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CCAT Hydroponics/OM

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The CCAT hydroponic system was installed in 2017, and is an ongoing experiment in alternative ways to grow food.

The System

CCAT is utilizing the American Hydroponics NFT 48 hydroponics system. American Hydroponics is a local hydroponics company in Arcata, CA. The installation manual for the NFT 48 system can be found in the bag marked hydroponics equipment in the gardening closet. American Hydroponics has been a great resource for getting started, and has a series of webinars on youtube for a variety of topics. The system is capable of producing 20 plants per week, and can hold 48 plants at once. The system uses two tiers of four channels that deliver nutrient rich water to plants. Alongside that there are two propagation trays that can be used for starting new seeds, as well as growing microgreens.

Project goals

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Maintenance

The NFT 48 requires regular upkeep to ensure it is working properly and producing quality healthy food. There are a few easy steps to maintaining the system.

  • Check that the lights are on when they should be, and that the light timer is showing the correct time.(DAILY)
  • Check water level. (DAILY)
  • Check that the water pumps are running when they should be, and that the pump timer is showing the correct time.(DAILY)
  • Check that the water temperature is at an acceptable temperature, and that the water heater is running if necessary.(DAILY)
  • Check the nutrient level using the truncheon nutrient meter. If necessary adjust nutrients using equal parts of bottle A & B solution.(WEEKLY)
  • Check pH and adjust if necessary depending on plants needs.(WEEKLY)
  • Record water temperature in the morning if possible, and record daily max and minimum ambient air temperatures in the yellow temp log hanging on the rain shelter.
  • As often as once a week, the nutrient solution can be used in the garden, and the reservoirs should be cleaned by running a 2:1 solution of 35% hydrogen peroxide and water

Current Issues

There has been an ongoing problem related to power. The system has been drawing to much power causing the outlet to stop supplying power to the circuit. To remedy this temporarily, the system is being ran on two separate outlets. The current vent system in the greenhouse is temperature dependent. So if it is hot enough, and raining, the vents can be open allowing rainfall in on top of the lights and other electrical equipment. This has been fixed by using a rain shelter over the system that will later be modified to utilize for seed propagation and storage.

Discussion

In the first waves of testing no nutrients were being supplied to seedlings, leaving them malnourished. In a side by side comparison, starting seeds in hydroponics, and in soil, the seeds started in soil outgrew the seeds growing hydroponically. Another issue was that there was no source for water heating, and the seeds were being exposed to cold water. Currently water and air temperatures are monitored daily.

Next steps

Make the Hydroponic system off the grid.

Conclusions

Your conclusions.

References


Contact details

Contact Jacob Gellatly for questions: jdg584@humboldt.edu

Contact American Hydroponics for questions about the NFT 48 system

Refer to American Hydroponics webinars for details on starting seeds, and utilization of system. file:CCATlogo.png|thumb|center|alt=main image|CCAT's logo