Fence Hydro Plan

charlielittle(7)February 26, 2008

Down at that other end by the house will set a reservoir elevated to about 1' with Eco-396 submersible pump. It will pump vertical 5' through a line which will have a drip emitter spaced every 8' (spacing of posts). Every post will support a vertical 4" PVC pipe, 5'tall with holes drilled at every foot interval, four per that will hold strawberries in my foam plugs (like a stacker). Not sure of whether to use any media or just allow a continual drip through a small screen to disperse the drops into very small size to just keep the roots wet. Each vertical pipe will be tee'd into a 4" horizontal "drain" that will catch the excess from the drippers and all excess water pumped through the feed line will flow from the tail end back to the reservoir and feed plants spaced along the horizontal, plants and pipe supported by the fence. Hopefully the dog will keep the birds chased away!

If I use media it will likely be perlite since my brother gave me a whole bail of it and I will have to insert a sort of screen in the bottoms of the vertical pipes to hold it out of the drain line. Not sure yet of what will be required for such a thing. Will strawberries grow in a purely hydroponic situation without media and having the roots continually dripped on? On the other hand, media would likely make it so that I could use a timer and not run the pump continually. Hmmm.

Anyway, I was looking at the "Hydro Stacker" and like types of systems. Only $300+ for one automatic unit to hold 20 berry plants or whatever. No thanks! I'm sure it's good and all but I prefer to try a $1 per foot PVC with foam plugs first since it's working in the greenhouse.

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I personally would go with media on a project that large. If your pump fails in the continual drip system, your entire crop will likely die.
Strawberries are very sensitive to getting their crown wet. It will be very important you set the plants in the vertical pipes at an angle so water getting on the roots doesn't run up them and keep the crowns wet.
Nice Greenhouse, by the way.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 7:45AM
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Angle advice noted and the foam plugs will set in nicely at an angle.

Got this link from a fella on the Vertical Gardening forum. This is amazing and he's doing it with dirt...

All Season Fruit Company

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 4:47PM
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just because he's using dirt as a medium, doesn't mean its not hydroponics. but then I didn't really read too much. Just looked at the pictures mostly.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 8:40PM
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Yea that's kind-of what I thought grizzman. The dirt looks like a very light kind of dirt, like a perlite/coco coir mixture, which we already know would produce results like that.

I think this is where hydro and soil gardening come so close and work together that it's hard to tell the two apart.

advantage: he fits a LOT into a small space
disadvantage: seems like it'd be time consuming and messy to fill the tube the entire way around up to the first holes, then plant the plants getting the roots in those small holes, then add fert. and more dirt.. it's a lot of work but he is getting big results in a small space.

I like it - might be able to improve on the maintenance though somehow.

I wonder how crop rotation works - to avoid disease and such. I wonder if this applies in hydroponics also or not.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 8:23AM
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crop rotation is about controlling the depletion of nutrients in the soil(mostly) and about eliminating disease (to a lesser extent)
since we furnish our plant nutrients, depletion isn't an issue.
Normally the disease rotation is trying to control bug infestations. since we use a sterile media thats not touching the ground, this problem is virtually eliminated. and if your sterilize your media between crops its totally eliminated.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 4:50PM
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It has begun! 35 gallon reservoir surrounded by some leftover house brick for looks. Got to keep the missus happy, lol. Pipe and fittings to arrive Monday. Got a good wholesale deal through work connections ,$.58 per foot on the pipe vs. $1 per at the local hardware.

Emailed the All Season Fruit fella with some questions. No reply yet.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 5:32PM
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Got some 4" shelf brackets at Wal Mart @ $0.92 each. Had a level line attached to the front and end post. Installed each post bracket right under the line. This is just slightly higher than the edge of the reservoir so the return will drain in nicely. Reservoir is now covered with black plastic and another round of brick to hold it in place.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 3:13PM
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If I am reading your post correctly you have your pipes that are supposed to be draining level. I don't think that this will drain properly. You may want to put at least a couple of inches difference so the water 'wants' to drain. Just a thought.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 9:30PM
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Yes it sounds a bit confusing. Like my patio hydro setup, the whole run is level but the outlet is lower elevation than the inlet. Instead of free flowing through the system the water is more or less pushed by inlet water that will drip through the verticals and excess flow from the tail end . I'm thinking the outlet for this run will be 1" from the inside pipe bottom so there will always be at least 1" of water in the pipe and use an airline with air stones every few feet for aeration in the run. It's a lot easier I have found to aerate shallow than to try and aerate a deep reservoir, at least with the efficiency of the air pumps I'm using. It's hard to adjust from big blowers aerating a 20' deep tank at the sewer plant to small compressors trying to push air just a few feet deep! I'm really considering hooking up my 2" blower but it's loud and will have to be enclosed in a sound proofed something to keep the neighbors happy. I know for sure though it will supply more than enough air for everything I ever have room for in this yard so I would have to make more hydro systems just to take advantage of the blower capacity and not waste from inefficiency! More is better, lol! Maybe I see a U-Pick operation in the future...

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 9:52PM
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Weird Arkansas weather! We had six inches of snow yesterday morning. Today is sunny in the low 60's as I did a dry fit of the main portions of the fence hydro project. Looks promising. Weather permitting I'll attach the top feed line tomorrow and install the pump and air line. Supposed to snow again!

    Bookmark   March 5, 2008 at 6:43PM
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What kind of PVC is that green pipe?
And can you buy it at the lowecal hardware store?
It's lookin' good.
we have that same strange weather here too. blame it on el nino.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2008 at 9:45PM
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That's sewer & drain pipe (the thin stuff), yes they carry it locally but it's expensive at about $1 per foot. I got this from a plumbing supply wholesale outfit for $0.58 per ft. Plan to paint it white. The white sewer & drain pipe in the thin allows light to shine through so I got green.

"SDR 35" is the next step up in thickness. Might have been better but I'm pinchin pennies, lol! Total material cost for this run was $113.00

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 7:06AM
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    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 6:22PM
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Wow charlie, that snow is both beautiful and annoying I'm sure. I don't get to see that much here in FL (originally from PA). Thank you for sharing - glad you don't have plants out there yet :)

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 8:48PM
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Snow is gone and it's back in the upper 60's. The past couple day's I've been doing what i can for the fence project in the warm confines of the greenhouse.

First picture, 4" PVC Tee's with airstones installed with 1/4" tee's for the supply air line. This will make aeration in the horizontal run every 8'.

Second picture, vertical tubes installed. Wasn't paying attention and got two of them backwards, lol! Doesn't matter as these will just drip to drain anyway but will likely get some comments by my brother...

Maybe tomorrow will get to installing the drip feed line on top of the vertical tubes. A 1" hole is cut in the top of each cap.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 8:14PM
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Cool looking system there Charlie! I must watch your progress.

(you may curse or bless me later for doing this to you but have you done any research into Aquaponics?) Looks like you may have the starts of an AP system there and it would make great use of your larger blower!!!!!! Heck, you might want to think about using an air lift pump for your liquid pumping needs on that system, just some ideas.
Anyway, here is an Aquaponic link that might interest you, they also have an extensive forum.

Here is a link that might be useful: Back Yard Aquaponics

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 1:16PM
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There just to the right of that fence, behind the now greenhouse, there was a 12' diameter pool set into the ground 3'deep. Around it was a 24' X 36' steel frame I was going to make into a greenhouse. That pool was going to be full of Australian Redclaw lobsters. The water was to circulate through raised gravel beds with all the necessary biology to grow aquaponic.

Didn't happen...

I probably will do some aquaponics in the future with fishes of some sort but i want to be able to do it right. Indoors, environmental control, the works.

Airlifts are cool! The fence will be best served by a pump though I think. It's got to pump vertical 6' to feed the supply line.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 3:49PM
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Getting your hydro system and experience up and running may be of assistance to you when you are ready to implement Aquaponics anyway. You may decide to add some gravel and a small AP tank into your current greenhouse set up at some point. All pretty easy to change over. That freezer chest you said sprung a leak in the other thread might (if easy to patch) make a nice AP tank in which case the whole water level only being able to drop a certain amount would be a good thing.


Here is a link that might be useful: My Hydro

    Bookmark   March 13, 2008 at 9:35AM
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