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Urban Farmer: * Aeroponics Issue * Hoops go dormant
July 01, 2016

Volume 3, Episode 11

July 1, 2016


Unemployment is capitalism's way of getting you to plant a garden.

~ Orson Scott Card

Watersafe Hydroponic Water Test Kit-
Check out your tap water before you get started!


What This Kit Tests For

So what this kit comes with is various supplies which can be used to test for 6 different factors that, if they aren't up to par, can inhibit growth of your hydroponic plants. It is one time use and only really needs to be performed on your tap water once unless for some reason you expect that the quality of your tap has changed drastically since the last test.

Highlights of this product:

Detects six common growth inhibitors
Get professional lab results on the spot
No wet chemistry
Single use
The kit itself test for these factors:


One of the easiest growing mediums to garden with hydroponically, rockwool is a favorite growing medium among commercial hydroponic installations. Rockwool or stone-wool is a material made from melted volcanic rock and spun into a sponge like material which the roots grow into. With this material, all nutrients (fertilizer) must be supplied with hydroponic nutrients like the Dutch Nutrient Formula.

Rockwool is very versatile and can be hand watered, set on a drip system or a flood and drain table for automated watering.

Here is a commercial tomato garden using rockwool. You will notice the dripper lines to deliver nutrient solution.


AutoPots: The Ultimate Lazy Man's Garden

 Auto Pots are patented, manufactured planting pots that are essentially "selffeeders". Nutrient solution is automatically fed on demand via "Smart Valves", and smart, they are. This clever system can be gravity fed, so it does not depend on pumps or timers for feeding. It could be considered a passive wick system, and is often used for automatic feeding of long-term specimen plants, such as potted ivy or philodendrons in a doctor’s office.
Here's how it works: Auto Pots, like the ebb and flow system, mimic the natural rainfall cycle. The units consist of a saucer that holds 2 plant pots and contains the "smart valve". Solution is gravity fed into the holding trays, not the pots, so it's actually "sub-irrigation". The growing medium then wicks up the fluid to the plant's roots. As the medium starts to dry out, the valve opens up, flooding the saucer once again to a depth of 1”. There is a large reservoir to hold nutrient solution, but the fluid is not captured and reused.
Valve opens and refills Valve stays shut ‘til pot dries out
As with Dutch buckets, any medium can be used with these nifty pots: coco coir, perlite, vermiculite or even gravel. The system is flexible; great for a custom setup.
Build or buy your own stand to hold them, no specialized stand is necessary. We have set AutoPots up with our HydroPad® though, and it works very well. In fact, you can set up a full 16 pot garden in a compact 4’ X 4’ PVC stand.
There are even entire greenhouses filled with nothing but rows and rows of Autopots, and they claim lush, impressive crop growth.

The drawback: Autopots are expensive. But, once you have 'em, you're done....... forever. Buy them at Amazon or Ebay.

Many indoor gardeners like to start small so we've created these simple birds-eye diagrams of how our AutoPot systems can best utilize limited space. Below on the left is a dual tray system that has a 2' x 2' footprint, perfect for using with a 250W HID lighting system.

To its right is a larger garden with six trays in a 3' x 4' footprint ideal for a 400W HID lighting system when growing indoors.

8 Tray AutoPot Layout
Shown below is layout that fits in a 4' x 4' area. As with any AutoPot system, trays can be arranged to your liking, and at any time during the garden season thanks to the remote reservoir and their removeable pots. Many gardeners will start plants off with trays close together and move them farther apart as plants grow to prevent over-crowding and maximize the space they need to grow to their fullest.We found this layout to work best under a 600W HID lamp when growing indoors.



15 Tray AutoPot Layout
Shown below is layout that fits in a 5' x 6' area. Of course trays can be arranged to your liking and your plants requirements, we just found this to work best under a
1000W HID lamp when growing indoors.

TIP OF THE MONTH: Want to jump start your plants and save money? Learn how to CLONE here:

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Happy farming Ya'll!



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