Ultimate Vertical Hydroponic Farm on the Cheap.. Gift away green crops!

Picture of Ultimate Vertical Hydroponic Farm on the Cheap.. Gift away green crops!
*** for more info and pictures please visit my blog at http://thehydroponicexperiment.blogspot.com

Ok guys i apologize for the crappy instructable .. i kinda rushed it in order to make it to the gift contest... i obviously lost that one.. so i'm coming back to fix this one... maybe i can do better in the Shopbot contest :)

Ok originally i said a lot of things about a concept.. i wrote a blog while building this and i reused the stuff i wrote back then.. of course this is no longer a concept.. i fixed it into almost a final design.. i'm going back and cleaning this up so if i left concept or past tense stuff please forgive me.. 

Looks like i lost all of the contests i entered and i'm not elegible for the gardening contest going on right now.. So if you liked my instrcutables and you learn something. please vote for me in my other contest entries..  right now i need all the votes i can get..  my best contest entries are the following... i organized them in the order of chances of winning.. please help by voting for me

RIght now i believe my best chances of winning are on this Nano holder with earphone organizer. So please!! vote for me

.25 ultra slim minimalistic Wallet, money clip, metal bottle opener, credit card that could be attached to your android case

This is a link to my iphone wallet case.. so please vote for me here too .. thanks

MaryamA19 months ago

Hey! I am happy I came across this! Its looks so good. I know this was a while ago but I am very interested and have a few questions!

Firstly, how much veg do you produce roughly/ average yield of the system?

How long does it take for the veg to fully grow?

How much space do you need for it?

How much water do you use?

Sorry if you've already answered these questions!

Thanks a lot! :)

yellowcatt1 year ago

There should soon be LED growlights available , more efficient than fluorescent lights.

Have you listened to the Urban Agriculture podcast?

You can harden off your plants before moving them by adding a fan that keeps a gentle breeze going over them. This simulates outdoor conditions, making your plants tougher like they would have to be to survive outdoors.
oakern2 years ago
I am thinking of building it but what is the electric costs of running it?
HuntClubJoe3 years ago
Hate to be *that* guy, but there are some points that should be addressed (yes, even eight months after the fact):

1. The flat surface inside downspout tubing requires a steeper angle for proper drainage, and makes algae growth more likely (yuck!). I can well imagine why you needed to switch to net cups: With regular beer cups, the flat part of the bottom of the cup would sit more or less flat on the bottom of the tube, blocking both drainage and oxygenation. Net cups may help, but are the solution to a problem that you can eliminate by design. With round tubing, only the edges of the cup would rest on the tube, leaving a channel below for nutrients and, critically, air. 4" round tubing would probably be best, but 3" could work if you use smaller cups.

2. Those elbows...yeah. The flexible pipe has folds which drain poorly and, being flat, are also prone to algae. When you're siliconing and taping plumbing, there's a problem. Best bet would be lengths of round tubing with elbows glued on both ends, then fed one into the next with a slip joint (to allow for disassembly/cleaning/reconfiguration). Chance of leaks if glued properly (which is dead easy): zero.

3. ***IMPORTANT*** Your comment about needing a high-flow pump to lift the water high is incorrect. Looking at the chart for your Sunterra fountain pump, I see it moves 70 GPH @ 4' of lift (head). By 5 feet, it's down to zero. There are similarly-inexpensive pumps which are designed for lower flow, but higher lift. Get one before you burn your house down! (Note: This probably should have been point #1.)

4. Aspiring hydroponic gardeners should calculate the current draw of their lights, pumps and anything else that will go through their timer before deciding if a "cheapo" is okay. Should someone plug six 4-bulb fluorescent fixtures (not overkill for indoor gardening) into a power bar, then the timer, they would exceed its safe working limit. In that case, they would need either multiple "cheapo" timers or a heavy-duty industrial timer (e.g. Intermatic).

All that aside, the fact that you've grown some plants with this setup means you're obviously doing something right. By all means, rock on!
kleinjahr3 years ago
Ahemp! Nicely done, of course no one would even think to grow anything for recreational use. Mind, if one did grow such a plant,or two, it would only be for the purpose of doing an instructable on rope making. Riiight.
mstyle183 (author)  kleinjahr3 years ago
lol.. did you get a link to this page via rollitup.com? do u have the link or article.. i wanna read it.. i see it as a source of clicks on my stats... thanks
aaronjehall3 years ago
is mojito mint really any different from peppermint?
mstyle183 (author)  aaronjehall3 years ago
dont think so.. for some reason i had a hard time finding seeds so i had to use cuttings
StCanna3 years ago
I love your use of materials! The first thing i though then i saw this is "where would i put the fish tank for a aquaponics setup?" I was thinking to have water/effluent from a fish tank pumped up to the top as you are doing and then the larger containers on the bottom could use a bell siphon equipped bed to dump back into the fish tank. That way you would maintain an organic system without having to continually purchase "nutes" and you could produce edible fish as well. If you haven't done any research on aquaponics just search the word on youtube and you will get way more than you can watch and also search the name Murray Hallam as he is one of, if not THE, leading authorities on the subject of building aquaponic systems.
mstyle183 (author)  StCanna3 years ago
I want I do aquaphInics.. I'm a bit afraid but I was afraid of hydroponics and I managed just fine with my 1st set up.. I got to find a cheap fish tank alternative.. The big blue container I use in my second setup might hold small fish .. I will try this on my next set up
Just make sure you do some research on the subject. Aquaponic systems need to "cycle" before they can support the plants without added nutrients. Also the big blue container you refer to probably won't be a good choice for fish long-term due to the fact that most of those contain BPA and will slowly leach into the water and eventually kill off the fish as well as being absorbed by the plants you hope to eat. Usually the solution is to get some type of container that is "food-safe" or BPA-free although i have wondered about taking one of those cheap containers and just coating the inside with a "marine" resin as that would be safe for constant water contact once it cures.
mstyle183 (author)  StCanna3 years ago
thanks.. i'll read up on this
mstyle183 (author)  StCanna3 years ago
I want I do aquaphInics.. I'm a bit afraid but I was afraid of hydroponics and I managed just fine with my 1st set up.. I got to find a cheap fish tank alternative.. The big blue container I use in my second setup might hold small fish .. I will try this on my next set up
july19623 years ago
I don't know about this. Once some of the bigger plants get tall, they're going to be growing up in front of the ones behind them. I would think this would only work for plants that stay small, except for the top row.
mstyle183 (author)  july19623 years ago
I used this for lettuce .,, I think my biggest plants were romain lettuce and curly kale and tomatoes .. I grew them in the small pots... Once they got big I moved the romain and curly kale to the top and the tomatoes to the side reservoir... No. Issues after that
dbennett3 years ago
I'm worried about mold growing in the folds of the flex pipe. Have you noticed any problem with this? I've read the instructions for commercial hanging gardens and they always direct you to dismantle and thoroughly clean, preferably with bleach, the whole system each month. ☹
mstyle183 (author)  dbennett3 years ago
I didnt have any mold issues ... I had minor algea issues at the end of the harvest or season... Mainly on the elbow part.. This was because the elbows aren't as apaque as possible,, I added some duck tape around them and this fixed that issue... I'll keep an eye on mold,. But like I said no issues so far
jmunoz103 years ago
Amazzzzing!!!! I cant wait to start this project!!!
AaronJBobb3 years ago
Awesome Instructable! I'm almost done collecting all the supplies. I was wondering what type of pump you used? How many GPH is it? And where did you get it?
mstyle183 (author)  AaronJBobb3 years ago
i added more detail.. and i will add more pictures soon.. good luck man
mstyle183 (author)  AaronJBobb3 years ago
awesome!! i used
Sunterra 120016 Large Fountain Pump, 200 GPH, Black
i got it at amazon for like 25 bucks about 2 years ago :) but for my second system i bought one from a guy in craigslist for like 10 bucks.
don't forget to buy the black hose.. also a pvc pipe to reinforce the hose and keep it straight
Thank you! I'll post pics once everything is done. Can't wait to get things growing!
Excellent instructable. I especially like how you tell what did NOT work and why, in order to save others some frustration.

I might try this. Outdoor vegetable gardening in north Texas is so challenging that I have decided to move most of my efforts indoors.
mstyle183 (author)  CatTrampoline3 years ago
This worked excellent... it had couple of leaks but nothing major... once i almost killed my garden because i put too much nutrients.. but this was my error and not the fault of my system.. The ultimate reason it died because of a pest.. again my error not my system.. i shouldnt have bought plants from stores.. since they usually come with pests..

I will expand on this instructable more.. if you have any questions i will be happy to discuss it and expand on it on my instructable..

If you referring to my vegetable comment.. this system was not very effective with vegetables because for vegetables you need lighting more powerful than florescent lighting... something like HSF lighting.. but i didnt have the money to drop on such light.. i was able to grow cherry tomatoes.. but not real tomatoes..

However, in my next set up i plan to introduce HSF lighting.. if i get some money.. :)
Awesome. Very nice setup. :)
mstyle183 (author)  jessyratfink3 years ago
thank you!!.. it was very efficient and cheap compared to any other set up i've ever seen