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Outdoor hydroponic options?

Lusi

New Member
Hey,

I'm buying a bit of land and a house and want to get planning on the MJ garden. I have 101 questions needing ideas on what works for others in backing hot CA. Here goes the first...

I'd like to get a green house or hoop house, more for sun and insect protection than warmth. If there was a way to control the lighting one one without it looking like a UFO, then LMK! Now here's my basic ideas for landscaping, gardens, and green houses. Let me know if there is any hydro options for green houses and outdoors.-

Here's what i'm envisioning, but not sure if possible:

-Everything must be accessible from a wheel chair or ledge to sit on while pulling weeds.
- a water garden that include some kind of chlorine free pool, spa, and water cascades with ponds of different sizes and types, all with local fish and reputes, especially frogs. My European gardens were completely bug free as i had 7 frogs in 2 ponds in a tiny back yard. I'd like these water ways, to at a minimum, to include ponds inside a greenhouse. Perhaps a 4 room setup of a a greenhouse. 2 heated and cooled rooms for bloom and veg all year, 1 with complete insect netting for all sized bugs, and 1 with netting large enough for bees to get in.-
-to take this even further, is-it possible to set up some form of hydroponics that instead of chemicals, use pond plants and critters to provide nutrients? For instance could i stick i pot full of hydroton in an inner-tube and anchor it in the pond. The pond would be heavily filtered or even run through UV lights in the filter. Has anyone heard of or done something like this? Bug spraying plants would be impossible, but it floating, only flying bugs get on the plant. Insect netting prevents that...? Maybe some organic sprays are fish safe too.-
-In the greenhouse, I could have pond under a metal floor of some kind, with plants in pots separated with walkways.-

There's more to my idea, but that's the hydro thought. Is there hydroponics out there for large outside gardens? Otherwise, i would just use soil and insect screens, plus a pond with small moat around the perimeter. There will hopefully be more raised beds and landscaping,mall with deer netting.-

Any other crazy ideas or dreams are welcome here. It might take me years to make a little piece of my dream at a times, as it's affordable, but the plans and design I need now. Hell, nome of this might be possible, let alone affordable! LOL-

Thanks for the input!

Lusi
 

DL-Toker

New Member
Lusi,

The grow method you want is called 'Aquaponics'. It uses fish waste to grow hydroponic plants, which in the act of uptaking the nutrients in the fish waste, clean the water. Water is constantly recirculated between the fish tank and grow beds. NO traditional hydroponic nutes are used - the only regular required input is fish food!

Setting it up takes more work than traditional Hydro. You'll need a lot of research and some very large containers for fish and plants. If you google 'aquaponics' you can get a lot of info.
From what I can tell (I have not gotten to use this method legally or otherwise), you'd be best off with a system based on that designed by a man named Murray Hallam - his site, esp. the forum - is a huge wealth of info. Based in Australia. Search 'CHIFT-PIST' or 'CHOP'.

In short, you'd set up a fish tank, sump and multiple grow beds. Grow beds can be just about any container. For this system, they need to be a min. 12" deep. Add gravel or other media (you need a LOT and gravel is cheap) to the grow beds, along with some earthworms, and you're ready to 'cycle' the system.

Cycling refers to establishing a nitrogen cycle in the tank. You have to do the same thing with aquaria. Simple process, time required varies with the capacity of your system. Google 'nitrogen cycle aquarium' for the gory details. Aquaponics rigs can vary in capacity from a couple of gallons to 10,000+ gal.

The nice thing about aquaponic systems is that while they take a bit to start, they will actually ramp up production season after season as the system matures. This is because you are literally creating a mini-ecosystem. They take time to establish, but it's worth it. I've seen amazing results (legal vegetables and herbs only) in some of the online forums. Take a look and feel free to ask if you want more info. I've studied this for some time. Tomatoes appear to grow just fine, meaning bud shouldn't have any issues. Would LOVE to see an aqaponics grow log for a Cannabis grow!

If aquaponics is a bit much, I can confirm that you can hydro outside - it's only been legal veggies for me, but I'm on my 4th season of running a DIY hydro garden in spring/summer. Exterior summer temps 80's-low 90's day, 50-60ish @ night.

My system is DIY RDWC. Started at 15gal capacity the first season; is now 70-80 gals after multiple rebuild/redesigns. More stable that way. I'm happy to share further info if you're interested - don't usually say much as I have no experience growing the yummy plants :-( I do have experience with outdoor vegetable cultivation via hydro, and I've researched aquaponics pretty extensively. I'm far from an expert in either field, but glad to share the knowledge I do have :rastamon:

Best of luck, however you decide to go!
 

Lusi

New Member
TY for so much info DL!

It helps to know what something is called so I can look for it. :)) Do you have any photos of your set-up? The info, set-up and cost for aquaponics is overwhelming!! Was this your first hydroponics set up or did you start with another method?

What I was imagining is a bit more simple than this but the same concept. Is there a reason aquaponics have the fish in a separate tank than the plants? I already plan a water garden of ponds and pools inside and out, using the water from the ponds to water plants and replace it as I use it with fresh water. Is it possible to float a plant of any kind on top of a fish pond with just the roots dangling in the water? I guess this would be the same thing as floating a plant on top of an aquarium. Is there enough oxygen in the water to not rot the roots? I'd like the fish and plants to be together with baby fish and tadpoles hiding in the roots and water rich in nutrients. If this is all possible it would much cheaper and easier to make than the aquaponics systems I looked at. The "raft" method on the Murray Harram website seems similar in the plants float on the water...

Do you also have photos of your first 15 gal set up? I currently have a 20 gallon aquarium on my porch and am using it to make hardwood cuttings. I have a Styrofoam platform with a wicking capillary mat over it and into the water. The water below has a mini Qxygenator in it a EU design that converts Peroxide into 02, for aquariums. I'd thought about cutting holes in the foam and dangling the stems of my cuttings right into the water. Have you had any luck with clones in your aquaponics set up?

Another question... Your area has summer temps 80-90? Do you need to cool your water somehow? Is it carrying too little oxygen at high temps? My summer temps are 70 nights and high 80's-110 daytime. Heat is an issue indoors and out. :-( My first grow last summer was considered cold for this area, only a week or two in the hundreds. I dread the normal summer here! The watergarden in my imagination would have two larger pools over 3 feet deep and the rest as needed. My hope is the large pools keep the water cool. In this heat a lot of water will evaporate, but be replaced with cool fresh water. Greenhouse temps will be a huge problem!! I wish I could get my ideas onto paper...

PK TY for your input here! It's great to find out this could be possible. :)

Lusi
 

DL-Toker

New Member
Lusi,

Hmm. I'm afraid I may have been unclear in my last post :bong:

I do NOT have an aquaponics rig going right now. Haven't ever had one, worse the luck. It really demands year-round growing and that would mean a greenhouse or moving inside, neither of which works for me for a variety of reasons.

I DO have an outdoor HYDROponics rig: traditional RDWC hydro. Link to pic and brief description here:

Ideas for outdoor hydroponic grows

I have studied aquaponics quite a bit and I've followed a lot of system build-outs and grows in various aquaponics forums. I have a very solid understanding of the methodology and requirements to make a setup work, but have done nothing as yet myself.

With that in mind, I will try to address your questions in the order they were brought up in your last post. If there are other members out there with Aquaponics experience, you are encouraged and welcomed to pipe up and tell it like it is for you! :welcome:

Q: Was this your first setup or did you start with another method?
A: I started with Hydroponics and am still doing that. I want to switch to aquaponics but haven't been able to yet. I've built DIY hydro rigs and grown outside for 3 seasons, now entering my 4th.

Q: Can plants be grown in the same water as the fish?
A: To some degree, but not as much as you'd think. Many fish will eat plants' roots (and the rest of the plant) if given a chance. Also, you need to have at least some separate grow beds because it can take a lot of plants :58: to clean the fish's waste from the water. Most land plants don't like their roots disturbed much - having fish swimming through and so forth does not strike me as a good way to go. Water plants work well, of course.

Q: the 'raft' system seems similar in that the plants float on the water...
A: Okay, not exactly a question, but there's an important distinction here: There is a method - called the raft system - where plants are grown on Styrofoam rafts in troughs in what amounts to RDWC. It's awesome. PROBLEM is, it's really not considered useful for larger, flowering-type plants. It's used for leafy greens like lettuce, spinnach, basil, etc. Reported to be highly effective, but it runs into problems with heavy or extensively rooted plants. Also requires more equipment. From everything I have seen, this is not the way to grow Cannabis. Having said that, I haven't tried, so I don't know for sure.

This is where the gravel (or other media)-filled tubs come in. Since they are 12" or more deep, these give plants' roots plenty of support and, much more importantly, the media provides huge surface area for beneficial bacteria - especially the nitrogen-fixing ones without which the system would not work - to colonize and grow. If you have an exclusively raft system, you have to provide solids filtration and surface area for the bacteria to colonize with more equipment. With the media-filled tub, you get it all in one shot. Most forums seem to agree that the best way to run the media tubs is with an ebb and flow setup. Search for 'aquaponics autosiphon'. It's automatic, no moving parts and easy to build. Lets you run your pump 24/7 so there are no timers to fail.

Additionally, the media, once filled with worms and some solids from the fish tank, will promote a process called mineralization whereby solid wastes are broken down by biological action into trace minerals that would otherwise have to be added to the system. Without these trace minerals, flowering/fruiting plants can't do their thing. The mineralization process takes time to happen and is one of the reasons a well-founded aquaponics system will ramp its production up during its first few seasons.

It's worth noting here that there is NO reason you can't have both the media tubs AND a raft system - that's done very frequently (see aqua forums) and often seems to work very well. You might have Herb in the media tubs and lettuce and herbs for fresh salads in the rafts.:blunt:

Q: Do you also have photos of your first 15 gal setup?
A: Yes, but it's a traditional hydroponic, not aquaponic setup. Literally consisted of 3 5-gallon buckets with net pots in the lids and aquarium airstones inside, driven by aquarium pumps. Utterly unsuited to aquaponic applications.

Q: Do you need to cool your water somehow?
A: Dude, this is crazy and still confuses me...but NO, I don't...haven't so far. My best guess is that because I like to err on the side of caution when it comes to aerating the nutrient solution, it ends up being cooled by the action of all those bubbles. In truth, I haven't a clue why. I insulated the crap out of my buckets the first season but ended up pulling most of the insulation (long story) at the beginning of summer. I had plenty of other problems, but the solution stayed nice and cool through the whole season.

For the last two seasons, my rig was coated in black plastic and sat right out in the direct sun...was just fine. Will you have the same experience? I sure hope so, but since I don't know how/why it works for me...

I can tell you (based on aqua forums) that keeping your water shaded helps tremendously, as does having more of it. In a greenhouse, you might actually be able to modulate temperature using a BIG tank of water - think 600-1000+ gal. You circulate it underground (cooled by the natural 50-55-degree temps) or through a radiator of some type at night. Either way, the water gets cooled, then helps keep the temperature of the GH down when it's hot. There is a HUGE amount of info available online, along with some really great DIY greenhouse plans. Check it out if you're interested...I'm not as informed on such things.

You should benefit by having your water container (ponds, it sounds like) sunk in the ground. As mentioned above, underground temps are nice and low and will help cool the water during the day. Added depth helps hugely, as does circulation. If you're really having trouble with heat, a waterfall will help to cool things down, believe it or not. It's done all the time in modern swimming pools. Ahh...a swimming pool...set it up right and and you could be looking at thousands of pounds of fish harvested right alongside even larger quantities of vegetable/herb produce :yahoo: Minus the Herb, it HAS been done :drool:

It is worth noting here that in an aquaponic setup, the desired temp of the water is dictated by the requirements of the fish. A lot of them like 80+ degree water. This will potentially cause problems in the winter when it comes to keeping the water warm, but should make things much simpler in the summer! Since you are using fish waste rather than man-made chemicals to feed your plants, warm water is not associated with the problems it is in hydroponic systems.

If you're interested in learning more and have the space, I would suggest you look into a small system built around scrap lumber and cheap blue food-grade 55-gal barrels. Often referred to as 'barrelponics', it is nothing more than aquaponics done in barrels. You can google 'aquaponics in a barrel by Travis W Hughley' for free plans to build a nice, simple barrel-based system that can be run with goldfish. Could be a great way to check the technology out on the cheap and get your head around the way it works so you can put together a bigger, badder system later on if you like the way it goes.

Whew! :tokin: Lot of typing there! I hope I didn't bore you to death and managed to address your questions. Feel free to keep 'em up! That goes for anyone else who's interested, too...ESPECIALLY anyone with aquaponics experience! This thread is all about aquaponics - I know I'm not the only one out there with knowledge of it! :welcome:

For now, though...:nomo:
 

Lusi

New Member
Thanks for all the details DL!! Since you looked at my journal, you already know I love all the details. :)) I keep everything people write and links they send, even if the info over my head. With so many medications, my memory and ability to learn are decreasing yearly. The best and often the only way for me to learn is to physically do something rather than read about it or watch someone else. I feel like I have Alzheimer's, and it scare the shit out of me. I hope what I'm writing makes sense... it's hard to get thoughts on paper. Hope this makes sense. <sigh>

Sorry this is so long... I can't seem to say what I mean today.

It's great to know the water in your set up is not getting too hot. I was fearful of boiling roots... so insulation was not useful? Good to know. In the photo you have, is that system hooked up and running? Is it worth spending the extra money for good quality reservoirs of tough plastic, rather than the average rubbermaid $5 bin? That's are pretty tidy set up! I hope you get your own aquaponics going soon, in what space you can get for it. You've really done your homework! Just make sure I get some photos. :))

After reading all the hydro info here and in my books, it sounds best to learn and use hydro indoors first, where there is less room for error and heat damage. The requirements and attention needed for aquaponics and other outdoor set ups, hell even inside, these scare me as much as the thought o hydro inside. When I'm doing rough, my plants are ignored and forgotten, as I stay in bed for days. I'm concerned that any form of hydro set up would go to pieces from days of no attention! Equally a concern, my memory could mean forgetting to care for the set up or even what needs done. In my imagination, plant on pond was much more simple... LoL.

"If you have an exclusively raft system, you have to provide solids filtration and surface area for the bacteria to colonize with more equipment. With the media-filled tub, you get it all in one shot."


Curious here... In a filtered pond with fish and plants, the sediment on the bottom is fish waste and dirt from plants. Why is a solid filtration needed? By surface area for bacteria, do you mean on the roots? Instead of dangling the roots directly through the raft, a mesh pot of hydroton or gravel supporting the plant roots is better? OK, here's an idea for experiment...

Catch a few minnows, add to 20 gal or 2 gal tank, add bio filter that creates more oxygen in the tank. Add O2 making plants in sediment on bottom or mesh pots or add an airstone or Oxygenator for more. I already have a Styrofoam floating try that holds root cubes. I could instead use Oasis or rockwool, or if need be hyrdoton in a tint mesh pot held by Styrofoam. This should be enough space to plant a MJ cutting with no roots yet, MJ seedling or rooted clone, lettuce seedling, and basil seedling. Float these on top, then sit back and wait to see what lives and what dies.
The bucked lid mesh pot with pump and airstone looks like the most simple way to try hydro, to learn from. I do have one 6" mesh bucket lid pot.... Is this a good place to start? I'm sitting here thinking about what I've done and learned this past year... starting simple and adding more as I learn has worked. I could go out and buy a fancy hydro set easy enough, but then I'd just be following instructions to run this, without truly learning and understanding what I'm doing.

If I get this house, my water yard will be full of small ponds, streams, and waterfalls. I hope to get a mister too.... For fish, my thoughts were only small native fish like minnows and sticklebacks. I'd need to research what fish prefer what food. Goldfish eat roots, but some fish eat only the algae on the roots. hmmm Since aquaponics is waaay over my head to get into this year, I'll take the time to try my bucket lid hydro and float a small cutting or two in my 20 gallon aquarium full of whatever fish I can catch. A floating raft with lettuce and herbs on it would be perfect. These two simple ideas should teach me a lot!!!! It will take years to establish the water garden in my dreams... A simple pond or two in my garden areas will provide water and insect munching frogs. If I can just accomplish this much this summer, then figuring out what I need next summer will be that much easier.

Thanks for giving me all this info and ideas. My imagination now has sore guidelines to follow. LOL!! If I get that house, it will be this week. The seller's agent screwed up and and now will foreclose this week, unless a lawyer can fix this mess in time. This is the second place in a row that the agent for the seller has cost me the house and money spend on inspections. Twice!!! :-(
 

DL-Toker

New Member
<snipped>
This thread is all about aquaponics - I know I'm not the only one out there with knowledge of it! :welcome:
<snip>
OMG...:lot-o-toke: Just sit back and watch while I hijack your thread, Lusi...MY BAD...was updating a few threads, long reply here, got to thinking I started the thread, not you. :27: Yikes. No offense intended, just...blazed.
 

DL-Toker

New Member
So the body of the response is in the quote below: those passages marked 'Lusi' are Lusi's comments/questions to previous thread, those marked 'Me' are my responses to Lusi's posed questions/comments.

Lusi: Thanks for all the details DL!! Since you looked at my journal, you already know I love all the details. :)) <snip> The best and often the only way for me to learn is to physically do something rather than read about it or watch someone else. I feel like I have Alzheimer's, and it scare the shit out of me. I hope what I'm writing makes sense... it's hard to get thoughts on paper. Hope this makes sense. <sigh>

Me: I hear ya! Everyone learns differently, and a lot of us need to just go out and do it, figure out why it's not working as we thought it would, fix it, swear at it and rebuild....no, dude. I haven't a clue about what you're talking about. :;):

Lusi: <snip> It's great to know the water in your set up is not getting too hot. I was fearful of boiling roots... so insulation was not useful? Good to know. In the photo you have, is that system hooked up and running?

Me: I cannot speak to whether insulation was useful or not. In my first system, I started with heavy packing foam - maybe 3" deep. Wrapped/taped that around 5-gal bucket (bottom, too), placed the whole mess in a larger traditional pot, covered the top with heavy black plastic. Problems caused me to pull the insulation. No apparent change in nutrient solution temp following removal of the insulation, even later in the season when days were hotter.

Once again, while I REALLY hope you have similar results to mine, I cannot even begin to guarantee it as I haven't clue why my solution stays so cool - just that it has...so far.

Lusi: Is it worth spending the extra money for good quality reservoirs of tough plastic, rather than the average rubbermaid $5 bin?

Me: YES, YES, YES! Clear enough? :;):
Seriously, my 2nd outdoor season, I put together a rig using el-cheapo Rubber**** tubs from big-box store. PITA. :yikes:

Here's why:
1) container walls are thin - fine for for your everyday stuff, but when you fill it with water (remember and DO THE MATH - 8lbs/gal), the sides bulge out and the lid stops fitting on easily.

2) Problem #1 made worse by the fact that the container must be wrapped in heavy black plastic as the walls are too thin to stop light penetration. This makes it even harder to keep the bloody lids solidly attached, ESPECIALLY on the reservoir(s).

3) Because the container walls flex, any bulkhead connectors (must-have for RDWC rigs) you have are virtually guaranteed to leak. Worse yet, they stress the side of the container by forcing a small part of it flat while the rest is curved. Eventually, this will lead to cracking and failure.

4) In case anyone is unsure of my view, SPEND THE EXTRA few bucks on solid, strong tubs and heavy-duty, well-made bulkhead fittings from a hydro shop/site. While you CAN use bulkhead fittings from the big-box home improvers' electrical section - conduit fittings - they just aren't up to the task, IMHO. The fittings I used this season cost $2.50 each. The big-box store's fittings are only something like $1 cheaper. I think I used 10 fittings...is your grow worth $10? You get what you pay for here....and more gaskets (2 over 1) are better but not critical when it comes to your bulkhead fittings.

Still me: Observed improvement using 'nice' containers:

1) Containers not much more expensive than el-cheapo. I paid $8-10 for my el-cheapo grow tubs (18-20 gal, not sure, 2 seasons back), about $13 for the nice ones (27 gal) I've replaced them with this season. Got them all from a big-box home-improvement store. There are two of 'em (stores) - one's colors are blue, one's orange...check 'em both if you can, 'cause the price diff was huge on an identical product in my case - like over $5 per container. IDENTICAL product. Shop around if you can!

2)New containers' lids WILL need plastic covers for light (el cheapos did, too), but not critical. Container bottoms are easily heavy enough to stop light, and contoured for additional strength. No issues with lids fitting properly when filled.

3) Because they are contoured, 'nice' containers exhibit no/minor flexing when filled. Contoured sides offer plenty of nice, flat space for installation of bulkhead connectors. Container sides are sufficiently strong to minimize flexing, resulting in a nice, tight seal. No leaking as with the el-cheapo containers, where it was a constant, if low-grade PITA.

Lusi: That's are pretty tidy set up! I hope you get your own aquaponics going soon, in what space you can get for it. You've really done your homework! Just make sure I get some photos. :))

Me: Thank you for your interest and feedback! I am certainly intending to try the aquaponic route, but that's sadly more long-term. At the moment, I'm quite happy with my hydro setup and all I've learned in the course of the builds, tweaks, rebuilds and testing. I've gotten some great experience with the RDWC technique, and look forward to perfecting it further. Thanks again for your interest!

Lusi: After reading all the hydro info here and in my books, it sounds best to learn and use hydro indoors first, where there is less room for error and heat damage.

Me: Fair enough...everyone has to do what's right for them, and I really can't argue that you're better off outside when I don't know why my nutrient solution has stayed so cool right along through the seasons. Inside can eliminate a lot of variables, and that's pretty much always a great thing.

Lusi: The requirements and attention needed for aquaponics and other outdoor set ups, hell even inside, these scare me as much as the thought o hydro inside. When I'm doing rough, my plants are ignored and forgotten, as I stay in bed for days. I'm concerned that any form of hydro set up would go to pieces from days of no attention! Equally a concern, my memory could mean forgetting to care for the set up or even what needs done. <snip>

Me: I hear EXACTLY where you're coming from re: leaving the plants to their own devices. That is actually one of the things my rig was built to enable, if for different reasons than illness...bless you, bro...I hope it can improve.

My system is intentionally designed to be very large capacity in terms of gallons in the system. An advantage of this is I can leave it for weeks at a time with no ill effects given constant (even intermittent, so long as the outages aren't days long) power. The nutrient solution circulates eternally and is constantly aerated. I use NO timers at all. Both pumps (air and nutrient) run 24/7.

As a result, once the system is set up and tweaked, you can leave it to its own devices (I've DONE this in prior seasons) for 1-2 weeks without issue. Nutrient solution is added in multiple cups per feeding when the plants are larger. While it's best to continue weekly partial-drains and nutrient replenishment, if you're on vacation or laid up in bed hurting...ouch...the system just keeps circulating. All you really have to do to it is occasionally pull the roots out of the overflows on the grow tubs. I'm very into low-maintenance setups. Prefer to spend time and energy designing and perfecting a system that will run with minimal interference when done.

Lusi quoting me: "If you have an exclusively raft system, you have to provide solids filtration and surface area for the bacteria to colonize with more equipment. With the media-filled tub, you get it all in one shot."

Lusi: Curious here... In a filtered pond with fish and plants, the sediment on the bottom is fish waste and dirt from plants. Why is a solid filtration needed?

Me: because if you just let them accumulate, they'll end up accreting together and causing colonies of anaerobic bacteria to bloom. This is WAY bad as the anaerobic bacteria will poison your whole system. Very bad news. In a media tub, the solids are broken up by the ebb/flow action and the earth worms you added. Under these conditions, it's much harder for the negative anaerobic bacteria colonies to form.

Lusi: By surface area for bacteria, do you mean on the roots? Instead of dangling the roots directly through the raft, a mesh pot of hydroton or gravel supporting the plant roots is better?

Me: No, I mean the media in the media tubs (most commonly gravel due to cost, but can be other things). The beneficial bacteria can colonize every square centimeter of media that is kept damp by intermittent flooding. Note that this is a consideration in Aquaponics ONLY - in a hydroponic system, chemicals are king and the beneficial bacteria are not a consideration.

Lusi: OK, here's an idea for experiment...

Catch a few minnows, add to 20 gal or 2 gal tank, add bio filter that creates more oxygen in the tank. Add O2 making plants in sediment on bottom or mesh pots or add an airstone or Oxygenator for more. I already have a Styrofoam floating try that holds root cubes. I could instead use Oasis or rockwool, or if need be hyrdoton in a tint mesh pot held by Styrofoam. This should be enough space to plant a MJ cutting with no roots yet, MJ seedling or rooted clone, lettuce seedling, and basil seedling. Float these on top, then sit back and wait to see what lives and what dies.

Me: :smoke2: I'm in! From what I've read and so forth, I don't THINK it'll work well for reasons outlined previously. That said, I haven't actually tried it and thus can't realistically speak to whether it'll work or not. I could see a raft system being awesome for starting clones, though...yum!

If you end up trying it, I totally wanna see the log!

Lusi: The bucked lid mesh pot with pump and airstone looks like the most simple way to try hydro, to learn from. I do have one 6" mesh bucket lid pot.... Is this a good place to start? I'm sitting here thinking about what I've done and learned this past year... starting simple and adding more as I learn has worked.

Me: So it really comes down to whether you want to start with DWC or RDWC - diff is a grow tub by itself vs. 1 or more grow tubs with 1 or more external reservoirs and solution circulating between them. External reservoir holds a pump, must be below the grow tub so grow tub can continually overflow back into the external reservoir(s) via gravity.

This gives you more solution to be circulated past the roots and more liquid in general for the plants to suck up. This in turn means you can leave the tweaked and functioning system to its own devices for longer periods of time between liquid/nutrient top-off or change without (in theory) harming your crops.

In practice, a lot will depend on when and for how long you get sick relative to your grow cycle - go down right at the end of flowering and you'll have probs...ditto in the middle of flowering 'stretch'. That said, I've experienced a lot more flexibility with RDWC than straight DWC when it comes to leaving the system without a babysitter.

Lusi: I could go out and buy a fancy hydro set easy enough, but then I'd just be following instructions to run this, without truly learning and understanding what I'm doing.

Me: I so hear you here! Far better, IMHO, to study the way the commercial systems work and then figure out how to replicate the same or better functionality for pennies on the $$. This takes NOTHING away from those who choose to turn away from the DIY headaches and go for the turn-key system. You'll likely get better results faster, but at the end of the day, I'll understand better how and why my system works, and what to do to resolve problems. Bravo, Lusi! I hope you're able to get a great DIY system put together once life settles down a wee bit :bong:

Lusi: If I get this house, my water yard will be full of small ponds, streams, and waterfalls. I hope to get a mister too.... For fish, my thoughts were only small native fish like minnows and sticklebacks. I'd need to research what fish prefer what food. Goldfish eat roots, but some fish eat only the algae on the roots. hmmm Since aquaponics is waaay over my head to get into this year, I'll take the time to try my bucket lid hydro and float a small cutting or two in my 20 gallon aquarium full of whatever fish I can catch. A floating raft with lettuce and herbs on it would be perfect. These two simple ideas should teach me a lot!!!!

Me: great starting point! Try it yourself - that's the only way you can know whether your ideas will work for you or not.

Lusi: It will take years to establish the water garden in my dreams... A simple pond or two in my garden areas will provide water and insect munching frogs. If I can just accomplish this much this summer, then figuring out what I need next summer will be that much easier.

Me: the journey of 1000 miles starts with a single step... :yikes: Cliche alert! Seriously, I think most anyone is much better off starting small, learning and scaling up. If you're learning and getting a little closer to your dreams every season...good, realistic plan! :goodluck:

Lusi: Thanks for giving me all this info and ideas. My imagination now has sore guidelines to follow. LOL!! If I get that house, it will be this week. The seller's agent screwed up and and now will foreclose this week, unless a lawyer can fix this mess in time. This is the second place in a row that the agent for the seller has cost me the house and money spend on inspections. Twice!!! :-(

Me: I'll be pulling for you on the house! That process is more than enough of a PITA without involving lawyers and foreclosures, IMHO...I SO feel for ya and really hope things work out they way they need to. :bigtoke: Please keep us all updated!
Message above: see Lusi/Me markings for quoted/responded text.
 

Lusi

New Member
Hi again DL!

Don't worry about Huns king my thread. Your information is valuable to me, and likely many other people thinking along these lines. You've helped me understand this better! If you are already working on a syastem that babysits your plants when you can't, then i know who to write when it's time for me to go hydro!! :)))

In your post, You said in there that hydro is more about using chemicals and aquaponics more natural and environ friendly. Do most hydro growers not use organic? All those fancy chemicals can make huge buds, I can see why they are tempting.

Another Q for you... Did you chose back tubs mainly to keep the light from showing through, or just because those back containers are the most affordable heavy duty choice? It's great to hear feedback on the container quality and thickness. Those cheap intro hydro sets on eBay look very cheap and flimsy. I saw one of the stealth boxes being produced. It was waste high and 2.5 ft wide, perhaps 18" deep. These look cool online, but in person this one was pure schiza! You also reminded me about my attempt to build a pond on my patio, with a pond liner. I put bricks around it and supported it. It looked cool and did well until the summer heat came. I swear it melted and bulged in every free crevice. By the end of the season, I couldn't even reshape it with a heat gun. LOL I also have rubber maid containers I bought to pack valuables in to move. There're three stacked up and the bottom one is smashed. Cardboard boxes are stronger than cheap rubber maids. :-(

I met this, ah... Unusual fellow last night. He's buying a house with composting toilets, solar, wind, and with natural pools using the only Swedish tech to purify drinking water. A hundred years or more old this method, and used all over Sweden, especially in the castles and elaborte old palaces. Why in the he'll is this text just now making it to the US? Wel, i'm glad to hear it is here, but the price tag for such a thing is deadly 6 figures. I can't physically DIY projects, but I can sure as hell find a way to copy this too. Composting toilets are illegal here in CA as are all the more natural septic possibilities. Noooooo, if imget that house, i'm forced to spend 50G to put in a pressurized septic system with a pump that eats electricity. The natural pressurized version using a check valve and bacteria is illegal here. :-(((( Anyway, the point..... I found a website on natural pools with regen zones. It's been 15 years since I saw these in Sweden, but they have stayed in my mind all this time. Funny, nothing else useful stays in my mind, why this?! Let me know what you think of these links.... The regen zones don't have to have fish, but I'd want some native ones. From here, I thought to extend this system into many smaller ponds, one under the greenhouse for plant water. So, a floating raft on here would work with lettuce and greens, but not be good for MJ? As I want this pool anyway, it's worth a try. I certainly will be testing out those other two ideas, to learn from.
Here's the links:
Woodhouse Natural Pools
These are way to deep for me as I can't kick my legs enough to swim. In order to get one under 4.5' deep, the regen zones might need to be larger. That's perfect. For me, if true.
Natural Swimming Pools Book, Natural Swimming Ponds, Swimming Holes Book

So much for a short quick reply.... Gotta run and repot stuff. There's a lot here to luck up! I'm crossing my toes the lawyer I hired will fix all the screw ups and get that house for me, even with the broken septic tank. It's frustrating to have planned and dreamed so much about what I can do with this land, only to lose another house just hours before closing. This is pissing me off! I'll catch up reading this again. It's a relief to find another person who understands by doing it, not just reading about it.:)

Have a nice weekend!
Lusi
 
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