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Why no systems with trays or potted plants?

Louisville, KY

I have been looking for information on hydroponic systems were the plants are grown in pots or in trays that are easily moved. I have not seen but 2 systems over the years that have this feature. One was a million dollar drain and flood system were the plants were grown in trays. The other system was a constant flow system were a thin layer of water constantly flowed under the plants. This system was more a aquaponics system were the water was returned to a larger pond full of fish.
In most systems the plants are grown in rocks or are almost bare rooted. It seems that most plants being grown are vegies, fruits or the plants are producing a product and are not moved unless harvested or done producing.

Does anyone have a system were the plants are being grown in pots or trays or know of sources for information on these types of system? Is their a key feature to this that keeps it from being used? I am thinking the pots would restrict oxygen to the roots but in both system mentioned this did not seem to be a issue?

Here is a photo of the larger flood and drain system. The tables hold and drain the water. Their is a crain like device that can pick up whole table sections and move them to new areas. The flood and drain valves are coming out of the ground and each one lines up with a table section.

Thumbnail by bwilliams
Alachua, FL(Zone 8b)

Back in the mid-80s I had a hydroponic system I built that used 6 inch square blow-molded nursery pots suspended by a frame made of 1x2 lumber in a waterproof tray. The frame held the pot bottoms about an inch from the bottom of the tray. I used pea gravel in the pots and a typical flood and drain system for the tray. Everything grew very well and I was able to switch out the pots (with roots) as each plant matured rather than try to clean the entire bed of gravel at the end of each season. The only problem I had with it was the larger plants grew so well the roots packed the pots rather tightly and now and then split it open. Usually the larger plants (like tomatoes) would send their roots out into the bottom of the tray and occasionally down through the drain into the nutrient tank which was underneath the growing tray. So I had to do some judicious root pruning around the drain to keep the plumbing working right. Didn't seem to set the plants back too much though there may have been some yield reduction. If I set one up again I will use a larger pot for larger plants and some kind of screen around the drain.


Menifee, CA(Zone 9a)

Have you considered sub-irrigation,
such as with the "EarthBox":


or, the larger & more difficult to move "EarthTainer":


EarthTainer Photo Gallery
http://www.earthtainer.org/Photo_Gallery.php ?

A drip system that turns the water one & off using a flotation device, can be installed in a row of these, and you can go on a trip & not worry about them drying out.

I would only move either of them while they are empty / between uses of them, if possible---Certainly not when they have full-grown plants in them like shown in the pictures!

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