Step 17: Set-up!
Assuming you have built this at home and dis-assembled it to transport it to school, here is how to set it up. In actuality, if you have built this on your own, you have no need to read through this, but I could not resist taking pictures as we set it up. Once again, please excuse the lack of chronology in the pictures.
Thanks for reading and sticking with me through this. Please provide any constructive helps or tips in the comments section. Happy growing!
1. Set the frame on the counter to make sure it fits. (Boy, at this point it had better fit!)
2. Flip it around so yo have access to the back. (She is pretty happy it fits!)
3. Fit the light supports to the upper and lower rails.
4. Install the bolt and nut and...
5. tighten with a pair of wrenches.
6. Stand back and admire your work!
7. In order to provide the plants the optimum light we lengthened the chain and added a second "S" hook at the top.
8. This allows the chain to be looped up to allow for close light for the small plants and to raise the lights as the plants grow.
9. It will also allow for different experimental conditions if needed.
10. Carefully set one end of the light fixture on the frame and attach the hook to the other.
11. Lift the second end in position and attach the second hook.
12. Assuming you haven't already, install the fluorescent tubes in the fixtures.
13. Bolt on the control panel.
14. Climb on top of the desks the custodial staff have stacked against your cupboards to locate a measuring spoon to measure your nutrient concentrate.
15. Vigorously shake your nutrient concentrate.
16. Measure the required amount into a secondary container to premix with water. (This stuff is like tar.)
17. Pour the premixed concentrate into your tank.
18. Top off with water to reach the required concentration.
Note: this is way too much solution in the tank. We figured that the container said 12 quarts so 2 gallons should be sufficient. You are looking at 2 gallons in a supposed 3 gallon container. I think the manufacturer fibbed about the capacity. We removed a gallon of solution and it looked perfect.
19. Take the seedlings (planted rock-wool) that you have been germinating for the last week from their container and...
20. Place them in their new nutrient rich, oxygenated, light intense home!
We are still trying to decide on an inexpensive root support matrix (a slotted pot with Perlite and coconut husks) that we can use with the students. The Perlite and coconut husks are not too bad cost wise, but the slotted pots are .25 each. While that doesn't sound like too much, my wife will have 150 students to supply. We have already tried styrene cups and expanded polystyrene (Styrofoam) cups but the nutrients will not reach high enough (without adding a wick) to be wicked in. Your suggestions are appreciated!