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Hydroponics Systems: Changing from Supersoil to Ebb and Flow Hydroponics

Embracing positive change in your hydroponics garden. Embracing positive change in your hydroponics garden.

Hearing hydroponics gardening success stories from Rosebud Magazine readers is a joy, especially when it’s a success story like this one that came from Tyler, who resides in the great state of Colorado. Check out this inspiring and educational e-letter:

Hey Chris, Reading your articles about hydroponics systems and it was time for a change for me. I have been growing in buckets, usually five to ten gallon buckets that I would move to outdoors when the weather and sun was good and then back indoors if there was problems with the weather or at certain times of the year when we have problems with insects.

The main reasons I grew in the buckets were because it was easy and it saves on electricity. The sun is a better light than an electric light but as you know it’s not reliable all the time and especially not in grow phase. Also I grew in buckets because I am kind of old school that way and the guy who taught me to grow was into that. He was a fan of the supersoil approach and had land, so he could spread out different components of supersoil, such as to let things age and do composting and mixing. It took him a lot of time and work to do it but the result was that basically as long as he watered properly, and top-dressed the crops during late bloom phase when the supersoil ran out of juice. He also taught me to use compost tea.

But I didn’t like being dependent on him for supersoil and tea and when I tried to mix my own supersoil I found it was expensive and hard to get some of the components, and you have to have a lot of room, even though I liked getting the components from Espoma. Also I have been reading your magazine and talking to other growers and I came to believe that there is no way that I can get as much buds from my crops if I continue to use the supersoil. It was time for me to learn how to use hydroponics. It was time for me to get with the program.

I looked at your articles and talked to a couple of hydroponics store people. Finally I decided on a very simple set-up. It is a flood and drain table that I have several buckets in. Inside the buckets I have a mixture of half hydroton and half rockwool from Grodan as you suggested. The Grodan is the loose kind they call chunks. I also hand-water from the top every third day. I just scoop water out of the reservoir to do it. Grodan told me to do that to make sure I had enough moisture and nutrients in the top of the root area.

I kept my original lights setup which is the Baddass 1000 and the Baddass digital ballast. I have had to get used to doing the pH and I am waiting for the pH Perfect to come into the stores because it is a chore to do pH. I am using the Sensi Grow in grow phase and then the Sensi Bloom in bloom phase, and in bloom phase I am using the Bud Candy, the Big Buds, the B-52, the Voodoo and the Overdrive.

I have done one full grow season with this and it is easy to see that it is a superior setup to supersoil. I can see that the plants grew faster in veg and were darker green. Also I can see the logic of being able to completely shift to bloom phase fertilizers. This is where I believe the supersoil approach really fails in that in bloom phase you want to give them the potassium and other stuff and you only have a few weeks to do it right. I could smell the buds flare out with their smell whenever the pumps came on or when I hand-watered. Also the buds were ready about four days, maybe a week earlier and yet they were bigger and weighed more, you can’t go wrong with that. I also used Final Phase at the end. Also this is a cleaner way to grow and if I want to bring plants outside I can still do that because the buckets aren’t tied to tubing or anything.

I want to thank you for your articles and for pointing the way for me to go away from the soil approach. If I am going to do guerilla grows outdoors I will probably still use the supersoil because I can’t get to them to do watering, but indoors I am going to stick with the flood and drain and the hydroponics nutrients.

People, this is the kind of grow experience that shows how change is often for the better. Feel free to use our comments section to tell us how you too have looked at the hydroponics wisdom in Rosebud and used it to get bigger, higher value harvests. Congratulations, Tyler!

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Hydroponics flood and drain rocks!
Last modified on Wednesday, 11 July 2012 19:02

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