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PostPosted: Sep 30th, '18, 22:17 
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Hello!

I'm a newbie to aquaponics and am trying to figure out the system that will best work for me. So far I like the design of the 'flood and drain' system, however I also like the way the constant flow system allows you to maximize accuracy in plant growth due to the floating beds and being able to grow from seed in the system. Is it possible to grow from seed in a flood and drain system design using different equipment or grow media?

I found an interesting medium product by Perpetual Food Company called the 'grow puck' - This allows you to plant the seed directly into the AP system, but on a small scale backyard system its little too expensive to justify using. A product like this, however, means you might be able to hybrid a flood and drain system with a floating bed (constant flow system) - obviously if the grow bed tray would have to be fixed in place.

Would love to hear;
- opinions on my idea/if its feasible
- if anyone has tried other techniques that allow to grow from seed in AP systems
- if anyone has used the 'grow pucks' from Perpetual Food Company

I'm looking forward to hearing from you all!


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PostPosted: Oct 1st, '18, 04:34 
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PostPosted: Oct 2nd, '18, 06:21 
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First I've seen Coco cuir pellets, but I can get 100 for $18.75 on Amazon Coco Coir Grow Pellets/Grow Media 42 mm (1.65 in) - Value Pack Sizes (100) - NOT Jiffy-7 - Coco Coir not Coco Peat https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0195HE8A6/re ... SBbBQVSBCR

I would probably buy the smaller quantity as a test but if it works that website is cheaper for 1000... So if it works then I'd buy in bulk since I would use them eventually.

Have you tried rockwool or sponge cubes? Those are more common in AP... But interested in seeing how the Coco cuir works... If the bottom has netting over it like the sides would be good I think.

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PostPosted: Oct 2nd, '18, 06:23 
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Oops sorry saw you are in Melbourne... So my Amazon link won't help but try similar sites I can't think of what it's called over there

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PostPosted: Oct 2nd, '18, 08:55 
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Just throw seeds onto the media bed run your hands over the media briefly and the seed drops down into the gaps between the media. :thumbright:

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PostPosted: Oct 2nd, '18, 13:35 
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As EB says, direct sowing into gravel/expanded clay etc works just fine. Also small pots with soil embedded into media, like a mini wicking bed, works very well for establishing seedlings. You can leave the pots on place if there's enough room for roots too.

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PostPosted: Oct 2nd, '18, 18:09 
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Thanks for the input everyone! Super interesting, and also nice to know throwing the seeds over the media will work as well. Would that method be harder to guarantee a certain number of successful plants/it's harder to keep track of or isolate a problem? I feel it would be great for mixed grow beds though. Please correct me if I'm wrong or if you've had another experience.

Rininger85 - thanks for the suggestion of that other brand - I'll do some more digging. Trying to keep to using the most 'natural' media as possible, so sponge cubes probably wont be great for that.

Excited to test it all out! Will let you guys know how it goes.


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PostPosted: Oct 2nd, '18, 18:57 
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Haleyk wrote:
I like the design of the 'flood and drain' system, however I also like the way the constant flow system allows you to maximize accuracy in plant growth due to the floating beds and being able to grow from seed in the system. Is it possible to grow from seed in a flood and drain system design using different equipment or grow media?
Are you talking about Constant Flood, ie: Where the pump runs 24/7 and a media filled GB would always remain constantly flooded to the height of the standpipe in the GB?... or Constant Flow, ie: Just referring to the fact the pump flows 24/7, but the GB can still operate as Flood & Drain via a bell siphon?

The media GB's in a hybrid system can be run as F&D or Constant Flood. With a siphoned F&D system the pump runs 24/7, with timed F&D the pump is turned on/off every hour or so... Is that your concern?... ie: No water flow for seeds in the upper level of media in the GB, as well rest of the system, during the pump off period?... Or is your concern that some seeds will be dragged down and lost by the fluctuating water level in a F&D GB, therefore wasting/using more seed to achieve same germination rate?

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I found an interesting medium product by Perpetual Food Company called the 'grow puck' - This allows you to plant the seed directly into the AP system, but on a small scale backyard system its little too expensive to justify using. A product like this, however, means you might be able to hybrid a flood and drain system with a floating bed (constant flow system) - obviously if the grow bed tray would have to be fixed in place.
Why not simply use the coco pucks, ie: Jiffy pellets, to germinate and grow the seedlings independent of the system, then simply transplant them into the system as required?

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PostPosted: Oct 3rd, '18, 20:38 
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Mr Damage - great questions and thanks for trying to understand what I'm getting at.

So yes, my main concern is having the seeds washed away or moved too much, in a media grow bed (clay or rock) if I were to use a flood and drain system or constant flow system - I feel like this would affect the germination rate.

So when I talk about a hybrid system I mean using the flood and drain system, but instead of a clay or rock filled grow bed, maybe you could use a float grow bed to ensure the seeds won't move and that they all receive the same amount of water consistently.

As for the germinating the seeds independent of the system - I was interested in working out system that cuts out that step, to potentially make the system more efficient.

I hope that makes sense?


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PostPosted: Oct 4th, '18, 00:22 
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I think the germination stage for AP is the hardest for me... so I'm right there with you. I've tried starting seeds directly in my gravel beds and hydroton beds... the hydroton doesn't work well for me because the seeds fall down in and half of them never germinate or get washed away... the gravel bed is a bit better because it is pea stone size gravel so harder for them to fall down in, but my water level doesn't go up high enough to wick water up the gravel very well.

I tried a few sponge cubes with very poor luck, tried rockwool with poor luck. So far my best option is just starting them in dirt and then pulling the plants and washing the dirt off, but that does result in some loss due to my fat fingers pinching too hard, or breaking off roots when they are pulled. I have some success, but probably close to as many that don't transplant well with that method moving them in to DWC rafts. Might not be letting them get big enough to transplant well but I get tired of having to water them in dirt. Guess I could just use my dirt wicking bed as a seed bed since I usually just flood it decent when I water so it can go a week between waterings without drying out... but it might be even harder to remove seedlings there than it is from potting soil.

I think my ultimate goal is to build a flood bench like what dasboot uses that runs on a timer a couple times a day to flood the seedlings then let it completely drain back out in between would be better for me than other alternatives I've come up with so far. Then the rockwool or sponge cubes might work better.

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PostPosted: Oct 15th, '18, 19:22 
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Super interesting! Thanks for sharing your findings thus far, I feel my worries were along the right path. If any one has had in success in a similar hybrid system, I'd love to hear from you!

There is a lot of trial and error, but I feel once you start getting some results you'll be able to refine the system.

:D


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PostPosted: Oct 16th, '18, 01:08 
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I live in an area with a pretty cool maritime climate and the direct seeding method only works in Summer for me. When temps are cooler I get a lot of damping off when direct seeding and the plants grow too slowly since the AP water is cool. I start plants in seedling mix and transfer when they are larger after rinsing off the mix (definitely a pain). If you can keep the temps up in your AP system then you can probably just direct seed.

I run my system Constant Flood so I raise the water level just a bit and then drain off that extra before seeding directly into the bed. This helps the seeds stick just a bit above the normal water level.


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PostPosted: Oct 18th, '18, 20:03 
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I tried direct seeding with my new AP bed in the small hoop house... the bed has hydroton in it, worked incredibly well. I think my issue in the greenhouse when I tried this was that my water level was probably too high so the hydroton floated. The hydroton wicks water up a lot more efficiently than I expected it to, so having the water level a couple of inches below the top isn't an issue... I may have to switch out my other beds in the greenhouse next summer when I plan to do some work on the inside of the greenhouse reconfiguring stuff.

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