forestry tube???

Lumberton, TX(Zone 8b)

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?

Also, has anyone done this? Does it work?


Helena, MT

definitely interested

Austin, TX(Zone 8b)

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.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

I wondered if it referred to the plastic tubes that are put on newly planted seedlings, above ground, to help them grow up, about 4 inch diam, with some holes

Brady, TX(Zone 8a)

After first reading this thread, I looked at several websites and realbirdlady describes what I found, kinda long/deep and slanted with holes near the bottom.

Lumberton, TX(Zone 8b)

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.

Lumberton, TX(Zone 8b)

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.

That's a lesson learned!

Decatur, GA

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.

Lumberton, TX(Zone 8b)

It wasn't the least bit amusing at the time, but it is hilarious now! I felt like an episode of I Love Lucy!

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

so where do you get these forestry tubes?

Hornick, IA(Zone 4b)

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??

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Hello, all.

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...
P.O. Box 25845
Colorado Springs, CO 80936-5845

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!


This message was edited Jan 30, 2012 11:40 AM

Decatur, GA

Lets see a picture of your set up when you get it together. I sure hope it works for you.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Will do, Helen!

Nauvoo, AL(Zone 7a)

How are the plans coming along Linda? Have you started your plants yet?

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Hey, Cricket!
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.

Will post pics when I get started.


Hutto, TX(Zone 8b)


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!

This message was edited Feb 28, 2012 11:08 PM

Nauvoo, AL(Zone 7a)

I sent Hilo.Sun an email earlier today asking questions about large vining squash and other questions.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Thx David. I was gonna try to find some of the Sugar crunch? Seeds that Araness recommends. But I'd probably find the rack ones quicker. I'll look tomorrow @ lunchtime.

Would you pls post his replies here so we can keep a Hydroponics discussion going? Thx.

Hornick, IA(Zone 4b)

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

Nauvoo, AL(Zone 7a)

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.
Happy Gardening
Carolyn from Alabama

His reply======
Aloha Carolyn
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.

Aloha and roll tide from an Oregon duck in Hawaii

Nauvoo, AL(Zone 7a)

I didn't ask all my questions cause ==I thought it would be too much at one time and I wanted to see if he would actually answer the email before I unloaded my wondering mind.

Canyon Lake, TX(Zone 8b)

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?

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

I had a whole conversation with him. Ya'll want me to post it here?

Nauvoo, AL(Zone 7a)


SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

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 $50-$ 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.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Hydroponic Squash Bucket

Thumbnail by Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Hydroponic Lettuce TABLE TANK

Thumbnail by Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

HYDROPONIC Eggplant Bucket

Thumbnail by Gymgirl Thumbnail by Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Hydroponic Bucket

Thumbnail by Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)


Thumbnail by Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Sorry, I had to upload the pics separately. Evidently, the system doesn't allow for such large files side x side...

Hope this contributes to the the discussion.

Everything posted was with HILO_SUN'S permission.


Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

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.

This message was edited Feb 29, 2012 11:28 AM

Hornick, IA(Zone 4b)

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??

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

No, but keep notes on your experiment Russ. Should be interesting. J

Nauvoo, AL(Zone 7a)

He sent me the same pictures you have........I think I have 3 that are different.

Northeast, WA(Zone 5a)

Ok, I posted this on the other one too.

How do you keep the PVC pipe from slipping thru the hole in the lid and falling into the can?

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Don't use the PVC pipe at all....

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!!


Hornick, IA(Zone 4b)

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.

Nauvoo, AL(Zone 7a)

I have a pvc pipe that goes to the bottom for refilling the trashcan.

I have 4 cuke vines growing in my trashcan and I know the cukes will produce and live longer than 60 days and thats why
I made a way to refill the trashcan when the nutrients got low.

This message was edited Apr 20, 2012 7:03 AM

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