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Hydroponic Gardening: Building Hydroponic system - I THINK??

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Forum: Hydroponic GardeningReplies: 13, Views: 499
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bwilliams
Louisville, KY

January 14, 2008
9:22 PM

Post #4401854

I have used a similar method of growing plants that I am working on now and am wondering if this is considered a hydroponics system or just a growing system.
I currently have benches set up much like stairs three high. They are made with cinder blocks and 8inch wide pieces of wood. My idea is as follows take a large piece of pond liner and cover the benches. Use some strips of wood to make boarders on the edges of the bench to keep the water from flowing off the benches. At the bottom will be a catch trough made out of cinder blocks, a pump will take the water from the bottom trough and circulate it to the top out of a drip holes. I may use a capillary mat if the water flow is not even enough. Once the system is running trays of plants will be set on the steps of the bench and water will be flowing underneath them. Root hormone and fertilizer will be added as needed. Now is this system a hydroponics system? How is it different and are their any problems I would face growing plants in this system??

Here is a pictures of similar benches I have been working on.

Thumbnail by bwilliams
Click the image for an enlarged view.

rentman
Frankfort, KY
(Zone 6a)

January 14, 2008
9:51 PM

Post #4401977

Sounds like a hydroponics system to me...
This is the way I understand a hydroponic system :
The growing medium , dirt can be a lot of different things .
Liquid flowing through them can be anything, as long as the plants grow.
One problem may be that same nutrient, (liquid) may not be the best for different growth of the plants. Blossoming and fruiting plants need different nutrients than...say lettuce or carrots.
I'm new at this Hydro but there is a ton of info on the web.
Good luck and let us know how things work.

Love Compost Tea
bwilliams
Louisville, KY

February 7, 2008
9:43 PM

Post #4508558

Here are some supplies coming in for my hydroponics tables. The tables are 4 foot wide and roll out over sender blocks. I have to add more blocks than usual due to how heavy the water will be. The sides of the table will be lined with wood to make a lip for the pond liner to attach and to keep the water from over flowing of running off. The tables all slant down hill a few inches and a trough will be at the end to collect all the water and circulate it back to the top. I figure for 2 tables 100 feet long and 4 feet wide is has run me around 1000.00 to 1200.00 . I will have more pictures of the tables up soon. I have half of one up already.

Thumbnail by bwilliams
Click the image for an enlarged view.

rentman
Frankfort, KY
(Zone 6a)

February 8, 2008
5:33 AM

Post #4510550

Sounds very interesting...Yes keep us posted.
bwilliams
Louisville, KY

February 9, 2008
9:32 PM

Post #4516875

Well construction has begun. I have a area that was already layed out with some older tables they were broke down and are now being converted to this system. In this pic you can see were I put up the sender blocks and have the table roled out with the wooden sides. The table does not have to be completely level but the more level it is the better at least side to side, length ways I have to have it angle downward to get it to pour to the bottom end. I plan to add around another 50 foot of table to this one before finishing. Their will also be a capullary matting placed on top for the less level areas to recieve water.

Thumbnail by bwilliams
Click the image for an enlarged view.

bwilliams
Louisville, KY

February 9, 2008
9:34 PM

Post #4516878

I was not sure how I planned to use the right angled table into the system but after thinking a bit having it pour its water over onto the other table made sense so the angled table is slightly higher than the longer table.

Thumbnail by bwilliams
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bwilliams
Louisville, KY

February 9, 2008
9:38 PM

Post #4516893

I was able to get the pond liner on the first table it is easy to level up the table even once it has been put up by placing small bricks or thin pieces of wood under each section till you get the right height. I think a thin layer of water over the whole table is easy to do if you just fiddle with adding and removing thinner blocks.

Thumbnail by bwilliams
Click the image for an enlarged view.

bwilliams
Louisville, KY

March 12, 2008
8:37 PM

Post #4655457

Here are some more recent pics of the table up and running.

Thumbnail by bwilliams
Click the image for an enlarged view.

bwilliams
Louisville, KY

March 12, 2008
8:38 PM

Post #4655460

pump and trough

Thumbnail by bwilliams
Click the image for an enlarged view.

AuntB
NE, KS
(Zone 5b)

March 17, 2008
7:08 PM

Post #4675237

Pretty slick, Brian... I'm watching. It should work great. I could imagine something like that for home use, only make it more into the landscaping with the trough being a shallow stream with a collection tub/pond at one end, pumped back up to the start of the stream... Thanks for sharing your idea! Can't wait to see plants on yours..
bwilliams
Louisville, KY

March 17, 2008
10:25 PM

Post #4675878

Yes from all who have seen it, they say it should work really well. The water is only around a half a inch or less on the tables and if you look close you can see the current pushing the water down hill. I am not sure what all will grow well in this system off hand. I know that all of the plants I get out of TC were grown on hydroponic tables so I am guessing they should take the transfer well. My main worry are plants like Amorphophallus and fancy Alocasias both of which are known to rot if to wet. This may not be the same with this system maybe growing them in a very airy almost all perlite mix may make it possible. I am sure I will have to test it out a bit before all the bugs are out of it specially with the soils that work best.
bwilliams
Louisville, KY

March 18, 2008
12:11 AM

Post #4676257

Here is a pic of the new table it is the same concept as the other one. The main difference is each table flows into another table leading back to the same end so the pump only has to push the water a few feet. We ran out of pond liner today so could not finish it. I should have it done in the next few days. Pond liner is ordered and on the way.

Thumbnail by bwilliams
Click the image for an enlarged view.

AuntB
NE, KS
(Zone 5b)

March 18, 2008
2:15 AM

Post #4676737

Looks like you plan to shade this one... I was thinking more for canna, colocasia, and water plants, banana's maybe.. but the water is moving, besides offering oxygen and nutrients.. I wouldn't test any quantity of alocasia or amorphs, but I'm interested... thanks for sharing this.. I could just see your water plants.. all potted ready to go into customers' ponds on one of your hydro systems.. Are you wanting to sustain plants for sale out in the elements in spring/summer and/or use as a growing system year round?
bwilliams
Louisville, KY

March 18, 2008
4:39 AM

Post #4677335

This system will be used for growing and propagating plants. I did more research on the system as you may know most hydroponic systems are being used to grow some illegal plants but the sites are very informative sense they are also trying to get the best preformance out of their systems. I found they call NFT which means Nutrient Flow Technique. From what I have read the plants do not rot from the water it is the lack of oxygen that causes the rotting. I am not completely sold on that as I think cool temps will play a major role as well in the system. I do however think that once Alocasias Amorphophallus and others have a good root system and warm weather that they can grow in the system easily. The system is to be used only in spring and summer. I find that plants grown this way should grow extremely fast but they maybe shocked if dried out which is one thing I will be looking for when working with them once out of the system.

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