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  #1  
Unread 07-09-2013, 05:07 PM
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Default Fogponics anyone? (ultrasonic aeroponics)

I am a very experienced hydroponic farmer and my preferred method of nutrient delivery is HP Aeroponics. The same pumps and filters and nozzels that you would get from our sponser MIST KING, but with a minimum of 200psi and super ultra fine .008mm fogger nozzels. With this you can produce an atomized nutrient solution, with a droplet measuring in around 20-50 microns. Plants immediately take in the nutrients /h20 /02 /c02. Water droplet size is crucial, too large a water droplet means less oxygen is available to the root system too fine a water droplet such as those generated by the ultrasonic foggers (5-15 micrometres) produce excessive root hair without developing a lateral root system for sustained growth. High Pressure Areoponics makes mist of 5-50 micrometres micro-droplets which are necessary for long-term growing.
I have done extensive research on the pros and cons of fogponics I want to compile all the data I can and put it into a clear and concise all-encompassing manual for growing using fogponics. These are my findings so far for Fogponics

Pros for Fogponics:
-Uses less water and nutrients, 70% less then hydroponics which already uses 70% less then traditional farming
-High Yield
-Growth speed on roots is amazing, large mass and very fuzzy; growth of stems is very quick as thus high turnover rate
-Versatile in how you want to set up you grow op (i.e. vertical, buckets or just in Tupperware)
-Just one unit to clean instead of many heads like Aeroponics

Cons for Fogponics are:
-Foggers heats up which can destroy the nutrients and hurt the roots
-The frequency at which foggers currently vibrate create droplets 5-15 micron range which is great for seedlings as they only require water but as plants get older they require nutrients so the droplets need to be bigger (say 50 microns) to carry the nutrients.
-Ultrasonic foggers can't handle anything lager then 500 ppm because it will clog them and kills them. This information is the basis of my idea.

Now lets look at a comparison between S/H used in orchid culture and NFT (nutrient film technique) used in commercial horticulture. Both methods require nutrient solution to be present at all times, a shallow resivore some say. NFT the water is always flowing in the bottom half of the root bed. The upper half is in a very humid and highly oxygenated environment, thus providing a multi-layered root zone. This root zone will be explosive and very productive. LOL- if you reading this then I'm sure your familiar with the benefits of orchids S/H. Both use hydroton as the media and both have a wicking effect.

Think back to the aeroponics for one moment........
this has to be sprayed at the root zone--not very practical for a orchid since they will be in a net pot and in hydroton. Remember the ultrasonic fog carries air, nutrient and water with it. Route the fog into a 4"x4" pvc post with the plants in net pots, the fog would blow thru the hydroton and fill the root chamber. fogger/pump shut off and the fog eventually condensates and falls to the bottom. This 1min on/5min off is all controlled by a interval timer. The plants have a wicking system, recirculating so it eliminates daily/weekly watering. Overwatering/underwatering, nutrient deficiencies and toxicities, and lots of oxygen. Plus 1 10ft pvc rail can hold 20+ orchids all being fed, watered and nurtured at the same time.


Your thoughts please

---------- Post added at 02:53 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:43 PM ----------

I want to add that I have had a bare root orchid in a 2.5 gallon aquairium with ultrasonic fogger on the bottom. The orchids roots produced this super fine fuzz (root hairs) that were 3"+ long. Not lateral growth or roots, just the hair. This is where the hydroton comes in. The fog will fill any and all available space. Between the leca it will form larger condensations and any excess will fall to be recirculated. I believe this varied condensation with high levels of air will produce an optimal root zone and increases vigor. Any any excess fog that excapes the chamber(and it will) helps to matain RH. This does work, I just haven't assembled the parts yet for the system described above. Pictures of the chamber will come in the next week.

---------- Post added at 04:07 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:53 PM ----------

For more information on gardening with fog and equipment used.....nutramist.com

Last edited by rick84; 07-09-2013 at 04:18 PM..
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  #2  
Unread 07-10-2013, 04:59 AM
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I imagine you can get your "fog-o-ponics" to work without any LECA etc. by suitably mounting the orchids with their roots free in the "mist chamber" (which is my understanding of how this normally works with normal plants). I'm somewhat surprised that the orchid root morphology was so different, but I guess it would be.

I'm not sure quite why you want the LECA there?

The major concern with long-lasting ornamentals (grow, repeat) vs crop plants (grow, harvest, sterilise, repeat) in any form of common nutrient solution is disease - water is an idea vector for disease transmission and those droplets *will* be big enough to cart fungal spores and bacteria and certainly viruses between *all* your orchids; even if you think the droplets won't be big enough, the roots will likely eventually grow to the base of the container where they will all share a nice thin film of water and any pathogens...

Also, 500ppm is WAY too high for most orchids, so I don't think you'll need to worry about this "limit" to the foggers.

Last edited by Discus; 07-10-2013 at 05:03 AM.. Reason: spellin
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  #3  
Unread 07-10-2013, 08:56 AM
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I imagine you can get your "fog-o-ponics" to work without any LECA etc. by suitably mounting the orchids with their roots free in the "mist chamber" (which is my understanding of how this normally works with normal plants).


Fogponics is a form or aeroponics that creates a water droplet too small to maintain a large plant. They are ideal for seedling,cloning and herbs. Fogponics incorporated with deep water culture, NFT, HP aeroponics, ebb and flow, top feed, under current water culture of any other hybred form of hydroponics creates a multi layered root system. A multi layered root system is far superb to anything you can have in S/H or organic media or even mounted.
As you had stated above in regards to aeroponics without leca, yes this is how it is done with fogger nozzles ( not an actual fogger, but a nozzle that atomizes nutrient and sprays it at the roots. Trust me when I tell you I am very experienced in aeroponics, 17 years now by the way.

The purpose of the leca is so the fog has a media to penetrate and condense in. Excess will fall to be recycled. This idea is a S/H and the difference is the way in which the nutrient is delivered and increase in oxygen.


The major concern with long-lasting ornamentals (grow, repeat) vs crop plants (grow, harvest, sterilise, repeat) in any form of common nutrient solution is disease

Again, I am aware of this. BUT..... the Piezoelectric Transducers (fogger) vibrates 2 million x's per second, this is how water and salts are atomized. Also this atomization is different than HP Aeroponics. HP is exactly that, under high pressure and pathongens can still survive given a nutrient source. In the case of ultrasonic aeroponics the nutrient is sterilized..FACT! In hydroponics, lol- or even making compost, a well oxygenated environment will encourage benifical microbes...(like mycorhizal fungi). Since the nutrient is always being recirculated the water self oxygenates, but I do own air pumps and stones. I have a heap filter on the Piezoelectric Transducers blower. If you still have doubt about nasties in the water at some horticultural hydrogen peroxide 35%... and yes that will be diluted to about 1 tps/gallon.

Also, 500ppm is WAY too high for most orchids, so I don't think you'll need to worry about this "limit" to the foggers.

You are right again, BUT... if orchids can handle ppm that high, nor can the Piezoelectric Transducer due to mineral buildup of the Teflon disk. But I think they could handle 150-250. I guess up to 500 huh? But since they don't use need that much, I can see how this transducer would work for an orchid application or seedlings or cloning...

I hope this cleared some things for you and others who may part take.
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  #4  
Unread 07-10-2013, 09:22 AM
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I don't work or think in TDS units (I prefer EC); the levels tolerated by some orchids are fairly well known:
see here for those I've been able to find
Most/all TDS meters arbitrarily (using a particular conversion constant, not always known) convert EC to TDS anyway - you're better off just using EC. (i.e. a TDS meter is an EC meter with funny units).

Adding more fertiliser nutrients isn't always the way forward - eventually you'll hit toxicity from one or more components; depending on the species you grow, this can be (for people used to terrestrial plants) surprisingly low. Most orchids grow in "oligotrophic" environments and do quite well under similar conditions in culture. There is currently a train of thought that we're giving them far too much potassium (K) in culture but it's a topic of new and active investigation.

Some thoughts:
  • I suspect that since orchid roots (at least the epiphytic ones) have a velamen layer, the concerns of aeroponic droplet size "too small to support large plants" should be a moot point (the velamen is inherently a wicking layer that will "suck up" plenty of droplets); if you're trying to max out oxygen supply to a root, why are you going to come along and add a medium that is going to interfere with this? The whole point of aeroponics is to do away with the medium and maximise the contact of the roots with air, whilst ensuring sufficient water and nutrient supply.
  • If by "support" you mean physical rather than physiological support, no media-less system will support a plant without some kind of structure on the stem; a simple "clamp" or "collar" around the base of the plant isn't a long term solution to stability - but some wires might be.
  • Why would you go to the trouble to aerosolise your fertigation water when it's only going to end up running through your media as a film (normal size mist would work the same)? (The aerosol droplets will mostly hit the LECA and adhere, forming a film; not sure just how far a fine mist will penetrate your LECA; you might as well be using normal misters).
Hope this helps
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  #5  
Unread 07-10-2013, 11:03 AM
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Discus, my FRIEND- ..... I like you and your dead on.

I suspect that since orchid roots (at least the epiphytic ones) have a velamen layer, the concerns of aeroponic droplet size "too small to support large plants" should be a moot point (the velamen is inherently a wicking layer that will "suck up" plenty of droplets); if you're trying to max out oxygen supply to a root, why are you going to come along and add a medium that is going to interfere with this?

The atomized solution is not moist at all, in fact it is dry. Sufficient moisture is not capable of being supplied to the roots in an open air chamber. The purpose of the fog is to create root hair that takes in the atomized or the evaporating moisture. Droplets need to be at minimum 30 micrometers to supply enough salts, 02 and H20. The ultrasonic produces 2-5 micrometers, that's not enough salts per cycle. Again this is a HYBRID Semi Hydroponic/Aeroponic culture. The multi layered root system will have smooth and fuzzy appearance. Fuzzy takes in lots of air, some H20 and little salt, and smooth "velamen sheathed roots, without root hair) are the bulk of the water, air, salt transport.

I'm growing in circulating clouds basically, with a consistant nutrient water source


If by "support" you mean physical rather than physiological support, no media-less system will support a plant without some kind of structure on the stem; a simple "clamp" or "collar" around the base of the plant isn't a long term solution to stability - but some wires might be.

I don't think I said anything about support, but yes neoprene collars are the standard. And a trellis or net...something has to support the plants. I want to support the roots in a NET POT not an orchid pot, big difference! also I would like to put the "clouds" to a dual purpose and add in a constant RH source. If the RH is too high then I will add some moss to the top.

Why would you go to the trouble to aerosolise your fertigation water when it's only going to end up running through your media as a film (normal size mist would work the same)? (The aerosol droplets will mostly hit the LECA and adhere, forming a film; not sure just how far a fine mist will penetrate your LECA; you might as well be using normal misters).

multi layered root systems are more productive and sustain large vigorous plants. Better bloom, higher value. More control over nutrition. ECT.....
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  #6  
Unread 07-10-2013, 01:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rick84 View Post
The atomized solution is not moist at all, in fact it is dry.

I want to support the roots in a NET POT not an orchid pot, big difference! also I would like to put the "clouds" to a dual purpose and add in a constant RH source. If the RH is too high then I will add some moss to the top.

multi layered root systems are more productive and sustain large vigorous plants. Better bloom, higher value. More control over nutrition. ECT.....
Erm, having played around with various items that do this (ultrasonic fogging), I can assure you that the atomised solution is anything but dry - it would rather defeat the point if it were...

You may also like to think for a second about the scale of a water droplet vs some dissolved ions before deciding that it is impossible for a fog to carry a nutrient (because if it were, well, aeroponics would fail, and no one would be using it).

Clouds, if you've never been inside one, are decidedly wet places, no matter how fine the droplets. Sure, bigger ones tend to fall faster, but tiny ones will still get you wet. Not all the wetness in cloud forests comes from rain - and even coastal mists and fogs can be quite useful sources of water in dry places.

Lots of people grow orchids in net pots (with or without medium).

I'm not entirely sure what the moss is supposed to achieve? Surely adding moss will increase the RH further still? Are you perhaps suggesting that rather than a "traditional" aeroponics system where only the root zone is in the mist, the entire plant will be in the mist? I suspect you will suffer no end of fungal and bacterial woes if you try this, but YMMV and all.

Be aware when you're reading things that epiphytes aren't quite the same as terrestrial plants (which is what people who grow in these systems usually work with - plants that would be perfectly happy planted in soil - unlike most orchids) - their root systems are different, and their physiology and even nutrient requirements can be different.

Take a bit of time to compare the root system of a terrestrial plant with that of an epiphytic orchid - you'll soon see some marked differences.

Also, because orchids are not generally grown this way on a commercial scale, there is little if any research or experience with it. Assuming what works for tomatoes or cannabis or lettuce will work with a phalaenopsis is likely to lead to rapid plant death (that said, phalaenopsis can take a lot of abuse).

At the end of the day, I encourage you to try - (I like experimenting and have a background in biological science) - but you should try a couple of variations (like in net pots; with and without LECA) and see how you go, preferably with the same kind of orchid. Ideally several hundred of each treatment, other factors being the same.

Some diagrams and pictures of your existing and/or proposed setup(s) would help people understand what you're proposing better too.

---------- Post added at 06:56 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:33 PM ----------

re: pest resistance of "fog-o-ponics" whilst it is possible that the vibration might disrupt some structures, I suspect plant viruses are pretty tough.
Dimension wise, tobacco mosaic virus is about 300nm long- one micron is 1,000 nanometers, so there would be tons of room in a 5-10 micron (5,000-10,000 nanometer wide) droplet for some TMV to be spread around. TMV is just one of 30-odd plant viruses known to affect orchids.
Viruses tend to be really small (they have to get into cells, which are also pretty small).

6-8 microns is the size of a human red blood cell (or one of your fog droplets); the organism that causes malaria lives inside red blood cells and is a kind of eukaryote (not a bacterium). They're pretty small.

Erwinia can be as small as 0.8 microns (again fitting into your droplets).

If it's definitely proven that there is no plant pathogenicity possible in a fog system, do you have links to a scientific study of this?

---------- Post added at 07:03 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:56 PM ----------

Also, be aware when you talk about "semi-hydroponics" around orchids, it is a very specific (trademarked) cultural technique.
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  #7  
Unread 07-14-2013, 10:12 AM
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A guy in France tried aeroponics on a few phals last year, we don't have news…
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  #8  
Unread 03-17-2014, 02:15 PM
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hi, newbie here.

So the big question for me is, does a simple ultrasonic fogger carry plant nutrients in the fog, or not?

If not, there seems little point other than propagation.

If yes, then I am keen to get started on a DIY project. If nutrients are carried in the fog, it would seem a great way to simplify aeroponics equipment.
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