Kona's Pictorial Hydroponic Experiment for 2009

Growing Vegetables

Saturday September 12th, 2009

Plants have been producing fruit for a month now.

Thursday July 30th, 2009

Overflow problem solved. Some shock from cutting the roots last week.
Plants are recovering. We had a 95 degree week.
Tomatos are ripening and continuing to produce new fruit.
Tiny cucumbers. The cukes were overrun by the tomatos. Twenty-six cherry tomatos in the space of my hand.

Jalapeno peppers started. Powdery mildew attacks the cucumber plants continuously.
The mixture wipes it out really well but it comes right back.
Pic is the result of not washing the leaves for two weeks.
Luthien will mix a another batch for leaf cleaner.

Thursday July 23th, 2009

One of the tomatos was looking a bit wilted. Then the lowest of the empty funnels started overflowing during watering.
I surmized that the system was clogged by roots and not enough water was reaching into the funnels.
As you can see, the roots were getting %100 of thier water from the pipe section and none from the funnel section. I cut the roots off and cleared out the neck of the bottle with needlenose pliers. Then reasembled.
I'm using silicone to seal the joints. I scraped a line off of the paint so that I can see the water level in the funnel. Not too much though, cuz I don't want to grow slime.

Thursday July 16th, 2009

Peppers are a bit pale, some yellowing.
No new issues. No changes in feeding or water.
Every tomato blossom bears fruit.

Wednesday July 8th, 2009

System is now using about 15 liters per day.
I'm feeding it with a cocktail about twice a week.

The cocktail consists of : I estimate that the resivoir holds about 20 liters.

Friday, June 26th, 2009

Plants are flourishing. The system is using about 50 liters of water a week.
The systems is being watered on 15 minute intervals for one minute duration.
This is up from when I first put in the starts, I had it on a three hour interval.

Peppers, Cucumbers, and Tomatoes
Cucumber plants developed "Powdery Mildew" that was easily brought under control by a kitchen sink concoction by my wife.
I'll try to add a link to the recipe later.


7-8-2009 :Finally put the timer in an enclosure.

End of May 2009 Created a makeshift timer to replace the cheap Harbor Frieght timer.
This timer consists of two timer relays and an override switch.
It is much more versatile than the three hour timer.
This is set to every 30 minutes.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Here are pics of the eleven unit ebb and flow hydroponic system.

I later joined two eleven unit systems into one 18 unit system with two overflows.
The system has the bottles too close together. If I make another system, I'll put about two feet between funnels.

I got the plans for the system at http://www.hydroponicsonline.com/11plan01.htm.

Cutting bottles for the array.
The pvc, glue, and fittings cost me $27 at Home Depot to make two complete 11 unit systems.
The pumps cost me about $12 at Harbor Frieght.
Flexable tubing... don't know... more fittings... couple bucks. Timer: about $8
Extra plumbing epoxy for the leaks: $12
Seeds: about $10
Bin : had one.
pH meter: had one from years ago ($70).
Hydroton Expanded Clay : about $30 for about 60lbs on craigslist.
Fertilizer: One time expense of about $120.
(I have enough to last years. This years 70 day crop cost me about $4.)
Total construction: about $130 startup for two systems. (sure hope it works)
If this works, my costs should be minimal next year.

Marking bottle water height.
I made the mistake of glueing the overflow tube during the intial construction.
I then had to cut it and insert a spacer. The original design for the nutrient height
was lower than I wanted. I didn't glue it and it's now adjustable by about an inch.
The tube operates properly. Also, because the 1" pipe is so large, I don't have a
syphon effect issue and didn't bother to drill the hole in the overflow tube.
I'll watch to see if this becomes a problem later.

Mark the bottles 1" above the highest possible water level.

Penelope Claire

Folded fence material for the bottle neck drains.

Testing the system... every joint leaked.

Closeup of plumbing epoxy used at the joints.
It mostly worked. I still had a couple leaks and need to do little more in some spots.

The plumbing epoxy was a ripoff. It turned into cookie and flaked apart.
I found a different brand that worked somewhat better, but still had leaks.
In the end I gunked the joints with white silicon sealant for tubs and showers.
After about 3 applications, the joints are sealed and don't leak.

I'm using a cheap Harbor Frieght 8 event timer to control the pump.
It runs for 1 minute every three hours. One minute is more than enought to
flood the system.
This timer was insuficient and had to be replaced with a custom one after about 2 months.

The system is up and running.
I have it inside on the dryer because it's still too cold for the plants outside.
This means that the light source is only a regular flourecent bulb.
I have the 400W Metal halide set up on the back porch. Our house is tiny.

Here are pics of the seedlings transfered to the ebb and flow system.
All seedlings were lost. I added them to the system too early.
All plants growing in the system after April were store bought starts.

Cucumber 3-16-09 transfered to the ebb and flow system two days ago.

Spinach 3-16-09 (transfered two days ago).

Various Tomatoes transfered today (3-18-09). I'll cul them out later.

Sunday March 1st, 2009

Tomato success and failure

Tomato seed that were sandwiched in damp papertowel and left in the shade all sprouted.

The Tomato seeds exposed to light during the germination took twice as long to sprout if at all.

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