Accept and Give - Free and opensource automated hydroponics.

No PH or EC Hydroponics
Oct 30, 2022

In the 1950's modern hydroponics was born. It's worked OK but required regular PH and EC testing to insure the nutrients and PH were properly balanced. Of course hydroponics has been 'used' since at least Babylon but probably much longer. Those early systems likely utilitzed muddy water or manure and water as the nutrients. The 1950's research really isolated the exact requirements for NPK of many plants. Nitrogen, phosphorous and pottasium.

In 2010 I built my first hydroponics system using directions I found on 4 in PVC pipes, lots of holes, a pump, and a bucket. My 'gardening' background is about 18 years of labor on a 36 acre organic farm on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. I learned gardening from my grandfather. 

Simple. Then the EC and PH not so simple. Not simple and not organic. 

Two changes will allow most home growers to instantly start skipping the PH and EC testing/adjusting. Large hydroponic farms or systems will likely not be able to use this method. NFT, DWT and flood and drain systems all work with this method. I have tested all three with this new method. Very likely found by many other people but they did not share or I never found it!

 So I thought why? 

Like why the PH and EC why 10 days to 14 days before the next water dump and all that PH/EC crap again and again? Scientists. That is why such a dumb system is just the accepted norm. Scientists research, document, have ideas test the ideas and repeat. Methodical amazing civilzation changing. However scientests are not focused on making things easy and simple and fast they just document how stuff works then once that question is answered move on the next question. Easy, fast, simple is the job of users. Obviously no one quite as lazy as me had ever used hydroponics before(or were to lazy to document and share it). Lots of hardworkers out there that don't rock the boat. I rock boats and sink em. (if this makes you unhappy - keep reading - it gets worse)

Consider that you rarely have to change the PH / EC of your garden soil.  Flourishing garden's need water, sunshine, proper temps for the plants and loose soil that holds some moisture but does not hold so much water you get root rot. No PH / no EC most of the time. Every spring clear out old plants and weeds. Every spring add more compost, manure, triple 13 and lime. Depending on what your plant dictates exact amounts and broadcast or 'scoop'.  Year after year of great gardens. Tedious, weeding, dirty, hot, bug bites, itchy, blisters, sore muscles, sun burns etc. Gardening 90% sucks. Harvesting is great and planting seeds and watching the plants grow is amazing. I know what I like and I know what I don't like. 

A better way is to add the nutrients daily. Simply take the prescribed amount of nutrients and split into number of days that you would normally have to dump and re PH/EC the water. 

Example: if you should add 50ml of nutrient A and 50ml of nutrient B to your 5 gallon reservoir every 10 days. Simply add 5ml of nutrient A and 5ml of nutrient B to your reservoir everyday. The plants and biome in your rooting media will balance the PH by itself (like it does in a healthy garden as nutrients are released SLOWLY by fungy and bacteria).  The EC is similarly taken care of but if you are monocropping aka only growing one kind of plant then eventually the nutrient concentrations your monocropping is not using will get so high that it becomes toxic. That addage of to much of a good thing is still relavent. 

So to get the 'to much of a good thing' issue resolved .. gardens are a mix of plants. Some do great some fail but you have a large diversity.

Polyculture and permaculture are systems that rely on different kinds of plants in close proximity to support one another. In this case the support is just cleaning the reservoir water. 

So that is basically it for the PH/EC.

Add a small amount of nutrients everyday.

Have a diversity of plants in your hydroponics system. Like kale, tomatoes, lettuce, eggplant, herbs etc. 

To make your plants grow faster than normal hydroponics you can 'add a little' extra. :-) You know you want to. So do it .. just don't go nuts because if you do you will likely kill your plants. 

If you want to skip the A/B nutrients use a single nutrient. 

If you have exceptionally hard or soft water you might need a nutrient that has some PH balancing built in like MaxiGrow. They(General Hydroponics) don't say how they do it. Our guess is they add some sugar and fungy to their nutrients. The sugar feeds the fungy and fungy adjusts the PH(this is just a guess). Our guess is based on the same fungy appearing in nutrient tanks from nearly all our users(100+ machines). It looks like typical breadmold(harmless). If you think mold is bad read Entangled Life.

WATER - you need to top off the water daily if you can but at least every few days. Amazingly there are these awesome little float valves that can either be attached to your water hose if your system is outdoors or you can attach to a raised bucket or rain barrel reservoir if you are in doors. Or you can just manually top it off each day. Up to you.

So that's the core methods of growbot/nourishbot/easygarden.

The systesms grow food/herbs insanely fast.  Because we add way more nutrients than a standard hydroponics system, vastly more oxygen to the water, respect air roots and way way way more nutrients than dirt farming.

If daily feeding is to tedious for you... (it was for me) you can use hobby electronics to make a daily feeding system.  

ORGANIC ... organic farming is a method of farming / gardening that is focused on keeping you healthy by not putting chemicals that are harmful to you on or in your food. It's a realy fantastic way to grow food.

If you are lazy, lack space and or time .. then hydroponics is cool. We can feed the plants in your hydroponic system fully organic nutrients. I am with the organic purists on this one. Organic grown in dirt is ORGANIC. If you grow in a hydroponic system with organic nutrients and only apply organic insecticides then it's HYDROPONIC ORGANIC. There could be things missing from hydroponic organic that are present in organic. The labels should be clear. Just like the lack or ORGANIC clearly means the farmers used inorganic nutrients and pesticides and likely GMO's that I would not put on or in my body if I have the option for organic.  At present I am 51 years old ... very strong, agile, clear mind, don't wear glasses, have no moles or lumps on me, all my plumbing works perfectly. I do have some food allergies to wheat and anything with milk makes me all phlemy.  I am also mostly a vegan. When I am out and about with friends and family I"ll order vegan options if available but if not I eat whatever but for me meat makes me fat and slow. I actualy eat a high carb diet with lots of starch(rice,potatoes,sweet potatoes, gluten free bread), nuts, a ton of veggies and fruit. This is just me. Pretty much everyone hates my diet. :-)  Oh well.

Organic nutrients for this 'new hydroponic method' lets just call it 'easy hydro'.  I have tested worm castings(needed more nitrogen), composted manure, the black stuff that comes out of worm composting tower(super strong test first -- totally killed my system with just 20ml in a 6 gallon reservoir). Multiple 'brands' Foxfarm being the most successful. Generally though a little testing with a new nutrient and this method works fine. I even tested the super cheap triple 16 you get at your local garden centers. It worked fine but you could see the plants were .. just like the stuff you buy at the store. Bland, very little aroma, but they were big.

What I like to use is 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of maxigrow per day, and 5ml of wildcrafted emulsified fish/kelp for a 6 gallon reservoir growing 20ish plants in 8 1 gallon grow bags with 100% perlite as the rooting media. This is easy, fast and the growth is awesome and the end product .. is world class. Getting 90+ micro-nutrients from your emulsified fish and kelp is huge. Organic farmers would be hard pressed to get as much nutrients into your veggies. Standard hydroponics would probably be fine to add in the fish and kelp. :-) It smells great. 

For Flood and Drain ...

We have most often used trays either waterproofed wood (paint used for portable water tanks) or polypropolene containers most often the yellow and black ones (14 to 60 gallon) from costco or home depot. We flood the bottom 1 centimeter of the lids. The lids have a single 5mm hole for draining and holes along the sides for over flow. Just keep adding more holes until you have good flow. We use the small 12v DC pumps.


Standard NFT worked fine - it was actually our original test system the one mentioned above that we got from instructables. However we moved to a slightly different system that would work with solar .. or rather the intermittenacy of solar... that design we used dutch leach trays, and custom made tops for 2in netpots spaced 100mm from center to center of the netpots. We had water in each tray set exactly to cover the bottom 5mm of the netpots .. this worked great !!! excellent growth !!! ... we also circulated the water in each tray to keep it oxygenated ...happy happy huge roots massive growth ..


Some accidents are kinda great ... so occasionally a root would find it's way to the drain holes or an overflow hole and makes it's way into the main reservoir where it could reach huge proportions .. we made a design that accomodated the inivetiablity of the roots fowling the water sensor and water valve.

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