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Hi mattitude, It is *strongly* advised never to use any type of organic / bio-degradable / decomposing grow media (ex: Coco Coir) in a recirculating hydroponic system such as the TG. That being said, there are certainly other inert grow mediums you can use. However, it is important to keep in mind that when it comes to growing with the TG, the rockwool starter plug's primary purpose is to provide an optimal environment for seed germination and initial root development - all of which takes place in a tray, prior to being placed in the TG. Once placed in the TG, the grow media's only remaining purpose it to provide some rudimentary support to the plant base until the root system fully matures inside the TG.
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I have to jump in on an this conversation, because I do use coco coir, BUT in hydroponic pots...NOT in the TG.
Having experience with coco coir - and I really like it for pots - I totally agree with Joed, it would be a MESS in the TG. It would create havoc for the pump...and make a mess of your reservoir water. In addition, the stability of the plants in the net pots would be questionable, because you would constantly be losing coco coir - like silt - every time the pump came on.
Rockwool is actually a perfect medium for the TG.
Do you know if the rock wool you buy from JuicePlus/Tower Garden suppliers is the same grade/kind of rockwool you can get from your local "Big Box" store? I'm not running low yet, but was thinking I can get a big bale and cut some squares to use in the TG.
Thoughts? Is there something different about the TG sold rock wool and the stuff I can get at my local home store? Is there something I should look? Are there additives in the rock wool, or is it really just the plain structure of the wool that supports plant growth?
Thanks for all you do in this forum. I personally appreciate the way you handle each question and enjoy your positive attitude regardless of the situation! Happy New Year!
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You can also order it from Amazon. Been getting it from them for a year; nice clean rockwool; never had a problem with it. Also, you can get it in a variety of sizes. I personally like the 1 1/2" which fits the net pots perfectly.
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"Do you know if the rock wool you buy from JuicePlus/Tower Garden suppliers is the same grade/kind of rockwool you can get from your local "Big Box" store?"
- It is not the same. See below.
"Is there something different about the TG sold rock wool and the stuff I can get at my local home store?"
- Yes. See below.
"Are there additives in the rock wool, or is it really just the plain structure of the wool that supports plant growth?"
- There is a binding additive (natural chalk). See below.
Unless the rockwool product packaging clearly states that it is "horticultural grade", do NOT use it for growing plants.
This doc will provide additional detail:
Rockwool in the TG
FYI: Excerpt from the doc above:
Sources for Horticultural Grade Stone Wool
One of the largest and most trusted providers of horticultural grade stone wool is GroDan. GroDan is part of the ROCKWOOL Group. I would recommend that if you elect to purchase Stone Wool grow medium from a source other than from TowerGarden / JP+, that it be from GroDan. That way, you can be sure the stone wool you are getting is of high quality and specially manufactured for horticultural use. Here are links to the recommended sources for TG stone wool. BTW... TG/JP+ does not manufacture their own stone wool.
From TG/JP+ (a.k.a. GroDan Rockwool)
From GroDan (via Amazon)
Grodan is the one I've been using for over a year now.
Even works well when planting cuttings into TG.
Would Rapid Rooters (http://a.co/9Mqx3ac) be considered an inert grow medium? I've seen a couple of YouTube videos where people use the Rapid Rooters with their Tower Garden, but I'd like to know if this is safe to use with the system. Thanks!
I was going to try to use them but they’re not as good as Tower Garden Rockwool cubes.
I’ve learned to stop trying to reinvent the wheel.
Those root riot plugs will rot in your tower and cause problems. Yes, they can be used, but you need to know they will eventually become a problem.
Hi jenny, It is difficult to get details on the makeup of Rapid Rooter. However, I was able to dig-up this:
"a sponge like material, all natural soilless organic grow plugs made of composted tree bark and organic materials" and "fortified with general hydroponic micronutrients"
For me, Rapid Rooter being made from biodegradable / organic materials immediately eliminates it as an alternative grow substrate in the TG.
Besides... "Rapid" seedling growth comes with several undesirable trade-offs. Faster, in this case, is not better.
Thank you so much for your reply. I'm glad I asked before I tried it!
If you truly care about your plants and solutions, pH should be tested with proper equipment. Also, don't cheap out here.
This is the only pH meter I use now. The solutions are inaccurate. The cheaper ones break REALLY easy. This one is incredible. It's durable, uses easy to find batteries, has interchangeable probes (so you can test soil as well).
I can't tell you how happy I am with this meter after spending a hundred on several crappy ones.