This system is a self-composting indoor garden. The purpose was put be able to grow veggies at home and reduce waste by composting the kitchen scraps. Since the garden will produce foods it was important to use only organic materials such as soil, kitchen wastes and glue for the PVC/bucket joint. Vote if you like it, thanks!
What you need:
- 5gal bucket (or similar) ~ $3
- 4" x 36" PVC ~ $10
- Charlotte Pipe 4" PVC DMV Cap ~ $15
- 4" PVC DMV Hub x FIPT Female Adapter ~ $14
- 4" MPT PVC Clean Out Plug ~ $7
- Vigoro Clear Plastic Saucer ~ $1
- PVC Cement ~ $5
- 1 1/4" Sheet rock screws
Total ~ $60
- Screw gun w/Phillips head bit
- 1" Paddle drill bit
- Utility knife
Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.
Step 1: Bucket and PVC Size
Select a bucket size that is reasonable and will produce enough food for what you need. I am limited to an apartment and only have a corner of a room that gets the necessary sunlight. Then pick PVC that is long enough to hold enough of your kitchen waste and also narrow enough to leave room for the vegetables to grow and develop roots.
Step 2: Cutting the Bottom for the PVC
Flip the bucket upside down and without driving yourself crazy, find the approximate center of the bottom of the bucket. Place the cap on the bottom and highlight the inside circumference with a permanent marker (as seen in the photo). Cut the outline using a utility knife.
Note: Make sure that you only cut to the inside size of the PVC because you'll need to secure the PVC cap with the threading to the bottom using PVC cement and a few screws.
Step 3: Secure the Female PVC End
Make sure that the drainage cap can fit through the whole fairly easily. Then use the screw gun and 1" paddle drill bit to make holes all over the bottom of the bucket (as seen in photos) to allow water to drain from the soil to prevent mold from growing.
Now, secure the bucket to the female adapter using the pvc cement. Let this set for a while maybe even over night. I wanted to be sure it would stick, so I placed the pvc pipe in the female adapter. Screwed the clean out plug in half way or so (being sure to keep the treads away from the cement). Balanced the pvc assembly upright. Then placed the bucket on top allowing the weight of the bucket to ensure a solid bond. The next day I drilled 3 screws into the female adapter from the bottom of the bucket to make sure it wouldn't move.
Step 4: Drill PVC
Using the 1" paddle bit, drill enough holes in the pvc to allow the compost to reach the roots and outside soil. Be sure not to drill higher than the top of the bucket because this will allow flies to come and the stench of the compost to escape. After this step is complete, secure the pipe to the female adapter/bucket assembly using the pvc cement.
Step 5: Extra
If you want to utilize extra space and allow plants/veggies to grow out of the sides of the bucket then use a cup or some sort of semi-circle to outline a half moon shape with the permanent marker. Using the utility knife cut the half-moon shape out and then cut across the bottom to fully remove the piece. Then place the piece back in at an angle.
Step 6: All Done!
Fill the bucket with a soil with organic fertilizer and then you've finished your indoor veggie garden! Make sure that you use organic supplies (and find the most natural PVC cement that you can) to reduce the likelihood that chemicals aren't passed on to your food. Place the system in a sunny area of the house and on top of the plastic saucer to collect all the drainage. If you fill the saucer with soil it allows the bucket to rest firmly and prevents the drained water to bring bugs and unwanted odor.
When composting be sure to add a small scoop of soil after each time and give it a turn every week of so. To utilize the fertilization of the compost even more, add worms to the system. This helps with expediting the composting and fertilization cycle. Good luck and comment with your questions and tell me about your experiences! Please vote if you like it! Enjoy!