Sizing up a reservoir(s) to complete system
I'm hoping that a few of you can provide some insight to help us finish off our hydroponics system. We have everything ready to go - except for the nute reservoir.
To give you the complete picture... we grow a small quantity of palm seedings for commercial production and sell to local landscapers and nurseries. We wanted to trial a micro experiment using a recirculating, dutch bucket, drip system to see if we can dramatically speed this process up.
At present, it takes on average 4mths for us to turn a sprouted seed into a commercial product at 15-20cm (6") height with profuse vegetation. IÃ¯Â¿Â½m personally happy with the results, but the temptation to do something radical with a test group is leading me down the hydroponic road. The main 3 characteristics IÃ¯Â¿Â½m looking for: prolific rooting, mass green vegetation and of courseÃ¯Â¿Â½ speed. While I appreciate that any seed is genetically limited in its abilities, IÃ¯Â¿Â½m curious to how far we can push our product beyond the soil alternative while still remaining cost competitive.
The test bed will consist of 96 palms (most likely a cross selection of Archontophoenix Alexandrae, Veitchia Merrillii and a 3rd undecided). Growing medium will be 100% Hydroton with Metal Halide lighting. Once they reach a commercial height, they will be sold as bare root stock, or transplanted into the standard H40 nursery mix awaiting our next buyer.
I think that'll give you a good idea to work off.
The system we have built consists of 12x 11Ltr (2.5G) Bato Hydro Buckets running a 2x6 formation. I have access to 2x 60ltr (15G) reservoirs that will fit perfectly under the drainage pipe(s) depending on your advice.
The main issue I'm trying to get my head around: 2x reservoirs means twice as many nutes... cost of production doubles, profitability drops. Given that these are seed sprouted stock and only being grown to a small height, what are the odds of us getting away with just the one res?
Having never grown with hydroponics before, I don't know what to expect with drawdown of both nutes and water - especially given that we aren't looking to develop a full grown product. Ideally, IF this works and it produces a crop on par with our soil stock (but at 2-3mths insead of 4)... then it'll be classed as a great success followed by copious amounts of alcohol lol.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts/experience.