Max’s Weblog

Life, Thoughts, Gardening.

Onward to new opportunities. July 25, 2008

Filed under: Hydroponics — stoatmax @ 1:19 pm

It honestly hasn’t been a long time, folks. But, here I am, and after oh-so-little time exploring this endeavor, I’m going to an expo about it! I’ll be starting the trip at 3 a.m., it’s a 360 mile journey. I’ll be home by monday, and I’ll have a lot to report. I’m taking a lot of pictures, taking a lot of notes, and taking a lot of enthusiasm.

Until next time!


Spiny, wingless, fly-like creature eating my tomato plant. July 23, 2008

Filed under: Garden — stoatmax @ 7:55 pm
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… I think. They’re thick on the lower stems, and they look odd. Both they and a lot of small, golden ants are covering the stems. I was thinking they were some kind of nymph. I don’t know. They’re smaller than a normal house fly. Here are a few pics:

What are these? Will they harm my ‘maters?


Garden Pictures! All picture, no text edition July 22, 2008

Filed under: Garden,Photography — stoatmax @ 4:08 pm
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General Hydroponics WATERFARM® Product Review July 21, 2008

Filed under: Hydroponics — stoatmax @ 11:45 pm
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The Waterfarm is a drip hydroponic system designed for personal use. It’s small size, energy efficiency, and low price make it a great choice for a small-time home-grower. It’s simple, square design makes it possible to pack many systems side-by-side in a small space. It uses a drip ring to irrigate plants. It’s suitable for small to large plants, ranging from small leaf vegetables to heavy producers like tomatoes.

It’s roughly 10″ x “10 x 15”. It retails for about $50. Some assembly is required.

The complete system includes:

• 4-gallon reservoir
• 2-gallon growing chamber
• Pumping column
• Column support tube
• Drip ring
• 1/2″ grommet
• Drain level tube
• Elite® 800 air pump
• 9L Hydroton
• 3-part Flora Kit

I’ve recently obtained a sample Waterfarm for review. I’m so far pleased with the results.

The system is packaged in a small, tight fitting box. All of its components are packed inside the reservoir and growing chamber.

Lightweight expanded clay aggregate, or Hydroton is a growing media used in hydroponics.

The Waterfarm includes about 9 L. of Hydroton, just enough to fill the growing chamber up to the drip ring.

Because it’s shipped in a bag, it grinds together and makes a sort of sand.

It’s best if the Hydroton is washed off.

These are the components that make up the Waterfarm. The assembly guide and the instruction manual shown here are very informative. The assembly instructions are elegant and understandable.

The system gets you started by including a three-part nutrient lineup. They each have charts on the back listing nutrient amounts per gal./100 l. for each stage in a plant’s life cycle.

FloraMicro contains 5 % Nitrogen, 1% Potash, 5% Calcium.

FloraGro contains 2% Nitrogen, 1% Phosphate, 6% Potash.

FloraBloom contains 5% Phosphate, 4% Potash, 1.5% Magnesium, 1% Sulfur.

It takes a little over 2 gal. to meet the fill line in the water-level indicator. The pump running to the drip ring works most efficiently when the reservoir is at its 2 gallon capacity.

The finished product.

I do, however, have two suggestions for what could be packaged in with the Waterfarm.

A seed starting media would do wonders for starting up the system immediately. They’d hardly cost anything, and GH could use their brand of starter plugs. It would be helpful to somebody who has no seed starter otherwise.

A pH Adjustment solution and Liquid pH tester would be a great addition to the package. Control of pH is important for vigorous plant growth. Different plants like different pH. They should have include enough pH solution to adjust the first few gallons.

I’m pleased with the Waterfarm’s design and it’s simplicity.  Next: Functionality.

The nutrients that are included are easy to use and of high quality. Seemingly no fallout whatsoever occurs.

The drip ring is a nice, simple irrigation method. Keeping plants around the ring will give them a nice amount of water. However, if you move a plant to the center, be prepared to adjust the ring/hydroton to get a sufficient flow to the plant and it’s roots. I set my ring to a 45-degree angle to shoot the water from the first two holes. It works quite well and evenly coats the area around the plant, shown below.

Overall, I’m very pleased with the Waterfarm. It’s obvious that a fair amount of attention to detail went in to the design. The system’s performance and function are simple, but very efficient and affective.

If you’ve got $50 to spend and you’re looking for a great, reliable, easy to use system, I have the utmost faith in the Waterfarm. I highly recommend this system.


2008 San Francisco Indoor Gardening Expo July 19, 2008

Filed under: Hydroponics — stoatmax @ 3:20 pm
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I just can’t wait. With the show coming in one week, I’m a bit nervous. Will I make it to San Francisco with my tomato? I wont know until I try. I’ve just replaced the nutes, bringing the strength up to 1 tsp./gal, for mild general purpose. I’ve also moved on to the next step – I’ve moved the healthiest tomato to the center of the system. It’s constantly soaked in nutrient rich water.. And it’s already 2″ tall and 3″ wide.

Cellulose, makes up much of a plant, and helps to stiffen/strengthen the plant itself, mainly in the stem. It is similar to starch, and a plant produces it to protect it’s self from wind, snapping branches, etc. I’ve been running a fan on the strongest tomato 24/7 for a week straight. This has caused the stem to stiffen up, and even show some robust, stalky growth.

After pulling out the tomatoes to move the best to the center, I see that the roots long and plentiful.



As for the show, I’m luckily going to be attending on both days. The first day, or ‘industry day’ is the day when the expo is closed to the public. Thanks to Cary Senders, Adriana Gutierrez, and the rest of the STG team, I’m going to be attending the Industry Day. On this day, everything is on a much more professional level, and you can try free samples of nutes/products. It’s great. I’m looking forward to meeting different people and experiencing different, new technology.





BUZZ BITE® CHOCOLATE CHEWS Product Review July 18, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — stoatmax @ 1:15 pm

I recently contacted Vending Systems productions and asked for a sample of their product to review. They were kind enough to comply, and here I am.

I’m a caffeine junky. I live off the stuff. I gave up my morning espresso to try these out.



General Hydroponics WATERFARM® Product Review (Part II) July 15, 2008

Filed under: Hydroponics — stoatmax @ 4:38 pm
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The long awaited second half of my Waterfarm Review is here!

The first part of the review was about the setup and appearance. This.. Is about performance.

I’ve found that the whole setup of the Waterfarm is satisfactory, at the very least. I’ll start from here:

It’s pretty user friendly. I find that a drip irrigation system is one of the most simple types of irrigation. The drip ring has a pretty good spread, both dripping and just slightly spraying at the same time. Even with my plants slightly far away from the direct drip, it keeps them quite saturated.

I’m pleased with the reservoir and pump. I’m really happy that the system will keep the plants aerated enough to let you leave the pump on 24/7.  I did find that the reservoir required a bit over 2 gal. to get it to the required limit, which leaves a bit of inaccuracy present when measuring.

I’d have to say that the best thing about the waterfarm is it’s simplicity. With a simplistic design, simplistic functions, and easy to use 3 part nutrients included with the package, a new user to hydroponics can jump right in without a lot of know how, but a seasoned grower will still feel comfortable with it.

The Waterfarm comes with all you need to get started, minus a growing medium and seeds. It’s relatively easy to hook up, functions well, and is something you can look at as reliable.
Form and function are simple. Easy to use, easy to love, I’m going to back up my ending statement from Part I by saying that whether you’re just looking to get into the wonderful word of hydroponics, or know damn near everything about it, this is a great system to have. I’d like to thank Jesse Pennington at GenHydro for this wonderful system, Matt for his information and help when I had no IDEA what I was doing, and Ben for all his help with the upcoming expo.