I am waiting for you, Vizzini! -Inigo Montoya
Well, it’s been a painful two weeks as I’ve deconstructed my grow, then designed a new one nearly from scratch. Fortunately the guys over at KnowESys were there for me with some suggestions. They were all concepts I already knew, but I guess I needed to hear it in that context and that order.
- The volume and branching of the root mass mirrors the volume and branching of the top side.
- Tightly spaced plants lead to tall skinny plants.
- Most commercial hydro systems were designed to grow lettuce.
- The more plants per system, the more catastrophic the fail.
- Multiple, smaller systems will fail less painfully but more frequently.
- All systems eventually fail.
So yeah, I knew that stuff already because I did my homework, but I guess I needed the experiences of the last few months to really understand how that applies to the issue at hand: “Grow more better!”
The other thing I contemplated for my new system was: Hydroponics, aeroponics, coco fiber or dirt? I’m big on the whole reduce/reuse/recycle thing, so the idea of throwing out dirt or coco fiber on a regular basis just didn’t sit well with me. I’d been using an aeroponic system with 6″ tubes in bloom, and for the reasons enumerated above it’s become pretty obvious that it’s designed to grow many smaller plants, not a smaller number of larger plants like I want.
I also decided that I would research commercially available systems for their pros and cons and then see if I could build a better mousetrap on my own. There are a ton of great systems out there, but the one that really caught my eye was the WaterFarm system by GH. Self contained systems for each plant, so your pump dies and it only affects one plant. Plus since the bottoms of the roots stay wet for a long time even after the pump dies, the consequences of system failure are less dire as well. But it also has some of the advantages of a larger system as well in that you can daisy chain the reservoirs and use a single controller for many plants.
But I’m going to make you wait a week before the reveal… I’m putting the finishing touches on it now. I think you’ll find it was worth the wait!