New to hydroponics...couple of questions.

GummyBearMarch 7, 2012

Hello everyone,

So I want to try my hand this at hydroponics this summer, but I am having trouble finding some information on a few things.

I am planning on growing outside starting at the beginning of april. As long as the wife doesnt change anything the current plant lineup is: tomatoes, bell peppers, and cucumbers; the total amount should be around 12 plants.

The plan was originally going to be using a ebb and flow type setup with a 55 gallon reservoir, but I have read some things that suggest a drip method might be better suited for this application. Can anyone give me more insight from experience?

Another question, is a one gallon bucket large enough for big plants like tomatoes?

I was also wondering if hydroponics changes the amount of time until harvest.

Thanks in advance

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grizzman

I'm not sure there is really a benefit of EnF over drip if you're using a recirculating system, though I'm sure others will chime in that one is better. I've only used drips on a limited basis. It was more like a hose on a timer.
EnF should be fine as far as those plants are concerned. I was having a lot of success with it growing soy and some strawberries. For tomatoes and peppers I like either DWC or NFT. But to each his own.
A one gallon bucket empty would probably be packed full to the brim with the root system of a full grown tomato plant, so it's probably not big enough to grow them in. Of course, if there are holes in the bucket and you plan on letting the roots grow out of it (similar to a net pot) then it'll be abundantly large enough. This is an issue of your setup.
Peppers, I would think, would grow just fine in that size container.
Hydro may shorten the time to harvest if the plants bloom cycle is dependent on plant size. It will certainly give you larger plants and, likely, give you more and/or larger fruit.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 3:10PM
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GummyBear

Hey grizzman,

So why would you choose NFT? I would think that since the root mass is large, there would be clogging of the pvc. (If thats what you would make it out of). Is the NFT system more compact? How big of a pipe would you use?

LOL sorry I am really curious.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 6:34PM
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grizzman

I wouldn't use NFT for tomatoes for that very reason. I've used it for sweet peppers and a couple of eggplants.
I like it because it's light weight and thus portable. also, when it's time for nutrient changes, there's nothing left in the pipes to affect the new batch. It's also very compact. you can put the pipes as close as the plants will allow.
For the peppers and eggplant I used 2"x 3" vinyl downspout with holes in the 3" face. the drop was 1.1/2" over 4 feet. (I basically put a 2x4 under one end) It didn't start that steep but increased as the plants grew so gravity could over come the root mass.
For Tomatoes, I always use DWC. but I only grow 2-6 plants. If I were growing on a larger scale, I might consider a drip system as it allows you to spread your nutrients out over a larger area more easily.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 8:51PM
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