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Hydro vs. dirt

Posted by wordwiz (My Page) on
Mon, Jun 22, 09 at 22:15

Background: I want to grow about 32-40 tomato plants in a Greenhouse this fall, winter and spring. My first choice was to do it via hydroponics but I had a very bad experience with a simple DWC system because an airstone clogged up, and by the time I figured out the problem (long story, I also had aphids, low light levels, etc.) the plant nearly died.

To me, the initial cost and amount of effort to grow in containers with potting soil/compost is much less than hydro, but yet hydro seems to grow larger plants.

Anyone here have significant experience in both areas? If worse comes to worse, I have enough equipment that I can try four plants each of two different varieties and see what kind of results I get. The downside to this is that I want to start four plants every other week and do not want to invest money in pumps/hose/etc. until I can see which is best. Your experiences can help.

Mike


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Hydro vs. dirt

I have experience growing the "real tomatoes" AKA cannabis sativa/indica. The "trick" is to find suitable plastic LARGE rectangular containers, like some under the bed storage containers. A 2' x 3' container might be ideal, if you can find one. Your "tomatoes", or at least my "tomatoes" are grown in 3 gallon plastic pots, with drainage holes in the bottom. My medium is peat based potting mix (comes in compressed bales) spiked with plenty of bone meal/ blood meal/ all purpose fertilizer etc, even worm castings or just straight old composted sheep manure. Just don't overdo it on the manure, and I doubt you really even need any, but I have used it, and everything else under the sun you care to mention. the plastic tubs should hold several of the pots, and are supported by an old door that I salvaged. When it comes time to water, you pour the water INTO THE TUB, which acts like a giant watering saucer, and guarantees uniform watering. You can dissolve half strength Miracle Grow, or some such soluble fertilizer to the water, as required. Unfortunately I do not have a picture of my grow, but it looks just like an ENORMOUSLY FERTILE farmers field, with HUGE rapidly growing plants that bear an immense and altogether extremely satisfying harvest.
I imagine tomatoes would be similar.


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RE: Hydro vs. dirt

kinko,

Sounds similar to how I do my seedlings, though on a bigger scale. In fact, I have been considering building a "watering chamber," a 15'x12"x6" (LxWxH) trough that I would line with plastic or something similar. Also add an overhead misting system to provide something similar to rain or morning dew for the plants' leaves.

Mike


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RE: Hydro vs. dirt

In my case I keep the foliage dry, because cannabis will grow well under hot dry conditions, and the buds can get moldy. I would also worry about the mist causing issues with the HID lighting. I don't really believe tomatoes require any "rain".


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