:
it has given me some ideas
Great, that is why I posted it. I am no expert but I do know how to experiment with things. I just hope to help others with their projects.
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Old 11-03-2009, 01:53 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Just thought I would post an update. The broccoli plants are doing great. They are 3 weeks old at this point and growing rapidly. I would have taken pictures earlier but the backyard was a mess because I have been working on the other systems.
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Old 12-01-2009, 03:02 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Well it's been about a month and half now sense I started the broccoli plants, so I thought I would post an update. I noticed broccoli flowers coming up about 3 days ago on one of them so I checked and all of them have them coming up. I look forward to making my signature broccoli cheese soup with the first heads.
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Old 12-01-2009, 03:47 AM
kbhale kbhale is offline
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Thanks for the pix. I have a plastic table waiting for something similar to your design this spring. I like the idea of not bending over to care for the plants. I think, squash, melons and Zucchini.

Last edited by kbhale; 12-01-2009 at 03:52 AM.
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Old 12-31-2009, 06:23 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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My First Broccoli Head

Well I just harvested the first broccoli head yesterday
My mom was anxious to have some so my broccoli cheese soup will need to wait.

About a 2 or 3 weeks ago I made a mistake that caused many of the leaves on the broccoli plant to be damaged then turn brown and die. We were in the middle of a cold snap and my mom had me convinced that it would begin to frost that night. I knew they were calling for cold nights and that the few days before that were getting down to 36 degrees, I have 2 digital thermometers that record the lows and highs for me. I really didn't think it would get any colder than 35 or 36, and of coarse it didn't but I decided to cover the broccoli plants and use a small hand held travel hair dryer to warm them up with anyway.

I made a holder to hold the hair dryer so I wouldn't need to stand there holding it, then set it under the plants. I think everything was fine until I turned it to HI. The next day I noticed that many of the leaves were wilting and pail in color. Especially the leaves that were the closest to where the hair dryer was aimed. Then they slowly turned brown and I cut them off as they did. All the broccoli heads were fine because they were at the top of the plants and blocked by the leaves. But all the plants except one had major damage. I expected there growth would slow down for a while as a result, but the plants are still doing well considering. All the Broccoli heads are noticeably bigger. The biggest plant (one I harvested the head from) even has 3 side shouts with other heads growing.

Broccoli plants are cold weather plants and as long as the nutrient temp does not become to cold they seem to grow fine here in the winter. I have a waterproof heating pad that I got at the salvation army for $1 submerged in the nutrient solution, keeping the nutrients from getting too cold at night. It seems to be working fine but I will probably get an adjustable fish tank heater in the future as funds are available.
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Old 01-05-2010, 12:01 AM
andreamore andreamore is offline
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Seeing that broccoli gave me the inspiration that I needed to put my idea into motion. I wish I had the room and a space outdoors.
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Old 01-17-2010, 10:00 AM
TTRgreen2010 TTRgreen2010 is offline
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I like the "ring" of water hose around the plant. I assume there are multiple pinholes around the circumference to water evenly on all sides. All in all a very nice looking system and I look forward to future updates!

I am using 1/4" soaker tube connected to the "T" connector inside each grow bag in my system.

Last edited by TTRgreen2010; 01-17-2010 at 10:09 AM.
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Old 01-26-2010, 09:10 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Quote:
I like the "ring" of water hose around the plant. I assume there are multiple pinholes around the circumference to water evenly on all sides.
Yes, exactly. I cut the tube the size I needed to make the right size ring, then made 7 or 8 holes in each where I need them. I actually burned the holes in them by heating one end of a paperclip with a candle, and poking it through the tubing. Because there is no real pressure to speak of in the system from the pump, if I just poked the hole in it, it would tend to close back up. Or I would need to make the hole bigger than I wanted.

I was worried that it might not water evenly with the rings so far away from the base of the plant, but the timer is set for 1, to 1 and a half hours on at a time, and they have been doing just fine in the coco chips with moisture. In fact there has been a few times that the breaker would trip (because of a power strip I was using) and I wouldn't know about it for half a day, I never say any wilting in the plants.
Quote:
I am using 1/4" soaker tube connected to the "T" connector inside each grow bag in my system.
I have not yet used the soaker hose yet, but I am told that it will soak through without pressure. I used the 1/2 inch vinyl tubing because I had it on hand.

I have had these pictures for about a week now but I am just getting around to posting them. We had about 4 days with rain, one day it rained all day. These pictures were taken just before the rain. The plants seemed to do fine in the rain. I was worried that too much rainwater would get into the system and overflow the reservoir. It did fine until the last day with rain all day. Enough water got into the buckets and then drained down into the reservoir to overflow it. I had just changed the nutrients right before the rain. After it overflowed I just added some nutrient concentrate to the reservoir, so I don't really know how strong it is.

I have harvested many more heads sense the one I posted, but so far the first head from each plant was the biggest. I think mainly because that is the biggest steam on the plant. Nothing has grown out of the part that was cut yet, but I am getting many smaller shouts with florets on them. They taste just as good, just smaller. I need to cut them off before they flower so unfortunately they don't have the chance to get big. You can see a flower starting to open in one picture, I should have harvested that one a few days earlier (I harvested it right after taking the picture).

I am really happy with the way this system functions so far. I have done some minor things to the tubing at the bottom to make sure there is no leaks where the tubing connects to the bottom of the buckets. Mostly where the two different size tubing connect, I basically just glued them together with a water proof flexible glue.

Once I changed the nutrients and accidentally knocked off the tubing from one of the buckets and didn't know about it. When I came back to check the pH level 3 gallons of my fresh nutrients was on the ground. I zip tied them on to make sure that wont happen again (so far so good).
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Last edited by GpsFrontier; 01-26-2010 at 09:15 PM.
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Old 02-24-2010, 06:47 PM
ohman11 ohman11 is offline
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I am sorry if I missed this but GPSFrontier what is the medium you are using on this system?
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Old 02-24-2010, 06:56 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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I am sorry if I missed this but GPSFrontier what is the medium you are using on this system?
The bottom third to half of the buckets are filled with cleaned and sanitized rocks from the backyard (to take up space and cut down cost). The rest is Coco chips.
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Old 02-25-2010, 06:31 PM
ohman11 ohman11 is offline
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The bottom third to half of the buckets are filled with cleaned and sanitized rocks from the backyard (to take up space and cut down cost). The rest is Coco chips.
How do these compare in price to hydroton?
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Old 02-25-2010, 07:59 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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How do these compare in price to hydroton?
Well the rock that is in the bottom taking up space I get all I want for free in the backyard. I just soak it in water for a few min, then hose it off in the driveway to clean it. Then I just soak it in bleach water for about an hour to sanitize it. Then hose it off again. As for hydroton, I think a typical price is about $10 for 10 liters like in this link: Hydroton 10 Liter Bag. Although sometimes you will find a better prices, especially in larger quantity's.

The coco chips that I used were $9.95 for 4 cubic feet (picture attached). I'm not sure how much that breaks down to in liters. But if I remember correctly when soaked it to wash it, and it was fully expanded, it almost filled the 18 gallon storage container that I was using. There are just over 4 liters per gallon. Though the coco chips are not reusable, and the hydroton (grow rocks) are reusable.

I don't know if shipping is a concern to you like it is to me because we don't have any hydroponic stores here in town, but I think the weight was about the same for the 10 liters of grow rocks as it is for the 4 cubic feet of coco chips. I just look at the "contact us" information on the website to see where the place is located, and I try to order from somewhere close by.
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Old 02-25-2010, 08:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
Well the rock that is in the bottom taking up space I get all I want for free in the backyard. I just soak it in water for a few min, then hose it off in the driveway to clean it. Then I just soak it in bleach water for about an hour to sanitize it. Then hose it off again. As for hydroton, I think a typical price is about $10 for 10 liters like in this link: Hydroton 10 Liter Bag. Although sometimes you will find a better prices, especially in larger quantity's.

The coco chips that I used were $9.95 for 4 cubic feet (picture attached). I'm not sure how much that breaks down to in liters. But if I remember correctly when soaked it to wash it, and it was fully expanded, it almost filled the 18 gallon storage container that I was using. There are just over 4 liters per gallon. Though the coco chips are not reusable, and the hydroton (grow rocks) are reusable.

I don't know if shipping is a concern to you like it is to me because we don't have any hydroponic stores here in town, but I think the weight was about the same for the 10 liters of grow rocks as it is for the 4 cubic feet of coco chips. I just look at the "contact us" information on the website to see where the place is located, and I try to order from somewhere close by.
I may give these a try. I have a small hydr setup in my house but plan a much larger scale this summer outdoors. I bought one of those portable greenhouses 7 x 12 x 7 and it will be total hydro. Just a few more weeks here in Texas and I should be able to get it started.
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Old 02-25-2010, 08:24 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Just thought I would mention that there is a difference between regular coco coir and coco chips. The regular coco coir has a consistency like potting soil, the coco chips are the same material (coconut husks) but more the size of small smoke wood chips for your barbecue. The chips wont go through the holes in the baskets like the regular coco coir will.

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