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New to auto watering. I just bought my first system and can use some tips

Are there any tips u can give me regarding auto watering? I just bought a set up. I am new to this. Two spikes per 3 to 5 gall pot of coco using new millenium. It uses a pump. 20 gall res. I will stir it up every day and I will ph it everyday as well. I can put a bubbler in there but i already have so much electricity coming from one spot that I am afraid to add more things to it. What is the best way to clean an auto watering system. Should i run vinegar and water thru it or something like that? New subject for me completely. The grow shop I went to was not too helpful. I was always told 10% runoff and the grow shop owner said i can recycle the runoff back into the res. Is this a good idea? Wouldn’t i get a lot of salt build up if i did that? The guy at the shop honestly wasnt much help. All he said was he been doing it this way 40 yrs and if i think my way is better then go for it. I was just trying to learn.


13 responses to “New to auto watering. I just bought my first system and can use some tips”

  1. Kelly Tucker Avatar

    I have grown using the high frequency fertigation method and it works great. Check out coco for cannabis website for a wealth of info on this. I would recommend not pouring your runoff back into the rez. Once you have your reservoir filled with perfectly mixed nutrients at the right Ph and EC, why screw it up with an unknown variable? Water in with the good stuff, drain to waste, suck off the runoff and water your houseplants or something. If your watering multiple times a day, your basically doing hydroponic growing and can use a weaker nutrient mix as well.

  2. Jamie Lenartowicz Avatar

    Thank you. Thats the same logic I am using. I dnt understand why the grow shop guy was so stand off ish when i said the same thing to him making me second guess myself.thanks foe
    The website info

  3. Evil Coach Steve Avatar

    Reusing runoff is typically only done in an ebb and flow (flood and drain) system. This type of watering requires daily maintenance of the reservoir to keep the EC and Ph consistent. It is one of many hydroponic irrigation options. I recommend using the drain to waste method for simplicity.

    Add up the amps of everything plugged into each cuircuit. If it’s a bedroom, each plug is probably on the same circuit, but that’s not always the case. Keep it under 80% of the breaker they say. The wire size is what determines what is dangerous or not, but the breaker a usually a good indicator for load.
    If a little air pump is what trips the breaker, you’ve got bigger problems.

    An air stone is usually ok if the res isn’t in a co2 enriched room, but with only a 20gl res, it’s hard enough to stabilize the pH as it is, so pumping in any co2 could make it more difficult. Simply stirring daily will suffice, but a pond pump is a good alternative to air stones. Just some daily aggitation will keep the res from going stale.

    Your reservoir can last the whole week if you aren’t adding organics and life into it. I prefer to run sterile because of this.
    A 20gl res isn’t going to last very long depending how many plants you’re watering, what point in the grow you’rein, and the pot size you’re using. I recommend vegging in 1gl then finishing in 3gl. Keep in mind, you are growing in a hydroponic media, with hydroponic nutrients….run it that way. That means you can water several times a day if you wanted.

    Watering frequency should be a factor in the EC you mix. If you choose the minimum of once per day, the EC should be higher to avoid the pH swinging IN the coco as the plant eats. —As the plant eats mostly cations, anions are more concentrated in the media which causes the pH to ho acidic.— The more you water, the less the need for a higher EC because you are resetting the rootzone each time you water. A little pH fluctuation of +/- 0.4 isn’t going to make the leaves look different, but you’ll sure start seeing the leaves change if you fall out of that range. So be aware that the reservoir pH and EC isn’t going to reflect the media conditions if you water too infrequently or fail to saturate the entire pot (dry pockets). The EC will rise as the media dries, so keep it wet. Giggity..

    The most controlled irrigation strategy for saturation and efficient water use is drip irrigation. The idea is to use small shots every 15 mins until you reach capacity (the point of runoff), then have maintenance shots up until a certain point in which you hold at capacity through the day and then dry back overnight; the final irrigation is usually about 5 hours before lights off in a good environment with normal transpiration.

    You could just completely flood the pot, but you’ll use more water this way. Using capillary action is the key to saving water. I say this while also being guilty of dumping water from a bucket straight into the pot and saying, “There! You’re watered, bitch!” So, keep quality of life part of growing.

    It’s important to note that the only time you can overwater coco is if there aren’t enough roots in the pot. This is why small pots and stepping up your pots is super beneficial in coco. So before you start with the waterworks, give the plant a couple days to root in. Consider ever pot having a root-in period.

    I suggest following New Mil’s schedule and adjusting the EC or watering frequency if you see deficiencies. Once you have a 1gl rooted in, work up to as many as 3 feeds per day. For reference, I feed 7-10 times a day so 2-3 is the low end. You don’t necessarily need a lot of runoff every time, just get it saturated and if you ever need to correct anything, you can always take your current nutrient mix and pour in 30%-50% of the container volume for a quick reset. That’s the saving grace hydro gives.

    Let me know if you have anymore questions.

    1. Jamie Lenartowicz Avatar

      Erik thank u so much for this info. Thay wa extremely informative. I want to explain whats going on right now and why i got the irrigation system. It will be set up saturday. I use a pump sprayer and the pots get fully saturated once a day. I do not have the ability to do it more then that except on weekends. The next day i would say the pot is 60% saturated. I know this is bad. I checked the runoff and holy shit I am at 5.15 ph. I tried correcting it by watering wiith nutrients 7.5 ph with run off. That for me to about 5.7ph.. thats why i ran to grow shop and for the irrigation system. I am day 38 flower and i dnt think the plants are getting enough P because the buds are smaller than usual. I know the ph range for optimal P absorbtion and im not there. Not even in the same ballpark. To be honest the plants look great other then enviro is dialed in pretty good. 80 degrees 50% rh night and day. 70 drgrees night. Im going off on a tangent sorry. Can u give me a daily watering regiment(sched) frequency and when to stop letting it runoff with drip irrigation? Lights on 730am off 730 pm. U really sound like u know what u are doing and i hope its not to much to ask if i can stay in contact with u until i get this down good.

    2. Jamie Lenartowicz Avatar

      U know what. Nm. U dnt need to do that. U basically did already. I just have to figure out the time table for irrigation as far as running the pump. What i wanted to do is just put the drippers in a 1 gall jug and see how long it take to get it 2/3 full. Thats about whar i water each day to get a little runoff in 3 gall. .5-.66 gal. I will do that in 15 min increments like u said until full. Then i will do the same measuremnt with another gall jug at .3.-.4 gall. Measure the time it took to do that and then divide the time by 5 and do that every hour until the last 5 hrs of light. Does that make sense?

      1. Evil Coach Steve Avatar

        DGC discord is the way to contact me.
        If you water manuall and only have time for one feed per day, shoot for 20% runoff. This is the out with the old, in with the new way of doing things and that usually works. Don’t compensate the pH, pour in what you want the media to be and get extra runoff for a quicker fix. You can go up the 5gl you wanted and that’ll give you some flexibility with schedule, but it’s easier to correct smaller pots.
        Or, run the pump on a cycle timer that has intervals in seconds. Run it manually first a count how much time it takes to water. If you have a good way of collecting runoff, you can work in a 2nd feeding while you’re away. There’s potentially for flooding, so yeah…cateful.

        1. Jamie Lenartowicz Avatar

          Thank u sir. I ran well over 20% this morning and the runoff is still acidic. I will keep doing. To my alarm my run off is 61 as well. Cold floors. They are on risers. I need a solution for that and only thing i can think of is growing shorter plants so the light is closer ro the pots and can warm it up more. That was with 72 degree water. Thanks again for everything. I will definitely implement a plan with the info u gave me

        2. Jamie Lenartowicz Avatar

          I ran well over 20% this morning and the runoff is still acidic. I will keep doing. To my alarm my run off is 61 as well. Cold floors. They are on risers. I need a solution for that and only thing i can think of is growing shorter plants so the light is closer ro the pots and can warm it up more. That was with 72 degree water. Thanks again for everything. I will definitely implement a plan with the info u gave me

          1. Evil Coach Steve Avatar

            Runoff can be misleading so read the plant first and use runoff as reference. Runoff works just like rainwater runoff as it collects minerals on the way downstream. Which is the idea of watering to runoff in growing.

    3. Jamie Lenartowicz Avatar

      Everything is set up and zeroed in. I am watering 6 times a day at this point. Last water a good few hours before lights out. I measured my runoff just previous to auto watering. My EC was over 10!! I ran RO water thru everything until i got the ec down to 2. My rez EC is 2 but i will be bringing it down to 1.8 day 44 flower unless u suggest otherwise. Ph at 6.1. This is a first for me and i used coco a year watering improperly, but all my bud development is stunted a lot. Ppfd 900. Daytime temp 79-83 and rh at 45-55. Night temp 65-71. I wonder if the EC did this, cold water, or that hop latent viroid everyone is talking about. My water rez temps are mid 70s and thats because my pota get cold at night. I dnt take clones. I grow from seed. Like i said, this never happened before and back then i was watering coco once every two days in a 3 galll.

  4. Hash Hound Avatar

    I auto water using the swick method (hybrid sip).
    I see a plant in your tent front right sitting on a 2″? riser sitting on a 3″ plastic plant riser sitting in a tray.
    I use the same plastic plant riser with strips from an old grow bag draped over it and it’s placed in an old dish pan. I water into the dish pan and the water is wicked up into the fabric bag. No moving parts and you can make the reservoir any size you want.
    AC infinity has a similar watering tray if you don’t follow my explanation.
    Good luck and happy growing

    1. Jamie Lenartowicz Avatar

      Thank you. I add the height from the bottom sometimes to level my canopy as much as possible. Fine tuning it.

    2. Jamie Lenartowicz Avatar

      I add the height from the bottom sometimes to level my canopy as much as possible. Fine tuning it. I apprec the help

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