*Hydroponics*
By: Gman
30 September 07

I have seen a few posts on hydroponics, and some pics of an ebb and flow system (looked good too!)

I have some experience with hydroponics, but I'm no expert. What I do know I will gladly pass along for the info to help the rubicon, but sadly there will be no pics.

The most basic and easiest system to use is a kiddy pool system.

You get the kiddy pool and enough plastic pots to fill it, whatever size pot your plants need, bigger plants = bigger pots. But just so they don't fall over as you don't need the big pot for the root system. That grows in the kiddy pool. And don't forget to make holes in the bottom and side of the pots, about 1/2" dia. and 10 or so per pot.

Then you get medium sized pea gravel or equal, enough to fill all the pots, and some peat pots or rock wool cubes (hard to find in some places)

In a kiddy pool system you need 2 small fish tank air pumps. The kind that have the air stone on the end of the hose. The roots need oxygen as well as nutrients!

As far as lighting, I think that a good old shop light works the best (3 or 4 even better). Trying to reproduce the sun is not easy! Shop lights don't give off as much heat as metal halide or hp sodium.

Ok, ready to grow!

Start the plants in the peat pots/rock wool cubes. When you see the roots coming out, transfer them to the larger pots with the pea gravel. Plant them in the pot as you would if it were dirt and not gravel.

Place your pots in the kiddy pool. Mix up your fertilizer/water mix. (any good fertilizer will work, just not time release!)

Fill the kiddy pool halfway full.

Until you see the roots coming out the bottom of the pots, you need to water the plants 2 times a day.

After you see roots, turn on the air pumps and keep the kiddy pool half way full all the time.

The only other thing that you need to do is check the PH, a neutral reading is best but that depends on the crop you are growing.

As far as the lights: If they are florescent keep them within an inch of the plant tops, for metal halide or hp sodium about 8 to 12 inches.

If the plants are getting burned or wilted from heat, then use a fan to help circulate the air.

If the plants are dependant on the sun for fruiting, then you can introduce winter by cutting the light back to 12 hrs a day (NO light in the dark cycle or you will need to start over), otherwise they can use light 24 hrs a day.
Gman



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