STOP! If you have just arrived at this website looking for a hydroponic Dutch bucket system, you might want to go back to page one of this mini-farm plan.
NOW, let's get this thing growing!
23. Oops! Forgot to tell you how to fill the buckets. After fully installing the drain elbows in the bottom of the pots, fill them up with a 50/50 mix of Coco coir and perlite. Then place a 1” layer of LECA or clay balls on the top.
The balls help keep the medium from being disturbed during the feeding cycle, and also keeps algae from growing on the top. (More details on media in the Tips 'N Techniques section at the end).
24. Plant your seedlings or baby plants (not seeds), and install the drip lines on top. This is what it looks like:
25. The reservoir: Fill the black bin (reservoir) with 10 gallons of water. Plug in the water pump and test for operation and leaks. Seal up any leaks with the aquarium silicone sealant and allow to cure.
Add a nutrient concentrate of choice. If you are using GH Flora Series (recommended), add 10 tsp. each of the Flora Grow, Flora Micro & Flora Bloom, (one at a time, in that order). [Order it in quart bottles below]. Adjust the pH of the solution with a test kit (more on all this later).
26. Plug the water pump into the timer and set to feed 3 times a day, for only 15 minutes each feed cycle. (6am, noon and 6pm is good). Let them rest through the night; no feeding. Just like people.
The air pump must be placed higher than the reservoir to prevent backflow of solution into the pump.
27. Aeration: Place the bubbler airstone in the bottom of the reservoir, run the airline tubing up where the pump tubing is, and attach to the air pump. The bubbler stays on 24/7. This oxygenates and aerates the nutrient solution, keeping it from becoming stagnant.
Earlier we listed the cheapest supplies we
could find, to help keep the cost of this setup low.
However, you might want to go to a pet shop and buy an upgrade air pump for the stone. We bought this one for $20 and it is super quiet! Also look for a circular airstone.
This air pump has two outlet ports. If yours does too, then buy the “T” adapter and tie in both ports to one airstone. No use wasting half those precious bubbles!
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