12 Hot Tips for AutoPot Systems
AutoPot Systems are a great investment – they’re low cost, cheap to run & easy to use. They're infinitely expandable, and don't use any power whatsoever!
Use yours wisely and you’ll get great yields. Here are a dozen tips to help you do just that.
1. Hand feed plants until their roots have established
You can still place plants in your AutoPots – just hand water them until their roots have established. This'll roughly take 10 - 14 days.
For best results:
- If growing in soil: feed them water
- If growing in coco or rockwool: feed them a weak nutrient solution
Water plants sparingly – if you’re unsure if they need more water, feel the weight of the pot with your hand. If it feels light, add more water...if it still feels heavy, don't.
2. Use the right growing media
AutoPot systems are incredibly flexible. Whatever your growing method, you need a media or media mix that is:
- Free draining
The guys at AutoPot recommend using a 50/50 mix of:
- Perlite or clay pebbles (50%)
- Coco, soil or rockwool (50%)
If using clay pebbles, make sure that they’re pH stable – not all of them are. Gold Label’s a safe bet – it’s clean, pH neutral and pH stable.
3. Keep a layer of washed gravel or clay pebbles at the base of each pot
Doing this improves the drainage in each pot.
The layer should 1 – 1.5” (25 – 38mm) deep.
Don’t forget to wash the media before adding it to the base of each pot.
4. Choose the correct nutrients and additives
To keep your pipework free of blockages, pick a nutrient that is mineral based.
Stay away from anything made from organic ingredients (such as seaweed and molasses). These kind of nutrients are biologically active. When used in your system they can:
- Block pumps and pipework (they’re often very sticky)
- Ferment and foam (even worse when oxygenated)
- Lower oxygen levels
The guys at AutoPot say to avoid anything thick and gloopy. If an additive is so thick that it needs to be mixed in warm water before use, steer clear.
To check, leave a teaspoon of the nutrient in a glass of water overnight. If it has separated by morning, don’t use it. After all, if it separated in the glass, you can bet it’ll do the same in your pipework.
We recommend using:
• SHOGUN Samurai Terra Nutrients (soil)
• SHOGUN Samurai Coco Nutrients (coco)
5. Use a water pump to mix the nutrient solution
It’s a good idea to keep the nutrient solution in your reservoir well mixed.
Don’t try to do this with an air stone or aeration pump – use a small flow water pump.
6. Use a line cleaner
To keep the nutrient solution flowing smoothly through your system, use a line cleaner.
We recommend using ATA Clean. It’ll remove mineral deposits, algae build ups and generally keep your pipes and pump clear.
If you’re using unfiltered water, a line cleaner is a must.
7. Make sure the gravity pressure is right
AutoPot systems don’t use a water pump (no noise – bonus!) Instead, you use gravity to deliver feed to the pots.
To do this, it’s important that you place your reservoir at least 6 inches higher than the top most AQUAvalve.
8. Drain off 1 – 2 litres of nutrient solution every 2 weeks
The point of this is to flush your lines, to prevent any sediment from settling in.
To do this, simply turn on the end taps found at the end of your 16mm pipes.
9. Flush the plants via the reservoir
When it’s time for the final flush, you don’t have to directly flush your pots. Just add pH balanced water to your reservoir in the week or two leading up to harvest.
The only time you’d need to flush your pots is in extreme cases of overfeeding or nutrient lock-out.
If this happens:
- Remove pots from their trays
- Pour several litres of water into them
- Allow to drain
- Restart at half strength feed
10. Clean the system after each harvest
You’ll want to pay special attention to:
- Your AQUAvalves
- Scrub them or put them in the dishwasher
- Remove all silicones before cleaning (and only replace when dry)
- Your pipework
- Use a line cleaner
- ATA clean is great
11. Never sit AutoPot trays on COLD concrete floors
Doing this will chill your nutrient solution.
The answer’s a simple one. Place a polystyrene tile under each tray.
12. Always set the ‘AQUAValve’ before use
You should do this before use and after cleaning to get consistent growth across all pots.
It’s not as technical as it sounds. All you need to do is:
- Remove yellow rubbers from the valve
- Squish them a little
- Re-insert them
It’s that simple.