DIY Aeroponic System

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Hot on the heels of the Aeroponic AeroGarden blog, I'm now going to build a much bigger aeroponic system.

Rubbermaid type container (35 litre / 9 gallon capacity), hydroton grow rocks, rockwool, six aeroponic sprayers, 3" net containers, airstone, Sicce Nova flow adjustable water pump, 125w (6400K) Eco-CFL grow lamp, digital timer...

Container dimensions- Length x Width x Depth (480mm x 390mm x 310mm) or (18.89" x 15.35" x 12.20") 

A few tasters.

A few items   Larger picture

All built!

All built   Underneath showing the 3 inch net pots   Water pump and micro sprayers   All running   Grow hood & lamp with starting week seedlings.   Seedling just about to be planted.   Hydroton at the bottom...   And planted.

The aero sprayer assembly follows my original design I did for the AG. I have drilled and grommeted three holes in the top left of the box (for the water pump power lead and air lines from the air pump), two pieces of sponge were placed at either end of the 'T' bar, they absorb vibration and steady the bar.

I anyone wants more build/technical details then just ask.

So what's the plan for all this? I'm going to start growing some mixed lettuce seeds (using rockwool) in my Aeroponic AeroGarden Conversion - give this a try out. Once the plants have got some good growth, I'll take the rockwool out and plant them into this unit; the rockwool will be surrounded by the hydroton clay pebbles. I'll then turn the beast on and see what I can get out of it - see below...

Weekly Grow Pictures (Click To Enlarge)

Week 0 - Starting Week   Week 1   Week 2   Week 2 Roots

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Orlando Jude (not verified)
 May try the grow slightly

 May try the grow slightly different this time, bypass the germination in the AG and seed direct into rockwool, the baskets and hydroton - leave a gap at the top of the rockwool though for the seedling to get out! Once it's out, fill around with the hydroton for support.

 

You mentioned this somewhere else so that's what I did in my bucket.  I planted 2 tomato seeds in a small rockwool cube, wet it down, placed it in hydroton in a 12" basket.  I kept it moist, and soon I had 2 seedlings.  I snipped the smallest, (I HATE doing that) and the other is growing very well.  I kept it moist for a while, then added your suggested nutes for the cukes.  I also added hydroton to build up around it a little and hide the rockwool. 

I would love to know if you decide to do it again.  (you can see it in my latest pictures post on my glog - in the distance)  After the discussion with the GH rep, I've been thinking of slowly upping the nutes, but at the moment, still on your formula and it's doing very well. 

I hope you do it.  (totally selfish reasons of course)  lol

Enjoy!

Peat
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Thanks Judith. I used to do

Thanks Judith.

I used to do something called ebb & flow / flood & drain - tomatoes were my main grow with this.

It would be good to do them again in this system, I'm itching to try everything with this now and want to take the lettuce out! I've grown Totem F1 but have been looking at ones called Gardeners Delight. I like the cherry toms and these crop in only 65 days, I feel I'm leaning in this direction.

May try the grow slightly different this time, bypass the germination in the AG and seed direct into rockwool, the baskets and hydroton - leave a gap at the top of the rockwool though for the seedling to get out! Once it's out, fill around with the hydroton for support.

I purposely got the 3" net baskets for this DIY project, they are big enough to support tomatoes and gave me scope for the larger plants. Smaller baskets aren't so good at supporting larger plants, only for the small lettuce type grows. The trade off of course is that I can only get 6 in my container.

As for the feeding for your toms, I've pretty much stuck to the stock GH formula, going through all the phases before settling on bloom - same as my AG cherry tom grow.

Madly harvesting lettuce now to use it all up.

 

Orlando Jude (not verified)
Absolutely fantastic plants! 

Absolutely fantastic plants!  Love it!!  You do good work.  lol.  (but I mean it) 

Have you tried something like this with full size tomatoes?  If not, will you?  (I'm really interested because I have one growing in a bucket and I like to follow your experiments)

Now, where to start???  How about with the biggest leaves and make a huge salad for the family tonight!  

Enjoy!   

MaryH (not verified)
I think AG does not have

I think AG does not have enough spacing and enough room in the grow baskets for the plants to spread out...  True Aeroponics is going to beat it but requires space...

Peat
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Week 2 The lettuce is

Week 2

The lettuce is absolutely amazing, it's now covered the whole of my grow container. I've never seen anything quite like this, the AeroGarden is now looking like a very poor runner up...

OK, the technical bit once more - the EC has been dropped to 1.7 because the Tom Thumb lettuce at the back is showing a  little sign of burn on the leaf edges, pH kept at 6.0

I think I had better start to use some of this now, where to start in the jungle though.

Week 2  

Healthy white roots.

Week 2 Roots

Orlando Jude (not verified)
See my Glog for the latest

See my Glog for the latest from the GH rep.

 

Judith

 

Then a second email.

 

MaryH (not verified)
Peat, Yes, that is the one I

Peat,

Yes, that is the one I was thinking of, GH Flora Nova Grow and Blooms. 

They stock it at that local hydro but it is C$33 for each of the same sized bottle as each of the 3 parter which is C$20.  So total outlay is approximately the same but since you end up with only 2 bottle and assuming that you use the same in term of dilution, it is 65% more in price. 

If I want to convert my mom to liquid nutrients eventually, I need to either pre-mix it for her in a large jug or keep it simple.   My mom thinks the AG kits at $20 is too expansive and I don't think she would buy them herselves and she would not want us to keep buying them for her so I did a decent sized buy to stock her up for this Mother's Day with a couple of seed kits on sale and deluxe master gardener kits plus a mini greenhouse but need to find affordable alternatives for pod and nutrients afterwards.

 

Peat
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There is also the Flora Nova

There is also the Flora Nova Grow & Bloom series; if that's the two part one you mean?

I wanted to try this in my AG originally, but could not buy it over here-  settled for the usual 3 part in the end. I've heard that it's very thick though, so it will need mixing well.

 

Ginger
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Mary - that's part of why I'm

Mary - that's part of why I'm tempted to try the Floramato / Maxigro / Maxibloom line. Measure with a tablespoon or something, and only use one dry ingredient at a time. Not entirely sure how well it would go with my pump-based AG systems - depends on how well it dissolves - but it should dissolve at least as well as the AG tabs. It would sure be a lot easier than the liquid nutes.

Moderator. Author of Indoor SaladEcigs 102, and the Calm Act climate apocalyptic series.

MaryH (not verified)
I don't know enough about

I don't know enough about hydroponics and aeroponics to have an opinion one way or another but lettuce and herb would be too much of a hassle to flush since you tend to do partial harvest frequently.  I did one water change so far at my Mom SS6 at 2.5 month mark and can imagine what hassle it would be to do it frequently with flushing on top of it.  I don't see myself doing that more than once a month unless I am growing tomatoes or something.  I dumped the AG water last time but might save the water on future dump and refill to use it for my Mom's seedlings or soil plants / outdoor garden.   

I soaked the last one but did not do the lemon juice but would have been difficult at that time since i did not own a liquid pH kit till this Monday. I was getting a little too impatient with rockwool effectiveness since it is hard to judge by slow germinating coreopsis and wax gourd.  To better understand the medium I started 2 more pods yesterday in rockwool, soaked in lemon juice treated water first for a couple of hours and then slightly rinsed, and planted one with Grand rapid Lettuce and the other with Red Cherry tomatoes of a 3rd type but not sure if it is determinate or indeterminate.  This is only to give them a better start on life and to try and play catchup with other tomato seedlings that started about a month ago.

http://usc-canada.org/what-you-can-do/seed-saviour/greta-tomatoes/ 

I have the lettuce just in plain tap water ph 6.5-6.7, I moved th wax gourd out to plain water but it had been in a regular AG with full strengtj herb tabs for a week.  I moved the coreopsis into the mature herb garden but pour settled tap water on it every so often ~once a day to dilute the full strength nutes.  The tomatoes are being babied with the mixed lettuce crop on starter nutrient about a week later. 

If the price differential was even 25% more, I would probably have purchased the organic ones to try but at 3x since price per bottle are similar between them and GH, it is not worth it.  I might chicken out and do only the GH 2 part grow and bloom nutrients rather than going to the 3 part.  one consideration is that  if I want to convert my Mom to liquid nutrient later, I need to keep it simple.

 

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