Grow Your Own Food! ๐ŸŒฑ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿ“ - Easy to build DIY hydroponic system - LOW BUDGET

in #gardening โ€ข 4 years ago

Urban Farming and especially Hydroponics been my passion for over 8 years now.

After my first encounter with this technology I have been immediately hooked on the ability to grow such a wide variety of plants in a completely controlled environment, without the need for soil or over fertilization.

But the thing that amazed me the most is the versatility of this technology, the ability to grow food in places where it was not possible before.

To be able to grow proper nutritious food, several things must be present in the growing environment, I will not go into this in this particular post, but the point is that to grow food we either need a very fertile natural soil that been fertilized with organic mater or we need a low-mid grade soil that must be supplemented with fertilizer in order to provide the proper nutrition required for healthy plant growth.

This over fertilization causing a heavy load on our environment, due to pollution of aquifers and surrounding vegetative life, the growing population that requires more food causing a growing need for that soil to grow that food and that speeds up the process of pollution.
On top of this we can add the massive distances our food travels just to arrive to our plates and the huge amount of water we use to effectively water those crops and we end up with a very polluting, non-efficient industry.

Hydroponics can help to solve this problem, by allowing us to grow food in any place we want, be it rooftops, balconies, abandoned buildings in midst of cities, in space...

So although web freelancing at the time, about 7 years ago I have opened my first business that was building custom hydroponic systems at peoples homes.

At that time, hydroponics was a very niche market, nobody knew what it was and how is it possible to grow plants on water.

But today there is a growing interest, people and businesses are turning to a more sustainable way of life and changing the food they eat and therefore the ways they grow that food has a big part in this change.

So today I want to share with you a simple system that we recently installed in one of the schools in Israel, you can easily build it at home with a minimal budget.

We have installed hundreds of those systems all over Israel and can say for sure that they work like magic.

The specific technique I want to share with you today is called NFT - Nutrient Film Technique - its basically letting the nutrition mixed water to flow on a tiny "slope" through a pipe or a channel of a sorts.

So what do we need before we start building this hydroponic system?

So basic stuff:

  • A Wall - If you want to grow plants for food (vegetables), preferably a wall with full sun exposure or at least partial (for herbs and green vegetables).

  • Power outlet (or an extension cable) - Make sure to cover any outlets from the rain.

  • Water source

Parts for the system

  • Water reservoir - preferably 50 liters or more.
    A white color will help with the heat absorption and will keep your water nice and cool.
    Try to find a reservoir as water and light proof as possible in order to prevent the entry of pests and sunlight.

Drill a whole in the lid of the reservoir with the diameter of the drainage pipe and another smaller opening for the hose that is connected to the water pump and drives the water to the top of the system.

  • 4 UPVS pipes 110 mm (mine are 2.4 meters long with 11 planting holes) - these are the growing channels where the hydroponic plants will grow.

  • Net Cups ( I got 44, 75 mm wide) - the cups are used to house the plants inside the system, it is important to make sure they come with enough holes for the roots to come out and touch the water flow in the channels.

  • Seven 110 mm ,90 degrees, UPVC connectors - those will allow you to connect the pipes one under the other.

  • 3 110 mm UPVC extenders ( length 15-50 cm depends on the height you want between each floor of the system) - the role of the extenders is to configure the height between each floor, they are put between the pipes and the 90 degree angles.

  • 110mm PVC Cap - It is used for the upper pipe. This is very you plug your water hose that delivers the water through the pump.

Drill a whole with the diameter of the hose that is connected to your pump, preferably at the top part of the cap.

  • A water pump that can push the water to the a sufficietn height - the pump sits in the reservoir and pushes the water continuously to the top of the system.

  • 20 mm pipe or hose to deliver the water from the pump to the upper channel at the appropriate length.

  • Suitable connector between the 20mm pipe and the pump's water outlet (usually comes with the aquarium pumps)

  • Eight 110mm brackets - the are various kinds depending on where you are, but any home supply store should have suitable ones to secure the pipes on the wall.

  • Fifteen 110 mm lubricated seals (rubber bands) to prevent spills between the connectors.

  • UPVC pipe reducer from 110mm to 50mm (4" to 2") - not necessary, you can insert the bottom angle directly into the reservoir.

Step 1 - Some Calculations and Positioning

So after picking the perfect place for your new hydroponic system, position the water reservoir at the left or the right side of the system.
You need to take in account the convenience of access to the water source .

This will be the side where the drainage of the system will be located.

Calculate the distance between the topmost point where you want to place the upper pipe and the lowest point where you will place the bottom pipe, that will drain back to the reservoir.

Split that height into the number of pipes you planning to use (in this case 4) to calculate where you going to put your first pipe.

Step 2 - Start with the lowest pipe and the reservoir

  • For easy assembly start with the lowest pipe of the system that drains back to the reservoir and then assemble the rest of the pipes going up.

  • Make sure to put the rubber seals in all the connections in order to prevent any leaks when the system will be running.

  • Secured the pipes into the wall using metal or plastic brackets, make sure they are capable of caring the necessary weight.

  • Cut 2 holes in the reservoir lid: One with the diameter of the drainage pipe and the other with the diameter of the pipe that is connected to the pump (in this case a 20mm flexible pvc pipe).

Step 3: Plugging the pump and the Planting :)

Once you have placed the reservoir and set up the planting pipes, put the bottom drain pipe into the appropriate hole in the reservoir lid.
Place the water pump in the bottom reservoir and finally attach water pipe to the pump while passing it through the second hole on the lid.

Drill a hole in the PVC cap closing the topmost pipe (make sure that the opening is at the top of the cap).
Insert the other end of the water delivery pipe that is connected to the pump to the opening in the upper part of the cap.

Pull the pump electric cord out of the reservoir lid, and secure the deliver pipe to the wall.

That's it, you're done!

The system is ready for operation and planting.
Fill the reservoir with only one third of the water), connect the pump to the electricity supply and let the water run for about an hour before planting the plants, in order to properly wash the pipes.

After an hour, empty the reservoir and refill it again, this time to grow the plants.

Now comes the awesome part of planting your little seedlings.

As mentioned above, make sure that the roots of your seedlings are big enough to reach the bottom of the growing pipe and thus ensure sufficient supply of nutrients and healthy growth.

I suggest filling the net cups with some sort of inert growing medium that will blocks light and pests and will hold the plants securely in the system.
The substrate can be hydrotone (puffed clay balls), tuff, or even washed gravel.
There is no real importance to the substrate other than for the specified purposes, so there is no need for it to absorb water or provide any nutrition for the plants.

I also recommended to use young seedlings with as little soil as possible.
The small seedlings can usually be planted right away without the need to wash the roots from soil.
If you only have bigger seedlings, then it is recommended to properly wash the roots of any access soil in order to prevent the pump clogging.

Possible Upgrades

Regular maintenance of the system will require you to fill the water, balance the acidity and fertilize according to the needs of the plants on a regular basis.

In addition to that, you should be monitored for pests, dead leaves, root pruning (in case the plants get to large) are too developed and of course harvesting.

Later on you can consider adding some kind of automation to your system.
For example you can decide to add siphon to automatically feel your reservoir with water when it goes bellow a certain level, you can also choose to add some more sophisticated systems that will allow you to automatically dose your reservoir with the necessary amount of fertilizer and automatically adjust the PH (potential of hydrogen) accordingly.

Those systems usually utilize some sort of low dosing pumps (usually peristaltic pumps) and sensors, to automatically detect the current levels in the water and slowly adjust it to proper settings.

Such automation will not only ease your life as a grower, but will also prevent errors resulting from human inconsistency that does not always succeed in providing the ultimate treatment for the system.
In the case of automation, maintenance on the system drops to pest tracking, removal of dry leaves and unwanted branches and of course - picking you food!

Unfortunately I still don't have updated photos from this specific hydroponic system, but this is how it going to look after a few weeks of growing:

I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial.
If you have any questions regarding the building of this system or have any general questions about hydroponics, growing automation, urban farming, solar power or just want to talk about anything related to hydroponics, urban farming or sustainability in general, make sure to drop your comment and share with me your thoughts.

It would also be great to see your own hydroponic setups at home, so share them in the comments if you may.

If you like my work then an upvote or perhaps a resteem will be much appreciated.

And if you would like to read more about my travels, about hydroponics, about life in general, make sure to follow and comment so we get to know each other! :)

If you would like to know me a bit more, make sure to read my #introduceyourself post.

Sort: ย 

You got a 16.67% upvote from @greengrowth thanks to @carpedimus! You too can use @GreenGrowth by sending your post URL in the memo field to the bot. Minimum bid is 0.01.

If you feel this post is spammy or not worthy of @Greengrowth you can contact a moderator in our Discord Channel https://discord.gg/6DhnVTQ.

Excellent post. Sharing it on twitter for all

wow thank you!!!

welcome and thanks to you because this was my first approved curie recommendation and approved by sanmi

I am happy to hear that this was your first post :) happy to contribute :)

I hope one day I'll be able to join as a Curator on Curie my self.

You can join, just apply in the curie discord

Yeah I think i finally understood how it works...will try to prove my self with some awesome curations :)

best of luck, sir

You too my friend.
Thanks again for the Curie :)

Its a pretty impressive tutorial to start with Hydroponics , What about the temperature ? How does it impact the overall system. Say in my place it reaches 45 - 50 degree Celsius in summer, so putting this in roof top would be impacted by the temperature, isn't it ?

So first of thanks for the compliments and the comment in general, it is much appreciated :)

No regarding the temperature...50 degrees celcius, WOW...that is intense...where are you living?!

We have a similar issue here with the heat, summertime get to 41-43 Celsius...and yeah that is the worst time to grow anything and it really doesn't matter if it is in soil or water...heat will be a problem...

With hydroponics you naturally get a prolonged season, as long as you manage to keep the water in the proper range, the outside temperature will not be that much of an issue to the plants.

So there are numerous solutions for cooling the water, like chillers, or even thermoelectric coolers (you can build a cheap version yourself, using a peltier cooling cells) , but for smaller systems what always worked for me, is dropping couple of 2 liter (or more) ice bottles (that you put in the fridge the night before) in the reservoir every morning...the ice will slowly melt and will keep your water in a nice and cool temperature.

Of course it also helps to cover the reservoir with some isolation, or a concrete enclosing...anything to keep the heat out.

both sanmi and me are from India and the heat is really too much nowadays and will get worse in April, May :p

I presume you guys are from Rajastan, I think only there get that hot, isnt it?

Really crazy those temperatures! is it always been that way, or more of a recent years kinda thing?

I stay in Odisha, and it reached last time 48, and we anticipate it to be more extreme this time. Glad to see your detailed response, I will explore more. May be we can do this during the other 8 months, where the temperature will be lesser.

I am from kerala, which actually is green all through but climate change and now it is really hot

I have been to Kerala about 6 or 7 years ago, I didn't remember it that hot... is it that extreme of a change?

Still got the whole house-boats craze there? one of the best accommodations i ever had a pleasure to live in :)

house boats still around but the humidity is mad and the monsoons are like way too delayed and less rainfall.great to know you have been to our state.

wow 48 is really extreme, not sure regular solutions will work, perhaps burring the water tank in the ground :)

But the other 8 month can work for sure!

if i could upvote this twice i would, this was a fucking wicked post. i myself have jsut got into playing with aquaponics last year and plan to do a larger scale set up this year, i liked hydro ponics but wanted to find a way to do it without using additives thus came the idea of aquaponics and raising pond fish to sell and cycling their water through the plants. ill be following you, maybe stop by my blog and see if theres anything of value for you on it, im cenetered around gardening aswell

Thank you very much my friend!

Yeah I love aquaponics and probably would be doing it as well, but I really don't have anything to do with the fish, as being a Vegan, they are not really a food source for me.
The second issue I have with it, is the low tolerance for mistakes...its one thing to kill of some plants and completely a different feeling when you find 100 fish floating around in your tank just because the filter wasn't working properly.

Another thing is that aquaponics tend to require a bit more hands on approach, as often it is challenging to balance the water both for the plants and the fish, as the fish prefer the water to be a bit more alkaline (in the 7-7.5 PH range) while the plants prefer it more acidic (5.5-6 PH).

And the last thing being the iron deficiency in the fish crap ;) , they provide almost everything that the plants need, except iron...so you need to be adding at least that...

Followed you as well, hope to exchange more info in the future!

Im not vegan, but i dont like fish or eat fish lol taste like crap,, i raise koi, and goldfish for ponds for people with ornamental ponds in summer. i have a intersting hack for the iron that you might find strange but i simply anchor a couple real well rusted bolts in the outline from the tank, to the plants. the ph level isnt much of a issue and koi and goldfish are pretty versatile fish. maybe for speciality fish you would need to be more precise, but i honestly have never even tested my ph levels, i had goldfish and koi and a pond long before i got into gardening,,, my first test pilot was as simple as i built a plant bed next to my pond using a couple old feedin troughs from a farm and used a small fountain pump to pump the water up to them. never had a dead fish yet minus the ones neighbourhood stray cats have eaten on me haha

Yeah you right, at the end nature does it all day long, without any special additives involved...If the systems is balanced well then there is really no maintenance involved.

Never tried putting real iron inside the water, sounds like a solution that can work if not doesn't by accident poison the water ;)

Would be great to see some of the ponds you were building.

The iron idea came in to make the plants get extra iron and be lusher green, wasnt actually thought of because of the fish to be honest. and i got the idea from whats called the iron fish project, in africa in places where food was low in iron and stuff they made this little fish out of iron and called it the iron fish, it would get boiled in soups and stuff to add iron to them. strange concept for us to think of here since we dont have the problems those cultures do, so the ad for that gave me the idea of adding it to the water to make the plants greener. ... as for the fish, i dont think a little extra iron would hurt them, but it dont come back through anyways, what isnt used by the plants imediately dont make it back through the bed back to the water... in the plant bed i have the bottom lined with activated charcoal from aquarium set ups and then a layer of sand on top of it and a layer of gravel ontop of the sand that it filters through before dripping back into the pond. going to do similar for the ones i do with aquariums next year.

You know what that is not strange to me at all! Human ingenuity will always find ways to survive when there is one.

I remember my grandfather used to tell me that when he fought in the second world war they used to send them to the most remote places and often there were no supplies for weeks on...and that often they used to boil their army shoes that were made of leather, just to have that little protein dripping into the water...and that was their soup for the night with at least a little sustenance.

So yeah sometimes the "craziest" ideas can provide you with the best possible solution at hand .

Regarding your filters, looks like you really know what you are doing..the charcoal works magic for filtering anything...

Great job @ewasteguy1, perhaps you can share some images of the setup, I am curious to see

the set ups under several feet at the moment and up until joing steemit this last week i never took pictures of any of my stuff, never been much for taking pictures nor documenting things but thats about to change now that im apart of this site, i see it as a great oppurtunity to spread the message of sustainability and teach others to give it a try aswell as hopefully make some money in the process to invest towards my end goal of starting a recycling facilty / local greenhouses, i would love to see my small town not need goverment ran recycling companies, nor imported veggies.

Yeah it is definitely a good opportunity to take some photos! :)
I am sure there are many people that will be happy to see your work...I know I am...

I hope you will be able to proceed with your project, it always starts with small steps!

I am going to be making weekly curation posts on sustainability as part of Minnow Support Project so make sure to send me the post about the project once you get some writing...

0D7FE753-3846-42DE-8C39-E6E0A539646E.jpeg

This post lays out the framework for aquaponics really well, great job! This is certainly valuable info for urban dwellers, and I love how small mold you make it look. I wonder too about using human urine as fertilizer.

hmmm...human urine? might be very problematic lol...especially for your aquaponics.

not sure this comment is legit, but still funny ;)

haha it is definitely legit. @mountainjewel curates the hearth and we use urine a lot on our homestead. usually not "hot" directly on plants, but we inoculate sawdust or biochar with it and then apply accordingly :) perhaps not so good directly in aquaponics ;)

That is awesome, I am all for recycling....and what best to recycle then our own "output" :)

I presume urine works due to ammonification process..

I know there is a way to do a fertilizer tea out of human feces, but must admit never had the pleasure to try doing it my self :)

Pretty awesome system you got there.
Explained the process pretty well. Thanks for sharing.

This specific one is not mine, I just installed it in a school as part of a project.

But yeah I have a few of those as well :)

Thanks for the comment

Nice system! Have not started growing hydroponically yet, but eager to get there! Like the small towers, they look more easy to handle than the others I have seen.

Yeah the small towers are vertical hydroponics, but they are a bit harder to DIY, although there are options for sure.

You can start by building a very small unit with just box with a few holes and an aquarium air pump.
You can put it in any place with enough exposure to sun and you will have plants growing in no time.

Nowadays you can even find solar air pumps so you will not even need to be dependent on electricity.

Awesome project to try this season. Thanks for sharing!

Happy to help! :)
If you have any questions dont hesitate to ask...

Your Post Has Been Featured on @Resteemable!
Feature any Steemit post using resteemit.com!
How It Works:
1. Take Any Steemit URL
2. Erase https://
3. Type re
Get Featured Instantly ๏ฟฝ Featured Posts are voted every 2.4hrs
Join the Curation Team Here | Vote Resteemable for Witness

Congratulations @carpedimus, this post is the third most rewarded post (based on pending payouts) in the last 12 hours written by a Newbie account holder (accounts that hold between 0.01 and 0.1 Mega Vests). The total number of posts by newbie account holders during this period was 4540 and the total pending payments to posts in this category was $3166.23. To see the full list of highest paid posts across all accounts categories, click here.

If you do not wish to receive these messages in future, please reply stop to this comment.

awesome!! thank you @bitgeek

Congratulations! This post has been upvoted from the communal account, @minnowsupport, by carpedimus from the Minnow Support Project. It's a witness project run by aggroed, ausbitbank, teamsteem, theprophet0, someguy123, neoxian, followbtcnews, and netuoso. The goal is to help Steemit grow by supporting Minnows. Please find us at the Peace, Abundance, and Liberty Network (PALnet) Discord Channel. It's a completely public and open space to all members of the Steemit community who voluntarily choose to be there.

If you would like to delegate to the Minnow Support Project you can do so by clicking on the following links: 50SP, 100SP, 250SP, 500SP, 1000SP, 5000SP.
Be sure to leave at least 50SP undelegated on your account.

Upvoted on behalf of @thehumanbot and it's allies for writing this great original content. Do not use bid bots for at least 1-2 days, as your post may get picked up by top curators.
Great Original Works are rewarded by top Curators.If you like this initiative, you can follow me in SteemAuto and upvote the posts, that I upvote.
And remember to do some charity when you are rich by contributing to me.If you have any concerns or feedback with my way of operation, raise it with @sanmi , my operator who is freaking in Steemit chat or discord most of the time.

This post has received a 2.59 % upvote from @booster thanks to: @carpedimus.

You have received an upvote from @livesustainably. I promote and curate content that encourages and educates others in living sustainably. You can support the live sustainably cause on Steemit by upvoting, resteeming and creating content under the tag #livesustainably.

You can also benefit and support the cause by using the upvote bot @greengrowth.

Minimum bids from 0.01 SBD! The early adopters of this new bot have been receiving 100% upvotes! Wow!

Really informative! Been looking for an article such as this for weeks, now I can continue with my project, quick one what is the recommended spacing on the PVC pipe from your calculations I can see they are spaced 10mm apart, what is the diameter of the hole?
Am working on a pilot project and my spacing is about 50mm with 75mm diameter holes because of the cups an using.

Thank you very much.

You are right about the diameter, it is about 75mm or 3" ...but for spacing I usually use about 20 cm just to allow for versatility of the plants i put in the system.

It really all depends on which plants you going to plant and how big you want them to be...
But 20 cm should be good for most of them...

So draw a dot every 20-25 cm, and then drill a 75mm hole.

Will be great to see your project after you done.

Yes, it's that time again, the growing season is getting close, to plant outside, thanks for the info I am thinking of going hydroponic.

You should...it really addictive... :)
What i love about hydroponics is that you can be a newbie and still grow great produce...but if you want to dive deep there is so much to learn!

Thanks for taking the time to comment!

Very cool. Great images. Hopefully more people will do as you do.

Thanks you my friend...i hope everybody will start growing their food, or at least be more conscious about what they eat and how it affects their lives and environment...

Amazing post with a remarkable photoshop.Hydroponics or plants grown without soil use soil minerals and nutrients are good source of vitamin like A,C,E and B complexes and also reduces labour for plant growth.

for sure there is much less labor!! thanks for the comment

Very cool man @carpedimus!
I am just going to blatantly "spam" my latest article here since it is also relevant to "gardening", maybe you could develop the idea further and design a "city-slicker-indoor-hydroponics-system" for these
air-cleaning plants??


https://steemit.com/gardening/@friendly-fenix/clean-your-crapy-indoor-air-with-these-plants

Thanks! /FF

thanks :)

excellent brother I congratulate you when you want you can do wonderful works like this. note: how amazing the life that the plants give, in the end when you have everything armed the color and the life that sprouts is great

This looks really neat. When I get my next homestead, I want to try this.

will be happy to assist if you'll have some questions!

Great post! thanks for going so in depth with the design! I own a hydroponics store in the US and have been into it for a long time as well. I have yet to venture into NFT, mostly flood and drain and drip systems so far. I have a space in the future I would like to build NFT and will definitely keep this in mind. Good luck with things!

Thank you very much my friend.
We are actually working on our new space in the last few month.
Been staying in a smaller place so far, but now we took some larger space to be able to showcase all of our systems...so the plan is to have as many growing techniques as possible.

We gonna be putting : NFT both vertical and horizontal , DWC, some aeroponic units, floating rafts, wall farms, you name it....and there going to be a whole section for indoor growing,.
Also one of the major hassle i had in the last place was the maintenance, having to take care of several systems growing plants was time consuming, so now the whole thing is going to be fully automated...

Anyhow very excited .. :)

Thanks for the comment, i wish you luck as well on all your endeavors :)
Hope to talk more in the future!

you too @carpedimus, that is amazing. Sounds like you have some really great things going๐Ÿ‘ Look forward to keeping up on your posts.

If I plant them, feed them ,water them, care for them, watch them growing and feeling happy I am unable to kill and eat them ...

Lol...after a while, the best thin you can do for them in my opinion is eat them, as if you dont your plants will slowly wilt and die without fullfiling their destiny in life ;)

Actually while growing herbs for example, picking them as they grow (just what you need) will make them actually grow bigger.

And if you really dont want to pick anything, you can always grow some decorative plants or flowers...it looks amazing indoors.

Coin Marketplace

STEEM 0.30
TRX 0.06
JST 0.040
BTC 37431.63
ETH 2477.53
USDT 1.00
SBD 4.00