Thursday, April 17, 2008

AutoPot Feed System

It may be a little early, however I put some tomato plants into the temporary greenhouse and will grow them using the AutoPot system. The one modification I made to the system was to purchase an aquarium airline gang valve. I tried the inexpensive plastic valve and it leaked, so if you intend to use one, buy the metal valve. I am using one outlet of the valve to a tee that feeds both systems. My rationale is that it may be necessary to bring the plants indoors, as frost is a definite possibility until late May in upstate New York. Turning off the outlet will allow me to remove the pots and bring them indoors if frost is eminent. With the valve turned off the float valve in the trays will not release nutrient into the trays. When the pots are returned, the nutrient level will be the same as when the pots were removed.
At first I balked at using coca noir and perlite, as I thought it would prove messy. My thinking has really changed after I prepared the medium and began using it. I am using about 70 percent agricultural perlite to 30 percent coco noir and the medium is light and fluffy. The seeds were started in rockwool cubes and transplanted into small pots containing the perlite and coco noir. Within less than a week the roots had grown to the bottom of the temporary pot. I was going to top feed them for the first week but I am thinking that will not be necessary.
The plants I am growing in the greenhouse are Rutgers and Wayahead and I hope to have fruit by early July. For the soil garden I have started some Ugly Heirloom, Cream and Sausage, Black Cherry and Brandywine tomatos. The comparison should be interesting as I have never grown any of these tomatos.
This weekend I will start some Burpee compact Picklebush cucumber seeds and I will grow them in AutoPots also. The AutoPot trays are pre-drilled for supports and I will be using a tee pee of bamboo shoots to support the cukes and tomatoes.

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