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Have any of you seasoned AP system admins observed any plants that seem to thrive with a constant flow bed vs a fill and drain bed and vice-versa. That would be extremely beneficial information to know. I'd love to hear your input!

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I would think celery would be good for a constant flow bed, perhaps even romaine lettuce since those can be grown from their scraps.

So far everything grows in both my raft (DWC) and media trails when you get it working right - make that - as the plant wants it. 

Fill and drain is for media.  There is no real difference between timers or bell siphons to the plants... water up & water down. Constant flow is DWC, tests have shown roots need air in some form.  Hence we have air gap raft designs (floating and suspended) and air stones in the tank to deliver air to the roots.  Air is important to the roots obviously.

The real thing you need to take away is that AP can be accomplished many different ways.  Most of us have settled on what works for us. 

"growing from scraps" - as you put it - has only yielded seed heads for me, the plant itself has not been very edible...

"Constant flow beds" needs to have some more distinction to properly advise. First off, are you interested in media, or non-media "constant flow"? I assume media, so let's break that down further,
- constant drain = fill from the top and exit near the bottom
- constant flood = fill from anywhere, but drain near the top (standpipe)
- flow thru wicking bed = fill from the bottom, drain from the bottom, using a wicking material

Now, I have had surprisingly great results from constant drain, and from wicking beds, both methods are better, IMO, than flood and drain, by far. Constant flood does well for some crops like water cress and rice.

Hi Jon

Is that DWC constant flow or media constant flow you have the best luck with?

Are you growing your own rice?

Hi Jim. I get the most yield of leafy greens and watercress from floating raft DWC, hands down. As far as media, I get evenly great results with recirculating wick (char) and constant drain (3/4" gravel), both better than flood and drain. With flood an drain, I get better results with timed than autosiphon. These are all quite surprising, because when I started this whole AP gig 5 years ago, I was convinced that Autosiphon F&D must certainly be the best, and it took years for me to even try other methods.

I don't use constant flood in media, or grow rice, but I have seen it done with good results. Rice is suited for it. And so is watercress. I have actually done the best watercress in Shallow Water Culture, a 4" deep bed flooded 1". The roots make a matt and fill with schmidt, which the watercress loves. Makes a hell of a natural filter and habitat for scuds. Problem is, that periodically the matt needs to be pulled out and thinned, or it will raise the water level above the 4" sides.

That's really interesting, I was thinking I had those same results, but my experience is not side by side so it's hard to tell for sure.  I had good luck with water cress too.  The sun got it before I knew to use shade cloth.  I should replant it when I expand the GB in the fall.

Thanks for sharing Jon!

much appreciated

Jon Parr said:

Hi Jim. I get the most yield of leafy greens and watercress from floating raft DWC, hands down. As far as media, I get evenly great results with recirculating wick (char) and constant drain (3/4" gravel), both better than flood and drain. With flood an drain, I get better results with timed than autosiphon. These are all quite surprising, because when I started this whole AP gig 5 years ago, I was convinced that Autosiphon F&D must certainly be the best, and it took years for me to even try other methods.

I don't use constant flood in media, or grow rice, but I have seen it done with good results. Rice is suited for it. And so is watercress. I have actually done the best watercress in Shallow Water Culture, a 4" deep bed flooded 1". The roots make a matt and fill with schmidt, which the watercress loves. Makes a hell of a natural filter and habitat for scuds. Problem is, that periodically the matt needs to be pulled out and thinned, or it will raise the water level above the 4" sides.

I am really please that I found this group.  I have been thinking about what the future of my system might be.  I have only recently put it in but did a great deal of research and planning in before I put it together.  Even doing that I find things that I wished I had done differently.  It seems one learns more by doing than from the experience of others.  That sucks.

My system is small (150 gal FT) as system go, but that was my intention in the beginning as I can always grow.  I have three media grow beds totaling about 24 CF.  I was thinking about adding my on little design of DWC trays.  Two small trays 20" x 26" x 6" because that is what will fit over the sump.  I was thinking about putting 3 lengths of 4" drain pipe side by side with holes drilled for my 2" net baskets.  That will give me about 15 Plants per tray.  The net baskets would be suspended in the drain pipe and the water level would be controlled by an overflow in the tray.  Since you guys have tried it all, do you think this might work out?  It would be fed with the same water source as my grow beds so it would be fresh with nutrients.

Sure, that will work, it all works, AP is very forgiving as long as you keep the fish load to plant load ratio reasonably close, better to have too many plants

I had to chuckle when I read "grow rice".  I can't imagine why anyone would try and grow rice in an Aquaponics system.  It takes a lot of rice to be relevant, else you are just tinkering with plants.  I spend many thousands of dollars every year to put in a 500 acre crop with a profit so thin it makes me want to curl up and quit.  I
Jon Parr said:

"Constant flow beds" needs to have some more distinction to properly advise. First off, are you interested in media, or non-media "constant flow"? I assume media, so let's break that down further,
- constant drain = fill from the top and exit near the bottom
- constant flood = fill from anywhere, but drain near the top (standpipe)
- flow thru wicking bed = fill from the bottom, drain from the bottom, using a wicking material

Now, I have had surprisingly great results from constant drain, and from wicking beds, both methods are better, IMO, than flood and drain, by far. Constant flood does well for some crops like water cress and rice.

What does the design of your constant drain media grow bed entail?  From what I'm picturing, the water would need to be delivered to the roots of each plant individually, and then trickle down through the media and out the drain.  I like the idea of running the pump continuously and keeping the water level in the grow beds consistent.  If it works I'll probably incorporate it into my next gen system.

Jon Parr said:

Hi Jim. I get the most yield of leafy greens and watercress from floating raft DWC, hands down. As far as media, I get evenly great results with recirculating wick (char) and constant drain (3/4" gravel), both better than flood and drain. With flood an drain, I get better results with timed than autosiphon. These are all quite surprising, because when I started this whole AP gig 5 years ago, I was convinced that Autosiphon F&D must certainly be the best, and it took years for me to even try other methods.

I don't use constant flood in media, or grow rice, but I have seen it done with good results. Rice is suited for it. And so is watercress. I have actually done the best watercress in Shallow Water Culture, a 4" deep bed flooded 1". The roots make a matt and fill with schmidt, which the watercress loves. Makes a hell of a natural filter and habitat for scuds. Problem is, that periodically the matt needs to be pulled out and thinned, or it will raise the water level above the 4" sides.

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