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Hydro garden Dutch Bucket / NFT Update


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Old 05-23-2011, 07:13 PM
Freshwater Freshwater is offline
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Default Hydro garden Dutch Bucket / NFT Update

Hey all,

Seeing as I have been getting more active here on the forum, I thought I would update you on how my system is running. Going through the pictures, I swear I could throw in one from last year and no one would notice they almost look the same...Awesome!

I've mentioned a couple of times that I have some experience with nutrients and water parameters prior to getting into hydroponics, and I'll give you a little idea here.

I took allot more care in starting my seeds this year in January. Indoors under T5HO lights specifically for growing plants underwater. One of my other wallet draining hobbies is freshwater planted fish tanks, or Aquascaping. It is hydroponic growing to the max! Yet I don't think I ever realized it.

In a high tech, high light planted tank we monitor water nutrients, add macro, and mirco nutrients usually in individual compounds like Kno3/Kh2P04/K2S04/CSM+B/Iron Chelate. basically mixing our own nutrient. Fill a tank up with R.O. water, place a small sun on top, add rare and exotic plants and fish then see what happens...lol I even have a 15 lb. Co2 tank that runs into a Co2 reactor that dissolves Co2 (a carbon source) into the water column.

Imagine growing plants inside your reservoir... kinda like that. Generally no oxygen added, no bubblers, no air pumps/stones. The high lighting and high Co2 levels make the plants photosynthesize and produce oxygen at a very fast rate...the water can...at time, almost appear to boil with oxygen coming off the plants (called "pearling"). It's fun, add poison gas to your fish tank, and rely on the plants to produce the oxygen to keep your fish alive.

and that's how I got into hydro...kinda...


I really wanted to get a good head start this year on my seedlings. Learned a bunch last year, learned a bunch this year...and next year will be different again!

This is my first attempt at growing my seedlings indoor with artificial light. I used two 5 gallon DWC systems I made with cheap 7 dollar Tupperware containers. Next year I will probably keep the light closer the seedlings. I figured with the wattage, bulbs, parabolic reflectors I would be more than enough light...ahem...ok so they got a little leggy towards the end.

So here are my babies inside this March, Growing under 98 watts total. 2x Giesmann AquaFlora and 2x ATI 10K light bulbs.



Biggest change this year is the suspension system, I went with the Reelenz support thingies Reelenz, Each [TOM1010|Each] - $1.30 : Hydroponic Supplies and Greenhouse Equipment for the Professional Grower, by CropKing Inc. They work great, every time I click them they release 3 inches of line out. effectively lower the plant slowly. If done once a week, that is a foot of lowering a month. I had trouble layering my vines last year, hopefully this will help me out.

Running 20 heirloom tomato plants this year, ordered online. Supposed to be award winners from Tomato fest, and other highly recommended verities.












Getting ready to go into the NFT!



I have yet to switch over to my Flowering Nutrient yet, I know... I know it's time but I was waiting on these little mother suckers!



Live and learn right? I think I am going to pull these little pepper plants and put them on there own Reservoir, maybe make another little system in the yard, thinking of something else to put in there place, started at the same time as the rest of the plants, should have started them November December I think.

What nutrient do I run?

I changed things around this year, I got hit by powdery mildew late season last year, and ended up pulling the plants early December due to this. (Had to listen to my Pops one up me as we ate tomatoes from his garden on Christmas! and he's a soil grower!!)

Vegetative Nutrient - SuperNatural Brand "Gro Aqua" 11-6-16 (same as last year)

Flowering Nutrient - General Hydroponics "FloraMato 10-6-18 (same as last year)

with...(new this year)

Botanicare - Silica Blast (per the label - Silicate helps strengthen plant tissue to help flourish in adverse environmental conditions such as heat, drought, and frost.) I am running this this year to help fortify my plants against pests and disease.

with...

MaxiCrop - Liquid Seaweed 0-0-1 (only played with this a little last year)

and H2o2...(ran this last year)

Very happy, very healthy plants.

Water schedule, recirculating system... from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. the pumps turn on on the hour for 3 minutes.

Media - Pearlite

Can't wait for the mater's to be ready, already enjoying the Squash, Zucchini, Snap Peas, Cucumbers and all the leafy greens have been running year round.

Todd


Last edited by Freshwater; 05-23-2011 at 07:19 PM.
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Old 05-23-2011, 07:34 PM
T'Mater T'Mater is offline
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Man i didn't see those spools when i bought mine. I have to manually undo mine not push a button. I feel cheated.

So for your mater's you only feed them for 3min's every hour? Man i'm waaay over watering mine then. Wonder why they haven't shown any sign's of it tho....

How old do you let your mater plant's get before you start over?

Can't wait till i've got my bug's worked and and can start dabbling in other things. When i showed my wife your set up she was very jealous.
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Old 05-24-2011, 12:21 PM
Freshwater Freshwater is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T'Mater View Post

So for your mater's you only feed them for 3min's every hour? Man i'm waaay over watering mine then. Wonder why they haven't shown any sign's of it tho....

How old do you let your mater plant's get before you start over?

Hey T'Mater,

It all depends on your media, I know you mentioned you are running Sure-to-grow, but is it Loose fill, Hail or what? I went with Pearlite because that's what the commercial growers run. I tried to emulate them as much as possible. They water every 30 minutes, or on the half hour during daylight hours. The cost difference in the timer to control that many on/off "events" was about 200 bucks more than the $15 I spent.

Your media might be different, pearlite drains fast, retains some moisture, but allows me to regularly supply the roots with nutrient, and most important aeration... and then there is that little buffer in the Dutch/Bato Bucket that keeps you from running too dry.

Last year I ran Coco, pearlite, and expanded clay, and could hardly water 3 times a day. Now I water 14 times a day, more nutrient exposure for the plant, more aeration for the roots, and more turnovers for the bato res.

Oh, and I could get away with watering one minute an hour if I wanted, but I like to turn over the bato res, often. Also helps to keep my main reservoir happy. The bato's filled with pearlite act as a huge biological filter. The more nutrient I run through them the healthier my main reservoir. I probably turn over my main res. 3-6 times a day depending on the volume (full 35 gallons).

I was hoping to run my tomato plants year round...last year I got hit by powdery mildew. But in a perfect world through winter (i.e. pull them in march/April and set new plants out for the spring).

I re-enforced the top of my support trellis so I can put green house plastic up when the weather gets nasty. Also keeps my support wires taught, last your I lost about a foot and a half of growing space from the 2x3's bowing in.

Todd
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Old 05-25-2011, 04:52 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Hey Freshwater,
You have some nice looking plants there, and those cherry tomatoes really look good. I want to do a system similar to your bato bucket setup with 2-3 different level rows of all types of peppers. I'm not really sure how the pulleys help though. Seems like if you lowered the plants it would damage them, but I don't see how you would be able to lower the buckets anyway because their sitting on a fixed bench.
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Old 05-25-2011, 02:39 PM
Freshwater Freshwater is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
I want to do a system similar to your bato bucket setup with 2-3 different level rows of all types of peppers. I'm not really sure how the pulleys help though. Seems like if you lowered the plants it would damage them,
Hey GPS,

For pepper plants they are just static lines. As you mentioned, pepper plant stems are way to brittle to be lowered effectively. Though I hear you can if you do it really slowly...(inch a week?). I don't think it is actually necessary to lower peppers.

Tomatoes on the other hand grow much longer, are rather flexible, and last year I didn't have room for 10-14 foot tall plants ...and only approx. 5 feet of the top of the tomato is in "production" at any time, from what I have read.

FYI, the Bato buckets are pretty dang cheap too...Bato Bucket with 2 Elbows, Each [BAT0001|Each] - $6.50 : Hydroponic Supplies and Greenhouse Equipment for the Professional Grower, by CropKing Inc.


Todd
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Old 05-25-2011, 10:44 PM
T'Mater T'Mater is offline
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THe plant's were transplanted into 6x6 Sure To Grow blocks, and then i filled the rest of the bucket with hail.

Have another ? for you, do you just not get much rain or ?, i'm asking, cause i am curious as to how you keep from flooding your system with rain water. As you seen the weather forecast for around Nixa,Mo we've had a ton of rain, enough that i think it would have flooded my dutch bucket's and holding tank.
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Old 04-03-2012, 12:31 AM
T'Mater T'Mater is offline
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Hey Fresh, empty your inbox.
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