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Wayne's Kratky hydroponics test

 
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After learning about the kratky method, it got me excited. No energy hydroponics.  No aeration or pumps are needed. I set up an experiment to further "permie" the process.

Kratky doesnt rely on aeration to oxygenate the nutrient solution. The plant is fixed (not floating). The water level will drop, exposing some roots to air, deleting the need for aeration.

My experiment is using "on hand" nutrients instead of store bought nutrients. I used glass jars and cut a 2" hole into the lid to accept the net pot. Sadly, i am using rockwool as the soil less medium.  This will be addressed shortly.

I have 3 solutions. First consists of 1/2 gallon of cattle trough water that is full of minnows, 1 gallon rainwater, and a handfull of compost (kitchen scraps and horse manure).

Second solution is above plus a little bit of seawater (1tbs to 1/2 gallon)

Third solution is store bought 2 part nutrient mix for leafy greens with rainwater as the liquid.

I have 2 of each. 1 set will go under a grow light, 1 is going in a greenhouse.

It started today. Lets see what happens.
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Consider using sphegnum moss for the growing medium. Put a few strands dangling lower than the rest, and when the water level drops it'll keep the moss hydrated.
 
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I think, it would be better if the liquid doesn't see sun light.
 
wayne fajkus
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Great idea on the moss. I was thinking pebbles.

The jars will be sealed from light. Probably drape a towel around them. This allows me to see the roots without pulling the lettuce out.

If it works i have a big bin where i can do 20+ heads at a time.
 
Lauren Ritz
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wayne fajkus wrote:Great idea on the moss. I was thinking pebbles.

The jars will be sealed from light. Probably drape a towel around them. This allows me to see the roots without pulling the lettuce out.

If it works i have a big bin where i can do 20+ heads at a time.



I tried a bunch of different "soil-less" growing mediums, and the moss seemed to work the best. It draws up the water, keeps the roots hydrated but doesn't (usually) allow other stuff to grow. Pebbles (I used marbles) will work to a point, but they don't anchor the roots when the plant gets heavy and they also don't hydrate them.
 
wayne fajkus
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Did you try a homemade nutrient? Any tips or suggestions?
 
Lauren Ritz
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wayne fajkus wrote:Did you try a homemade nutrient? Any tips or suggestions?


Nope. Aquaponics was a short-lived hobby. I got far enough to decide what medium I wanted to use (hint :) gelatin does NOT work, although it's cool to see it melt around the roots), realized how much space it would take up and moved on to other interests. I think I tried a mix of store-bought vitamins at one point, but I wasn't into keeping records so I don't remember how it worked.
 
Gurkan Yeniceri
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wayne fajkus wrote:Did you try a homemade nutrient? Any tips or suggestions?



I used liquid fish hydrolysate in aquaponics when there is no fish.

Kelp and other seaweed fermented in a bucket also provides trace minerals.
 
wayne fajkus
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Ive got ocean fish carcasses fermenting in a bucket. Should be decomposed by October/november
 
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Wayne this is super interesting.  I know nothing about it.  I need to learn.  Sounds like a good experiment.  Do you have to worry about bad bacteria or anything like that?  
 
Lauren Ritz
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Scott Foster wrote:Wayne this is super interesting.  I know nothing about it.  I need to learn.  Sounds like a good experiment.  Do you have to worry about bad bacteria or anything like that?  



Many cultures in the world have some variation of fermented fish or meat (fish is more common). Look up fish sauce. This is not a sauce for fish.
 
wayne fajkus
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Too early for any conclusions or good pics . This is the greenhouse batch. The icky is behind the 2 natural solutions in growth. The "sea water added" lost one of its 2 leaves.
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Wayne,

Just a suggestion, but you might want to specific which mix is "icky", I can probably guess, but when it comes to science, I hate to guess.
 
wayne fajkus
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Flipping over to the ones under the grow light, the same thing is happening. The icky(store bought nutrients) only has the 2 first leaves, the 2 natural solutions have a third leaf.
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Lauren Ritz
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The tricky part will be continued growth. Make sure the water level stays high enough to wet the roots until they get established and start reaching for it themselves.
 
wayne fajkus
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Agreed. Right now im just making sure the net pot medium is moist, which it has maintained itself through wicking. Exciting stuff happens when roots start shooting through.
 
wayne fajkus
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The store bought nutrient is not doing well. The one under grow lights is dead. The one in greenhouse still has just its first 2 leaves and will most likely die.

The other ones have put roots into the water.

I am wondering if wool would work as the medium.  As is? Boil it to remove oils? Its something i have on hand. They are hair sheep. They grow some wool but shed it.
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Two YouTube sources of note for Kratky hydro

The doctor himself -- https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjwBvl5MXuQMziQL2_pQCPA

A serious adherent to the method -- https://www.youtube.com/user/MrDuzee1

 
john mcginnis
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Looking at your setup, how is your air exchange? Dr. Kratky is explicit on this fact. Plants must be permitted to develop air roots and have the moist space available to do so. Lacking that the plant roots drown.
 
wayne fajkus
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It was a fail. I was out of town for 3 days and when i got back they were dry. That transition from the medium being wet to the roots taking over is something i need to work on. The examples i saw started with transplants so there were multiple roots.  I started in the medium with seeds. I should have kept the water level up till more roots were there.

I'll try again but its a busy month. I really think i can use wool sheddings for the medium. I'm at least gonna try it.
 
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Here is a link to a paper about this technique by the inventor, if you want it straight from the horses mouth!!

https://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/hawaii/downloads/Three_Non-circulating_Hydroponic_Methods_for_Growing_lettuce.pdf

Also, here is a great resource with lots of pictures and more instructions as well.
http://www.fao.org/3/a-az029e.pdf

This link also has some nice DIY instructions for building a system:
https://www.oysoco.com/hydroponics/10-hydroponics/44-the-kratky-method

I hope these resources are helpful!
 
Lauren Ritz
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Wayne, I forgot about this thread. I tried natural nutrients this year with a modified Kratky system. I decided on ash, eggshell and urine. One of the cucumber plants was a transplant (purchased) while the other was started in the growth medium. I also found a volunteer tomato and transplanted that. It struggled at first, then got a major nutrient deficiency which I had to adjust using epsom salt (sulfur deficiency).
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Last week
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A month ago
 
wayne fajkus
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Looks like they are doing very well! In hindsite i was growing lettuce when it was too hot to grow lettuce. I haven't continued my experiment but you are encouraging me to do so.
 
Lauren Ritz
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Let me know how it works. I am trying to work out the nutrient levels with home-made nutrients and I'm finding no references to work from. I'm having to piece it together from lots of different sources. One thing is that greens would accept much higher nitrogen levels. The fruiting plants need more potassium and phosphorus.
 
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