STOP! If you have just arrived at this website looking for a bubbler hydroponics system, you might want to go back to page one of this mini-farm plan.
NOW, let's get it planted!
13. Time to plant! Fill the flower pot with well-rinsed LECA (Hydroton or clay balls). Dig a hole in the center and carefully place the seedling (in it's grow cube) into the pot. Firm up the balls a little around the plant to provide good support.
14. Plug it in and watch it grow!
15. Note: We kept these plans simple and cheap. Some bubbler designs include a top drip mechanism; this is not really necessary after the first couple weeks.
With our unit you'll have to “top water” your plant with nutrient solution, twice daily for the first week or two. A turkey baster works great for this. After 7-10 days, carefully lift the pot up to see if roots are dangling out the bottom of the pot. Depending on the type of plant, this can take up to 3 weeks!
When it gets a good root “beard” of 2-3”, drain out a couple inches of nutrient solution. [Once the roots have emerged, they need a buffer of air between them and the fluids. You do not want the roots totally submerged. Lowering the solution level provides this “breathing space”.]
16. As the nutrient level drops in the bucket due to plant uptake and evaporation, keep topping it up with ONLY plain water, not nutrient solution, keeping track of how much you add each time. How do you add fluid to the bucket? Carefully pour it straight over the LECA balls, and it will trickle through.
When you have added a total of 1½ gallons (6 quarts) of plain water, stop topping it up at that point and let the level drop down to the 1 gallon level. At this point, it is time to drain the solution out and mix up a fresh 2 gallon batch. This is known as the “50% method” and works well for us.
is how you drain out the bucket: Untape the clear tubing and carefully
turn the clear tube downward into another drain bucket... and voila...
now ain't that cool?
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