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small hydro system

My neighbor is moving and offered this system to me for $50. It comes with the pump, reservoir, and 5, 4 plant planters.
 
I know nothing about hydro systems, would this work and be any good for peppers...? Or a waste of time..?
 
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CaneDog

Extreme Member
Hey ACS.  I think the stacking nature of the pots would make it generally unsuitable for peppers, which would do better in a system with the pots on the ground and spaced apart.  I suspect this system would be more suitable for leafy greens and herbs and other such shorter, smaller plants. Stability and container size might also be issues with plants as large as peppers. 
 
It might work OK for a single pepper plant in one pot immediately above the reservoir, but I'm not sure the system is designed to work that way - especially if that long white piece in the pictures is an up-spout.  Or maybe even with very small pepper plants.  I think it would require finding a way it could be used in a pepper application, though, rather than it being generally suitable for peppers.
 
That's my $0.02 anyway.
 
As CD mentioned, the pot shape and overall system design wouldn't be my first option to grow peppers in, hydro or not. 
 
However, that doesn't mean it's not possible. And since you can find practically anything on the internet, I'll give you a link to a video that uses a similar pot design to grow jalapenos....
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksc9UvMBw-4
 

CaneDog

Extreme Member
Nice find HM!
 
I thought with plants of any size they'd be crowding roots and blocking sun and what-not.  That actually looks like she did pretty well.  FWIW, it sounds like the GreenStalk Vertical Garden is soil not hydro, but still. 
 
I would have been quite happy with those "over 20 pounds of jalapenos" this year :(
 
Thanks for the reply's...
 
HeatMister, thanks for showing us that vid, looks like the small containers can produce decently.
 
The system I posted uses no soil/media. Must use what they call, gigantic coarse gorilla perlite, not media/potting soil. They sell it, of course.
 
They say using any perlite of less coarse grade will clog the pump system.
I do have some coarse perlite, about half a huge bag. Just not sure its coarse enough. Would correct ph & cns 17 be all I need in the reservoir..? I've got no clue about hydro grows...
 
Price came down from $50 to make an offer. For $25 I might give it a try just see what hydro is all about. Seems kind of complicated and not forgiving of mistakes, yes..?
 
CaneDog said:
Nice find HM!
 
I thought with plants of any size they'd be crowding roots and blocking sun and what-not.  That actually looks like she did pretty well.  FWIW, it sounds like the GreenStalk Vertical Garden is soil not hydro, but still. 
 
I would have been quite happy with those "over 20 pounds of jalapenos" this year :(
 
Yup, that is not a hydro system, but it is the same stackable design that proves peppers can be grown in this type of system. I would think that plants in hydro would tend to get bigger than in the video, which is why this wouldn't be my first choice of system for peppers. My concern would be supporting the plants. I would, however, consider using a system like that for something like lettuce, herbs or strawberries.
 
LOL, I would've been quite happy with 20 jalapenos this year CD!  :rofl:
 
 
acs1 said:
Thanks for the reply's...
 
HeatMister, thanks for showing us that vid, looks like the small containers can produce decently.
 
The system I posted uses no soil/media. Must use what they call, gigantic coarse gorilla perlite, not media/potting soil. They sell it, of course.
 
They say using any perlite of less coarse grade will clog the pump system.
I do have some coarse perlite, about half a huge bag. Just not sure its coarse enough. Would correct ph & cns 17 be all I need in the reservoir..? I've got no clue about hydro grows...
 
Price came down from $50 to make an offer. For $25 I might give it a try just see what hydro is all about. Seems kind of complicated and not forgiving of mistakes, yes..?
 
Well, as most things in life, hydro can be as simple or complicated as you want it to be. To me, it's easier than growing in soil.
 
All I track is 3 parameters - nutrient concentration, ph and photoperiod (fancy word for how many hours of light). CNS17 at 10ml/gal will get you far. This concentration can be increased if you see signs of nutrient deficiency. Ph should be within 5.5 and 6.5. I also keep my lights on for 12 hours a day. The nutrient solution is completely replaced every other week.
 
I haven't tried hydro outdoors, but there might be issues with rain diluting the nutrient solution, pests and the reservoir getting hot (probably not an issue with your system since it's going to be recirculating water, which provides oxygen to the roots).
 
One thing though - I used to grow in dutch buckets and then went to kratky. At the time, I wondered if different varieties would consume nutrients at different rates, and a shared reservoir would not allow me to tweak the solution for an individual plant (although maintenance would be easier). My current grow is the first one where I've experienced a difference in nutrient uptake between Annuums and Baccatums, with the Baccatums requiring a slightly higher nutrient concentration than Annums (14 ml/gal vs 10-12ml/gal). Since your system uses a shared reservoir, this is something to keep in mind.
 
willard3 said:
That's not really an hydropo0nic system, it's a self-watering system.
Hydro doesn't use dirt if for no other reason than to control pathogens.
 
While it's true that hydro doesn't use "dirt", the idea is to introduce oxygen, and control the optimal nutrient levels, and chemistry.  Drain to Waste is similar to this, and is very much considered hydro.
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Fred, I don't know what your neighbor grew with those - it looks like they got caught up in the craze of hydro farms that swept Florida before the vote to legalize - as so many did.   But what I'll say, is that with the level of growing skill that you currently possess, that thing is going to just be a novelty to you.  It's gonna be great for growing strawberries, and the template fruits and veggies that those stackable systems are designed to sell.  In our climate, peppers are going to vastly prefer what you are already doing.  Jalapenos are almost seasonal in our neighborhood, and the environmental variables are going to dictate that this won't be a magic bullet, 20lb per plant, miracle produce machine.
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It's just a set of small containers that you don't have to manually water.  In fact, arguably, it might even end up being a bigger pain in the ass, keeping a reservoir clean, checking levels, etc, etc, etc.  You may have seen my comments in the past...  I have tried, and both failed and moderately succeeded with outdoor hydro in Florida.  It's just not the best way, IMHO. 
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I give the "Pepper-ator 3300" a thumbs down...
 
CaneDog said:
Nice find HM!
 
I thought with plants of any size they'd be crowding roots and blocking sun and what-not.  That actually looks like she did pretty well.  FWIW, it sounds like the GreenStalk Vertical Garden is soil not hydro, but still. 
 
I would have been quite happy with those "over 20 pounds of jalapenos" this year :(
 
Here in FL, we pretty much cover all the angles of the sun, when well-placed.  And as you know, we have a deeper angle of incidence, and higher UV index.  Probably light is not going to be anywhere near the limiting factor.  Down here, even plants that never receive direct sunlight, can do exceptionally well.
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Even the roots might not be an issue.  The roots from one pot are free to migrate vertically into the container below, and eventually into the reservoir.
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As per usual, reservoir temps, and root cooling, are going to be the limiting factor.  Is it worth it to try to chill a small reservoir in Florida, when you have the availability of sunshine, year round grow temps, etc?  That's the question to be asked.  If this would keep me from encountering some other issue - say a soil borne pest problem - OK, now we've got a talking point. 
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Vertical stacks, for a hobby grower, are - in my opinion - a novelty.  If you grow food, and have the nous to keep multiple systems of this nature operational, you've extended beyond novelty.
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Of course, if you just want to experiment and have fun...  Do that.  Just because you can.
 
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