Introduction: Home DIY Gravity Drip Irrigation for Herbs and Plants

Set up a cheap precision drip gravity irrigation system for indoors / hi-rise home~

- Low maintenance self-watering for vacations
- Precise customized delivery of water to plants
- Vehicle for precise, uniform fertilizer delivery
- Cheap readily available / recycled parts
- Eco-friendly. Zero energy use, zero carbon emissions
- Scalable and easily customizable
- Better, cheaper and more precise than commercially sold drip systems

Step 1: Parts Needed

Parts are easily available from any aquarium shop

1. Air tube

2. T valves

3. Stainless steel air valves

4. Largest available soda bottle

5. Cable ties, hooks and thin plastic rope for suspension of soda bottle

Step 2: Preparation!

- Check the diameter of the air tube and find a screw driver with approx slightly smaller diameter

- Heat the screwdriver tip on stove and carefully make a hole at the base of the soda bottle so the air tube can fit tightly

- Heat the screwdriver again and make a small hole in the center of the soda bottle's cap for air exchange, small enough so insects such as mosquitos can't get in

- Fit the air tube into the soda bottle base and test for water leakage. Non-toxic silicon for waterworks can be used to secure the fitting

- Tie a cable tie around the neck of the soda bottle and tighten it until it can be comfortably hold up by a S hook.

- The soda bottle's height placement must be higher than the plants. Secure the plastic string and hook with soda bottle.

Step 3: Water Tubes and Valves

1. Measure the airtube from the soda bottle to your plants and cut.

2. Fit a main stainless steel valve to the first section from the soda bottle. This 'main valve' allows you to shut off / start the water flow to all plants.

3. For each plant pot you have, use a T valve and stainless steel valve for drip watering. Secure the airtubes with cable ties for a neater look.

4. Terminate the line with a stainless steel valve set to stop position.

Step 4: Finish!

Your home gravity precision drip irrigation is ready for use!

Carefully test each section for water leakage. Secure with silicon or glue if necessary.

To top up the water in the bottles, use a large funnel and a spare soda bottle, probably once a week depending on number of plants, flow rate and bottle size.

You can add on more soda bottles for more water storage capacity, just make sure the bottles are higher than the plants. During water top up, you would need to loosen the lower tier-bottles' caps to allow the water to flow from the high tier bottles and tighten it when it is almost full to prevent overflow.

Use a water-based fertilizer concentrate and add to the bottles according to the dilution instructions.

Enjoy your home gravity precision drip irrigation!

Comments

author
Najn_arte made it!(author)2017-01-07

Can you please tell me why you need two bottles hanging higher than the two other bottles and the higher bottles connected to the lower bottles? I am guessing there is a good reason, but please tell me.

author
moou made it!(author)2015-11-16

Where did you buy the valves

author
lunakid made it!(author)2015-11-19

Yes, yes, that was my first question, too!

author
cneibarger made it!(author)2015-11-20

You can find them with aquarium supplies at about any pet store.

author
lunakid made it!(author)2015-11-21

Cool, thanks!

author
TampaGeek made it!(author)2015-11-18

I've toyed around with a very similar idea for a hydroponics approach. Instead of just water in the bottles, have water plus nutrient solution, and then "drip to waste" into a soil-less growing medium. Been looking for a main valve that could controlled by a timer of some sort, battery powered.

author
Akin+Yildiz made it!(author)2015-11-18

you can use valves and pumps with arduino. very small and can be controlled auto or manually from your phone/internet. ever looked into this.?

author
FlorinJ made it!(author)2015-11-20

Arduino is expensive for such a project. I was considering a system based on analog electronics at some point, but for a few dozen pots even this would be expensive. I think keeping it strictly mechanical is the cheapest solution.

author
Akin+Yildiz made it!(author)2015-11-20

under $15 you can wifi automize the above system and pretty much anything else.
1. wifi arduino; http://www.ebay.com/itm/1Pcs-ESP8266-ESP-201-Remot...
2. pump; http://www.ebay.com/itm/DC3V-Micro-Pressure-Oxygen...

3. rechargable battery; http://www.ebay.com/itm/2600mAh-External-Portable-...

4. soil sensor; http://www.ebay.com/itm/5PCS-Soil-Humidity-Sensor-...

.
controlled from your phone (or auto), completely mobile (or wall adapter) and small enough to fit inside your palm.

author
TampaGeek made it!(author)2015-11-19

Yes, as sort of a "Phase II". Wanted to do a "proof of concept" without too much automation first.

author
Jack+Rodgers made it!(author)2015-11-19

Idea...

Two containers of water connected by a piece of hose in a u shape will maintain an even level of water, just place them so that the tops are level and start with level water. Hold the tube under water and after it is full, place fingers over both ends and position one end in both containers.

Add water in one container and the level will rise in the other.

Consider how the floating device in a toilet will turn on the water if it is below a shut off level. Use that idea to control your water level.

Or, use one of the pressure sensitive toilet valves which I prefer. These can be adjusted to open water flow if the water falls below a certain level There is a screw adjustment for that.

Will either of these work for a small amount of water flow, less than half a cup a week?

The idea is a start...

author
Jack+Rodgers made it!(author)2015-11-19

The ancients did wonderful things with gears and water flows. Think water clock. Google a few terms to get the feel for it and I'm sure you'll find some method of doing this mechanically. Gravity is your best friend.

author
kboo1 made it!(author)2015-11-18

was exactly looking for a compact valve timer but no luck yet. do give us the good news if you come across one!

author
hvweezel made it!(author)2015-11-20

Set up a cheap precision drip gravity irrigation system for indoors / hi-rise home~
How many plants do you have to consider it cheap ?

I have 100+

author
FlorinJ made it!(author)2015-11-20

You can get most tubing from hospitals, from perfusions given to non-infectious patients. You can build poor man's valves simply by bending a piece of tube and clamping it bent with a large paperclip or a laundry plier.

Put the tip of the pipe through which the water comes out half an inch or so into the ground, and your watering system will also be a lot more economical. Only, you'll need some way other than visual to assess when your plant had enough water. If you re-calibrate once every few months, you can use weight - very rough weight indicators, as you'd need for watering, are not that complicated to build.

author
FlorinJ made it!(author)2015-11-20

You can get most tubing from hospitals, from perfusions given to non-infectious patients. You can build poor man's valves simply by bending a piece of tube and clamping it bent with a large paperclip or a laundry plier.

Put the tip of the pipe through which the water comes out half an inch or so into the ground, and your watering system will also be a lot more economical. Only, you'll need some way other than visual to assess when your plant had enough water. If you re-calibrate once every few months, you can use weight - very rough weight indicators, as you'd need for watering, are not that complicated to build.

author
dmajheni%C4%8D made it!(author)2015-11-20

How can this be precise?
The control is with a valve, the push comes from gravity, which makes pressure, and the pressure changes according to water level and the lenght of of the hose. The pressure could be made more steady if the botles would lie instead of stay.
The hoses could be in parallel, so each plant has its own hose. That would make it more precisse, but wouldnt call that precise either.

author
gerhardus.stroebel made it!(author)2015-11-19

Necessaty is the mother of invention

author
ryan8816 made it!(author)2015-11-19

Woohoo support SG talent!

author
Akin+Yildiz made it!(author)2015-11-18

this is just great. so simple yet effective.!! check out these solutions if are not getting enough light;
https://www.instructables.com/id/LED-lights-1/

12240098_898338496909657_2460981491249282152_n.jpg
author
RichK13 made it!(author)2015-11-17

use this drip set used by doctors.

Micro-Drip-Infusion-Set.jpg
author
billbillt made it!(author)2015-11-15

BRILLIANT!!...

author
DIY+Hacks+and+How+Tos made it!(author)2015-11-15

Great idea or keeping the plants watered, especially when you are away for a few days.

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