Instructables

Simple DIY Hydroponics net pot/basket from recycled bottles

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Quick, simple, easy and cost effective way to make your own net pot/basket for your hydroponics garden out of used/recycled plastic bottles and nylon mesh shower sponges. Unlike typical net pots/baskets, the opening is typically smaller, so the water evaporation is reduced. The design is also more flexible for different sized of holes to suspend these nylon net pots.
 
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Step 1: Material and tools

Materials and tools:

Materials:
1. A recycled plastic bottle, one with a plastic hoop around the neck like most soda bottles.
2. A nylon mesh. You can find it as packaging materials. Here I use a cheap nylon mesh showering sponge I got from Walgreens. 3 for $2.

Tools:
A scissor.

Step 4: Take off the plastic ring around the root of the bottle opening.

Take off the plastic ring around the base of the bottle opening. Be careful not to deform it because we'll put it back later.
nfarrow3 years ago
what is your growing medium?

Hydroton

gymnast nfarrow3 years ago
Fired clay balls.

I am trying Something like this, I will post updates at a later time.

killbox7 months ago

the rest of the bottles can be used for parts storage, or as flowerpots. http://www.flickr.com/photos/killbox/12994528474/

kovakyl2 years ago
I made one of these in my window vertically useing plastic bottles. Turned out pretty good and was around 100 bucks all in all
You can check it out at youtube
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AVQPIls-PI
scottinnh3 years ago
I -really- like this trick about the bottles. The funny thing is, recently I began just saving bottle necks and caps from soda water bottles.

I figured I could use them for something water-related, but wasn't sure just what for (I am a homebrewer and a gardener, so an application would eventually be found).
Brilliant! I'm definitely going to use this idea somewhere. Who said this stuff needs to be expensive?
cfishy (author)  wiley coyote5 years ago
Thanks! I wish there's a cheap way to do PH and EC metering... the meters are so expensive!
I have been having trouble with my hydro nutes because I needed a meter to find the E.C. Ahoy Ebay comes in I found a meter that does just what I want for under 20 bucks, of course you can spend as much as you want but I think the expensive ones are for commercial water systems and are sold to those of us who get suckered in by the high price means better BS. I have found though that using quality hydroponic nutrient and filtered water without chlorine etc added works well.
There is.... don't. Spend no money on such things until you need them, I would say. From what I've read and experienced, it will be less trouble and cheaper to just change your nutrient solution often, which will be necessary after all the testing and tweaking anyway. Your plants, reservoir size and method will actually dictate this rate among other things. I'm trying to re-invent the wheel, however, so you may not want to listen to me.
cfishy (author)  wiley coyote5 years ago
On that thought, I'm too lazy to change nutrients, so my objective for the growing chamber would be easy drainage. Do I need to change more often than every two weeks if i have a smaller nutrient reserve?
Me to, which is why I'm reinventing the wheel. The nutrient reservoir MUST be easily accessible for drainage/fillage/anything else WITHOUT disturbing the plants. I've found the plants themselves to be the biggest pain once grown. Generally speaking, the smaller the reserve, the more often you'd have to top it up.
Wiley (or whoever wants to respond) I'm totally new to hydroponics and want to try lettuce/spinach. 1. How did you modify the pop bottle or Juice jug or whatever so that it's easy to drain the nutrient??? 2. Do you dump the nutrient on other plants or totally throw it away?
cfishy (author)  wiley coyote5 years ago
uh.. too late. I already spent a lot of money on a high end tester and now I can't afford the rest of the supplies... hence this instructable. I still don't have a good light source; my window gets about 5 hours of direct sunlight if lucky. I'm thinking maybe using aluminum foil to reflect sunlight back to my window but I'm afraid of uneven burn.
I would take it back. I made the same mistake when I purchased my first aquarium, but found that the testing wasn't necessary IF I kept up on the water replacement/exchanges, but that's just me. There's a lot of good info out there for the DIYer, but you need look no further than this website to find what you need to do it for virtually NOTHING. Good luck. If you crinkle the foil, it will reduce the ability of the sheet to focus the light and therefore burn. I use aluminized mylar myself and get only morning sun and they........uhhh................don't die ............ uhhh ....... much.
bwpatton14 years ago
WOW cool, when I start another aeroponics setup I will have to use these, because I have to go pretty far to get the mesh baskets.
Awsome Instructable
If you need a bag on the quick; minute rice sells those 5min rice bags that could work. Eat the rice first.
vrkelley5 years ago
Thank you! It's winter and our garden shops don't sell hydroponic medium, or nets. So I used an onion bag, 1 Gal Cranberry jug (no cutting), and this medium and tossed it under a fluorescent grow light::

2t Miracle Grow 1t Epsom salt (from pharmacy) to 1gallon water
1 teaspoon Dr. Earth to the 1/4 C peat, 1/4 C perlite
Onion bag lined with a thin paper napkin to prevent the medium from leaking

Total cost:
1.29 Epsom salt (enough for probably 50 plants)
0 Miracle grow (had it)
4.59 Peat (enough for ~500 plants)
0 Perlit (had it)
0 Lettuce seed (had it)
5.88 for 2 lettuce plants. A total of 3 jugs that competes w/ store priced lettuce

Plants are already sprouted using this method:
http://www2.ctahr.hawaii.edu/oc/freepubs/pdf/HG-42.pdf - will post in 6 weeks
cfishy (author)  vrkelley5 years ago
Cool! Will the roots be able to poke through the paper and get into the nutrient?
vrkelley cfishy5 years ago
The paper was pretty flimsy so by the time the roots get that big, they should be able to bust through. The plant is supposed to use up all or most of the nutrient so there is little or no waste. You don't need a meter or any other equipment. If you try this please post your results
vrkelley5 years ago
Whopps let's try that again: Wiley (or whoever wants to respond) I'm totally new to hydroponics and want to try lettuce/spinach. 1. How did you modify the pop bottle or Juice jug or whatever so that it's easy to drain the nutrient??? 2. Do you dump the nutrient on other plants or totally throw it away?
cfishy (author)  vrkelley5 years ago
1. I think somebody responded to wiley's brilliant thread about using a valve to direct nutrients by pumping it. Since you already have a pump that pumps nutrients, all you need to do is to direct it elsewhere to drain it... 2. I dump the nutrient to my soil plants, including the lemon tree in the back yard. It makes the lemon grow like crazy and I use them to lower the PH in nutrients. I also do composting for the soil garden. I did well with romaine lettus but I'm not having much success with spinach germination so far... What I read is that commercial growers use deep water culture (the floating foam on nutrients aerated using aquarium stones) for lettuce because it likes water so much. this little bottle basket would be perfect for that. if you are floating with foam, you dont need so many pellets, you just need enough so that the plants don't fall down... Lettus grows really fast, so you can replant frequently.
vrkelley5 years ago
Thank you so much. What sort of medium is that?
juanj5 years ago
Great idea! What are you using as a growing medium?
cfishy (author)  juanj5 years ago
Thanks! The idea is to use cheap and free stuff, as long as they: 1. can support the plant. 2. does not react to the nutrient, which is slightly acidic 3. does not fall through the net into the nutrients, causing clogs in your water filter. So I guess, for a hanging pot, anything like little rocks, aquarium stones, marbles, BB gun pellets, etc would work just fine. I just started hydroponics this weekend, so I don't have a good setup yet. In this picture I showed some expanded clay pellets I have laying around. I used that to put it on the nutrients directly without suspending it on anything because these clay pellets float. (One still need to block sunlight from the roots, in this case I used more expanded clay pellets.)
cfishy (author)  cfishy5 years ago
oh, I just remembered that 4. the medium also needs to have enough gaps for the roots to grow thru. 5. no sharp edges to harm the roots. This basket is not rigid, so the growing medium will move a little bit. So I guess BB gun pellets might be a bit too small for this purpose...
I like your "objectives". You'll also need to shield the nutrient from sunlight or algae will grow. Chip bags and the like work great as a UV shield in my experience.
jareiko5 years ago
Very resourceful!