Hydroponics - First try with some bell peppers

On my windowsill, there are still a few, neglected peppers. I had tried to grow them in the winter. Since I was looking at Hydroponics, Aeroponics, and DWC (Deep Water Culture) for a long time, I got some missing parts in the DIY store today and made a prototype.

Building a hydroponics prototype

Basically, I bought a plastic box with a lid and a few plant pots. Unfortunately, the plant pots are not the optimum I wanted. My aquarium plants always come in such beautiful “grid pots”, no idea what they are called properly. They would be better because they have many openings where the roots can grow out. For the next box, I will get some on the internet. I have now simply drilled holes into the plant pots, but as I said … not optimal.

For the pots, I have drilled holes in the lid. I also drilled a hole for a hose. A pump will later use this hose to water the plants from the top.

The box now contains an old aquarium heater rod, which keeps the water at 24 °C. A small pond pump, which pumps water up into the pots every 1.5 hours for half an hour (that’s the smallest unit on my timer). I filled the pots with planting clay.

Unfortunately, there are no pictures of the construction. It was a bit too chaotic, and I want to have it done more than taking pictures. The next one is planned a little better, and then I can take some pictures during the construction. But all in all, it was not as difficult, and you should be able to build one yourself.

Final result

Here are some pictures of the final box:

Hydroponics - Dripbox

Hydroponics - Heating

Hydroponics - LED bar

Plant nutrient

Just pumping water into the plants will not work in the long run. Since the plants are kept in an inorganic substrate, they must be supplied with a nutrient solution. For this, I still use aquarium water, a variant that I saw when I first learned about aquaponics. In aquaponics, you grow fishes and plants with a water cycle. You only have to feed the fish, and they’re producing the nutrients for the plants. But the fish tanks are really full, so I don’t know if my fishes can produce enough nutrients for the plants. If this doesn’t work, I will try a buyable solution, which seems to work very well for others.

Update - 08.01.2013

I have made some adjustments to the container. At first, there was enough space for 5 pots, but then the thick PVC tube reduced the space. To make up for this, there is an advantage in the next container, which is that the connections of the tubes are inside the box. This reduces the source of errors that can lead to flooding of my carpet. I am leaning towards using small spray nozzles inside the box to water the pots. I have seen it in videos before, and it eliminates most possibilities for an overflow.

Hydroponics - Dripbox - 5 Pots

For the light fixture I build something out of small pieces of wood. On this construction I mounted three T8 18 W lights with a color temperature of 6400 K.

Hydroponics - T8 Lights

Because the mounting of the lights were not really safe I build a grow box out of some wood I had in the garage. In this grow box the lights could be mounted with hooks so they are variable in height. In the front of the grow box I placed a blanket so the heat and light are kept in the box.

Hydroponics - Growbox

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