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Rain catchment hydroponics  RSS feed

 
Robert Ray
gardener
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Location: Cascades of Oregon
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I'm thinking about building a tiered hydroponic rain catchment system and was wondering if anyone here has tried it yet.
Several levels of containers with bell siphons on them to catch rainwater and a final container with a pump to re-circulate the water  to level one.
 
Neal McSpadden
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If you only have rainwater, which is fairly pure, the plants won't have nutrients with which to grow.

In any sort of cultivation, the plants need (a lot of) water as well as nutrients.

In soil cultivation, the nutrients and a lot of water are in the soil.

In hydroponics, the nutrients are added as a solution to the water.

In aquaponics, the nutrients are provided by the fish.

You can use rain-water catchment to do lots of stuff.  If you're set on hydroponics, you'll need to add those nutrient solutions periodically.  Personally, I'm aquaponically-biased, so I'd recommend going that route with your rain-water. 
 
Robert Ray
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Location: Cascades of Oregon
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I have an active aquaculture system. I even have raspberries floating on my pond in bloom. I was wondering about using rainwater catchment for a hydro system. Even if I put nutrients into the final catchment container for recirculation. My pond is not located near the house. I was just wonderng if any had tried it.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Location: Oakland, CA
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The only bit of experience I can offer is that rainwater is likely to have a fair amount of organic matter in it by the time it is collected...cotrary to Tamo42's comment.

Conceivably there could be significant S or Th or Hg as well, depending on what is in the air above you.  I only mention this because rainwater really should be pure...
 
Neal McSpadden
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It'd be an interesting test.  Like you say, rainwater should be pure.  You'd most likely get carbonic acid (acid rain) dissolved out of the air plus whatever is on your roof and gutters.  But where would you get the other macros (Nitrogen, Potassium, Phosphorus)?
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Location: Oakland, CA
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K is not very volatile.  If you have serious acid rain, and trust your battery manufacturer's "no-mercury" marketing campaign, you could just leave a dead alkaline battery in the water until it opens...

Fixed N may be in the air in smoggy climates.

My comment was mainly a joke, but if coal plants are letting much ash up their flues nearby, it may be worth adding a remediation pond that accumulates Hg and/or Th.
 
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