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View Full Version : New to hydroponics, have a plan, but had some questions



Mahonroy
01-05-2010, 08:07 PM
Hello my name is Matt,
So I'm new to hydroponics and came up with a system I believe, but wanted to ask you guys a couple questions to clarify a couple of things.
First off I am planning on growing peppers (habaneros, jolokia, devil's tongue, jalapenios, etc.)
So I uploaded a couple pics of how the setup is going to be (or very similar). Basically using pvc tubing, hole saw a bunch of holes for the cups to sit in, and a water line running along side that will spray the roots, then have a drain at the back to run back to the water reservoir. Is this called aeroponics by the way?
My first question, was that I was confused about the spraying water. Are the roots only going to get water when the water pump is on and spraying the roots? Or will the roots be submerged in the water as well? (So I would have a drain thats like 1 inch tall so the water will stay in the tube up to an inch before draining).
My second question, is does the water need to be spraying the roots 100% of the time? Or is there a timed interval I should follow?
Also I was planning on just using high pressure sodium lights, since I heard they are better for growing plants with fruits? (e.g. peppers). Or is it best to use metal hallide first, then switch over to high pressure sodium later?

My last question has to do with starting everything. I'm under the impression that I'm going to get rock wool chunks, soak in the nutrition solution, put a seed in (do I put multiple in or just a single seed per rock wool?) and put them all in a plastic container to keep humidity up. Do I need to provide light during this, or do the seeds contain enough energy to grow a bit before needing outside stuff? At this point, do I basically just put the rock wool chunks in the plastic cups and pill with pearlite and thats it?

Thanks for taking the time and reading my post, and sorry for all the questions, but any help is greatly appreciated!

Mahonroy
01-07-2010, 03:02 PM
Or can anyone help me on just one of these questions? Thanks again!

Amigatec
01-07-2010, 06:10 PM
I like this setup, I may try something similar, but more of a drip system.

tomjon
01-13-2010, 12:37 PM
Mahonroy, do you have spray/mist fittings to put on the pipe running alongside the roots? If so, you do not need to let the water level get high enough to reach the roots, as long as they are being sprayed. If this is the case, yes, you will need to have them spraying 24/7 for optimal results.

The problem with aeroponics is that the spray fittings can clog very easily when nutrients build up in them, so you have to keep a very close eye on the system, and replace any fittings that clog immediately. A good way to handle this problem is redundancy, having a backup plan in case you aren't there to clean out a spray nozzle. I suppose that having the water level be high enough for the roots to be partially submerged is a good way to do this.

You could drop the spray idea, and just have water at a very low level running through the pipe, which would technically be a nutrient film system. Aeroponics will probably produce better results, but you have to make sure the fittings stay unclogged.

A HPS lamp will work just fine, but be prepared for much taller, more spindly plants. I grew tomato plants under a 600w HPS from start to finish and the vines eventually reached around 14 feet in length, internodal spacing was around one foot though. If you use a metal halide bulb until flowering, your plants will be much bushier and sturdier.

Its up to you which way to do it, if you choose just to use the HPS the whole time, make sure you have a good method of supporting the plants, because they will stretch out. In fact, it might be a good idea to provide support even if you choose metal halide, because there is nothing for the plants to hold onto at their base.

You can put just one seed in each cube, if you do that, start with more cubes/seeds than you plan on growing, because they may not all germinate. I usually put two seeds in each cube, and just pull out one of the sprouts if both seeds germinate. You may want to consider using hydroton or 3" rockwool cubes instead of perlite. I find that it gets very messy and that the plants tend to do better in rockwool or hydroton. Another great option is coconut husk, which is my favorite, but rockwool is the least messy option.

You do not need to provide light until the sprouts cotyledons (the first set of leaves [seed leaves]) are showing above the soil. Also, you can use a very weak nutrient solution, maybe 1/4th strength or even lower, for the sprouts. A lot of people don't provide nutrients during germination, but I think that it helps the plants because there are extra nutrients available the second the root sprouts from the seed, similar to the conditions in soil.

Mahonroy
01-20-2010, 04:49 PM
This was a ton of help and answered a lot of my questions, thanks!