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anyone ever tried real organic hydroponics?

591
63
Hi farmers, Ive been messing around with my aquaponic veggie (mostly basil and lettuce varieties, easy stuff to grow) garden for awhile only to realize i hate raising fish...

Since my last tilapia died I decided my next veggie experiment would be organic hydroponics. My goal here is to make a NFT system that uses only OMRI certified nutrients, that means no iguana juice, or general organics bs, if it doesnt have a OMRI or other organic certification I dnt want to use it.

With aquaponics the fish waste (ammonia) is broken down to nitrites and then nitrates by nitrifying bacterial. This can happen in the media itself, or in the case of water culture, in the water usually employing a biofilter to house the bacteria. It seems that once a bacterial colony was estabilished and you had plenty of nitrifying bacteria, instead of having fish waste provide the raw nutrients to be broken down you could just add the raw nutrients, i.e. compost, EWC, kelp extract/ meal, fish meal/ hydrolysis, alfalfa meal, blood meal, bat guano, etc. and have the bacteria break them down. This would of course require running the system without plants for a few weeks to establish the colony and have them start breaking down the inputs. You would also probably have to have a combination of quicker release (like blood meal) and slower release (like feather meal) nutrient sources to ensure proper nutrient availability.

The basic design i have in mind is essentially a compost team maker that pumps water to a biolfilter where it than goes to NFT tubes than back to the res. Compost mixes would be held in the res in a compost tea bag and replaced every so often, or if you were using liquid nutrients (harder to find actual organic liquid nutrients) you could only have essentials like humic acid, kelp meal alfalfa meal, compost and EWC in a suspension. You would only add water and nutrients there would be no water change outs because that would get rid of your valuable bacteria. I hope to run this like an aquaponic set up, only adding top offs and instead of fish feed, nutrients.

I am in the process of building a biofilter and when I have time Ill try and post some pics. I came on the site looking for giddeons organic MPB expiriement but it looks like it was lost in the site change or something. I dont really plan to try this on my indoor garden but i thought i might get some thoughts here I know seamaiden and some other have experience raising fish so... Anyways id love to hear people's opinions on this, Ive been looking for a way to organic water culture and after aquaponics this seemed like something cool to try.
 
O

Organicyumyum

Guest
I do believe that is an oxymoron.
definitely not. I started out over ten years ago by growing organic hydro. I switched to soil about a year and a half into growing and have never looked back. organic hydro was great, but not even close to some bomb organic soil. I was growing with Pure Blend Pro (which is considered organic, though I don't know how organic I would rate it) and earth juice. everything was super clean tasting, but lacked the full flavor that I get from soil grows.
 
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yes it can be done but does require a good understanding of whats going on (which it seems you do) so yes it can be done
 
In hydro its never gonna be totally organic, pure blend has some synthetic parts to it. You can always add certain organic elements to add flavor, I like Budswel, it recirculates pretty well for about a week, but I would recommend running some hydrogen peroxide, at least after a couple days to keep it from getting too nasty. Also I wouldn't bother with any drippers if your gonna try to get organic.
 

outwest

Premium Gardener
Supporter
4,626
263
TechnaFlora's Pura Vida. OMRI listed and clean enough to run in my Aeroflo system without concern for clogging the laser lines. Excellent two part system. Check it out.
I used it but I was hand watering in coco. Excellent results. I would also check out Elevations Organics. Used their veg formula and loved it.

outwest
 
TechnaFlora's Pura Vida. OMRI listed and clean enough to run in my Aeroflo system without concern for clogging the laser lines. Excellent two part system. Check it out.
I loved pura vida when i was kicking it around. That is a very sound choice if your doing your shopping in a non med state at a hydro store.

definitely not. I started out over ten years ago by growing organic hydro. I switched to soil about a year and a half into growing and have never looked back. organic hydro was great, but not even close to some bomb organic soil. I was growing with Pure Blend Pro (which is considered organic, though I don't know how organic I would rate it) and earth juice. everything was super clean tasting, but lacked the full flavor that I get from soil grows.
PBP flood tables......awhhhhh bringin me back to the good ole days.
 
538
93
Hi farmers, Ive been messing around with my aquaponic veggie (mostly basil and lettuce varieties, easy stuff to grow) garden for awhile only to realize i hate raising fish...

Since my last tilapia died I decided my next veggie experiment would be organic hydroponics. My goal here is to make a NFT system that uses only OMRI certified nutrients, that means no iguana juice, or general organics bs, if it doesnt have a OMRI or other organic certification I dnt want to use it.

With aquaponics the fish waste (ammonia) is broken down to nitrites and then nitrates by nitrifying bacterial. This can happen in the media itself, or in the case of water culture, in the water usually employing a biofilter to house the bacteria. It seems that once a bacterial colony was estabilished and you had plenty of nitrifying bacteria, instead of having fish waste provide the raw nutrients to be broken down you could just add the raw nutrients, i.e. compost, EWC, kelp extract/ meal, fish meal/ hydrolysis, alfalfa meal, blood meal, bat guano, etc. and have the bacteria break them down. This would of course require running the system without plants for a few weeks to establish the colony and have them start breaking down the inputs. You would also probably have to have a combination of quicker release (like blood meal) and slower release (like feather meal) nutrient sources to ensure proper nutrient availability.

The basic design i have in mind is essentially a compost team maker that pumps water to a biolfilter where it than goes to NFT tubes than back to the res. Compost mixes would be held in the res in a compost tea bag and replaced every so often, or if you were using liquid nutrients (harder to find actual organic liquid nutrients) you could only have essentials like humic acid, kelp meal alfalfa meal, compost and EWC in a suspension. You would only add water and nutrients there would be no water change outs because that would get rid of your valuable bacteria. I hope to run this like an aquaponic set up, only adding top offs and instead of fish feed, nutrients.

I am in the process of building a biofilter and when I have time Ill try and post some pics. I came on the site looking for giddeons organic MPB expiriement but it looks like it was lost in the site change or something. I dont really plan to try this on my indoor garden but i thought i might get some thoughts here I know seamaiden and some other have experience raising fish so... Anyways id love to hear people's opinions on this, Ive been looking for a way to organic water culture and after aquaponics this seemed like something cool to try.
Just curious if you were able to get this goin?
 
591
63
I had a small set NFT set up with the bio filter outside for some lettuce. I ended up going with canna bio since it was OMRI and I didn't know about technaflora. It worked, but it was a boat load of work and the little lettuce never took off like with normal nutes. They were yummy though! It's possible, but you need to have a lot of time to dial something like this in. A strong grasp of organic chemistry Im sure would help as well.
 
5,983
313
If everything goes well this summer I will veg with aquaponics and flower with organic hydro! Does anyone know the best material to use for container that will not off gas anything or leach anything into organic solution?
 
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313
I use the chowmix in my 8" net pot bucket lids as an informal 'biofilter', and it does a good job of keeping my RDWC clean and my plants happy.

I like fish, so I'm interested in anyone's experiences with aquaponics. I wonder if this could be done with cold water fish, like trout? Or other, tastier fish, like bass? Tilapia is a bit weak tasting for me..
 
538
93
Hybrid stripers are popular in RAS and I've been too a greenhouse that raises trout for there aquaponic system..can use perch, blue gill..practically any fish works but tilapia seem to be the hardiest so many choose them..

I've been reading about people incorporating there worm bins into there hydro systems..not too much info available or atleast I'm still tryin to find it..I'm thinking about settin a small raft system up and a bio filter so I can mess with this a lil bit, i read about one person that is doing something similar by watering his worm bins and collecting the runoff then using that in his nft and said its all automated now so it's def gknna take some tinkering
 

Seamaiden

Living dead girl
23,629
638
bckwht, are any of these GH grows putting out flowering plants that are true quality? We have an organic hydroponic tomato producer upcountry from us, and their tomatoes taste like shit. I hate saying it, but it's true, I feel gypped every time we pay for them and get them home, only to taste crap. I'd rather eat a canned tomato--truth.
I use the chowmix in my 8" net pot bucket lids as an informal 'biofilter', and it does a good job of keeping my RDWC clean and my plants happy.

I like fish, so I'm interested in anyone's experiences with aquaponics. I wonder if this could be done with cold water fish, like trout? Or other, tastier fish, like bass? Tilapia is a bit weak tasting for me..
The coldwater fishes have much higher DO (dissolved oxygen) requirements. If you can meet that (water movement with lots of surface turbulence, and venturis), then you should be able to grow them. If you go with the peacock bass from South America it can handle much warmer water temps and concurrent lower DO levels.
 
6,869
313
bckwht, are any of these GH grows putting out flowering plants that are true quality? We have an organic hydroponic tomato producer upcountry from us, and their tomatoes taste like shit. I hate saying it, but it's true, I feel gypped every time we pay for them and get them home, only to taste crap. I'd rather eat a canned tomato--truth.

The coldwater fishes have much higher DO (dissolved oxygen) requirements. If you can meet that (water movement with lots of surface turbulence, and venturis), then you should be able to grow them. If you go with the peacock bass from South America it can handle much warmer water temps and concurrent lower DO levels.
A true cold water fish needs temps below 55 f, too low for good plant growth. I will look into your suggestion, because I'm very interested in trying aquaponics!

On the tasteless organic foods subject, the sad truth is that organic farming does not guarantee great results. After all, farmers originally switched to fertilizer salts for a reason. That said, I believe that what makes my produce taste so good is that I intentionally built informal biofilters by inoculating my chowmix with bennies, then topfeeding it with RDWC water. I push this water to 50% runoff, and the excess runs back down into my RDWC system, bringing bennies with it.
 

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