Home Made Vertical Hydroponic System

Introduction: Home Made Vertical Hydroponic System

About: I love to build grow lights and grow with hydroponics.
I saw a vertical hydroponic system that I really liked but what I didn't like was the $500 price tag.  I thought about it for a while and decided I could design my own system that is similar for much less money.  After about a month of spending weekends running back and forth to the hardware store I came up with this system shown in the videos below.  I call it The Rain Tower because there is a pump in the resivour that pumps the nutrients to the top of the tower and they rain down on the roots of the plants on the inside of the tower.

In this first video above is the test run I did growing 12 lettuce plants.  The results were amazing as you will see.

In this second video I take you step by step showing you all the parts you need and how to put it all together.  Links will pop up during the video but if for some reason you don't see them you can visit the web page here: The Rain Tower Home Page



If you have questions you can email me or visit my site at www.tomorrowsgarden.net

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    22 Discussions

    0
    gabigirlhs
    gabigirlhs

    4 years ago

    Hi there.....I also posted this question elsewhere but the article was quite old-....

    I also saw the same tower for 500$. It looks great but is pricey and doesn't get delivered to Europe... BUT, I really would like to make one myself and am at the beginning of looking into it. I just have one question. Why are stainless steel (or even glass) containers never used? I understand that they are far from cost-efficient and may be more difficult to build but it spares the risk of weird chemicals from plastics or PVC. Or is there something else that goes on that I don't know about yet so that stainless steel shouldn't be used??

    0
    kurt20150
    kurt20150

    Reply 11 months ago

    There is absolutely no reason you shouldn't use any material you would like. The only restriction I could foresee is having the correct tools to manipulate the material into the structure you desire.

    0
    jsweet2210
    jsweet2210

    Question 12 months ago

    If you only have one light, how do you get all your plants the same or right amount of light for this system?

    0
    michaelb2
    michaelb2

    4 years ago

    What is the current best pump? I have burn through three sunsun jp055 pumps in less than a year

    0
    JacksonM35
    JacksonM35

    Reply 3 years ago

    I'm not at all knowledgeable about hydroponics, but I know a bit about aquariums. Your best bet is to go to a pet store that only deals in fish and ask them about it. Chances are that the owners and employees will own fish, and they'll have used pumps in the past. They're likely to know which would be best for moving the amount of water you want to move, how far you need to move it, and how many gallons per hour you need it to move.

    0
    IrvinH2
    IrvinH2

    4 years ago

    I watched your video and it you say to use epoxy its food safe that is not at all true its dangerous filled with chemicals you need to stop giving people false information your going to get someone sick or worse

    0
    ArtisanEclectic
    ArtisanEclectic

    Reply 4 years ago

    Epoxy is chemically inert when cured.

    0
    k2reme
    k2reme

    4 years ago

    like the design i have little different version that uses mist emitters and a single res for all the towers. not in production yet but it works well with one tower

    0
    tomithy1235
    tomithy1235

    6 years ago on Introduction

    I sent you an email but never got a response.

    I was asking about better materials to use than epoxy (which is pretty toxic), and now I am planning on just using normal schedule 40 PVC cement, as that's already intended for safe use with water lines.

    Why did you use the epoxy? It seems like a bad choice to be around plants and water for plants, just for safety concerns.

    Is there any reason not to use PVC cement?

    0
    SleestaksRule
    SleestaksRule

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I would have used something else like other people have been. That epoxy is expensive too but it held up. Mike Walker was using a PVC cement that he said he found near where you buy the fence posts. I haven't looked into it. There are some food safe PVC cement products on Amazon. The actual fence post and 3" PVC pipe are safe. I just checked into that recently and called the manufacture.

    0
    tomithy1235
    tomithy1235

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Yeah, I wasn't concerned about the post or pipe, both seem to be the same material, and I know PVC is safe. I had to order the fence post online, unfortunately, and I just looked and it looks like he uses PVC fence post cement, which does in fact appear to work well.

    I guess my concern just comes in with the (minute, I know) amount of potentially malicious chemicals that could come with that. I know Schedule 40 PVC cement is supposed to be non-toxic (as it commonly holds water line connections together), but I'm also worried that it won't be strong enough to hold more of a joint connection like this, instead of just holding together two pipes that are stuck together with friction. I plan on trying it to see how it works, but maybe I'll research the PVC fence post cement more too, but not being made specifically to be drinking water safe scares me, but perhaps unnecessarily.

    Thank you for your diligent information though, it's inspired me to build one, I just need the time to start the construction, now that all the supplies finally came!

    0
    myoungeleg
    myoungeleg

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    I know this was posted over a year ago, however, I just began constructing one of these hydroponic rain towers. I noticed that you seemed worried about PVC cement in your above post, and also noted that you mentioned that the strength might not be enough "..instead of just holding together two pipes that are stuck together with friction...

    I believe the PVC cement involves a chemical reaction whereby the PVC is dissolved to an extent and when two pieces are put together (at a joint with the cement), the magic of bonding the 2 pieces begins to occur. I think the hardest part about using PVC cement here is that we are having to bond a piece to the side of the post.

    I am planning on finishing up mine today and will likely use some sort of silicone adhesive. Also, in regards to toxins for the plants. I took advice from a soil scientists. If plants can't grow, then the solid has toxins. If plants do grow, its probably safe and healthy.

    Cheers!

    0
    CarlaB1
    CarlaB1

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    oooh... that's good news! I didn't think that vinyl fence posts would be food safe. Is it just their product that's safe, or are they saying that all vinyl fence posts are safe? Did they give you any details about why it's safe? Thank you for your help!

    0
    SleestaksRule
    SleestaksRule

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Call the manufacture. 1-800-336-2383

    They make it for Lowes and Home Depot.

    Press 3 for the tech dept. Ask if it's safe for growing plants. Really nice guy there.

    This is PVC 4 LDPA - Low
    -density polythylene �" not known to leach toxic
    chemicals

    0
    pat.elgee.5
    pat.elgee.5

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Milk jugs are made with polyethylene. Water bottles leach toxins into the water, but milk is held to a higher standard.

    0
    slo5oh
    slo5oh

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    A lot of things like epoxy, PVC cement, concrete are toxic during their chemical reaction stage but are inert after that. Epoxy and PVC cement are used in home aquariums, but only AFTER they are solid. Even concrete can be used, but it can take several months before the concrete is done curing enough that it will no longer spike the water.

    It's the chemical reaction that happens during the hardening process that releases toxins, once the reaction is complete, they become safe.

    0
    shortcircuitaz
    shortcircuitaz

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I used aquarium silicone... good hold... clear... and fish safe...

    got it at Home Depot in the Glue section

    0
    tomithy1235
    tomithy1235

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the tip!

    Just ordered some, I'll have to try it out. Looks like it'll be handy around the house a lot too!

    0
    ktshoema
    ktshoema

    5 years ago on Introduction

    I want to know why the 15 min on/of cycle? I am 99% sure that it would be better for the plants if the pump was on the entire time.

    Check out my system @ https://sites.google.com/site/classroomhydroponics/