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PostPosted: Jan 30th, '16, 21:42 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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Celery seems to germinate well between 60-70 F (16-21 C) for me and it seems to like growing in cool but not cold conditions. We just had a bit of a cold spell where we got some frost and it's been cold enough that the fish are not eating as much so everything is a little slow at the moment when coupled with the days still being a little short. But it sounds like your having a chilly spell there too.

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PostPosted: Feb 4th, '16, 04:58 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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Been lax with the picture updates. Just don't manage to carry the camera out much, hard to juggle that with the little one sometimes.

Anyway, here is my take on a Rain Gutter Grow system (look it up on YouTube or Facebook)

I've modified to use liner instead of gutter for these pics.
I'm also using fabric pots and saucers instead of 5 gallon buckets.
And instead of the weed cloth covered net pot, I'm using a strip of capillary matting to wick up the moisture.

Attachment:
File comment: I've got two built and hooked up. Two more frames ready for liner and space to install two more raft beds over on the carpeted area. Unfortunately this area gets a bit too much winter shade, will get plenty of sun for summer.
Grow System sm.jpg
Grow System sm.jpg [ 256.99 KiB | Viewed 2320 times ]


Attachment:
Fabric Pots sm.jpg
Fabric Pots sm.jpg [ 245.03 KiB | Viewed 2320 times ]

Right now I have ten pots with Broccoli and the far ten pots have wild tomato.

Over in another location (no pictures to upload at the moment) over the sump of the media bed system I have 4 pots with snow peas.

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PostPosted: Feb 4th, '16, 05:01 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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Here are some pics of the details
Attachment:
File comment: Slit in the saucer to push through a folded strip of matting.
Saucer Wick sm.jpg
Saucer Wick sm.jpg [ 214.76 KiB | Viewed 2320 times ]


Attachment:
File comment: wick hanging out under saucer and the float valve for the trough.
Wick and top up sm.jpg
Wick and top up sm.jpg [ 191.04 KiB | Viewed 2320 times ]


There is a rain barrel with a rain saucer providing the water to keep the troughs full.

I'll either add mosquito dunks or some means to keep mosquitos from getting into the water in the troughs. I have a big roll of screening handy.

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PostPosted: Feb 4th, '16, 06:50 
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Nice TC, is this a new extension?


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PostPosted: Feb 4th, '16, 07:10 
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Looks great, I like your version a lot better than the original. I always felt that screwing the gutters to the 2 x 4 was a weak spot with the original version. The buckets weren't a strong point either but they've come a long way from where they started.


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PostPosted: Feb 4th, '16, 09:06 
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You will probably need to water from the top until roots are better established. That's the norm for any wicking pots that we've done. Looks good!


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PostPosted: Feb 6th, '16, 00:03 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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MartinC wrote:
Nice TC, is this a new extension?


Only in that it can be served AP water but it is decoupled (not recirculating.) I have a rain barrel hooked up to keep it topped up but I expect I will at least occasionally if not regularly, add AP water to the barrel.

scotty435 wrote:
Looks great, I like your version a lot better than the original. I always felt that screwing the gutters to the 2 x 4 was a weak spot with the original version. The buckets weren't a strong point either but they've come a long way from where they started.


Yea I had issues with the screwing the gutter to the wood myself, primarily because not enough space to get a screw gun in there to do it without making an extreme angel and that is difficult against smooth plastic.

coachchris wrote:
You will probably need to water from the top until roots are better established. That's the norm for any wicking pots that we've done. Looks good!


So far these post seem to wick up plenty for the seedlings that are in there. (I'm transplanting into these rather than starting seeds in them.) Might be a different story if we have a hot dry spring but we have been getting some rain about weekly this winter so the pots have stayed moist enough that when I transplanted I didn't feel the seedlings needed more moisture. The pots are not too tall and so far only the very top surface of the potting mix seems to start drying out on warm dry days. the pots themselves seem to stay moist about half way up and are growing some algae.

The mix in the pots is just coir, coir chips, worm castings, and BioBiz organic fertilizer mix.

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PostPosted: Feb 13th, '16, 03:31 
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Well, we did get frost here during the cold spells this winter so I can't claim to have the perfect no frost/freeze location but I will say that there was only minimal damage from the cold. Even out in the dirt garden which has no overhead protection, most of the damage seems to have been from the wind rather than the cold. There was some frost damage but it seems very minimal. My tomato seedlings survived even. We did throw frost blanket over a few things the last night of cold since we were on the edge of the Hard freeze warning zone but we didn't get a hard freeze here.

So next projects will be finishing out a couple more of the "rain gutter" systems. These are basically wicking systems that seem to be doing well so far on keeping up with the moisture even with the dry air that came through. And then probably making some more of those wicking systems when I get some more lumber. Perhaps try to do a longer line of them over closer to the fence so I don't need as many top up valves.

Then I need to prep to put in some more raft beds. I really need to expand the celery production and at the moment that big bed is more than half full of lettuce. As the weather warms up I might be able to shorten the production time on the lettuce some but winter is when the celery production really needs to be going so at minimum I really need 16-20 more rafts of celery to be able to stretch it's production out to the 4 months it really needs to get big. So, I have plans to put in a pair of 46-48 foot raft beds which would take two weeks worth of lettuce out of the BIG bed where I want to do all the celery and probably allow me to minimize time the lettuce is in the seedling rafts or even cut out the lettuce seedling rafts completely during certain seasons.

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PostPosted: Feb 14th, '16, 14:26 
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Iam lucky with Celery here,the Thais like everything small so at 2 1/2 to 3 months is perfect for them,after talking to you my germination has improved purely by bring the trays inside until the first signs then they can go straight in the bench,five or six seeds in each cube ensures a good germination rate,another thing that is helping me is running my seed bench hydro,the control i have ensures really good stock to go into the floats cheating it might seem to be but it does help me kickstart the first couple of weeks growth.

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PostPosted: Feb 14th, '16, 20:57 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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Lately I've been selling well with the 3 month growth, it just means it takes more plants to make up one of my 12 oz orders. In the past when I've left stuff in the rafts longer I've been able to get 1lb single plants. So that is the difference of getting 6-14 smaller orders out of the 4 rafts harvested weekly to getting perhaps 30 + BIG orders out of the 4 rafts weekly.

Reason I do 4 rafts weekly is the seed trays hold 50 and the best ones move to a raft that holds 44 then finally to the 4, 10 hole rafts, so harvesting 4 rafts a week makes sense.

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PostPosted: Feb 15th, '16, 10:23 
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My floats are 61x121 cm for celery i have 72 holes,4 inch spacing,i can just let them get 3 months before they are to big for that spacing,i am going to try the same spacing for Bok Choi,the first trial is two seeds per cube and iam not going to thin them if i get two plants i will let them grow,harvest will be when there about 4 to 5 inches tall.I am running something similar with grand rapids lettuce,one lot with two seeds another with three,i wont thin but i plan to harvest early,so hopefully a short stocky bunch of lettuce and maybe it will help me through the hot season.I am lucky here as i have a market for produce grown this way.

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PostPosted: Feb 16th, '16, 22:16 
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dasboot wrote:
My floats are 61x121 cm for celery i have 72 holes,4 inch spacing,i can just let them get 3 months before they are to big for that spacing,i am going to try the same spacing for Bok Choi,the first trial is two seeds per cube and iam not going to thin them if i get two plants i will let them grow,harvest will be when there about 4 to 5 inches tall.I am running something similar with grand rapids lettuce,one lot with two seeds another with three,i wont thin but i plan to harvest early,so hopefully a short stocky bunch of lettuce and maybe it will help me through the hot season.I am lucky here as i have a market for produce grown this way.



Keep an eye on the crowded lettuce especially since when crowded, instead of getting stocky bunches, you may get leggy thin fragile stuff that has to be harvested like baby lettuce (gently which can be time consuming to package.)

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PostPosted: Feb 21st, '16, 04:50 
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Hum? I seem to be having better germination on the lettuce if I keep it out from under the light until everything in the tray has broken dormancy. Unfortunately this means that some of it is stretching for the light before the tray gets moved. I might have to start planting in multiple trays :(

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PostPosted: Feb 21st, '16, 10:43 
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You know a heck of a lot more about this than I do but I guess about the only way to help this is to speed up germination. Only things I can think of for that would be to pre-soak the lettuce seed in cool water for close to 24 hours (in a well lit area according to the article) and another possibility would be to increase the initial temperature (as long as you don't hit inhibition temps this could help).

http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/better-lettuce-seed-germination-zbcz1402.aspx


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PostPosted: Feb 21st, '16, 23:43 
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It's pelleted lettuce seed so soaking is kinda counter productive.
Issue seems to be that certain varieties are breaking dormancy quicker than others so it is like I need to plant them in separate trays but that will cause me space issues so I'm struggling a little with lack of really good seedling growing space.
Indoors I only have 4 trays of lighted space. Outdoors I don't have a cover over the seedling beds at this point so if I move seedlings out that are too small the occasional rains tend to smash them. I need to re-do the cover over the seedling beds but I haven't done it cause I really need to totally overhaul the whole space to make it all more efficient.

I'm really in the midst of that season shift causing different things to germinate differently I think, seems to happen a couple times a year to mess me up just when I think I have a good system down.

And of course I'm also in the middle of way too many projects, not enough time and not enough money.

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