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New drain pipe NFT/EF lettuce system


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  #1  
Old 05-23-2011, 08:55 PM
Kerbouchard Kerbouchard is offline
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Location: Pacific NW
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Default New drain pipe NFT/EF lettuce system

Though we've never communicated directly, GPSFrontier has been a huge inspiration and help as I finalized this system, so thank you, GPSFrontier! This thread provided the final bits of info I needed: http://www.hydroponicsonline.com/for...rd-system.html

I'm using General Hydroponics Flora Series nutrients in a 30 gallon tub filled to 20 gallons. I have a 185gph EcoPlus pump on a timer, and will be adding the air bubbler in the next few days. Each tube handles 13 plants at 8" apart, though I still have to populate the second tube. I started four kinds of lettuce in a Rapid Rooter 50 tray (about three times, since I kept killing them somehow). I still need to mount the timer and air pump under some sort of waterproof cover.

I flood/drain from one end with black Dig tubing off the pump, and overflow on the opposite end. The overflow height is adjustable, since the caps are non-permanent, sealed with a rubber band around the tube, and the overflow is off-set from the cap center.

I have a cheap HM Digital TDS-EZ meter and a simple GH pH test kit.

So far the plants haven't died, which is far better than my overall luck with the starts, but it hasn't even been a week yet.




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Old 05-25-2011, 03:52 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Thanks again Kerbouchard, Nice looking setup you have their yourself. After my issue about taking it apart to clean after the grow, I had thought about using some sort of rubber gasket, but just never really found something that would work reliably. I really like the idea of using a rubber band as the gasket, I'll be remembering that one for next time. Looks like you will be eating a lot of salads.

I'm not sure why your starts would die off. But a few things that would do it are incorrect temperatures, water-logging the roots, roots drying out, seedlings not getting enough light once they sprout. One thing that helps seedlings grow faster is high humidity, like using a clear plastic dome to hold in humidity, as well as let light in. Or if you were using a nutrient solution to water them it may have been to strong. I just use straight water until they have the first set of leaves, then only about 1/4 strength for the next week or so, and then increase it to about 1/2 strength.

P.S.
I'm not sure if you plan to, but if you start seedlings a few weeks before you plan to harvest, that you'll have a replacement plant/seedling already as soon as you harvest, cutting time between harvests. I look forward to seeing how your plants do.
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Old 05-26-2011, 12:55 AM
Kerbouchard Kerbouchard is offline
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Thanks, GpsFrontier. Another thought I had is that I had started them too early. I don't have lights, and it seems that the sun overslept this spring here in the PacNW. The smaller starts in the tubes outside seem to be much shorter but have larger, thicker leaves than some of the original starts from inside.

Great idea about rotating crops. I'll plan to do that, for sure! I also need to update my watering timer based on one of your other posts, with an on/off cycle of 30 mins through the day. But the clouds have to show some mercy!
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Old 06-05-2011, 08:41 PM
Kerbouchard Kerbouchard is offline
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So the system has been running now for about two weeks. About a week ago I finished the second tube with 13 more lettuce starts and mounted the air pump and timer with a cover. I've had to replace a few starts so far, most likely because of the temperature and lack of sun here in the Northwest this year.

I'm also a bit more confident with the nutrient and pH adjustments. The TDS meter seems to be working just fine, and I think the pH test kit is helping me stay in the right 5.5-6.5 range. It's nice to see some noticeable growth now, too, with our recent warmth and sun. Here are a few of the plants so far:


About two weeks in the system


About two weeks in the system


About a week in the system

Last edited by Kerbouchard; 06-16-2011 at 02:18 PM. Reason: Updated image links
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Old 06-16-2011, 02:30 PM
Kerbouchard Kerbouchard is offline
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It's getting a bit warmer in the NW, but the sun is still hiding out. Some days it seems the plants grow substantially, others it's like there's no change.

The oldest plants have been in for about three weeks now, and I have about 11 at two weeks and one I started from seed directly in the system. Roots look good, solution pH seems more stable, TDS is decreasing a bit each day as expected. I haven't changed out the solution yet, but may in the next week or two.

This is really a lot of fun, and it's so satisfying seeing these results!


Nutrient tank


Buttercrisp, about two weeks


Red leaf, about three weeks


Romaine, about three weeks
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Old 06-16-2011, 05:10 PM
fintuckyfarms fintuckyfarms is offline
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Looks good!!! I'm really excited to see your system as I am just geting ready to start creating mine. I also planted buttercrisp and romaine so it is good to see what they should look like in a couple of weeks. Thanks for the pictures! Here on the southeast side of the state, we have had two days in a row of sun The whole first cutting of has was rained out so those of you needing hay this year buy early as it is going to be in short supply and very high in price!
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Old 07-14-2011, 12:40 AM
Freshwater Freshwater is offline
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Hey Kerbouchard,

Love your system, looks like it's doing great. I may have missed it but what does the "EF" stand for in the title of this thread? I am familiar with NFT, is it just a different name?

I am going back and forth with what I want to do with my NFT system. Thinking about Sure-to-grow channel, but your larger (what 4") pots appear to be working really well. I am running 2" pots in 3 inch pipe currently.

Keep up the great work!


Todd
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Old 11-24-2011, 09:55 PM
rikyjaks rikyjaks is offline
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Nice plant for decoration of my house...
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