My hydroponic system

fivekulps(6/7LOU, KY)May 31, 2013

First actual hydroponic setup! So excited. planted peas into system on 5/2, blooming by 5/29 and pods forming today!

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fivekulps(6/7LOU, KY)

Dutch buckets, closed recirculating system.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 9:36PM
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fivekulps(6/7LOU, KY)


    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 9:38PM
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fivekulps(6/7LOU, KY)

Transplanted lettuce!

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 9:43PM
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Nice Set up and a big undertaking for a first time project. I am a first year Hydroponic guy my self. My present set up is only 10 Dutch buckets. My big plan for a rail system fell through because of other fires that needed put out. I hope to do an A frame something like your.

A few Question if you don't mind? how long and what size pipe are you using? I am counting 20 plant sites per rail. What is your spacing? What size Pump?

My Plans were to use 4 inch DWC PVC from Home Cheapo. and 3 inch net pots. But I had a concern about water height inside the rails. As the plants matured I want to be able to adjust the water height. My plan is to drill a hole in the end CAP and glue in a fitting. Then by using horticulture oil to lube the cap, I could twist the cap to adjust the water height in each rail.

Designing and building a successful system is the first step. Just adding a In Line filter saved me a lot of time clearing drip lines.


U Tube has a lot of good info on system designs.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 7:49AM
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fivekulps(6/7LOU, KY)

It has been a huge undertaking. We used 4" PVC pipe, 2x10 for each row with 2" net baskets. Spacing for the top row was 6", we placed 2 peas in each net basket. We opted not to do drip lines and just continuously pumping water throughout the system. I would use a larger return line than 1", 5 pipes draining into 1 inch causes back flow in the lower tubes. I also recommend extending the drain pipe through the 4" pipe so there is several inches of water always in the tube. We had to place pieces over the drain to keep the ware from draining so fast. It wont be a problem when the roots extend down into the water but when you are transferring babies into the system they need to be touching water. My husband got a 12-1500gph sump pump which I think is a little overkill. We also placed adjustable valves for each tube to regulate the flow. All you need is a pump that will pump water as high as you decide to place the highest tube. No aeration added other than the water falling from the tubes.

Here is a link that might be useful: DIY a frame hydroponics

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 6:53PM
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Thank You for the very informative reply. I watched the Video link again for the umpteen time. The guy real has his equipment set up nice. He explains everything you need to know about building an A Frame Rail system. He keep his pipes half full of water also.

Right now I am going into South Florida's summer Hot season. My plants are starting to show heat stress. I may get an other month out of them but then it is over until Fall.

Many commercial grower here use Shade houses and even have acres of shade cloth growing areas. So my next project is to build a shade house. I found a U tube PVC Green house video that I can substitute the Plastic film with shade cloth. a 14 X 20 in under $ 300 including the shade cloth. That is cheap and worth the effort. Tomatoes grown in full Florida sun develop a very thick skin. The truth is I can buy cheaper than grow, but then I would miss the fun.


    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 8:21AM
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Perhaps burlap could substitute for shade cloth? Would be way cheaper. Or maybe you could get some used shade cloth from a grower that has upgraded. Just an idea. You can use white paint on plastic too.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 11:13AM
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The PVC pipes are 20 ft long but bend to a 14 ft width. Therefore a 20 X 20 Shade cloth is only $ 120.00. It comes with grommets to tie it down. I don't think the Hassle of Burlap and the inconstant shade would be worth the little money I might save. I had an Irrigation License before I retired and can still buy PVC at wholesale Prices, which BTW isn't that much less than the Big Box stores.

While the U Tube model uses Tees and Crosses, I plan on bracing with furring strips and screwing them to the PVC pipe. That is actual fairly popular shade cover here in Florida for home gardens. The 14 x 20 shade house should be 7 ft tall. I want air flow so I will leave the ends open.

The other thing I need to make my set up perfect is a Reservoir or water cooler. I am not sure exactly how I am going to do that. A Geothermal system could be a PITA and Expensive to build but cheap to operate. A old refrigerator with hose coils inside might be a quicker way to go. I am open to Ideas.


    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 11:47AM
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if you look around the North Carolina Agricultural extension, you can find plans for making that PVC greenhouse. I printed off a hard copy some time ago from there.
As for cooling your nutrients one simple but exceeding inexpensive thing that will help is to cover your pipes with aluminum foil. the foil will reflect the radiant heat and keep those 1/2 full pipes of nutrient from heating up as quickly.
Doing that and insulating my nutrients and keeping them, for the most part, out of the sun is all it takes to keep my nutrients at a functional temperature. OF course, for me functional is around 80 and I live in NC where the hot season probably won't start until near July.
An old junk frig (but one that works) isn't a bad idea either. Just moving the rez under your house would do wonders. Especially if your added the above said foil.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 2:46PM
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fivekulps(6/7LOU, KY)

Shade hasn't been a problem for me here in Kentucky. Here are my 14 happy tomatoes, and one zucchini planted in home made dutch buckets. I have wondered about chilling the nutrient tank to conserve oxygen content in the water during the hot summer months. A small garden could be managed with adding small bottles of ice each morning, at least during the hottest part of the day.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 7:18AM
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fivekulps(6/7LOU, KY)

Looking forward to a new year of growing. Aquaponics will help us feed our plants and us later. Our system is a closed instead of a looped sysytem. We will harvest the fertilizer and add it to the hydroponic sysytems and add extra micro nutrients, like Calcium & iron. We currently have a 220, 150, 80, 55 & 40 gallon aquariums ready to house our fish. We also have 5 IBC totes for our grow out tanks, each 225 gallon. We will be making the vortex filter. The UrbanFarmingGuys are awesome

Here is a link that might be useful: The Urban Farming Guys

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 9:25AM
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Looks good. Our aquaponic setup will have a similar set up to your a frame.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 12:48PM
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What's the benefit of having rocks in the nursery cradling the rockwool? Could you just have flowing water and no rocks?

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 7:10PM
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Cool, I love it!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 12:18AM
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I feel like buckets are a pain in the ass and PVC from menards only goes up to six inches in diameter. I know hydro plants don't need as much root space but six inches seems small considering a five gallon bucket is the recommended minimum size for a typical tomato in dirt. So I got some ten inch PVC and some removable rubber caps from fernco. I had to order the fernco caps from fastenal. They're awesome for anybody interested in capping PVC btw. But has anybody got any ideas for an:;r indoor tomato variety It needs to be around four feet tall. I'm pretty inexperienced and open to ideas

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 12:40PM
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