Outdoor organic hydro

OK! Well outdoor season is upon us… or was quite a while ago. I am going to do a write-up on the organic hydroponics I have going outside. There might be some tidbits of extremely useful information stored in there like little nuggets of…gold? So for starters, I use solid organic materials, not something from a bottle. I do have things in bottles as well, but they are rarely used. I refer to the additives I put in to make the plant grow as “organic materials” and the basic formula is materials in equals productivity out.
Now… There are actually three drip systems, each a slightly different construction, but also very similar. One is a large gravity drip, one is an open ground hose system and the final one is the zero waste rubbermaid system. The zero waste is in the greenhouse, and it can be tricky. The problem is when some plants are not using much and others are using too much water. I have jugs that I put the drip emitter in then water it by hand lol! fancy solution eh? The garden one on the hose has sprinklers and drip emitters. The gravity system has just drip emitters and drip hoses! wow! Watering an area a normal human could never hope to cover in a day.


The materials I use are:
alfalfa meal, green sand, blood meal, power bloom, sulfur, bone meal. Probably something else as well, but I never use animal excretions. Not for some magical reason, except the bugs don’t like it as much. lol! I always see them pulling bits of plant material underground but never a deer turd or dog shit. Woodlice ain’t thriving on chicken turds. hah hah! So in the outdoors, bugs are doing the work, but in the greenhouse fungus is doing it all. Almost. There’s a few bugs but not as many.
Bugs are hungry!!! They definitely eat faster than the fungus.
Organic in my world means symbiosis, as in the symbiosis between the plant and micro organisms makes them thrive. As the bugs and fungus grow and thrive, so does the plant.


There’s the inputs on the system for the water. Two hose ones and there are two gravity ones as well. They just siphon from the creek pond where the fish live lol!


There are some images of the green house drip system. Just black pipes all connected together, running alongside large containers. Dog is chasing chipmunks.


some outside hydro radishes and potatoes. My formula for the radishes… uhh and any crop is this:
dig a trench fill it with compost. Cover it over then make the seed rows, plant the seeds and cover them. Once they come up, start adding the organic materials. In this case, lots of alfalfa pellets.


I lay out each drip system as a giant loop. That way the pressure equalizes as much as possible!

A series of Ts and pipes with emitters punched in or drip hoses. I draw a quick diagram of the pipe layout then list the connectors I’ll need. After the system is constructed from the pipes, I start making emitters for the plants that aren’t really close. Spaghetti lines cover the spread.

drip for the plum tree, I’m expecting box loads of plums :slight_smile:


some more random photos!
OK so the secret to the organic materials is this: If it all disintegrates, it’s definitely time to add more.
Also, you wonder what I’m using sulfur for?

plants like this blueberry won’t survive on ph 6.8 soil. I have to at least be in the 5’s. So I’ll use sulfur and coffee grounds. Elemental sulfur is definitely considered an organic material, even though bugs don’t thrive on it. But without it, calcium will start building up in the soil and kill my plants.


there’s the fish pond with pipes in it. Just some natural habitat… there was a heron in there before.


Organic + Hydro = Bugs :scream: :cricket: :bug:. Or at least that’s what I’ve heard. Anyway much interested in this experiment, following along … popcorn


Bugs are a good thing. I spray crud with BTK to kill off the parasites that thrive on peppers and stuff. Things like flea beatles and thrips and aphids and uhhh well earwigs. Caterpillars. The bugs I’m cultivating are the symbiotic kind, and they will put pressure on the resources of the ecosystem, hopefully pushing out some of the parasites. That’s the idea, anyways! The bugs mostly come at night, and grab some organic materials to eat. wood lice and earth worms and little black beetles. Things that tunnel in the ground, looking for a snack. Fungus gnats too! If it eats organic materials I spread on the ground, it’s welcome to the feast. Electric fence keeps the bears out. Those things cause some serious damage to the crops.
I built the drip systems in stages. First the green house, then the gravity one, then the garden hose one. The bear smashed the garden hose one three years ago, then the fence went up. No more bears, they are terrorizing the neighbors… bah hah!
I used to use liquid organic nutrients from a bottle, uhhh I don’t know how many years ago now, but I had an injector on the drip to pump nutrients to all plants. Then I started with organic materials, because it solved some problems… mainly the one of “hmm does it need more?” Now with a glance I can see how much material is left in the top of the pot/in the row of veggies.


Thanks for documenting all of this! Following with interest @JoeCrowe :smiley::+1:


really interesting and well documented thread , I will follow to learn many things . :face_with_monocle: popcorn

hey @George how are you i copied your smile i hope you don’t mind

:om: :pray:

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ok here’s how I plan a drip system. Pretty basic!

Buy lots of black pipes ;)

After the basic system is constructed, then I start looking at what kind of emitters I need for water. It depends on what I’m watering. The strawberry patch has lots of plants all over, so I use low pressure sprinklers. The blueberry patch has plants in a specific location, so I can use spaghetti lines with drip emitter. You can get crazy and mix and match :wink: it reminds me of lego. In the greenhouse there are only drips and drip emitters, no sprinklers because the plants are in a specific location as well.


In the greenhouse, I’m just using some promix, number 4…whatever. There’s no “soil” from the outside ground. Fucking rocks are heavy, and so is clay. So it’s just container mix right…nothing that can suffer from compaction. Oh! And weeds and other crap. OMG I remember some of the containers had some “top soil” in there, and crazy moss grew and the ground got soggy. Toss that crap and replace it with some potting mix.
Outside… it’s crapground. Clay hard pack with rocks and chunks of limestone. Fuuuck yah! Good farmin…lol. Except digging and fertilizing that shit and making it not clay garbage is hard work. Unless… you call in the bugs. They are super workers! They even carry the organic materials underground for me. They clump up the clay and fill it with organics I just toss on the surface, what’s not to love?


Excellent posts with nice pictures and diagrams. Thanks much for sharing.


Not at all what i was expecting from the “clean your plants” guy. But very interesting. You have a nice layout there. So its basically a outdoor soil grow with an auto watering system fed by natural pond water ? This is definately one i want to watch here. And your food is in the amendments?


yep! The only thing a plant needs to survive in a symbiotic environment is food for the symbiotes. Fungus and creatures living in the ground make the plant live.

you can see their tunnels and shit piles here. Also, look how the ground has particles of the organic material embedded in it now. Bugs did it.

lol, the only bug you’ll see in my indoor grow are spiders.


here’s the symbiote in the greenhouse. Fungus. Not many bugs here, but there’s a different kind of program. Fungus breaks down the organic material for the plant instead of both fungus and bugs. Plants are highly adaptable!

you can see the fungus growing on that pile of alfalfa and bug shit I put in there. I add some earwig shit, myself. Good stuff!


here’s an outdoor clematis growing in that pile of bug shit and alfalfa meal. I don’t have to supply the bug crap, the bugs do it for me :wink: They trade everything good for a nice snack of plant material.