This is one of my many attempts to build an aeroponic system. I live in a flat so the system needs to be compact, quiet and easy to maintain. This one worked out a little more expensive as I bought some proper flowering lights and a dedicated grow tent. However the actual hydroponic parts were reasonably cheap.
So I set off to our local DIY store with a rough idea of what I wanted. My initial plan was to simply buy a small pump some cable ties and some host pipe. Run the hose pipe around the circumference of the tote and then put a lot of little holes in the hose. However as I was looking for a pump I came across a couple fountain pumps. These had 2 types or fountains, the standard spray water up in the air kind and my personal favorite the bell fountain.
Whilst reading the specifications for the pump I realised that if I bought the medium version of the pump I could create a bell fountain that was about 3 feet in diameter. This was much bigger than the dimensions of the tote that I was targetting. Then it hit me I don't need to run hose and worry about the holes or misters getting clogged I can just use the bell fountain, and let net pots hang down into the spray from the fountain which means the roots hang in the air and are continuously coated by a thin film of nutrient solution. Not exactly the smallest of drops let alone a fog but very easy to maintain because the part that creates the bell fountain is so simple it can be wiped clean.
It's simple a plastic stalk with an inverted cone on the top of it. This slots into a 1/4" tube and you can adjust the size of the bell by how tightly the stalk is pressed into the tube. Attach the tube to the pump and submerge in the tote and away you go. No fiddling with hoses, no clogging misters and plenty of air is available to the roots.
So here goes:
1 large rough tote
1 fountain pump with bell fountain attachment (Hozelock 1500)
4-6 3" net cups
Hydrorton clay media
2m weather seal
Plug (for the pump)
Small outlet fitting for 1/4" tube (for draining tote)
3" hole cutter or very sharp knife
- Place tote lid on stable surface and position net cups where you want them and trace round them. Securely hold the lid and using hole cutter drill out desired number of plant stations in the lid
- Using nail punch create one hole towards the top of the tote for the pumps power cable and another in the base of the tote for the outlet fitting.
- Push pump power cable through the hole at the top of the tote and attach the plug
- Insert outlet fitting in the hole in the bottom of the tote and cap it off with a screw on cap
- Stick weather seal around the top edge of the tote to create a water tight seal
- Fill the tote with your desired nutrient solution
- Transplant seedlings or cuttings into net pots and support with hydrorton (or preferred media)
- Submerge pump in nutrient solution (ensure it's fully submerged)
- Make sure you have some sort of absorbant material all round the tote before you turn on the pump as you will need to adjust the fountain bell by fiddling with the top of the attachment. Too tight and the water will spray out everywhere, gently pull up on the bell stalk until you have an even spray all around the edge of the tote. It should be about 1" from the top of the tote so it hits your net cups about half way up their side.
- Turn off the pump and position in your desired location
- Place plants in net cups into holes in tote lid and attach lid to tote
- Turn pump on and leave to run for 30 seconds. Remove cups one at a time to make sure they are actually getting soaked by the nutrient solution
- Ensure a good tight seal is maintained between tote and lid by using bungee cord or duct tape