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by Anidem on August 10, 2004 05:23 AM
ok, so I'm turning up a few tomato plants now, but I would like to know how and why overwatering occurs? Espacially with those plants that thrive in hydroponics. So I got to wondering, if I fill a tupperware container and fill it with a little water, and cut holes in the bottom of the cups I have the seedlings in...will they get overwatered? It's not enough to fill the cups. But it is enough for the plant to root down to the water and get it. Is this a dumb idea?
by Pineapple_Raye on August 10, 2004 09:51 AM
The below information is from another gardener from another site. I believe it is worth the time to read it. He makes his own hydroponic systems.

This is from a post on the site I made when I had just started getting into hydroponics. Currently I have 3 different strains of tomato plants,a moon flower, morning glory(grandpa ott), and a rose cutting in the systems. These systems are all indoors, I don't think I have enough time to grow everything before winter and this is a good way to test before next summer. This system is not pretty, it's sitting in my tool room. If you want something for in the living room or outside you can buy more attractive looking containers. You can get some great ideas from a local hydroponics store, or you can just think of some. Once you get the basic idea, it's pretty easy to get creative. After a few weeks of using hydroponics here is what I like about it:
1) More controlled enviroment, only a couple flies that got in my basement door and no weather conditions(I now use a fan to toughen up the plants)
2) I really think it's cool that I have a morning glory that is climbing across my ceiling lol.
3) Much faster growth rate so far.
4) No one can pick my dern tomatos before I do..hehe
5) I love the bubble sound it makes, it sounds like an aerator in a fish tank. It's so relaxing to just sit down in my tool room, watch the plants grow and listen to the gurgling.

I have a bunch of personal reasons, I love hydroponics. I am going to paste the post from awhile ago, has an example of a system setup. If you decide to experiment, have fun. Let me know how everything goes for you. Any questions, feel free to ask.

First Hydroponics system.
For anyone interested I built my first hydroponic System today. It took me forever to find a hydroponic store, but when I did I really lucked out. The guy was more than helpful and we ended up spending two hours, while he taught me about hydroponics and also gave me alot of stuff for free. It's a very simple setup and cheap except for the lightning but I'm trying something different with that. I've been learning about hydroponics for about two weeks now and I will share the information I've learned with everyone as well as give instructions on how to set one up.

Here is a small briefer on why hydroponics works so well.
Hydroponics is proven to grow plants up to 30% faster. This is also a good system for those who want to garden year round. With the many different systems out there today, there is one main goal of them all. To supply as much ogygen to the plant as it could possibly want. It also direct feeds the plant the nutrients it needs. As a result of this, plants reach greater heights in much much less of the time. The roots also remain very small and compact, because they do not have to search for nutrients. You can grow a cherry tomato plant out of a 3" net pot, although a 6" is reccommended. Almost any kind of plant can be grown in hydroponics and the same great results will occur. I have heard that orchids are an exception do to their low tolerance of water.
Cloning plants from cuttings can also be easier achieved by Hydroponics. With Hydroponics it is suggested to clean the bin out every week or two. This is not expensive because you only need water and most likely 2 or 3 teaspoons of your fertilizer.

1 - 5 gallon bucket or preferabbly bin w/lid (must not let light through). $7
4 - 3" net pots or you can use 16oz plastic party cups with slits cut in the sides and bottoms. Big enough slits for roots to grow through. (net pots $2.40)
1 - aerator pump(can be purchased at an aquarium or hydro shop). Mine was a dual outlet for $12.95 , single outlet was $10.95
1 - Aerator stone - I bought 3 large fish tank aerator stones but you can use ones that are priced as low as $.35. Mine were $6 a piece.
1 - Ph Test Kit $6. I didn't get the litmus paper, I actually bought a kit that comes with a dropper and test tube.
2 - bottles of Ph Adujster. Ph UP and PH down. $6 a bottle.
?? - however many feet of 1/4" tubing you need. $.10 a foot.
1 - Bag of grow rocks @ $12 a bag. You can also use rockwool, I prefer growrocks so far. Of course what do I know as of now.
1 - bottle of container of your favorite hydro fertilizer. (must be bought from a hydro store, although the hydro fertilizer can work with soil plants, soil fertilizer will not work in your hydro system) Prices range from $12 - $60.

1) Cut out 4 holes in youur lid, just large enough for your net pots to fit in snuggly. There will be a rim on the net pot. Make sure the hole does not get bigger than that rim.
2) Optional: Cut out a nice size hole that can be plugged back up with a plug or whatever you wish in the center of the pot. So you can check the water and similiar stuff.
3) Also Optional(Not listed in materials): Take a 1/2" piece of tubing and 2 - 1/2" 90s. Make two small holes in the side of your bin. One roughly 4 inches up from the bottom of your bin and one about 5" down. With a hot glue gun, glue the 2 90s into the holes and hook up the 1/2" tubing to the 90s. Now you will be able to check your water level without opening the bin.

4) Place the air stone in the bottom of your bin and hook up the 1/4" hose. I used duct tape to hold the line against the side of the wall. I did not drill a hole into the bin, I just made a small notch at the top of the lid. Hook up the hose to the pump.
5) Fill your bin with water. Add enough water to the bin so that the water level reaches 1/2" into the pot. Do not make your water level higher as this may drown the plant. (Plants have air roots and water roots.)
6) Add hydro fertilizer as reccommended on the label and then do a PH test. You want a PH of about 6.5. Adjust as needed with your PH adjusters.

7) Wash dirt from Cuttings, transplants, or seedlings. Brush as much dirt off the root with your hand as possible, beind very gentle. Then allow a small stream of warm water to rinse the roots.
8) Place cutting, seedling, or transplant into net pot. You do not have to push any roots through the holes. Infact don't let the hole plant rest on the bottom of the net pot. Let the bottom roots sag just low enough to reach the water and fill the pot with grow rocks. This will stabalize your plant. Fill the container to the top with grow rocks.
9) Put the lid on and your done.

Do not let light into your tank, this will cause algae to form. Although algae shows signs of a healthy system it will also eventually strangle your plants roots. It too, fights for light and nutrients.

Instead of a bin you could also use a ten gallon fish tank. Which is what I did with one of my systems. The instructions are almost exactly the same except for these few simple things:
I used a reflective aluminum tape that can be purchased at home depot for 6 bucks and completely covered the fish tank with it. Than I bought a package of packing styrofoam for $6. I cut out the holes from my net pots than covered the styrofoam with the same tape. The rest is the same as the above project.

As far as lightning goes, it is highly suggested that you buy a Metal Halide or High pressure sodium fixture. These get extremely expensive, although e-bay, flea markets and used ones can be bought rather cheap. A good lightning fixture can run you as much as $600. The cheapest one at the hydro store was $250. These fixtures are good if you have the money. The ballast was guaranteed for 8 years at my store and they are specially designed for plants. To put out the red and blue lights.
Seeing as how I cannot afford one of these I bought 2 150w compact flourescents. These puppies are huge and put off alot of light. I'm going to see where I can go from there. Normally Flourescent lighting is good for germinating and nothing more. Compacts offer a little more but not much. I have never seen 150w though, so hopefully I get something out of them.

These systems can also be used as germinators. Reccommended by the store. Rockwool is a great median for germination and way better than peat pellets. They almost look like small cubes of fiberglass insulation. You can use the rockwool with normal soil growing or start a seedling in your hydro setup. When using rockwool allow it to soak overnight and add a small pinch of your hydro fertilizer or a ph balancer so that when you place your seed in, the water is at a perfect balance.

A little list of descriptions:
Rockwool - A great median for germination and also for hydroponics systems. It retains more moisture than grow rocks and requires less watering for flood and dump systems.

Grow Rocks - Small rock like pebbles that absorb oxygen. Great for hydroponics systems. That is the point, more oxygen, right?

Net Pots - Small pots with the slits on the sides and bottoms, used for hydroponics.

I know I'm probably forgetting a hundred things, but it's late and I'll be glad to answer any questions anyone has. It took me about 2 hours to build the system and it's running with 4 plants. There are many many types of systems and cloners out there. This happened to be the easiest and neatest for me. I will try to have some pictures for you all by tommorow. I hope someone was able to put this information to use. LOL
by Anidem on August 10, 2004 09:41 PM
This brings me to a good idea, I will post the results as time passes. Thanks! Also for anyone that actually has money, hydro setups can be purchased on ebay for as little as 50 bucks for a 5 plant system.

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