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Dirtbags Hydroponics Thread.

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After a long time using soiless, I've decided to give rockwool hydroponics a whirl.

I'll start this thread by saying, I'm feeling like a beginner again and loving it. I dont know a whole lot about growing in wool and have zero experience running any true hydro setup, so this is going to be a huge learning experience for me. And on that, Any experienced hydro growers are welcome to chime in if you see me doing anything stupid I shouldnt be.

Plan is to stick to the same basic layout I have now, 16 plants in an 8x8' room, using 6" Hugo blocks, maybe on a unislab, or maybe just on it's own.. or a big mama 8 incher..
Itll be a DTW top feed setup. Ill use Botanicare PBP and drip clean, and run it sterile since Canada is silly strict about stuff, finding biocontrol like hydroguard is impossible without a license. Plan will be to veg for about 3 weeks then flip.

The room is currently being used as a drying room for my last crop, but in a week or so I'll install the irrigation manifold and distributors and get the place cleaned up.

The room empty looks like this currently. Plan is to use bilge pumps in the drain buckets below the gutter sections to pump the excess runoff directly outside. But have big enough buckets to hold a couple days of runoff just in case a pump dies.
Also note the benches are usually closer together under the lights when I've got plants in there.
20190721_221530.jpg


And tonight I completed job number 1.. Cuttings.
I have always used peat pucks or more recently rapid rooters for cloning, the one time I tried rockwool years ago i had a very high failure rate. I fucked it up somehow, but this time I did a ridiculous amount of research and harassed every hydro grower I know for tips, and took a ton of extras just incase. 40 cuttings, and I'll keep the best 16.
20191016_203000.jpg


Stay tuned..
 
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And it begins. I love how your room is already setup perfect for it with a little tweaking.
Honestly that played a big part in me deciding to try it. Not much to do to make the changeover.

I'm going to raise the benches up 6" or so to allow for larger runoff buckets underneath, and install the irrigation. That's basically it. I might also just plumb the runoff buckets direct into a floor drain rather than pumping it out. More simpler.
 

AnselAdams

Premium Member
Supporter
389
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After a long time using soiless, I've decided to give rockwool hydroponics a whirl.

I'll start this thread by saying, I'm feeling like a beginner again and loving it. I dont know a whole lot about growing in wool and have zero experience running any true hydro setup, so this is going to be a huge learning experience for me. And on that, Any experienced hydro growers are welcome to chime in if you see me doing anything stupid I shouldnt be.

Plan is to stick to the same basic layout I have now, 16 plants in an 8x8' room, using 6" Hugo blocks, maybe on a unislab, or maybe just on it's own.. or a big mama 8 incher..
Itll be a DTW top feed setup. Ill use Botanicare PBP and drip clean, and run it sterile since Canada is silly strict about stuff, finding biocontrol like hydroguard is impossible without a license. Plan will be to veg for about 3 weeks then flip.

The room is currently being used as a drying room for my last crop, but in a week or so I'll install the irrigation manifold and distributors and get the place cleaned up.

The room empty looks like this currently. Plan is to use bilge pumps in the drain buckets below the gutter sections to pump the excess runoff directly outside. But have big enough buckets to hold a couple days of runoff just in case a pump dies.
Also note the benches are usually closer together under the lights when I've got plants in there.View attachment 902975

And tonight I completed job number 1.. Cuttings.
I have always used peat pucks or more recently rapid rooters for cloning, the one time I tried rockwool years ago i had a very high failure rate. I fucked it up somehow, but this time I did a ridiculous amount of research and harassed every hydro grower I know for tips, and took a ton of extras just incase. 40 cuttings, and I'll keep the best 16. View attachment 902976

Stay tuned..
I'm in.... Let's get busy!!
 
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I've been thinking a lot about root rot prevention. I think I'm going to come at it from several angles and invest a bit of money into preventative measures. And honestly some of it is overdue for my room.

Currently I bring lakewater home from work in the summer in 55 gallon barrels and fill my res with that, and in the winter I fill the res with a garden hose from my household rainwater collection cisterns. Both are potential sources of Pythium and fusarium.

My plan is to Setup a 1000L cube as my main cistern and plumb it gravity feed into a holding tank inside the shed. From there I'll use a 1/4HP submersible to pump it through a 3 stage filter system of 20, 5, and absolute 1 micron filters, then through a sterilight UV unit before going into the nutrient resivoir. I'll also be using Great white to inoculate the rockwool weekly as it has a lot of different beneficial bacteria and fungi, the same strains as what's used in hydroguard and rootshield, just lower concentrations.

I already have the sterilight system from my house that we havent used in almost 8 years since the ballast died. We got used to drinking bottled water... So I'll just steal that and get a new ballast for it, the lamp in it is brand new as we replaced it right before it went kaput. I'll just need to grab the cartridge filter housings since I'm leaving those in my house, some pex, and a new ballast.

I figure if I'm going to screw around with hydro, I want to be starting with clean water. I'll also get a new res, and I'll use a 35 gallon fermenter as they're food grade and extremely smooth inside and dont harbor bacteria, and a new res pump.

It's sort of combining a sterile system and a biological one. I'm sterilizing everything going into the res, but maintaining biological control in the wool itself.
 
6,950
313
I've been thinking a lot about root rot prevention. I think I'm going to come at it from several angles and invest a bit of money into preventative measures. And honestly some of it is overdue for my room.

Currently I bring lakewater home from work in the summer in 55 gallon barrels and fill my res with that, and in the winter I fill the res with a garden hose from my household rainwater collection cisterns. Both are potential sources of Pythium and fusarium.

My plan is to Setup a 1000L cube as my main cistern and plumb it gravity feed into a holding tank inside the shed. From there I'll use a 1/4HP submersible to pump it through a 3 stage filter system of 20, 5, and absolute 1 micron filters, then through a sterilight UV unit before going into the nutrient resivoir. I'll also be using Great white to inoculate the rockwool weekly as it has a lot of different beneficial bacteria and fungi, the same strains as what's used in hydroguard and rootshield, just lower concentrations.

I already have the sterilight system from my house that we havent used in almost 8 years since the ballast died. We got used to drinking bottled water... So I'll just steal that and get a new ballast for it, the lamp in it is brand new as we replaced it right before it went kaput. I'll just need to grab the cartridge filter housings since I'm leaving those in my house, some pex, and a new ballast.

I figure if I'm going to screw around with hydro, I want to be starting with clean water. I'll also get a new res, and I'll use a 35 gallon fermenter as they're food grade and extremely smooth inside and dont harbor bacteria, and a new res pump.

It's sort of combining a sterile system and a biological one. I'm sterilizing everything going into the res, but maintaining biological control in the wool itself.

This is fascinating. I always wondered how much i need to filter my well moving foward. Im going to sit back and listen to the hydro tutorial unfold.
 
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Honestly what I'm doing is probably considered overkill by many peoples standards. I'm only doing it because I have the UV light already, it just needs a $200 ballast. It's almost a $700 system though, not something many people are going to use for a home grow. But they're used quite a bit in commercial hydroponics, especially closed systems. Figure since I have it... May as well get it working for me.

Well water should be fairly clean I would think if your well is somewhat deep, and in a soil grow where you have plenty of benificial bacteria there is less concern I think. Even in hydroponics youd likely be fine with either hydroguard or H2O2 with minimal filtration.

My issue is questionable starting water for hydroponics. Lake water is notorious for pathogens, and honestly I do have fusarium and pythium in spots on the golf course so for me it's a major concern. Rainwater stored in cisterns is really no better.
 
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Grabbed some supplies today, ended up getting a complete new UV system since they were on sale for $310 for essentially the same system I have in my house but this one is 8gpm instead of 10gpm. I can handle that.

Also picked up 16 hugo's, some knockoff floraflex caps for $2 each and some voodoo juice for my bennies. Gonna brew it myself before using it to stretch it out, but it's pretty much the only bacterial bio-control we can still buy here. Probably the worst one judging by that but hey, it is what it is.

Also grabbed a new 210L res and 1000GPH bottom pickup eco pump. Only thing left to get is the fittings and PVC, rainbird manifolds, check valve for the siphon break and some 1/4" tubing. Figure I've got a couple weeks to get that going.

@cemchris I recall you mentioning a siphon stop so I can run the irrigation line below the water level in the res, what kind of device were you referring to exactly? I'm thinking of just putting a reverse check valve somewhere on the irrigation loop. Or maybe putting it on the line over the res incase it sticks... I'm still wrapping my head around the irrigation system. Also, do you recommend keeping the irrigation line wet or dry? I could check valve the line at the pump also so the full line doesnt drain back into the res after a feed cycle, but again I'm unsure what the best practice is for that.

I'm just going to run one line to each block as well. Seems risky, but I think with the free flowing manifolds and naked ends it should be fine. I'll have a good filter inline before the manifolds too.
 
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Grabbed some supplies today, ended up getting a complete new UV system since they were on sale for $310 for essentially the same system I have in my house but this one is 8gpm instead of 10gpm. I can handle that.

Also picked up 16 hugo's, some knockoff floraflex caps for $2 each and some voodoo juice for my bennies. Gonna brew it myself before using it to stretch it out, but it's pretty much the only bacterial bio-control we can still buy here. Probably the worst one judging by that but hey, it is what it is.

Also grabbed a new 210L res and 1000GPH bottom pickup eco pump. Only thing left to get is the fittings and PVC, rainbird manifolds, check valve for the siphon break and some 1/4" tubing. Figure I've got a couple weeks to get that going.

@cemchris I recall you mentioning a siphon stop so I can run the irrigation line below the water level in the res, what kind of device were you referring to exactly? I'm thinking of just putting a reverse check valve somewhere on the irrigation loop. Or maybe putting it on the line over the res incase it sticks... I'm still wrapping my head around the irrigation system. Also, do you recommend keeping the irrigation line wet or dry? I could check valve the line at the pump also so the full line doesnt drain back into the res after a feed cycle, but again I'm unsure what the best practice is for that.

I'm just going to run one line to each block as well. Seems risky, but I think with the free flowing manifolds and naked ends it should be fine. I'll have a good filter inline before the manifolds too.

Why is 1 line to each block risky?
 
I did some gardening with rockwool a while back using a couple different systems, and the one thing I wish someone had warned me about was the potential for stalk rot. That stuff is way more absorbent than I was used to, also having come from a soiless background. I lost a couple girls before I got my feeding times figured out and improved air flow down lower in the canopy.

Looking forward to following your thread!
 
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I did some gardening with rockwool a while back using a couple different systems, and the one thing I wish someone had warned me about was the potential for stalk rot. That stuff is way more absorbent than I was used to, also having come from a soiless background. I lost a couple girls before I got my feeding times figured out and improved air flow down lower in the canopy.

Looking forward to following your thread!
Cheers man. Yeah stem/root rot is my main concern, I've got the environment pretty well sorted with loads of airflow above and below the canopy.

And even taking precautions with the UV light and Voodoo Juice, I might still dose the res with H2O2 up to the point of daily waterings. 24 hrs or more between feedings will be enough time to break down the peroxide enough to not kill the bennies I think. Not sure... I might still end up running it totally sterile even at some point near the end. I can see making tea constantly getting annoying... I'll definitely use the bennies for the first week or two while the roots fill the block though.
And I've been told before transplanting to swing the block around like Pete Townsend after I soak it, top side down to get some of the nutrient solution out of it so it isnt fully saturated while the roots fill it.

Fingers crossed. I'll hopefully have the UV and filters in by end of the week, and with some luck rooted clones around the same time. Irrigation will go in next week. Probably going to be hand watering the first couple weeks though.

Man, I'm excited to see how this turns out.
 
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@cemchris I recall you mentioning a siphon stop so I can run the irrigation line below the water level in the res, what kind of device were you referring to exactly? I'm thinking of just putting a reverse check valve somewhere on the irrigation loop. Or maybe putting it on the line over the res incase it sticks... I'm still wrapping my head around the irrigation system. Also, do you recommend keeping the irrigation line wet or dry? I could check valve the line at the pump also so the full line doesnt drain back into the res after a feed cycle, but again I'm unsure what the best practice is for that.

I'm just going to run one line to each block as well. Seems risky, but I think with the free flowing manifolds and naked ends it should be fine. I'll have a good filter inline before the manifolds too.
Any type of anti siphon or vacuum break works. I get mine from the irrigation supply house. They thread into a fitting so just run a T off of my line. You can brew a home solution up just easier for me to run those when I needed to since I'm at the irrigation supply house quite often locally. They will leak water so just make its over a part of the table or rez to collect the runoff. What u said should work fine. Just armed with that going into it and watching it when you test the lines and know what to look for you will be fine. I made the mistake and went to bed and emptied my first 40 gal rez onto the table and overflowed my collection rez first day when I went to drip 😃.

I keep my lines wet but salts, sterile and no organics. You shouldn't have a problem keeping them wet with bennies or PBP since you wont go more then 24 hrs without fresh coming through the line. I would just flush the lines after a round with H202 or Bleach to make sure to clean them out and avoid any problems over time.

1 dripper is fine if using 1/4 in up to 6in/slab. 1/8in I would def run redundant backups. Pressure can help with this some but 1/8 is notorious for clogging. Why I avoided it like the plague. 1/4 I have never had a problem with clogging (pure salts and with stuff like LK added). 1/8in is good if going with hole punch and 3/4-1in flex tubing you want to rip out and replace for more commercial settings or if you like that approach.

Saw a buddy for a little this weekend that was back in town doing some things. Told me on transplanting clones to blocks a good trick they have been doing in the warehouses is transplant to a dry cube with a soaked rooter. Watch them for the first 1-2 days and then water down the block. Says it avoids the 5 day stall on transplant and they basically get to eating right off the bat. Said to use caution since it's easier to kill a clone this way and just to watch them. Makes sense to me.

Lol if you want some floraflex's I got you. Have a grip sitting on a shelf.
 

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