As part of research for a project I'm currently working on I tried to make a basic hydroponic system for under £15.
So here it is, super cheap, super simple.
Step 1: What You Need
1x Fish tank pump (£6)
1x 1m 1/2 inch inner diameter tubing (£2)
2x medium sized plant pot (£0.50)
1x 1kg clay pebbles (£3)
1x Chilli plant (£3)
7x tie wraps (£0.50)
1x basin (free in my case but £1 in most shops)
Drill with 0.5-1 mm bit
small piece of wooden doweling
Step 2: Creating Your Sprinkler
Take the length of tubing and insert the doweling at one end, plugging the end diameter of the tube.
Use your drill to put several holes around 20mm apart until you get to the midpoint of the tubing.
connect the open end of the tubing to the fish tank pump.
Step 3: The Planter
In order to keep the plant clear of the water source I used a spare plant pot and secured them together using tie wraps.
I then passed the plugged end of the tubing through the hole in the top plant pot.
Using more tie wraps I secured the tubing in place.
At this point test the pump system to make sure the water will flow through the pot in multiple directions.
Step 4: Planting
If the water is flowing well put a base of clay pebbles into the pot.
To prepare your plant:
Take young plant out of pot.
Break off any soil left on the roots, careful not to damage the roots.
Use running water to clean of the majority of the soil, shake in a bucket of water will also remove some soil.
Place the plant into the pot then fill the rest with the remaining clay pebbles.
Step 5: Enjoy
Fill the basin with fresh water and put the plant and the pump in.
I usually water the plant 2 times a day for about 20 minutes. I try to change the water every 2-3 days, however using a bigger tank will allow you to use the same water for longer.
If you build this it could easily be converted to an aquaponic aquarium, using fish to fertilise the plant. I intend on trying that, but if anyone does it definitely tell me how well it works!
Thanks and good luck!