Monday, May 19, 2014

Gardening - First Drip Hydroponic setup

I figured using a drip system is nothing new to anyone.  The only difference here is that all my plants are sitting in a mix of Perlite and Vermiculite just so the roots have something to grow on and through, No Soil.
All my buckets have a drip tube feeding from a reservoir that I buired in the ground (to help maintain water temp).  Each bucket as it fills up over about 1" it self drains back to the main reservoir.

Inside my reservoir I'm using a standard small aquarium or pond pump that feeds all the overflow back up into the drippers to each bucket.  The reservoir is a mix of the water soluble nutrients (which can vary depending on what you are growing).

Here's a few pics with the buckets and a comparison of how the growing is going over about three weeks.

This of all the different things I'm trying has so far been the best results.  I filled the reservoir once and the only thing I'm maintaining is the pruning of the plants growing.  Clearly their is still a whole lot to learn and improve on, but for not spending a lot or building some complex system this is already showing to have potential.  The other major benefit of not using soil are the lack of bugs.  I've had many problems with bugs in most my other gardening attempts.

To the left is a buried 25Gal bin feeding the 1/2" drip tube above.  It's on the backside of these buckets but the overflow pipe feeds back to the reservoir.  These plantings were put in at the same time and are same variety of plants in the self watering (grow box) container.  These ones are kicking butt!

After about three weeks of getting a liquid nutrient, very visual growth... Imagine if I knew what I was doing how much better this would be.
3 Weeks Later

I used leftover catlitter and paint buckets for my system

On the far right is my first Kratkey method, we'll see how it goes.

3 Weeks Later
Overall this setup has been really great and I will absolutely be adding to it and cleaning things up a little bit.  Something else I forgot to mention is that cost was a concern for me, but the nutrient powders I bought are really cheap.  They come in 1lb and 5lb sizes but you are only mixing about 5 grams of solution for 5gallon increments.  The 5lbs I have will last me the entire summer and comes out to literally pennies per gallon... sure beats paying $1.50 for a single pepper in the store.

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