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'god Created The Word But Heath Robinson Gave Us Trees'

pic book

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so the saw goes.  Using recirculating hydroponics to feed plants has been around since the 1970's, mostly in university ag depts and European growers of cut flowers and any large plants.  Those recirc methods are still used, mostly by European growers of cut flowers and the growers call it 'bato buckets.'  Batos feature hoses ending in drippers that dribble water and nutrients at preset intervals.  In the reservoir throbs an air pump, which forces dissolved oxygen into the water.  Batos replaced wick systems, which were awkward due to the fact that the reservoirs that fed them, which had to be located almost directly under the plant.  Batos were the beginning of active hydroponics and everything else, be it trays, tables, tubes, is simply Batos reworked.  In the nineties came many reworkings:  in rapid succession came Krusty Buckets in CA,  Heath Robinson--the Brit--in reworked batos cum aquafarms, and Billy Liar tree grows innested pots and lava rocks--another Brit, another version.   Heath called all his versions dwc, listing them as just others among many other versions and ignoring the differences between rdwc--where a res serves all containers and dwc, a single unit not joined to any other or to a rez.  It was Doubled, another Brit, who grew the worlds's heaviest cannabis plant of 7 pounds, seven times, always striving to  raise a 10er.  Doubled zipped thru Canada and the US touting 'medical patent buckets'.  shaggytodope, he of the giant bubblers, stuck with injecting DO with a 4 horse power air compressor.  He had trouble keeping things together; the air pressure in his 18 gal pots was so robust. 

Up until 2007 most versions of batos aimed to grow bigger trees by raising the available DO, nutrients, and light available to the plant, no matter what it took.  The most complex and expensive systems were developed before the CA Power Crisis of 2007.  Krusty advocated many 1K lights and lots of ac, with temps held at 75 forever.  By the time of Billy Liar,  in late 2007/8, he and Heath are running lighting experiments with 'flip-flop' relays, which save electricity by shutting lights off after 6 hours and turning others on in adjoining areas. It was during this stage that  Heath got 19oz off a single 600 watt bulb.  Billy posted pics of his 5 x 600 flip-flop off which he got 60 oz off two plants, but with 6 weeks of veg.   Doubled did one better by doing only 2 weeks of veg and getting 7 pounds. 

Billy Liar brot back Krusty's idea of using lava rock--with the lava's beneficial bacterium a chiller was made unnecessary, and so electricity was saved running a chiller.

The Power Crisis chased everyone on the frontier of tree growing to use vertical lighting, usually naked 600s but a few to 1Ks in cool tubes.  The idea was to lower the light into the plants and let the leaves and stems serve as the reflector.  They believed that only 40% of top light hit the plant, whereas it was as high as 70% in vertical lighting.


It was doubled who got 4 pounds per plant and then 7, and Doc Greenthumbs purchase of the G13 hoarded from Newville that brot to lite how doubled had done it.  Much of the yield was not due to his system at all, but the G13 strain.


High elec bills had both Heath and Billy Liar thinking there was a better way to do DO than air pumps, and they both at the same time hit on 24-hour recirc with a waterfall hitting rocks.  Now an air pump and its consumption of elec was superfluous, making for another savings of electricity.   The hose sizes used had already used jumped to 1/2" or 3/4", up from the 1/4" of batos, but now some growers promoted systems that ran 2" pvc that cascaded directly onto rocks. That meant the shape of the plant container needed to change to a partial enclosure of sorts to contain the overspray splashing, and the Brits didscovered heater tanks were best for this.


The driver of change was the law:  krusty, heath, and liar innovations, was law.  Really of everyone's tinkering except Krusty.  When the price of elec spiked, he quit growing.   the enery was law; namely, plant limits in CA.  Drippers are for many, tiny plants, which in the cut-flower business and the Dutch weed business, is fine, but are not quite so helpful in CA.  The rise of the hydro tree out of millions of Dutch clones flowered at 8 inches is simply an effort to replace the yield of 100's of small plants, expressed as grams per meter squared, with the yield of a single plant, and that in a room using minimal electricity.


Heath may not have brot us trees, but he did bring light, showing how to get 3.17 grams per watt.

Edited by pic book
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rhino:  I believe that what the history of batos says is that when marij is legalized, batos will be employed to grow marijuana plants in the millions under one roof, exactly as they are used in Europe, and in the US  'tree machines' will be a thing of the past, relegated to Australia and sectors worldwide where plant counts still exist.  Tree machines came about by law pressure and will recede when that presure is withdrawn.   The commercial growers in WA are likely to resort to batos, and they will simply be copying commercial salad growers, who are largely in batos.

Edited by pic book
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