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Forth System


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Old 03-10-2010, 11:32 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Default Forth System

I have had the forth system running for about a month now. I hadn't posted it before because I was not happy with the bubblers I created out of PVC tubing (I didn't have money for air stones). But I had the seeds, and really wanted to put them to use as best I could. I just got some air stones last weekend. Only 2 and I wanted 4, but it's still better than what I had going. The air pump is not operating the best either, but it's still surprisingly pumping air (just not as much as it should be).

For the growing chamber (container), I just reused one of the ones I was using for my strawberry's last summer. I run it as a water culture system, and as I mentioned with air stones in the reservoir. It holds between 5 and 9 gallons water for the reservoir. I also have not changed the nutrient solution yet. The first couple of weeks I used about one third strength nutrient solution. Then after about two weeks, and the roots were coming out the bottom of the baskets, I brought the strength up to full strength. I will be changing the nutrient solution for the first time in a day or two.

I had to shim the bottom of the container to make it level (so the water level inside would be even). The water level just touches the bottom of the baskets (1/4 to 1/2 inch), that's plenty for the growing medium (coco chips) to wick up the moisture it needs. The rest of the roots hang down directly into the reservoir (water). They seem to be growing just fine the way it was with my makeshift bubblier made out of PVC tubing. But I am very glad I got the air stones, although I am still not happy with the amount of bubbles from the air pump and stones.

The lettuce plant variety is called Butter King. I was looking for the same butter lettuce you get at the store that is grown hydroponically, and sold as live plants in the plastic containers. Not sure if this is exactly it, but it looks very much the same. There are 8 plants in this container but I'm starting some new seeds for replacement plants, that way they are ready when I harvest the first ones. I'm also starting some spinach to put in this system.

I am building a smaller water culture system (container), that will hold the plants until they are ready (large enough) to put in this one once I harvest them. That way I can have a continuously rotating crop and supply of ready to harvest plants using less resources. I'll post pictures of it once the seeds are ready to put in it. I just put them in my home made incubator/germination device today.

Some of these baskets have 2 plants in it. I had extra, so I just put two in each and I was going to pluck the smallest ones. Though in some of them I just couldn't decide witch to pluck, so now I am stuck with two plants in about half of the baskets. In one of the pictures there is a clear spare container on top of the growing chamber. I just did that to show what I do/did when it rains to protect the plants when they were younger. I also cover the air pump with the blue container to waterproof it from the rain. It's important to make sure that the air pump is raised off the table an inch or two to keep it out of any water that gets on the tabletop. The picture with the container of tiny plants on top next to the butter lettuce plants, were from the same batch of seeds and started at the same time. They just weren't lucky enough to make it into the hydroponic system.

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Last edited by GpsFrontier; 05-04-2011 at 06:05 PM.
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Old 03-11-2010, 01:08 AM
eduardomachado eduardomachado is offline
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simple and works.. that's what I love....

how old are those lettuces?
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Old 03-11-2010, 02:31 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Quote:
how old are those lettuces?
Well, they have been in the system for about a month now. And it took about 2 weeks for the seeds to go from package to system. All in all, about 6 weeks total. Considering the inefficient bubbling system that I made for it, as well as all the cloudy and rainy days we during that time, I'm happy with how they are doing at this point. The way they are growing I will probably start harvesting within the next 30 days. That's why I wanted to start some more seeds now, so Ill have some replacements. Also when I strengthened the nutrient solution from 1/3 to full strength, there growth really took off. I plan to changing the nutrient solution tomorrow, so that combined with the new air stones, I'm pretty sure they will have another burst in growth (not that they have slowed down though).
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Old 03-25-2010, 04:48 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Well it ha been 2 weeks sense posting the last pictures. The lettuce has been growing quite fast, so I thought I would post an update at the 2 week mark from the last pics. You'll notice the roots look brown. I don't know exactly why that is for sure. The nutrient temp hovers around the low 60's, pH is kept close to 6.0 and I am sure the nutrients are fine. I believe it is because the bubbles from the air stones are inadequate, so the roots are actually drowning/suffocating. Even so they seem to be growing quite well, so I haven't been worried about it. I see a salad in my future.

I covered them with the shade cloth to keep them out of the direct sunlight. It's not hot (upper 70's low 80's) but they seem to do better in partial shade, rather than direct sunlight. You might notice the front plants seem to be smaller, your right. One of them has always been that way, the other my mom keeps picking leaves off of for her salads. I'm not actually sure where she gets all of them from, she plucks them when I'm not looking. She is getting to be worse than the rabbits. In fact not 15 minutes after these pictures were taken, I caught her walking in the house with 3 more leaves in her hand. I don't really mind, but it confuses me in how they are growing when she does that without me knowing.
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Last edited by GpsFrontier; 03-25-2010 at 04:59 AM.
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Old 03-25-2010, 08:49 AM
eduardomachado eduardomachado is offline
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They look Great... what lettuce variety its that?

Last night I eat with a fresh lettuce salad too
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Old 03-25-2010, 02:47 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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The lettuce plant variety is called Butter King. I was looking for the same butter lettuce you get at the store that is grown hydroponically, and sold as live plants in the plastic containers. Not sure if this is exactly it, but it looks very much the same.
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Old 04-15-2010, 10:00 PM
garcrob garcrob is offline
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so you dont seem to have any problems with the lettuce being in that hot house and not really having any air flow... i am trying that same setup indoors and wondered if the air flow would be a problem? have they been in that system the whole time and if so have they had that top on them the entire time as well?
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Old 04-21-2010, 04:00 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Sorry, I didn't see the reply until now.
Quote:
so you dont seem to have any problems with the lettuce being in that hot house and not really having any air flow
It's not really a hot house. It's just a wooden frame with some shade cloth on top (to protect from direct sunlight), shade cloth allows air to pass right through. They get lots of air flow, if there is any breeze they get all of it in that location. The plants are close together, and I try to trim away all the large leaves, yellow leaves, and even the ones that cover others from getting light or air, allowing for better air flow at the base of the plants.
Quote:
have they been in that system the whole time and if so have they had that top on them the entire time as well?
I started them out as seeds, once they got about an inch tall or so I placed them into the system. I only placed the cover on them when the weather started to get warm, to help protect from direct sunlight. The weather is actually getting two warm for lettuce. I would like to continue them, but I would need to move them inside to control the air temp, so this will probably be the end to the lettuce for now.

P.S. you cant really see it in the pictures, but I actually used two containers for the base, with some insulation in-between both of them to keep the root zone temp down. So far so good, it's the air temp that is getting to be a problem right now. Lettuce being a cool weather crop, and the temp getting into the upper 80's daily.
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Old 04-21-2010, 12:50 PM
garcrob garcrob is offline
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thanks for clearing that up,

update, i have had the domes on a few of my plants, and a few with out, as of now i have seen no difference in growing pattern or growth rate.

i think i am going to keep them on there anyway and wait another week or so to document imporvement or decline

also, i like your out door setups, GPS. i wish my wife would let me do that!
i only have a 5x4 foot space in the corner of my basement.

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