gutter growing tray .. .. need advice !

oakleaf33(8)September 10, 2010

As pertaining to my next setup I mentioned in the other post about foggers ! I been compiling my shopping list for my trip to lowes "sorry no H.D. Where I live. Anyway has anyone found a suitable median for using or converting into a grow tray like your basic storm gutters? I've thought of using plastic fence post ...not big enough and no where near the length I need them to be. I know practically everyone in here is guilty of finding some mass produced undervalued cheap item and used it to his/her advantage. I gotta find something that is capable of housing the net/grow cups and internal pvc misting components, also to allow for rootball expansion. Oh in case I haven't mentioned it befor growing strawberries! Hot little item here in seaport GA! Can anyone point me in the right direction please ?

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Use plastic downspouts. They're either $5 or $10 for a 10ft length. (been a few years since I bought some). they measure 2" X 3" and should be ample for strawberries spaced about 8" on center.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 7:02PM
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Well you got my attention grizzman! I will gladfully hop on that boat except .. .. 2"x3" .. Seems kinds small but if you say so I can believe it. I just figured I was lookin at a softball sized rootmass in there ...things could get kinda cramped in that little downspout! I guess I can rework my schmatics and redo the areoponic misting pvc lines with head attatchments to plug into from bottom in between each plant. Well I guess I'm convinced. Exactly what size rootmass am I looking at with the strawberries?

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 7:15PM
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I was using NFT.
The roots just grew downstream, so to speak. Of course I had other issues, but I did get a couple of fruits before I just gave up and trashed the system.

Here are the tubes with peppers and eggplant

And here is the system with some strawberries early on:

Of course this one wasn't shot for the plants, but you can see them at the top.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 10:06PM
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That's a nice little setup there! I done a little recon at lowes yesterday and to my surprise for what I'm planning to build actually isn't gonna run me that much at all. Most of my other setups I been using those little fountain pumps but not sure if I wanna risk my investment on one of those things! I'm worried about ... What's the word... Is it back flow .. Probably not. Anyway when the pump is just running but the water isn't cycling through its just barely putting out what the heads allow. I just think I should go with a real hydroponics pump on this run. What's your opinion grizz??

    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 10:17AM
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Don't skimp on the pump. How much flow do you need and what the maximum head the pump will have to push. With that info, you should be able to find flow charts online to make sure you get the right one.
Some of my pumps are overkill, but most of my systems run on 300 - 600 gph pumps. They'll generally cost you between $15 - $35.
a pond pump would probably be fine. But in my experience, they're priced considerably higher than hydro pumps.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2010 at 8:22AM
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I'm lookin at running a 10ft line with 8 to 10 misting nozzles about 5-10 GPH roughly. Also I'm gonna split the lines to run 3 trays so approximately 24heads +/- a couple heads @ about 8 GPH

    Bookmark   September 13, 2010 at 12:56PM
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I'v have found the fountain pumps work just great. As griz mentioned "HEAD HEIGHT" that's the key. That is the height the pump can pump straight up, without the weight of the water (back-flow) stopping the flow. On the back of the fountain pump package, it should give you a chart that tells you how many gallons per hr it can pump at different heights. I have 3 pumps, 2 were bought at a hydroponics store, and the last one was bought at Lowes. And by far the one I bought at Lowes is far better.

It has a head height of 8.7 feet, and up to 500 gph (not at that height of coarse). In fact the system I used it on was only about 2 feet high and it pumped too fast for the overflow to handle. I had to cut the line from the reservoir (inside the reservoir), add a "T" connector and a line that just pumped half the flow straight back into the reservoir (that cut the pressure in half). That pump only cost $45 and the ones from the hydro store cost $30. They had smaller pumps at Lows but it's far better to have a pump that you can expand with, rather than needing to buy more of them in the future when you change your setups.

I'm planing to run 2 systems off of that same pump I got at Lowes. One flood and drain (ebb & flow), and one drip. I already have the one way flow valve (cost $8) that will be inline on the drip system side. That will keep air out of the lines when the pump shuts off, siphoning (sucking) the water back into the reservoir from the flood and drain system. At the same time blocking air from getting back in from the drip system. Because If air was sucked back into the line on the flood and drain side before it was finished siphoning the water back in the reservoir, the siphoning action would stop before it drained. Then it would be a recirculating water culture system, instead of a flood and drain system.

Just one note:
Make sure if it doesn't come with a filter, make your own. Mine didn't come with one, so I just got a $2 furnace/AC filter, then and cut the filter out of it. Took the cover off the inlet for the pump, cut a piece of the furnace/AC filter to fit it and simply placed it between the pump cover, and water inlet. It's also easy to clean, I just take it out, squirt some soap on it, and wash it off under the sink.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 12:54AM
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