I just started cycling my new system 2 days ago ,I will be doing a fishless cycle .I have read that you could add plants from the beginning but they may not make it through the cycle .I was pricing some herbs and other plants to start with and at 3 to 4 bucks a pop here in fl. I was not willing to through the money away yet .
Does anyone have any thoughts on just using the weeds in my yard which never get any fertilizer to help jump start the beds ? I could just pull them ,wash the roots of the dirt and stick them in the bed .
I can't see where it would hurt anything but was looking for some input .
Trying to keep up front costs down .
Mid, I would avoid the weeds, but go for the plants. There are those out here who are very opposed to what I did at the recommendation of my local university--but I'll share with you as the plants went crazy. First, stick with non-fruiting plants (wasn't in my university recommendation, but in hind sight would have been a good idea). I was advised to add my hydro mix to about 500PPM to my system. Over the course of the cycling the system will consume it all. For the first week of cycling, I maintained my hydro mix and added ammonia to keep the system up to 4PPM. Second week switched to fish fertilizer and kelp, all the while maintaining my ammonia level at 4ppm. if you use the fish fertilizer, add it first, then measure your ammonia.... it contains a LOT of ammonia. In the third week, I quit adding anything other than ammonia and continued that through the end of cycling. The problem with fruiting plants, as others here have pointed out is too much nitrigen makes them bolt, and they don't flower. During the cycling process your system will sooner than you expect go sky high with nitrates. So I would recommend herbs, green leafy plants, radishes, carrots, maybe sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, etc. Not regular potatoes cukes, squash, tomatoes, or peppers. And be preprepared to eat a lot of leaves... You can find my hydro mix on my page, but any solid 16 nutrient mix will do the trick. I got the fish fertilizer and kelp from groworganic.com
p.s. Today, when my plants look like they need a boost I sparingly add the fish fertilizer and kelp.. Especially when the fish aren't eating a lot.
thanks again Robert for your input ,onion sets are pretty cheep and I'll shoot for some leafy herbs .
also, just an fyi about onions in a hydro environment. The bulbs don't particularly like water. so I tend to plant mine high in the media and just let the roots find the water below. My best onions are growning in 2" net cups and the balls have actually pulled up above the hydroton. But they have roots nearly 2' long. I used a combination of transplants and sets. The transplants did something wierd... Almost all the tops died off, within a couple weeks of planting, but I was busy and didn't have time to pull them out. a few weeks later, new tops appeard. So if you do have a die off, don't panic. As long as the bulb is firm it will grow back.
thanks ,that is good info
Your best bet is to just throw some seeds in. If you buy plants from a nursery you might introduce pathogens that you will have a hard time getting rid of down the line. Bio security is a topic that is not talked about often but it is an important concept to tackle early.
I have a high ammonia reading and stopped adding it today (pure ammonia) .Will that create an issue with the seeds ?should I wait for nitrate to show up ?currently no nitrate or nitrite ,ph and ammonia are off the chart .Thank you
You can rinse the weed plants in a mild peroxide solution to avoid importing contamination, to avoid the problems Jonathan suggest.
Sometimes, due to the erratic water chemistry during cycling, plants post-cycling are stunted/damaged and may take a longer time to recover, while some perish altogether. this adds up to cost/time/labor problems. I've now taken the approach of planting after cycling/adding fish for this reason as well.
I bought some seeds today to throw in ,I still wouldn't mind hearing more opinions on the weed thing ,mild peroxide solution I can try ,I still can't see it hurting anything to assist in cycling on the cheep ,but I am not at all experienced at this and will go with advice from those who are ,more opinions would be nice though from experienced growers .
Here's something which may work in case you intend trying the weed. Pull the weed plant from your garden and rinse/massage the roots between you thumb and index finger to gently remove the residual soil, in a small container filled with water. Half fill a regular bucket with water, add 2 cap fulls of Hydrogen peroxide. Submerge the plants and move them around for about 60 seconds, let them dry before planting in the Gb.
sounds interesting to try ,I have a small bed I made out of a 5 gallon bucket cut to 12 inches for experimental reasons with a 1/2" stand pipe and 1" siphon pipe ,problem is ,it all runs to the same fish tank and contamination is my main concern in an enclosed environment system .My main concern is contaminating the system by using weeds ,I know they will grow as they tend to take over everything but will they keep growing because of an organism I introduced even after I remove them .????????? .still thinking about it while adding seeds to the main beds on Friday .I appreciate your responses .
If you sterilize the plants, especially the roots before planting, you won't import much of anything harmful to your AP. When the system fully cycles you can then easily remove them from the media for discarding or if you prefer return them to the original location. I understand if you have concerns and choose to go another route. Its really up to you. I am intrigued by the idea though.
Harold, Are you for or against Matt's advice to start cycling by adding a full up nutrient solution to give the plants a kick start. It really did work for me, but when I heard it I thought matt was nuts. And most people who hear me say it have a similar reaction.