1st grow, Hydroponic drip in Rockwool

Hello people!

I’m completely new to growing. The idea to do this came when a friend of mine bought a small semi-automated growbox and I realized that the Covid restrictions are going to last for quite a while. I will build a hydroponic drip system with rockwool cubes. My goal is to have a system that is semi-automated and remote controlled, so that I can stay away for 1-2 weeks.

Equipment:

Tent 80x80cm
Light: Lumatec Attic 200w
Tray and reservoir: Platinum EBB&Flow 60x60 - 30L reservoir
Irrigation system: Unknown - pump with 16 feeder hoses.
Fan and filter
Nutrients: Canna Aqua

Seeds: AK47 and White Widow feminized, two plants

Remote control equipment:
Raspberry Pi 4 with Homeseer
Z-wave dongle
Z-wave plugs (220v remote control switches)
Two Foscam cameras with app for IOS

I have ordererd, and will try to implement the following over an Arduino board connected to the Homeseer system:
Temperature sensors:

  • Reservoir temp
  • Tent air temperature
  • Outside tent temperature (to adjust fan speed)
  • Rockwool cube temperature.
    Humidity sensor in tent
    PH sensor
    Hygrometer for the cubes
    Water level indicator for Reservoir (ultrasound)

Seeds are germinated, and right from the start I made a couple of mistakes. Over watering the seedlings and giving them way to little light. This is hopefully now fixed.

Log:

8.apr White Widow germination started
9.apr AK47 germination started (the seeds took a long time to arrive, I had given up, hence the day difference)
10.apr watered both rockwool seedling media (should not have done this)
12.apr watered again (yep!)
13.apr both plants shows signs of light deprivation, and the AK47 of overwatering. Posted here and got advice!
14.apr transplanted both plants. WW in double cubes, AK47 in single cube (not sure what is the best) Put tinfoil to cover the light-exposed areas to avoid algae growth.

Questions:

  1. When using double rockwool cubes, do you set up both when you transplant, or do you wait with the last one.
  2. Feeding schedule. I suppose once a day is sufficient for now?

This is how the plants looked yesterday (WW is left, AK47 right):

There seems to be some improvement. Here is my WW today:


And the AK47:

Cheers!

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I could be wrong as im only new to this growing stuff myself but to me it looks like your lights might be too far from the plant causing it to stretch so tall. Please let the experts here help ya tho. That’s just my 2 pennies.

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Wow… That is quite a task… Nice idea… Curious how it pans out… Will be lurking… :wink:

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Update. I now have set up the temperature sensors so I can monitor tent and reservoir temperatures (is reservoir the right word?)

I have set up the drip system, and I feed the plants twice per day for 10 minutes, I get run off from the bottom of the rockwool cubes after ca 5 minutes.

The White Widow now looks like this:


And the AK47 like this:

As you could see, the AK looks darker. I have no idea if this is bad, or just the strain.
Another picture of the setup:

I have a 8 day trip I need to do this coming friday, so this will be the first test of remotely controlling the grow.

The reservoir should be able to hold 30L, and my plan is to set another 20L tank outside the tent to refill if the reservoir runs low. I doubt my plants are that thirsty, but better safe than sorry.

I have ordered parts and a new humidifier. The plan is to set it up with an extra tank outside the tent for refills. Not sure how well this will go, worst case my plants will have to do with the relative humidity of 30% for the week I’m away.

Questions:
Is my feeding schedule of 10 minutes twice per day OK?
If my humidifier project fails, will the plants survive. I live in northern Europe, and the humidity is around 26% now.
My plants have suffered from Light deprivation, hence the long and skinny structure. Should i support them for my stay away?
Any other tips?

Cheers

Whitenoise

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Update: getting ready for my trip

I will not be ready for any automated refills, so I have bought a new camera wich would give me better overview of the tent, so that I can manually observe any refill event:


It can be adjusted up/down and sideways, and has 4x zoom.

I will fill my reservoir with 30L of nutrient solution, and place an extra 20L tank outside. Tested this today:


The following pictures are all taken from the new camera from the Ipad app:
On my PH meter, the PH value is the only valid number, the EC and temperature probe is just in air. On the right the “out temperature” is my nutrient reservoir, the “in temperature” is temperature in tent, and my RH is 49%.

This is my White Widow:

This is my AK47:

This is a picture of my humidifier and reservoir. I will have to observe here if I need to refill water or nutrients:

Hopefully with this setup I will be able to remote control the grow for 8 days. I have control over lights, feeding schedule, humidifier on/off, and refill of water and nutrients. If the PH should wander off, I will need to call for help :slight_smile:

Cheers

Whitenoise

3 Likes

do you control anything remotely appart from the cam?

Yes, I have a Homeseer system with 220v on off plugs (Z-wave). I can then set rules for when they should go on and off, or control them manually:
Lights (on at 7AM, off at 1AM)
Feeding: 10m on at 10AM and 10m on at 10PM
Refill Humidifier: Set to 2 min intervals, will fill up 10L each time activated.
Refill nutrient reservoir: Set to 2 min intervals, 10L each time.
Humidifier power: I have a very simple humidifier, so I might need to turn it off for some minutes per hour to keep the humidity within 40-60%. I am tuning this now.

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Update: I went away for 8 days.

So, I left my plants for 8 days. My plan was to monitor, and remote control a little for a good weeks leave. I could control watering of plants, lights, and a humidifier which I could not refill. I just let it run for 6h per day, it lasted 5 out of the 8 days. I also had a reserve tank with ready nutrient water outside, ready to refill my main reservoir.

My plants looked like this (2 days before I left, day 12 after germination)


I did not do much, other than monitor PH, and confirm that the watering session would happen (2x20m per 24h). I was deeply concerned that a RH of 20% during most of the day would ruin my plants, but they did not seem to bother at all . This is on day 16/17:

And this is on day 25 (yesterday)

I have a couple of leaves that has symptoms of something bad, its very few but I’m concerned:

So all in all, the only thing i did remotely was to refill 8-10L of nutrients, wich i did not have to do. Will try to rig up some more automation for next trip, the big thing I want to do now is to change nutrients completely if needed.

Any tips on the leaf problem?

Cheers

Whitenoise

1 Like

Fantastic job there brother! :+1:t2::joy::sunglasses:

Update: soon 4 weeks into flowering.

As I wrote in the last update, I went away for 8 days and everything worked flawlessly. I could monitor the feeding, lights, and adjust these with the Z-wave plugs. Cameras were awesome and I felt comfortable giving my girls some digital love.

I had a few weeks at home before I had to go away on another 8 day trip. I had filled my reservoir with 20L of ready nutrition solution and an extra 20 L in a tank with Z-wave remote controlled pump to refill. I only had a camera to confirm the nutrient level, but it worked fine. I have the equipment to automatically measure tank levels to my Homeseer system, but I havent got it to work yet.

Then disaster struck. Two days into my trip, and on day 40 of the grow, I wake up to this picture:

The Z-wave plug used for the feeding pump failed. And there was nothing I could do to reset it from abroad. I could see in the log of the system that the pump had failed the day before, and the plants had now been without nutrients for 16 hours. The one on the right still managed well, because it was way smaller, but the one on the left…

I had to call a friend of mine to go to my place to replace it. He was at work, so I had to wait 5 hours feeling very bad for my plant. Fortunately, it recovered well. Then 4 days later, it happened again :frowning: Same procedure with the friend, and I have now lost all confidence in the Z-wave system. It is really wierd, I use it for the lights, the airstone, and the feeding pump. Only the feeding pump has failed, with two different plugs. I felt relieved when I came back home to find my plants alive and well.

These pictures are from today (26 days into flowering):


I will be trying to implement different switches for my next grow, as I need to go away from time to time. I also lacked plant training completely during these travels, and during the last one, they grew alot.

Cheers

Whitenoise

1 Like