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Simplest hydro system

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Hi all.


I am again pushed for grow space, a never ending problem it seems, and one we probably all share. Tigger sure seems to have this problem :).


So I thought about the best way to condense the plants of a new batch of seed, I want to grow to select a mother. It's White Widow x Sweetooth.


I bought a slab of rockwool from the hydro shop for $11.00.


I sliced some cubes off the rockwool, and made drills in them, so to germinate the seeds. At the same time as cutting out the 1 inch cubes, I also made my own larger cubes similar to the hydro shop jobies that sell for for $1.20 or more each. You get far more than eleven out of a slab of rockwool.


While I was waiting for the seeds to germinate and establish themselves to transplant into the larger blocks, I had the larger ones soaking in an acidic mix of water and phosphoric acid to bring the Ph down.


I made the blocks similar sized to the ones that the hydro shops sell, but much cheaper, and slightly larger.


By simply placing the 1 inch cubes with the seedlings into the rockwool chunks, with a small indentation to accept the block perhaps, they will continue to grow into the bigger block without hesitation, and absolutely no transplant shock.


Put them in a tray, and bottom water them with nutes.


I've grown plants to 12 inches like this before, but it has it's problems doing that. For one, if the blocks dry out too much, the plants will burn immediately, as you can see one here has. Death is not far behind total dryness doing this.


Of course, you should allow the medium of whatever sort you're using to dry out to some degree before re-wetting them, it's a fine line with large plants in small blocks though.


But if you keep them down to a sensible size to block ratio, there's very little chance of injuring the plants.


Rockwool is great to grow in, because it holds almost as much air for the roots as it does moisture.


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Here is what will happen if they run dry for too long. They weren't dry for that long, before this one was as flat out as a lizard drinking. It perked up alright when I watered them, and is seen here in this pic half way on the road to repair.


However, there are leaves permanently damaged on this plant now, and although it will definately grow more, it's good to avoid this happening of course.


It just so happens I was lucky, that this one is the runt of the batch, if it were the best one, I think I'd have been prety upset


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OK, so now that I've been able to keep them condensed this long to save space, they need to be grown out in something a little more substantial.


I used this system as my very first attempt at hydroponics, about 7 years ago.


The Hydro store in Lismore set me on this method, as a way to break into the game slowly, as I was a bit nervous.


Anway, seeing as I had no space to do what I would have preffered to with these, I'm going back to that very simple style I learned all those years back.


I thought it might be of interest to anyone here that is thinking of trying hydroponics, but scared of the "mystery" of the whole affair.


The pots are filled with a 60/40 mix of expanded clay balls/rockwool flock respectively, and then topped off with rockwool, left over from that slab I bought.


It's not a system you'd likely stay with forever, but it will get you going, and take the fear out of the game.


I will top water these until they develope a good root system throughout the pot, at which time, I'll start to bottom feed them, to avoid algae growth that will occur from nutrient sitting on the top of the rockwool.


You could use drippers if you wanted to, and have a set up that is very easy to set up, and will grow great gear as long as you like.







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Hi Rob, looks like a fairly easy method. I've been told that the rockwool that you get from hardware stores has been treated and will kill the plants, I would be interested in knowing for sure if anyone can tell me.


I like the energy rating in the first pic, are they high-energy plants? :P.



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Tom, I asked a guy that has been in this game of indoor hydroponics far longer than I, with fantastic growing credentials.


It seems to be that the hardware stuff is indeed not good for growing.


He reckons he isn't sure why for, but that it's generally accepted among the growing fraternity to never use the common bats.


Sorry all.


I have no Idea: The first time I used this method, as I said was the first time I used hydroponics. I grew 4 very unlikely sativas inside a 4x4 cupboard, approx. 7 and a half feet high.


I used a 400watt SonTagro light, and harvested one pound from them.


However it took me 4 months to do it, because they were Sativas, and when I had to close the doors, I would have to push the plant in as I went.


I used one part nutrients, so there was no mixing of part A and part B, to complicate matters for my frightened state.


I can't think of the name of the nutes, but it has a picture of what looks like a robot's hand, holding out a very sus looking plant. Although the picture isn't MJ it looks very close to it :).


I didn't measure the nutrient levels, i just mixed up the strengths on the bottle, and I never checked the PH.


However, I highly recommend checking the ph, now that I have had some experience, as it's correct levels are crucial to the grow. I think I remember taking a sample of my nutes in to the hydro store

, mixed up from my tap water, and was lucky enough that the ph of my tap water, combined with the nutes made a neutral PH. I was lucky and I wouldn't recommend anyone doing it by chance.


Also, an eec meter is a very handy tool. I got by without one for years, but my grows have been substantially better since I started using one. I found that all the nutes I was using by the guide on the bottle were way above safe levels to use. Most nutrient bottles recommended levels that when measured gave almost toxic levels of nutrient!


If you can't afford an eec meter, use no more that half the nute strength recommend, and if the plant needs more, work up from there.


A healthy plant receiving the right amount of nutes will have all the growing top leaves slightly "upward" pointing. Just increase the strength until u see this happen. An over fertilised plant's first sign is droopiness.

I wouldn't expect a pound from 4 plants using this method, as I said it was the strain that did it for me. Most strains now will give more modest returns, but far far quicker than 4 months, or more.


If you want to try hydroponics, mate, use this method, you'll grow from seedling to mature plant with as much success as anything else you're likely to try, and at a fraction of the cost.


Remember to water with straight water once in a while, maybe once a week, to flush out exsess nutrints that have built up. Make sure the water is neutral PH.


A cheap aquarium PH kit is something like 10 bucks I think, while a digital one is about 100-150 dollars. But money well spent. An eec metre is about 120 dollars from memory. I use a "truncheon" brand eec meter.


But just remember that seeing as there is no automated system here, you must be diligent, and keep a close eye on them. Check them at least daily.


You wont be sorry, and you will grow good healthy plants this way, with minimal difference between this and far more expensive systems.


I believe that the first crop has to be a success or else the person wont try again. you will succeed in this system, to grow to maturity.


This is the first time I've used this method since my very first attempt, but I expect no problems, and very healthy plants to maturity.



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Thanks for all the help mate. Now i am sold. I have to go and get all the stuff.


But i have just one more question. How big should the 2nd peice of rookwool be. The one that the smaller one fits into?


And how big of a pot do u use. I think i will use the 8" one. Thanks so much to the good idea. I think ill change my name to "i have some idea" :blink:


anyway thanks for all the help

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Frankly, you don't need the top peice of rockwool. The first time I did this, I just filled with clay balls and flock right the way to the top. But I put the rockwool ontop so that if the algae gets too bad, I can rip it out and replace it, so long as too many roots havent grown into it that is. So I'd use a very thin slice, if you're inclined to use it at all, so that roots aren't inclined to grow into it. Most of them will grow down of course.


If you don't use the rockwool ontop, you'll get algae of the expanded clay, only as far as the light can penetrate but. The stuff is harmless in and of itself, but it looks ugly.


In those pics, I have backfilled with the expanded clay and flock pretty well to the top, before laying the rockwool in.


If you really are going to go ahead with this, check out Tom's grow in "Hydroponics". It's basically the same, with a dripper system set up on it. But like I said, you'll do ok with just hand watering as though it is any other house plant. That's probably all I'll be doing.


Good luck.


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Hey RGS,



I have come across another system which is called a wick system (capillary) it is very cheap and easy to set up, the equipment that you need is as follows:

The set-up for this system depends on the amount of plants to be grown, the space that you have avalaible etc etc etc


- 10 plastic pots 180mm by 150mm

- 10 braided nylon wicks 6-9mm 20-40cm depend on

depth of nutes resevoir/tank

- 01 nutes resevoir/tank

- wood for the pots to sit on depends on length of

resevoir/tank and also the amount of plants

- your choice of nutes solution

- your choice of medium



I do not have the instructions with me a present but I will get back to you's on that early next week sorry about that




Here is a link that I found in one of the forums on this site that will give you a better idea of what I am talking about.



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