Step 1: My First Build
Double Bucket System
this is a homemade built version of an expandable hydroponics tub for a cost to build of 100$ est. (pump and parts prices vary)
list includes recycled parts from around house to buying simple cheap affordable pumps and +/- air stones with plastic tubing drip emitters.
- for a 4 bucket system that is easy to expand for more and other options
-4 plastic coffee cans preferred with plastic snap on lids
-4 plastic 4" or 6" net cups ( I made ones out of 6 " pots and cut extra holes for net)
-approx 10 ft of 1/4" water emitting tubing + 4 drip emitters and stakes. Some 1/4" t's and elbows
-approx 1ft 1/2 " black water line.
-1 plastic tote (roughneck ) blue (paint it black then white also paint coffee cans too)
-2 pumps one submersible other air pump and stones
Some assembly required LOL...
1 - wash and clean all plastic buckets and pumps (1 time a week) AND at first set up clean coffee cans very well with soap and water bleach works too.
2 - I used a chainsaw file heated up to poke holes through side coffee cans near bottom. (I did leak test and it worked :) )
push 1/4" water tube into bottom of coffee and connect to a 1/4" T and connect to other coffee can same manner. This will turn out to be your mini Dutch bucket system.
Now poke1/4" hole into tote now add 1/4" hose through hole.and connect to T connecter from coffee cans. Now this will drain from cans into tote. do this twice to make a 4 bucket system. or figure out a system of having them all drain in 1 line.
try leak tests now before running whole system or moving on. Use hot glue if needed. I never did
3 - Cut 4" or 6" holes into coffee can lids. depends on your preference of size. Use 3" if want.
Your net pots should fit tight and snug into lids and centered. snap on top of cans. now this is double bucket system. Easy to replace plants and clean as desired. place lid onto tote and place coffee cans on top of lid.
- I had thought of cutting.holes.through lid so buckets sit in lid and drain into tote.
This eliminates the drainage lines.
I like the idea of how it looks cool with all of the water/drainage lines and you add how ever many buckets you can manage within reasons.
4 - Setting up pumps and water emitting lines.
screw fitting onto pump to accommodate 1ft of 1/2" water line. cap off end of 1/2" line
push 4 - 1/4"drip emitters into 1/2" line and add 2 ft 1/4" lines onto emmitters (x4. )
poke 4 - 1/4"holes. through tote and run lines through holes. and up to net pots. all Holes for water/drainage lines should be about 2" to 3" below lid of tote. cut a slot into lid of tote to accommodate for power cord on pump or drill large holes for plug to fit through.
add air stone into tote and hook up to air pump ( keep air pump above water level at all times) that's pretty much it. It is fairly easy to set up, easy to run, take down, clean and change plants. Use whatever growing medium u prefer but if on a budget use Styrofoam I used an old seat cushion sterilized with boiling water and voila. u can use bit and pieces
cut up or cut circles to fit top of pots and use as aeroponics setup. try to set cans up any way you think will work. DWC, AEROPONICS, HYDROPONICS, DRIP LINES ETC. I belive that thus system would work to on a drain to waste system with soil or soil less medium. provided you add a filter in bottom of coffee cans so particles of dirt and perlite don't clog drainage . Also a good addition for this project is to purchase a ball valve for 1/2" line and run a drain line out for your tote to drain water for easier times in cleaning ;) .
for plastic leaching into soils I'm not sure... but I'm not too worried about it. plants want nutrients not plastics. I am growing ornamentel house plants, herbs, and medicinal cannabis in this system and all plants are loving it.