Introduction: Ultimate Vertical Hydroponic Farm on the Cheap.. Gift Away Green Crops!
*** for more info and pictures please visit my blog at http://thehydroponicexperiment.blogspot.com
Ok guys i apologize for the crappy instructable .. i kinda rushed it in order to make it to the gift contest... i obviously lost that one.. so i'm coming back to fix this one... maybe i can do better in the Shopbot contest :)
Ok originally i said a lot of things about a concept.. i wrote a blog while building this and i reused the stuff i wrote back then.. of course this is no longer a concept.. i fixed it into almost a final design.. i'm going back and cleaning this up so if i left concept or past tense stuff please forgive me..
Looks like i lost all of the contests i entered and i'm not elegible for the gardening contest going on right now.. So if you liked my instrcutables and you learn something. please vote for me in my other contest entries.. right now i need all the votes i can get.. my best contest entries are the following... i organized them in the order of chances of winning.. please help by voting for me
RIght now i believe my best chances of winning are on this Nano holder with earphone organizer. So please!! vote for me
.25 ultra slim minimalistic Wallet, money clip, metal bottle opener, credit card that could be attached to your android case
This is a link to my iphone wallet case.. so please vote for me here too .. thanks
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Step 1: Hydroponic Concept and Materials
My materials are as follows
Sunterra 120016 Large Fountain Pump, 200 GPH, Black (the GPH might be a bit much but you need the power for the water to go up that high)
i think it was a 10 ft Rain Master 2 in. x 3 in. Vinyl Downspout... cut down into 3 long pieces X2 with a total of 6 pieces
Amerimax Downspout Flex Elbow X5
15 min timer for the pump
Another timer for your lights.. don;t matter which type.. cheapo is fine
Black piping hose
PVC pipe (for reinforcement)
2 - 2" x 3" plastic C outlet
2 - 2" x 3" pieces of flat plastic (you will use this and the C outlets to make lid for each end of your system)
Large container to work as water reservoir
6 - 2' by 8" pieces of wood to make your system shell or reinforcement
Large zippy ties
solo cups or net cups..
if you use solo cups use a 3 in hole saw (i did this but later changed it to net cups so my holes were kinda big
if you use net cups use a 2.75in hole saw. (didnt test this so i'm guessing) (dont make it too thigh so u have space to take out once you have roots)
Vinyl Downspout has a small side that goes inside of the downspout and a large opening that goes over the other downspout piece.. i placed the larger piece on the one on top and the small one on the bottom to prevent leaks... this is a crucial step!!***
i then sealed it with LOTS of silicone and duck tape... you can use black or white.. i used black but then covered with white for appearance purposes *** please use lots of silicone.. please let the silicone fully cure before exposing it to water.. having the seals water thight will save you lots of headaches trying to fix leaks later on!!
i'm using dixie plastic cups.. they require a 3 inch hole and i used a 3 inch hole saw.. The cups are bit big but ithink it might be good since i be able to grow bigger plants.. i don't know how is going to work out.. but i seen people use smaller cups in other set ups (PLEASE NOTE) i did change the design.. so please read the entire instructional.. i changed the red solo cups to net cups.. they a bit more expensive.. but they let the water flow easier and they let the plants grow around them... Try using a smaller hole saw... like 2.75 in .. so the net cups fit better if you gonna use this design
i used solo cups at the beginning and i drilled 3 holes at the bottom of each cup
i'm using some roofing metal net and some plastic pieces to hold this up.. and some zippy ties. but i dont think this is going to be my last set up.. i might change it later on
PS.. For some reason they dont sell end caps for downspouds.. so you have to improvise.. i use the plastic C- outlet then needed to add a flat piece of plastic.. and screw it to make it a cap.. Silicone it and duck tape it to make it a end cap..
(PLEASE NOTE) i did change the design.. so please read the entire instructional.. i changed the red solo cups to net cups.. they a bit more expensive.. but they let the water flow easier and they let the plants grow around them... Also Please not that the total vertical design doesnt work well.. look at other pictures.. it ended up being a slanted S shape.. this method lets lettuce and other plants grow in different directions.. believe me those lettuce heads will get huge.. and so will the curly kales
Step 2: Seeding and Weak Lights
got some hydrowool and some trays.. planted 5 types of lettuce, basil, oregano, cilantro, Mint clippings (Cloning) roma tomato, cherry tomato, etc
at 1st i was growing the seeds with some desk lights and a fish tank light. they grew but very flimsy and delicate.. as you can see... many of them died because they were so fragile.. bend or snapped when moving them around..
Step 3: Better Lights
I browsed craigslist and found some nice fluorescent lights for cheap
2ft and 4ft T5 flourecent lights from some guy in craigslist for 50 bucks!!.. the 2ft alone is like 150.. and the 4ft is like 149 (i know because i had to buy another one) also notice i changed the original design to a step ladder like design.. this maximizes the amount of light the plants receive and the amount of grow permitted by the set up
this seeds were grown with my new light and my new grow set up... as you can see these were very strong and very thick.. little problem is that i now have way too many plants!! so i need to expand from one set up to 2 set ups.. (therefore the new light)
Step 4: Use All of Your Light
Because my 1st design put the water reservoir on the side.. the lower part of my hydroponic garden was being wasted.. so made a not so small bubbler.. this large under the bed storage topperware was clear.. so i paint it. drilled about 12 or 15 holes on top.. added a bubble stone and connected it to my airpoump..
Please note that because the way my design is made you probably don't need a air pump.. because the air spalshes around catching oxygen while going down the flexible elbows.. However, if you plan to add plants on the water reservoir or have small systems like this one.. you have to have an air bubbler to give oxygen to the roots
Step 5: Drink a Mojito, Simmer Some Basil, Eat Lots and Lots of Lettuce
I would love to say i didnt have any problems.. i love to say i didnt have any issues.. and i love to say i didnt have any leaks.. but thats not the case.. once i almost lost all of my garden due to over feeding with nutrients.. i had plenty of leaks because id dint use enough silicone in the beginning..
but i learned a lot.. i had tons of mojitos, hundreds of salads and cooked so much basil tomato sauce it was amazing..
here are some pics of my babies..
Step 6: Beware of the Tiny Bugs
one of the things i learned is DONT EVER EVER EVER buy plants at the store.. these plants are full of pests.. my garden survived tons of leaks.. tons of overfeeding, under feeding,, lack of lighting.. but couldn't survive a pests attack.. i bought a pepper plant at walmart i believe.. this plant had a white fly.. they are tiny bugs the size of a spec of dust.. but these bugs are savage killers..