Saturday, July 6, 2013

Journal July 6, 2013

Yesterday I was browsing Ebay looking at hydroponic offerings and came across several aeroponic cloning devices.  The descriptions and the claims of how they performed made for some interesting reading.  The claims state that plants can be cloned in as little as four days; also that the continuous spay causes the plants to put out roots faster because it irritates the plant.  Well, I don't know about that one, but I'll take that claim at face value.

I know that aeroponic systems work, because I built several, however, I have never tried cloning with an aeroponic system.  It was my intention to clone six tomato plants for replacement plants for the greenhouse, so I thought I should build an aeroponic cloning system and give it a try.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

 The only parts I needed and did not have on hand was the 1/2" PVC pipe and a few fittings.  A quick trip to Home Depot and for less than ten dollars I had everything I needed for a decent system.

As I had several dark colored five gallon buckets and lids on hand I decided to use one of them to house the system.  So I assembled the necessary parts, pieces and tools and got to work.

 As I wanted six plants, I cut six 2"holes in the lid of the bucket.  Next, I took six 2" net pots and cut the netting from the bottoms, as I only wanted the collar to support the neoprene inserts. 

The next step was to measure and cut pieces for the spray manifold.  Holes for the spray heads were then drilled and tapped using a 10/32 tap.  As most of the spray heads available are 10/32, it is a simple matter to replace and experiment with different spray heads. A threaded coupling on the bottom of the manifold screws directly into the pump making the system rigid and very stable.  It was not necessary to glue the pieces together as the pieces fit snugly; and the parts can be disassembled for compact storage.  

Six cuttings were than taken, dipped in rooting hormone, and placed in the neoprene collars which then went into the system.  

 After test running the system outdoors to check for leaks, there were none, I placed the system under a 90 watt red/blue/white LED.  The photoperiod will be 16 hours, but the pump will run 24/7.

It remains to be seen how it works, however, by using net cups and expanded clay pellets the system can be used to grow pretty much anything aeroponically.  As the covers cost about two dollars each, it is a simple matter to reconfigure the system for different sizes and numbers of cuttings.   When not in use the system can be disassembled and the bucket is not altered in anyway.  

 As I stated previously, the spray heads all use the same size holes, so I ordered five fogger/misting heads on Ebay.  These are the preferred micron size for cloning plants hydroponically, and fogger/misting systems are supposed to be the ultimate system for cloning.   I am thinking at some point I will try an olive cutting in this type of system to see what happens.

If this works; the possibilities are pretty attractive; like buy a plant, take it home and clone several more.  

Time will tell......

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