Southpac-Hydros outdoor island style - Introduction LP Aeroponics

Southpac-hydroJuly 5, 2013

Yokwe and Aloha,

My name is Chuck. I have been stationed in the Marshall Islands for a few years, working as a contractor for the US Army on an island called Kwajalein. I go the hair brained idea a few months ago to build an outdoor hydroponic system. Well here’s my first pass presented to you in the full glory of color.
The weather out here is a constant 85-87 degrees. We are located approximately 6 degrees from the equator. There’s no such thing as winter time. It’s the same as it was yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that. You get the picture. We have a rainy season here. It can come down pretty hard, but usually you’ll get some sunshine every day. The weather forecast doesn’t even bother to tell you the highs/lows, just wind speed, chance of rain and the hi/low tide for the day.
Being so remotely located, it’s often hard to get items shipped out here, especially oversized items like shiny new grow trays and reservoirs. Scroungers and re-purposers we are. No shame in our game, going thru trash, especially on heavy trash day. Lots of good stuff being thrown out :)
You can set something out on the curb, its gone in 20 minutes. One mans trash is another mans….well you know how it go’.s

With the above qualification, here’s a rundown of my cobbled together system.
The grow trays are the under the bed storage totes I purchased at a garage sale. 5 bucks for 2. Who hoo. Im on the hunt for a 3rd one to round out the system. So far, its 8 grow sites per tray x 2 = 16 sites. I painted the bottoms blue (only paint on the shelf at the store) to keep the light out.

Over the top of the trays, I found an old banner in the trash. I cut that up into three sections, added grommets to hold them down with bungee cords I had laying around to cover the trays so I didn’t have the net cups just exposed to the sun and to keep the rain out. I made small slits to get the plants thru. Seems to be working fine.

The pump was a back up to my aquarium….yes a hard core saltwater aquarium. That’s the real money pit. It’s a Eheim 1262 rated at 900 gph and 11’6” of head.
I purchased 3.75” net pots, gold label hydrocorn (looks like hydroton to me,meh) a bag of 180 degree sprayers online. Nice and easy to ship, came in under 125 bux. I found it better to buy in bulk, so I have 100 net pots and a 45 liter bag of rocks. Might spread the love if someone else on island is interested in setting a system up.

The system is a low pressure aeroponics setup, with sprayers. I would really like to try high pressure, but I’m trying to do this on a shoestring budget.

I did purchase bulkheads and uniseals for the in and out piping, kinda give it a clean look, plus minimize leaks.
The sump was an old 20 gallon Rubbermaid tub ive been using to do water changes on the aquarium. Gave it a quick cleaning, and now its my reservoir.

I have an ro/di unit that supplies top off water for my aquarium already. I added a tee into the line, and fed it to the reservoir with a float on end. Now I can maintain the water level in the rez, no problems. Makes it easy to dump and do a nute change too.

In effort to do battle with the high nutrient temps, I rigged up a “chiller” loop, which consists of ¼” RO tubing, a small pump and 25’ of copper coil tubing sitting in the top freezer section of my office mini fridge. It seems to keep the temp down around 78 or so, which isn’t too bad considering I have 20 bux in supplies tied up. Miss having the fridge in my office at work. I now have to walk all the way over to the kitchen to get something. Oh the sacrifices we make.

The trellis’s are made from ½” pvc and plastic netting. Seems to be doing fine so far.

The first round of fruits and veggies are a mish mash experiment….trying to see what will do good in this climate. I have watermelon, pole beans, peas, cucumbers, tomatoes, bok choi, collard greens and some others I can recollect. I did a horrible job of tracking seedlings and some things got planted more than others. I’ll do a better job next time.

Anyhow, thought Id at least give an intro. I picked up some good tips from this forum, thought I would contribute.

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Nice set up. I am questioning your water cooling system since I have heat problems here in Florida. I was thinking of the same type of small refrigerator with a K copper loop.

What I am thinking is too much water volume won't allow enough cooling while too little volume will reheat after leaving the refrigerator. A timer would allow for a freeze blockage during the off cycle. Therefore GPM of flow becomes an important factor in keeping the correct temperature range IMHO. Day time and Night Time temperature will vary which might be a good thing for setting fruit. There are other minor factors to consider also.

I also considered Geothermal cooling. But the Refrigerator is a much easier install. In fact Wally World has a $ 69.00 Refrigerator that might work.

BTW I am doing Dutch Buckets drip system which I like very much. I have only one reservoir to change and clean. I designed my set up just for easy maintenance. I tried DWC and the work of changing multiply buckets was a Deal killer for me.


    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 8:25AM
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