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PostPosted: May 4th, '16, 13:00 
Transplanting change:

I came up with a better thumbs only transplanting method I could share. I take a bed, the one to be moved to and scrape it back the desired height. Take my plastic cups, cut off the rim and the bottom. Sit the rim side down on the clay balls to make an inverted funnel. You have to remove the cups lip. Then I back fill the area with the clay balls leaving cones of plastic cups. Next remove the seedling and hold it in place while adding pea FT gravel around it. When it is full pat it down a bit and with very sharp scissors slice the cup length wise twice to make 2 halves. Pull the halves out and you are done. Every plant I did this way made it so far. The last time I killed them all. Too many thumbs. add water and wait. You could just leave the cup right where it is if you wanted too. The large end is down and the plant has room to grow. I use the gravel for this because I like the stability around the stem put it could all be clay balls. The larger pumpkin is now in 100% clay balls after 3 transplants. Transferring anything to clay balls has been a nightmare for me until I did this cup deal.


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PostPosted: May 4th, '16, 18:35 
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Deuem wrote:
Transplanting change:

I came up with a better thumbs only transplanting method I could share. I take a bed, the one to be moved to and scrape it back the desired height. Take my plastic cups, cut off the rim and the bottom. Sit the rim side down on the clay balls to make an inverted funnel. You have to remove the cups lip. Then I back fill the area with the clay balls leaving cones of plastic cups. Next remove the seedling and hold it in place while adding pea FT gravel around it. When it is full pat it down a bit and with very sharp scissors slice the cup length wise twice to make 2 halves. Pull the halves out and you are done. Every plant I did this way made it so far. The last time I killed them all. Too many thumbs. add water and wait. You could just leave the cup right where it is if you wanted too. The large end is down and the plant has room to grow. I use the gravel for this because I like the stability around the stem put it could all be clay balls. The larger pumpkin is now in 100% clay balls after 3 transplants. Transferring anything to clay balls has been a nightmare for me until I did this cup deal.


That sounds interesting. I tried to go completely soil less once, and I failed miserably. Just like you I just kept on killing the plants. I went back to starting my plaints in soil. I have much more success this way. However, I would love to see some pictures of this method, because If I can get rid of the soil component, that would be nice.


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PostPosted: May 4th, '16, 19:45 
jm, I started this adventure with no dirt, never use the stuff and that turned the wife away at first. How can that city boy grow plants with out dirt. I failed for months also till Markb passed me a UT link on his greenhouse thread to a site that showed how to start them with no dirt. I do it several ways now but basically they all have the same idea. I am now starting in net cups. I lay in clay balls about 2/3 rds of the way. Put down a wet layer of fish gravel to fill in the gaps. Spread out the seeds and cover with up to 1/2 inch of more gravel. Water it and set it in a cup of water that is deep enough to hit the gravel layer. Depending on the plant from 3 days to two weeks they sprout. Don't drown them. If they sprout that means the roots have already passed the gravel and into the clay balls. At that point the water level should be to the mid height of the balls and no higher so they breath. Once the roots extend below the cup you can move the cup anywhere and use it as is for the life of the plant. On bigger plants I then move it to a large pot with mostly all clay balls.

I only use the gravel in the inverted cups to make the seedling stable. If you wanted to you could forget the gravel and just use balls but I would wait a bit longer for that. If the stem is something that you could blow over I would not put it into balls yet, Need at least 3/16ths or so to use balls only. Some people seed right into the clay ball beds.

I am not doing that because I want to set up a replacement schedule and keep them feeding me and placing new plants in as needed. It takes me at least 6 weeks before the first move. Some get a half way home on this trip. some don't. Things like vines and maybe trees will be moved several times on the growth cycle. 10 becoming 6. 6 becoming 3. and 3 becoming the best to plant full time. So my tomatoes and pumpkin are both in the 3 stage waiting for selection and the final move.

The wicking method is to get a box. I used cardboard about 3 inches tall. wrapped it in a plastic bag, put a layer of gravel in 1-1/2 inches. spread the seed. added 1/2 inches of gravel. In one corner I have a plastic peanut butter jar with the lid screwed on tight, full of FT water and an 3/16 exit hole drilled in the side of the lid for the water to drip out at what height you want the tray to be filled automatically. I had a small piece of tape blocking my hole at first. Added a lot of water to the height I wanted and pulled the tape out. It gurgles now and then and waters the tray for a month or so for me. My cheap ATO.

This grows a lot of seeds. My trouble is that they all grew together but the method worked and I now have a months free fish food. There is no way I can separate them and up plant them. So now I set up cups, poke the center to make a divot, drop in a few seeds and cover it. I want to make a shallow water DWC setup for the seeds and maintain the water level for many cups at one time. That is in my design book for now. Currently I just use coffee cups and keep an eye on the water level.

I managed to get some larger net cups and I am trying to grow flowers in it. same method. no sprouts yet. No dirt. Not even a smell of it....I have tried some large pod seeds with no luck so far. Mostly fruits like a peach pit. Still working on them. So any pits or pods are not working yet but every seed is.

Big key, don't drown them. Unlike dirt the water won't wick away. It is always there and will drown the seeds.. If you drown them they will be mush when dug out. They only need enough water to soak the shell once and Mother nature takes over. The net cups, balls and gravel make a pretty good evap barrier and I hardly need to add water for a month.

All of the seeds get pit under a T5 light for 6 weeks, then moved outside for a week or 2 to thicken up. My seed starter shelves are inside the house. I took over a book case. It is also the place I steep items in 1 liter jars. This water is not part of the AP so I can alter it as I wish too. No heating pads are needed for me where I live. Just time. If you have read this thread you will see that I re-cycle a lot of garbage seeds from things we eat. Every one of them planted in the same seed way. I love the sliced tomatoes. You get a ring of seedlings from a tomato that was going to the trash bin. I have done several of them. large ones down to cherries. they all work. We have pumpkin squash a lot and we waited until we had one that was really good and planted its seeds mush and all. Same method. Today it is papaya to be planted from breakfast. Nice and sweet, good to eat, plant it.

So like the fish, we are working on a small collection to see what works for us. If I get trees I will have to move them to the roof till they are about 1.5 meters and then to a friends or try and keep them cut down to dwarf trees. Don't know yet.


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PostPosted: May 4th, '16, 21:47 
I just did a new test where I only used the gravel bed over the balls for a leveling layer and seed foundation. I then covered the seeds with clay balls. This is for the papaya seeds which are pretty large to begin with. I filled the small bucket up to the gravel low line. When ever I try and plant like this, all balls and gravel is wet to start with.

See if they will push the balls out of the way or get all bent up in doing so.


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PostPosted: May 4th, '16, 21:55 
In case I forgot to mention it, todays hunting fish trip was 25 Alien Minnows for Deuem and a BIG Zero for the wife. She got skunked for the first time. I have been many time so now she knows how I felt. At least the trip was worth it.

We also found a large pond that has many large fish in it. Time to get a rod and real. You can see them and they are table size right now. And they are not carp. Might be blue tilapia. It was an old stocked pond for fishing and they must have just up and left the fish or sold what they could. Looks like at least 10 to 15 years ago it was open. we all skunked out in that pond. not a minnow in sight.


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PostPosted: May 5th, '16, 00:22 
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Deuem wrote:
In case I forgot to mention it, todays hunting fish trip was 25 Alien Minnows for Deuem and a BIG Zero for the wife. She got skunked for the first time. I have been many time so now she knows how I felt. At least the trip was worth it.

We also found a large pond that has many large fish in it. Time to get a rod and real. You can see them and they are table size right now. And they are not carp. Might be blue tilapia. It was an old stocked pond for fishing and they must have just up and left the fish or sold what they could. Looks like at least 10 to 15 years ago it was open. we all skunked out in that pond. not a minnow in sight.


I putt your directions into a word document and gave them a good print. I am starting some seeds later this week for my newest grow bed and ill give it a shot.

That was a big score on the pond! No minnows is a good think IMO. THat means they are active feeders, and most likely will hit a lure. You certainly need to get a rod and reel, and give it a good go. I would love to see some pictures of some plate sized fishies! :headbang:


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PostPosted: May 5th, '16, 07:51 
If you can get a tall clear glass pasts jar, get one and use it for vertical testing. Since the jar is tall it will represent a cross section of a grow bed and you can see what is going on. mine is around a foot tall. think that this is the GB and fill it with media. at a given point maybe 2 inches from the wanted top of the bed, I add a leveling layer of small pea sized gravel. Seed, more pea stone total 1-1/2 or so. When you put in the seeds, place them right on the edge of the glass so you can see them grow. They shot down a tap root first and then sprout top the surface. Unlike dirt, the water level is always controlled by you. Use all wet clean media when loading any GB. remove the dust first. Very slowly fill the bottle with water until it reaches the bottom of the gravel. Mark it. Keep an eye on that water line. Once the seeds have pushed thru the leveling layer they start to go nuts and grow roots into the clay balls. When they are happy there they shoot for the sun light. I only use FT gravel because I have it. I would buy a cheaper replacement when I find it. For me it is 5 times the cost of the clay balls and also 5 or more times the weight per same container. It also keeps the balls from floating in the water. Sifting out the finer stone was easy until they gave me a bag of fine balls mixed in with larger ones. I would need to dry them and float separate them.

Dirt is going to seep into the ground, wet the seed first and go away. In AP it never goes away. It is a good and bad thing if you cant control it well. A seed that is 100% trapped under water will turn to mush. Well that is for most seeds anyway. The soy can be in 100% water as I do put them in my FT as is. But for the most of them, they need an air gap to get O2 to the roots. This is where the glass jar is important with seed right on the glass. You can see it happen. In the final GBS you can either set them at the same water level and adjust the media height or place an adjustable height drain on them. I just recently went back on all of my teat beds and added a water height hose to the outside. I can't see thru the gravel and balls so this gives me a leg up on the water levels. At a glance I know what is going on inside, just like the bottle does.
All you need to do is to master the air gap and everything will work just fine. I have done several hundred tests with over 50 different seeds and they all react very similar. Too much water is a problem. they rot or the leaves turn yellow and rot. Air is one of the reasons they add air stones to DWC and the pros also adjust the heights of the cups with different cups or foam thickness. They grow rice here in flooded patties, If they don't let the water out at a certain time they will even drown rice.

Farmers are always praying for rain because the last rain leached into the ground. With AP that does not happen. Hence the huge water savings of maybe up to 90% I worry about too much water.


Last edited by Deuem on May 5th, '16, 08:15, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: May 5th, '16, 08:13 
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jmcdaniel0: That was a big score on the pond! No minnows is a good think IMO. That means they are active feeders, and most likely will hit a lure. You certainly need to get a rod and reel, and give it a good go. I would love to see some pictures of some plate sized fishies! :headbang:


No Minnows to me means they have exhausted any food supply they have. It is a land locked pond with a stream feeder that is also bare. They must be very hungry in there. Eating anything they can find including each other. There are tons of dragon flies at this pond and you can see the fish jumping out after them. My wife tossed in a hand full of fish pellets and they went nuts..

I think I found the one and only fishing store this week. When I looked inside they had all sort of rods and equipment. That only took 10 years to find or wait until it opened. It does look rather new. When I can I will pick up a nice small spinner reel and pole. I hope they sell lures other wise I would need to make them.

We were not able to identify them as of yet but you can see them all lined up like stacked cord wood. In the other pond yesterday a meter long black water snake decided to swim across it. Actually the wife spotted it first and she just loves snakes. NOT! I spotted it due to the small scream of fear coming from her direction. :roll: I know a bit about this snake. Enough to understand they bite and it would hurt. Most water snakes here don't bite people but this one has fangs and a big, big mouth when open. When walking around pond paths we always have to watch our step. They love to slither out onto the path to bake in the sun. So wherever there is sunlight be careful where you walk.


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PostPosted: May 5th, '16, 10:40 
White Carp:

If I didn't see it with my own eyes I would have a had time believing this. While we were eating breakfast the carp decided it was time to go snail hunting. He took one in his mouth with the trap door facing his stomach. He then seemed to suck on it until the pressure was too much for the snail and it opened. At that point in time he then sucked in the entire snail. I surely thought it was too big for his mouth and throat. But like a snake, slowly it went down. He sat there not moving and looked like he was chocking on it, Then all of a sudden the flap end of the snail was regurgitated and spit out. meat still on the flap he ate that meat while it was outside of its mouth and then swallowed the entire flap.

I am waiting to see if he spits out an empty shell or if his stomach digests the entire shell. I know for a fact that we put in at least 8 snails and I only have 2 left so someone has been eating them. I thought it was the Alien Minnows on a group attack but where were the empty shells? Maybe the Striped Snakeheads are eating them also. This is good. I have a spot where I can collect hundreds of snails and tadpoles and will start a small snail AP jug. :headbang: Set up a complete cycle of life. The next time we are at one location I want to dig out some of the local pond grass and try and grow it in a clay bottom jug. place mates in there to have baby Aliens.

I don't know how much longer I can put up with this, (joke) but the wife is dragging me out again this morning to go hunting again. So much pain and suffering going fishing. We are about 80% finished looking in the valley for new spots. Yet there is another 100% on the other side of these hills to start with. She told me she was not happy about being skunked yesterday and wants to get something today. We would like to find a spot where there are different fish. The Alien Minnows are really cook but once you have 300 of them you want a different fish to look at. She is citing fish like the Blue Tilapia and the other 2 I can't find yet.

So I might need to find a different mountain run off system that has been taken over by another fish. The Aliens might be rare when it comes to the world but they are not rare in this valley. BTW she is used to seeing the Snakeheads and not afraid of them anymore. They both now commonly tour the tank together and last night they had a fight with someone. Big slashes, loud enough to wake us up through a closed door and 10 meters away.

Bottom line, the wife is totally hooked on her new Hobby. Who-da thought!


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PostPosted: May 5th, '16, 10:57 
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How awesome. My wife tolerates my indulgences lol. However, she does enjoy the food I bring in. As long as I keep the spending down, we are ok lol.


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PostPosted: May 5th, '16, 14:58 
Todays 2+ hour adventure: Wife 3, Deuem 0. Plus I accidently killed 2 of her 3 So I am minus -2 and partly in the dog house. Good news with the 2 I killed is that the White Carp ate them as soon as they hit the water. He never gave the snakes a moments chance. He is getting bigger by the day.

This time we went on the back side of the mountains and pickings were rare. Mostly housing back there. I did find one stream that is loaded with pea gravel. When I have the right tools with me I will get some for sure. Free is better then 5 dollars a pound. It is all mixed in with sand and needs to be sifted free.


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PostPosted: May 6th, '16, 21:58 
Fish on a pole:

Today for the first time we went to a new spot where I ran into 4 fishermen. And 2 of them knew me. They had just started a few minutes before we pulled up. We were all there for about 2 hours and in that time they caught 4 large fish. Please don't ask me what they are but the wife said they were not carp and tasted good. The smallest one had to be at least 60cm long. Several pound of fish and that was the small one. They were bottom fishing but if was me I would like to pull one of them out with a plug if I could or at least a silver spinner. Much more fun when they jump and break the surface. So, they had real rods and reals and told me where to buy them. 600 bucks for the start up. More for all the goodies. Next large cash flow and we will buy one. The place is real local to me and only locals go there. It is a huge mountain fed reservoir that is no longer used for drinking. So the water is good, so the fish must taste good. It is cold water and never really warms up well for swimming.

After that we went upstream and netted by hand this time, 14 more Alien Minnows.


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PostPosted: May 6th, '16, 22:48 
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Yep Going to have to get a good rod and reel out there, and make sure to take a camera! I demand pictures lol.


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PostPosted: May 6th, '16, 23:07 
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PostPosted: May 7th, '16, 08:37 
We have cameras on all our phones and Ipad. The problem is they will no longer hook up to windows 10. I have to email them to myself and they get cut down so much the clarity is terrible. Even if I get them, I can only get to photobucket when the internet gods allow.


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