Introduction: Aeroponic Barrel Garden

This project was a test I did to see how much food I could grow in a small space. A garden like this will work exceptionally well in both large and small yards and take up a fraction of the space of an average in-ground or raised bed garden.


  • (1) 55-gallon barrel (food grade)
  • (50) 3/4 in. PVC 45-degree elbows
  • (1) 1in. PVC T connector
  • (1) 1in.slip x1/2in.screw PVC T
  • (1) 1in. x3/4in. slip adapter
  • (1) 1in. male endcap
  • (1) 1/2in. PVC male screw 1 1/2 in. long
  • (1) WaterMaster 360-degree sprayer
  • (2) 1"x3' PVC
  • (1) 1in.x 3/4in. 90-degree elbow
  • (1) 3/4"x 2' PVC -(1) 3/4" Hose/Slip swivel
  • (1) 2'x 3/4" Hose
  • (1) 1/4 horsepower pump - Waterproof silicone

Step 1: Drill Holes for the Elbows

The elbows are spaced 7.3 inches apart to the sides and 5 inches down. There are 5 rows of 10 going in rings down the barrel. I spaced the top ring 10 inches from the top edge of the barrel and the bottom ring ends about 5 inches from the bottom.

Step 2: Cut Holes for the Drain and Water Supply

In order to spray the roots of the plants, we have to put port in the top of the barrel for the sprinkler. I used a 1 3/4 hole-saw to put a hole in the center of the top. For the drain in the bottom, I used a 1 1/4 spade-bit for this. There was a ridge through the center of the of it, so I used a chisel to make it flush against the bottom.

Step 3: Attach the Elbows

This is the most difficult step. The holes that have been drilled for the elbows will be very tight and it will be very difficult to pop the elbows in. They have to be this tight so that there aren't any leaks around the elbows. I put a ring of silicone around the elbow, and with a little manipulating, they will fit snugly into the barrel.

Step 4: Add the Drain

In order to attach the PVC T for the drain, I had to use a PVC adapter on the inside of the barrel to slip onto the T connector. After I put silicone on it, I lowered it into the barrel with a smaller piece of PVC pipe and was able to hold it down and push the T onto it from the bottom.

Step 5: Connect the Water Supply

To hook everything up, I connected a short hose to the pump, and the hose screwed onto the slip/hose adapter. I used a short piece of 3/4 PVC to connect that to the 3/4" x 1" 90-degree elbow. I then ran a section of 1" pipe to the 1" slip x 1/2" screw T with an endcap on one side. I screwed the 1/2" PVC screw into it and then screwed the 360 sprinklers to that. Make sure you use Teflon tape so that the system doesn't leak.

Step 6: Conclusion

This garden grows plants without soil which provides the roots with more oxygen and can directly deliver nutrients straight to the plants. I use General Hydroponics fertilizer for my barrels and it seems to be working really well. I have to add more fertilizer every two weeks or so because the plants absorb it really quickly. I built an Arduino timer so that I had more control over how often the plants get watered, and currently I have the pump on for 5 minutes and off for 15, day and night.

Backyard Contest

Participated in the
Backyard Contest