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These pictures are from a system that I am cycling. The water's pH is 8.2-8.5. The seedlings are less than two weeks old and have received nothing but system water. It's been cold and foggy here for the past week, and we are beginning to dip into below freezing temps, so tonight I'll be turning on the HID's for some heat and light.

The point being is that these seedlings are doing just fine at a pH of 8.2-8.5. Now, I'm well aware that this is far from ideal, and as they get bigger pH may become a limiter, and some deficiencies due to pH induced nutrient lock-out will in all likelyhood begin to manifest at some point. The point being though, that I think people fret too much at the cycling stage about a nice low plant liking pH. Seeds and very small seedlings care more about warmth and proper moisture, than pH IMO. I feel that at the cycling stage the bacteria should be ones main concern and you can worry about the plants later. There's no point (IMO) of getting cycling started at a pH of 6.8 (that'll come later) as it can only present hurdles to getting a thriving bacteria colony established, since they seem to establish themselves better at a slightly higher pH. 7.6-8.0 seems like a good pH compromise for a system that is cycling with only some seedlings. Though these are doing fine at an even higher pH level. Roots are very healthy and expansive for plants at this stage. Neither better, nor worse, than in any of my other little systems where parameters are more 'optimal'.

Just thought  I'd put this out there for people who are just starting...Maybe keep someone from worrying too much right off the bat :)  

That said, I plan on running this system long term, at a pH of 6.0-6.5, but I plan to get there slowly...


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What a difference the HID's made. I pitched a tent above he nursery trough with a piece of old PE plastic from a long gone hoop-house and turned the lights on. It got to about -2C last night, but the nursery trough area stayed at around 15C. 

Just an update...going through a wonderful nitrite spike...pH still about 8.2. Temps sill suck, and it's dark by about 4pm...but plants doing just great in spite of all that. Humonia rocks  !!!


Looking good!

Wow, totally impressed.  Looking great, hats off Vlad!

Thanks guys 

I know this isn't really the place for it...but I'm totally overwhelmed by the all the positive feedback from our (now return) customers. Feels pretty good. Everyone has been really super happy with our produce. Can't wait for the winter season to pass so's that we can get into the full swing of things. But by and large, even the weather hasn't put that big a damper on growing these things. 

Both types of Chinese cabbage are doing real well, and of the two types of Pac Choi we planted I'm really diggin' the Mei Quing choi variety over the "Joi choi" (smaller, but nicer tighter heads, better shape). Both the COS Romaine and the Red Summer Crisp lettuce has done great...Cilantro, Rhubarb chard, Rainbow chard, and a local run-o-the-mill type Swiss chard all doing (and selling) wonderfully. I'll be mowing the spinach again tomorrow hehe...

I was really worried about the winters up here (as one should be), but the researching, experimenting, planning, tinkering and execution seems to have paid off. (It's still a work in progress to an extent...but, Phase One-Complete! 

Congrats !!

How big is you system ?

Thanks! The 8 IBC bedia beds/bio-filters take up about 96 sq. feet and the DWC troughs are about 546 sq. feet, plus 64 sq. feet of nursery troughs/seedling table...Hopefully I'll have the time to add some NFT elements before spring.

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