Often times the reason you start something leads you to a whole new discovery about the world and yourself.
This is a story about the chasing the AeroDragon. Its a long one, so stop reading now if you have better things to do.
Image Curtesy of AeroDragon Channel on YouTube
Aeroponics is by far one of the hardest and most complicated ways to grow plants. It has been around since at least the 1930s when Israeli scientist and inventor Ein Gedi started building AeroSystems for plant production in the desert. From their NASA took a shot at chasing the AeroDragon without much commercial success. Other chasers include AeroFarms and Aessence. The former stopping at growing microgreens (Smart move cause you can crop in 2 weeks with minimal root zone development) and the later developing a very complex spray-o-ponics system that crashes more plants than it grows (at least according to a buddy of mine that claims he helped design their original systems).
By far one of the most commercially viable uses for Aeroponics is clone production via Ez-Clone machines and all the copies that came after them. The problem is that most people take the aeroclone and shove it into soil and then stunt the shit out of the clone. At that point they were better off just taking another 5 days and rooting clones with another method.
My history of Aeroponics started in 2006 when I owned a grow shop in Portland Oregon. Every day I spent talking with growers about how much they yeild and how they accomplish it. One day, 2 Old Time Outlaws came into my store and claimed they were getting 8 LBS of weed per 1000w light. Of course I said bullshit and when I asked them how they did it they said "AERO". Granted this was 2007 when most people could not get 2 LBS per light, Today the standard is 3 LBS per light if your a pro grower. In fact back then Advanced Nutrients had a 2+ feeding schedule that said you where guaranteed 2lbs a light if you feed their salt nutes to your system.
This is where the story gets interesting, I told them I had to see what they were doing. So they blindfolded me up and drove me to their grow. They had plants that where 20" high with 18 oz of weed on them and the root zones looked like giant white mushroom colonies. Another thing I noticed was the Trichome prodcution was off the charts. The plants where white everywhere even on the stalks. When I saw the plants they had growing, the trichome production and the root systems I was hooked. I started chasing the AeroDragon and never looked back.
The first problem I saw with their systems was the delivery method. They where using booster pumps (Above 120 PSI) and impingement head nozzles built on manifolds similar to the ez-clone but way better. The pumps typically burnt out and it was almost impossible to keep microbes alive in their systems. Out of every 10 grows 2 would crash.
The other major issue was root zone temp. Once the root zone gets above 65 Degrees the an-aerobics start growing fast. Hence the overly insulated AeroTray. The other main issue was micron size and pressure. They had the right micron size but too much pressure. The Microfog Atomziers solved that issue.
A good buddy of mine said "Serpa, just give up on trying to sell systems and grow weed with the knowledge, you'll be rich and retired in a year." He was probably right but I was never in it for the money. It was always about growing the plants to their highest genetic potential and sharing that knowledge with the world. That always fascinated me far more than a pile of cash.
Today what I have realized is that it agriculture is all about water. Water is money. Water is scarce. Water is extremely valuable. If you have water on your property it is probably polluted in some way, (Well water has bacteria and all kinds of minerals that need to be filtered out). If you are allowed to collect rainwater, you have to pay for the water storage tanks and you need to use the water as efficiently as possible(you also gotta filter it). If you pay for water your fucked cause you always have to keep paying. If you plan on going to the moon or mars or your building a bunker, you need water and it gonna cost a lot more than you think. If you grow plants with water, you most likely adding nutrients and biologics which is like adding Cash to the water and gets expensive fast.
To summarize, by chasing the AeroDragon I became conscious of water and ultimately energy. As growers if we can save water, we save energy, money, time and ultimately have a competitive advantage in the marketplace. If you decide to chase the AeroDragon look out cause its highly addicting and pushes you and your plants to levels you might not know exist.
Good Luck and Happy Aero Growing.