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PostPosted: Sep 26th, '13, 01:53 
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It finally arrived! My brother transported it for me from the town in which I work everyday. According to the label it contained liquid fertiliser and there were still some of it left in the tank, all dried up.

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The guy from whom I've bought it recommended that I take the dried chunks out and bury it in our garden. I have decided rather to play it safe and to mix it with water to dissolve it and then to test it on a part of our lawn to see what it does. Last resort will be to flush it into the sewer system but I only want to do that a last resort.

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Now I can start planning my system and I'm going to need all the advice you guys here can offer me. :wink:

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PostPosted: Sep 26th, '13, 03:32 
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Lekker Cobus!

Have fun designing and figuring out your system.

The fun really starts once you are cycled and running!


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PostPosted: Sep 27th, '13, 03:16 
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My first try with Google Sketchup:

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C&L's CHGH IBC edit.jpg
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Okay and here my first try at a design:

I've decided to go with a CHIFT PIST system with a SLO. The FT's capacity will be about 800litres with x4 210litre barrels under ground level giving a sump capacity of about 800litres.

The combined empty capacity of the growbeds will also be about 800litres. The media in the growbeds will be gravel from a local supplier. I’m thinking of using the flood and drain method especially during winter to maintain water temperature.

What do you guys think? I’m open to any other ideas or suggestions. :notworthy:

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PostPosted: Sep 28th, '13, 02:02 
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I got the last of the barrels today. The four barrels at the back with the pop lids will be used together as a sump tank and the remaining will become growbeds.

I've manage to clean the pop lids barrels on the inside with our high pressure cleaner. The remaining five barrels will be cut in half and then I can clean them properly.


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PostPosted: Sep 28th, '13, 17:37 
Not a bad "first try" with sketchup...


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PostPosted: Sep 28th, '13, 18:10 
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RupertofOZ wrote:
Not a bad "first try" with sketchup...


Thank you Rupert. :) I work with CAD programs everyday so I was quite impressed with sketchup’s capabilities.

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PostPosted: Sep 28th, '13, 23:55 
Well that's certainly a good recommendation for Sketchup then... :cheers:


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PostPosted: Oct 1st, '13, 20:52 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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Those sumps look like they might be really difficult to access from within the greenhouse. Be sure you leave yourself a way to get at them to clean/check/replace the pump if needed. If you make it nearly impossible to get at, it will likely be the first thing that fails and you have to go ripping things apart just to get to it.

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PostPosted: Oct 2nd, '13, 02:34 
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TCLynx wrote:
Those sumps look like they might be really difficult to access from within the greenhouse. Be sure you leave yourself a way to get at them to clean/check/replace the pump if needed. If you make it nearly impossible to get at, it will likely be the first thing that fails and you have to go ripping things apart just to get to it.


Thanks for the advice. :thumbright: I'm planning to use gravel in the GBs which is going to make it very heavy and difficult to move if I have a problem. I was thinking of placing the GBs on that side as high as possible to give me enough space to work underneath. I guess it is back to the drawing board then.

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PostPosted: Oct 2nd, '13, 17:44 
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Version 2.0

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The STs is now in-between the GBs at the back with a removable wood deck covering it. I’ve actually solved the space problem for some sub-tropical pot plants that must stand inside the GH. They can be placed on top of the wood deck now. The doors at the back are actually just for ventilation purposes and to give access from the back if I need to take out any GBs or even the STs.

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PostPosted: Oct 2nd, '13, 19:20 
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The other option I was seeing was if you could make a little hatch in the bottom of the greenhouse on that side by the sumps that were under the beds.

But the wood platform works too. Instead of making yourself have to remove the plants and move the whole platform, I would recommend putting hatches in over the sumps to make it as easy as possible to check them without turning it into a major chore.
It might even be that you can open the back door and lift up the very end of the platform to check the sumps and pump.

Also think about installing an automatic float valve down low in the sump (below the normal low water mark but above the pump running dry level) that you can hook up to a water supply to top up your system automatically when the water level gets low. Since your sump won't be easy to see every time you walk into the greenhouse, it might be difficult to know if your water level is getting low and you don't want to wait till you walk in and hear the pump sucking air.

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PostPosted: Oct 6th, '13, 13:12 
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Thanks again TC. The automatic float valve makes sense. I can only foresee one problem with the idea and that is our tap water itself. It contains chlorine, and sometimes when you fill up a glass the water is almost white with it and you can smell it. Usually it clears in about 5 minutes but it is the chlorine concentration that can affect the bacteria in my planned system that is worrying me.

I top up my barrel system’s water level with tap water that was standing for about 3 days usually. We have a well (borehole) on our property but I’m a bit sceptical to use it due to possible pollution from the heavy industry in our region.

I’ve once tried to test the pH level and it is way below the lowest level my test kit can test which is 6.2. It has a metal taste and my girlfriend said it use to had a bad odour in the past. I’m going to try and test the pH level today with my API test kit but I doubt if it will be 6.0 or above.

I’m planning to get the well’s water tested by one of our local universities so they can do a full chemical analyse of the water. It scares me to think what heavy metals or pollutants they are going to find inside the water.

As for the top up system I was thinking of keeping a barrel on ground level on the outside of the greenhouse connected to the ST with a float valve inside the ST and a shut off valve between the barrel and the ST. I can then fill up the barrel on the outside with the valve shut and then after 3 days or so I can just open the valve and the water can then top up the ST’s water level automatically.

I’ve also read about adding salt to a system’s water and I want to use this barrel to add salt etc.
Maybe I’m a bit over reactive about the chlorine but I don’t want to take any short cuts which can lead to disaster.

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PostPosted: Oct 6th, '13, 13:39 
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Project update:

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Wednesday night I've taken the tank out of the frame to get it cut and cleaned. I've decided to leave a rim around the top of the tank to give it extra strength.

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DSCN1729.jpg
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The frame has some rust spots but I’m planning to paint the whole frame.



And while I was busy with tank and the frame, Lizette my girlfriend cooked some hamburgers on the barbeque for us. :D


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PostPosted: Oct 6th, '13, 14:46 
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Yesterday we have started to set out the position of the conduit hoop green house. While Lizette was busy painting the wood frame with a wood treatment product, I’ve started on the IBC frame to get all the rust and dirt off with circular wire brush connected to an old drill. I’ve managed to get the first coat of primer on in the afternoon.
Attachment:
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The soil where the FT is going to stand is very soft and won’t be able to support the full weight of a FT with 1000 litres of water in it. We are using part of our existing vegetable garden for the greenhouse thus the reason for the soil being soft.
I’ve build myself a compaction rammer earlier in the morning with some scrap metal.
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I then excavated some of the soil over the footprint area of the FT and started to compact the soil.
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DSCN1860.jpg
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I will now add layers of the soil that was excavated and will the build up the platform gradually, compacting each layer of soil I'm adding back. The area will then be paved and then we will hopefully have a stable platform for our FT.

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PostPosted: Oct 6th, '13, 17:24 
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If you can get another IBC then fill it up with water and run a airstone in it. This will help clear the water of chlorine and act as your water reserve. This can be put outside and used with the auto fill as required.

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