In this instructable I am going to be showing you how to make a cheap and easy Deep Water Culture hydroponic system, suitable for many different plants!
Overall this project cost me around £20 or $26, so the system is a nice intro to hydroponics.
I hope you enjoy my instructable, enjoy! :)
Step 1: Materials
The materials and tools you are going to need include:
A hand drill, with a drill bit slightly smaller in diameter than your plastic tubing.
A permanent marker
An Stanley knife / exact-o knife, as sharp as possible.
A max of five mesh pots, the number depends on how many plants you want to grow (no more than five for a small plastic container, or the plants will be overcrowded)
A bag of expanded clay pellets, or another growth medium of your choice. - a mix of coco coir and clay pellets works very well for most plants.
A dual output aquarium or hydroponics air pump
Two air stones with at least 5 feet of plastic tubing
An opaque plastic box - it must not let light in as this will encourage algae growth and root rot
This can be scaled up to any size you want, just increase the size of your air stones, the amount of mesh pots, and the size of your box.
Step 2: Cutting Air Tubing Holes
In this step we will cut the holes needed for the air tubing
First you are going to measure the center of one side of your box. Mark it with a marker.
Then measure 1cm either side of the center and mark these points. This is where the holes will go.
Drill two holes at these points, and remove any burrs with the knife. Then push the tubing through the holes to ensure a tight fit. If the tubing does not fit through the holes you will need to resize the holes. If you have drilled the holes too big, you may want to seal it with silicone sealant. This is probably not needed to it's best to be on the safe side.
Step 3: Cutting Mesh Pot Holes
In this step we will be cutting the holes for the mesh pots
The best way to start this step is to place the mesh pots in the places you want them, on the lid, for example, if you are using five pots place them similarly to the photo.
I chose to use two, as I only have two plants I want to grow, but I would recommend making five holes, as it allows room for expansion. Bear in mind if you make five holes, and only plant in two, you will need to cover the other three holes to stop light entering the box.
When you have marked the holes on the lid, start to drill a circle of holes just inside the marked ring. It is very important you drill the holes inside the ring, or the mesh pot holes will be too big.
Once you have drilled the holes start to cut around the ring using the knife. Cut between each hole. Do not put too much pressure on the knife when cutting as this may crack the box.
If your box does crack, like mine did, just get some ductape and cover each crack with it, on the top and bottom of the lid. This will stop any cracks from propagating.
Place the mesh pots in the holes you have made to ensure the holes are the correct size.
Step 4: Connecting the Air System
To set up the air pump you will need to pass the air tubing through the holes you drilled in step 2.
Connect the tubes to the air stones and the air pump, as shown in the photo. It is generally best to place the air stones below where your plants will be. This will ensure the maximum amount of oxygen will reach your plant's roots.
Step 5: Finished!
You should now have a ready to go DWC hydroponics setup. All you need now is plants, nutrients, and water.
Before placing your plants into the mesh pots make sure you thoroughly wash the clay pellets, to remove any clay dust.
Unfortunately, I will not be offing a guide to hydroponics with this setup, but there are many places to find such guides. I would recommend this site. Ignore the marijuana bits, if that isn't what you are growing. The principles behind the post apply to any plants grown hydroponically.
I hope you enjoyed my instructable, and thanks for reading!
p.s (if you really enjoyed my instructable, I would really appreciate a vote on the low water gardening challenge)