Hydroponic System

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Overview

This is just a place holder for collecting information until I actually get the first system built.

I've gotten tired of buying herbs at the grocery store, only to have them go bad before I've used them all. I thought about a small herb garden outdoors, but I don't want to feed the bugs and critters, and since hydroponics is a technical solution, it's a lot more interesting. Right now I'm thinking of growing basil, mint, parsely, oregano, thyme and cilantro, and maybe garlic (although I hear that stinks up the whole house really quick).

Currently the plan is a wooden frame made with 2x4's. There are some sexier looking frames done in PVC, but they're more expensive to build, and Home Depot has a really crappy selection of fittings. Plus I have most of the wood on hand :)

Assuming this doesn't turn into a GUP, the plan is for the frame to hold (4) 4 foot long, 4 inch diameter PVC pipes, each which can hold (9) 3-inch Net Pots. The 4 PVC pipes are staggered in height so there's gravity flow of the nutrient solution from one tube to the next. The level in each tube is set by the height of the drain port. The top tube is fed by a 250 GPH pump in a 18 gallon reservoir, which also contains an aerator pump. Lighting will be a Sun Blaze 4 tube fixture suspended in the frame.

Initially the only electronics will be a programmable timer for the lights. Shortly thereafter I'd like to add flow meters to the nutrient supply and return lines, a low nutrient solution alarm in the reservoir, and high water alarms in each of the tubes (to detect drain blockages). Finally, adding EC or TDS metering to determine when the nutrient solution needs to be modified would be nice.

As an alternative to the high-water indicators in each tube, it may be easier to set the whole stand in a drain pan with a water sensor. If tubes start overflowing, the sensor will cause the pump to shut down, and worse case would be a couple gallons of nutrient solution in the pan.

Construction

This is a sketch Icon-zip.png (59 KB) I did in Google Sketchup.

Hydroponic Stand.png

Cost Breakdown

Item Cost Quantity Shipping Tax Total Notes
250 GPH pump $14.97 1 $0.00 $0.00 $14.97
Ario 2 Aerator $36.65 1 $0.00 $0.00 $36.65
3" net cups (qty 100) $17.14 1 $0.00 $0.00 $17.14
FloraGro (1 qt) $8.85 1 $0.00 $0.00 $8.85
FloraBloom (1 qt) $8.85 1 $0.00 $0.00 $8.85
FloraMicro (1 qt) $11.39 1 $0.00 $0.00 $11.39
Drain fittings (10 pieces) $20.00 1 $0.00 $0.00 $20.00
pH test kit $5.95 1 $0.00 $0.00 $5.95
Grow blocks $6.61 1 $21.31 $0.00 $27.92 Shipping is for items 1-9
Sun Blaze T5 46 $221.95 1 $0.00 $0.00 $221.95
10' 4" PVC waste pipe $7.35 2 $0.00 $1.03 $15.73
4" PVC waste pipe caps $1.55 8 $0.00 $0.87 $13.27
20' 1" reinforced tubing $0.15 20 $0.00 $0.21 $3.21
92 5/8" 2"x4" $0.87 6 $0.00 $0.37 $5.59
Total $362.28 $21.31 $2.47 $386.06

Lighting Info

Lighting guide

  • 4 Tube Fixtures
  • 6 Tube Fixtures

Vendors

Misc

Documents