So far so good, just letting it cycle with a brick of dry coco coir slowly expanding in one pot. One 1.5# brick will be more than enough for each of these 8.5" x 8" deep pots, it's almost to the top and still rising, reminescent of an old Johnny Cash song. It may be over the top by morning so I put the cover over the smartvalve just in case. These are awfully small 10" pots but look plenty big enough anyway.
I've learned two lessons so far - don't mess around with the grommet and tubing on the bottom of the tank, put a drop of soap for lubricant and you're good to go. I almost mangled it and it has a small ooze, fixable with a little silicone if needed. Second lesson - and a big one - DO NOT clean about 20 liters of hydroton pellets in the bathtub! I figured I'd just punch a bunch of holes in the bag and run water through it. I had no idea that 3 or 4 pounds of clay would go down our drain. It may never be the same.
Yay! Looking forward to seeing how the autopots work, BB!
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They're here!! It took maybe five minutes to get one going. The hardest part was getting the tubing in the grommet at the bottom of the reservoir. A drop of dish soap made it slide right in, I put about 4 gallons of water in the tank sitting on a table and within a minute the tray was full. I think I'll put a couple bricks of coco coir in the pots so I can watch it work and let the coco coir soak up water and expand.
This poor hydro shop, they had a dozen bricks of GH coco tek @ $2 ea, I bought six plus almost half a 50 liter bag of hydroton pellets for $18. They were out of perlite!! Said they may get some more stock in a week or two, depending on whether sales were enough for the home office to replenish them. How sad! Off to play...
That's what I'm guessing. They go on to say they've been using it for a few years at the Eden Project. Now why would their final 2008 brochure still be saying compost and why did I have to visit a dozen sites to find the dimensions on a US reseller's site? I dunno about you Brits, maybe it's time we seceded.
It struck me as strange that Autopot themselves recommend compost. I've used it outside but would never think about using it inside. Take a look at their website , the autopot brochure is towards the bottom. Oddly, up top they also offer what they call Autococo which seems to be coco coir mixed with something and they recommend it. Whatever, I'm going with coco coir and perlite.
Odd you don't see any, Peat. Doing a search on ebay.com for autopot turns up 42 international items, most from the UK. Doing a search on ebay.co.uk turns up 61 items.
The mix, according to autopot's brochure is good quality compost mixed with 30% - 50% perlite while both futuregarden (thanks gisette) and my local guys recommend coco coir and perlite but could be lots of different combinations. Autopot talks about using sugar cane pulp and brick rubble among other things in disaster areas.
Just as we were discussing different mixtures, Maere came storming in saying she was walking home. (she doesn't care about anything beyond drop in tabs and add water and even that's a bother). She'd stayed in the car and it had been 45 minutes! Time flies.... Even better, she called my cell (which I'd left home) and said she heard a party going on...???? Turned out to be my sexy sounding voice mail message that she had recorded! So we both stayed pissed the rest of the day.
Anyway, I think the point was going to be that the more perlite, the drier the mix will be. Tomatoes and the like would use about 50/50 and to increase the perlite to make the mix drier. I think....
On the FutureGarden.com site (round autopots), I think they were talking 50/50 perlite/coco coir. (They give the volumes of coco coir and perlite, but it's a little hard to envision how the coco coir unravels from its brick, volumetrically.)
Their coco coir is called "UltraPeat", Peat.
Looks like we're all online at the same time again. Peat, search eBay for autopots. The prices are so much lower over there that it would almost be worth the shipping to get them here.
I did more research on the square pots vs the round ones and had a heck of a time tracking down how big the dual square pot units are. Turns out they are 23" long, an inch shorter than the round ones so would roughly set at the same angle inside the tent. I like the better use of space plus there's also a 15 liter pot available that evidently straddles the smartvalve compartment. Neat!!
Future gardens' prices aren't bad but boy, do they make it up in shipping charges. Plus they include a bunch of stuff I'll never need so getting the bare, square ones are a better deal. There's a guy on eBay selling a single dual pot unit and reservoir for $90 shipped.
My hydro guys are excited about these things and can't wait to see them. They're selling me a couple at about online prices plus they actually have the media in stock and have a good idea of the different mixes for different plants. Hopefully I'll have them by the end of the week.
Things are looking up for a monday.
Looking forward to seeing what you do.