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Heat!

Posted by HydroPapa Florida (My Page) on
Tue, Apr 16, 13 at 18:28

My poor little Hydroponic "Starters" are getting killed (I think)...
Temps hit a hundred degrees (91 on the computer's weather channel, but on the back porch the temp clearly hit the 100 degree mark); the seedlings, peppers, I just put into the drip system are collapsing. The eggplant and some others in DWC buckets are wilting...
I think tomorrow I may have to scrap the whole first start :(
If they look beyond saving I guess I just clean the Hydrouton pellets and the containers and start over???
I sure wish there was a way to confirm the cause. I am guessing excessive heat; the spot the containers is in gets 7 or 8 hours of Florida Sun.
If that's it I can move the systems (with some rewiring). But how do I know it it was the heat? What if the nutrient solution was too strong (or weak)? I used Miracle Grow Tomato (water soluble) to the directions on the box. But that is for a watering can; maybe I should have cut the amount of food because the plants are drinking it each and every day?
First try... I will not give up. Just hope to learn what to modify.
I did adjust the PH down to under 6.2 or so before starting.
The DWC bucket has the bottom of the net pot submerged about an inch into the solution so the Hydrouton can wick the moisture up to the plant's roots. There is a small air pump and air stone bubbling in the 5 gallon bucket. In the drip system I have a water pump feeding 8 small pepper seedlings (2" high) each in it's own small net pot each with a line and an emitter zip tied into it. Hydrouton pellets hold the little guys in place.
Any thoughts would be welcome.
My soil based tomatoes, my papaya, my blackberries are all OK... The problems are just in the Hydroponics.

Here is a link that might be useful: Some photos of my modest little setup...

This post was edited by HydroPapa on Tue, Apr 16, 13 at 18:30


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Heat!

most of those plants will grow just fine with only about 4 to 6 hours of direct sunlight. if possible reposition the setup so it gets that direct sun in the morning.
As for why they're wilting. it could be the heat or more like humidity. are the stalks damping off where they come out of the hydroton? that will happen if the stem stays too wet (especially with peppers) Also, what do the roots look like?


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RE: Heat!

Wet roots... no chance for morning sun, mid-day to late evening sun... You thing I should try to shade them from the last few hours each day?

I don't know what "Damping off" means but the stalks were too pliable to support the little plant (whole things were only about two inches)...

I changed the nutrient solution in the DWC bucket after reading a University of Florida post that said in a Hydroponic setup use 2 teaspoons per gallon of the Micacle Grow and a teaspoon of Epson Salts (per gallon). I had been using the Manufacturer's suggestion of 1 tablespoon per gal. So now the solution has 33% less Miracle Grow in it and has a bit of Magnesium Sulfate in it, which it did not have included initially.
We shall see :)
Thanks for your response.


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RE: Heat!

Miracle Grow is not a hydroponic nutrient. You need something meant for hydroponics that gives complete nutrition, like General Hydroponics or Fox Farm. There are a lot of other brands, too, but it needs to be meant for hydro. If that article was from UF, they were probably talking about run-to-waste drip systems and growing in perlite, which is how commercial hydro is done in Florida.

This post was edited by Cole_Robbie on Wed, Apr 17, 13 at 11:47


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RE: Heat!

Couldn't trace the UF article down again :( But I decided to take your advice and get some Hydroponic specific "Food"... I ordered some Dutch Master "One" for Hydroponically grown vegetables. May not be able to save the seedlings I started; but I'll start from scratch in a few days if I can't with the new solution in the systems.
I'll post what happens later :)


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RE: Heat!

Couldn't trace the UF article down again :( But I decided to take your advice and get some Hydroponic specific "Food"... I ordered some Dutch Master "One" for Hydroponically grown vegetables. May not be able to save the seedlings I started; but I'll start from scratch in a few days if I can't with the new solution in the systems.
I'll post what happens later :)


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RE: Heat!

I would be surprised if they used miracle grow.
Every article from UF I've read on hydro, they use a soluble hydroponic solution including the epsom salts.
It has, admittedly, been awhile since I've checked out any of there AgEx articles though.


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RE: Heat!

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I am not going to get into a discussion about special Hydroponic Fertilizer, because Fertilizer is made from Elements which are a Commodity not a Brand Name. I use the U of F recommended 2 parts Greenhouse grade Triple 20 (Miracle Giro) to one part Magnesium Sulfate and do fine. BTW I also add Calcium Nitrate to stop Bud End Rot.

Living in S W Florida I have had heat problems. My first solution was a shade House which I am very happy with because My tomatoes don't have that THICK Skin assoc with Hot Sunlight.

My next step was a WATER COOLER, which is my real point of Posting. Once water reaches 80 degrees, it no longer will hold Oxygen. No O2 in the water and Plants can die quickly. 68 Degrees is the desired Temperature for maximum Oxygen concentration in water. As long as you maintain Cool water the Air temperature is a non factor.

Of course there are some very expensive Water Coolers for Hydroponics. However about 3 ft below grade the Ground temperature drops to a very desirable temperature. Commercial Vertical Drip and Drain systems take advantage of Ground water temperature and Styrofoam containers by using Chemical injectors for Drip and Drain to waste. Water coming straight from a well meets the heat requirements.

Drip and Drain to waste is a waste IMHO. I do recirculating Dutch Buckets and NFT rails using Geothermal under ground cooling. First step is to Bury you Reservoir. Next I ran my Drip line down and back up a well casing. My water Temperature is right on.

Other methods if you don't have a spare well casing drilled on your property is ground looping Poly pipe about 3 ft deep. You can use either Vertical or Horizontal installation methods.

Of course you could go to the trouble of a swamp cooler but passive renewable Geothermal cooling is better IMHO.

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RE: Heat!

@Ricone... Thanks for the informative reply!
I didn't think about the water temp of the reservoir's themselves. Your words make sense.
I am going to have to think about a repositioning of two little systems (Hydroponic) I made. Perhaps a complete relocation out of the lanai (with the reservoir in the ground)?
Meanwhile I am staying busy with soil growing :)
In my newly constructed raised bed (Berries & Cukes); and in containers (Tomatoes, and other stuff in containers).
Still having fun :)


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RE: Heat!

If you have a decent south facing window, you could always run the system inside.


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RE: Heat!

I agree with ricone. I had I similar problem in my green house. I wrapped the reservoirs with insulating material that i picked up from my local hydro store. I also have several plastic Perrier bottles filled with water that I freeze and rotate them in the reservoirs during the hottest parts of the day. Since doing these the temp has improved and I've stopped losing seedlings due to damping out. You can also run hydrogen peroxide or hydrozyme to kill off the bacteria that devolves in the higher temps.

Here is a link that might be useful: My hydro site


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