Since flowering plants need different nutrients, do most people have separate columns for each? For example - tomatoes, peas, snap beans, peppers in their own column, and lettuce, dill, cilantro, herbs, plants you don’t want flowering in another column? Thank you.
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WARNING/NOTE: Before you read, please note that I have not tested the bulk of these ideas and that I need someone to confirm these methods work.
Tap water pH: Government regulated tap water should be in the 6.8-7.2 range, and thus be very neutral.
pH testing: I’ve heard that you can boil chopped red cabbage for a natural pH indicator.
Water Ionizers: Water Ionizers can change the pH of straight tap water, but can be expensive, so if you want to try this out you should first look into the other benefits of ionized water, such as living a more alkaline lifestyle.
Here is the starter pack of nutrients I was reccomended by the hydroponic store. So far, I am rather happy with how this is going. As a control, my hydroponic cumcombers inside have done much better than my traditionally planted cucombers growing outside. This stuff definitely works! The same can be said for my tomatoes, and peppers. The only species that is doing significantly better in a garden is the swiss chard. Is anyone else growing swiss chard?
In addition to the nutrient pack, I needed to buy “pH up” and “pH down.” I have found that I use the pH up way more than the pH down. Over time, my nutrient solution seems to get more acidic. Rarely does it ever increase in pH.
Hi I live in NYC and just measured the pH of my windowfarm because my pepper plant is drooping… Apparently the water has been becoming increasingly acidic, it clocked in around 6 whereas the tap water is around 6.8! Has anyone else encountered this problem?? All the posts I’ve seen from others concerning pH is in regards to water that is too alkaline or becoming so!
Also, I’m not sure the best way to go about changing the pH to be more neutral. I added tap water as a start but if anyone has solved this particular problem please let me know.
Update, March 3rd: Added some pictures and descriptions.
When I got this floor standing flower pot reservoir, I started off with a needle airlift. The needle turned out to be really unreliable and the result was also noisier than a T-airlift. Fortunately I found a “tap” that can be attached to any reservoir with a non-curved surface. It’s a tap made by AutoPot. I just drilled a hole in the side of the reservoir and attached the tap to the side of it. Careful when drilling. You’ll need a special tool or a huge drill bit to make a hole this big (25mm). The tap can take a 16mm hose if you stretch the hose a little, so I needed an adapter to 6mm. Fortunately, a local chili equipment store had an adapter for 16mm to 6mm hose with an additional filter in it.
My initial column had just a tiny reservoir. It was way too small and a bit ugly as well. Another setback was that I originally used aluminum pipes in the plumbing, and found out that aluminum (not healthy) might end up in the plants. Thanks for pointing that out, readers. What I’ve learned from this is that if you’re planning to make your own window farm and don’t want to use recycled bottles, prepare to spend the price of a factory made windowfarm. Of course, you might end up with something better that way
Here’s the final part list for those who aren’t familiar with my previous posts.
(total cost ~100 euros)
- 4 Plastic orchid pots. These are made of Polypropylene, which is (afaik) safe to use with food. The pots also have an inward dent in the bottom, so they will never drain completely. I don’t know whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. Be careful when drilling plastic. I managed to break one pot by using too much pressure. (2 euros/pot at Bauhaus)
- 1 Large floor flower pot. This is the same brand as the orchid pots so the color matches perfectly. The water volume is 10 liters, and the reservoir is in the bottom of this outer pot. (25 e at Bauhaus)
- 1 Inner pot. The inner pot is 22 cm tall, so below it lies my actual reservoir. (15e at Bauhaus)
- 1 meters of plastic pipe for the dripping, 8 mm diameter.
- Two meters of aluminum strip. Mine is about 12mm wide and 2mm thick. I wouldn’t go any thinner than 2mm, since the rigidity of the column would likely suffer. (4 euros/meter at Bauhaus)
- M3 Nuts, washers and screws (or bolts) for attaching the pots to the aluminum strip. (Less than 1e total)
- Sera Air 275R Plus air pump with adjustable air flow and two outlets. Came with two non-return valves. (28 euros at a local aquarium store)
- 6mm “colorless” hose for the air. (2 euros / meter at a local aquarium store)
- 6mm black hose for the water. Colorless hose gathers algae. (2 euros / meter at a local chili store)
- A Y-joint for the 6mm hose. Came with the pump.
- A check valve. Came with the pump.
- A tap from AutoPot.
- A 6mm adapter for the tap
- 4 legs, 16cm tall (Ikea, 16e)
- Some birch wood I had lying around. Free of charge.
So far I’ve planted some cherry tomato, 2 kinds of chilies, coriander, parsley, basil and strawberry. The tomato is growing like crazy. Tomato was germinated three weeks ago and the plants are already 15cm tall. Then I threw in another basil plant I got from a grocery store.
Nutrients & pH
I was recommended nutrients called Flora Mato and Flora Micro by GHE. I don’t know much about nutrients, so I just got both and I’m adding both every time I add water. I’m aiming at an EC number of 1.60mS/cm.
The tap water around here is pretty alkaline with a pH of around 8. I got some pH down powder and a pH tester. Before I add water I first add nutrients and then make sure the pH gets down to about 6. Only after that I pour it in the reservoir.
I have got my bottle columns up and running now.
And am doing some tests for waterproofing, timing and P.H readings.
I have added my nutrients, clay balls, the whole shooting match is ready for the plants now.
The P.H seems to keep rising into the 7′s. Not ideal. I was wondering if this may account for the high tide marks I am getting in my bottom reservoir.
It’s a sort of brownish stain.
Could it be;
A: Clay balls not washed off prperly before using?
B: The nutrients. A Rather dark liquid called “Boi-juice”. Or.
C: The very high P.H precipitating the iron out of the water and leaving a film on the reservoir?
D: Or is it plain old algea? I thought that would be green and nasty. This is brown and kind of like a dirty water mark.
I just wanted to get the whole water flow, P.H, plumbing and timing right before putting plants in
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
And I wil try to answer any questions of yours.
Thanks in advance.
I have a three tier Windowfarm in my window. All three plants were grown from seeds placed in recycled tree-bark material in the center of the netcup/hydroton. At the top, I’m growing Peas. In the middle, Jalepenos, and on the bottom, Lettuce. They were all doing well until there was a day when the heat in my building kicked in. The pea stalk, formerly 2 inches and sticking straight up, tilted over the edge of the netcup. The Lettuce and Jalepeno babies wilted, and the Lettuce seems to have completely died. I replanted him today.
I did cut off some of the dead/wilted leaves from the pea stalk, but while it’s not “leaning” as bad as it was, it’s not sticking back up yet and it’s been a week (Maybe i’m rushing things?)
Since they initially sprouted out of the growing material, I’ve been adding recommended amounts of Pure Blend Pro Grow (3-2-4) in the reservoir water (Mixing 3 – 5mL in a 2L bottle before adding to/topping up the reservoir). I don’t yet have a way to measure the PH in the water, but plan to pick up a test kit during the week. (Would an Aquarium PH test kit work well?)
Any recommendations anybody has to save my plants would be helpful!
The pH value of the water in my 9L reservoir keeps rising. A few times per day i measure the pH (with the cheapest pH meter i could find), find it somewhere between 7 and 8 and put in a sip of natural vinegar (not distilled i think) to get it back between 5.7 or 6.5.
I’ve put nutrients in the water, there’s metal containers holding the pots, and i used little pieces of rope to conduct the water to the next plant. Could any of these be dissolving? Or is something else happining?
And more importantly: Is this bad, and if so, what do i do about it?
I completed my first window farm column about a month ago. I had started the seeds about two months ago but I have lost the majority of the plants I started already. I started my seeds in rockwool cubes and when they were about an inch tall I transferred them to my window farm. I left them in the rockwool cube and set the cube in a plastic grow basket with clay pellets around the cube. Up until this week I was using tap water combined with Liquid Karma by Botanicare.
The problem I am having is that the water and nutrient formula is adjusted to the correct pH in the reservoir but as it goes through my system it slowly increases. After going through the third bottle, the pH is already too high.
After doing research here and in other forums, I made the following adjustments.
1. Removed the rock wool cubes from the system completely and boiled the clay pellets. The plants are now growing in the baskets with only clay pellets. This adjustment seems to have made a slight impact on the severity of the pH increase through the system, but not enough to keep my plants alive.
2. I switched to distilled water and started to rinse the system and replace nutrient formula every other day. Again, this only made a slight impact on the pH levels. Now the pH doesn’t increase as fast, but after 10 minutes of the system running, the pH is back up above 7.5 in the reservoir.
Thankfully that I have been able to hold onto the remaining few plants by adding a few drops of lime juice to the tank every time I get a break from work (usually about 4 times during the day) but my plants are all less than 3 inches tall and the leaves are starting to turn brown on the very tips.
The remaining plants are beans (I think these could survive nuclear war they are so resilient), two tomatoes, two peppers and three basil that haven’t yet reached 2 inches tall. I lost all of the lettuce, two varieties of peppers, and my hybrid cherry tomatoes.
Anything you can suggest to help me out would be fantastic. I feel like I am taking care of a new puppy because I can’t leave my system alone for a day!