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Progress and Frustrations


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  #1  
Old 01-05-2010, 08:32 PM
txice txice is offline
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Default Progress and Frustrations

Figured I'd make a combination update/vent post.

First the update part. As you can see from the side-by-side images attached, the pepper plants are growing nicely. 2 weeks to the day have elapsed between the different images. Plants all look healthy, really green and almost every single one of them has lots of little blooms starting on them. Even the little Thai Sun plant that I think I damaged when I moved it into this system is on the comeback and has a couple of little buds on him as well. Wife and I even did some work on rearranging the grow room and building new light stands, etc. Really freed up a lot of space in the room and made it much easier to access the plants in the tubs.

The frustrating vent part....can't get any darn peppers to start. Even 2 weeks ago a few of the plants had blooms on them. I left them alone in hopes that they would "take care of themselves" so to speak. We do have a fan in the room that moves the plants pretty well and had hoped that would be enough to assist the plants in self pollinating. Something is amiss however as all of the flowers that open just end up wilting and falling off with no peppers to be found . When we got back from our Christmas trip (happy to report the system ran fine unattended for over an entire week by the way ) I began trying to help the plants pollinate. For the past week I've been doing all sorts of different methods to assist in pollination from tapping the flowers, to shaking the plant, to using a small paint brush to rub around the inside of the flower. Still not seeing any peppers and it's getting frustrating. The nute temp is staying fairly low (70 to 72 range). pH range is good staying around 5.8 to 6.5 (I really need to invest in a digital meter...stupid drops in the test tube bit is difficult to read...hehe). I still have the full spectrum MH bulb above the system and have added a couple of 100W cfl bulbs around 3000K to get a tiny bit more of the reddish range light. Added some of the awesome blossoms into the nutrient mix...but alas it doesn't seem to be working. Trying to be patient and stick with it, but it's getting to be discouraging. Though I guess from going from total noob to where I am now on my first try isn't too terrible.

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Old 01-05-2010, 09:56 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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This seems like an odd problem.

I don't remember

1. What lighting are you using?
2. nutrients and the concentrations? (were you able to contact the manufacture to find out what they recommend for continuously fruiting plants?)
3. light and water cycle?
4. Are you sure that the nutrient temp is staying within that range all day long and not fluctuating higher?
5. Air temp?
6. How do the roots look?
7. How does the nutrient solution look, is it clear cloudy?
8. how often do you change the nutrients?
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Old 01-06-2010, 12:38 AM
txice txice is offline
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Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
1. What lighting are you using?
Plantmax Greenhouse 400W MH (PX-MS400). Supplemental lights are 2 100W equiv (26W actual) CFL softwhite bulbs with 2700k color temp bought from local hardware store.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
2. Nutrients and the concentrations? (were you able to contact the manufacture to find out what they recommend for continuously fruiting plants?)
Same Technaflora nutes. Using a 1/2 strength mix of the Veg recipie from their recipie for success with the addition of awesome blossoms for the P and K. PPM hover around mid 700s. I attempted to register on their forums to post that question. Needed an admin to "approve" my registration and that never happened. This was before we left for the holiday vacation and I've not tried again since I've been back.


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3. light and water cycle?
Lights moved down to 12 hour on/12 hour off. Water cycle is still 15 min on/15 min off during light cycle. Once per hour during dark cycle.

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Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
4. Are you sure that the nutrient temp is staying within that range all day long and not fluctuating higher?
Fairly certain. The ambient temp of the room is kept around 70 (generally 5 to 6 degrees warmer at the surface of the tub lids from the MH light). I'm not there during the day during the week due to work, but I check the temp every day when I get home. Several weeks worth of testing show that the nute temp generally stays within one to two degrees of the room temp though. So am I totally positive? No, but I'm fairly certain it doesn't spike dramatically any time during the day.

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Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
5. Air temp?
As mentioned above, dedicated AC unit in the room set to 70 degrees so ambient temp in the room stays around there during the day.

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Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
6. How do the roots look?
Roots look good. Not brown or anything like that.

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Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
7. How does the nutrient solution look, is it clear cloudy?
It's clear....a very slight brownish tint to it from the nutrients, but it's not cloudy at all.

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Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
8. how often do you change the nutrients?
Nutrient is changed once a week and i do a full flush of the tubs once a month.
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Old 01-06-2010, 03:12 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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I am not real familiar with artificial lighting so I am going to need to look into the lighting aspect to either eliminate it, or suspect it.
Quote:
Same Technaflora nutes. Using a 1/2 strength mix of the Veg recipie from their recipie for success with the addition of awesome blossoms for the P and K. PPM hover around mid 700s. I attempted to register on their forums to post that question. Needed an admin to "approve" my registration and that never happened. This was before we left for the holiday vacation and I've not tried again since I've been back.
I found the other thread with there contact information so I will try to remember to call them and talk to someone in their tech support department. This should be enough information to see if they can give me some information. But try to call them yourself if you can.
Quote:
Lights moved down to 12 hour on/12 hour off. Water cycle is still 15 min on/15 min off during light cycle. Once per hour during dark cycle.
This should be enough light to produce peppers, although a couple more hours might be better (but wouldn't cause the flowers to drop off). As long as the roots are looking the water cycle should be fine also.

Quote:
The ambient temp of the room is kept around 70 (generally 5 to 6 degrees warmer at the surface of the tub lids from the MH light)

Several weeks worth of testing show that the nute temp generally stays within one to two degrees of the room temp though.
I am a little conflicted here. If the room temp rises to 72 and then the lights cause another rise of 6 degrees, that would be about 78 degrees and defiantly to high. On the other hand you said the roots are not becoming discolored. In my case the discoloring was due to extreme high nutrient temps (in the 90's). So I am not positive that you will see it at 78 degrees.

Your system is a combination aeroponic and water culture system, and as you said the lights cause the lids of the system to be warmer than room temp. Because the baskets and the main part of the root system hang above most of the solution, they might actually be adsorbing this heat and be warmer than the nutrients themselves. I am not saying that this is the problem but I would want to cool the nutrients down a bit to eliminate it as a problem. Especially because the flowers dying and falling off is typical of the root system being too warm.

If you need to replace some of the water daily to top it off, you might try dropping in block of ice instead. You could also try filling a Ziploc bag with water and freezing it, then doping one or two in the reservoir every day. I used to take one Ziploc bag and dunk it under water to fill it to keep the air bubbles out, then taking that one and placing it in another Ziploc and dunking and sealing that bag. Then doing it again for a total of 3 bags, to mimimise leaking and diluting the solution. Just remember not to fill them all the way to allow for the water expanding as it freezes. I also have a design for a simple ice driven recirculating cooling system if you are interested.
Quote:
dedicated AC unit in the room set to 70 degrees so ambient temp in the room stays around there during the day.
I am not sure the variety of your peppers, and if they are cool weather variety's or not. If these are not cool weather variety's 70 degrees would be to low for the air temp. Peppers are generally a warm weather plant and I would want the air temp to be between 85 and 95 degrees.
Quote:
It's clear....a very slight brownish tint to it from the nutrients, but it's not cloudy at all.
The brown translucent color is normal, as long as it's clear and you can easily see through it. I have found that if the solution becomes cloudy there is something growing in it. Although there may be some nutrients where cloudy is normal, but you should see that as soon as you mix it.
Quote:
Nutrient is changed once a week and i do a full flush of the tubs once a month.
Once a week should not be a problem, you might even get two weeks out of them. Although there are a lot of variables to that, like how many plants, if the plants are heavy feeders, size of the plants, how many gallons compared to plants and even how strong it is mixed. But changing them every week should not be a problem and on the safe side, especially if experiencing a problem and you want to eliminate it as a problem.

I myself like to take apart the pump and clean it, as well as scrub out the nutrient tank with every nutrient change. But if the solution is clear, the roots have a good color and you don't see much, or anything growing on the inside of the reservoir that should be fine. But you should at least clean the screen for the pump every week regardless (if you don't already) to keep it working properly.
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Old 01-06-2010, 03:48 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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In looking up the lights, I am getting a lot of different things but want to make sure. I think these are what you said you are using:
400W Plantmax Metal Halide - Hydroponic Grow Light Bulbs
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Old 01-06-2010, 12:32 PM
txice txice is offline
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But try to call them yourself if you can.
Yeah, now that we are back from vacation and into "normal mode", and this is fresh on my mind again I plan to try and follow up on getting in touch with them somehow.


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Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
This should be enough light to produce peppers, although a couple more hours might be better (but wouldn't cause the flowers to drop off).
The 12/12 light cycle is new. I've only had that going for a few days now. Prior to that I was on a 16 on/8 off cycle. The 16/8 cycle was in use when the blooms first began to appear and the flowers were still dropping off. Research seemed to indicate that flower/fruit development takes place during the dark period and most literature I've come across recommends a shorter light period during a flowering stage. The 16/8 cycle didn't seem to be working so I thought I'd give the 12/12 a go. On a side note when this system goes into it's "dark phase"...the room isn't totally dark. I have another system on the opposite wall in the same room that is still on a 16/8 cycle. It's a 6 T8 bulb fixture. Not super bright by any means, but enough to still give a small amount of light to the pepper plants. The T8 fixture comes on 2 hours before the MH and stays on for 2 hours after the MH goes off. Guess it sorta acts like a long dawn/dusk period...heh. But at any rate, the room itself isn't in total darkness for the full 12 hours for what little that tid bit might be worth.

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Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
I am a little conflicted here. If the room temp rises to 72 and then the lights cause another rise of 6 degrees, that would be about 78 degrees and defiantly to high. On the other hand you said the roots are not becoming discolored. In my case the discoloring was due to extreme high nutrient temps (in the 90's). So I am not positive that you will see it at 78 degrees.

Your system is a combination aeroponic and water culture system, and as you said the lights cause the lids of the system to be warmer than room temp. Because the baskets and the main part of the root system hang above most of the solution, they might actually be adsorbing this heat and be warmer than the nutrients themselves. I am not saying that this is the problem but I would want to cool the nutrients down a bit to eliminate it as a problem. Especially because the flowers dying and falling off is typical of the root system being too warm.
I'll try to go into a bit more detail here and explain how we have the room setup. Initially when this was first set up we had nothing but a few standard hardware store bought T8 shoplight fixtures providing lighting for the plants when they were just getting started. These gave off little heat and the room itself was temperature controlled through the homes central air system and nothing else. When I built the systems the plants are in now is when I introduced the 400W fixture. It didn't take long to realize that the new light fixture, if left to it's own devices, heated the room a considerable amount. The room is kept closed off from the rest of the upstairs because we have cats that seem to like to eat the plants if they are accessible (I lost about half of my pepper seedlings this way when I first started because the systems were initially placed in an open area of the house ). It's not a huge room (under 200 sq. ft.) so it heated up fairly quickly. Plus, due to it being cold(er) outside we don't have the AC on, but rather the heat...so our central air was not cooling the room at all (and the light heated the room well beyond what our heat was set to). The high ambient temp in the room was causing the nutrient temp to raise. I think I posted about this in one of my other threads. We needed to figure out a way to try to reduce the nute temp because I knew it was getting too hot. First thought was to look into buying a water chiller. This wasn't really an option for us right now primarily because I have multiple systems that have independent reservoirs. A single chiller would not be able to cool them all. I'd either have to make significant changes to my systems or buy multiple chillers, both of which were not really options at the time. We figured the next best option to cool the water was to simply cool the room, so we bought a portable AC unit to place in the room. Bring the ambient temp in the room down....the nutrient temp would follow (to certain degree). We wanted to try and avoid having to do things like putting ice blocks or bags of ice cubes, etc into the tubs mainly to avoid all that extra amount of work. While we fully expect this "hobby" to be something we have to put time in to, we aren't in the position to be able to babysit the systems every hour or two throughout the day. So, at any rate, that's how we arrived at using the portable AC in the room...and it has certainly helped no doubt. Since employing the unit in the room the nutrient temp itself has dropped and stayed fairly consistent...staying within 1 to 2 degrees of the ambient room temp. Since the unit has been in place I've not recorded a nutrient temp above 73 degrees where as it was regularly breaching 80 after using the MH light but prior to having the AC unit.
Now...a note on my temperature readings. The nutrient temps are taken with my TDS meter. It can tell me both the ppm of the solution and the temp (in celsius). I have a calibration solution for the ppm part, but have never made any attempt to calibrate or check the accuracy of the temp reading of the pen. I can only guess it's reading relatively accurately....but I suppose it's entirely possible it's not. As to the room temps I have this unit hanging on the wall in the room: Acu-Rite at Lowe's: Deluxe Wireless Weather Station. It tells me time, date, inside temp and outside temp. The "outside temp" is actually what I'm using as the temp at the top of the lids. The system has a remote sensor. If you look back at the pics you should notice a little white box sitting on top of one of the lids. That is the remote sensor and what is displaying as the "outside temp". The actual temp at the top of the plants will be a little higher than what the sensor is reading simply because they are actually closer to the light than the sensor itself is. Not a dramatic difference I'm sure, but a degree or two wouldn't surprise me. I have no method currently to monitor the air temp inside the tub between the nutrient solution and the water. I'm sure it's probably warmer than the solution itself but would expect it to be cooler than what the sensor on top of the lid reads. Not a very precise system...but it's the best I have at the moment. Hope that gives you a better idea of how I'm setup and how I'm coming up with these numbers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
If you need to replace some of the water daily to top it off, you might try dropping in block of ice instead. You could also try filling a Ziploc bag with water and freezing it, then doping one or two in the reservoir every day. I used to take one Ziploc bag and dunk it under water to fill it to keep the air bubbles out, then taking that one and placing it in another Ziploc and dunking and sealing that bag. Then doing it again for a total of 3 bags, to mimimise leaking and diluting the solution. Just remember not to fill them all the way to allow for the water expanding as it freezes. I also have a design for a simple ice driven recirculating cooling system if you are interested.
I don't need to top off the water at all really. These systems are pretty tight and evaporation is not a big issue. The only water loss I experience really is what the plants themselves use...and frankly that isn't all that much (yet anyways). From one nutrient change to the next I'm not really seeing a total water drop of more than about half an inch for the entire week. The tubs themselves are rated to hold 50 gallons. I actually put 12 gallons of water in them when I fill them up (enough solution to cover the pumps by about 3 inches of water).
Yeah I think we discussed the cooling system before. Something along the lines of running a line from the pump into a coil sitting inside a cooler filled with ice right? Like I mentioned above, I wanted to try and avoid having to deal with any situation where we have to repeatedly fill a cooler with ice or keep dropping in ice packs or what have you through out the day. I mean, if that's what it boils down to and I don't have any alternative I guess I'll have to make that sacrafice until I can come up with a better solution...but would like to avoid that if at all possible. If I did have to go down that road though, the idea we had was to simply use 2L coke bottles. Filling them about 3/4 full and freezing them and placing the bottle into the solution with the lid on to avoid any melted water from entering the nutrient solution.

Last edited by txice; 01-06-2010 at 12:45 PM.
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Old 01-06-2010, 12:34 PM
txice txice is offline
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(Had to split my reply into 2 posts...hehe....was too long. Guess I talk to much :P)

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I am not sure the variety of your peppers, and if they are cool weather variety's or not. If these are not cool weather variety's 70 degrees would be to low for the air temp. Peppers are generally a warm weather plant and I would want the air temp to be between 85 and 95 degrees.
Not cool weather varieties I'm sure. The plants in the systems as picutred consist of: Pumpkin Habanero, Golden Habanero, Peruvian Purple, Charleston, Rooster Spur, Bananna Pepper, Bhut Jolokia, Bolivian Rainbow, Peter Pepper and Thai Sun. I knew the plants liked warmer temps and I was actually somewhat concerned with this when we were putting the AC unit in the room. I had hopped that the light would help raise the air temp right above and around the plants to a more suitable level and to an extent I guess it does. I could lower the light some to make it warmer...I just don't want to get it so close it ends up burning the plants.

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I myself like to take apart the pump and clean it, as well as scrub out the nutrient tank with every nutrient change. But if the solution is clear, the roots have a good color and you don't see much, or anything growing on the inside of the reservoir that should be fine. But you should at least clean the screen for the pump every week regardless (if you don't already) to keep it working properly.
Yeah, when I do a nutrient swap I take a rag and wipe down the walls of the tub and rinse with clean water and drain that before filling back up and adding nutrients. I do clean the prefilter on my pump each time as well. Once a month I'll put some warm water in the system with a mild bleach mix and run the pump for about 5 or 10 minutes to try and flush it out. The plants are taken out during this of course. I have a spare tub and lid with no holes. I put the extra lid with no holes on for the flush and the lid with the plants are placed onto the spare tub during the cleaning.

And fianlly to your last post. That is indeed the bulb I am currently using.
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Old 01-06-2010, 07:47 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Dam, my browser crashed and I needed to start all over, so this might be shorter than the original.
Quote:
Research seemed to indicate that flower/fruit development takes place during the dark period and most literature I've come across recommends a shorter light period during a flowering stage.
I am certainly not an expert, but I have been growing plants of one kind or another sense I was a kid. I don't know about the development taking place during darkness, but I think the shorter light period refers to the suns position in the sky. Most plants start to fruit in late summer after the summer solstice (the longest day of the year). The days start becoming shorter at this point no mater what part of the northern hemisphere you are in (shorter days thus less light). As the days start becoming shorter the angle of the sun in the sky becomes lower, this changes the spectrum of light to what I understand is considered the red spectrum, and in late simmer the deep red spectrum.
Quote:
Yeah I think we discussed the cooling system before. Something along the lines of running a line from the pump into a coil sitting inside a cooler filled with ice right? Like I mentioned above, I wanted to try and avoid having to deal with any situation where we have to repeatedly fill a cooler with ice or keep dropping in ice packs or what have you through out the day. I mean, if that's what it boils down to and I don't have any alternative I guess I'll have to make that sacrafice until I can come up with a better solution...but would like to avoid that if at all possible.
As I mentioned I can't always remember who it was I was talking to about any particular thing, but that basically sounds like me. I will be drawing it up and creating a pdf file explaining it. I don't think you would need to add ice to it more than once a day for those containers. I am sure you look at the plants once a day anyway. Though I know there are times you wont be able to check it (me nether). But as I said I am on a extreme budget, so I can only do what I can until I find a better way.

I do that it is a well known fact that Alaska is well known for growing huge fruits and vegetables in the land of the midnight sun, as they call it. They still have the summer solstice there, as well as the different spectrum's of light. But what all that boils down to is, even though they have 18-20 hours of sunlight, the days still start becoming shorter later in the summer, thus technically still less light. But don't mind me just use what works best for you.

world's largest vegetables this side of Chernobyl

Pepper plants are a continuously fruiting plant, so they should not be affected much by the summer solstice. After all, they begin to fruit well before the summer solstice in nature. But if I had to guess most of there ripening would happen in the later part of the summer, so I would guess you would probably have better produce with more of the red spectrum of light. and dropping back the amount of light later in their life cycle.
Quote:
The high ambient temp in the room was causing the nutrient temp to raise. I think I posted about this in one of my other threads.
Yes I understand that, but it doesn't change the fact the room temp is too cold for a warm weather plant. That would be equivalent to trying to bring them to full maturity and producing the best produce in early spring outside. They just wont respond well, unless they are a cool weather variety. I am sure there are hybridized peppers of those variety's that are bread for cool weather. (I do remember that from the other thread, though I talk to so many people that it's hard remember who it was, what thread etc. from time to time)
Quote:
we aren't in the position to be able to babysit the systems every hour or two throughout the day.
Yes I fully understand, I have the same problem to deal with myself. I am constantly trying to figure ways around this, and on an extreme budget as well. I have an idea, you are already paid for the ac unit and electricity to run it. Is there a way you can direct the cool air from the AC unit into the nutrient reservoir rather than in the room. Cooling the root zone and allowing the air temp to be higher. It would probably need to be set real low so the root zone/nutrients don't become to cold. I know that you have many different systems but with one central adapter at the ac unit and tubing running to the different systems would probably work. but take a little time to figure out.

(Although as a side note: I really feel those plants will get to big shortly for those containers being so close together)
Quote:
I have no method currently to monitor the air temp inside the tub between the nutrient solution and the water.
If you have the funds a simple $2 fish tank thermometer will work fine (not the stick on ones). Just place one in the nutrients, and tie a string to another one and hang it from the lid near the roots.
Quote:
Yeah I think we discussed the cooling system before. Something along the lines of running a line from the pump into a coil sitting inside a cooler filled with ice right? Like I mentioned above, I wanted to try and avoid having to deal with any situation where we have to repeatedly fill a cooler with ice or keep dropping in ice packs or what have you through out the day. I mean, if that's what it boils down to and I don't have any alternative I guess I'll have to make that sacrafice until I can come up with a better solution...but would like to avoid that if at all possible.
As I mentioned, I can't always remember who it was I was talking to about one thing or another, but that sounds like me. Though I don't think you would need to add ice more than once a day, and I am sure you check on them once a day. Although I know there will be times that's not possible (me either). But as I mentioned I am on an extreme budget, so I need to be creative until I find a better way.
Quote:
If I did have to go down that road though, the idea we had was to simply use 2L coke bottles. Filling them about 3/4 full and freezing them and placing the bottle into the solution with the lid on to avoid any melted water from entering the nutrient solution.
I actually like this Idea better than bags for ice. I don't drink much soda. but I can go around on the night before trash day and get them out of other peoples recycling baskets. I didn't freeze my bags, I just used them for water displacement and reduce the amount of nutrient solution required. The bottles wouldn't have worked in the system I had.

P.S. I haven't had time to call the nutrient company today. But now that I know those are the lights, I can look into the lighting situation more tonight.
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Old 01-06-2010, 09:44 PM
txice txice is offline
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Hey that's cool. You honestly don't even need to take the time to call the nurtient company if you don't want to. I enjoy coming here and using the forums as a sounding board for ideas, issues and just plain ol' vents. I always appreciate the assistance and tips you give but please don't feel the need to go out of your way.

I know my grow room isn't optimum and I could make a LOT of improvements. Could I somehow rig up that AC unit to blow air directly into the tubs instead of the room? Yeah, I bet I could. Wouldn't be trivial, but I don't doubt I couldn't rig up something. I'm usually pretty handy at stuff like that...hehe. This is my first attempt at any real "gardening"...and choosing to try out my very green "green thumb" with hydroponics might not have been the best idea...but hey, I like a challenge. These pepper plants are more of a novelty test for me to see if I can get the basics down and whether or not this whole idea of indoor gardening is worth persuing. I think I'm doing decently for the first go around and I've gotten a ton of useful help from the folks here, especially you. I hope to make tweaks here and there as time goes on and improve where I can and learn as much as possible.

Decided to add a few more photos....and maybe point out a potential glimmer of hope. First pic is a peak "under the hood". Just wanted to show the roots and a quick glance at the nute solution. Roots look healthy to me, and you can see that the nute solution is pretty clear. A little bit of brown sediment sitting at the bottom of the tub. I'm thinking its "stuff" that has settled out of some of the ingredients I add into the solution. A couple of those nutrients are rather "thick and chunky" and have alot of "floaties" in them. I'm guessing it's that stuff setteling out of the soltuion eventually.

The second pic is probably hard to make out (darn iPhone camera doesn't do closeups very well...hehe). While I was on the topic of "frustrations" I forgot to mention gnats. Lots of GNATS! Where they are all coming from I have no idea. That's what the black specs on the papper are. Dead gnats that have met their maker trying to get too close to the 400W MH bulb....hehe. The tops of the lids are littered with dozens of dead gnats. Never see more than a couple actually flying around the room...but they keep coming from somewhere. My only guess is they are getting access into the room from the AC units window vent kit.

Ah...so I mentioned a potential gleam of hope....and if it is you should be able to see them in the last two pics. Did I jump the gun a little bit? Are those what I think they might be?? Are those little baby peppers??

Oh...edit. Just throwing out something else I happened to read but had never really given much thought to, but something that none the less made a lot of sense when I read it. I ran across a tid bit that mentioned that another potential cause of flower drop off could be because the plants are still doing some heavy veg growth. I think that's fairly evident from the original pics I posted in this thread. These guys are definately growing. What I ran across was specifically talking about pepper plants being grown indoors and it was suggested that flowers might simply be dropping off if the plants are still undergoing heavy vegetative growth. Basically because the plant was devoting more energy to the veg growth and not enough to the flower/fruit development. /shrug....seemed logical anyways.
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  #10  
Old 01-06-2010, 09:45 PM
Amigatec Amigatec is offline
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I am thinking the MH light is too blue. At 7200K that is a lot of blue. You may look at switching to something with more red.
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  #11  
Old 01-06-2010, 09:50 PM
Amigatec Amigatec is offline
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What I use is a Phillips MasterColor Cermic Metal Halide. It runs in a 400 Watt HPS fixture.

Here is a comparison between a HPS and a CMH.

Ceramic Metal Halidel
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  #12  
Old 01-06-2010, 10:02 PM
txice txice is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amigatec View Post
I am thinking the MH light is too blue. At 7200K that is a lot of blue. You may look at switching to something with more red.
Well the buld I have is "supposed" to be a full spectrum bulb that simulates sunlight. I know it won't have a red range quite like an HPS bulb will, but if you want to believe what they print on the package, it has a fairly decent representation across the spectrum (first image attached).

At the time I got the light system I bought a second bulb as well. A 400W HPS bulb. Second picture attached is the spectrum printed on the HPS bulbs box.

I had mentioned in another thread that I was thinking about making the switch to the HPS bulb since I was seeing alot of blooms starting on the plants. I think it was GPS that mentioned I might not want to do that simply because the plants are also still doing veg growth and may not be too happy with the HPS bulb in that regard (which makes sense of course). That is what sparked me to add the 2 2700K CFL bulbs. My thinking was that I could maybe suppliment the amount of the red spectrum the plants were getting....even if it was just a little bit.

I've also thought about maybe putting in the 400W HPS and using 2 "full spectrum" daylight simulating CFL bulbs as the supplement....sorta reversing what I have now.

Edit...sorry I know my pics are crap. I'll continue to blame the iPhone and not own up to any lack of photo taking skills
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Last edited by txice; 01-06-2010 at 10:09 PM.
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  #13  
Old 01-07-2010, 06:05 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Quote:
Hey that's cool. You honestly don't even need to take the time to call the nurtient company if you don't want to. I enjoy coming here and using the forums as a sounding board for ideas, issues and just plain ol' vents. I always appreciate the assistance and tips you give but please don't feel the need to go out of your way
It's not exactly out of my way because I like to learn everything I can and I would just chock it up to building my knowledge base. Honestly calling them is not high on my need to do list and they would probably be able to provide better information directly to their customers. Though I am interested in what they had to say, and especially if I guessed correctly what they would recomend.
Quote:
I hope to make tweaks here and there as time goes on and improve where I can and learn as much as possible.
That's all anyone can do (trial and error, live and learn) we all start somewhere.
Quote:
Just wanted to show the roots and a quick glance at the nute solution.
I don't see anything wrong with the roots or nutrient solution, from the picture anyway.
Quote:
Lots of GNATS! Where they are all coming from I have no idea.
Pest will get in from anywhere, some can even go directly through the screen on a screen door before they get bigger. Once inside they lay eggs and multiply. Unless it's air tight they get in, once inside pests can be really hard to get rid of.
Quote:
I ran across a tid bit that mentioned that another potential cause of flower drop off could be because the plants are still doing some heavy veg growth. I think that's fairly evident from the original pics I posted in this thread. These guys are definately growing. What I ran across was specifically talking about pepper plants being grown indoors and it was suggested that flowers might simply be dropping off if the plants are still undergoing heavy vegetative growth. Basically because the plant was devoting more energy to the veg growth and not enough to the flower/fruit development. /shrug....seemed logical anyways.
I haven't herd that myself but guess it's possible. Though if that is the case, I would think they are not getting enough light from the orange and red end of the spectrum. In nature their always present, it just gets a stronger red the later in summer it gets. Even though the bulbs you have say they are full spectrum that doesn't mean it puts out a lot of light from all the different colors in the spectrum, it may be putting out hardly anything from the orange and red ends. I could be wrong but I don't think replacing one for the other will produce good pepper plants either though.
Quote:
I had mentioned in another thread that I was thinking about making the switch to the HPS bulb since I was seeing alot of blooms starting on the plants. I think it was GPS that mentioned I might not want to do that simply because the plants are also still doing veg growth and may not be too happy with the HPS bulb in that regard (which makes sense of course).
Yes, I do remember that even though I am not exactly sure what thread that was. Although I think the plants were much smaller then if I am not mistaken, (not that the plants are big yet). Though I don't know if that would cause the flowers to drop off, not to grow fast yes. But then again I am not an expert, and I do apologize if I steered you in the wrong direction. I do think the plants are big enough to get more red light to them at this point. Not sure I would go all the way with red though, I would perhaps try one of each, then in 3 or 4 more weeks both. But then again I could be wrong.

I know that some people use only the HPS lights for the entire plants life. How well that works for peppers I'm not sure. Personally I would think using both Metal Halide and High Pressure Sodium in conjunction with each other would provide the best light for both vegetative growth and fruiting growth at the same time, at least for the first half of the pepper plants life, then switching over to all HPS after that. Then again I use natural light, so I don't need to deal with what spectrum's and intensity the light is putting out, just the weather.
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  #14  
Old 01-07-2010, 07:55 AM
smurf smurf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amigatec View Post
I am thinking the MH light is too blue. At 7200K that is a lot of blue. You may look at switching to something with more red.
yea HPS may help you get what you are looking for.
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  #15  
Old 01-07-2010, 09:43 AM
GGM GGM is offline
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Or some 2700k ( Warm White ) fluorescent bulbs.

edited, just read you already have.
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  #16  
Old 01-07-2010, 10:47 AM
txice txice is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
I haven't herd that myself but guess it's possible. Though if that is the case, I would think they are not getting enough light from the orange and red end of the spectrum. In nature their always present, it just gets a stronger red the later in summer it gets. Even though the bulbs you have say they are full spectrum that doesn't mean it puts out a lot of light from all the different colors in the spectrum, it may be putting out hardly anything from the orange and red ends. I could be wrong but I don't think replacing one for the other will produce good pepper plants either though.
First time I had run across it myself, but seemed logical. Here is an excerpt from what I had found: "If the plants are trying to either carry a heavy crop load of preexisting fruit on the plants or trying to produce more vegetative growth at the same time as flowering, then the plant may sacrifice the flowers in favor of more leaf development. In this case, pruning of the plant may help this process swing back in favor of flowering and fruit set." Hey...it's posted on the interwebs...gotta be true right?? None the less...after I read it I just had one of those "hrmm...I can buy that I suppose" moments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
I know that some people use only the HPS lights for the entire plants life. How well that works for peppers I'm not sure. Personally I would think using both Metal Halide and High Pressure Sodium in conjunction with each other would provide the best light for both vegetative growth and fruiting growth at the same time, at least for the first half of the pepper plants life, then switching over to all HPS after that. Then again I use natural light, so I don't need to deal with what spectrum's and intensity the light is putting out, just the weather.
Yeah...thought about that as well. No funds for another ballast at the moment though . This next time though I think I'm going to save a tad extra and actually get a bigger ballast. Of course the guy at the hydro store wanted to sell me a 1000W ballast. Not sure if I want to go quite that big, but I think I could benefit from at least going to a 600W.
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  #17  
Old 01-07-2010, 10:53 AM
txice txice is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GGM View Post
Or some 2700k ( Warm White ) fluorescent bulbs.

edited, just read you already have.
Yep . Probably not helping a whole lot...but it's probably better than nothing. My co-worker who started doing this at the same time I did is in pretty much the exact same boat I am at the moment. His pepper plants are growing nicely, they have lots of blooms, nice big healthy root mass, but he's not having fruit set either. I don't know the exact details of everything he's doing. He has a grow tent setup in his garage. Interesting point about his setup is that he ONLY uses CFL bulbs. He has a mix of the "soft white" and "bright white" types, but he says they work nicely for him.
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  #18  
Old 01-07-2010, 08:56 PM
Amigatec Amigatec is offline
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Here is the difference between a CMH and a HPS light, same fixture, but 2 different bulbs. Notice how orange the HPS is?
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  #19  
Old 01-07-2010, 10:23 PM
txice txice is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amigatec View Post
Here is the difference between a CMH and a HPS light, same fixture, but 2 different bulbs. Notice how orange the HPS is?
Yes....I'm familiar with the differences between the two types of light.
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  #20  
Old 01-08-2010, 03:16 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Quote:
"If the plants are trying to either carry a heavy crop load of preexisting fruit on the plants or trying to produce more vegetative growth at the same time as flowering, then the plant may sacrifice the flowers in favor of more leaf development. In this case, pruning of the plant may help this process swing back in favor of flowering and fruit set."
This is the part I have trouble with
Quote:
trying to produce more vegetative growth at the same time as flowering,
Unless they were talking about a specific variety rather than in general. Because pepper plants don't stop growing once they start to flower. That's not to say there is no merit to the whole statement in general. But that would mean the pepper plants you have were full size at this point. When actually they can/will get ten times that size, with peppers growing all along the way. I also don't think pruning it back would keep it from wanting to grow vegetation, unless you pruned it in the right places to keep it from growing anything new. But that wont stop it from wanting to, as I see it.

I attached some pictures of my pepper plants last summer. Going by the strawberry's I would say the pepper plants were transplanted into the system within a week or two of the time the pictures where taken where they are smaller. I am not exactly sure when the pictures were taken where they are larger, but it was about that time I was having trouble keeping the nutrient solution temperatures down, so I don't have any latter pictures of them. They were no where near full size at that point either, you can see how I have them spaced at 1 1/2 feet apart to give them space to grow. But with no way to keep the nutrient temp under control, I decided not to waste nutrients and electricity to keep them on life support.
Quote:
Hey...it's posted on the interwebs...gotta be true right??
Ya, the interweb is a great source for information, but you need to use some common scene and not just believe everything you find on it. I have written articles for one of my GPS website and placed them in various places to be published. Although the information I provided was accurate, these places don't check to make sure before they post it. Also anyone can get a website and post anything they want. Shoot I could say I had sex with Alicia Silverstone (my favorite, well one of them), so I guess it would be true then, and with a little photoshop editing I could prove it.

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Last edited by GpsFrontier; 01-08-2010 at 06:48 AM.
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