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Glen Seibert
Fullerton College Horticulture
Fullerton, California.
glenseibert@telocity.com

labat6.jpg (33684 bytes) The system went in in early September, and I was given some ornamental pepper plants as "sacrificial test subjects" to put in the goblets while I fine-tuned the system. A month later they've grown 10 inches and are starting to set fruit! The ultimate goal of the system is to grow medicinal herbs for our Spring 1999 Plant Sale.
bottles2.jpg (25961 bytes) The nutrient is ESU Greenleaves' GROW JUICE (2-1-3) mixed 3/4 oz. to a gallon of water. I chose this primarily because I'm no chemist and wanted to be sure of good first results (the Dean is watching, and if things work out well he may buy me some GroLights!) It has a color pH indicator built into it, although I test with our sophisticated pH meters in the lab anyway. My friend uses Miracle Gro at 1t. per gallon of water and never bothers with pH and his garden looks great, too. Maybe I'll set up a small Miracle Gro system and test the results side by side: Obsessive Compulsive vs. Oscar Madison
cistern2.jpg (12139 bytes) * The cistern is a 22 gal. Rubbermaid Tote/Storage box that ends up holding 18 gals. of nutrient solution. This gives me a big buffering capacity and a safety margin for times when the school is inaccessible. It's tall enough that all my connections could penetrate the sides high, in the dry area. One less chance of leaks or having to chalk a seam.
syphon.jpg (13062 bytes) * I have a friend who has found a balance between pump inflow volume and drain volume to create a siphon effect. When the pump is on the goblets fill and drain, then the siphon breaks and the goblets fill again. This cycles several times in the 30 minute "on" cycle we get with an Intermatic 24/30 household timer. I can't seem to get my siphon to break after the first drain; the pump just keeps moving water directly to the overflow standpipe and back to itself in the cistern. Still, a flood and drain every 55 mins or so is more than adequate. It's just something I designed for and can't seem to make happen, so its gaulling! * The cistern is attached to the system with plastic flex tubing and connected with swivel fittings to make disconnecting any part of it
simple.
cup.jpg (11575 bytes) * I'm using Pearlite as the medium, again because it was free and available from the potting shed. I keep the stuff out of the system with a 1 gallon paint strainer; that's the gauze-like fabric draped around the goblets.
cup2.jpg (12714 bytes) Keeps everything nice and clean, restrains root incursion to the plumbing and lets me lift the entire plant out for demonstrations and inspections of the root system if desired.
cup3.jpg (11423 bytes) The hydroponic gardener's weed, algae, has shown up on some of the goblets who's fill level is too high, but I covered these surfaces with GroRock to cut the light and the problem is greatly reduced.
support1.jpg (26637 bytes) * I settled for using 1" PVC for my supports simply because it was available for "borrowing" from the irrigation class! In the future I will be sure to support my system's plumbing along its entire length. It was alot of trouble getting all the cups level and filling to the same point when the 1/2" pipe sagged between the support bars.
cistern1.jpg (20686 bytes) * Raised pallets were already installed, along with rubber tubing connected to a 40 gallon tank heater for hot-water bottom-heat. Come this winter this system will keep my nutrient solution at 75 degrees even in our "harsh" (50 degrees) Southern California "winters."
thermo1.jpg (17481 bytes) * Because this is a school project I'm keep voluminous notes on weather, light, temp, pH changes, etc. I've got a couple of high/low recording thermometers installed
thermo2.jpg (19719 bytes) .The mercury model is superior to the dial.  Every time someone opens the greenhouse door the vibration shakes the indicator hands to the 6 o'clock position.
purple.jpg (17942 bytes)

white.jpg (22229 bytes)

 
grnhse.jpg (16426 bytes)

* I inherited the old greenhouse, and set up shop in the smaller section, indicated by the open window.

gobletts.jpg (19739 bytes) Its really just a variation on your PVC patio table design, but I thought you might like to see it. Easily transportable, even when full of nutrient and growing plants. I'm thinking of tropicals or shade loving patio plants that need to come inside in the winter.
potplan.jpg (14790 bytes) A self-contained pot with a flood and drain system in it. Its an ordinary Home Depot plastic pot with the drain holes sealed. The tiny Beckett 60GPH tabletop pump drives the system.
piping.jpg (18571 bytes) syphn.jpg (9850 bytes) The drip-saucers you place under them are used as the platform for the plumbing and goblett attatchment.

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