New this year, small float bed.

Rio_GrandeApril 6, 2014

Hope we can keep the algae under control. This was a pic before the cover was put on. Our temps are still awfully cool here but I wanted to get it going. Seeded 600 cells today of cabbage basil and tomatoes. I don't expect the tomatoes to do much, we are still seeing frost.

The bed can hold 26 + trays so we have a lot of seeding to do.

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Before the cover.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 10:31PM
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Before the cover.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 10:32PM
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RioGrande looks look a great project what size reservoir are you using for this float bed, is this the Kratky method of no pumps etc,keep us updated with posts as you continue with this project.
PS is this the east coast of the USA.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 7:55PM
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PupillaCharites(FL 9a)

Just to say I'm also watching this get done and am looking forward to seeing the floats. Robert, Rio mentions about 26 floats. Each float tray is about 2.5 square feet (0.232 square meters per), and he also said the reservoir is about 80 square feet (7.4 square meters). Is is not the 75 year old hydroponic method which Kratky took credit for in 2008, since "Kratky" is a retro method of allowing the evaporation to increase the EC at a rate which matches the uptake of nutrients, until the nutrients are almost completely exhausted and plant fully matured with one application of fertilizer.

Rio is only to preparing tiny plug seedlings, not to mature a vegetable and the exhaustion of nutrients is not necessary. But Rio may be sticking lots of things in there for fun and making a hybrid with extra space.

There is a lot of confusion when looking at wooden square reservoirs with "Kratky" on youtube. They have nothing to do with the method and were the most common grow reservoirs in use especially in the US and throughout the Pacific early on. Kratky discusses several strategies to match the nutrient EC to exhaustion for completely taking vegetables to maturity, as they get bigger more airspace accomodates the needs of larger root systems, including doing it in bottles.

Also Rio's media has some soil in it, at least for the tobacco he was talking about. It is my understanding that the same float method has been used for Tobacco for about 25 years or so by commercial operators.

This post was edited by PupillaCharites on Wed, Apr 9, 14 at 22:08

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 9:53PM
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Yes we are on the east coast, specifically Indiana. The bed measures 10'x8' Pupilla described our system well. We are using a tobacco growing medium common in our area. It is mostly pearlite and vermiculite. Most of these plants we are starting will go into the ground. Once the starter plants are out of the bed I plan to adjust the nutrient and fill it with lettuce on floats. We need over 3000 plants for our dirt operation so maybe the rest of the plants will generate income. Our biggest issue I am worried about is this is covered with a tightly woven remay product intended specifically for tobacco. Very breathable and let's a lot of light in. It is supposed to stop frost and our chances of seeing it are present through April.
Thanks for the interest

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 10:42PM
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With the cover on. After yesterday at 30 deg and today with snow I think we will be replanting unless that remay is better than I think.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 10:13PM
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Im trying a float bed this year too, im having trouble getting anything to come up, or when they do the plants die. Water too cold?? Any suggestions?

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 8:39AM
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Same issue here, I know my problem is temps. We were in the 70s ambient temp but had a 3 day dip into the high 20s.

One thing I would have done differently was instead of the mesh cover I would have put plastic over it. I am getting ready to replant. I think we are going to put the tomatoes and peppers in a float setup in the greenhouse. To get them through April.

I am still learning how to. Do this.
Would love to hear the details of yours.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 9:05AM
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Woho, everything is up now it's time to get serious now that I trust the process!

Pupilla with the plan to mix to 70% with our current nutrient. About 200 gallons. Should I still shoot for 800 ish ppm or less?

Secondly what about the fertalizer in the bedding mix. Should this concern me or just shoot for the 800 ppm?

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 5:24PM
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Disregard the last part of that I got the non fertalized media. I just need to get the fertalizer in the water right.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 10:14PM
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I`m not in the 3000 plant league but for toms i start a load off indoors in january. By the time its warmed up outside i have 100`s of rooted cuttings from the strongest plants ready to go.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 1:23AM
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Nothing wrong with that Hex. We just don't like the mess indoors. We can't seem to do it without making a mess lol.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 8:49AM
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Hydro is generally mess free unless you spring a leak, My compost usage is down to almost nil these days, most of my seeds are started on trays containing hessian/ burlap covered with black poly. A slight tilt on the tray and a 2lph dripper takes care of the rest. Transplanting is mess free, cut the burlap with a pair of scissors and put the seedling in a foam collar cut from pool noodles.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 2:18PM
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Wow hex that sounds really interesting, do you lust lay the seeds on the burlap? I think you can teach me some!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 7:20PM
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PupillaCharites(FL 9a)

Hey Rio, I didn't see the fertilizer thing until now. Sounds to me like you want to shoot for 90 - 100 ppm of Nitrogen,with *as little urea derived as possible* from a soluble fertilizer. What's the fertilizer, a 15-5-15 with micros? The rate of 15-5-15 is 160 to 180 gallons per pound.

Or are you using the lettuce formula and is that what you're talking about for the 70%? Because that is on target for nitrogen. But lettuce fertilizer kind pushes it so I don't know - because it is going to have twice as much phosphorus and 5 times as much micros. This is something like the literature say you should be shooting for, though I'm sure there are plenty of decent options:

Peters Peat lite 15-5-15 soluble

So If you're using the lettuce formula, I'm gonna keep my mouth shut about the lettuce formula at 70% even though the nitrogen is the right rate. I'm assuming you're mixing the lettuce recipe in three parts. If so you would do a reasonable job and save some money if you used the (calcium nitrate by the sack) at about twice the weight of pure lettuce 8-15-36 powder fert.

The closer mix would be per 180 gallons:
340 g calcium nitrate
190 g 8-15-36
180 g epsom salt

The KY boys say the epsom salt isn't necessary to add, but definitely you should in tyhe case of adapting the lettuce base fert, because the pure 8-15-36 base lacks it. (they are adding it already premixed in their base fertilizer without adding it separately also)

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 2:46AM
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Thanks for the reply. It is 24-15-36 I mixed it at 20oz per 200gal which seemed like a lot but the whole bag is only formulated to make 160 gallons to 24 oz.

We have got to come up with a more reasonable nutrient mix. I like the masterblend products but shipping is as expensive as the product.

Does that mixture sound right?

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 8:27AM
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PupillaCharites(FL 9a)

20 ounces of "24-15-36" in 200 gallons, if the individual premixed it as is commonly casually done is:

227 g calcium nitrate
227 g 8-15-36
113 g epsom

when my favorite compromise you could try do with that fertilizer in 200 gallons (just adjusting tthe 180 gal to 200 gal in above post):

379 grams calcium nitrate
211 grams 8-15-36
200 grams epsoms

I'd be using a fertilizer we a real, professional guaranteed analysis after working so hard on the rest, but the above is typical for the garage sale "24-15-36" mix. For your tobacco project, the micronutrients that everyone is recommending are necessary, but the fertilizers you are thinking about for greens have at least 5 tmes as much of them. You are only running at 70 ppm nitrogen, the bare minimum when the pros are using 100 ppm.

For your 200 gallon mix, if you have calcium nitrate it would be good to add for both the calcium and the nitrogen to add 4 ounces (114 grams) of calcium nitrate, especially if you are on rainwater.

I really don't know if boosting the all-in-one is a good idea, if you can't add calcium nitrate. Pro tobacco seems to prefer complete, but very light micronutrients and I don't know if it is just fine, cheaper and works, or if there is some plant development, so at this point it sounds like we'll find that out.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 11:45AM
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Interesting today.
Sunday when I added nutrients the ph was 10 little higher than usual in our rain water but I wasn't too worried because we usually get a slight drop in ph with the addition of nutrients. Today I finally got back to the farm, ph is 6.5 on one end and 4 .9 on the other. That is into as strange as, the 20 oz of nutrient only raised the ppm to 270. Shoulda been somewhere in the 7-800s

So.... I tossed the hose in and added water to the system to get it to operating height. The add water was 7.0 which hopefully balanced the ph. More importantly hopefully it mixed things up some. Will check it again tomorrow.

I have had consistency issues with this nutrient before. So while not a conformation I think this shows I need my own fertilizer mix that is a two part mix.

On a good note the plants are doing well. Inch tall tomatoes, 1/2 inch basil and 1/2 inch cabbage.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 8:19PM
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Hi Rio
Here`s a youtube vid you may find of interest, microgreen`s production using burlap and windowscreen.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 10:49AM
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Thanks, do you grow them out on the screen or do you plant them after they start?

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 11:20AM
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I just arrange the seeds on the burlap and cover it with black poly which keeps the moisture in and light out until they germinate.
I`m busy experimenting with burlap glued to the bottom of aeroponic collars to see if i can germ seeds directly in the collars using mist from below to provide the moisture. The plants tend to stall for a few days while they`re making the transition from wet tray to mist. It`ll also save having to cut dripping wet burlap loaded with delicate seedlings.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 2:38PM
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Sounds interesting. Will have to try it.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 8:50AM
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It works now to get it all planted!

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 9:43PM
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