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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Oatmeal,<br><br>
I am really interested to hear how you grow your plants hydroponocally and I'm sure others are too. If you could explain a little bit, that would be wonderful.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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Yeah, but what kind of plants are you wanting to grow? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D">
 

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Heh, I think Robert has one very special kind of "herb" in mind - one which is often associated with hydroponics. YAY for Canada, headquarters of the "homegrown world" this side of the Atlantic! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D"><br><br><br><br>
Wow. This will be cool thread! I will post some info shortly, probably stretched out over several posts and days, with pics, websites and all... Stay tuned! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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cool! Looking forward to it! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/cool3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":cool:">
 

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Here's what I'm going to do.<br><br><br><br>
First, I'll talk a bit about hydroponics in general, the kinds of systems mostly in use today, pros-cons, costs, etc.<br><br><br><br>
Then I will give you a tour of my latest outdoor garden - which is almost dysfunctional at the moment (see below), but it should still be sufficient to demonstrate hydroponics.<br><br><br><br>
Finally, the most enjoyable part. The reason my outdoor garden is ripped apart is that I'm in the process of extending/rebuilding it. I will document the progress in this thread with pics and descriptions. I estimate that it will take about a week to 10 days until The New and Extended Garden is up and running. So you'll get a kind of hands on feeling for building a hydroponic system. Sounds good? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D"><br><br><br><br>
---<br><br>
I have not found any satistactory newbie material about hydroponics on the web. So I was thinking of putting something together and maybe putting it out on the web anyway. This will be a good start for me to get started. And who knows? Maybe I even could publish it as a huge bestseller! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D">
 

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WHAT IS HYDROPONICS:<br><br><br><br>
When plants are grown naturally, the soil serves two purposes:<br><br><br><br>
1. provide support for the plant<br><br>
2. provide the plant with water and nutrients.<br><br><br><br>
Besides water, there are 16 nutrient elements plants need to take up from the soil through their roots. These can come either from organic sources and organic fertilizers (such as compost, animal manure) or anorganic fertilizers (MiracleGro, "no brand" N-P-K fertilizer etc).<br><br><br><br>
In hydroponics (HP), the plants are suspended in some kind of support system, and their roots are constantly or periodically sprayed with or immersed in a water / nutrient mixture.<br><br><br><br>
One of the most popular HP systems both among hobbyists and commercial growers is NFT (Nutrient Film Technique). I'll concentrate on NFT here.<br><br><br><br>
This image will show you the schematics of an NFT system.<br><br><br><br><a href="http://www.simplyhydro.com/images/nft.gif" target="_blank">http://www.simplyhydro.com/images/nft.gif</a><br><br><br><br>
The plants are grown in a trough or pipe. A thin film of water/nutrient mixture is kept flowing constantly at the bottom of the tray. The nutrient solution is held by the <i>reservoir</i>, and is recirculated by a small water pump. (The airpump+airstone are optional items)<br><br><br><br>
The roots of the plants grow down, into the nutrient mix, and eventually build a thick "carpet" on the bottom of the tray.<br><br><br><br><br><br>
ADVANTAGES OF HYDROPONICS:<br><br><br><br>
* water usage is minimum. (there is no runoff and only little evaporation)<br><br><br><br>
* fertilizer usage is minimum. In a dirt garden, you have apply a lot of water/fertilizer mix to reach the roots of the plant -> a lot of it is wasted.<br><br><br><br>
( For example, MiracleGro recommends 1 tablespoon fertilizer per each gallon of water to fertilize your plants in a dirt garden. In contrast, when using MiracleGro as a hydroponic nutrient (which is possible with some caveats), 1/4 of a <i><b>tea</b></i>spoon per gal is sufficient for some impressive vegetative growth in the system. )<br><br><br><br>
* HP plants are generally larger and faster growing than dirt plants, because the root zone and nutrient conditions are optimal, and the plants never suffer "famine" or "drought". They are always well fed and can develop at a fast speed.<br><br><br><br>
* Because you grow without soil, the chance of soil-born diseases is at a minimum.<br><br><br><br>
* You can grow hydroponically pretty much everywhere. I know that the researchers at the north pole have a small hydroponic garden to grow some greens - the only fresh food they eat. There is quite an acreage of hydro tomato growers in the cooler regions of Canada. There's eggplant growing in New Zealand in the winter. HP can be an interesting niche to get into, making possible to grow unusual, out-of-season, or impossible to grow crops in the given region and to sell it at premium prices.<br><br><br><br>
Reasons <i>Oatmeal</i> likes HP include further:<br><br><br><br>
* I have no dirt garden.<br><br><br><br>
* I like to plan and build things.<br><br><br><br>
* I dig the Cyborg theme. (building "green machines" out of man-made materials such as plastic and metal).<br><br><br><br>
* Also, because I don't have a house and am not settled down, it's seems very practical that I can disassemble my gardens and take them with me wherever I may go and live. I can get back to growing quickly and easily, even in an apartment, if only to grow a few herbs.<br><br><br><br><br><br>
DISADVANTAGES OF HYDROPONICS:<br><br><br><br>
* Cost & complexity. Obviously, getting into HP requires some learning and and some investment. How much, depends on your abilities, goals and $$$ (see below).<br><br><br><br>
* Some systems (such as the NFT we're discussing) are very sensitive to power outages. If no precautions are taken, it's possible for the whole garden to die within a few hours, if power goes out (or the system breaks down otherwise) on a hot summer day. (However, not all HP systems suffer from this problem, and even NFT's tolerance for system failure can be improved).<br><br><br><br>
* Sometimes the nutrient solution can transmit diseases. This happens very fast and all plants could be infected in only a matter of hours.<br><br><br><br><br><br>
HYDROPONIC FERTILIZERS:<br><br><br><br>
They are different from dirt fertilizers, in that they are of higher quality (=high purity, high accuracy of nutrient amount measurement). Store-bought HP fertilizers usually contain a good mix of nutrients, suitable for most any plant and situation.<br><br><br><br><br><br>
GETTING STARTED IN HYDROPONICS:<br><br><br><br>
It all depends on your financial situation, your interest in planning and building things, and the time you are willing to invest in your new hobby.<br><br><br><br>
The endpoints of the spectrum are:<br><br><br><br>
* build your own systems, mix your own nutrient solution, start your own plants from seed / cuttings -> cheapest, however most time consuming, requires good knowledge of HP, building things, seed starting, etc.<br><br><br><br>
* buy systems, buy seedlings and buy the nutrient solution -> most expensive, but fastest - gets you growing immediately.<br><br><br><br>
Currently I am (and most other hobbyists are) building my own and starting my own, but I use a store-bought nutrient. This keeps the costs low, and the fun factor high.<br><br><br><br><br><br>
STORE BOUGHT SYSTEMS<br><br><br><br>
These are a great way to get growing fast (although I never had one).<br><br><br><br>
Unfortunately, the large number of yuppie pot growers drives the price of hobby hydroponic systems high. The systems are quite posh, and the sellers have large profit margins. (Blame the war on drugs for that one as well...)<br><br><br><br>
But no question, these systems are nice, look good and work very well, and can get you up and growing instantly.<br><br><br><br>
This system...<br><br><br><br><a href="http://homeharvest.com/americanhydronft.htm" target="_blank">http://homeharvest.com/americanhydronft.htm</a><br><br><br><br>
... costs $400, but could be built for less than $100, including pump and reservoir.<br><br><br><br><br><br>
HOME-BUILT SYSTEMS<br><br><br><br>
If you go the this route, you'll need some tools, but not many. I do all my hobbyprojects with hand tools and a <a href="http://www.dremel.com/productdisplay/tool_family_template.asp?SKU=1003009005&Color=99CCFF" target="_blank">Dremel</a>. Occasionally I'd rent a larger power tool).<br><br><br><br>
Parts you'll need include plumbing supplies, PVC pipes/gutters, drip irrigation components, pumps, hoses, and plastic boxes / trash cans / totes suitable as reservoir. Your local Home Depot or O.S.H. should have all of these.<br><br><br><br><br><br>
-------------------<br><br><br><br>
Coming up..... One of Oatmeal's gardens.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you for spending the time to tell us. It seems like such an interesting thing to start. maybe you should write a book.....money for what you would write anyway.hmmm..why not?
 

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Oatmeal, can you please tell more on building your own systems? Where did you learn how to build them? Do you have any recommended reading sources for more information? I hope you don't mind the questions, but you have my curiosity.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block"><i>Originally posted by Oatmeal</i><br><br>
Heh, I think Robert has one very special kind of "herb" in mind - one which is often associated with hydroponics. YAY for Canada, headquarters of the "homegrown world" this side of the Atlantic! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D"></div>
</div>
<br><br><br>
Actually... I don't enjoy the "herb" myself... well not in many years anyway <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br><br><br>
But I'd guess-timate that 40 to 60% of every veg* I know smokes it. I know several here locally. Interestingly, Canada was about to "legalize" marijuana usage here (remove it from the criminal code), but there was a huge outcry from reps in the US and so they never completely legalized it. At least not yet anyway. Ahhh, but this is off-topic and I digress... carry on.
 

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<b>sunshinemelissa</b> (love that username! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">)<br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block"><i>Originally posted by sunshinemelissa</i><br><br><b>Thank you for spending the time to tell us. It seems like such an interesting thing to start. maybe you should write a book.....money for what you would write anyway.hmmm..why not?</b></div>
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You're welcome <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">. Indeed, hydroponics is a very interesting thing. I could go on about it indefinitely, I think. LOL about the book! Who knows how popular it would be. Personally I'd like every house and apartment to have a hydro garden (or grow room) for veggies. Maybe then there would be a real market for hydroponics books for newbies... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D"><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><b>Apple</b> (love that username too! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">)<br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block"><i>Originally posted by Apple</i><br><br><b>Oatmeal, can you please tell more on building your own systems? Where did you learn how to build them? Do you have any recommended reading sources for more information? I hope you don't mind the questions, but you have my curiosity.</b></div>
</div>
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I sure can and will, see my next post. You'll see that building a hydroponic system is not really difficult. You CAN make elaborate structures and control systems, but in its basics, HP is a simple thing. I learned how to build HP systems by looking at other gardens, visiting shops, talking to people and figuring out my "own" solutions for different problems. There are a few hobby growers who have posted pics of their systems on the web.<br><br><br><br>
And I of course read a lot about hydroponics (as well as greenhouse growing and farming in general). It's a good point you raise - I will make a post here with some pointers (books, magazines, URLs) for further reading in a few days.<br><br><br><br><br><br><b>Robert</b><br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block"><i>Originally posted by Robert</i><br><br><b>Actually... I don't enjoy the "herb" myself... well not in many years anyway <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br><br><br>
But I'd guess-timate that 40 to 60% of every veg* I know smokes it. I know several here locally.</b></div>
</div>
<br><br><br>
LOL - I won't tell anyone if you don't ask in which category I belong...<br><br><br><br>
I'm always up for a good war on drugs bashing, but you're right - maybe not here... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D">
 

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OATMEAL'S OUTDOOR GARDEN<br><br><br><br>
(well - what's left of it currently, anyway...)<br><br><br><br>
I decided to put up a webpage, instead of posting a lot of pics here, and make Michael's and Robert's lives difficult.<br><br><br><br>
So... click the link below to take a tour of my own little hydro system!<br><br><br><br><a href="http://hq.tingo.com:8080/~barna/hydro/" target="_blank">http://hq.tingo.com:8080/~barna/hydro/</a><br><br><br><br>
I hope you'll find it enjoyable - I'm not a photo pro as you'll see. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/wink3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=";)"><br><br><br><br>
Post any remarks, questions or requests you might have here.<br><br><br><br><br><br>
I will now (that is tomorrow or the day after) begin to build the new components. I will continue to post to this thread as I make progress to keep any interested VBers up to date. This will hopefully give you a feel for building hydroponic systems.<br><br><br><br>
Stay tuned! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D">
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
That is SPECTACULAR!!!<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D"> The lettuce roots are amazing . Where did you get the sewage pipe?
 

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robert, just so ya know. CANADA IS NOT GOING FOR LEGALIZATION ITS GOING FOR DECRIMINALIZATION. wich is the wrong way, legalization is the right way. to me at least. any your never to old to toke herb, why not make that years and years ago a " yesterday" .
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block"><i>Originally posted by V3gan</i><br><br><b>robert, just so ya know. CANADA IS NOT GOING FOR LEGALIZATION ITS GOING FOR DECRIMINALIZATION. wich is the wrong way, legalization is the right way. to me at least. any your never to old to toke herb, why not make that years and years ago a " yesterday" .</b></div>
</div>
<br><br><br>
Ahhhh, you are right... I stand corrected on the legalization/de-criminalization thing.<br><br><br><br>
Age is not the reason I stopped smoking it year<b>s</b> ago... the way it (personally) made me tired and lazy was the big thing.<br><br><br><br>
Oatmeal... let me ask you... have you any plans to build a website how-to guide sort of thing for Hydroponic growing? I would suspect there's enough people interested you could produce a downloadable (paid) e-book or a CD or even a membership based site.<br><br><br><br>
Certainly I am interested in learning more about it, especially with our climate which gives us an actual winter season (IE, ground is frozen solid).
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Robert said you could have a paid site. I think that's great except for I get it for free <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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Thank you all! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br><br><br>
I actually have finished the rebuild a few days ago. I've also taken pictures, so the only thing to do is to write some text and put them out on the web. Keep checking back on this thread, I will post the new stuff soon.<br><br><br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block"><i>Originally posted by Robert</i><br><br><b>Oatmeal... let me ask you... have you any plans to build a website how-to guide sort of thing for Hydroponic growing? I would suspect there's enough people interested you could produce a downloadable (paid) e-book or a CD or even a membership based site.<br><br><br><br>
Certainly I am interested in learning more about it, especially with our climate which gives us an actual winter season (IE, ground is frozen solid).</b></div>
</div>
<br><br><br>
Actually, I've been thinking for quite some time now about writing something together. There simply is not one canonical resource for beginners and for discussing hydroponics online.<br><br><br><br>
I think a website would be great, starting out with step-by-step instructions for building hydroponic systems.<br><br><br><br>
An vBulletin-like online community would be <i>awesome</i>. I know that there are many hydro growers out there, but they are scattered around on small mailing lists and crappy online boards. I wonder how much traffic such a "professional" board would generate.<br><br><br><br>
The interest here sure gets me excited! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"> I will think about how to get this project going. Alas I can only proceed slowly because I only have limited time right now for hobbies (VB keeps me busy - jk <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/wink3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=";)">), but I definitely think this is a good idea and worth to spend some time on. Hydroponics is a cool hobby and deserves to get a good online place.<br><br><br><br>
I know that my next project will be building a "huge" lettuce system (50 plants to start with, but planned are at least 100). I could document that process in detail and use it as the basis for the website.<br><br><br><br>
I think the site would be free (not only for sunshinemelissa <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/wink3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=";)">). I could maybe rely on donations to pay the bills (should the site be successful at all), and maybe affiliations with and advertisement from selected merchants. Should it ever come this far, I will know I can ask you VB wizards for expertise... Let's see! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/wink3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=";)">
 
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