My cohort in this endeavor, Bud, said to me recently, “Hey Sharyna, this is a GROW site! How about once a week writing something on GROWING??” I said to him, “Gee Bud, I don’t know if there’s anything new out there that we haven’t covered.”
So I began snooping. Purusing the internet is something I do. Almost constantly. (Hey, I live in the back woods of TN, not much out here but growers and Moonshine. Crossing either will get you shot, so best not to go traipsing around.) So I come across this information on “Bubble Ponics.” I had never heard of it before. I had heard of something having to do with bubbles and, of course, we’ve all heard about Hydroponics. But Bubble Ponics??
This is what caught my eye while looking around. It’s from a review of a manufactured Bubble Ponic system…..7 lbs. of usable, dried plant matter in an 8’ x 8’ tent every 2 – 2.5 months. What is that, 3lbs a month. Roughly 3/4lb a week. Enough for me and a friend with maybe a little left over to share with another friend (wink wink). And they make it sound so simple.
Bubble Ponics is years beyond Hydroponics, it is taking aeroponics to the next level. It is basically the art of delivering highly oxygenated nutriently enriched water directly to the inner root system! Gone are the days of “guessing” the correct amount of nutes to be administered. This has always been a buggaboo (yes, I use words like buggaboo) for me, being math challenged. Instructions like, mix 10 gallons of water with 2 tablespoons of nutrient, make me go, Huh?? But what about me, the small grower who has 10-20 plants and doesn’t want stale nutes sitting around drawing bugs? So I sit down with the calculator, pad and pen and start the division. I half it, looks good, 5 gallons and 1 tablespoon. From there I am lost. What the heck is a third of a tablespoon anyway? I know it’s a teaspoon plus. But is a teaspoon plus actually a measurement? Evidently, Bubble Ponics makes this all clear.
Let’s explore, shall we? You are going to have to make a trip to Lowe’s, Home Depot, or your favorite Ace/TrueValue hardware store. This is where you will buy your pump. You need an underwater, subversive one. A nice size one, a 150-250 gph, will do very nicely. Ask for a waterfall or pond pump. Then they’ll know what you’re talking about. Here, I was surprised at the cheapness of this. A 185gph pump will run you only about $17.99. A 250gph pump will only set you back about $22.99. I’m not good at this mechanical thing. (I know, by now you’re saying, she’s not good at math or mechanics; what the hell IS she good at? Lots of stuff. Stuff you don’t need to know. Suffice to say, I grow. And I do it VERY VERY well!) But these pumps sound like they move a LOT of water very quickly.
Also while you’re tripping thru Lowe’s, you will need an irrigation hub or manifold. This will run you about $12.99. According to our dude, 420Budman, you should get a Mister Landscaper. You will find it in the Drip Irrigation Section of the store and the package will be marked Drip Irrigation. On the package, it will also say PVC Sprinkler Adapter. The item # is 191779 and the model # is MLA-RA9. It is on sale (a LOT I hear) for $10.73. So far, I’m excited. This is almost affordable, even for me, a struggling Blogger.
Connect the Irrigation Manifold to the pump. Run 1/4 inch tubing from the manifold to each grow cup. You can use a standard 5 gallon bucket that everyone seems to have and 4 gallons of water.
Now we’re off to the pet store. PetCo, PetSmart or even Walmart should have this. It’s an air pump! Aqua Culture puts out a very nice Aquarium pump handling 20-60 gallons of water with a dual outlet. That one is $12.99. Tetra (a very popular and reliable brand among fish people) has several sizes that are very quiet from $9.99 to $19.99. Airstones can also be used and are made by the same companies. Those will run you $3.99 to $5.99, depending on size. These defuse air more consistantly and evenly in my opinion.
As the water bubbles in the tank, the bubbly water is pumped to each cup creating the most rapid growth a young sprout or clone can experience. Now that we are bubbling away…..What do we feed these little monsters?
Doing my research, like a good little blogger (so you don’t have to), it seems everyone recommends Fox Farms Nutrients. I have found that Fox Farms can lead to organic buildup making flushing a real problem in soil or coco. I wonder about any buildup with Bubble Ponics?
The “experts” say never use organic nutes with Bubble Ponics. I have heard tale of one grower who used organic nutes with Bubble Ponics leading to ruining his whole crop. The nutes developed a black sludge (“the likes of which I have never seen”, his exact words) and choked off the entire root system. With Fox Farms, skip the Big Bloom and use only the Gro-Big and TigerBloom because they are mostly synthetic. But like I say, I don’t like Fox Farms. I use it only when I can’t get anything else. Hey, it’s better than nothing; mentality.
And it looks like this is going to be a continued later piece….I am waiting on the Hesi people to get back to me about whether their Hydro nutes would be good in Bubble Ponics. I certainly hope so! I, personally, love Hesi products. I have used both their Soil and Coco nutes with much success.
Frankly, I am thrilled with this Bubble Ponic set up. It seems easy to make and inexpensive too. In my next installment, I will check out some ready made set ups from a couple of different companies I have found. Should be fun!!