Hydroponic Surprises: Wet Ground is a Bad Sign

hydroponic_issuesWell yesterday I actually had a full afternoon in the studio getting home a bit after 6pm. Headed out to the greenhouse to check on things and heard that awful gurgling sound that a reservoir was low and the pump was struggling. Found it to be the squash/tomato reservoir but how could that be? I just filled the top off drum yesterday, but sure enough it was dry as well. I did see wet spots on the ground cover (dont know if you can tell in the image above) but everything looked intact. Finally found it right under my nose, one of the supply lines to the rails had popped off. It also was the only line I hadn’t put a hose clamp on yet . It had been that way for 2 months with no issues but had finally wiggled its way loose under the pressure.

hydroponic bell peppers

Peppers all better now

Inspecting the plants all the pepper’s leaves were drooping and the squash didnt look great, but the tomatoes were just fine. I topped off the reservoir with about 10 gallons of fresh water and let it run through the system over night. This morning the bells had perked back up and looks like to permeant damage was done. I was due for a reservoir change anyway so cleaned it out this morning and fille it with a fresh 20 gals of bloom cycle nutrients.

hydroponic systems

The ‘after’ pic of the culprit

So the lesson today boys and girls is to be sure all lines that are under pressure from the pump are secure. If you are using flexible tubing put on hose clamps on ALL fittings, even if you thing its tight enough. You dont want it to wiggle loose when you are away for an extended period. Glue all your joints on your PVC as well. You may not think that pump is putting out a lot of pressure but take it from experience, it is!

What surprises have you had with your hydroponics?

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