Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Saved from the recycling bin.

As the weather is keeping me indoors pretty much, except for shoveling and snow blowing, I have been catching up on projects and looking for things to keep my mind occupied.

To enhance the small propagators, as illustrated in my January 5, 2011 post, I decided to automate the addition of CO2 to the propagators by adding a small CO2 generator/injector.

The generator is nothing more than a gallon container; to which I added two cups of sugar, some warm water and a teaspoon of yeast.

A length of airline tubing is inserted into a hole drilled in the top of the container and is run to the propagator. The yeast eats the sugar and produces CO2 in the process. The CO2 fills the container and flows through the tubing to the propagator and seedlings. Not exactly rocket science, but it works just dandy.

After placing the seedlings in the media, and the media in the propagator, I place them under the light and let the light stay on continuously for 48 hours. When I resume my normal 16 hour lighting cycle I remove the CO2 injector feed line from the propagator just before the lights are to be turned off. The valve must be left slightly opened to allow some CO2 to escape, as the yeast will continue to produce CO2 and it will pressurize the system if not allowed to escape. The result would be a small bomb, and BIG mess.

The systems produce CO2 until the sugar is depleted, and I check the output every few days by placing the tube into a glass of water. If it produces bubbles, it is working, if not, I toss the contents and refill the container.

The amount of yeast to sugar is not critical, however, more yeast means more CO2, but it will use up the sugar faster. I am now using 2 cups of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of yeast, which should keep the system perking along for about two weeks.

My first batch of seedlings using this method look fantastic.


Brendan said...

Any idea what the PPM is in the enclosed area when you have this running? It sounds easier/cheaper than buying tanks like I'm currenly doing.

admin said...

I really have no way to measure the ppm. The area I am using this for is very small. I did place the tube in a glass of water and it is still producing CO2, which surprised me. I think you would need a very large container and lots of sugar to do a large area like you have. :-0
I am only supplying CO2 to the volume of a shoebox.