Massproducer's Coco bucket
Massproducer's Coco bucketin Coco Coir Styles Wed Dec 25, 2013 1:58 am
by ozzydiodude • The Weird One | 2.473 Posts | 11539 Points
Massproducer's Coco buckets Originally posted at marijuanapassion
OKay, I know I have promised for a couple of weeks now to post this thread, but I really wanted to post a detailed thread on my Hempy method. I say hempy but they are not really the same as hempy's, I take hempy's to the next level, I tried to understand the science behind hempy buckets.
Before I get into my method and medium, lets explore hempy buckets in general.
Hempy buckets are basically any bucket (I like 5 gallon pails), with a .5 inch hole punched, cut or drilled in the side about 2"-3" from the bottom. There can not be any other drainage holes because this will become a simple built in rez, that the roots can feed from constantly, as this small rez always stays filled. It is very important to measure the hole as it can not be any higher then 3", as only the root tips like to be constantly submerged in a passive system. I will go over all of this in a lot more detail when we get to the bucket preperations, this is just a very high level overview.
What is the benefit of growing in hempy buckets as opposed to normal soil-less grows?
Firstly, because this has a built in rez and plenty of Dissolved Oxygen, the system has a phenomenal growth rate, once everything is dialed in, the growth rate rivals DWC... Seriously!
Secondly if you are using chemical nutes, it cuts down on the waste because there is a lot less run off (more on this when we talk about coco coir).
Thirdly, my method when using coir, is IMO the easiest way to get dependable results using organic hydroponics. That is right, coco coir is 100% organic and my method can be used with both organics and chems.
Coco Coir Properties
Now that we have done a brief overview, we can now get more specific. We will first look at the mediums that have proved the most benefical to me. I use perlite and coco coir.
I have used everything from straight perlite, to perlite and vermiculite, and finally to coco and perlite. I have used all of these in different concentrations and different strategies, but i find the method I am using now to be the best.
But first, what is Coco Coir?
Coco coir is a relatively new growing medium available these days for the hydroponics soil less culture. Coco coir is being produced as a bi-product of the coconut tree. Coconut husk is processed to produce fibrous material for use as a growing medium.
Coconut coir (fiber made out of coconut shells) has been used in different parts of the world for many years. Initially this fiber had been used for making twine, mats and brooms by western civilizations, but it had never been looked at as a growing medium for plant growth in the western world, although it had been used as a growing medium in ancient India and China. The use of this product as a medium for plant growth started in the late '80s, and moved into the commercial sector in the early 90s. Since then its use has increased day by day in home gardening, growing roses and vegetable production, and in the hydroponics industry in general.
Coconut coir is one of the most versatile materials man has ever extracted from Mother Nature. It has traveled a long way since its humble beginnings as the ubiquitous tying ropes. Coir today is used to make everything from door mats to rugs, rubberized coir mattresses, decorative rugs, garden supplies and growing medium. It is not just a natural product - it also has some winning advantages that make this product a premium choice for modern soil less growing systems.
Coco coir is a proven best alternative to any growing media. Its use as a growing medium outperforms any other medium used for growing vegetables, ornamentals and tree plants. Its soft structure promotes easy root penetration and healthy growth. Coco coir is 100% environmentally friendly. It is a renewable resource that is consistent in quality. Coco coir has the best physical and chemical properties to promote better plant growth.
• Coco has high water-holding capacity. It can hold water up to eight times of its weight and release it over a period of time.
• Coco has ideal pH in the range of 5.8-6.7
• It has excellent drainage and air porosity for better plant growth
• Coco is very low in EC and carries mostly potassium salts, which is an essential major plant nutrient
• Cation exchange capacity is very good
• Coco coir has some anti-fungal properties that help plants to get rid of soil borne diseases. It inhibits pathogens like Pithium
• Coco is very easy to re-hydrate after being dehydrated
• It is a biodegradable source that degrades very slowly and has a life of three to four years
• Contains significant amounts of phosphorous (10-50ppm) and potassium (150-450 ppm)
As mentioned above Coco coir is not just a natural product with very good properties for plant growth - it also has some winning advantages over other growing mediums.
Advantages of Coco Coir
• It is a 100% renewable resource
• Coco coir is light in weight
• It is consistent in high quality
• Coco coir is completely environmentally friendly
• The top of the product layer in grow bags/pots always remain dry, leaving behind no chances of fungal growth
• Coco coir never shrinks, cracks or produces crust
• It promotes better root systems in a short time
• Coco coir is odorless, pleasant to handle, and uniform in composition
If you plan on using chemical nutes, then I would highly recommend you using something specially formulated for Coir, something like Advanced Nutes - Monkey JUice or Canna COCO nutrients. Coco coir's only bad attribute is that it will absorb certian nutrients while releasing others that it is rich in, so you need to add extra, N and Calcium for atleast the first few feedings while the cation exchange is balancing nutrients.
Bucket Set Up
So now we know what Coco Coir is...Lol
It is time to look at the design of the buckets.
As I said earlier, this is propably the easiest part of the entire set up. All you need to do is make a mark 2"-3" from the bottom of the bucket, that's it. Of course you want to thoroughly wash the inside and outside of the buckets.
The pictures are just showing the hole punched into the bucket 3" above the bottom of the bucket
Preparing the medium
Now we are coming to the important part of the set up... The medium
As i stated earlier, I use Coco coir and perlite, but not in a simple mixture. I found that one of the reasons that Hempy's work so well is because they somewhat simulate the water table in nature, which is one reason that trees get so large and have no real problem with a localize acute drought.
What is the water table?
Basically in nature the earth is layered with different layers doing different things and providing different elements. The top layer is where a lot of the magic happens, it is where the majority of the microbes and fungi are and as such where the majority of the availabe nutrients are. As you go farther into the earth, the soil becomes more clay and rock, and then eventually we reach the water table, which is at sea level usually, and is basically an underground water source. The same as a well. This is basically unimportant but I like to know how and why things work, so I can understand and improve on my previous results. The main thing to remember is that each level of ground get increasingly more damp until we reach the water table.
Another very cool thing happens in nature, that plants that reach the water table often have very specialized roots, that preform different duties based on the level of ground they are in. meaning some roots will be specialized to uptakes nutes while others the ones that reach the rez will mainly uptake water. This also happens somewhat inside in our grow rooms but not on the dynamic level that it happens in nature because of the layering. The roots reaching the water table do not have a lot of nutes to eat, because there is less microbes and the water they are feeding on has a very low ppm, which is what happens when you use my method with coco, because the COCO filters the nutes and actually absorbs them and releases them as the plants need it, it has an excellent caution exchange, the best of any medium.
Why is any of this important?
It is important because it this is the most efficient way for the roots to grow and thrive, it eliminates a lot of nute burn, and causes the roots to grow and try to look for more nutes, increasing the plants size and uptake abilites.
The layers - The details
Now i will show you the way in which I layer my buckets, to create the water table effect in my buckets.
The first layer or bottom layer which simulates the rocky layer before the water table is made up of 100% perlite with a slight amount of lime or eggshells. This is to provide calcium, as this is the one element that will for sure be present in nature at the water table as calcium is basically in all water, rather hard or soft. This layer stops right above the drainage hole. So the rez will consist of water and perlite.
The second layer, consists of about 75% perlite and 25% coco coir. Just mix the two together in the correct proportions, nothing special has to be done.
The third layer is about 50% perlite, 40% coco and 10% worm castings. From this point on we start to mix in our organic soil amendments, taking into consideration there NPK value and the age the roots will be when they reach this spot. Meaning the top few layers we mix in alphalfa meal, kelp meal and fish meal because the plants will be in need of a Nirtogen boost when they first are transplanted into the system because we use these for our flowering room. So in the first 2 weeks of flowering I like to provide extra N and Mg, so that I avoid deficiences during the stretch. But on the contrary in the lower portions I like to add guanos and high p castings, because the plants should be well into flowering when they reach this area and will require a higher p and K value but because I grow in coco coir, I don't really have to worry about providing excess K, because the coir itself is full of it.
The next layers are your choice as to how many you have and the types of amendments, if any you add. But the idea is to steadily work up your layers until the top layer is 95-100% coir. The most important thing about these layers are that you want to increase the amount or organic amendments with each layer to support the ever increasing amounts of microbes and fungi, that means adding more kelp meal, adding spent coffee grinds bees pollen(More coming soon on bee's pollen, so stay tuned), and carbon sources. The wonderful thing about Coco coir is that it is so great at harbouring beneficals. It is 100% organic, meaning the beneficals are actually eating the medium, so it does have to be replaces ever year or two, but the beneficals totally thrive, which makes your plants thrive.
Create a nice sized hole before you transplant, and add... Molding spent coffee grinds (eeewww, mass your gross) and worm castings and transplant. Even if you plan on using chems, for the first feeding I suggest you innoculate your buckets and medium with a simple arreated castings teas(More coming up on brewing the tea).
why molding coffee grinds?
The main and fastest colonizing fungi is Trichoderma, or Green Mold. This fungi is also the most prevelant benefical fungi in our coco coir, and is what we are trying to culture in our medium. It not only decomses organic matter to make them availible for the roots to uptake, it also kills any pathogen that enters its territory. By leaving spent coffee grinds in a open bowl, the spores will find it quick, colonize it and star releasing enzyes to break down the coffee and kill of any bad bugs that may have beat them there. After a few days you will see a green coating which is trichoderma, trichoderma is a type of mychorrizae fungi, a symbiant. So thats why I always save my coffee grinds. And egg shells for calcium.
Easy Arreated Tea
Okay so this is how i make my tea, it is very easy and very quick.
Firstly take a bucket, i use an extra 5 gallon bucket, and fill it with water. You need to let the water sit out for atleast 24 hours, I like to even hook up my air stones and pump now and bubble the water.
After 24 hours, I take a woman's nylon (stolen from the wife), and put about a cup of worm castings inside and tie it off. Next I tie the end of the nylon to the handle of bucket and put the part with the castings inside the bubbling water. I like to add a bit of kelp meal for the fungi to feed on and some colonized coffee grinds, along with about a table spoon of blackstrap mollasses. I also take a bit of my daughters aquarium gravel and add it to speed the process.
I let this bubble for 24 hours, squeezing the castings and nylon ever few hours to release as much microbes as possible, then I remove the nylon and use the castings to top dress my other plants, and add more mollasses and bubble for 24 more hours.
When done, I dilute the mixture and foliar feed it as well as top feeding
The one thing I forgot to talk about is the feeding schedule.
I feed my plants about every 2-3 days with either an organic tea or 800 - 1000 ppm of advanced nutrients Monkey Juice. I also always add a tablespoon of blackstrap. Because of the microbial and fungal life within the coco it is a good idea to use dechlorinated water for all feedings.
Every 3rd watering is just blackstrap and water, to flush any excess salts.
The goal with feeding is to keep the rez pretty much full all the time, so that the plants can eat constantly while still recieving crazy amounts of dissolved oxygen from the medium.
This is the point in my system of using pure perlite in the rez area, the perlite will create tiny air pockets, while still wicking the water back up into the medium where the specialized roots are feeding and the beneficials are doing there thing. With an organic medium you do not want the medium to dry out too much because some beneficials need moisture to survive and most need it to thrive. But with this system it is almost impossible to overwater your plants, because of both the bucket design, and the perlite and coco.
In the first week while the roots are trying to reach the rez you will want to feed everyday, after the roots hit the rez you can back off to every 2-3 days. You will know that the roots have hit the rez because there will be an explosion of growth almost overnight, it truly is amazing.
Let's help each other, by spreading our knowledge of the plants we love
RE: Massproducer's Coco bucketin Coco Coir Styles Wed Dec 25, 2013 9:23 pm
by ozzydiodude • The Weird One | 2.473 Posts | 11539 Points
Originally Posted by docfishwrinkle
very simple & educated overview thanks. ironically ive been useing this stuff for a while only on various lizards, amphibians, & arachnids. i have 6 bricks laying in my basement. which will probably make up 3-5 gal buckets. couple of questions though.
1. could i adapt it to fit under a scrog screen useing buckets that have been cut down to approx. 3 gal? (limited on height)
2. what is your coir/perlite ratio?
Yes this method works for any size container, because I use these really only to flower, I usually cut my buckets down to about 3 gallons, because I do not need that much medium for flowering. But yes I am actually growing right now in multiple size containers because I wanted to know just that question, and I am trying to really test my method to get the best results.
I will say this though, coco really causes the roots to explode, you will even see roots growing out the top of the medium... They grow everywhere, so the bigger the container the bigger the plant. But i have some very nice sized plants growing in 1 gallon milk containers, but they were only flowered in there, but I have yet to have a problem with them.
Originally Posted by massproducer
I will say this though, coco really causes the roots to explode, you will even see roots growing out the top of the medium...
Roots are not designed to grow in light and light is bad for roots, do they grow out of the surface much?, do you cover the bucket with something so the light doesnt get to the surface roots?
Absolutely fascinating post, thanks for sharing this with us
while this is true, root hairs and roots in general, only live for very short periods of time, the are designed to capture all of the availible nutrients and water in that perticular area and then they die providing food for the soil microbiology which in turn then breaks this down to be reabsorbed. Roots are constantly growing and dying. Light is bad for roots because it slows that root hairs growth, but before that happens the roots reorient themselves and grow back into the medium
Point being we are talking about seeing roots poking our of the medium, maybe .0005% of the actual root mass. I can confidently say that you will never have a problem with these root hairs going up out of the medium a bit
I have an IDEA...
oh boy is that scary. since the perlite in the bottom is the rez and its full of water/nutes, what if you were to put an airstone under the perlite so the rez in the bucket was being aireated?? that would add a good amount of oxygen for the plant, huh?
I plan on making a hempy bucket for 1 plant in my next cycle to try it out on. ill make a hole for a line to the airstone at the same heigth as the drain hole.
Sound like it might be beneficial???
It has been tried before Halzey, it was found that with normal hempy's it didn't really have any real benefit from adding an air stone. The rez gets used up very quickly, and because you are always watering and the water has to trickle down through the medium, it actually aerates the water as it flows down into the rez, IMO a better thing would be to aerate the nute solution before you feed your plants. I like to bubble my nutes or water for 24 hours before I feed my plants and it provides plenty of D.O, but you could always try it out and report back to use, because I am always open to ways we can improve everything, but I myself don't think it will really help much at all.
Also as Toke said, the greatest thing about this method or hempy's method, is that there is no moving parts, nothing to break or malfunction, no worries of dissolved Oxygen or root rot, but you can still achieve a phenomenal growth rate that will rival other active mthods such as DWC, that totally rely on moving parts.
I am known to overcomplicate things for myself at times but with complication comes problems, so the point of this method was to avoid the complications while still keeping a very nice growth rate.
Let's help each other, by spreading our knowledge of the plants we love
RE: Massproducer's Coco bucketin Coco Coir Styles Sun Feb 23, 2014 12:40 pm
by ozzydiodude • The Weird One | 2.473 Posts | 11539 Points
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