Introduction: Gardening Without Earth
This simple hydroponic garden is built on a small slope for drainage from manifold to drain (around 1 in 10 slope) and a hole in the ground for the nutrient tub.
The hose joints are 3/4" hose into undersized holes (around 1/32"-1/64") smaller, try on something else before drilling end caps, the hose should be hard to insert but will make a watertight seal if it's tight enough.
It's important to line the ground with plastic or boards to prevent the rain from bouncing dirt up into the system.
I used 2" pots at the front and plastic 3" cups at the back.
For plants I have been getting plants from garden store and washing all the earth and so on gently with water flow from a slow hose.
When I have enough root to reach the bottom of the tube (2"-3") I put the clean plant into a slit cut in a 2" by 2" piece of rock wool which has been squeezed under clean water to water log and then inserted into 2" pot with hole cut in bottom with roots hanging deep enough to reach nutrient flow.
I then insert into 1 7/8" holes in tubes.
Keep it simple!
Step 1: Manifold Joy and Sight Box With Carbon Filter.
The ability to control the flow of nutrient to each tube and the sight box at the other end are the key to easy flow control.
The sight box has a false floor with holes to keep the carbon filter away from the outlet (more hose) in the bottom of the box with a close fitting top to keep the system clean.
Carbon filter sold in sheets on Amazon, buy big and cut to fit and change every few days at first then as the system is cleaned once a week is good.
Sight box is what my FUGOO bluetooth came in, look for a sturdy plastic box at the supermarket around 10" by 4" by 4" with a clear or easy to remove airtight lid.
I modified a garden hose manifold with an extra tap on the pass through on the end so as to get 5 outputs with taps to balance output.
This allows for the more hungry plants like the tomatoes at the back to get more flow.
The tubes and end caps are 4" triple wall drain pipes (Tru Value) with the caps sealed with white silicon goo.
The stand for the tubes is a piece of plywood with 4" holes cut at the right spacing to maximise the space available.
Step 2: Pump and Water Cleaning.
The 8 gallon tub in the hole (cooler in ground) has 2 pumps inside.
The pumping for the plants is done by a small aquarium pump moving around 80 galls an hour ($10 ebay/ Amazon)
I also added a small pump/UV/aeration unit (Amazon, $18) to pass water through itself and over a internal UV tube and out via an impeller that also draws air into the output to bubble through the clean water.
This pump only circulates in the tub and does not pump anywhere.
Around $150 in parts and 5/8 hours effort.
Nutrient is Miracle Gro for now and I have a small Ph meter and try to keep our potable well water Ph between 7.0 and 8.0.
This is a new system and a close eye needs to be kept on the nutrient level until it all is stable.
See the many 'stuctables on the topic of nutrient composition and concentration.
Water needs topping up when needed and a second pump is a good backup in case the 1st one fails.