Friday, November 10, 2006

Murky Water, Increased Filtration, Frequent Flushing

Don’t know how you’re faring weatherwise in your part of the country, but we’ve been having torrential rains continuously for the past week or so. The water supply for our greenhouse comes from a reservoir in the nearby mountains, which is open to the vagaries of the weather.

At certain times of year, usually during periods of heavy rainfall, the sediment at the bottom of the reservoir is stirred up and the water that comes out of the tap turns murky. This can easily be solved for your drinking water by adding a purifying filter in between your intake pipe and the faucet. It’s not so easy when you’re running a large greenhouse, with an extensive Nutrient Pond.

We can’t afford to let flow any impurities into our system, since they not only throw off the ppm count, but also tend to clog up the pumps and the system of pipes that circulate our nutrient solution.

Imagine how upset we were when we noticed that murky water was flowing into our pristine Nutrient Pond. My partner and I panicked, but soon regained our usual logical approach and realized that our filtration system had to be upgraded, pronto!

We called our supplier and had him rush over a finer mesh screen for our Y-type in-line strainer that we had installed on our main water supply line. 100 mesh screens normally provide adequate filtration for sediment contamination, but we needed a 180 mesh one on account of the heavy rainfall.

Usually daily flushing is necessary with one end of the Y open to wash out any sediment accumulated in the filter. Under heavy rain conditions, more frequent flushings are recommended.

We also flushed our entire Pond with a weak solution of HyOx, in order to get rid of any unwanted bacteria that might have come in with the sediment. This process also killed off a lot of beneficial fungi, bacteria, and other microorganisms living in the roots of our lettuce plants, which then had to be replaced in the next batch of nutrient solution.

We had to empty our pre-mix and reservoir mixing tanks and clean them out thoroughly in order to get rid of the invading sediment. We had to re-mix a fresh supply of nutrient solution, using Advanced Nutrients Micro and Grow, as well as all our additives, such as the root enhancers Piranha, Tarantula, and Voodoo Juice. These replaced the beneficial micro-organisms that were decimated or even worse by the HyOx flush.

We had to work overtime that day, Chuck and I, and our two part-timers, but we managed to clean our Nutrient Pond and start fresh with a new supply of nutrients and additives. The new 180 mesh screen arrived and was installed and it seemed to be holding its own at the time of this posting.

In horticulture, you never know when emergencies will arise. We’re thankful that we managed this one pretty well and that our hydroponic lettuce production is going full tilt ahead, toward our goal of producing 400 heads of butterhead lettuce per day.

posted by silvio @ 2:15 PM   0 comments


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