Okay, I printed out these instructions to grow cucumbers hydroponically in a trash can. I'll find the site again and post it if anyone is interested, though I think I originally found the instructions on Dave's. I can't start them yet, but I want to be prepared, and one of the things I need is forestry tubes.
What is a forestry tube? Can I just use a length of pvc pipe?
It depends on the context, but probably here forestry tube means those long skinny little pots you grow tree plugs in. They have little holes, so the roots air prune, and a bit of slant so it's easy to knock the plugs out. I guess you could make little holes in some pvc and plug the end for your hydroponics.
There's the link to the study that did this. The forestry tube they specify is 1 1/2" diameter, and about 8" long. Here is a quote: "Forestry tubes typically have holes only at the bottom of the tube. Drill 6 or more... This will allow the roots to emerge from both the bottom and the sides..."
So apparently it does have holes to begin with. But I can't find a source for them. I surely do need a good old Dave's Garden brainstorm.
Oh, my. Let me guarantee you one thing. Do NOT... I repeat DO NOT try to do this organically. My brilliant plan was to use fish emulsion in the water instead of the chemicals. As long as I couldn't smell it, it seemed fine. The cucumbers did sprout. But oh, my Lord! I started smelling something and couldn't pinpoint it. That fish emulsion was growing a garden on its own! And not a flower one!
I managed to save the cuke plant, which is doing nicely where I transplanted it into a raised bed. But I like to NEVER got rid of the smell!!! It may not have been entirely a bad thing, as the basil growing near where I dumped it really flourished this year, but I thought I was going to have to dip my feet in bleach (of course I stepped in it) and did throw away a pair of pants.
he he he, shnork.. sorry to hear but it is a bit amusing. I have been caught doing original ideas to turn out badly too... like the home made rotating composter made from a leaking rain barrell... it didn't work.
Pardon me for jumping in; I've been looking at this , just this morning but really think I will try it this spring.
My thought for the forestry tubes is why not use PVC pipe. buy a section of the pipe, put a cap on the bottom, drill the holes and wa la a forestry tube. Does that sound reasonable??
After carefully reviewing Hilo Sun's design, I've determined the simplest way for me to create this hydroponics system is to use a cheap styrofoam cooler with a lid.
In my case, I'll probably use a plain old Solo Cup, or a tall styrofoam cup with holes punched in the bottom and side walls about 1/3 of the way up, as my "net pot". Then, I'll drill corresponding holes in the lid for the cup to sit in, so that the rim catches on without allow the cup to fall through. If the lid placed with right side up doesn't allow the bottoms of the cup to touch the water, I'll try inverting the lid, or find longer cups. I already have a cheapie set of tall plastic cups from the $1 store that are about 8" tall with a rim that will hold. Those will reach.
Then, I'll fill the cooler with the water and fertilizer solution. Hilo Sun uses 1 Tbsp of water soluble 8-16-36 fertilizer, one tablespoon of water soluble Calcium Nitrate, and one teaspoon of Magnesium Sulfate (Epsom Salts), per 5 gallon bucket. I ordered the recommended Hydroponic 10-8-22 Fertilizer from the vendor below, online. I'll only need to add the Epsom Salts to this fertilizer, as the rest is "complete." Either fertilizer is ok.
I paid $21.99 for a 5 lb. box of the 10-8-22, and $11.90 shipping, for a total of $34. But, at 1 Tbsp. per 5-gallon system, I can do 180 buckets! Or, if I refill the systems at the halfway transpiration? mark (after the plants have drained the system to halfway down...), that's still enough for 90 buckets! So, three of us are splitting the cost, and the fertilizer...
Next, plant my seeds/seedling in the cup, and suspend into the water below, so that only about 1-2 of the bottom of the cup sit in the water. Finally, I'll tape my lid on around the seal with duct tape.
That's IT!!! Can you say, "EZ button?"
P.S. Rayderphan grew some beautiful celery this winter. He said it needed a lot of water. I'll use this hydroponics system next fall to grow celery!
I'm burning candles at both ends trying to keep up with the planting schedule!
I have all the components. Just need to decide WHAT to test the hydrosystem with first. I truly wanted spinach, but this heat is saying otherwise. I think we're gonna jump completely over any transitional springtime weather, and straight into Texas H _ _ L in about one week!
Hilo_Sun recommended beans and he did squash. I might try cucumbers for pickles if I can get some seed in a hurry. Yeah. Cukes. I believe his system worked well against the fungus? That cukes are so prone to get. I've never grown them before.
Try Picklebush cucumbers. They are compact, and you can get them on any Burpee seed rack (discount store, big-box hardware). I've grown them in the ground for two years and I've been very happy with them. They produce up to around 5" cucumbers that look like pickles. You may, of course, pick them before they reach full size. I try to pick them around 3 inches, but I sometimes miss one and they get up to about 5 inches long and 2-3 inches thick.
Edited to see if the changes to the photo system allowed a picture to be added after the initial message...nope!
Hey guys your way ahead of me but either 1-1/2 or 1-1/4 PVC is what I intend on trying. I have a couple of those hanging baskets that have the coconut hair in, so plan on pining a wad of that in each pipe under whatever I plant. It'l be the last of April or into May before I can put anything outside though, but I'm going to give it the ol 1 2.
Hope you keep this thread alive, as it sounds promising.
yes cricket please post what he says about other veggies
yes mam = the conversation below are my questions along with the his reply of answers.
"""Hello Walt.. Hilosun...
I was reading a web blog about someone growing a cucumber in a trash can and you gave your email if anyone had questions.
Can you grow a tomato like you do the cucumber in the trash can and just add additional nutrient water as needed? Or should I be using 5 gallon buckets and filling them up on a regular basis?
Can I use my own regular fertilizer mixture that has micronutrients , calcium nitrate, and magnesium in the water supply? My own mixture is cheaper.
I normally grow tomato plants in hundreds of 4 gallon pots and have a fertilizer mixture that works excellent for me. I use the same mixture in my regular garden. All around balanced NPK fertilizer.
Would it be a bad idea to grow a vining large squash plant in a 50 gallon drum ...wondering if there would be enough space in there to hold all the root mass.
Thank you so much.
Carolyn from Alabama
We do grow them in 32 gallon trash cans. 5 gallon buckets are too small for the root system, and you would be adding water too often. We usually only plant one or two seeds per trash can. The yield for us is tremendous. You can use your own nutrient mixture.
I think a 50 gallon drum would be large enough for a vining squash. I built an arch, using fencing wire for our cucumbers to climb. This would work for squash too.
I hope I was able to answer your questions. I have some pictures on my work computer that I'll send to you when I have a chance.
Thanks Carolyn for your effort. Try to keep this guy on the hook for a while. It's always best to get feedback from the person who has actually been there and done it. Why re-invent the wheel when we can build on his successes?
HILO SUN’S STATIC CLOSED HYDROPONICS SYSTEM
Probably the easiest way is to do a static closed system. Sounds complicated, but all it means is that it is a non-circulatory system, with minimal maintenance. Get a 5 gallon bucket with a lid. Cut a 2" hole with a hole saw on the center (or nearest flat spot) of the lid. A 2" net pot fits perfectly in the hole. Fill the net pot with growing medium, perlite, vermiculite, even a little potting soil to bind the medium. Use an Oasis cube if you have that available. That's the easiest, although you will need to find a size large enough to accommodate a bean seed, and of course, the net pot and hole in the lid will have to be larger as well.
For fertilizer, use a general hydroponics fertilizer like Chem-Gro. This is a dry fertilizer...
1 Tbsp. 8-16-36
1 Tbsp. Soluble Calcium Nitrate
1 tsp. Magnesium Sulfate (EP)
You MUST add the Cal Nitrate and EP if you use the 8-16-36. If you use the 10-8-22, you just need to add the EP, because this is a complete fertilizer….
Add water just until it hits the bottom of the net pot. The roots will grow through the medium and down into the water. Add more water and fertilizer when the water level drops to about half. You do need a layer of oxygen, so don't be concerned when the water level drops.
Bush Beans, Lettuce, and Spinach are best suited for hydroponics. You can try Celery, too. The pics are of GREEN EGGPLANTS, JAPANESE CUCUMBERS, & TOMATOES.
Thank you so much for the information, AND ESPECIALLY the pictures!! I understand your hydroponics system, perfectly. I have grown veggies almost exclusively in closed system eBuckets (homemade, and based on the patented Earthbox system, with the built-in, self-watering reservoirs).
Two questions regarding the fertilizer. Is the supplier below the only one that carries this 10-8-22 fertilizer? Also, I know that Magnesium Sulfate is Epsom Salts. What is the Calcium Nitrate? Finally, How much more fertilizer + additives do you mix up to add at the halfway point when the water level drops?
P.O. Box 25845
Colorado Springs, CO 80936-5845
I'm not sure who else in your area carries fertilizer. I actually use 8-16-36.
Calcium Nitrate is made up of two nutrients, nitrogen in nitrate form, and calcium, and is water soluble. Nitrate Nitrogen allows the plant to absorb more readily Calcium and other nutrients. The halfway point is probably easiest to add your nutrients and water. Just do half of the amount of nutrients. Do you have an EC meter? I use one to double check.
I placed the order for the 10-8-22 before I got your reply. No worries...
At only one Tbsp per 5 gallon bucket (for a one-time application), I can feed 160 buckets!!!! Or, 120 buckets if I fill them again at the halfway mark!!!! That’s roughly a lifetime supply of lettuce and spinach for me!!!!
So, I’ll be splitting the shipment with another grower who is following this conversation. We’re going to set up some boxes to do the lettuce and spinach. Keeping them off the ground will keep the pill bugs and slugs at bay. I can spread a perimeter of Sluggo Plus, and, “that” as they say, “is that!”
P.S. What’s an EC meter? I suspect EC = electric charge? What does it look like, cause I have a meter you stick into the wall sockets to determine the charge. Is that one and the same thing?
EC stands for electrical conductivity. The meter measures how easily an electric charge can flow in the water. It basically measures the dissolved salts in your container. The higher the number, the more nutrients you have in your solution. This is measured in milli siemens. Lettuce, beans, and most herbs require a low conductivity .7-2.5 ms. Tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant require2.5-3.6 ms. The meters range in price from $50-$80...it looks like a fat pen-like device with probes at the end. Since you don't have one, you may want to use different nutrient amounts in each bucket to see what works best for you.
edited to add: Guess we crossposted Linda. Sorry, Jeanette
Russ, I was thinking about the same thing on the pvc but someone said 4" and another said 1 1/2". Big difference. So, I was waiting to see a clarification. Seems 1 1/2 to 2 seems to be it. Your idea of the coco hair or whatever it is sounds good to hold the growing mix in. And then a 1/4" drill? Think they said about 6 holes. near the bottom? I am going to check my hydroponic nutrients and see if they are the right combo. I grew a couple tomatoes in my kitchen 2 years ago, hydroponic, and they grew so tall, and then started getting the fruit on them but by then they were taking over the whole room.
Got tired of them so dumped them. Do have the ferts tho.
We have plenty of time to get the stuff together to make them. Still got a foot of the white stuff out there so it will be a while.
We didn't get a lot of snow this year " Thank You Lord " It has been rather mild for NW Iowa. We got 4" a couple times and a inch or two. the rest has been in the form of rain.
I'm still going to have a dirt garden for my sweet potatoes but I'm for sure getting some tubs set up and trying this. I will probably start out with some being static however I kind of like the idea of having a mix tub and pump the liquid from that through all the tubs, to save refilling each one when low.
What about using a tea made from chicken poo, to add in the mix. anybody have any input on that??
Use a STURDY, thick-walled, 10" pot, instead. Drill holes in the bottom and about 1/4" up the sides. The rim of the pot will keep it from slipping thru, but U don't even need to push it in as far as the rim. Just make sure the bottom of the pot makes contact with the nutrient water.
Look @ the experimental one in progress on Cricket's Tomato Adventures 2012 thread on the Tomatoes forum. Her cukes are off the chain, and her tomato plant is loaded!!
Well I was only going to use PVC cause I had enough of that and didn't have the tapered pots.
Although I do have some thin plastic pots that I didn't throw away. They might work.
Putting a nail or wire through the PVC would work for holding the pipe in place as well as the coconut hair or sphagnum moss. I may use some of the plastic pots too, as they already have holes in the bottoms and would hold more potting soil for holding the plant stems in place.
when I get it set up I will take pics to post.
Just remembered I do have two of those thick walled resin pots that I could use as well. I'm not sure that they would always stay in contact with the nutrient water, like the longer tubes would.
Thanks for the link and suggestions. Those bigger pots would work better. I just don't have them at present.
randbponder wrote:I'm not sure that they would always stay in contact with the nutrient water, like the longer tubes would...
They don't have to stay in contact with the water. The concept is that they contact the water in the beginning, until the roots grow down into the nutrient water. Once the plant starts taking up the nutrient water, the water table will DROP, creating a necessary air-space between the bottom of the pot and the nutrient water. The roots will have grown down into the water by then, so part of the roots between the water line and the bottom of the pot will actually grow in an air pocket, while the rest of the roots will be growing in the nutrient water.
K. sounds good. I will set up some with pots that I have. others will have to be improvised with PVC. Or only try two or three tubs. and put the rest in the dirt. as I don't want to cut back on number of plants. and I don't have any extra finances, until I get a couple debts paid off.
What do you think of 15 gallon plastic barrels they are white translucent and about 3 ' tall. I could paint them if necessary.
These are little barrels with a handle in the middle of the top, would have to use hole saw to cut hole for pot. Could run pvc tube through bung hole to bottom for refilling.
Neat little barrels we used one for water for primitive camping. I had planed another one to use for shower water with a 12 volt pump. but that trip we just roughed it and didn't sniff to deeply lol
the barrel is about 12"w by 36"d
Russ, I wouldn't ruin your barrel. Cricket has been experimenting using several plants in a barrel and adding nutrients and probably water so would be no difference with yours to just add some later if you are using just one plant with the smaller barrel. Sounds liked a good one to keep for other things.
Yes I understand where you are coming from. I have other containers I can use, just need to come up with covers / lids etc. I do want to use those 15 gal jugs for other purposes. A warm shower at a primitive camp site would feel mighty nice on a hot sticky day. But every once in a while we can get one or two more
OK GG, have you planted your trash can? Did you, or are you going to plant the seeds in the tube, or start them first? Stuff them into the tube?? I am trying to decide how to do mine so I use as much of the growing season as possible. Don't know whether to start them in pots and then move them. I realize they grow so fast so don't want them too big to put in the tube.
You control the size of the hole in the lid. The advantage of the forestry tubes is that they're tapered and thereby don't fall through the hole. A pvc pipe would have to be modified somehow so it won't fall through the hole, or perhaps the hole must fit the pipe snuggly so that friction keeps the pipe from falling through. I read on another post that 2" net pots were used with flat-topped garbage cans, and they worked just fine.
Yes, whatever you use it has to be able to reach the water under the lid. That was the reason for the flat topped lid. I would imagine there would be a lot of ways to alter the PVC so it won't slip thru. Good old duck tape. Several wraps around should do it.
The Hog Wild Piggy Swap, ATP, a visit to the Olympic Peninsula, and getting over a cold.
Of those, the cold was the least fun.
I got busy last spring, and never got around to planting a single seed. It took all year to clear weeds out of the beds. I had let some weeds get into my compost WITH some weed seeds, and that's all she wrote. Now I have a five-gallon bucket of that same compost, dried and screened, but probably FILLED with weed seeds.
While you're here, I have a question as I'm about to set up my first Kratky tub to grow lettuce.
One of mhpgardener's concerns was that the lids on some of the tubs don't quite sit flat, and create a "dam" which allows rainwater to pool on top and into the tub. How did you get around this, and which rubbermaid type container do you use?
A rubbermaid tub would be much faster than me constructing wooden boxes and buying 6 mil liner, LOL!
P.S. I'll be using the HydroGardens 10-8-22 formula (this was in the Kratky paper and on mhpgardener's YouTube video). Are there any adjustments I need to make for growing lettuce, besides just adding the Epsom Salts? This contains the Calcium Nitrate already...
Gymgirl, I use the containers that I bought from Walmart like these http://www.walmart.com/ip/9-Pack-Sterilite-18201009-Plastic-Latching-10-Gallon-Storage-Container-Tote-Box/40591433
There is no way to keep the water from going in when it rain. I place holes on each side( under the hand rail) so that the water will drain when it rain. I place it right above my max water level. The container does not need to be this tall. I have only used General Hydroponics Flora series or Peter's 20,20,20 with the Epsom salts. (2 teaspoon of Peters, 1 teaspoon of Epsom salt per gallon of water). Since I became disable I can only afford to use the Peters plant food and It works great for me.
Check out the Hydroponics section for some of my hydroponics setups using throw away items.