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Old 11-30-2020, 10:53 PM #1
thailer
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You Gotta SIP, Not Slurp

I switched over from fabric bags to SIPs a couple years ago and have never looked back. Keeper cuts that were yielding 140 grams per plant suddenly increased to 230-250 grams, the resin content was greasier and increased as well. The plants vegged a lot faster and plant health increased. I had spent quite a while researching online different SIP designs and settled on making something of my own that was inspired by the hempy buckets here that used perlite. Other designs use the peat moss as the wick and i do not want the soil getting super soggy to prevent wet feet, it leaches nutrients into the water, and the peat moss itself doesn’t have as good of wicking capabilities as perlite, meaning water can not travel upwards as fast as it can if it were perlite.





So some things to consider before building this system.
If you want to use hand water soluble fertilizers, this really isn’t the system for you because the reservoir will collect the run off nutrients. Try a blumat system. This is water only to keep it clean and there’s no way to leach the system the way i built it. I don’t really need to or haven’t as of yet.
You can’t transplant out of it easily.
It can be boring because all you do is fill up water and make clones.

So I made SIPs you can hand water first by pouring water down a PVC tube and the plants eventually started sucking the water out the SIP daily. I was hoping to get a few days in between but the plants were growing great!! I was able to fill up the SIP before the soil got dry and it worked, but i wanted more so next design incorporated hydro tubing connecting the SIPs to a reservoir the size of a garbage can. This way I don’t have to squeeze in the room to water the ones in the back and they all are able to be filled up from outside the room. Moses Wellfleet has been running the hand watered design for a while now and loves it!

It worked great and i was able to go 3 weeks from transplanting a young small plant before it drank up water but once they are established plants, they will drink, drink, drink. You can add a garden hose or RO system to fill up the trash can if you want a completely hands off approach to growing. I did notice that growth rates did go down a little when i switched over to the SIPs on irrigation which keep the water reservoir inside the SIP at a constant height versus the hand watered SIP which the level goes down as the plant consumes the water. To keep the growth rates going, be sure to fill up the tote completely with premoistened soil so it doesn’t get lower settling as it gets wetter because every inch counts in this case as air decreases the further down you go int he soil. see below.



What makes a good container soil mix
https://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/pos...?postnum=29331

water and air porosity
https://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/pos...?postnum=29390

how much air and water
https://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/pos...?postnum=29450

effects on root diseases like rot
https://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/pos...?postnum=29510

effects of soil settling, salt and drought on root rot
https://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/pos...?postnum=29579

when to irrigate/how to determine when to water and how much
https://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/pos...?postnum=29674
https://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/pos...?postnum=29691

cation exchange capacity
https://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/pos...?postnum=29697

so basically the deeper the pot, the more air closer to the surface. if the soil is shallow and wide, its just not the same as the identical amount in a deeper pot. so the soil in the SIPs is wide and shallow and i want to add more soil while creating depth to grow these large trees indoors.

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Old 11-30-2020, 10:54 PM #2
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So I will try to explain how the connected system works first and once you understand, you can really design with anything if you don’t want to use totes. You can use smaller 5 gallon buckets doubled up so the bottom stays in the same place and you can pull the top bucket out and move it from veg to bloom or in a better spot. You can put this outdoors and make a guerilla grow if you can pump water from a stream. Seriously the possibilities are endless.

So the water level is determined by the level of water that is in the control box by a float valve if it and the SIPs were level to the floor. If you pick up the control box, it will raise the level of water inside every SIP till it reached the same height as the water that is inside the control box. I suggest playing around with this before adding the soil to make sure the level is correct and you have an air gap between the water table and the soil. More on that later tho. The reservoir garbage can is raised up to increase the water pressure. The shut off valves let you unhook a SIP to take out of the room. You should also put a shut off valve between the reservoir and the control box as well but not included in pic.

I was told by some growers who have this system set up already that you can not put more than six SIPs on one control box and i think that is due to the speed the water can service each SIP. as it fills up, the first SIP gets topped off till it is full and then it will fill up the second SIP and down the line but if the plants are drinking heavily or the sun is hot evaporating the soil, then the last SIP can get very little water. I have seen people put more on there so feel free to play around but you can set up multiple control boxes to run off of one reservoir as long as the water can keep up with amount of SIPs you want serviced.

Whew! I hope that made sense!
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Old 11-30-2020, 10:55 PM #3
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Single line design is better for smaller rooms because the line kinks sometimes if there’s not enough room.





IF you have a bigger wider room and want to put a lot of sips on one line, try a loop so the line ends and starts at the control bucket.




So to make a hand watered and an auto top off SIP, here’s what you do!

First you’ll need to buy a tough tote that are sold at most stores. They’re usually black bottom with yellow lid and say they are stackable and can hold lots of weight. These things are durable and they won’t bow out so you can drag them around without breaking them. Plus the plastic isn’t brittle and softer to make the holes.

Now for the hand watered design you’ll want to measure 3.5” above the bottom and that is where the top of the hole should be when you drill. This is the overflow hole that water will come out of if you add too much and it determines how much water you can put in there.









For the irrigation SIPs you want to measure so the bulk head has enough room to remain flat so it seals properly but still stays as low as possible to the bottom. The point of this is so the hole is covered with water and keeps full so air bubbles don’t get down clogging the line.

Hand watered design
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Old 11-30-2020, 10:57 PM #4
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Screw in the screen to keep perlite out of the hole and cover with drain cover or nylon.




The get 4” wide perforated drainage pipe and create a similar shape inside the SIP. cover ends with old socks or more drain cover so perlite doesn’t get inside. Then back fill with perlite. Shown below is the hand watered design but the irrigation one looks the same except it doesn’t have a PVC pipe 2” coming out of the corner to put water down into the reservoir without creating leaching. Hint: add perlite AFTER you put the pipe down because if it gets any soil or perlite inside of the pipe, it won’t work. Probably could put drain pipe cover on it too. If you’re doing the irrigation design, you don’t need the pvc pipe.



Inside pic of the control box

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Old 11-30-2020, 10:58 PM #5
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Pic of one dumped upside down to look at the roots




Roots grow right down into the water table and anchor the plant while thinner roots line the perlite bed and create a mat thick. Its so simple. Now this setup provides about 15 gallons of soil and can support most plants grown indoors but if you like to grow big giant plants and don’t want to be hindered by root bound growth, I’m going to increase the soil and redesign the SIPs a third time so i can grow big giant plants easier than what i can do now.



So i think i've figured out the best design to make the SIPs operate better to support larger plants that need stakes. i think i am gonna double up the totes so the bottom tote contains the reservoir and some sort of support for the tote above that is set inside the bottom tote that will hold the soil. this will give me 13-15 inches of soil where currently i am around 10". but its not just about getting more soil depth to hold up stakes; it also increases oxygen to the root zone. my theory is the difference between the hand watered design and the irrigation line design is the wet dry cycle the hand watered sips get which influences transpiration, osmosis at the root zone which increases fertilizer ppm as the soil drys when the plant sucks the water dry from the soil, while the auto top off sips constantly have the same water level.

at the root zone there is root pressure and cohesion tension theory which is how water/fertilizer enters the roots and then move up the plant and into the atmosphere. root pressure can only make water travel through the roots so far and isn't as big of influence in transpiration as cohesion tension theory. cohesion tension theory can make water travel despite gravity up tall plants because water is a polar molecule and i like to imagine it like a magnet toy train. the H20 connects to the h20 below that and so on and so on so it creates this chain. as the plant transpires and releases humidity into the air, each water molecule that is evaporated on the leaf surface, will pull up the following h20 molecule below it on the chain. this video explains it a lot better than me

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-osEc07vMs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLc4JT522VA

so the plant itself acts like a wick system which is the basis of how the SIP works too. you can see how the pressure to release into the air increases as the water rises up and out of the stomata.



so this all starts at the soil level with the root zone being influenced by the amount of water/oxygen to the root zone. the soil can't be over saturated or the plant won't transpire. so that moves me on to my next topic about the depth of the original SIP and why i want to add more soil depth.
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Old 11-30-2020, 11:00 PM #6
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Nice system , and I appreciate a good old-fashioned tutorial
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Old 12-01-2020, 12:02 AM #7
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Nice system , and I appreciate a good old-fashioned tutorial
thanks!! its really something to consider if you want irrigation that is reliable. the only moving part is the float valve.
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Old 12-01-2020, 12:50 AM #8
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So here are some videos of other people's systems to inspire!

Big outdoor wicking barrel system. there's lots of wicking barrel systems to see on youtube!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ux_gmY2LRjY

5 gallon doubled up bucket system i thought was great for our indoor needs, plus shows an easy way to level if you need to outdoors
https://youtu.be/7OoHBTmniXI
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Old 12-01-2020, 09:57 AM #9
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Organics meets hydropnics

Great to see this here, thanx thailer

Also been running sips for the better part of 2 years, still waiting to come across a disadvantage to the system.

The first thing other growers usually ask is about the whole thing turning anaerobic. That will only happen if nutrients are added directly to the reservoir. With dry amendment organic soil and pure water added to the reservoir it is idiot proof. If you build it as shown above you will enjoy perfect levels of moisture and aeration.

Organoponics

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Old 12-01-2020, 04:27 PM #10
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Im in. I am a big fan of a good SIP and will be getting back to them sooner than later.
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