Plant dying, need help!

tbalenoFebruary 27, 2008

Can someone tell me what I'm doing wrong with this plant. It is the only one that is looking rough.

It is a squash or cucumber (I forget which).

Here is a link that might be useful:

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Is it getting enough water? Those EC's look kinda dry.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 8:57PM
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Looks to me like too much water.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 9:50PM
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Is there such a thing as too much water? My clay balls (excuse the innuendo) are constantly wet, and although it leads to some algae until it gets shaded by the plant, I've never had a problem with it.

Keep in mind, I'm very new to hydroponics. I'm just curious if too much water can be a bad thing.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 10:18PM
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Just a little more info. It is in one of those Emily's garden which I believe is a wick system. The rockwool it is in is sitting on the wick.

My current thoughts are (overwatered, and/or undernourished, and/or ph too high (PH is adjusted to around 6 or 6.5 using backing soda).

How important is TDS monitoring? Should I get a meter and keep a closer eye on that?


    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 10:24PM
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Yeah you can water too much. It'll keep the root zone saturated and deprive the roots of oxygen and/or rot them out.
It could be lack of nutrient.
I day if its the only one showing those signs, pull it and start another. Maybe its just a weak seedling.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 10:57PM
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Grizzman said: Yeah you can water too much.

Well, crap. I don't think I understand hydroponics at all. I thought dousing them or even submerging them in oxygenated water was all good.

I think I'm going back to the garden. 8-8-8 and some seeds = product. Hydroponics seems to finicky.

Nah, I'll keep trying. I spent $200 on the light, for cripes sake.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 11:32PM
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i spent $50 on my lighting, I have 3 fluorescent 70 watt circline bulbs that push 4600 lumens each, thats 14.000 lumens for a small area, way enough to grow all kind of things

Now like grizzman said, too much water is a bad thing, the root need to breath too, so you can submerge 24/7 only if create bubbles from the bottom (forgot how its called)

I currently use an ebb and flow setup, the water submerge the root few times a day for about 10min, thats enough for the plant, trust me.

And to answer you question, i will repeat what has been said: too much water (or more oxygen) / not enough nutrients / (maybe not enough light) / or also too much nutrient

hard to tell just by looking at a picture

Tell us how your hydroponic setup works

mine can be seen by clicking the link underneath

Here is a link that might be useful: My Hydroponic Setup

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 2:11AM
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The link to my system is below. If you go to my blog and look to the right and click the setup category you can find all the posts where I discuss my environment. Some posts have some pictures of my set up.

Here is a link that might be useful: My Blog

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 2:38AM
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I should have gone with fluorescent like you did. It would have better suited my needs, which is making seedlings to put in the garden in March. Instead, I went with a 400 watt 33,000 lumen MH light (and an optional 40,000 lumen HPS light which I don't recommend for anyone for any purpose).

It allows us to grow great lettuce, but I can do that in the garden all winter anyway, since hard freezes are unlikely in my Louisiana climate. And we have a quarter acre of untapped garden all winter long, growing only bunching onions (aka 'scallions'), mustard greens, and turnips (blech).

I'm not giving up on hydroponics. I'm just looking for ways that it might benefit us. And Grizzman's "Yeah you can water too much" statement cut me to the core.

I've been dosing my hydroponics tomato plants with ridiculous amounts of 1800 PPM water in the hopes that they would outpace the growth of their cousins in the greenhouse (it's still a bit too chilly to put them in the garden). I'm sad to say, they really haven't. Here's a photo of my hydro tomato:

As you can hopefully see, it's big, it's green, and it's flowering. But it's counterparts in the greenhouse, in dirt, are doing the same d*mned thing. Plus, they are darker green, which means they are healthier! Does hydroponics make things grow faster, or not?!


    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 6:36PM
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I see you just changed lighting and that after having moved your previous fluorescents up. Some plants were getting tall...spindley maybe from insufficient lighting and I don't know enough about artificial lighting to know the answer to this but could the plants be suffering from sunburn from the new lights?

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 6:36PM
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tomatoes are notorious nutrient hogs. crank up the concentration to something near 3000 and see what happens.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 8:34PM
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Will do. Hope it doesn't kill 'em!

    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 12:27AM
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iliketoast - it's a great question (is hydro worth it) - to answer the question sufficiently to my satisfaction I'd need to see a hydroponic system and a dirt system in the same greenhouse using only natural light, and of course both systems would need to be running optimally - whatever that means. I think that in your case the variable of sunlight in the greenhouse vs. a 400W MH for hydro throws off the comparison, but I'm sure you know that. We can only speculate and trust in the studies that have been done on hydroponic yields unless we can get a really good test. Aside from that it's hunches and intuition I guess, just like my musings recently over flushing or not flushing during the last week.

Good thing is I'll bet you can start a lot of seeds and grow them well with a MH before the garden is ready for transplant outside, whether or not you use hydro.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 7:55AM
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the issue between soil and hydro is in an outdoor environment. in the ground, not in cups, soil gardening takes up a lot more space, uses a lot more water and is subject to a lot more disease/bug problems.
We're having this discussion on 3 different threads now. lets say we keep it in the appropriately named Does hydro grow faster than dirt thread.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 4:54PM
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Good points. My main reason for wanting hydro to work so well is the disease/bug problems grizz mentioned. We have stink bugs down here. They're difficult to fight, and they wreak havoc on tomatoes and peppers that mature after about June 15th, the time they traditionally arrive. Having a way to make them mature before that time is my goal.

Plantboy has offered a great test idea. It will be too hot to use the greenhouse for anything in about 30 days. So I'll have to wait until fall to run the test. In any case, you've reinvigorated my interest on the subject! Here's the plan

2 tomatoes planted in soil in 3 gallon pots.
2 tomatoes in dutch buckets (kind of like hydroponics but with a gallon of EC).
1 tomato in an Aerogarden with the light part lopped off.

All in winter sunlight. It's not optimal, but it levels the playing field. The Aerogarden probably won't produce because it has no reservoir to speak of. I'm sure I'll kill that one sooner or later when I accidentally let it run dry.

I didn't know there was a 'does hydro grow faster than dirt' thread and will read it now. I thought I was the first one to ponder the question! Doh :).

    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 8:48PM
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My aero/hydro bathes roots in water 16 hrs/day and I have run the pump 24 hrs/day....plants loved it.

If you oxygenate and recirculate the water, you can't have too much water.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 10:39PM
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iliketoast: Be careful as you can overwater in soil, too. Overwatering in hydro only happens depending on the type of hydro system you have. Willard uses aeroponics so it would be dangerous for him to cut off the water supply, but if you use rockwool then too much watering can be bad. It all depends. But soil all depends too on the environment and the water retention rate of the soil. Whether soil or hydro, you should water and then wait until just until everything is nearly dried out about an inch down or so. That's what I've heard and have tried to practice so far and seems ok.

Also it sounds like your experiment will be interesting to see, dirt vs. hydro. To make it a really level playing field, you should use the hydro nutrients on both the hydro and the soil plants. You should also make sure that you are starting with a soil mixture that is as deplete of nutrients as possible. In this way, you will be testing only the ability of soil to grow plants, and not the ability of different fertilizers. I would also PH adjust the water even for the soil plant so basically as much as possible is the same between hydro and dirt.

The only big difference is you may or may not have the microbial action in the soil, and also consider the myriads of different soil types there are. Haha, gardening in Florida sand could arguably be hydroponics in some ways. Every soil is different so again it depends I guess. Hydro takes away those variables so that's nice.

Also again your experiment will be worthwhile I'm sure but keep in mind the many many different types of dirt gardening and hydro gardening. There is in ground gardening, double digging gardening, lasagna gardening, wal-mart bag of potting soil gardening, raised beds... the list goes on. On the hydro side there is ebb/flow, aeroponics, drip, passive, deep water culture, fogoponics, etc....

I just want to lay a lot of variables out there to give an appreciation for what all could go wrong or unseen in my or anyone's adventures. But that's part of the lure of all this, is to discover and learn and have fun with it.

Just be sure to post a detailed account of what you do so that we can critique it and tear it apart and figure out how to do it even better next time around :)

    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 11:04PM
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It is dead! The plant in question finally laid down and died.

See the link for the picture of the corpse.

Here is a link that might be useful: Death of a squash

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 9:04PM
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That rockwool is as dry as the day it was spun. Did you dry it out before you took the photo?

Plantboy, I've come to disagree with the concept of being able to overwater hydroponically. My sis sent me an Aerogarden because she could not get it to make tomatoes, so I crammed rockwool into it and planted 'Tiny Tim' tomatoes in them. The machine keeps the rockwool completely saturated with water. There could not be more water in them. Yet the plants thrive, and have even dropped their roots right into the reservoir. You could not put more water on these roots (continuously) if you tried. They are thriving.

I will take your advice and add 2 tomato plants grown on hydro fertilizer to my experiment in November, when the greenhouse is no longer a house of plant murder because of the heat. This will add interest to the test because I've also wondered if hydro fertilizer is better than Osmocote, Miracle-Grow, or the standard 8-8-8. Or even 13-13-13. Frankly, I'm ridiculously excited about this test!

I'm forced to do this with potting soil, since the dirt at our house is very clay-heavy.

ps - I love WalMart, but as God is my witness, I REFUSE to do WalMart bag dirt gardening! :)

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 11:38AM
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The rockwool may look dry, but was quite wet.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 1:44PM
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Hmm, could it have possibly frozen to death, tbaleno? That's the only way I've ever killed a squash/zucchini seedling. I did so last week, in fact! They show signs of trouble the day after you freeze/kill them, but take 4 days or so for them to actually die. I don't think there is any chance of saving them.

FWIW, in the future you can just flip squash seeds, or ANY big seeded plant right into the growing medium. No rockwool required.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 3:28PM
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The aerogarden works using aeroponics - it is a HIGHLY oxygenated solution, which means, as you discovered, that you cannot overwater.

Plants like lettuce and tomatos can even be grown completely submersed in a tub of water, provided that you have adequate air stones in the water to provide ample oxygen.

I think that overwatering occurs when you water too often and the water and/or growing medium doesn't have a lot of air in it.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 5:48PM
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Well, after my first plant died, I started a new seed. All was going well until yesterday. It is starting to show the symtoms the other plant did.

There was a small piece of the edge of the leaf that looked indented (like someone cut a small v in it.

I took some scissors and cut that section out just incase it was some sort of infection. I'll take a picture of the new plant and my cut tomorrow. I'm just so depressed I can't figure out what is going on with these plants.

I probably should have taken a picture before. On the plus side, the plant is MUCH larger than the previous one due I'm sure to the 1000 MH light I put in.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2008 at 12:55AM
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