How long do my plants stay watered in the Octopot Grow System?
In most cases, both the Octopot 6 gallon Grow System and the 3 gallon Grow System will water a plant for 10+ days. Enjoy the freedom from your garden without needing anyone else to care for your plants. The amount of time between watering an Octopot Grow System can vary depending on the size and stage of the plant, as well as the environmental conditions. For example, plants grown outdoors in hot temperatures and mature plants require more water. See the Octopot Auto Fill System for extended periods between watering for large gardens.
Why is the Octopot Grow System a hybrid?
Octopot’s innovative shallow water culture system offers the best of both worlds. Octopot Grow Systems combine all the benefits of soil cultivation and hydroponic growing with less effort using fewer resources. Plants in Octopot Grow Systems naturally grow two root zones, a terrestrial root zone in soil and a hydroponic root zone in water. Plant roots grow exponentially because Octopot’s hybrid design automatically supplies the correct amounts of water, nutrients and oxygen consistently and continuously throughout the life of the plant without equipment that depends on electricity.
Octopot’s deliver high performance plant production, reduce labor, and cut inputs saving growers time and money. Octopot Grow Systems provide the efficiency and productivity expected by professional growers, along with the simplicity and sustainability desired by beginning growers. Octopot Grow Systems were invented by a degreed Horticultural Professional with decades of experience in agriculture. Octopot is dedicated to making growing simple, sustainable and profitable.
How do plants in Octopot Grow Systems develop two root zones?
In general, plant root architecture can change over time and plant roots transform to adapt to environmental stimuli. In an Octopot Grow System, root transformation occurs in the space above the water provided by Octopot’s Hydro Wick® Platform. High humidity levels in the transformation zone create the correct conditions that signal a plant root to differentiate and adapt to living in water. The hydroponic root zone inside Octopot’s Hydro Reservoir is well oxygenated keeping plants healthy and productive.
Why don’t plant roots drown in Octopot’s Hydro Reservoir?
Plant roots in Octopot Grow Systems transform their root architecture as they grow down into Octopot’s Hydro Reservoir. Octopot’s hybrid design creates an environment that signals plant roots to differentiate. Plant roots are morphologically formed to live in water. Plant roots have an intrinsic desire to reach water. In general, plant roots will grow in the direction where the correct environment of air, nutrients and water exists to meet the plant's needs. Octopots support plants with the correct environment of water, air and nutrients.
The determination of a plant root to seek out the correct environmental needs of the plant can be very strong. Over time, given the right conditions, roots can crack foundations, snap water lines, and lift sidewalks. Once roots find the water they are searching for they grow very fast. Imagine plant roots growing into a septic system. Any septic professional can tell you a story or two of how they have discovered and removed very large root mass from septic systems, sometimes up to several hundred pounds. These root balls are very difficult to remove and are only limited by the space they inhabit.
How does the Octopot Grow System deliver oxygen to plants without added equipment like an air stone or a bubbler?
Octopots are designed with a large surface area of water in the Hydro Reservoir for efficient oxygen transfer. Oxygen is attracted to water and naturally there is an atmospheric exchange at the surface area of water. Octopot’s design creates the balance of water and oxygen necessary to maintain healthy conditions for plant roots to thrive. Dissolved oxygen present in the water of Octopot’s Hydro Reservoir reflects a balance between oxygen producing processes (e.g. photosynthesis) and oxygen consuming processes (e.g. aerobic respiration). Octopot Grow Systems create an oxygen rich environment where dissolved oxygen is added to and removed from the system by atmospheric exchange (aeration and degassing). Octopot’s revolutionary hybrid design supplies plant roots with the oxygen they need without added equipment that requires electricity. No dependence on electricity means lower energy bills and no plant loss from equipment failures or power outages.
How do Octopot Grow Systems prevent stagnant water?
Octopot Grow Systems are designed to supply dissolved oxygen to the hydroponic root zone which prevents stagnant water and anaerobic activity (anaerobic bacteria grows in places with no oxygen). Octopot Grow Systems create an oxygenated environment that promotes efficient aerobic respiration and evaporative cooling. Using Octopots as directed will not cause root rot or stagnant water.
How do Octopot Grow Systems prevent root rot?
Root rot is caused when soil is oversaturated with water and roots are deprived of air/oxygen. Octopot’s hybrid design prevents root rot in three important ways. First, the terrestrial root zone inside Octopot’s Gro Sleeve® is never over watered and the soil profile is well aerated. Second, the hydroponic root zone inside Octopot’s Hydro Reservoir is well oxygenated by the atmospheric exchange at the surface area of water, oxygen is attracted to water. Third, plant roots naturally develop in the Hydro Reservoir and are morphologically formed to live in water. Octopot’ hybrid design creates the correct environment that prevents root rot and stagnant water.
How do Octopot Grow Systems prevent over and under watering?
Octopot Grow Systems provide plants with a balanced ratio of water, soil and oxygen to consume on demand so plants never suffer from periods of drowning or drought. Octopot Grow Systems automatically water plants up to 10 days or more depending on the size and stage of the plant. Octopot Grow Systems provide the correct environment for plant varieties to develop specialized root zones based on the moisture and nutrient needs of the specific plant variety. Plants will develop as few or as many roots in Octopot’s Hydro Reservoir as that plant variety needs for consistent feeding and moisture, just like a tree that lives on the edge of a pond.
Inside Octopot’s Gro Sleeve® a plant develops its terrestrial root system which is different from the hydroponic root system that lives in the water of Octopot’s Hydro Reservoir. Terrestrial feeder roots in the soil develop mainly in the top three inches above the Hydro Wick® Platform where soil, water and oxygen conditions are optimal. Only the small cup of the Hydro Wick® filled with growing media is submerged in the Hydro Reservoir allowing natural capillary action to consistently feed and water the plant. Nutrients and water wick up into the soil through the Hydro Wick® and don’t have to move far to reach the terrestrial root zone. When using Octopot Grow Systems outdoors, plants are protected from being over watered during rainy weather by allowing extra water to escape the system maintaining the balanced ratio.
How Do Octopot Grow Systems reduce the risk of plant loss?
Octopot’s dual root zone design creates a buffer that extends the life of the plant and protects precious harvests in a way that containers, fabric pots and hydroponic systems cannot. Using Octopot Grow Systems as directed will create healthy productive plants however human error can put plants and plant harvests at risk. Root burn from accidental over fertilization can destroy plant roots inside Octopot’s Hydro Reservoir, and allowing the Hydro Reservoir to go completely dry will cause damaging dehydration which can kill a plants hydroponic root zone. Even if the hydroponic root zone inside the Hydro Reservoir dies, the terrestrial root zone inside Octopot’s Gro Sleeve® remains hydrated and buffers against over fertilization for an extended period of time keeping plants alive. To recover from root damage caused by over fertilization or dehydration, simply empty and clean Octopot’s Hydro Reservoir, remove all dead roots and flush the soil with clean water before refilling the Hydro Reservoir. In many cases, the living roots inside the Gro Sleeve® will send down new roots to the Hydro Reservoir and continue growing.
Do Octopot Grow Systems require water chillers?
Octopot Grow Systems do not require water chillers. Octopot Grow Systems have been tested by successfully growing healthy plants outdoors and in greenhouses during temperatures over 100 degrees. Octopot’s Hybrid design allows a much wider range of temperatures and pH levels than traditional hydroponic systems. Octopot’s dual root zone design supports plants by supplying each root zone with oxygen, food and water. If water temperatures rise in the Hydro Reservoir, the hydroponic root system can draw extra support from the terrestrial root system to remain healthy, and vice versa. Both root zones in Octopot Grow Systems benefit from evaporative cooling. Octopot’s Hydro Reservoir offers a large surface area where water cools quickly. Octopot’s Gro Sleeve® aerates the soil for efficient evaporative cooling.
How do Octopot Grow Systems reduce the need for chemical treatments and pesticides?
Using Octopot Grow Systems prevents plants from acquiring soil borne diseases which require costly chemical treatments. Octopot Grow Systems are closed systems that prevent plant roots from growing outside the container like other planters and fabric grow bags. Plant roots in Octopot Grow Systems never come in contact with the surrounding soil when used outdoors, in high tunnels or greenhouses. Urban growers and city dwellers can be sure that plant roots in Octopot Grow Systems will never be exposed to soil that may be contaminated.
Octopot Grow Systems fight Fungus Gnats reducing the need for pesticides. Fungus gnats search out moist soil to lay eggs. Octopot’s bottom feed design creates an arid top layer that is unsuitable for Fungus Gnat reproduction. Lastly, using Octopot Grow Systems reduces the need to weed, or use weed killers.
Can Octopot Grow System be used as a recirculating system?
No, don’t waste your time or money! The hybrid nature of the Octopot design requires no recirculation like other hydroponic systems. The quality of crops grown in an Octopot Grow System compared to the Octopot Grow System used with additional recirculation shows no benefit. Octopot Grow Systems and Octopot Auto Fill Systems are better than recirculating systems because Octopots are easier to use, less expensive to install and maintain, and require no power to operate.
Can Octopot Grow Systems be used for Aquaponic growing?
Yes, Octopot’s Hybrid design is great for Aquaponics. Using Octopots for Aquaponics is similar to the way the Octopot Auto Fill System works except that aquaponics is a circulatory system. Simply connect any number of Octopot Hydro Reservoirs to the plumbing between the outflow of the water filters and the fish tank.
What is the benefit of an Octopot Auto Fill System?
The Octopot Auto Fill System reduces labor for large scale growers by extending or eliminating the task of watering, reducing labor costs. Octopot Auto Fill Systems require no power to operate so they can be used anywhere indoors, outdoors, in greenhouses or high tunnels. Any number of Octopot Grow Systems can be connected to a gravity fed water reservoir or a direct water source. Adding a fertilizer injector to your gravity fed water reservoir can eliminate another time consuming task and assure that appropriate amounts are delivered to plants uniformly. Octopot’s Control Reservoir maintains water levels keeping plants consistently hydrated. Octopot Auto Fill Systems can be configured in different ways to fit any space. The Octopot 8 Way Auto Fill System is available at Octopot.com.
What is the 3 gallon Octopot Grow System used for?
Using Octopot’s 3 Gallon Grow System avoids labor intensive and risky transplanting. Octopot’s Gro Sleeve and Hydro Wick work interchangeably in both 3 and 6 Gallon Hydro Reservoirs. When plants outgrow the veg stage simply remove the Octopot’s Gro Sleeve with plant and place it in Octopot’s 6 Gallon Grow System to continue growing. Octopot’s 3 Gallon Grow System fit close together under a standard indoor light fixture so no space or light is wasted, and power costs are reduced. Octopot’s 3 Gallon Grow System provides water to smaller plants for 10+ days. Using Octopot’s 3 Gallon Grow System protects plants and potential yields by avoiding transplanting and the risk of transplant shock.
Can I grow plants to maturity in the Octopot 3 Gallon Grow System?
Octopot does not recommend growing plants to maturity in the 3 Gallon Grow System unless space is severely limited. Expect frequent watering schedules and smaller hydroponic root zones for plants grown to maturity in the 3 Gallon Grow Systems.
Is there an Octopot Auto Fill System in the 3 Gallon Size?
Octopot does not recommend growing plants to maturity in the 3 Gallon Grow System unless space is severely limited. If you want to grow small plants fast as in sea of green gardening, then an Octopot Auto Fill set up using the 3 Gallon Grow System might be appropriate. For best results, grow plants to maturity in Octopot 6 Gallon Grow Systems.
Which growing media should I use with Octopot Grow Systems?
Octopot Grow Systems require a high quality well-aerated growing media that promotes high air capacity. Octopot recommends a 60/40 ratio – specifically 60% high quality soilless mix with 40% perlite. Sunshine® Mix #4 is a professional growing media that works well. Octopot Grow Systems may also be used with sustainable Coconut Coir or Coir blends. Warning: Heavy compacted soil will prevent Octopot Grow Systems from functioning.
What happens if I use the wrong kind of soil with Octopot Grow Systems?
Using heavy compacted soil will prevent Octopot Grow Systems from functioning. Plant roots in heavy compacted soil may never reach or develop properly into the Hydro Reservoir inhibiting healthy plant growth. Roots can drown in heavy compacted soil because it is not well aerated. Octopot recommends using a high quality well-aerated growing media of 60% soil (sphagnum peat moss and composted bark or similar) with 40% perlite. Add a small amount of fertilizer to your soil blend if it’s not already included in the mix by the manufacturer.
Why does soil in Octopot Grow Systems require 40% Perlite?
The soilless mixes and professional growing media used with Octopot Grow Systems must have 40% perlite. Perlite may be added to any soilless mix to achieve the 40% ratio. Perlite provides space between soil particles where water and nutrients easily flow to plant roots in the Gro Sleeve®. Perlite must be well blended into all the soil or growing media before adding it to the Gro Sleeve®. Do not add Perlite alone to any part of the Gro Sleeve® or Hydro Wick®.
Can Growing Media Be Reused in an Octopot After Harvest?
After harvest, soilless peat based blends may be replenished and reused by adding fresh organic matter such as worm castings, mushroom compost, composted bark or similar, and perlite if necessary. Recharge the soil with a small amount of fertilizer before planting. Check with the manufacturer for instructions before reusing coconut coir growing media.
How do I feed my plant in the Octopot Grow System?
Starting with a high quality growing media charged with fertilizer gives seeds, clones and plant starts a great start in the Octopot Grow System. After planting, add fertilizer and nutrients directly to Octopot’s Hydro Reservoir. Feeding roots directly inside the Hydro Reservoir is the most productive way to grow with Octopot Grow Systems. Simply add water soluble organic or conventional hydroponic nutrients to the Hydro Reservoir. Even if young plant roots have not yet reached the Hydro Reservoir, nutrients and water are transported upward into the growing media by capillary action. Octopot Grow Systems are closed systems that waste nothing from washout, therefore require less fertilizer.
What kind of fertilizer does Octopot Grow Systems require?
Conventional or organic water soluble fertilizers work best with Octopot Grow Systems, and quality is important. It is essential to fertilize seeds and starter plants inside the soil or growing media until plant roots grow to reach and develop inside the Hydro Reservoir. Fertilizer is often included in bags of high quality potting soil so be sure to check the manufacturer’s label before adding more. If no fertilizer is present in your growing media, simply add a small amount to the soil in the Gro Sleeve® at the time of planting.
After planting, Octopot recommends adding organic or conventional water soluble fertilizer to the Hydro Reservoir. Feeding plant roots inside the Hydro Reservoir is the most productive way to grow with Octopot Grow Systems. To avoid damage from root burn, you may need to reduce fertilizer amounts by 50% or more of manufacturers’ recommendations. Octopot Grow Systems are closed systems that waste nothing from washout, therefore require less fertilizer.
Can I Use Hydroponic Nutrients With Octopots?
Yes, simply add water soluble organic or conventional hydroponic nutrients to the Hydro Reservoir. Feeding plant roots inside the Hydro Reservoir is the most productive way to grow with Octopot Grow Systems. Octopot Grow Systems are closed systems that waste nothing from washout, therefore may require less fertilizer and nutrient application. To avoid root burn from over application test nutrient levels with an EC meter. Some hydroponic nutrients may be used full strength, consult the manufacturer or your indoor garden center professional for recommendations. A general range is 600-800 ppm.
Can I Use Traditional Organic Fertilizer With Octopots?
Yes, simply add organic fertilizers or amendments to the soil in Octopot’s Gro Sleeve ® at the time of planting. Fast-releasing nutrients may require re-applications. Slow-releasing nutrients or heavy organic compost teas will wash through the soil into the Hydro Reservoir. High concentrations of organic matter in water can demand added oxygen. If added oxygen is necessary to keep heavy organic nutrients efficiently mixed in the Octopot Hydro Reservoir simply add an air stone set on a timer for equal amounts of time on and off. Caution: Running an air stone continuously in an Octopot Grow System can disrupt levels of dissolved oxygen causing pH swings. Octopot Grow Systems are closed systems that waste nothing from washout, therefore may require less organic fertilizer application. Consult your organic garden professional for recommendations.
How can I control pH levels in Octopot Grow Systems?
Water with a balanced pH is the goal for both soil and hydroponic growing because it affects the availability of nutrients to plant roots. Octopot Grow Systems allow a much wider range of temperatures and pH levels than traditional hydroponic systems. To check water pH, simply insert your pH meter into one of the holes provided in the Hydro Reservoir. Use pH up or pH down to adjust major differences.
Octopot Grow Systems are hybrids so the pH ranges of hydroponic growing methods are typically more acidic than what is best for Octopot’s hybrid system. Nutrient levels should be less than levels normally used in standard hydroponic growing systems.
A major cause of pH swings in an Octopot Grow System is the misuse of air stones. Running an air stone continuously in an Octopot Grow System disrupts oxygen levels causing pH swings. To prevent pH levels from fluctuating when using air stones set them on a timer with equal cycles on and off so the water in the Hydro Reservoir has the time to recover.
Is water quality important when using Octopot Grow Systems?
As with any other garden, water used for growing plants should be free of contaminants and excessive minerals. If you have questions about your water quality, have it tested.
Do Octopot Grow Systems need to be flushed or drained during the growing cycle?
No, Octopot Grow Systems do not require flushing or draining during the growing cycle. The Hybrid nature of the Octopot Grow System prevents fertilizer and nutrient build up in the Hydro Reservoir. Fertilizers and nutrients do not require micromanaging in Octopot Grow Systems. Octopots work with a wider range of pH levels and nutrient levels than most hydroponic systems.
Plants grown in Octopots utilize the optimum levels of fertilizer and nutrients that they require. Unused fertilizer and nutrients remain available to plants for luxury consumption. Luxury consumption occurs when nutrient levels are above optimum and plants take up more of a nutrient than needed for functioning and production. Excess nutrients are a benefit to the plant up to a critical level. The toxicity level is the nutrient level at which there is so much of a nutrient that it can harm the plants. To avoid toxicity or root burn from misapplication of fertilizers or nutrients simply test levels with an EC meter.
Flushing or draining is not necessary unless misapplication of fertilizer or nutrients has accidently occurred. To treat conditions of over fertilization simply empty the Hydro Reservoir, remove any dead roots and flush the soil with fresh water before refilling. Roots inside Octopot’s Gro Sleeve® remain alive for an extended period of time even if roots suffer root burn or die inside the Hydro Reservoir. Tests show that in most cases roots inside the Gro Sleeve® last for days or weeks after the death of roots inside the Hydro Reservoir. Depending on the size and stage, a plant will often send down new roots into the Hydro Reservoir and continue growing.
What if I really want to flush or drain my Hydro Reservoir between nutrient changes?
Octopot Grow Systems are simple to plumb with a drain as seen in the Octopot Auto Fill System.
How do I change the nutrients in the Octopot Auto Fill System?
There are two simple ways to change out fertilizers and nutrients when using the Octopot Auto Fill System.
1) Shut off the flow to the control reservoir from the main water reservoir and let the water levels inside the individual Octopot Grow Systems be consumed by the plants and then change to the new solution.
2) Use the drain valve on the main line that comes with the Octopot 8 Way Auto Fill System to drain the entire system.
How do I plant in an Octopot Grow System?
Octopot Instruction Page is included with your purchase. You can also find the Octopot Instruction Page at Octopot.com. Please read the SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS and ASSEMBLY INSTRUCTIONS included with your Octopot Grow System before following these planting instructions.
- Assemble Octopot Grow System according to the instructions included with your Octopot
- Adjust Gro Sleeve® if necessary (see Adjust Gro Sleeve®)
- Moisten Growing Media before filling Gro Sleeve®
- FIRMLY Press Growing Media into Hydro Wick® and Gro Sleeve®
- Pull Gro Sleeve® gently upwards while FIRMLY PACKING Growing Media
- Insert seed or rooted plant start - One plant per Grow System
- Water over the top just once approximately one quart to half a gallon
- Fill one half of Hydro Reservoir with water because seeds and young plants require less
- Add fertilizer to Hydro Reservoir if necessary (see System Requirements - Fertilizer/Nutrients)
- Increase water level in the Hydro Reservoir as plant grows
- Do not water over the top of the soil after initial planting
- Decrease water level in the Hydro Reservoir at the end of the plants life cycle
Seeds and starter plants benefit from fertilizer inside the growing medium until they reach the Hydro Reservoir. Fertilizers are often included in high quality potting soils so check the manufacturer’s label before adding more. If no fertilizer is present in your soil blend simply add a small amount to your soil before planting.
How do I adjust the Gro Sleeve®?
Place moisture loving plants closer to the Hydro Reservoir by rolling down the Gro Sleeve no more than 2 - 3 inches and adding less soil. For plants needing dryer conditions add soil to the top of the Gro Sleeve. The bottom of the Gro Sleeve® can be rolled up if preferred.
What is the best way to add soil or growing media to the Octopot Gro Sleeve®?
Uniformly filling and packing the soil into the Octopot Gro Sleeve® can be challenging. In general, make sure to moisten the soil or growing media before filling the Octopot Gro Sleeve®. Set the Hydro Wick® inside the Gro Sleeve® then firmly press the growing media into the Hydro Wick cup. Fill the rest of the Gro Sleeve® by pulling it gently upwards while FIRMLY PACKING the soil or growing media. If growing media is not firmly packed, the Gro Sleeve® will sag or slouch.
Alternative Method: Cut the bottom out of a standard five gallon bucket. Place the wider side of the bucket on the lid of the Hydro Reservoir. Set the Hydro Wick® inside the Gro Sleeve® then place them together inside the bucket. The Hydro Wick® will line up and lock into the pins on the bottom of the Hydro Reservoir. The support of the surrounding bucket makes packing the growing media firmly easier. Simply remove the bucket by pulling it upward after filling the Gro Sleeve®. Then adjust the Gro Sleeve® as necessary for your plant variety.
How do plants get food and water when roots haven’t reached the Hydro Reservoir yet?
Watering and feeding plants directly inside Octopot’s Hydro Reservoir is the most productive way to grow plants in all stages of growth. A consistent supply of water and nutrients move upward from the Hydro Reservoir into the soil or growing media by Capillary Action keeping young plants well fed and hydrated. Capillary action is defined as the movement of water (and all of the things that are dissolved in it) within the spaces of a porous material (the soil or growing media) due to the forces of adhesion, cohesion, and surface tension.
Can I water over the top of the soil or growing media in an Octopot Grow System?
No, watering and feeding roots directly inside the Hydro Reservoir is the most productive way to grow with Octopot Grow Systems. Watering over the top of the soil in an Octopot Grow System inhibits the development of the second hydroponic root system in the Hydro Reservoir. Plant roots will grow in any direction where the correct environment of air, nutrients and water exists to meet the plant's needs. Watering over the top of the soil signals plant roots to stay close to the top where they expect more water to be delivered regularly.
Over the top watering or adding water to the soil/growing media is not recommended after the initial planting (see planting instructions). Seeds, rooted plant starts, or clones thrive in Octopot Grow Systems with only one over the top watering at planting time to settle soil and eliminate air pockets. As a plant grows their root systems develop and naturally grow toward the water in the Hydro Reservoir where they can feed continuously on demand.
How do I use Octopot Grow Systems outdoors?
Octopot Grow Systems provide plants with a balanced ratio of water, soil and oxygen to consume on demand so plants never suffer from periods of drowning or drought. Octopot Grow Systems protect plants from being over watered during rainy weather by allowing extra water to escape the system. Watering and feeding roots directly inside the Hydro Reservoir is the most productive way to grow with Octopot Grow Systems indoors and outdoors.
How many uses will I get from an Octopot Gro Sleeve® ?
Octopot Gro Sleeves® are reusable. Simply hand wash and hang dry. Octopot customers report up to 10 uses per Gro Sleeve® when growing indoors. Outdoor use is limited to 1 – 3 uses depending on the weather conditions. Replacement Gro Sleeves are available at Octopot.com
Can I use a standard five gallon bucket with an Octopot Grow System?
Octopot Grow Systems can be used with five gallon buckets however side by side tests show a 30% increase in plant growth by using Octopot’s Gro Sleeve®. Drill holes in the bottom of the sides of the bucket for water and roots to pass through, then cut a five inch diameter opening in the middle of the bucket to accommodate the raised platform with lock pins for the Hydro Wick®. The Hydro Wick® should fit snug inside the bucket and rest on the lock pins inside the Hydro Reservoir. Avoid using any container that is smaller than a five or six gallon bucket.
What is the easiest way to move plants in Octopot Grow Systems from room to room?
Using a 3 gallon Octopot Grow System for early stage plant growing makes everything easier. Octopot 3 Gallon Grow Systems are easy to carry or put on a cart. You can also pull an Octopot 3 Gallon Grow System on the floor by inserting a rod or long handle with a hook into one of the round openings. The Octopot 6 Gallon Grow System can be pushed across the floor by using a large push broom against the side of the Hydro Reservoir.