Introduction: Auto Watering Plant Nursery
This is a cheap and great way to grow a bunch of seedling in a small space.
I use a "windowed in" porch.
You will need
Sub-Pump (i used a 500 watt made for dirty water)
Plastic Bottle Caps
Hot Glue Gun lost of glue sticks
A awe on any sharp pointed thing you can use to poke holes in.
Scissors Sharp enough to cut garden hose.
A plastic barrel the size depending on how much tubing your going to need
trays as big as the shelves if they are not solid to catch water
Seed starting containers
Step 1: Step One: Arrange Your Shelving
I used a couple of different kinds of shelving there was 2 cheap plastic ones that came apart, and put them out in front of the window, Then took a metal 3 tiered shelf and put it in the adjacent window.
The plastic shelves i drilled a hole into, and at the bottom they are linked with a drainage tube, into a smaller bucket.
Under the metals shelving i put a big plastic tray, i got these from a pizza shop that was going to throw them away.
MAKE SURE THE SHELFS HAVE ENOUGH SUNLIGHT, the place i set this up at has a lot of sun, So i did not set up any addition lighting here.
Step 2: Step Two: Setting Up Your Pump and Water Supply
Now you have where you are going to put your plants, you can lay out the watering system.
1. Get a big barrel i had this laying around my house. Cut a hole into it big enough for the sub-pump to fit through.
2. Get a sub Pump this i got at a local swap-meet for 25 dollars (talked down from 45). It has a float shut off so if your water runs low it will stop, and not burn out your motor. it is a 500w, the size and strength depends on how far your going to push the water. This works more then enough for this project. And get a "dirty water" model as supposed to a clean water one so it has little legs to stand on inside the bucket, and wont suck its self to the bottom burning out the motor.
3.Take you tubing or small garden hose and connect them to the sub-pump most fit a garden hose, but i wanted to 3 small tubes, so i jammed three hoses into the cap that screws onto the pump. and filled it in with plumbers putty. Electrical taped the whole thing. I made these tubes just long enough to make it out of the barrel. This was so its easier to screw back on to the pump.
4. Put the pump tubing into the barrel fill barrel full of water (test pump see if you didn't get ripped off)
Step 3: Step Three: Irrigation Tubing
Ok now what i did to get full force of the water pressure is i linked everything in a long loop, so one hose splits and loops back and forth on the 3 tiered shelf. The other two complete a long loop around the rest of the plants. I used little screw in hooks to secure the tubing.
and every foot or so the long narrow loop around the plants connects to each other and in the middle of the connection is your sprinkler head.
On the 3 tiers i ran in zig-zag through it until joining it back to the splitter.
Step 4: Step Four: the Sprinkler Head
Now i spent a lot of time designing these sprinkler heads, and you can make them all kinds of ways.
But basically there al the same two plastic bottle caps hot glues together then a hole on two sides or one depending what kind your making. And the hot glue gun melts a nice hole into them.
And take a push pin and poke some holes into the side you want the water to spray out, i used a spiral pattern.
Different types of sprinkler head i used.
1. The Mushroom - two caps joined hole at bottom short tube, and poke holes to spray out top.
2. The Umbrella - Just like the mushroom, longer tube but holes at bottom.
3. The Bottle Cap - Two Tubes go into it at the sides and the water sprays out the top.
For one month i saved the plastic bottles i used and had plenty for this project. I used the rest of the bottles for another project.
Step 5: Step Five: the Auto Watering Timer
So now that all your tubing is secure and connected to the pump, and all the sprinkler heads are attached And you tested The whole system the rest is pretty easy.
I found a outlet timer on ebay, for 45 bucks. Now for this project you need to turn the pump on and off for as little as one minute. This timer has 2 outlets and and turn on/off things 7 days a week multiply times a day. It is really nice. To program it was very easy, I water all these plants once every other day for one minute form 6:00 PM - 6:01 PM.
MON-WED-FRI-SUN this has been keeping my plants very well watered. With Little water running off into the drainage trays.
Now after all that i went to home depot and saw this awesome power strip with a timer in it! for 19.99! so buy this its the same thing but with more outlets,4 use the timer and 4 have continues power.
Now plug in your sub pump to the outlet timer program your plant watering schedule and forget about it.
I fill this barrel about one a month.
Step 6: Step Six: Just Add Plants
Get your seeds, put them in the seeding pots, (or egg cartons) With Some Dirt or potting soil and put them into place.
My plants are growing at a frighting pace! 3 weeks from ago they were planted. you can see them now in some of the pictures
There you go im growing a dozen of varieties of veggies in my porch 4-8 weeks they will be planted in the back yard.
3 years ago
Great job with this project! Very creative and I've never seen anything like it. I've been learning more about hydroponics and have been inspired by your project and this article I've been reading: https://thegrowstore.com/how-to-grow-hydroponics-i...
Excited to get started!
10 years ago on Introduction
You might be interested in my blog about the automatic watering system I have developed. It is based on an Archimedes coil for lifting water. I have used it to start seeds, grow plants in my living room windows, flowers on my patio, and vegetables in my community garden plot
Reply 10 years ago on Introduction
I have updated the blog site with a video of the plumbing of the AutoGardens. I have abandoned the Archimedes coil and now just use a siphon hose from my toilet. The float valve at each tray is a pinch valve made from a floating piece of styrofoam and a piece of PVC squeezing a short length of rubber tubing.
Reply 10 years ago on Introduction
your site is VERY interesting! keep up the good work!
13 years ago on Step 2
not to be a jargon nazi, but the little vertical pump you show is probably a sump pump, for pumping out basements. i would add that they are easily available at most hardware stores as well.
Reply 12 years ago on Introduction
yes you are a jargon nazi
sub is short for submersible pump thats what this is, this is not a sump pump,
Reply 11 years ago on Introduction
Just to join in the reich then...
its an Awl, not an awe. I think most can figure out what you meant but it might help the ones who get lost at that point.
13 years ago on Introduction
gives me an idea.
I've go a water timer I picked up for $20 last year. if I attach that to a spicket on a 55 gallon drum I could have this system gravity fed.
or if someone was really inclined a hose valve a servo and a moister probe and wire the thing in to a computer.
Reply 13 years ago on Introduction
There are actually very simple mechanical valve systems that implement your last idea, using the evaporation of the last bit of water in the tray to set the timing. For example,
Note that that product doesn't take care of pumping water back up. But since it gives the plants just enough water, a single gravity-fed supply should be rationed out with no runoff.
Someone should totally do an instructable on a DIY version of that valve which is more customizable.