Whats the next step

Hey people was wondering if there was any advice on what my next step should be . Iv put my ogesus ( ogkush/ dwarf widow) autoflower seed in root riot . Put in propagated and left it for 4 days with the odd watering . The tap root has come out about any inch from the bottom of my root riot cude. Am doing a dwc and a soil one. The one that has germinated is destined for dwc I put the root riot in my net pot and the stone things ,rapped it in tin foil. And put it back in the propagated with the air getting in . Just now a but confused as to how i go about keeping it alive to the point where I put it in the dwc bucket

Any advice is a help. thanks in advanced

Heres a pic of a beautiful seedling starting life

Let me call someone who can help. @Wishingilivedina420state can you advise?

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@Myfriendis410 I’m not sure I’m the guy to go to on dwc, as I don’t use that set up. Soil yes I’m ok and learning this coco stuff as I go. I think @Donaldj , @garrigan65 and @ktreez420 would be the guys to ask advice on hydro.

@Myfriendis410 thanks for tag wish I could have been more helpful.

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@Buddy2

I’m a soil guy, but i had this in my files. This is just part of that file. When your ready let me know and i’ll send part 2 of 4 ok

Will

HYDROPONICS, THE BASICS

The most important thing for you is to realize is that Hydroponics should be easy. It is easier for the home grower to grow Hydroponically than in soil and that’s a fact! This is the reason for this booklet. In this booklet I hope to show you how easy, how inexpensive, and how satisfying Hydroponics is. Simply there is no easier way to grow, house plants, ornamental plants, vegetables such as tomatoes, lettuce, beans, fruit, root crops such as potatoes, carrots, onions, flowers such as roses and carnations, bulbs, vines, trees, orchids, herbs, anything in Hydroponics. To my knowledge, there is nothing that is grown that cannot be grown using hydroponic techniques. In Europe they call Hydroponics, “soil-less culture”. This is in fact, the best possible way to describe what we do. We take away the nutritional control of soil, by using a balanced liquid containing 99.9% water, and 0.1% of the Minerals found in soil. Instead of soil giving out some nutrient whenever it can, Hydroponics gives the right amount all the time. Hydroponic nutrient is totally organic (in terms of not artificial or synthetic compounds), except the minerals are mined from the ground and are then balanced to exact proportions, so your plant will get exactly what they need, nothing more, and certainly nothing less! In fact if we could take the perfect soil and dissolve it, we would have exactly what a nutrient solution is, totally natural, but under your control.

Apart from nutrients, the most important thing we do in a Hydroponic growing design is make sure the plants have access to Oxygen. Basically, this means that they are not growing in water so they drown, but have a supply of air around their roots. I will explain more about this shortly.

The burning question in your mind should be:-

How do I get started in Hydroponics?

This is the question I most want to answer in this book. I will discuss the major systems and hopefully lead you to the conclusion that Hydroponics is EASY.

To get started in Hydroponics is as simple as deciding what system will best suit the plants I wish to grow? This question determines the type of system.

The systems described further on explain whether they suit small plants like lettuce and herbs with smaller root systems or larger plants like tomatoes and cucumbers with larger root systems, short term crops like lettuce or long term crops that will be in the system for more than 3-4 months. Remember, plants such as tomatoes can be harvested and removed, from short-term systems, before they clog up the system with roots, but some crops will be harvested for long periods. E.g. flower and cannabis crops may cut without the actual plant being removed. These can be an extreme example, of a long-term crop, but their roots could be trimmed, or plants replaced with young seedlings instead of re-cropping.

We’ll discuss more with each system.
THE FIVE BASICS

  1.  LIGHT
    

Light is the energy that creates life. Life cannot exist without it, and cannot thrive without enough of it. Plants process up to 5,000 foot-candles of light intensity to get the energy to grow. The sun is around 1,000,000 foot-candles. Shade can be lower than 1,000 foot-candles.

Plants will enjoy much light, but some do not like all the heat put out by sunlight. Shade cloth is ideal for hot conditions, also to keep plants from, insects, wind, rain and other damage, but rarely is the requirement for low light levels.

Sunlight is an ideal source of light for plants. It is bright and contains the Reds and Blues necessary to produce good healthy growth. However it also has infrared, Green and Ultra-Violet light.

The infrared light or heat is absolutely necessary or we would all freeze to death, but it can be too little or too much heat. Too little heat is best combated by using a recirculating hydroponic system. By heating the nutrient in the tank, and pumping the 20 to 25C nutrient around we can keep the plants warm. Excess heat in summer, can be alleviated by cooling the tank, usually by aerating the tank heavily. By using a venturi, a water jet, or having the nutrient rising and falling into the tank like a waterfall will cool the nutrient as it passes through the air.

It is not necessary to worry about green light as it is usually reflected off the leaves, making them look green. There is some evidence that shows that a reduction in Ultra Violet (or UV) light can improve growth. If you are growing under glass or plastic this may interest you.

We generally grow outdoors, so just use common sense. If you’d feel hot or cold in the sunlight, then the plants would feel that too. Plants tend to grow well in the same climate as humans feel comfortable. A great way to grow is under artificial horticultural lights that will allow more control, and less damage from the elements, but that is a decision you can make. What I can tell you is that, a 400-Watt plant light, costs very little to run, but the benefits are, faster growth (from up to 18 hours of light per day), more control of the seasons through day length, less pest problems, no wind, rain and less cold problems. But you may need an exhaust fan to ensure good air circulation and no heat build up in warm climates. (See Appendix on Artificial Light)

RULE: A PLANT GETS ALL ITS ENERGY FROM THE LIGHT IT ABSORBS THROUGH ITS LEAVES. LOWER THE LIGHT LEVELS AND YOU REDUCE THE GROWTH RATE.
2. OXYGEN TO NUTRIENT RATIO

Oxygen keeps a plant’s roots healthy and allows the plant to take up nutrient. Oxygen is the key to growth rate. Without oxygen around the roots, the roots will rot and die. You cannot grow in water, unless you dissolve oxygen in it. The recommendation is that you do not grow in water, just feed enough nutrients to keep the roots moist, with access to oxygen. The 5 systems I have described in this book will have varying degrees of oxygen according to their design. The oxygen level or the oxygen to nutrient ratio is the key to success.

RULE: PLANTS CANNOT TAKE UP THEIR NUTRIENTS UNLESS OXYGEN IS PRESENT. THE MORE OXYGEN, THE FASTER THE UPTAKE OF NUTRIENT.
3. NUTRIENT STRENGTH

Assuming you have a commercial brand of nutrient made by a good Australian company such as Accent Hydroponics, Growth Technology or the like, you will get excellent consistency in the nutrient. Always use a 2 part A&B style nutrient where possible. Nutrients must be solely designed for Hydroponics. Soil fertilisers require bacteria to break down more complex elements into useful ones. They are likely to be less soluble, not pH adjusted, and are usually too slow to release the necessary elements to be suitable for Hydroponic systems. Plants may grow for a little while in Hydroponics using soil fertilisers but they generally exhibit minor mineral deficiencies, then develop major deficiencies, until even changing to a Hydroponic nutrient can not correct the disorders. Soil fertilisers normally kill hydroponically grown plants, but not overnight. Certainly they will never produce as nature intended them to if you do not supply the right amount of minerals in a soluble form.

There are a range of companies offering a grow (High Nitrate) nutrient and a bloom (high Potash) nutrient. Neither will MAKE a plant do anything. You can use these formulas to approximate the nutritional requirements of your plants. When growing, a plant generally takes more nitrates, and during flower production and/or fruit production, plants generally increase their potash and phosphate uptake, but lessen their need for nitrates. However, in cloudy, overcast or short days of the year, the plants will take up more potash and phosphorus due to lower light levels, and on sunny, long, cloudless days the plants nitrate uptake is greater. Sounds confusing? It isn’t really. Most manufacturers put an excess of everything into their general-purpose nutrients. But when in doubt, ask a store. Also, when people tell you an imported nutrient is better, don’t believe them, unless they’ve tested a good Australian nutrient with a growth additive like Superthrive, Budwiser or Organic Growth Promotant (OGP). They will find out smartly, that these nutrients only grow a bit better because of the Americans and other countries put small amounts of hormones or vitamins into their nutrients - and imported nutrients cost more! Use Australian nutrients, and to boost growth, add a good plant hormone and Plant Vitamin treatment to the nutrient. You will be amazed!

Once you have a good brand of nutrients, mix exactly to directions. Less is better than too much. Less will make a plant grow faster, but more stretched, and leafy than normal. More will create a compact plant that hardly grows upward but is extremely bushy, woody, but can be a heavy bearing fruiter/flowerer. If nutrient strength is strong or weak to the extreme, this will lead to deficiencies or death. E.g., too strong, and calcium is deficient because the plant is not taking up nutrient fast enough. If the nutrient is too weak, it is the same deficiency, but due to insufficient calcium in the nutrient. Follow directions and ask a store what to do. Nutrient strength can be read and adjusted by electronic conductivity meters. Ask your store what a conductivity meter will cost. (See also Appendix on advanced nutrient control through CF adjustment)

RULE: THE NUTRIENT CONTENT AND STRENGTH GOVERNS HEALTH, HEIGHT, LEAF AND FLOWER PRODUCTION, AND ALL GROWTH ASPECTS.
4. NUTRIENT pH (ACIDITY AND ALKALINITY)

pH is the level of acidity or alkalinity of the nutrient solution. Think of it as sweet and sour. Most nutrients in town water will be within the range of 6 to 6.5 pH. ALL PLANTS GROW IN THIS RANGE IN HYDROPONICS. Anyone who tells you otherwise, is either horticulturally trained in soil only or is reading materials drawn from soil based research and is therefore untrained for plant nutrition in Hydroponics. I extend my apologies to Horticulturists. Some of you do understand the nutritional simplicities of Hydroponics, but 4 years of soil training is hard to overcome, research into Hydroponics is still new, and soil nutrition is not suitable for the simple Hydroponic plant. If recycling nutrient, pH and Nutrient strength can change as certain elements are taken in by the plant. All you have to do is change the nutrient for fresh nutrient as often as possible, or adjust to the correct reading with a set of meters. If the nutrient is too sweet or too sour, the plants will develop deficiencies. I will discuss manual care, electronic adjustment, and computer control later. As discussed in water purity - pH must be checked if you are using rain, dam, bore water or any other source than town supply.

RULE: pH IS THE KEY TO KEEPING PLANTS FEEDING ON THE CORRECT ELEMENTS, AND KEEPS THEM FROM DEFICIENCIES.
5. TEMPERATURE AND FRESH AIR

Optimum temperature depends on the plants. Generally, Phosphorus up-take is severely impeded below 15 degrees Celsius, so that’s our bottom temperature. It is recommended to heat the nutrient if it is below 15 degrees Celsius for more than 4 hours per day. Maximum temperatures are, (as a guide) around 30 degrees Celsius but as long as it is well below the temperature where humans start to sweat the plants should be all right.

Use common sense. If the plants are in 20-25 degree temperatures and 40-60% humidity, then it is likely that you would feel comfortable where the plants are. By coincidence, plants tend to grow best in climates approximate to human comfort. So if you visit your plants and it feels like a blast furnace, or a freezer, it is likely they would benefit from some attention on the matter. Fresh air is absolutely essential in shade-house, tunnel-houses, glasshouses and grow-rooms, as the Carbon Dioxide the plants breathe is essential for every plant process. Poor ventilation will kill plants, as surely as poison. You will notice ventilation problems by the better growth near vents, doors, or fans. If plant growth is more sluggish away from these areas, then you should improve your fresh air, or use Carbon Dioxide enrichment systems to add CO2.

RULE: PLANTS NEED CARBON DIOXIDE IN EVERY PLANT PROCESS. THEY NEED FRESH AIR, NOT TOO MUCH HEAT OR THEY CANNOT PROCESS DUE TO WATER LOSS AND NOT TOO COLD OR THEY CAN’T GET THEIR FOOD.

Plus one other basic:
WATER PURITY

Town water is generally suitable for Hydroponics, but if you are using bore water, spring water, dam water or rain water, you may have to check to see if this is suitable.

What problems could occur, is the salt content of the water, may be too high, the zinc content from metal (zincalume) tanks, could make it toxic for plants (even though it may be still safe for us to drink), as well as any number of chemicals, poisons or fertilisers, could be contaminating the water supply. Please speak to a Hydroponic Company about the water supply if you are unsure.

In all the above cases, pH control of nutrients is required.

However town water is generally fine.

Now we have looked at common sense approaches to growing conditions, we can identify 90% of problems and correct them. Let’s have a look at the five systems!

SYSTEM ONE:

Perlite and Vermiculite.

SETUP COSTS LOW.

RUNNING COSTS AVERAGE.

EASY TO BUILD VERY EASY.

EASY TO RUN VERY EASY.

MAINTENANCE FREE AVERAGE.

RESULTS GOOD.

THE INGREDIENTS ARE:

GOOD LIGHT LEVELS.

PERLITE AND VERMICULITE.

WATER WITH HYDROPONIC NUTRIENTS.

CONTAINERS, POTS WITH SAUCERS OR RESERVOIRS.

Variations could be Polystyrene Boxes, Planter Bags, Channels, Plastic Tubs, and Buckets.

Concept:

Perlite is a white porous substance that is Very light and made from volcanic glass. It is an excellent soil substitute and will hold moisture for short lengths of time. Vermiculite is made from mineral ore and appears as a brown flake that can hold 100-300 times it’s own weight in water. By adding two parts of Perlite, and one part Vermiculite in a well draining container, the nutrient solution that will be absorbed and held by the Perlite and Vermiculite mix is the right amount to keep the roots moist (a good ratio of oxygen to nutrient). This Mix will enable you to feed a plant and still keep the roots healthy. Perlite and Vermiculite are both Sterile and contain no disease or bacteria due to the heating in their manufacture.

Design:

Garden Pots are the easiest containers to use. By keeping the Perlite and Vermiculite Mix moist, the plants can draw upon the nutrients and grow. System variations. If using Polystyrene Box or Plastic container drill a hole in the side about 5 to 10% up from the base of the box, so that you will have a reservoir of nutrient in the bottom. (e.g., in a 10-cm high container, make a hole about 0.5 to 1 cm from the bottom.) The other benefit is that if you over-water, or rain fills the box the hole will provide drainage. Plastic sheeting inside a wooden frame can make a good garden bed. Make sure there is a slope on the bed and a point to drain off rain or over-watering of nutrient. If using PVC pipes or channels filled with the Perlite and Vermiculite Mix, ensure a slope and drainage point. Remember, in all designs, look for a system that will drain if saturated.

Set-up:

  1. If potting an established plant first wash roots thoroughly in tepid water to remove soil and place in cannabis or container. If starting from seed go to step 2.

  2. Empty perlite into container (around roots if potting established plant) and wet with fresh water. If starting from seed, sow seeds so that the Perlite and Vermiculite mix just covers the seeds and keep the seeds moist with fresh water.

  3. Feed plants with nutrient when seeds have fully germinated . The seeds should be seedlings after the first seed leaves or cotyledons have appeared and the first true leaves have opened. This indicates that the seedlings have developed roots and can now feed on nutrients.

Maintenance: (or how to keep the plants growing)

All you need to do, is check the saucer or reservoir, to see if it is dry and see that the Perlite and Vermiculite is still moist. Ensure that the Perlite is moist; do not worry if the top is a little dry. Test by pushing your finger down into the mix. The lower parts where the roots are should be moistened by capillary action from the bottom saucer or reservoir. The top area may be dryer due to evaporation.

Problems:

If your plant does not look as healthy as it should, you should flush the Perlite and Vermiculite with half strength nutrient until it drains freely out the bottom of the cannabis. This will wash any nutrient inconsistencies out and replace with a good supply of nutrient. If the plant is not draining freely, then something is wrong; i.e. the plants are water logged and are drowning. Check drainage holes are not blocked. If problem persists, please contact your nearest store.

Growth rate (oxygen : nutrient ratios)

Because Perlite and Vermiculite are lightweight the oxygen levels are good. Because the nutrient is not recycling, the dissolved oxygen levels are low. Growth will be better than soil, but less than recirculating systems.

Heat and Cold Control:

Generally heating and cooling methods are not available because this system does not generally recalculate. Placing pots on a heated bed can work in cold climates.

Suitable crops:

All Crops.

Short-term crops only need a small container.

Root crops need depth, Carrots and Onions about 20 cm. For Potatoes, cover seed Potatoes and water till moist. As the shoots appear, cover with more Perlite and Vermiculite. The higher the container the better, (best in a Plastic Garbage bin with drainage holes). Try and let root crops like Carrots and Onions dry out a little before re-watering. For example, after a saucer has been empty a day,

then water…

Tall plants and heavy feeding plants need large pots or containers to draw nutrient from. The Larger the cannabis, the more Perlite Mix and therefore, the more nutrient held in reserve. Use large pots if you water infrequently.

Good system for permanent and root crops.

Great system for houseplants too!

Set-up Costs:

Enough Perlite and Vermiculite to do Five 200 mm (8") pots costs around $10-$15 Perlite and Vermiculite breaks down into a fine powder in 2 to 5 years. However, if the Perlite Mix becomes contaminated by soil, bacteria or disease, then you should discard and restart.

Pots/Boxes:

Pots or Boxes at cost according to size and shape. Polystyrene Foam

Boxes are easy to break.

Plastic lined beds:

Plastic film is usually around $7 for 3m x 1m of black heavy-duty plastic panda film. Replace plastic if torn, but don’t repair as some glues used for patching holes can be really toxic to plants. Timber Framing costs can be high. Try Bricks or other frames. I recommend for drainage, pest control and sterility, that you do not line a channel dug in the ground or use earth walls.

PVC Channel:

Use ONLY UV stabilised channels or they will crack in sunlight. Storm-water pipe is designed to be underground, away from UV light!

Running Costs:

Nutrients should start at about $7-$8 (about 50 litres of watering solution) and a standard hobby pack at $20 (200 to 400 litres of watering solution) Running costs should be quite low, unless plants are in hot areas that create evaporation.

Options:

Auto cannabis valves, feed plants automatically. Cost around $22 to $25. Connect to a drum and the valve will fill a container to 20-30 mm of nutrient, then wait until dry before filling to 20-30 mm again. Ideal to use for maintenance free growing by using large drums for reservoirs, especially for growers that travel away for many days or weeks.

Wick Systems:

By filling a tube with Perlite, you create a wick. This Perlite wick can draw nutrients from a bottom tray, up as much as 10 cm to moisten an upper tray. Many basic kits sold by Hydroponic stores use this design. If designing a wick system, steal their design first! Then grow for it. In fact tell the store what you’re doing. They’ll probably help you do it!

Expansion:

Expanding your system is not difficult. Generally you just add more systems. Perhaps you could connect all trays with hoses, so that any nutrient in the base of one cannabis can be equally used by pots with more thirsty plants. If doing so, be careful to check for leaks. If the nutrient leaks away the plants can just seem unnaturally thirsty!

Variations of materials used:

DO NOT use metal containers near hydroponic solution unless a very good layer of plastic has been coated onto it. Generally, plastic is the best container for all Hydroponics. Some plastics can be toxic to plants, and some pots are made of this reground plastic, usually recycled plastic with Lead in it. This type of plastic is not high quality and is usually black, so if you have cheap and nasty looking containers; try this test. Put some of the plastic in boiling water. SNIFF THE WATER; if you can smell the plastic, it probably is toxic. SECOND, TASTE THE WATER when it’s cooled enough. If you can taste plastic, then it’s probably toxic. Ask a good store if in doubt.

Pre-built systems are available in most stores. Asking for a starter kit usually means a Perlite and Vermiculite growing system. Check your stores out. Steal their designs if you want but don’t forget to buy some of the ingredients from that store.

This system is good for beginners, and is the best system for the hobbyist to grow Carrots, Onions, Potatoes, and other “root” vegetables and bulb crops. It is highly unlikely to cause problems unless the Perlite mix is saturated and the roots are drowning.

For a basic system, I think it is ideal for everyone.

4 Likes

Just keep the lecca moist and give it a few days to grow into the medium when you are ready put net pot into your DWC system with nutrients solution around 300 ppm 5.8 ph set 1"-1 1/2" below bottom of net pot just close enough to let bubbles sprinkle medium the roots will find their way quite fast.

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Thanks guy for the info much appreciated. Ready for part 2 of 4 . Garrigan65 that’s good reading

1 Like

20171009_201400

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Happy growing @Buddy2
@garrigan65 has a bunch of info and is a great resource
I’ll be watching as you move forward I’m also a soil guy

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@Buddy2 be careful asking @garrigan65 for more info.

But if you really wanna ask him what he’s got on ph or ppm. lol I dare you :joy:

1 Like

Hahahha @Wishingilivedina420state
Good point @Buddy2 will be reading for a while lol

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Yeah you know what I mean @Countryboyjvd1971 . Man that guy @garrigan65 is like a walking smoking stoner grow guide. I bet he has atlest 2 computers just for grow info. You’d have to photoshop something on to a plant to stump him.

True but it’s usually good reading :blush::joy:

1 Like

I sure he’s has one hell of a hard drive anyway @Wishingilivedina420state
I’m just happy he willing to share with the rest of us hahaha
:+1:

2 Likes

Me too @Countryboyjvd1971 … I’d love to try some of his bud. You know that’s top shelf…

I would have no doubt about that brother @Wishingilivedina420state
He a man full of wisdom for sure

1 Like

Setup #staff:moderator-lounge-2

For a basic system, I think it is ideal for everyone.
SYSTEM TWO:
NFT or Nutrient Film Technique.

SETUP COSTS AVERAGE.

RUNNING COSTS LOW.

EASY TO BUILD SMALL AMOUNT OF SKILLS.

EASY TO RUN VERY EASY.

MAINTENANCE FREE VARIES BETWEEN TWICE A WEEK AND AUTOMATIC.

RESULTS EXCELLENT.

Ingredients.

The ingredients for NFT are - flat bottomed channels/gullies.

As an option they would be preferably in one piece only (not lid and base).

Irrigation lines.

Pump and tap to draw excess pump pressure away from main feed line.

Plastic or fibreglass tank.

Filter system such as header box.

Stand for channels if necessary.

50 mm pots for seed raising if starting from seed.

Sterile (& fertiliser free) seed raising mix (Perlite and Vermiculite Mix).

Nutrients.

Concept.

Dr. Allan Cooper in England invented this technique, during the 1970’s to save the British Glasshouse industry from cheaper European imported vegetables. It had to be inexpensive to produce crops, and inexpensive to set-up. Therefore, the nutrient should be the only cost for running (except minimal pump power), and there should be minimal need for cleaning and other labour. NFT has proven to be one of the top performance systems, as well as being the lowest maintenance system in terms of cost.

The Concept of NFT is simple. The plant roots grow on a surface that has no more than 1 mm of nutrient moving slowly across it. This is called Nutrient Film Technique, as the nutrients are a film on the base of a flat surface (like a damp surface). The plants roots are not submerged, and have access to the air, yet can draw up as much nutrient as they require from the damp surface. We usually use channels for this as channels or gullies keep the light out of the root zone. Light on the roots generally slows the growth rate. By having a running Solution of 750 ml to 1 litre per minute down a flat surface at 1:40 slope (1:40 = 25 mm drop every meter) we can achieve the nutrient film.

Design.

Remember our basics. We must have good light levels. Tiered systems can cut down light because of the plants above shading the lower plants. The standard system is a table of parallel channels with a fall of 1:40 built into the stand that holds the channels. We must have good Oxygen levels; therefore we must control the flow rate exactly. We must control both nutrient strength and nutrient pH, and as this is a recirculating system, we can optimise the nutrient readings easily by testing and adjusting, or by dumping and restarting the nutrient. We must have good ventilation, therefore plants must be spaced for airflow, and the channels should be off the ground, to provide additional ventilation. The stands also keep soil pathogens away from the system and a number of pests as well. The Stands make it easier to plant and harvest plants as there is minimal bending and stretching for the grower.

We will feed each gully through two small dripper lines to ensure that each channel receives the same amount of nutrient. (You will note that we also use two drippers instead of one, so that in the event of one blocking up, there will still be some flow of nutrient into the channel). We see in figure 2.1 how the channel has a nutrient film of 1 mm running down a 1:40 slope, and the plant holes that will take either a seeding or a small cannabis. These small pots give the seed the minimum amount of moist seed raising mix to start the seed off.

The roots of the seedling will quickly grow out of the bottom of the cannabis, and lift the cannabis to keep the seed raising mix dryer from this point on. This will eliminate stem rot problems caused by high moisture and low oxygen within the cannabis.

We see in figure 2.2 how the roots are exposed to the air in the channels, and kept moist by the roots drawing up the nutrients by capillary action (like laying a sponge on a damp surface.)

We see in Figure 2.3 a table set-up, noting stand fall, tank and pump placement (do not use gravity feed as it complicates the whole idea of simplicity. Besides, a small 10 Watt Submersible pump only costs about Aust $8.75 per year to run flat out)

We see in Figure 2.4 the irrigation lines. Note the use of 15 mm PVC pressure pipe to balance the pressure to each dripper and the optional unscrewing end cap to flush the pressure line in the event of contaminants or grime that might block drippers. The drippers are 4 mm micro-tube and are placed into the pressure line by drilling a hole that is slightly smaller (usually 7/32nd drill bit) and placed into the pressure line by soaking the dripper in hot water first. By placing the dripper in this way, without glues, solvents, or silicon, we can easily replace them if they become brittle, split or block. However for any basic blockages, you can clear the dripperline by just tapping or blowing down the dripper.

We see in Figure 2.5 the pump and the tank. The tap shown here controls the flow rate by taking some of the pump pressure away and sending it back into the tank. This also provides agitation and some additional aeration of the nutrient. We see in Figure 2.6 the wrong way to recover nutrient. By putting a hose in the end, we will cause a pool of nutrient to back up in the gully, causing root problems because of deep water. The right way is to have the gully bent a little using a heat gun, steam from a kettle or a good hairdryer. Try using a header box, or a 2 litre milk bottle to catch the nutrient and then drain this box or container.

Set-up.

Pick a place that has plenty of light. Using shade-cloth is usually necessary for hot conditions and what is considered hot would relate to individual crop techniques rather than Hydroponics.

Try to set up the system on a reasonably level surface so the legs of the stand can be made to basic lengths to give the whole stand a uniform 25-mm drop per meter. By measuring the stand length and making the legs 25-mm shorter for every meter, you will achieve an overall slope of 1:40. The Channels will bend if insufficient supports are used. As a guide, 2 part channels (Base and Lid type) require a support every 1 metre, 4 sided down pipe every 1.3 to 1.5 meters and 6 sided channels every 1.5 to 1.8 meters. For long systems, such as commercial benches, it is best to pick a gully with the least supports required because the costs can skyrocket when nearly twice the number of stands are needed. If possible, set up in a position that is not exposed to gusting winds and heavy rains.

You can set up a float valve on your tank to replenish nutrient levels with fresh water as the level drops. If you can pick a place near a tap this may be an advantage.

For a system with up to 30 holes, we would use about 20 Litres in our tank. (I calculate usually about 650 ml to 700 ml per plant for a home system). Mix 20 litres of nutrient according to pack directions. Adjust nutrient strength (CF or EC) and nutrient pH if necessary. Turn the pump on and keep the adjustment tap closed. Then take the two drippers from one of the gullies and allow to run into a 1-litre container. Time the rate of flow, and adjust the tap until ¾ litre to 1 Litre per minute is obtained. Then check that all the gullies have a 1mm nutrient film.

Plant your seeds into a 50-mm Hydroponic cannabis filled with Perlite and Vermiculite mix. The seeds only need to be just below the surface, around 1mm deep. Moisten the cannabis with fresh water to start germination. If starting from seedling, then wash the roots in tepid water till free of soil. Do not damage the roots. Place in a hydroponic cannabis with Perlite and Vermiculite Mix. You can keep the seedlings in a warm spot until roots appear at the bottom of the cannabis, or just place the cannabis with the newly planted seed into the gully. Maintain the nutrients by changing it every 7-10 days or adjust with electronic testing equipment. (See Appendix on Nutrient Control) The nutrients and the flow rate need to be maintained until Harvest.

Maintenance.

The only maintenance is to see that the nutrients are changed every 7 to 10 days or adjusted with the electronic testers, and that the nutrients continue to flow without any blockages. Normal crop techniques such as tomatoes trellised to a wire, stake, or lattice will apply as usual.

Problem solving.

Root rot occurs when the flow rate or slope is incorrect. The effect is that the roots are waterlogged by excess nutrient. The lack of oxygen makes the roots susceptible to rot. Regular checks of the flow rate will eliminate this problem. To identify Root rot, there may be the following symptoms: slow growth, wilting, or yellowing of the older leaves - but always accompanied with discoloured roots, either brown or black and a mild to strong odour of rotting. Sometimes the roots are covered in a slimy coating. Call your local Hydroponic Store. Fungal rots are rare but can occur, when the water supply is contaminated by Phythium or similar Fungi. This is true of Hydroponics and soil production, so please do not panic. Regular changing of the solution usually eliminates the fungal build up, or Ultra Violet sterilisation of the water supply would be needed to kill Phythium etc. Generally dam water can suffer this problem as the fungus comes from soil runoff.

Remember whenever in doubt check the basics. Light oxygen to nutrient ratio, (In this case, check that the flow rate is between ¾ to 1 litre every minute). Nutrient strength is not too high or too low, nutrient pH is between 6 and 6.5 (if the nutrient is only 7 to 10 days old it should not vary too much) and check the temperature of the nutrient and the air.

If all else fails - call a Hydroponic Store. They are there to help YOU!

Growth Rate.

The growth rate in NFT is generally very fast. This is due to very high oxygen levels, the ability to aerate, heat, adjust the strength and adjust the pH of the nutrient. Even without adjusting the nutrient or heating the NFT is easy to achieve much better plants, faster.

The NFT idea has a flaw. When the roots get very large they can choke the gully. This happens when plants such as fast growing herbs and large plants like tomatoes grow unattended for more than 6 months in a 100-mm wide channel. Growth rate is inhibited by the choking effect. To fix the problem, use 150-mm wide gully wherever in doubt. 150-mm gully has more than just one and half times the base area, it has an air supply that is greater. A 150x75-mm gully has more than double the air space of a 100x50 gully. Even if the root mat becomes thick in a 150x75 gully, no problems develop unless plants are grown to extremely advanced ages.

Heat and Cold Control.

Heating the nutrient becomes advantageous when the temperature of the nutrient drops below 15 degrees Celsius. The optimum for growth is 20-25 degrees Celsius. If a small 20 to 80 litre reservoir needs heat, a 150-Watt aquarium heater with a thermostat is ideal. Set the temperature in-between 20 and 25 degrees for best results. For tanks up to 160 litres use a 300-Watt aquarium heater, and for larger tanks, there are some excellent custom made heaters from 1500-Watt to 2400-Watt. The element is designed specifically for your tank. These are the most efficient way of heating up to 5,000 litres without getting a heat pump. If cooling is required, refrigeration, ice, and other methods are generally inefficient or ineffective. Try setting up a fountain or jet of water (venturi system) off your pump pressure. This will cool the nutrient as it falls through the air (as well as adding oxygen to the nutrient). It only takes a little imagination to increase the cooling effect, with a fan (If you have your tank in a tank room this is easy) or more ventilation over the tank on hot days. When in trouble, call a Store.

Suitable Crops.

In the 100x 50 Channels you can grow leafy vegetables such as lettuce, beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, celery, cress, mustard, endive, most herbs if short term (because of smaller root systems), okra, peas, schallots, silver-beet, spinach, squash, and many other medium sized plants. In a 150x 75 mm channel, you can grow all the above plus, tomatoes, cucumbers, strawberries, beans, cabbage, capsicum, eggplant, longer term herbs, marrow and melons, pumpkin, and anything that grows above ground (i.e. not carrots), and will be grown for up to 18 months. (Use common Sense. If the root system is getting too large, you should remove the plant. Some success is reported when trimming the root systems of herbs, as many varieties do not exhibit large amounts of stress when this is done carefully.) Ensure all the plants have good ventilation and light. This is determined by hole spacing. Fancy lettuce can be spaced 200 or 250 mm apart, head lettuce and most vegetables at 250 mm, but a tomato, climbing bean, cucumber or similar large plants really needs 350 to 450 mm spacing as their leaves take up too much area. Don’t forget how much root area will be taken up as well.

Set-up Costs.

A parts list for NFT is usually very simple. You will need a stand, Hydroponic channels, end caps, a catchment box/ header box and drain system (preferably with a filter system of a simple design), tank, pump, feed-lines, seed raising pots and seed raising mix, and nutrients. A pre-built system of about 30 plants should cost around $400.00. To do a proper system add $90 for a nutrient strength meter and about $20 to $90 for pH test equipment. These are optional extras that will get you extra growth. (See Appendix on pH and CF)

Running Costs.

If growing around 30 plants, with a 20-litre tank, you could change the tank every 7 days and work out how much nutrient will cost. E.g. Optimum Grow 2L approx. $20 per pack would make up about 200 Litres, or about 10 weeks of nutrient changing. Accent Culture ‘S’ 1 kg (a powder, you mix up liquid concentrate yourself) approx. $20 per pack would make up 400 litres and give you about 20 weeks worth of changing.

For real budgeting, a $40 pack of culture ‘S’ would give you 110 weeks worth of nutrient changes, or about 36 cents per week.

A pump is the only other real cost. For this system a little 600 Litre per hour pump draws about 10 Watts. Running 24 hours per day, 7 Days a week would cost you about 18 to 19 cents per week to run. THE RUNNING COSTS are the real advantage of a NFT System!

Options.

Trellising the channels or arranging them on an A-frame is very difficult in soil. It is a great way to grow in Hydroponics once you realise the difficulties and cost of these systems. First of all is light (remember the BASICS) If you have your channels above one another you will have great plants on top, but plants that look sick beneath. Make sure the front of the trellis faces north (i.e. runs east to west). You need to allow more space in a trellis than in a table, because the sun may reach all the plants except during the morning and afternoon, when it is at right angles to the kit (i.e. from the east and west). A-Frames are best-set facing north south, so one side gets the morning sun and the other gets the afternoon sun. You will note less response this way. Trellising and A-frames naturally require much greater pump pressure, as the nutrient must be pumped to a greater height. In all cases, it will cost more to set up and run. Also, if you intend to link the gullies together, ensure the total run does not exceed 12 meters or the oxygen levels in the nutrient will drop beyond healthy levels, and plants will not grow very well. Adding extra oxygen to add growth is always an advantage. You can use three methods. Either use a larger capacity pump and have a jet of water into the tank (like adding a venturi or a waterfall effect), use an aquarium air pump and bubble air into the tank through an air stone, or buy a pump with a built-in air tube that will suck air into the feed line.

Heating is always advantageous if your nutrient is going to be cooler than 15 degrees Celsius. This will happen usually if the air temperature drops below 18 degrees Celsius. See heating and cooling control above for the advantages. Float valves, like a toilet cistern; help keep the volume of water at a set level in the tank. Ideal for maintenance free systems, it makes it more secure if you go for travels.

Removable lids are an advantage if you have to clean the system and you have no plants growing in it at that time. Apart from this, mostly, plants are in the system most of the time, so you can’t remove the lid without flipping your plants out. The channels rarely require cleaning inside except for a wash out from the top with fresh nutrient if there are plants in it or fresh water if there are no plants in the system. The drawback of the removable lid design is that the lid can flip off if plants are top heavy, leaving your plants on the ground, and that extra supports are required, (every meter at least) or the gully will sag and cause ponding and root rot. They are never cheaper in terms of cost, because they cost more to support.

Round storm water pipe, a round pipe is not NFT, because the pipe cannot produce a Nutrient film. Roots will form in a ball, instead of a mat. There will be much less oxygen in a root ball, and some of the roots will be in air, and some under water. To use this type of pipe, use a UV stabilised plastic (most pipe is not UV stabilised because it is meant to be under the ground) and always use a flood and drain approach. (See Flood and Drain and DFT) Dosing systems will work very efficiently with NFT. These systems test the nutrient and automatically add nutrient when required. Dosing systems need a float valve to be effective, and start from around $500.

Variations on Materials.

Lead - Lead is a filler used in the recycling process with most plastics. Unless a plastic is termed food grade, it will most likely have lead in it. Leaded plastic pipe and plastic containers should be illegal to grow plants in, and moves have been made in Australia to make sure it is. However, legislation will be a few years off yet.

UV stabilisation - UV stabilised plastic will not crack in the sun. It makes sense to choose this type of material over non-stabilised plastic. Black and white co-extruded gullies - There are brands of Gully that has been made with a black interior. I have seen farms with this type of gully, and they have nearly no algae in the gullies, and tremendous root growth due to a darker interior. This type of gully is also grained to provide better nutrient flow. This seems to produce less pooling of nutrient, and better roots. Generally, this is called Panda Gully, because it is black and white. One brand even has sloping sides to provide rain runoff and extra airflow around the lower leaves of lettuce and such. It is probably the best-designed gully I have seen.

Conclusions.

NFT is easy to run, cheap to run, low maintenance, and generally problem free.

Set-up costs are reasonably low, and little media has to be used to start the plants off. A very good system for beginners, and advanced growers alike. I like the system. I recommend it.

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Holy smokes lol pardon the pun il have to roll a fat one and get stuck into the read lol .much appreciated. Will keep the post up dated with pic .

Ps what ya got on ph/ ppm lol.

@garrigan65 what do you know about aquaponics lol
I was talking to @Hogmaster and I think I’m going to give it a go soon probably start sit tomatoes to fail it in but figured I’d ask
I know hog has some good ideas on it

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