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Rate my first hydroponics system

Posted by mattpayne11 CO (My Page) on
Sun, Oct 19, 08 at 13:07

I decided to DIY my first system to grow tomatoes... I settled on a rockwool drip system after about 2 weeks of steady research. Here are some photos of my build and the system. Any tips or criticism is welcome.

The solution sits in that heavy duty tub which has a water pump feeding water up to the drip system which drips into my rockwool cubes and into my grow tray which drains back into the tub =)

There is an air pump feeding air to an airstone at the bottom of the tub which keeps the air oxygenated similar to an aquarium. I have both my light and my pump set on timers so that everything is automated.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattpayne11/2954331483/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattpayne11/2955177896/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattpayne11/2955178334/


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Rate my first hydroponics system

Matt,
Looks like a good start. Only suggestion, your light may be too close to the plants. May cause them to burn.
Keep a close eye on them.

Good luck,
Jim

Here is a link that might be useful: Outdoor Hydro Cukes from this summer.


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RE: Rate my first hydroponics system

looks nice and clean good job

Bob


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RE: Rate my first hydroponics system

Thanks guys - before I came here to read the posts I did move the light up a good 6 inches - will continue to monitor.


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RE: Rate my first hydroponics system

That's a beautiful, clean-built system. You do all that yourself? Nice job. Makes me re-think using a drip system myself... you make it look really classy.

Make sure you don't over-water would be my main piece of advice. Also, when it comes to the light just use the back of your hand. Put your hand palm down over the tops of your plants between them and the light. If the heat from the bulb is uncomfortable on the back of your hand it's probably too hot for your plants.

Adjust up or down so that it's warm but not hot.

Get a cheap little digital thermometer/hygrometer you can leave next to the plants to monitor the heat and humidity, and if you don't already have them, get a pH and EC meter to monitor the solution.

After that it's tough to do much wrong. Looks like this should be a really problem-free system. Keep us updated, I'd like to see how it goes. I might just follow your example.


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RE: Rate my first hydroponics system

Thank you hooked - yep its all DIY, including the light, shelf, rockwool, nutrients (advanced nutrients), grow tray, air pump, water pump - cost about $450. My dad had some drip emitters and a drain plug laying around as well as some 1/4 inch hose.

I checked out sooo many books from the library - almost did an aeroponics system but decided against it.


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RE: Rate my first hydroponics system

keep a watchful eyes on the plants. I've seen too many threads here where peoples plants dye because the rockwool is too saturated.
Otherwise it looks like a nice enough system.


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RE: Rate my first hydroponics system

Well, things seem to be doing well so far.

Here is the plant, on Oct 19th:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattpayne11/2955178334/

And here is the same plant on Oct. 27th:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattpayne11/2980652274/

And a view of the healthier plants:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattpayne11/2980653772/

I've only been watering 15 minutes per day.


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RE: Rate my first hydroponics system

Aeroponics is nice, but it's the kind of thing you really have to keep an eye on. Little problems quickly become big ones.

That's a really sharp-looking system you built.

I'd also suggest watching the over-watering. Not saying you are, but that's the #1 killer of houseplants; people trying to over-love them. Also, it's been my experience with tomatoes in particular that if you're almost cruel when it comes to letting them get thirsty they actually do better.

Tomatoes thrive even more with massive roots, and plenty of water discourages extra root growth. If there isn't always as much water as the plant wants it sends out more roots looking for it.

On the other hand, your system looks like it shouldn't need really big root systems so you might want to skip that.


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RE: Rate my first hydroponics system

Here we are a week later on 11/3/08:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattpayne11/3002207664/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattpayne11/3001370529/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattpayne11/3001369463/

Pretty good growth I think.


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RE: Rate my first hydroponics system

Definitely coming along well. What variety of tomatoes are those anyway?

What's your ppm up to now?


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RE: Rate my first hydroponics system

Just upped my PPM to 1200 tonight. Was at 900. Just added the rockwool slab, its soaking now =)

These are heirlooms.


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RE: Rate my first hydroponics system

Some tomatoes can take upwards of 3600 ppm when mature, FYI. I've never fed any that strong myself, but they're pretty hard to burn.

There's a LOT of different kinds of heirloom tomatoes, btw.


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RE: Rate my first hydroponics system

Yea I have no idea what kind they are - =)


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RE: Rate my first hydroponics system

Some of my favorite tomatoes are kinds I don't know the name of.

Keep us updated, I'll be happy to lend any expertise and advice I can summon up.


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RE: Rate my first hydroponics system

Here we are 12 days later...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattpayne11/3052527574/


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RE: Rate my first hydroponics system

Looking good.

Totally up to you, but if it's not too much trouble you might want to consider switching places with plants 3 and 4 (from left to right). That way the shorter plant has easier access to the light.

But with the support twine that might be more trouble than it's worth.


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RE: Rate my first hydroponics system

Progress:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattpayne11/3084349000/


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RE: Rate my first hydroponics system

I noticed in your album that you had some blossom end rot. What's your feeding schedule like? That's usually a sign of calcium deficiency.

How are things going?


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