12 Hot Tips for AutoPot Systems

12 Hot Tips for AutoPot Systems

Paul
Paul
11 Mar 2016

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:

  • Light
  • Fluffy
  • Free draining
  • Aerated
  • Absorbent

The guys at AutoPot recommend using a 50/50 mix of:

  • Perlite or clay pebbles (50%)

with

  • Coco, soil or rockwool (50%)
Canna Canna

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.

Gold Label Gold Label

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)

SHOGUN Samurai Terra SHOGUN Samurai Terra

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

AutoPot System AutoPot System

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.

AutoPot AutoPot

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.

AutoPot AutoPot

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
AutoPot System Tips AutoPot System Tips

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

- Oxy-Plus 11.9% is also good for sterilising your equipment between each crop.

AutoPot System AutoPot System

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.

AutoPot System Tips AutoPot System Tips

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.

AutoPot System AutoPot System

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Paul
Paul
About the author

Paul is our Merton shop manager. If you haven't met him yet, he's as friendly as they get. 

GroWell Hydroponics Merton

Call GroWell Merton:
020 8648 6327