Watering Schedule Using Hydroton in a Strawberry Vertical Tower

PatioGardener124April 16, 2011

Yes I'm a Newbie..... and i have many questions. I live in a third floor apartment and have a 12'x6' balcony... so i dont have a lot of space for growing but I want a project to enjoy over the summer....

I have just started to construct a vertical tower usng a 4"dia x10' pvc pipe. I cut the 10' length in half and have started to drill the holes. I was only going to do 1 -5' section but i had to buy a 10' section so the project has gotten bigger already. I think my project will be most similar to the towers charlie.little's towers.

I have a 10 gallon tote... i think... i'll find out once i start adding the water. I've cut two holes in the lid to accommodate the 4"pvc... theres no way to protect the nutrient solution from getting too hot, but i might go get some spray paint to spray the outside of my tote a lighter color... its currently purple....

I bought Hydroton, expanded clay pellets. I have a timer and an eco396 pump, max head height is 6 plus feet. my question is what should the watering schedule be for this system?

I bought 1/2" dia pvc to be the supply line to the top of the 4"dia pvc but I don't know how to connect the pump to the 1/2" pvc. all the fittings for the pump seem to be for flexible vinyl tubing. Any advice here would be welcome too. I'm not sure of the terminology but i plan on flooding the top of the pipe and letting it drain back down to the resevoir. should i do this once evey hour and one time at night?

I recieved the strawberry plants from sakuma bros.

I have 30 albion and 30 fern, both dayneutral. They came in yesterday and they already have started to sprout little green leaves, there in m refrigerator now. I plan on making some test hanging baskets strategically placed at my families houses.

I was originally going to get 6" pvc w/ 30 plants in each... but it seemed to large to handle so i downsized.

now i have extra strawberry bareroots so i will do 20 plants in each 4"pvc and i will put the rest in hanging baskets as mentioned above.

Now that you know my plans please help me get it up and running. Thank you in andvance.

I look forward to the day that i can pick that first ripe strawberry.

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homehydro

Ask ten people what your watering schedule's should be and you will probably get ten different answers. Thing is each growers situation is unique, and that's really something each grower figures out whats best for their plants through trial and error. But for that type of system where the roots will be hanging in mid air I don't think I would want them to go more than 15 min between watering. If it were me I would get a timer with 15 minute increments and start with 15 on/15 off, and go from their.

As for connecting the flexibly hose to the 1/2 in pvc, in the irrigation section of most hardware stores they sell connectors that are barbed on one end (for the flexible hose), and threaded (to connect to the pvc) on the other end. I find here Lowe's has the best selection. Unfortunately I can't post pictures in this forum without going through too many hoops but I have pictures of the ones I used in another forum here:

Third system (scroll down a little to see the images, and you can click on them to see the full size image)

"I'm not sure of the terminology but i plan on flooding the top of the pipe and letting it drain back down to the resevoir. should i do this once evey hour and one time at night? "

I'm not sure how you can flood the top of a vertical tube, but it sounds like if it truly is a vertical tube, you plan to use sprayers at the top, and let it rain down through the tube watering the roots on the way down. If so the 15 on/15 off cycle is what I would start with. It wouldn't need to be on for 15 minuets, but you will be limited to the timers settings. You may find a cycle timer online that you can set a particular on and off cycle (like 5 min on, and 15/20 min off), but I doubt you'll find them in any local stores.

Digital timers have customizable settings, but most likely wont have enough settings to last through the day. At 3 on/off cycles per hour (5 on/15 off) that's 6 settings per hour. In a 18 hour period that's 108 settings. I have a digital timer that was supposed to have 144 settings, but I found out is over a 7 day period (and includes sunset and sunrise settings). Bottom line is it really only has 14 settings per day. 7 on and 7 off. So be careful and ask questions before you settle on a digital timer. At least be sure you can take it back (mine was on clearance so I couldn't).

    Bookmark   April 16, 2011 at 8:29PM
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PatioGardener124

Thanks homehydro for your speedy reponse

I purchased a timer at a hydroponic store already and its a 7day programmable but i dont know how many settings there are... ill have to check.

I didnt know you had to water that often. I am going to fill the pvc with hydroton, expanded clay pellets so hopefully that will retain the moisture.

once i get the majority of the system built then i will post the set up i have...fyi...drilling into schedule 40 pvc with a hand drill 40 times.... not fun... it snowed here yesterday so hopefully i can start this monster inside.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 1:00PM
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homehydro

If you plan to completely fill the tube with growing medium, you wont need to water that often. Typically people insert baskets in the sides of the vertical tubes with growing medium in the baskets, and the center of the tube is filled with air. As the roots grow through the baskets and begin hanging in the air the roots will dry out much quicker. But if you are filling the entire tube with growing medium, none of the roots will be hanging in mid air. You still want to do some trial and error as to the best watering schedule's. But you'll want to put plants that need more water near the bottom. The top section of tube will dry out faster than the bottom.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 8:09PM
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homehydro

Sorry I didn't think about it but you may need to register in the other forum to see the pictures. I forget that because I have been registered for years.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 8:12PM
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PatioGardener124

Hydrohome,I tried to sign up for that forum to see the pics but i couldn't get the security thingy... i found that strange.

Well i finally have my system running. I have it inside for now right in front of the sliding glass door. I hope its a good spot because i dont know if we'll be able to move outside when the time comes. I currently just have the plants on plain water... I'm a little nervous about the nutrients. Is it bad to get it on your hands,(should i wear gloves when im using it)? I got power plant(3-1-4) and power flower(2-2-5)from BOTANICARE.

I planted the extra fern strawberries in a topsy turvy someone gave me last year for my bday and im going to compare the results between the two...

    Bookmark   May 1, 2011 at 4:40PM
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homehydro

PatioGardener124
There isn't anything to worry about if you get the nutrients on your skin, just don't drink it. Sorry you couldn't complete the registration, I have no idea what the problem is. Once you fill in the info to sign up, it should send a link to your e-mail to click on to verify the e-mail. That should be all there is to it. But I can e-mail you the pictures if your still interested, let me know and I'll post an e-mail address. Though it sounds like you may have found the connectors if you already have the system running.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2011 at 5:42PM
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PatioGardener124

yes i took the connection the pump came with to the hareware store and found out it was a 1/2 threaded to 1/2 vinyl flexible tube.... but i needed 1/2" threaded to 1/2" pvc fitting... and once i got it home i took the o-ring and put it on the pvc...

lol then when i went to open the pvc cement i couldnt get that stupid cans open so i had to go back to the hardware store to get a wrench large enough to fit around the lid....

i finally got register at the site that you listed

    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 6:07PM
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grannyrenee

I have a double vertical strawberry tower with hydroton in the baskets.....should I have water always flowing or on a timer? Please help lol!
I am having issues with molding plants...black edged leaves....changed everything adjusted ph....now I realized I had planted the crowns too deep and adjusted that but am also wondering if constant flow is too much.....

    Bookmark   May 26, 2014 at 10:37AM
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