My new Grow Cabinet

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Yeah, they do some great

Yeah, they do some great things and I'm impressed. I can't quite understand the round vs square either and it looks like Future Garden is the only one selling the round ones. I wonder if the square ones are a new version since they would be a more efficient use of space.

Maybe that's why the kits on eBay are square like the UK ones while the future garden ones are round, have lots more goodies and are cheaper. The rounded ones would require less angle in the tent and give me more wiggle room and I like that. Regardless, it would hold three duals, max.

I'm debating about getting two dual systems to give me more options like having two different nute setups in the tent or the ability to set up two separate ones, one inside and one outside if wanted plus I'd have spare parts and extra media if I just stayed in the tent with three. They'd be cheaper to start with and if I got only a single or double setup and decided to add an extra one later there would be a huge difference in plant size plus cost more. I'm committed so have to do something and this sounds great.

Unfortunately, I don't usually do things in small ways and my sense of money was corrupted 40 years ago working with the super rich doing their landscaping. It's a burden I'll always carry. Fortuntely I usually get into a hobby early, learn almost everything about it and make a business of it. Unfortunately once it becomes a business it gets tedious and I lose interest. Life's been interesting to say the least.

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Cool resources, Bruce.

Cool resources, Bruce. Rummaging around, I also found some of the British square systems (and possibly single-pot square systems) available in the US, too. They cost more, though, via eBay outfits. I still haven't found the connection between the Australian round and British square systems.

I liked the Eden Project thing, where they explained one of their projects was to use these things to quickly restore agriculture in disaster areas. They listed a bunch of media they'd used, like brick rubble, rags, sugarcane chaff, etc.

I'd suggest a single or dual kit (4 pot system), and explore / extend from there. Although you may have floor space for more, do you have the cubic / light for more biomass? Plants like tomatoes are going to be bigger than 10" diameter on their productive ends. And once you see how one system works, you'd know what you want extension-wise. One of the features I liked most when I first saw this rig, was how modular it was, so one could start simple and add capacity based on experience / results / spare cash.

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A few hours of research

A few hours of research turned up some great sources on these autopots. They come from the UK and I'm not surprised since the Brits seem really innovative in hydroponics. Shame on you Peat! It took some good ol' American experimenting combined with lots of capitalism to come up with what you found, gisette. I'm torn between buying 3 smartvalves and buying my own reservoirs, tubs and pots vs just buying the complete system for twice the price and have it set up in 20 minutes. Anyway, here are some great links I found....

I'll get up early tomorrow (roofers will be here by 7:30 anyway) and see if my local guys can order these instead of the monstrosity I ordered yesterday. If not, I'll cancel my order and order something, not sure what. Buying two dual kits would give me two reservoirs, four dual units with smartvalves and hookups, a bunch of media, nutes I may never use and spare parts for later. With a little work and foresight I could probably come up with a better setup cheaper but it makes my brain hurt right now.

I finally found the page about different media mixes gisette but it took some digging. I'm used to middle clicking on links so I don't lose where I came from but many on that site don't work that way even though they're not java. Odd.

And Peat, these don't recirculate the mix, it's only one way - the plants use up the water and they're replenished so there's no way crud could get back into the reservoir but it has a filter anyway. The root control mats are used to keep roots from clogging up the smartvalve.

I'm really loving these things!!

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Glad you liked. It looked a

Glad you liked. It looked a lot more flexible in terms of how to arrange things, and unusually low cost/maintenance/power consumption. Might want to go slow and see how one or two modules work before buying three - we only have their claims to go by. Though the picture of the commercial hydroponic tomato growers in Australia was impressive, and the banana trees. (Otherwise I would have wondered about growing full-size tomatoes in a 10" pot.)  But yeah, they said the way to adjust moisture was by altering the potting mix proportions.

Yeah, Peat - what's your impression of that system?

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OOH gisette, I really like

OOH gisette, I really like those, they're so elegantly simple, thank you! Odd, I saw the big Aeroponic Garden they have but never saw these. I dismissed it immediately because of size but ironicaly it's almost the same size as what I ordered - 31"L x 14"W x 17"H.

At 24" long x 11" wide I could put three in the 20" wide tent at an angle and have room to move them around a little as plants grow. The 8" height sure beats the 17" of what I ordered and I'd have six 10" pots vs eight 5" pots jammed up tight against each other. I could run the water line through an existing port so wouldn't have to cut holes in the grow tent and coffee table base. And it would be simple to supply different nutes to different plants just by adding another reservoir and running the tubing to different units. Or I could put a 2 or even 3 way valve so I could switch from one mix to another just by turning the valve, available at any pet store or aquarium shop. And I could put the units at different heights if needed. I could grow some substantial plants. Cheaper with larger reservoir. We could leave for a week with no worries. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...... Sweet!

OK, back to earth - what are the drawbacks? Maybe a little slower growing than ebb & flow, maybe not, no big deal. No way to control how much water the plants get, all would stay at the same dampness, maybe frixable by varying the media mix. It would take a while to switch nutrient mix since the plants determine when they need a fresh supply and 1/4" tubing isn't going to provide a rush of new mix but maybe that's a good thing. No quick, easy way to clean or flush the system. Salts could possibly clog the smartvalve or keep it stuck open a bit. Salts could build up in the pots since it's not a real ebb & flow system, fixable by manually watering with plain water or soaking in the bathtub if needed. What are root control mats and why are they needed? I wouldn't get to use the truncheon as much and it's fun. Do liquid nutrient solutions go bad or fall out of  suspension, a 14 gallon tank would last quite a while. Umm, I'm grasping at straws here....

This is sounding so sweet I think I'll call early Monday and cancel the order and hopefully be able to get this through the local guys even though it'll cost more I'm sure.

Hey Peat.....

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That sounds really

That sounds really frustrating, Bruce.

There was this system I remembered seeing, that I wanted to show you, but couldn't for the life of me remember where I saw it, or what it was called. Finally found it again. I dunno if you'd be interested anymore, since you've made your selection. But it's gravity fed, has an external tank, and comes in modular 12x24" 2-pot units (one reservoir can feed up to 4 of these 2-10"-pot units), called the Auto-Pot. And if even those modular setups aren't the right shape, they sell the gravity-feeding valve to roll your own system around, and that's only $20 + your own containers & tubing. (Though their starter all-included kit would be less hassle.)

Anyway, for your consideration. I dunno how it compares to what you've ordered. Except the pots are bigger, yet shorter. What size are the individual plant-pods in the system you're getting?

Edit: They also had this, which looks essentially like a giant airstone-based Aerogarden base, but at 32"x 20" x 17" tall it might be too big? Bookmarked it, though, because it had a light rack to place over it.

Oh, they also had these, which are the same tech as the autopot, in 5" x 36" strips with 4 5x5" pots.

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Spent almost two hours at the

Spent almost two hours at the hydro shop discussing all sorts of setups and like I thought, the 20" width eliminates most systems. I ordered this ebb& flow system. We can't find much of anything else that will fit and it will give me a little room for some sort of homemade setup to play with. I could have built a system for about a quarter the cost but am honestly tired of thinking about it and hopefully will be able to re-engineer it with the reservoir external to get it shorter. Or just sell it and build my own later, there's too much going on right now to even think about it.

I will definitely have to redo some things to make this useful - used like it will be it's 48" tall minus 16" the lamps hang down minus the 17" height of the grow system, giving me all of 15" headspace. That's less than a Classic.

I want to use the high/low lamp hangars and they are about 4" so I can get the lamps about 5" from the top with a little ingenuity, giving me 26" of headspace, 1" more than a Deluxe. If I can make the nute tank external it will give me another 10" or so and I'll have a usable 36".

Conclusion: this isn't worth the effort or $$$, I should have gotten a taller one or better yet, made my own.

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Hmmm. I follow your logic re

Hmmm. I follow your logic re the crusty white... But did something else.  Will post on runty pepper's page, though...

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Cross post!! Sorry, got

Cross post!! Sorry, got called away and that last post took about 45 minutes. They needed to switch burros on the roof. We've had to find every separate circuit in the house for them to run 15 amp heat guns.

That makes perfect logic, Peat. I can do something like that but it's possibly going to be a little boring. My mind's eye saw all different kinds of plants growing in perfect harmony but it ain't gonna happen. I'll have to adjust my thinking and do something like you're saying. Hmm.. wonder if Maere would mind another grow tent? Naw, not even going there.

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That pot has crusty white on

That pot has crusty white on the surface of the soil,

Yup, that sounds like a buildup of salts. We had that problem constantly in west Texas just from the godawful water, it was barely drinkable. Is it in some sort of self watering pot? If possible, try soaking it almost to the rim in the sink or bathtub in fresh water for a few hours then let it drain overnight. That should give you a clean slate nutrient-wise to start from, like putting plain water in your AG for a few days. Then feed it very slowly for a few days.

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