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Hydroponic Growers
Bigger yields in smaller spaces
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Hydroponic Air Farms

Root screens.

One method that we've developed that really seems to work well is using a root screen. We use a simple non-metallic door or window screen (available at your local hardware store) cut and draped inside the Air Farm reservoir. This provides the roots of the plant some resistance and forces the plant to send out side roots. The net (no pun intended) effect is, in the words of the music great Taj Mahal: Mo' Roots!

Why do we want more roots? Plant growth begins with its roots. Roots provide plant stability (more important in dirt farming), but most importantly roots provide more water and nutrient gathering to the plant. In some hydroponic methods, root growth can actually clog the tubes that feed them. With the Air Farm, we have ample room for root growth, even with all nine pots planted.

This doesn't mean that there is room for nine tomato plants in an Air Farm. One is the limit, and once you've grown one to maturity, you'll see why. With the root screen, the tomato root ball will nearly fill the 2 gallon reservoir!

We cut the screen to about a 15" square, though larger is fine. We'll remove the top of the Air Farm and drape the screen inside so that about an inch sits outside the top of the pail. This takes a little help or some practice, but the next step is to create a pocket of the screen down into the pail. It's okay if it sits in your nutrient solution, though one gallon should fill right about to the bottom of the screen.

Then, holding the screen in place, snap the lid down on top of the pail reservoir. Getting this just right is a little work because any unevenness will tend to pop one or more of your net pots out of the top. Once your roots have grown into and through the root screen, it will stay in place and if you lift the top off, the screen along with your roots will come with it.

What you'll see will likely amaze you. The root growth and development will be unlike you'd imagined.

Copyright 2000
Glenn Rice
Air Farms
New Tool Co.
Reprinted with permission.

Growing Ideas

Fabric Workshop - Hydroponics - Cryan Studio
Copyright 2005-2009 Fabric Workshop

Fabric Workshop
P.O. Box 204 Centerbrook, CT 06409

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