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two test systems up and running

Posted by Chuck 10 ( on
Thu, Nov 3, 05 at 18:02

The emergency growing system test beds are both in operation now, and so far, the operation in both systems is good. The first system has two troughs set in a wood frame. The troughs are about 12 inches wide and 10 inches deep. They are about 7 foot long. The nutrients drip into the troughs to waste. The second test system hangs suspended from an overhead rope. It has a pvc tube frame that also transports the nutrients. The growing medium in the first system consists of vermiculite and playground rubber bits. In the second system, the medium is 50/50 vermiculite and perlite. Both systems have been set at about a 15 degree angle to promote faster run off. I have taken new pictures of these systems today and they are available to view using the link below. Thanks to those of you who have taken the time to send me ideas and comments. A third system is in the works, so ideas are still very welcome. The idea is to design a system that can be easily packaged and deployed to areas where food suppliments are needed. Thanks, chuck

Here is a link that might be useful: latest emr. sys. test bed pictures

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: two test systems up and running

The third in the series of emergency growing kits is up and in operation. Unlike the previous units, this unit does not use a framework to support the trough. It is more like a hammock and uses pvc spreaders to maintain an 8 inch width along the trough. The construction cost is really going down. Currently, the componets for system 3 is around $10 dollars per unit. I have unit 4 on paper that will have the support lines sewn right into the trough material thereby eliminating the spreaders. Cost should be further minimized by doing away with the drip heads and using very small diameter holes to provide drip action from the nutrient feed line. As always, comments and suggestions are welcome. The medium used in unit 3 is a baked clay product sold by shultz. However, so far, the 50/50 mix of vermiculite and perlite is doing very well in unit 2. Use the link below to view the most recent pictures. chuck

Here is a link that might be useful: recent pix of emergency test beds 1,2,&3

RE: two test systems up and running

Well, the 4th system is up and running. All the plants look great. Thanks to those that contacted me about the projects. The 4th emergency system is a water to waste and is hand watered making it the most simple of the 4 systems.

Here is a link that might be useful: updated system pictures

RE: two test systems up and running

despite the fact that this thread drew little attention, I thought that I would atleast update it. There is a 5th system with a radical departure from the previous designs. This new system utilizes large 32 ounce styrofoam cups mounted vertically on a 1 inch pvc pipe. The mounting is accomplished using cheap drink cup holders that are attatched using screws to the pvc pipe. A drip feed will be used, but for now, I am hand feeding. Pictures via the link below. chuck

Here is a link that might be useful: vertical cup system

RE: two test systems up and running

Chuck. There is promise in your system. Cruious about total cost of each of your systems, and the general intention. (*Do you have a mission statement). Each of your posts produces a lightbulb over my head. Maybe we can bounce some ideas...
first the ?s
1)Is this to be a rapid deployment (*disaster) vegetable production unit (*lightest unit, fastest crops, only 1-3 cycles)? Or is it for a longer mission, ie 3rd world agriculture, homesteading, nomaic/tribal/refugee farming unit?
2)Depending on #1, is the cost of production, and or cost of electricity used factored? Is there a price range?
3)Again, dependant on #1, is there a provision for water filtration.
4)Are the units designed for specific crops, or to 'feed' a specific amount of people?
5)Is pest management a concern?

p.s. how much for the cup holders?

RE: two test systems up and running

Hi, The cup holders are sold at Wal-Mart, 4 for $1.86. They are also sold at places like truck stops. The length of service of the designs is still being determined. However, I used a trough system made from plastic tarp over 2X4's for over three years with out any problem. The hanging troughs could be used just about anywhere outdoors or indoors. Providing the best seeds is something that would require some thought and knowledge. That is why an organized groupe might have a greater chance of acheiving a greater level of success. With regard to the cost of electricity, the systems were designed with the premis that no electricity would be available. Since the systems are drip to waste, or hand watered, no filtration is required. However, the question of plant nutrients is still a factor to be worked out. I had in mind of including dry mix nutrients in packets as a possibility. The best chance of acheiving some level of success will probably depend on the number of people participating in the development and exicution. The bird flu may not ever be a problem world wide, but on the other hand, if you have a couple packs of seeds, and some quick easy to set up emergency system packed away, you might suffer just a bit less through it all. I have plenty of peppers and celantro, and soon, I will have potatoes, onions, and tomatoes from the test beds. I have been working out reasonably priced ways to give the plants what they need to produce well. So far, I am using off the self liquid plant food concentrates which have urea as the source of nitrogen. Because urea doesn't do the job very well in hydro systems, I am using liquid calcium nitrate as well. I hope that I have answered your questions to some degree. Just send me an email if you would like to share more ideas. You might like to see the swinging pipe system just set up this week. chuck

Here is a link that might be useful: pipe system

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