Subject: Hydroponic Garden Plans.
Date: 21 May 1994 02:20:13 GMT
I wrote this one up last night... someone wanna stick it in the archives?
- How to Build Your Own Nomadic, Hydroponic Garden -
- On a Limited Budget -
Written, Maintained and posted occasionally to rec.gardens and alt.hemp
These are plans to make a fairly portable, and very inexpensive
water culture (advanced hydroponic) system. These plans only
explain how to make the garden itself, and do _not_ explain how
to use/maintain it. If you plan on using this garden, you should
get yourself a good book on hydroponics, and look it over
(especially the parts about what nutrient solutions to use, your
garden vareity Miracle-Gro won't do the trick).
I am intentionally leaving out those parts about plant
nutrition, light cycles, etc. so as not to appear to be writing
a guidebook for growing marijuana. It is also to make you seek
out _another_ source of information so your knowlege of
hydroponics comes from more than just this file. I do not grow
marijuana, and never have. I'm just a high-tech home gardener
with information to share. If you are caught growing marijuana
while using the system described herein, don't even think of
running to me, I didn't tell you to grow marijuana. In fact,
I'd suggest planting a crop of cherry tomatoes, which can be
fooled into producing fruit indoors year round, and is a very
easy plant to start hydroponics with.
1 5-10 gallon bucket
2 Pieces of PVC or ABS pipe, 8-10" long, 5" or greater diameter.
4 Caps for PVC/APS pipe ends.
1 waterpump capable of about 50 Gallons Per Hour (you will need
a bigger pump if you choose to make this a larger system)
4' of hose that will fit the waterpump (often 3/8")
1 TEE joint (or Y-splitter) that fits the water hose
4 clamps for the water hose (one for pump to hose, and 3 for
hoses to TEE fitting.)
1 Airpump, airstone, and some airline from a fish tank.
1 Can White epoxy based spray paint
1 Can Black Epoxy based spray paint
1. Everything must be made light tight. Paint all hoses, the
bucket, the PVC/ABS (which will be called PVC from now on)
and the lid of the bucket with a layer of black paint. Let
it dry overnight, and then cover it with a layer of white
paint (to make it reflective, and reduce the temperature of
the nutrient solution).
2. Take each of PVC pieces and drill a 1" hole in the side,
about one inch from the end. Then epoxy the caps onto the
ends of the PVC.
3. Drill the inlet/outlet holes (these should be located on the
caps of the PVC), See diagram
+------ 1" hole
Outlet ---> | |
hole | |
| | --- inlet
The inlet hole should be as low as possible (as close to the
wall of the PVC), and the outlet hole should be as high as
4. Now cut two 5" holes in the sides of the bucket (close to the
top), and epoxy the PVC in place, so about 2" of pipe (and
the outlet hole) are inside the bucket, and the 1" hole is
facing straight up.
_ _____|_ _|_____ _
(_________ _________) --- inlet hole
| | ----Bucket
5. Place the airstone in the bottom of the bucket, and find a
place for the airpump. If you are planning an indoor garden,
with enriched CO2 in the air, then the pump should be OUTSIDE
of your enclosure. The idea of the pump is to dissolve
oxygen into the nutrient solution, and not to dissolve CO2.
CO2 can kill rootsystems. If you are growing outside, or not
enriching CO2, then the pump can sit anywhere.
6. Place the waterpump in the bottom of the bucket (assuming it
is a submersible one) and attach a hose to it. long enough to
reach the top of the bucket. Cut a hole in the lid of the
bucket for this hose to go through. Then attach the TEE
fitting to the hose. Now attach hoses to the free ends of
the TEE, and run them to the inlet holes on the end of the
PVC pipes. Use clamps on the TEE fitting and on the pump
itself, but use epoxy to attach the hoses to the PVC. This
seal must be completely water tight. Let them dry for 24
7. Put some water in the bucket and turn on the pump. What
should happen is the PVC pieces will fill with water, and
then when they are full, they should begin to continuously
drain out the outlet holes, and back into the bucket. If you
are getting leaks anywhere, fix them immedately. If water is
coming out of the 1" hole on the top of the pipe, then either
your pump is too strong, or your outlet hole is too small.
Fix one or the other.
8. Empty the system (hint, remove the hose from the pump to
drain the arms), and replace the water with some form of
hydroponic nutrient solution (look in a hydroponics book for
details on what exactly to use, or visit a gardening store,
9. Place your plants into the system. The best way I have
found to do this is to take a 1 1/8" garden hose and cut a
1" tube off of one end. Then slit the tube down one side.
Wrap the stem of your plant (just above the roots) with
polyester fluff (available at aquarium stores, for stuffing
into external water filters) and then wrap the garden hose
around the fluff. Then force the hose into the hole at the
top of the PVC arm. People also have used rubber stoppers.
10. Turn on the air/water pumps, and let your garden grow.
This is obviously just a small setup, but these plans can
easily be modified for much larger systems, using longer pieces
of PVC, or more than one pair of arms, and a larger bucket to
hold the nutrients (I've seen one made with a 55 gallon drum,
and 8 seperate arms, each holding 4 plants)
I personally use this setup indoors (under a skylight in my
apartment) to grow 2 cherry tomato plants. What you do with
your own garden is your own business, and Obviously I can't be
held responsible if you choose to grow anything illegal.
This system is not for seeds. Either purchase small plants, or
start your seeds in a pan of vermiculite, flooded with 1/2
strength hydroponic nutrient fluid. When they are about 4-6
inches tall, they are ready to be moved to the system. Remove
them gently from the vermiculite, using clean water to get
every last chunk off of the roots. Then wrap the stems in
polyester fluff and garden hose (see above)