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2018 - The Farm


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#161 TrentL

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 09:30 PM

Thats something that never gets old, seeing new sprouts. Gives you something to look forward to everyday. Sorry to hear about the fungal issue you had. I'm guessing thats the same thing that happened to a few of my first round of seedlings. I sterilized the soil and didn't over water and it still happened. I didn't lose a single seedling last year and this year I've lost close to 10 already. I'm also growing on a much larger scale this year so it's bound to happen I guess.

 

No mold/fungus/whatever the hell it was tonight. The H2O2 knocked it out. I haven't had any die off from fungus, that I know of (no early damping off). All of the ones I have lost have been seed heads. 

 

sounds like you have too many changing variables. should test one thing at a time.

 

I have 64 trays of peppers growing this year (4,608 plants) there's lots of controlled experiments happening. ;)

 

If I tried only one thing a year I wouldn't know what I'm doing before I retire. I still might not know what I'm doing in 20 years but at this rate I should have better odds. :)

 

This Glog is better than any tv show.


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You need to watch better TV shows. :)

 

Punisher. The Expanse. Altered Carbon.  There's some good ones out these days :)

 

Good to see you were able to get the glog moved over here. It should get a lot more traffic ;)

 

Sorry about the germ woes. I'll post some things I've learned through trial and error, and have worked for me, hopefully helpfull:

 

Coir for germing is so far the best IMHO. Last year I used Black Gold seed starter, 1" deep on top of MG potting soil in 3.5" pots. I bottom soaked them until they were saturated added the seeds and they germed 'OK'. I just set the trays inside the house on a table. This winter has been colder, so the room was 63-66°. It's on the North side of the house and away from the fireplace which keeps the rooms we're in nice and cozy.

 

So this year I made a mix of 5 parts coir, 1 part perlite, and 1 part potting soil. Did the same with the 1" on top of the potting soil in the 3.5" pots. I put these in a 24x8' insulated room in the shop 8"s below the lights and had a small heater running when it really got cold, keeping the area under the lights at 76-80°. Almost every seed popped and most in record time for me here based on past results.

 

One last thing. I've tried a heat mat. It ran way hot. Some use towels to insulate. I used a cheapo light dimmer, and it worked like a charm.

 

One thing you didn't mention, or I missed it, is what the temps are in the grow room? How large is it? I did notice my room wanted to go 'petri' as the moisture stayed in that room. I noticed that @ 55-60 days, so I cracked the door to the rest of the shop which is 32x24' and that helped. That part of the shop is insulated as well and rarely gets below 64° as per the thermometer in the hot rod.

 

Just food for thought ;)

 

It's a stable 68F in the grow room. Humidity has been very low this week so I haven't had much problem with moisture yet. I ran in to fungus problems because I didn't realize that with growing mats you don't need humidity domes. My dumb. :)

 

I also didn't anticipate the T5 HO's being so warm. And I was kind of dumb and left the warming mats on under it on top of that lol. 

 

I got what I needed off them though; an early trial run to work out some of the kinks before the big trays went down. If I'd made those same mistakes on 30 trays instead of a few.. I might be rather sad right now. 

 

The heating mats are keeping the trays at 85, and 50% of the T5 output (they have two switches) also keeps the trays that have sprouted at 85F. So I think I"m good for now. Once the plants get established I should be able to crank up the lights to full and off to the races...



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#162 TrentL

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 09:57 PM

So when the well pressure tank bladder isn't at the right air pressure.. the well pump doesn't shut off... and blows out all of the pex fittings we installed today. ;)

 

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Well, got that issue fixed and now have a steady 60PSI coming in to the grow area. 

 

After that drama was done, got back to work on the upstairs. This is what the sawdust was for;

 

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Each of the 15 tables in the grow room is sized to house exactly 216x 4" pots, for a total capacity of 3,240 pepper plants.

 

This is coincidentally 4x 72 cell starter trays potted up to 4". Then at home, once the seedlings are potted up, will have room for an additional 720 4" pots; for a grand total of 3,960.

 

Now at the farm, watering that many plants is ... going to be tedious. So I devised a way to bottom water entire tables of plants. If each watering used 3/4" (just to throw a # out there) it will take 225 gallons per watering to get them all done. Now, I don't want to haul 5 gallon buckets up there, so we're plumbing in some water supply. From that I can (if I want) hook a hose up that snakes around the tables and lets me fill them to the correct depth quickly.

 

Eventually (when there's a permanent version in the greenhouse) I will use moisture sensors and automate all of this. One of the side benefits of the day job... I design programmable circuit boards.

 

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So automation will be fun, when I finally have a few minutes of spare time to scrap together. :)

 

 

 



#163 TrentL

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 10:01 PM

Here's my lab at work where I design and prototype circuits;

 

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Edited by TrentL, 13 February 2018 - 10:03 PM.


#164 TrentL

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 10:04 PM

Oh I forgot the most important part

 

"It has only been ___ days since Trent has been injured, blown something up, or set the building on fire"

 

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(I was holding a cut artery in my finger closed when writing in the new zero)

 

 



#165 juanitos

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 10:12 PM

oooo nice lab/shop/pc


juanitospeppers.com - seeds, plants, fresh peppers


#166 TrentL

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 10:31 PM

Thanks, it took me a few days to build :)

 

Some of the construction pics for those who like that sort of thing

 

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I *hate* doing laminate but sometimes it turns out alright

 

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The lab sits where the safe deposit privacy booths used to be in the bank building I bought ; this is the 'before' pic

 

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The teller booths we turned in to an office, training room, and I redid the lobby

 

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Also added a kitchenette right outside the lab

 

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With obligatory beer fridge.

 

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#167 Walchit

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 10:31 PM

Yeah nice tables too!and I keep thinking about clicking on that altered carbon lol

I needed you to make me a circuit board for all these LEDs I just wired together!
Here's the temporary bird's nest while I work the kinks out

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I think I over engineered it after reading about Voltage drop at the end of the led strips, so they all got ran to the power supply instead of Daisy chaining them together or whatever

#168 TrentL

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 11:07 PM

First of many MOA scotch bonnet trays hooking up.

 

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Yellow fatalli tray hooking up

 

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And waaaay back there in row 2 col 5 is a Big Sun Habanero popping up.

 

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That's day *SIX* on those trays.

 

 



#169 Chilidude

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 12:19 AM

You need to watch better TV shows. :)

 

Punisher. The Expanse. Altered Carbon.  There's some good ones out these days :)

 

 

 

Vikings, Game of thrones and Spartacus..I am all over for that historic stuff.



#170 Chilidude

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 12:20 AM

Yeah nice tables too!and I keep thinking about clicking on that altered carbon lol

I needed you to make me a circuit board for all these LEDs I just wired together!
Here's the temporary bird's nest while I work the kinks out

attachicon.gifKIMG1186.JPG

I think I over engineered it after reading about Voltage drop at the end of the led strips, so they all got ran to the power supply instead of Daisy chaining them together or whatever

 

How many similar led things do you have or is this the only one for now?



#171 TrentL

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 02:26 AM

46 new sprouts today. Tray 7-10 are 100% coir, no additives, single variety per tray. (First of the grow-out)

 

tray 7 - 7-pot primo red

tray 8 - MOA scotch bonnet

tray 9 - Yellow Fatalli

tray 10 - Big Sun Habanero

 

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How they stack up next to each other; rows are "Days from Seeding"

 

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Some interesting stats developing on the "additives" in the first three trays (with peat). As of day 18;

 

tray 1 (straight peat) has 44 sprouts, 29 of which have developed 1st true leaves (66%)

tray 2 (peat+vermiculite+pearlite) has 31 sprouts, 24 of which have developed 1st true leaves (77%)

tray 3 (peat+vermiculite+pearlite+azomite) has 38 seedlings, of which 29 have developed 1st true leaves (76%)

 

A 10% increase in true leaf development is a noticeable statistic. Even though pearlite and vermiculite have no nutrients to speak of, true leaf development has been faster. (This is despite of me killing off so many seeds with excessive heat....)

 

Now the big question which I need to revisit and answer, is was it the heat that sped up development? A faster true leaf development at the sacrifice of weaker plant species? Or was it dryer soil conditions from the excess heat? Or was it the composition of the soil which changed the rate of true leaf development? (As we've already learned, looser / crumbly soil allows the seedling to emerge more quickly, resulting in more seed head deaths and possibly premature eruptions...)

 

Lots of questions raised by these results, which can lead to more experiments under suitably controlled conditions.

 

Identical sprouting conditions and treatment through Day 9 on all six experiment trays. Tray 1-3 are peat, 4-6 are coir.

 

Look at the sprouting numbers though;

 

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Coir is 206% better overall even under the extreme heat conditions these 6 trays were subjected to. (Tray temps were 95F - 105F edge to center, with center being hottest)

 

Trays 7-64 are not going to be allowed to get nearly that hot so we will find out which pepper varieties seeds are outright killed by 95+ temps. (Tray 31 is already scheduled to be a repeat of Tray #4, with the only change being it will remain under cooler conditions; this will give me a direct comparable of 85F vs. 95F+)

 

The experiments continue... many lessons learned already :)

 


Edited by TrentL, 14 February 2018 - 02:28 AM.


#172 TrentL

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 02:41 AM

TL;DR

 

Conclusions to date:

 

Coco Coir has been proven to sprout 206% better than Sphagnum Peat Moss in side by side tests. 

 

The addition of 1 tablespoon / tray of Azomite has no noticeable effects on plant development after 18 days.

 

Seed heads result 200% more often (so far) on trays with 100% peat, vs peat+vermiculite+pearlite

 

 

 

Subject to change:

 

Seed head deaths are 100% more likely in peat than coir as of Day 9 from seeding (12 dead in peat, vs. 0 dead in coir)

 

95F temperatures result in some, but not all, varieties of peppers to fail to germinate, or become dwarf plants, while 104-105F stops most every seed from sprouting (Future experiments can pin down exact varieties which can grow well under those conditions).

 

SOME plants seem to thrive under these harsher, high temp conditions. Specific examples so far; turkish cayenne, tekne dolmasi, dulce sol, and fresno. These plants were subjected to 105+F temps and most are already at their *second* forks after 18 days, being much larger than all other plants in the trays. 

 

 

Unknowns to date, needs more research:

 

There is a noticeable effect of true leaf development speed with the addition of pearlite and vermiculite (+10% more as of Day 18). The cause of this is currently unknown as there is no true isolation of the exact reason for this deviation in these experiments. (Future experiments can isolate it)

 

Some plant species fail to sprout under peat, vs. coir, and I want to know why. I suspect it is a pH difference. In the small sample sizes in this test (respective to variety) it is unknown if those varieties are just low % germination or fully DOA. I need to grow full trays out of those varieties that failed under each condition to get more data.

 



#173 Chilidude

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 02:50 AM

Coco coir is more fluffy compared to peat and seeds need some air for germination, that may be the main cause for much better germination rates.


Edited by Chilidude, 14 February 2018 - 02:55 AM.


#174 Walchit

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 06:24 AM

 
How many similar led things do you have or is this the only one for now?


This is my first attempt at led, I have a 4 bulb T8, and a 4 bulb T5 we will see how they do side by side

#175 TrentL

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 02:02 PM

Checking the price of ag electronics.. jeez these companies are proud of their little gadgets. 

 

Soil moisture monitor for $750?  uhh... I can get a soil monitoring sensor that's i2c compatible for $30 through my distributors, and it's compatible with the i2c bus on my microcontrollers... which have wireless networking support for relaying data back..

 

https://cdn-shop.ada...eets/AM2315.pdf

 

Irrigation control systems over $500? And it's just a glorified egg timer? Pfft.

 

For $100 in parts I can build a microcontroller circuit that integrates to the soil moisture monitor and automates the whole damn thing, gives zoned irrigation when it's needed on demand.. plus has networking so it can send out alerts to your smartphone if something breaks down... 

 

Greenhouse irrigation controllers are likewise stupidly priced some being over $3k. I mean seriously... how proud are you of a little gadget that you can sell $50 in circuits for over $3k?

 

 


Edited by TrentL, 14 February 2018 - 02:03 PM.


#176 TrentL

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 02:23 PM

The bigger expenses are coming up. And by bigger I mean "really f'n big"...

 

 

 



#177 PodHopper

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 02:55 PM

Checking the price of ag electronics.. jeez these companies are proud of their little gadgets. 

 

Soil moisture monitor for $750?  uhh... I can get a soil monitoring sensor that's i2c compatible for $30 through my distributors, and it's compatible with the i2c bus on my microcontrollers... which have wireless networking support for relaying data back..

 

https://cdn-shop.ada...eets/AM2315.pdf

 

Irrigation control systems over $500? And it's just a glorified egg timer? Pfft.

 

For $100 in parts I can build a microcontroller circuit that integrates to the soil moisture monitor and automates the whole damn thing, gives zoned irrigation when it's needed on demand.. plus has networking so it can send out alerts to your smartphone if something breaks down... 

 

Greenhouse irrigation controllers are likewise stupidly priced some being over $3k. I mean seriously... how proud are you of a little gadget that you can sell $50 in circuits for over $3k?

 

 

Sounds like higher margins than on peppers.  



#178 Walchit

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 04:45 PM

How much are you selling your irrigation systems for after you get them figured out? If you need someone to test drive one let me know lol

#179 Devv

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 07:48 PM

Well Trent, I have to hand it too you! You never stop!

 

I really hope you kick ass and take names with your endeavor this season ;)

 

And yeah, your circuit engineering skills will save you a ton! I say create and patent! Those high $$ devices are there because many can't do what you can. They just write the check :shh:


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#180 TrentL

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 10:26 PM

How much are you selling your irrigation systems for after you get them figured out? If you need someone to test drive one let me know lol

 

I'm sure when I get to the prototyping stage we'll be looking for "beta testers" :)

 

I want a whole lot more than a glorified egg timer that turns solenoid driven valves on and off... I want a fully automated system where moisture sensors in the field send back telemetry to the irrigation control unit and it says "ok I'll send water to your zone" ... I want a rain meter to keep track of rain and temp sensors to keep track of air and soil temps.. I want water usage tracked.. that way I can get a clear picture of what is going on in the field, how the system is working, etc. 

 

The same thing will drive the greenhouse control units too. Those tables I'm building are (yet another) experiment that'll lead to the greenhouse layout later. First thing to prove is bottom watering pepper plants in a table-sized platform is viable (and those were cheap to build, the tables cost me $34.53 to build, each). 

 

If those work and there's no leaks or other problems, next step is running pipes to them, and putting moisture sensors in the tables, with a solenoid valve at each one. The moisture sensor will feed back to the control unit that will tell the solenoid to unleash glorious water, until either a predetermined amount is present and/or the moisture sensor tells it "I'm good stop!". A limit switch float would be the safety mechanism to keep a system fault from flooding the room - that will take the control away from the microprocessor and force close a safety valve if the limit switch is tripped.

 

Same thing with the field irrigation. A pressure sensor would monitor the line and if pressure dropped below a predetermined point on the drip irrigation, it'd take control away from the control unit and shut off the safety valve - a massive drop in pressure means a line ruptured somewhere (rodent, errant shovel, whatever). At that point until it's found and repaired you'd just be wasting water and flooding one spot. 

 

 

Well Trent, I have to hand it too you! You never stop!

 

I really hope you kick ass and take names with your endeavor this season ;)

 

And yeah, your circuit engineering skills will save you a ton! I say create and patent! Those high $$ devices are there because many can't do what you can. They just write the check :shh:

 

Hell I saved about $1200 just on building tables so far. I couldn't believe what they were charging at the store for sturdy folding tables. Good ones can cost $150-200 EACH. I said "screw this", went off to the lumber yard... 

 

While not as glorious and cool as the irrigation thing.. I am going to build my own lighting controllers for the grow room too. 30 timers would cost me quite a bit, and I already have a drawer full of 15 and 20 amp relays at the office.. so what the hell. I'll make my own. Might not save any money but it'll be good practice on lighting automation. 

 

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This board is part of a modular control system I'm working on. It's a 180 MHz ARM processor which is programmable in Visual Studio .NET (C#). It uses a backplane to communicate with custom high-speed sensor and control modules (which I'm also designing). Anything from servo controllers, to analog sensors, etc.

 

There's the backplanes I designed; also have 4 slot and 2 slot versions for smaller projects;

 

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Anyway you write code in Visual Studio, deploy it, and run it. Can control relays, analog sensors, hell, anything. 

 

Was planning on building it out and marketing it for industrial automation but considering what these agriculture electronics cost, and how primitive all the crap on the market is that I've seen, I think I'll switch gears a bit and refocus on a niche market for a while. 

 

The goal is to automate every thing I can.

 

Maybe one day have robots out picking the peppers for me. ;)






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