Hydroponics, Aquaponics, and Indoor Growing | The Organic Garden Center

Posts tagged ‘nutrient solution’

Ebb & Flow Systems

Ebb and Flow SystemsI just finished a water change(w/c) on our 3’x3′ ebb & flow table. An ebb & flow system, sometimes called a flood table, consists of a a wide, shallow, plastic, watertight table about 5 to 10 inches tall, sitting atop a reservoir which has enough capacity to hold all the water and nutrient to fill the table above. For example, our system, made by American Hydroponics, has a a square shaped table 3’x 3’x 5″ deep, and the reservoir, made by ActiveAqua, holds 25 gallons of nutrient/water solution.

ebb-flow-1Inside the reservoir sits a submersible pump which pumps water up to the table. Drilled into the flood table is a standpipe, when the water fills to the height of the standpipe, the water/nutrient flows back into the reservoir making a continuous loop. The pump is controlled by a simple timer, our system runs for 15 minutes, every 2 hours. This is a type of recirculating system. The plants grow in net pots, as the name implies, the bottom half of the pot is made of mesh, which lets water pass through to nourish the plant’s roots, yet with enough strength to hold the plant and media. There are several types of media to choose from, were using an expanded clay pellet called Hydrocorn, made by Gold Label, but we have been quite pleased with Growstone, made out of 100% recycled glass. We have also used Rocks, a super heated shale that won’t float in water, and can be purchased in smaller bags for smaller grow set ups, made by Sunleaves.

ebb-flow-2What’s nice about growing in our store is we get to use a variety of different products from manufacturers who are smart enough to send us samples to try. We get hands on experience which enables us to recommend, to you, the things we like . This time I am using nutrients from Cutting Edge Solutions. They offer a 3 part nutrient mix and, following their instructions, it’s pretty easy to use. They also have 3 other supplements which add calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Because we’re attached to a large aquarium shop, we are using de-ionized (DI) water, most of the industry uses reverse osmosis (R/O) water, but I’ll leave that discussion for another day.

Our ebb & flow plants are happy; if they could talk they would thank me for changing their water and nutrient today.


Cloning Machines

Today’s topic is about our TurboKlone machine, as usual I’m talking about it because I’m doing a routine water change (w/c).

A cloning machine has a great success ratio of sprouting new roots from cuttings you’ve taken from a plant whose characteristics you like, for example a tomato plant that produces large, flavorful fruit, or maybe a hibiscus that blooms very large flowers. It must be noted that if the plant from which you are taking the cutting has gender, then all of its clones will be of the same gender.

TurboKloneCloning machines work by holding your precious little cuttings over a mild nutrient solution and gently spraying water at their stalks. This coaxes some roots to form to keep her alive. When enough roots have formed it is time to transplant her to a more permanent media.

In our store, we have been using a 48 site machine made by TurboKlone. What sets this machine apart is the built in fan, which both cools down the water/nutrient in its reservoir, and adds fresh air to the rooting chamber.. These little baby clones don’t like to overheat. While we’ve never had all the sites occupied it’s nice to be able to take a cutting and have some room in the machine to make a new clone at any time. What keeps the cuttings in place are round, polyethylene collars, which are pre-slit to hold the small stalks.Some growers prefer neoprene collars which will also fit the sites.

I’ve just finished bleaching our collars to remove algae that can grow on them, other folks might just buy new collars instead, they hold up real well but what’s your time worth?

We have also sold quite a few Daisy Cloners made by Botanicare. The machine we sell has 8 sites, it’s easy to use and clean and the good folks at Botanicare and at TurboKlone have always been very responsive to our questions and needs.

Well, I’m finished with my w/c-

Talk to you later,