WALLYS HYDRO FLOW GROWING SYSTEMS - Gardening Articles for week ending 21st JULY 2018 Written by Wally Richards.
I have been growing plants for nearly 70 years in all the sorts of ways but never have I ever seen such amazing results in such a quick time so easily.
It all started off in January when a reader sent me a photo of his tomato plants growing in a Auto Pot System. I had never come across this way previously and the comments that came with the photo certainly stirred my interest.
I contacted an importer of the equipment and obtained two twin pot units to try out.
In February the components arrived and I germinated 5 seeds of my favorite mini cucumber, one chili plant and a egg plant. Being in the middle of summer the seeds quickly germinated in their little peat pots without any need for under heat.
In the meantime I filled the special containers with coconut Choir placing the pad (supplied) at the base of the container, half filling then sprinkling Rok Solid and Neem Powder over the choir before filling just below the rim.
The instructions read that you place your seedlings into the choir and grow on to develop a good root system before placing the containers into their special trays and into the system.
Keeping the choir moist with normal watering plus adding Wallys Super Plant Food at 10 mils per litre of non-chlorinated water.
This is a powerful hydroponic type food so it was only a bit over a week that the seedlings had grown substantially and ready to go into their trays.
A square of material that is gold on one side is placed in the base of the tray to prevent the roots from growing into the tray and blocking the system.
Then a special auto valve is placed into the tray with a 4mm tube connected to it, the cover then placed over it, which stops light getting into the solution and causing algae.
I used two recycled 20 litre jerry cans as holding tanks for the liquid food and minerals.
A screw in13mm connector plus a inline tap was connected to a length of 13mm irrigation tubing.
I connected the two 20litre containers together with the length of tubing and took the 4mm off takes punctured into the tube to feed the valves.
Next I made up the liquid food at 10 mils per litre (200 mils into a 20 litre tank) and added 50 mils of Magic Botanic Liquid (MBL)to each tank as well filling with non-chlorinated water.
Chlorinated tap water is not only a poison but the chemical can upset the balance of the nutrients and effect the growth of the plants.
Adding MBL means that the amount of trace elements is in creased significantly making for healthier plants and better flavor produce with more nutritional goodness for your health.
A concern I have had in the past is that hydroponic solutions only have so many minerals and elements ranging from about 10 to 16 but this can be greatly enhanced with MBL.
I had germinated 5 seedlings of the cucumber placing 2 in one pot and three in another.
The plants grew so quickly that it was only about 3-4 weeks later I was picking the first fruit.
The egg plant (in its own container) flowered and produced fruit about another 3 weeks later. The interesting thing here was that the fruit were truer to form than the same type grown in conventional means (compost in containers) and the flavor was so much better.
The chili plant grew and flowered but ran out of time and heat to produce. Both the egg plant & chili are doing fine at this time in July but not growing or producing because short day light hours and low temperatures in the glasshouse.
The cucumber produced so much fruit that we were picking every day and about June they slowed down and finished.
I was so impressed that I decided in April to germinate a very special tomato seed that I have had for over 30 years (original given to me by an old gardener back from 1st world war, which he got while in Europe)
It is a excellent tomato which I have now called Wallys Special Tomato.
It has large leaves and produces medium to large beefsteak type tomatoes.
The plants took off like rockets. I added a little Silicon plus Boron soil drench to the solution to toughen up the plants cells in case they were attacked by psyllids.
Now at this time I have four big tomato plants with good trusses of green fruit just waiting to ripen over the next few weeks as the season progresses.
The plants are setting fruit in the colder temperatures which I find very interesting which means the plants can be grown all year round or grown right through winter from starting in spring.
This is a fabulous way to grow plants such as tomatoes, cucumbers, capsicum, chili, egg plants, okra, etc. In fact any thing within reason and now in another set of containers I am getting ready to go into the system I am putting a strawberry plant at each corner of the containers as in the centre is a tomato or other plants.
I noticed recently that these special containers on the self in a plastic house were feeling nice and warm which means they gather heat and warm the medium also improving growth.
Thus I have now obtained polystyrene pads to sit the trays and containers on, to direct all the warmth upwards and Panda Film to sit on the ground white side up to increase the light the plants receive and deter insect pests.
If you have a glasshouse/tunnel house/conservatory the Wallys Hydro Flow growing system is perfect to grow a few plants in. No electricity needed as the flow valve operates automatically.
It overcomes watering problems as the plants get just the right amount of moisture and food they need.
You can go away and as long as you have sufficient solution it the tanks the whole system looks after its self.
You could during the warmer months use the system on a porch or even outside in the open as long as you covered the top of the containers with a plastic sheet so the rain will not dilute the food solution.
You need to support plants growing with either strings coming down from the glasshouse roof, or use 3-4 bamboo stakes to make a tepee support. Another way is vine mesh for plants to climb on.
A picture I saw on one web site was using steel mesh (which is used for reinforcing concrete driveways) suspended from the ceiling of the glasshouse that had tomatoes and cucumber hanging down like grapes while the foliage was above getting max sunlight through the glass. (Likely helping to cool the house a little also)
The system has so many advantages over conventional growing that the initial outlay soon pays for itself with lots of delicious produce.
The containers and trays are UV resistant so many years of use from them and even the choir medium I found can be reused when the plant has finished by removing the old roots (not a lot either) and replanting in the same.
The only real ongoing cost is the special plant food and MBL.
You can start off with just a single pot or a twin pot and add to these overtime.
I have designed a deluxe starter kit that has every thing you need even including the cucumber seed mentioned along with Wallys Special Tomato seeds and another one I call Wallys Special Winter Tomato which is a dwarf type producing cherry bite size fruit in the coldest of winter. (Out of harm of frost and snow)
The kits and parts are at www.0800466464.co.nz and more information athttp://www.gardenews.co.nz/Wallys%20Hydro.htm
Problems ring me at 0800 466464 (Palmerston North 3570606)
Web site www.gardenews.co.nz