I’m on my third grow now with the autopots. First time went great, 2nd run I had a problem with root rot for one of the plants.
Currently I have 2 photos going and am trying mainlining again after learning from mistakes last time.
Here is the set-up:
15L autopots (2)
Using the root control “potsocks” this time as I had some roots going into the valve last time.
airdome with clay pellets about 75% of the way up the air dome (same as I did last time)
Media on top of that.
One of them is working fine, the pot has good weight and the top of the media is slightly moist. The same as it’s been with all my other grows. The other pot is really light. It’s pretty dry as far down as I can stick my finger.
There are 2 differences between them. I ran out of perlite and was in a rush to get it potted so the light pot only has about 5% perlite. The other one is around 20-25%. The 2nd difference is I didn’t put in a matrix disk at the bottom. Due the root rot on previous grow I didn’t want to risk spreading it to this one so I threw it out.
I noticed the leaves drooping a few days ago so started looking into it and discovered how light the pot was. I replaced the autovalve since I had a spare to see if that was the problem. No change. I’ve started watering it manually now and am curious to get peoples input on if the lack of perlite is the culprit. Obviously it’s been getting some water otherwise it would have shriveled up long ago.
I’m 2 weeks into 12/12 lighting so the thought of repotting it doesn’t sit well with me, I’d rather just keep watering it manually. Plus the roots are likely all through the airdome at this point as I noticed some coming out of the bottom when I put on the potsocks.
Thoughts? Should I try to incorporate some perlite into the top layer without disturbing the roots? There’s no roots in the top part so this is possible but will it make a difference?
Bottom of the trays is 7.5" below the bottom of the reservoir. Both trays are at the same height. Only difference is that the one with the problem is a bit farther from the reservoir but everything related to that is the same as it’s been for my previous 2 grows. The valve seems to work properly when I test it without the plant pot in the tray.
I’ve thought about the fabric pots in the past but don’t have the budget to switch over. maybe I’ll look at it again if/when I go to a bigger tent.
Yes there is water in the tray, and the roots have been getting some water because it’s been growing for a few weeks without any manual watering. I don’t believe the roots have anything to do with the wicking action, it’s the media that draws the water up and the roots spread to wet media to collect the water. That would explain why there is root development right near the surface in the completely moist plant and no roots as far as I can stick my finder down in the dry media.
I’m hoping maybe someone else grew in an autopot with 100% coco will come across this and comment on whether it worked or not.
What’s a matrix disk? Is it a copper root barrier? I’m assuming your using coco? How full are you typically keeping the rez?
I would raise the rez up higher and keep it at least 1/2 full to hopefully increase pressure to the valve.
Also, I think it’s possible that you have too much hydroton balls for the media to wick properly
The matrix disc goes at the bottom of the pot (inside). It is different from the copper root barrier and is only meant to keep dirt from getting into the tray.
Yes to coco. That’s part of the question, should it be working if it is almost 100% coco? Normally I do 20-25% perlite.
I always refill rez when it hits halfway. I really don’t think it’s due to height of tank etc because the other autopot connected to the same rez is working perfectly. I’ve switched the 2 pots around today to see if that makes a difference.
I guess it’s possible I have too many clay pellets. I thought I filled them both to the same level but maybe I put more in this one. Not really something I can check at this point without severely disturbing the root system.
You may need to manually fill this AutoPot tray a once or twice a day, until you can get through this grow. It has to be in that pot. Try to run a butter knife through the slots in the bottom of the pot. Roots may have blocked the openings.
I am using the 3.9 gallon plastic AutoPots x 4 individuals. With the new Air Base, (without stones or the Air Domes in the of the pots), and 50/50 coco, perlite. It wicks up very well, maybe too well. Since the bottom 1/4 of the two larger ones look overwatered, while the rest of the plant looks and grows great. I think, I will try the Air Domes that fit into the Air Bases next time. I am using an air pump and stones to put air into the reservoir solution. Not sure how much oxygen is getting to the plant roots, but it seems to help. I fill the reservoir with a solution ph of 5.5, and the the bubbles gradually raise the ph to 5.9 before the next refill.
I was running Mills Nutrients. While it is very good, it has some organics in a couple of the supplements. This requires cleaning the reservoir too often. I switched to Jacks, and it is amazingly clean.
Yes that would indicate the problem is in the one pot, and not the valves.
I swapped more than my share of components for troubleshooting during my career.
I would flood the tray higher than the valve would normally, and if starts wicking. The problem is probably too many stones.
If it still will not wick, I would remove the AutoPot tray, and plug the solution fed line. Put the pot in a drain tray with an elevated stand. And just start doing a water/fed to waste grow on this pot.
One thing I would recommend is a 70/30 coco/perlite blend for autopots.
And I would also recommend using the sock or copper cover for the bottom of the pots to keep the roots from coming out of the bottom and in to your valves…
This is the brand that was recommended to me from Jeff over at autopots.
I have used only this mix/brand and have had great success so far.
Great luck and happy growing
I had posted a question of if anyone had used Tupur before, and nobody replied that they had any experience with it. So I ordered some Canna coco and perlite, and used it instead. That’s good to know that it is good to use with an AutoPot, since I have two bags of it.
Another note on AutoPots. After reading the user’s manual for a second time. I caught a note that suggests maintaining a reservoir ph of 5.5 with coco. After dropping it from 5.8-6.0 to 5.5 the plants look better. This morning I was reading 5.45 in the reservoir, and 5.79 in the AutoPot tray.
I’ve always used straight coco in auto pot’s with fiber bags no issues. When the roots grow into the tray I cut them off. Amazon sells fibre bags for cheap becareful theres different widths of bag. As far as as air stones pebbles and etc its not necessary.