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DIY Hydroponic Garden Tower - The ULTIMATE hydroponic system growing over 100 plants in 10 sq feet

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DIY Hydroponic Garden Tower - The ULTIMATE hydroponic system growing over 100 plants in 10 sq feet

Post by actinglikeabanker on Sat Jun 17, 2017 5:29 pm

DIY Hydroponic Garden Tower - The ULTIMATE hydroponic system growing over 100 plants in 10 sq feet

Published on 15 May 2013


Go to https://FoodAbundance.com to join the Food Abundance movement.

This DIY Hydroponic Garden Tower grows over 100 plants in less than 10 square feet, by taking advantage of vertical growth space. Get FREE written instructions here:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/v7gnn66hqfo...

For a more professional set of instructions, go here: https://veggardens.wordpress.com/diy-...

This is a simple hydroponic system made with 4" irrigation pipes. You can buy everything at your local hardware store and a local hydroponics store. It uses 80% less water than square foot gardening and does not require you to break your back bending down to garden.

This hydroponics growing system can grow:

Spinach
Zucchini
Peppers
Arugula
Yellow Squash
Chiles
Lettuce (of all types)
Pickle Cucumbers
Basil
Cabbage (of all types)
Broccoli
Mint
Peas
Cauliflower
Cilantro
Strawberries
Green Beans
Oregano
Radishes
Cherry Tomatoes
Parsley
Onions
Chives
Any above ground veggie

You can make them shorter and lower, such that it can fit onto the back of even a small patio. This homemade hydroponic system is a version of vertical hydroponics that can easily be disassembled and moved, if you are just renting, or can be put on rollers, if you want to move it around on your back patio.

Please consider building on yourself, so that you can produce local food in hyper-abundance. This beats food storage any day, and in a worst case scenario, you can sell the food for top dollar. When millions of people produce their own local food in hyper-abundance, then hunger doesn't stand a chance.

To join the Food Abundance movement, go to https://FoodAbundance.com



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rj4MzjxjGck
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Re: DIY Hydroponic Garden Tower - The ULTIMATE hydroponic system growing over 100 plants in 10 sq feet

Post by assassin on Tue Jul 25, 2017 2:22 am

My problem with hydroponics is that they use feed of some type which generally introduces it into the plant.
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Re: DIY Hydroponic Garden Tower - The ULTIMATE hydroponic system growing over 100 plants in 10 sq feet

Post by Lopsum on Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:15 pm

With hydroponics the nutrient is added to the water, and its good practice to "flush out" at regular intervals to avoid build up in the plant and salts forming in the rooting media or roots themselves! This can cause problems for short cycle crops as a day or two without nutrients will affect the plant more than long cycle plants.
 this is the case when you use a commercial nutrient , but you can make your own liquid nutrient too !
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Re: DIY Hydroponic Garden Tower - The ULTIMATE hydroponic system growing over 100 plants in 10 sq feet

Post by assassin on Thu Jul 27, 2017 1:43 am

To date I haven't seen a decent scaled fully working system and for me this is an issue, for small scale operations it most likely isn't a problem for lots of people.
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Re: DIY Hydroponic Garden Tower - The ULTIMATE hydroponic system growing over 100 plants in 10 sq feet

Post by Lopsum on Thu Jul 27, 2017 2:17 am

well if the nutrient isnt 100% matched to the actual plant your growing (and none are)then unused elements will accumulate in the plant.Though salts in the media is probably not an issue for lettuce .
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Re: DIY Hydroponic Garden Tower - The ULTIMATE hydroponic system growing over 100 plants in 10 sq feet

Post by assassin on Thu Jul 27, 2017 2:21 am

I await your system with interest, particularly your crop yield as it may be a useful way for many people.
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Re: DIY Hydroponic Garden Tower - The ULTIMATE hydroponic system growing over 100 plants in 10 sq feet

Post by Lopsum on Thu Jul 27, 2017 2:42 am

with hydroponics its past experience , and my yields were pretty good and clean . i always under fed according to the instructions and did regular full changes of the nutrient (2x a week) , which leads to alot of waste which usually ended up down the drain. Which i dont like .Keeping ph right is essential and requires daily testing. These problems are drastically less in aquaponics as the system is well buffered to the altering ph and parts per millions , so thats what i will be doing.
i might experiment with pi$$ ponics (basicly hydroponics with aged urine and a bio active filter)
this is my personal opinion, not that i have any proof that hydroponics is unhealthy. Its a very good way of learning , and defiantly works if you do it right.Plus the hardware you use is pretty much the same in aquaponics etc .


Last edited by assassin on Fri Jul 28, 2017 1:42 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Language - you should know better.)
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Re: DIY Hydroponic Garden Tower - The ULTIMATE hydroponic system growing over 100 plants in 10 sq feet

Post by actinglikeabanker on Sun Jul 30, 2017 1:58 am

In fairness hydroponics would not be my first choice as I am a bit of a fan of aquaponics myself and I built my first system as aquaponics and was pretty pleased with the results that were achieved (made a lot of mistakes though). It ran for about a year and the gold fish pretty much all committed suicide by jumping down overflow pipes and fighting each other for surface territory in the 55 gal drum I used as a fish tank. The system then ran for another year, still producing greens on a flood and drain cycle without any fish in it, which I found pretty impressive from an experimental point of view.

The same as mentioned above about the waste is my biggest concern with hydroponics but, I guess if space is a limiting factor then it still potentially provides an option to those who want to start dabbling in a bit of green thumb activities.

I have seen grow towers utilised with aquaponics, a couple of examples,

here := http://goodf.forumotion.com/t528-v-tower-diy-zipgrow-tower-alternative

and here := https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCwjrnjdzDs

That said, I am not sure that the amount of surface area being available for the bacteria colonisation is sufficient enough to stop the ammonia levels from getting too high but, this could be monitored quite easily and a third of the tank is drained/refilled when required with tap water that has been sat to vent off the chlorine. From my understanding of hydroponics this is possibly something that is done anyway so from a aquaponics perspective this would potentially negate the need to dispose of waste down the drain as, even if the system could not keep up with the ammonia lvl's it would still be performing the nitrogen cycle so that extra water could go nicely in any other window/herb boxes etc.

I plan on putting a similar (few modifications to add string of Dutch buckets) hydroponic system to the one in the video in a space in the garden that isn't going to be utilised for anything else. Would be interested in any resources/experience you have Lopsum about creating your own liquid nutrient, instead of using commercial products, I would prefer not to taint the system if I don't have too just in case I decide to convert/connect it to the aquaponics system in the future.
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Re: DIY Hydroponic Garden Tower - The ULTIMATE hydroponic system growing over 100 plants in 10 sq feet

Post by Jinxer on Sun Jul 30, 2017 10:57 am

How do you manage to keep the water temperature down low enough so the roots don't get diseased.

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Re: DIY Hydroponic Garden Tower - The ULTIMATE hydroponic system growing over 100 plants in 10 sq feet

Post by Lopsum on Sun Jul 30, 2017 11:14 am

the main thing is keeping the nutrient oxygenated , that will stop the roots rotting. water keeps around  10degrees below atmospheric temp on its own, and plants tend to like it that way. Its usually the other way for this reason , you may want to warm the water if the system is outside in the uk.
also the systems are usually on timers so the plant roots are not submerged 100% of the time , even in the floating raft system the upper portion of the plant container will be well drained so not all the roots are submerged.
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Re: DIY Hydroponic Garden Tower - The ULTIMATE hydroponic system growing over 100 plants in 10 sq feet

Post by actinglikeabanker on Sun Jul 30, 2017 10:18 pm

@Jinxer wrote:How do you manage to keep the water temperature down low enough so the roots don't get diseased.

Hey Jinxer,

I never experienced any problems with roots. There is aeration in the fish tank and flood drain on the beds so the roots are only submerged for brief periods on each cycle.

The initial materials were planned for based on a module premise allowing for 2 duplicate 4 x grow bed systems each with their own fish tank and a sump that could theoretically also, operate as independent 2 grow bed systems or chained up as 2/4/6/8 grow beds. Each grow bed is approx 3' ish width by 5' ish length providing a potential ish planting area of 8 x 3x5' 120 square feet which actually transpired as closer to 100 square feet when considering the curved shape of the barrels, the siphon locations and a 'wing it' variable to factor in that planning material requirements from images, videos and no Ikea instructions, may not quite go to spec.

Brief materials list,

8 x food grade 55 gal drums
wood, lots
screws, lots
brackets, lots
washers, lots
various piping, lots of meters, + various piping upgrades valves, corners and joiners.
pump, x2
budget spare pump, x1
tank aerators, x2
Sufficient list of other tasks to procrastinate over, to get the job done, lengthy
Beer, ?
ish, lots

Final total ish cost outlay was roughly £600 give or take an ish, I had specked for a initial outlay of £500 ish so this fell within the parameters of the 'wing it' variable.  

The first build was essentially an experiment to test the tolerances of an aquaponic system such as cost outlay, output produce, input hours, power usage, efficiency, plant variety etc etc (there were still mistakes made, mixed in with aha! moments). The initial build is based partly, on what is sometimes referred to as 'barrelponics'.

The water is pumped in a constant flow (from specking pump designs, drives, power efficiencies, head height flow, solid waste tolerance temp tolerances ect etc. I finally settled on the Ecomax O 8500 Pond Pump 95 watt, the specs on this little power house are amazing!, shifts 6mm wide, any length, fish poo without breaking a sweat cheers . The pump has less potential chance of failure when constantly on opposed to on/off timer and the cumulative potential points and/or environmental effects on failure associated with that), in a flood and drain cycle of the beds that can be adjusted via the inlet pipes to control the flood drain frequency of the beds from 15ish/30ish/45ish minute flood/drain cycles.

The grow beds are filled with Hydroton clay pebbles which are PH neutral, provide great surface area for bacterial colonisation and ample rigidity for root support. The pump system is sometimes also referred to as a 'constant height one pump' (CHOP) meaning the water level in the fish tank (55 gal drum upright) never drops below the overflow level. The pump is located in the sump (55 gal drum braced to prevent rolling, lay flat on its side) and constantly pumps from the sump into the grow beds and the fish tank. There are a number of benefits to this approach such as any reduction and or stop in flow to the beds does not apply direct back pressure to the pump as it then just cycles the fish tank at a faster rate which is handy for cleaning.  

Pretty much every aspect of the design was reasoned out based upon what appeared to me, based on my level of understanding at the time as best practice, least maintenance, lowest power consumption, cost/durability, future upgrades etc etc. However, I made a 'fatal' mistake by allowing myself to be convinced that to reduce the footprint of the system I could use a 55 gal drum as the fish tank, all of the system water requirements for fish tank, sump tank and 4 grow beds came well within the tolerance of ish and the 'wing it' variable. Originally I was going to use either a large pre fab fish tank or and IBC.  Over time this transpired as a key component (fish tank) not being suitable for the 10 initial golden explorers of the unknown, they would gang up on the smallest one and chase it round the rim and rub its scales off, I would remove the small one to try to nurse it in a separate tank and they would just go for the next smallest, rinse repeat. Tried adding objects to the tank so they could chill out, didn't work. Tried separating the smallest and the biggest from the main tank into the sump, didn't work, they went suicidal and tried swimming up the bed drain pipes whilst they were draining. Tried putting them back in the main tank, didn't work, they now knew about the sump and the overflow to get there.

Honestly, I never knew how territorial gold fish are and the water surface area of the 55 gal drum upright was/is not sufficient for even a small number of them.

The second build is going to apply lessons learned from build one.

Some pictures from build one,

































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