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How do I know if my plants are drowning? I added about 8 spinach plants already started into my growbed a couple of weeks ago and 5 of them have died already. What happens is that a stem gets really soft and then falls over and dies. The same thing starts to happen to the rest of the plant within the next couple of days. I'm not entirely sure what I can do if that is the case. I had a flood and drain on a timer 1 hr on, 1/2 hr off until I switched over to a bell siphon a week ago. Any thoughts? 

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How long does your flood/drain cycle take? And were your plants affected directly after switching from the timer to the siphon?

Oh, and is your system indoors or outdoors? If indoors, what are you using for growlights?

The flood drain cycle takes about 5 min. The water fills in about 3.5 and then about 1.5 min for the siphon to turn back off. I moved a few of the spinach plants in the process. I think two had already died prior to the switch to a bell siphon. 

It is an indoor system. As for lighting, I'm currently using two two of these bulbs from home depot in clamp fixtures on a 4 by 2.5 ft growbed.

However, I just bought this It should be in by Saturday at which time I'll be able to install it. I originally just bought the bulb a week ago thinking it could just screw in to one of my clamp fixtures but turns out the end of the bulb was too big for one of those. 

A lot of it could be your lighting. I had a similar problem when I first started....I think you'll see an improvement in whatever you plant after you install your new lights.

how far from the top of your media is the water getting?

About an inch. Unfortunately, my growbed is also kind of shallow. Its about 6 inches at its deepest. I'd love to switch it out for a deeper one but I won't be able to for awhile so I'm trying to make this work. 

something that you could try is to start your lettuce in peat pots giving them a chance to get established and give them the distance for air to the roots they need with out having to spend a lot of money.

I think you are drowning your plants.  My beds are set to fill up in 30 min. and drain in 15-20 min. So it cycling once per hour.

Thanks, I switched to a bell siphon and its had some very positive effects in that regard. All my plants are thriving now.

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