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growing lettuce in pipes

Discussion in 'General Aquaponics discussion - Aquaponics system ' started by Bluegill, Dec 20, 2010.

  1. Bluegill

    Bluegill Member

    Sep 6, 2010
    Please critque this for me, Mates...
    I want to grow some lettuce in plastic pipes.....like Rupe....(his pictures)
    so....I bought some 75mm black plastic cups to set in my pipe...
    I guess I'll get some pipe of sufficient size to cut a series of holes in to put the plastic cups in....
    then .....what do I do....
    What's the best way to provide nutrient water to the roots of my plants.....
    I've got 50 little black cups...
    What would all of you do....?beganim
  2. Yabbies4me

    Yabbies4me Administrator Staff Member

    Jul 27, 2010
    If you're talking hydroponic channel then that's easy, NFT is the only way to go.

    If you're talking about using PVC stormwater pipe or something similar then it gets tricky. Using round pipe means your pots aren't going to reach anywhere near the bottom of the pipe, so NFT won't work. Flood and Drain is about your only option.

    I've had customers set up round pipe as NFT by placing a layer of perlite in the bottom of the pipe and sitting the pots on the perlite, then a fine flow of water is pumped along the very bottom of the pipe and you rely on capillary action to draw water up and into the bottom of the pots. This system will work, but is open to many problems, the biggest of which is the roots of the plants establishing in the layer of perlite... very messy when removing plants, basically all the plants have to be removed at the same time and the perlite replaced. Also, as the root mass develops the flow of water from the inlet end to the drain end will slow, oxygen will be depleted quicker and the plants at the drain end will have less oxygen and nutrients in their root zone.

    IMO, Flood and drain is a much better option, it will enable you to add and remove individual plants at whim without disrupting other plants. With Flood and Drain you need to aim for about the bottom 10 or 15mm of the pots to be in the water when the pipe is fully flooded. When on the drain cycle you want as much of the water emptying out of the pipe as possible, maybe only 3 or 4mm of water sitting in the bottom of the pipe, but well clear of the bottom of the pots.

    Cheers, Yabbies.
  3. Bluegill

    Bluegill Member

    Sep 6, 2010
    thanks, yabbies....
    I think I'll stay with flood and drain....I already have got that working in my barrels.....I bought some HYdroton.....kinda of expensive....as my gravel is not easy to work in....I think I'm going to put these little plastic cups in the gravel and fill them with Hydroton....that will save my Hydroton....I dont know... every thing I do seems like an experiment with this stuff....
    but thanks for the advice...
  4. RupertofOZ

    RupertofOZ New Member

    Jun 15, 2009
    If you're going to use pipes then there's two things you must do...

    • Pre-filter the water to remove any sedimentary solids
      Place a ball-valve on each pipe inlet, or pipe distribution manifold..

    The first is a must... the second allows you to adjust the flow height to the bottom of the pot until the roots establish... then lower it progressively until the pipe is running a thin film... ala NFT...

    This is cumbersome, and costly in terms of plumbing connections... and it's probably cheaper to buy some proper nft channel, often listed on eBay...

    Thirdly... your whole system needs to be highly oxygenated... or you need to supply a seperate reservoir/pump for the nft, with an airstone... or sufficient height/fall that the pipes draining ensure oxygenation...
  5. fishfood

    fishfood Active Member

    Jun 13, 2009
    An example of growing lettuce in nft

    Attached Files:

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