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Many questions......

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Old 02-03-2011, 12:54 PM
CAPT38 CAPT38 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 51
Default Many questions......

Well, I have read most of the posts in this forum and have quite a number of questions, before I get started on this venture in hydroponics.

1. Food grade plastics.... I have several 5 gal. Buckets that say hdpe 2. That had motor oil in them ( that I have washed very well and sterilized with bleach)
Will these be safe to use?
2. I've bought some plastic plant pots that have pp 5 on the bottom that I planed to make
Net pots with good idea or not?
3. I plan to grow 7 different vegies on a drip system will I have to get different
Nutes for them? (Tomatoes peppers cucumbers onions and green beens)
4. Coco chips as a medium should I use it by itself or mix it with another medium for good or better results?
5. What size submersible pump should I get for a 12 bucket system, and what size rez
Should I have?
If ther is anything I have left out or may need to no please feel free too comment.
Sorry if this post doesn't come out right ( I'm using my blackberry)

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Old 02-04-2011, 04:28 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Lake Havasu AZ.
Posts: 1,855

Hello CAPT38,

1. I'm not well versed in recycling ratings. But if the containers were made for the storage of oil, they are not likely to be food grade. They just don't waist that type of thing on storing chemicals and petroleum products. But in my opinion, it would be fine to use as long as it's washed out real well (lots of soapy water so there ids no possible oil residue), and sanitized with bleach water. But I always give it the smell test.

2. I'm not sure if your asking if these are food grade or not, or another question? don't know what pp 5 is ?

3. First that depends on how perfect you expect your plants to be.Tomatoes peppers, cucumbers, and green been are all continuously fruiting plants. Unless you are needing or wanting perfect plants, a general formula for continuously fruiting plants should be fine. However onions are not continuously fruiting plants. But most manufactures have 2 or 3 part nutrients that can be mixed according to what plants are being grown.

Then you want to consider the pH ranges for each plant:
Tomatoes (5.5-6.5)
peppers (5.8-6.5)
cucumbers (5.8-6.0)
green beans (6.0)
onions (6.0-6.7)

It looks like if you try to keep the pH at about 6.0 it should fall in an acceptable range for all of them. Keep in mind that pH will fluctuate somewhat, and exact numbers are not necessary. But here again if you are wanting perfect plants, then separate systems may be better.

Just a P.S. here, I would grow the green beans in a separate system. They fall in the family of Legumes. And to make a long story short, legumes expel enzymes and/or chemicals from there roots to ward off pests, bacteria, and even the roots from other plants. I ran into this particular problem myself when I grew two different types pf peas in the same system.

4. I use coco chips myself and it is my favorite growing medium. But all growing mediums have particular characteristics. The coco chips are real good at providing moisture retention. But because of their size and shape, they also provide good air to the roots as well. Especially in a drip system. So when you ask "for better results", I ask what results are you looking for? Generally when people mix growing mediums there's a reason. Cost tops the list, but then each has there own different properties (thus why they would want to mix them).

For instance onions are a root crop, and I would go with a sand and vurmiculite/perlite mix because of the different properties as compared to coco chips or coir. Sand is much more dense and, yet light enough to move and expand as the root (veggies) grow, but the vermiculite and/or perlite will also help with aeration. At the same time still provide a soft soil like denseness that the root crops grow best in.

The type of system (I know you said drip), also is a factor in what particular properties you need for the application. But how the system is designed makes a difference in the needed properties as well.

5. I always say get the most pump you can afford, even if you don't exactly need it now. But with that said, there are so many variables in how you ultimately design the system I just cant give exact requirements. Some things to keep in mind are the height at witch the highest point the water is going to be pumped up (vertical) from the pump (is called head height), and the gallons per hour the pump can handle at that patercillar height. Type of system and how it is constructed. A drip system the way I would do it wont take any pressure to actuarial drip (gravity does that in my system). Now the same 12 buckets designed as a different type of system, say a flood and drain, or aeroponic system will have much different needs. Bottom line how it's designed matters.

P.S. I would like to be more specific with my reply's. But from my experience the variables make the difference. So That's why I tried to give some examples of those variables, and say why they make a difference. In the long run I hope that's more helpful to you than just saying "buy this."
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