Urban Farmer: * Aeroponics Issue * Hoops go dormant

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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


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


 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


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.


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


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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