A homemade PVC hydroponic system made using the appropriate design guarantees to get rid of any kind of problems that are related with the use of the hydroponics system as well as makes its daily use much simpler.
DIY homemade garden can be a replacement if you are not able to afford an Aero Garden kit.
How to make your homemade hydroponic garden
A hydroponic gardening system with PVC pipe can be built using the basic tools that are often found within a household. You can also use this same system to plant lettuce hydroponically, learn more here.
Tools required to build your DIY hydroponic system
These tools include:
- Chalk Line
- Tape measure
- Soldering iron
- Hole saw
- Hack saw
- pruning shears
- Power drill
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The materials include:
- Four 10 ft 4 inch PVC pipes
- Eight 4 inch PVC elbows
- PVC pipe glue
- Duct tape
- Hydroponic Submersible Pump
- PVC primer
- 4 ft Hydroponic pump hose
- 6 inch air stones
- 40 pieces of 16 Oz plastic cups
- A 30 gallon plastic storage tote with its lid
- 20 liter bag of expanded clay pellets
- 2 Sawhorses
A great place to get quality tools at discounted rates is definitely at Bonanza. You may also opt to get the latest advanced hydroponics growing kits here. Once all materials and tools have been collected it is time to get working.
The end result should be a system that is 3 ½ FT by 8 FT and can accommodate up to 36 plants that are 6 inches in height.
The hydroponics garden system should also have the ability to hold up to 15 gallons of water while the nutrient reservoir should hold another 15- 20 gallons.
Best way to cut the PVC pipes
A homemade hydroponic systems PVC pipes should be cut nice and straight into 7 FT 6inches long making sure that none of the pieces are longer than the other.
Cut an additional three 6 inch pieces to be used to make the u-turns using the PVC elbows.
Use the PVC primer to clean the burrs from the pieces that have been cut both on the inside of fitting as well as the end of the pipe.
When gluing the piece together ensure to hold them together for a few seconds so as to avoid them from popping back out.
The glue is applied on the fittings and the end of the pipe approximately 4 to 5 times on each and should cover 1 ½ inches on the end of the pipe.
The pieces should be twisted just a bit in order to shut out any air bubbles. Make three u- turns by pushing each u-turn together and putting it upright on a surface.
DIY PVC hydroponics systems setup are quite simple. It entails the cutting and assembling of the PVC pipes.
It also includes cutting holes for the plants, reinforcing the hydroponic system and cleaning the system.
Then making the homemade netted pots and most importantly controlling the water level in the pipes.
Lets now do the gluing together of the cut PVC parts:
The elbow should be glued to one of the longer pieces and the other end is glued to one of the u- turns ensuring the elbow is facing up and the upturn is lying flat on the ground.
Glue another u- turn to the other end of the long pipe and ensure it is flat on the ground.
Another long piece is then glued to the other end of the u- turn. On the other end push on the final 90* elbow without gluing it on.
This elbow should point up in the air to keep the final long piece level during the period as it dries.
Drilling the plant holes
It is highly recommended to leave the system to dry overnight before undertaking the task of cutting the plant holes.
This will ease the process and ensure that it does not come apart or dismantle while you are trying to make the plant holes.
The holes should be made at the complete top of the PVC pipe otherwise if it is put a bit off centre then there is a high probability that the system will have a leakage at that spot.
Measure 3 ½ inches in from the elbow and mark it with a dot over the centre line.
Each long pipe should have 9 dots that is drilled to make a pilot hole using a small drill bit to prevent the hole saw from “walking”.
The above works very well with hydroponically grown tomatoes.
Use a thin piece of metal to clean the PVC burrs as soon as all the holes have been cut to ensure that the water pump is not clogged with little pieces of PVC.
Great levers are made from the long pipes. They should not be moved up or down either left or right in high degrees otherwise there is a risk of cracking the system at the u- turn joint.
The distance between the long pipes needs to be measured before cutting three sections of PVC to the length obtained after measuring.
The sections in between the long pipes should be wedged and then duct- taped into place making sure the tape is between the plant holes instead of covering them.
Cleaning of the system
The system will need to be cleaned and flushed out a number of times after it has been reinforced and is safe from breaking.
The hydroponic system is lifted off the ground and set on a couple of sawhorses. The rinse water is caught by placing the reservoir at the end of the system.
Water is shot into the PVC pipe using a hose with a good spray nozzle to remove all the PVC burr debris from the pipe. A toilet brush is also helpful for this procedure.
DIY hydroponics netted pots at home
16 Oz disposable cups are used to make the netted pots by burning small holes using a smoldering iron. The holes are made on the sides and at the bottom of the cups.
This step should be done in the open air environment to avoid suffocation from the smoke.
The holes should not be large enough to be seen or to let the clay pellets to fall out once the cup has been filled.
Controlling of water levels in the PVC pipes
A dam hydroponic system is constructed at the end of the system just before the water flows back into the reservoir.
This dam is purposed to keep the water level in the hydroponic system as high as it possibly can without causing any leakages.
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Find a piece of thin plastic and using a 4 inch piece of scrap PVC, trace out a circle on the plastic and cut it out.
A flat side of the circle that represents the height you would like to maintain is then cut off. Cut two slits in order to give you a flap that you can bend down in order to fine tune the level of water.
The last elbow is wedged into place at 90* in order to test things out. The last elbow is not glued but instead is coated with a thin layer of vaseline.
A 24- 30 inch of PVC is attached to the elbow and used to carry water from the homemade hydroponic system back into the nutrient reservoir.
Instead of pointing downwards, this pipe should run at an angle in order to prevent any splashing as well as the sound of falling water.
The end of the pipe should be emerged into the nutrient reservoir and notches cut in the side of the lid of the reservoir so as to accommodate the PVC return and the water pump line.
The best PVC pipe plastic for my hydroponic system
One of the things you need to seriously consider is the type of plastic pipe to use for hydroponic plant growing.
The type of pvc pipe plastic you pick for your nutrient container or hydroponic pipes will greatly determine if you’ll get a yield from your plants or not. From research it has come out clear in order to avoid harming your plants the best plastic to use are;
- Type 2 – High-density polyethylene(PEHD)
- Type 4 – l ow-density polyethylene(PELD)
- Type 5 – Polypropylene(PP)
Try and avoid pvc pipes labeled 3 for phthalates, 6 for styrene and 7 for bisphenols.
Pick the plants that you have decide to grow
You may choose to grow using seeds or seedlings. This you can buy in a store near you or purchase online. To ensure you get it right and you get good yield we recommend that you plant at least three seeds in each net pot.
The best plants to grow hydroponically include fruits like strawberries leafy plants such herbs and vegetables.
With all the steps above setup you are ready to grow your homemade hydro garden.
How To Setup The PVC Hydroponics Gardening System
The homemade PVC hydroponics system is filled with water while the reservoir is filled 1/3 of water.
The pump is then turned on until there is just as much water going back into the system as there is being pumped into the system.
The water level running through the PC pipes should be ¼ inch or less below the discs. Sections should be raised until the level of water is a similar distance below every plant hole.
The expanded clay pellets should be soaked overnight and rinse repeatedly if brand new.
Place the 16 Oz cups into each plant hole and add the clay pellets to each cup to the a level just above the water level in the cup.
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Stir them with your finger to settle them and ensure that half of them are emerged in water while the other half is not.
Place a 6 inch seedling or clone in each cup as you cover the root and any other cloning material.
It is crucial to add the air bubblers once the plants are in the homemade DIY PVC hydroponic system.
The pump should be turned off after some time to give way for the nutrients to be added to the reservoir.
The strength of the nutrient should be brought up to a level that has already been established in the feeding plan of the homemade PVC hydroponic system.
After all this is done, the lid for the nutrient reservoir is placed back on and the routine for maintaining the nutrient solution is then taken up.
The hydroponic PVC garden is only complete once the lights and fans have been installed.
The 1000 watt light is the most recommended light for the job. It should be put up on a short light mover.
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A reflective material is then hanged on the one 8 foot side and two 4 foot sides.
At the centre of the 8 foot side, a 12 inch oscillating fan is mounted on a stand and a centrifugal fan of 400 cubic foot per minute is hanged purposefully to push around cool air in and out of the garden area.
The correct way to use the system.
The best fact of this system is the fact that you can either decide to plant a seed and nurture it grow from start or you could star off the seedlings elsewhere before finally transplanting them into the hydroponic system.
Most of the time, the hydroponic PVC system acts as a flowering system whereby you can start the seeds elsewhere under regular LED Grow light and then transplanting to the homemade PVC hydroponic system when they are ready to be flowered.
Once the seedlings or clones have obtained a 6 inch height and have roots, then they can be transplanted into the DIY PVC hydroponic system and grown vegetatively for a week.
If any plant dies then it should be removed from the system together with its roots.
However, the disposable cups as well as the clay pellets should remain in place in the plant holes.
Reduce the light cycle for the plants in the PVC hydroponics garden from 24 hours to 12 hours on then 12 hours off with the use of a digital timer.
You may also opt the easy way out and go for the easy to use Aerogarden Harvest Elite garden.
Challenges you are expected to encounter
There are various problems that the systems have to overcome.
For instance, the homemade hydroponics system is prone to leakages due to the fact that the water levels must be kept very close from the spilling point. This ensures that the roots of the plants have sufficient space in order to grow appropriately.
Another problem surfaces itself halfway through the flowering process whereby the root mass increases highly. This increase hinders the flow and speed of water through the hydroponic system.
The increased volume of the roots does not allow water to move at 360 GPH as the hydroponic pump is set to pump water at 360 gallons per hour. The best solution for this mishap is to insert a “T” into the water pump line.
The side of the nutrient reservoir was left but the other side of the “T” was fed into the hydroponic system. This act cuts the GPH to 180 GPH, helps to stop the leaking and to top it off, it does not cause any ill effects to the plants in the system.
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Why we recommend this hydroponic system
In addition to all that, the PVC homemade hydroponic systems can do, there are also other benefits.
The lack of the drip/spray makes this a very reliable and easy to maintain system.
The hydroponic pump in use produces low pressure and hence handles any kind of risk that could result due to failure such as bursting of a pipe which could spray everywhere until the reservoir is empty and could risk electric fault in the system.
The benefit of this system is that it does not spray and therefore a leak will only drip slowly to the ground making it impossible to empty the reservoir as well as making it easy to recollect.
The DIY PVC hydroponic plan minimizes the exposure of light to the nutrient solution and hence prevents the growth of algae.
This also helps in preventing fungus gnats which in turn prevents root damage.
In case of a power black-out, the still water in the system will prevent damage of the roots for a while.
Last update on 2022-01-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API