T Nation

Hydroponics Tips?

First let me say, I’m not interested in illicit growing. If you grow it, you probably shouldn’t be posting it on the web, and for hobbyists sake, shouldn’t be associating hydroponics w/illicit substances, thanks.

That said, for the first time in my life I’m without a place to grow my own food and I’m considering indoor growing. There are plenty of good references available and I’m a capable horticulturist. What I’m looking for is more like recommendations for T-gardening. I know firsthand with classic gardening and genetics you can manipulate the growth and nutritive qualities (among others) of your produce. What I’ve read and understand of hydroponics vs. gardening leads me to believe that you can exploit this selection and manipluation much more fully. Anybody know of any references, sources, or methods? Other recommendations?

[quote]lucasa wrote:
First let me say, I’m not interested in illicit growing. If you grow it, you probably shouldn’t be posting it on the web, and for hobbyists sake, shouldn’t be associating hydroponics w/illicit substances, thanks.

That said, for the first time in my life I’m without a place to grow my own food and I’m considering indoor growing. There are plenty of good references available and I’m a capable horticulturist. What I’m looking for is more like recommendations for T-gardening. I know firsthand with classic gardening and genetics you can manipulate the growth and nutritive qualities (among others) of your produce. What I’ve read and understand of hydroponics vs. gardening leads me to believe that you can exploit this selection and manipluation much more fully. Anybody know of any references, sources, or methods? Other recommendations?
[/quote]
You may not like the answer to this question but the best references for hydroponic growing are the illicit sites on the web (cannibis.com; overgrow.com). The reason I believe this to be true is that these sites are non-commercial and are only there to provide information–be it about marijuana growing (keep in mind that it is not illegal to grow it in many parts of the world).

There is a good supplier site that also has reference lists available, too: www.bghydro.com

I am also interested in this hydroponics becasue of the limited yard I have in the city and the fact that summers are so short here.

Though, I am not sure if one can grow organically with hydroponics–don’t know if that matters to you.

[quote]LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:

You may not like the answer to this question but the best references for hydroponic growing are the illicit sites on the web (cannibis.com; overgrow.com). The reason I believe this to be true is that these sites are non-commercial and are only there to provide information–be it about marijuana growing (keep in mind that it is not illegal to grow it in many parts of the world).

There is a good supplier site that also has reference lists available, too: www.bghydro.com

I am also interested in this hydroponics becasue of the limited yard I have in the city and the fact that summers are so short here.

Though, I am not sure if one can grow organically with hydroponics–don’t know if that matters to you.[/quote]

Thanks for the reply, I’m aware of the strong association between hydroponics and cannibis and it’s legality abroad and unfortunately it does result in a negative association here. At the same time I’m under the impression that the info I’m looking for is somewhat foreign to cannibis growers, thus the divergence from illicit growing. I guess hemp oil growers and the like might have some input but I still feel that hydroponic growing could be well served separating itself from illicit/questionable plants. Also, cannibis.com is going to blocked or get me in trouble or both depending on where I look at it.

As for ‘organic’, if you’re looking to label your stuff organic for sale it depends on what state you’re in and the produce you’re selling (in the States). I don’t really care about the label so much as the cleanliness and nutrition, which, DIY puts you ahead of the curve in both areas and my understanding is hydroponics puts you even a level above that.

Thanks again for the links, I’ll probably be able to explore them more fully later.

[quote]lucasa wrote:
I guess hemp oil growers and the like might have some input but I still feel that hydroponic growing could be well served separating itself from illicit/questionable plants.
[/quote]

Since allmost all the indoor growing products and information was developed by those bad, willpower lacking, intellectually lazy weed addicted growers, I wish you good luck with that.

Plus, nothing about that plants is questionable, the laws concerning that plants however are.

The reason why you will find little other information is that it is a complete waste of money to grow allmost anything else under artificial light, but hey, maybe you enjoy paying 5$ for a tomato.

There are some though who cultivate rare orchids under artificial light, maybe that leads you in the right direction.

Some of the nute companies provide information on growing various plants on their sites. You will need the nute portions and lighting periods specific to your plants. As far as the setup for equipment goes though there’s nothing that compares to the weed growing sights in terms of ingenuity, variety or comprehensiveness. There are people on those sights growing more than just weed as well.

I’m hoping you’re thinking about doing a hydro greenhouse though. The electricity costs would be astronomical if you did it indoors under grow lamps.

[quote]orion wrote:

Since allmost all the indoor growing products and information was developed by those bad, willpower lacking, intellectually lazy weed addicted growers, I wish you good luck with that.[/quote]

You’re right, especially if you ignore the eons of agriculture and legions of people prior to the mid-twentieth century and all of the discoveries and innovations since then that were made by those who had little if anything to do with cannibis (including the discovery of hydroponics). But no, you’re right, what you said makes perfect sense and is perfectly relevant. Especially since no one said anything about ‘bad’, ‘lazy’, or ‘addicted’ (I pretty much stuck to illicit). I’m indifferent, why can’t you be?

Laws aside, there’s lots of questionable things about that plant. Cannibis research is abundant. In a different light, is the plant nutritive? Does it provide some textile/industrial need that can’t be filled cheaper/better by synthetics or
other crops? or is it just a weed grown for entertainment value? Can the ‘entertainment’ be obtained some other way? What if it’s not entertaining to me?

Would you mind sending me the full cost analysis of the tomatoes you grew? (or are you guessing at $5?).

Also, if you would be so kind, would you send the full cost analysis of your weightlifting (man hours and all)? Or is it a hobby in which you manipulate nutrient balance and growth conditions in order to more closely achieve your genetic potential? Do you do it for health, discipline/responsibility, aesthetic, social interaction, personal reward, or do you look strictly at profit?

[quote]etaco wrote:
Some of the nute companies provide information on growing various plants on their sites. You will need the nute portions and lighting periods specific to your plants. As far as the setup for equipment goes though there’s nothing that compares to the weed growing sights in terms of ingenuity, variety or comprehensiveness. There are people on those sights growing more than just weed as well.

I’m hoping you’re thinking about doing a hydro greenhouse though. The electricity costs would be astronomical if you did it indoors under grow lamps.[/quote]

Thanks for the input, as I said, I’m not averse to those sites, just the fact that our goals are divergent and my access questionable.

As for the grow lights, I’ve got facilites/ideas both ways, but is this page not accurate as far as cost goes?;

http://www.hydroponics.net/learn/hid_lamp_op_cost.asp

[quote]lucasa wrote:
Would you mind sending me the full cost analysis of the tomatoes you grew? (or are you guessing at $5?).
[/quote]
The cost of running the lighting can be expensive.

If you figure thge cost of electricity to be $.10/KW-hr and you run 1000W light

(1000W provides roughly 6’ x 6’ area coverage – though is only dependent on the lumens provided by said lighting and not power consumption)

you will pay approx $72/month if you run it 24/7:

.1$/KW-hr * 1KW x 24hrs/day * 30days/month == $72/month.

Keep in mind you will be running other equipment such as cooling, water pumps, air-flow, timers, etc; though, these pale in comparison to lighting costs.

So, in order for this to be worh your while you need to maximize growth space and consider light cycling.

[quote]lucasa wrote:
orion wrote:

Since allmost all the indoor growing products and information was developed by those bad, willpower lacking, intellectually lazy weed addicted growers, I wish you good luck with that.

You’re right, especially if you ignore the eons of agriculture and legions of people prior to the mid-twentieth century and all of the discoveries and innovations since then that were made by those who had little if anything to do with cannibis (including the discovery of hydroponics). But no, you’re right, what you said makes perfect sense and is perfectly relevant. Especially since no one said anything about ‘bad’, ‘lazy’, or ‘addicted’ (I pretty much stuck to illicit). I’m indifferent, why can’t you be?

Plus, nothing about that plants is questionable, the laws concerning that plants however are.

Laws aside, there’s lots of questionable things about that plant. Cannibis research is abundant. In a different light, is the plant nutritive? Does it provide some textile/industrial need that can’t be filled cheaper/better by synthetics or
other crops? or is it just a weed grown for entertainment value? Can the ‘entertainment’ be obtained some other way? What if it’s not entertaining to me?

The reason why you will find little other information is that it is a complete waste of money to grow allmost anything else under artificial light, but hey, maybe you enjoy paying 5$ for a tomato.

Would you mind sending me the full cost analysis of the tomatoes you grew? (or are you guessing at $5?).

Also, if you would be so kind, would you send the full cost analysis of your weightlifting (man hours and all)? Or is it a hobby in which you manipulate nutrient balance and growth conditions in order to more closely achieve your genetic potential? Do you do it for health, discipline/responsibility, aesthetic, social interaction, personal reward, or do you look strictly at profit?[/quote]

The last paragraph:

You win!!!

Fireworks!!!

First paragraph:

I wrote “indoor growing products”. Those grow lamps are barely 20-30 years old, and please, try to nail me with that topic…

You are welcome, including the question why the Netherlands as a liberal merchant nation with abundant hydrophonic knowledge…

Second paragraph:

You used questionable/illicit in a purely social context, so did I…

That should be clear since I stated that the bulk of research was done by potheads, so I am obviously aware that research concerning that plant is alive and well?

Third paragraph:

I can tell you how much a well supplied sq/m costs but I have no idea how much tomatoes you could actually grow.

If one sq/m costs around 800$ to set up (without on-going electricity) you would need to harvest 16 kgs if one tomato is 100g and the prize per tomato is 5$.

Highly unlikely…

Prizes would drop, slightly, if you had several yields…

Why don`t you just fly in first class tomatoes…

Economically, not wise…

Edit: heavily edited because I just realized that lucasa was the OP…

I am a bad boy and now I am off to go punish myself…

if you aren’t growing just for the fun of growing then hydroponics is a bad idea… you aren’t going to be able sustain an appreciable rate of food production under a couple thousand watts of lighting.

hydroponics is for cash crops and hobbyists, not household food production

[quote]orion wrote:

First paragraph:

I wrote “indoor growing products”. Those grow lamps are barely 20-30 years old, and please, try to nail me with that topic…[/quote]

Not ‘trying to nail you’ (I’ll admit my knowledge of fluorescent lighting is far from exhaustive), but they’re not the high pressure Germer lamps, patented in 1926 that were based on Tesla’s fluorescent lamp design from the 1893 World’s Fair?

You mean it’s not because they have to quite literally have to raise arable land out of the sea and thus maximize crop density? They really just wanted to grow weed?

Then you’re aware of ongoing research as to whether smoking weed causes cancer (it does), specifically lung cancer (it doesn’t). If there’s research, there’s questions.

Off the top of my head (I can cite sources later):

145 tons/acre/crop and 4 crop/yr.

simplified to less ‘farm oriented’ units:

1 lb. of tomatoes/ sq. ft./mo. (at maximum density)

At the $2/sq. ft./mo. lighting number LIFTICVS put up that’s decent (ignoring other costs and my time). Even if it doubles cost-wise it’s not too bad. As I said I’m not necessarily looking for profits here. Not that money is no object, but as long as it’s not a car or mortgage payment, I’m okay. I’m also not looking to survive on just what I can grow (does anyone really do that?).

Also, the initial investment isn’t where the concern is.

Lastly, this is all based on full-time fluorescent lighting. I have plans for natural lighting and I already have some alternative power sources. Further, as full spectrum LED illumination becomes more available (or if you happen to be skilled/knowledgeable enough), I bet the numbers change up a little. Especially if you drop the full spectrum and dial the LEDs to the wavelengths of the chlorophyll. And I know these inventors aren’t “bad, willpower lacking, intellectually lazy weed addicted growers.” But I’m only hypothesizing on this point.

Thanks.

[quote]lucasa wrote:
Lastly, this is all based on full-time fluorescent lighting. I have plans for natural lighting and I already have some alternative power sources. Further, as full spectrum LED illumination becomes more available (or if you happen to be skilled/knowledgeable enough), I bet the numbers change up a little. Especially if you drop the full spectrum and dial the LEDs to the wavelengths of the chlorophyll. And I know these inventors aren’t “bad, willpower lacking, intellectually lazy weed addicted growers.” But I’m only hypothesizing on this point.

Thanks.
[/quote]
LEDs do not work for indoor growing. You need high intensity discharge lamps. These come in the form of mercury vapor, high-pressure sodium, or metal halide varieties.

Color spectrum does not mean anything if you do not have the proper lumens available which LEDs will not provide. As far as color spectrum goes, the higer spectrum (blue-indigo) is better for plant growth (photosythesis) and the lower (orange-red) is better for flowering.

Dialing the frequerncy of chlorophyll will not work for photosythesis because the color being reflected back is green. This means it it absorbing all other colors but green.

Photosythesis is an energy dependent process that requires lumens. Most good lamps will give you a lumens rating at a certain height. keep in mind it is dependent of how high your lights are to the plants–there is an inverse square factor between distance and intensity. For example, moving the lamps half the distance to the plants increases the intensity by a factor of 4; inversely, moving it away twice the distance drops the intensity to 1/4 of the original intensity. Also, height affects the area covered by the lighting by about the same factor. It should be obvious which directions will increase or decrease the area covered…

LIFTICVS,

You are right, I was thinking more about the future, when they hit the 80-100 lm/W level of efficiency/power. Of course, blasting 100 lm/W at 450-485 nm in a warm growing environment for any serious length of time may be a little ways off for LED tech.

Any reference/tips on wavelength specificity and carotenoid, phycobilin, or other porphyrin and/or phytonutrient content?

Again thanks.

[quote]LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:

Dialing the frequerncy of chlorophyll will not work for photosythesis because the color being reflected back is green. This means it it absorbing all other colors but green.[/quote]

I should’ve been more clear in my reply. I was thinking in terms of maximizing yield/. Obviously, lumens/ is going to figure in, and currently LED technology isn’t up to the task. Chlorophyll absorbs maximally at 450, 485, 680, and 700 nm. Traditional fluorescent lighting is only able to be filtered to those wavelengths, thus wasting the energy.

LEDs are the most viable way I know of to dial the energy to those wavelengths. Fluorescent bulbs may get more efficient, but it sounds (IMO) like LEDs are going to get there first.