Build an aeroponic system

Contents

One Innovative, Homemade Aeroponics System Design

AffordableGarden Design&Setup

(10 week update below)

Hi everyone, Jason from Jason’s Indoor Guide here. When I got started with hydroponic gardening more than 24 years ago, my first garden used rockwool cubes and B.C. Nutrients….and I remember thinking to myself yeah, sure, there may be a lot of advantages to gardening with hydroponics, for example there are very few pest problems, therefore very little pest control, no weeding, no plowing or tilling the soil, no soil testing or having to add things into the garden soil, no watering the garden….but for someone who just wants to grow their own vegetables and have more control over their food supply and the quality of the food that they eat, the cost of constantly having to buy grow media and hydroponic nutrients makes this an expensive hobby for most people…

Epic Nutrient Change

I suppose when you take into consideration how much money you save NOT having to buy food at the grocery store, it is surely cheaper to grow your own food hydroponically even with the cost of high quality nutrients. Nevertheless, I didn’t have a whole lot of money to work with and I needed to make my efforts as affordable and effective as possible….and in the last 24 years I HAVE learned a thing or two!
As you browse through Jason’s Indoor Guide, you will notice all of the systems that I use personally are homemade systems. As I got 3 or 4 years of experience under my belt, I quickly adopted a preference to standing water systems and systems that use expanded clay pellets or lava rock, because the media is re-usable and it eliminates a huge operating expense. So once a hydroponic system is built, garden maintenance is minimal- check and adjust the nutrient solution daily, and to change it completely every 2 weeks….and the biggest operating cost is the hydroponic nutrients. (and the electric bill, lol)…

Homemade Cloner

And, regarding the cost of the nutrients….I experimented for about 3 years with making different compost teas and nutrient teas, but there is still a lot of expense $$$ associated with making high quality nutrient teas….like kelp meal, liquid seaweed, rock dust, bat guano, un-Sulfured molasses, worm castings. You can eliminate a lot of this expense by becoming an expert at making high-quality colloidal humus compost, and use your properly made compost as the basis of your hydroponic nutrient solution.

Unfortunately, I have been gardening for over 24 years and I have only just recently mastered this difficult skill….and even then, only because I happened to find a very easy to follow, high quality technique and decided to follow the instructions to the letter. I produced more high quality compost in just one week than I was able to use in a whole year! If you can master the technique, I highly recommend it. It is one of the top 3 things you can do to increase the productivity of your food production efforts, while at the same time decreasing the amount of effort required to grow all of your own food, and decreasing the total cost of operating your food production system.
And when I say decrease operating costs, I mean decrease them to almost ZERO, especially if you are producing your own nutrients…

High Efficiency
Hydroponics

The ultimate solution to eliminate the cost of your hydroponic nutrients: Imagine a hydroponic system that does not require you to buy any nutrients, does not require you to make your own compost, and does not require you to brew your own nutrient tea. Seriously! No cost and no effort as far as providing nutrients to your plants! Plus, at the end of the gardening cycle you harvest all of your garden vegetables, PLUS YOU HARVEST FISH from the system—>

Aquaponics

This solution is aquaponics. If you are serious about producing all of your own food and being self-sufficient, this is the ultimate solution for reducing expenses (as much as possible), reducing the total amount of work required, and maximizing the productivity of your gardening efforts. I have been gardening for over 24 years, and it is the perfect food production solution in my opinion.

Besides mastering how to make high quality compost, learning aquaponics is one of the top 3 things you can do to increase your garden productivity, reduce your total costs, and reduce your total work. The product that I learned from is called Aquaponics4you. With all of my hydroponic gardening experience, the first time I came across the Aquaponics4you product I knew immediately that it was something very special! Place an aquaponics system outdoors and use the sun instead of grow lights, and you have reduced every garden expense to nearly ZERO!

The Same System/ 10 Weeks Later!


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Build your own diy aeroponic system

My first encounter with a commercially-available hydroponic system was a garden professionally manufactured from 6 inch PVC pipe. Since then, I’ve experimented with several variations on that design, in search of less expensive ways to get started in hydroponics.

Shown here growing several varieties of leafy greens This system is extremely versatile and very popular with commercial growers looking to produce large harvests from small spaces both indoors and out.

PVC pipe’s inherent ease of use during construction, versatility, and availability as a plumbing product make it an ideal material for building your own hydroponic system. Standard round PVC pipe is available from any plumbing supply store, and the newer square extrusions used here are available from construction material and outdoor fencing suppliers.

The 5 inch square extrusions have the added benefit of increased stiffness, their flat bottoms prevent them from rolling over and they require less support than their 4 and 6 inch tubular counterparts. Before you get carried away trying to decide which type of PVC pipe to use for your system, remember that plants only care about food, water and proper oxygenation, and all of these designs do a good job of providing each of these requirements.

We recommend Rough tote storage containers for nutrient reservoirs since they are made from FDA-approved resins suitable for long-term contact with food. Their green and blue coloring keep algae growth to a minimum and they are virtually indestructible.

Parts List
(1) 31 gallon Rough tote reservoir or similar
(4) 6 ft. PVC pipes (use either 4? or 6? round or 5? square type — the latter is used here)
(8) End caps (use rubber “Gem” caps on round pipe, PVC fence caps on square pipe)
(2) Sawhorse kits and whatever materials are required to assemble them

4″ round, 6″ round (both shown with rubber Gem caps installed), 6′, 4.5′ and 3′ chambers made from 5″ square PVC (end caps not shown on square chambers). The number and placing of plant sites is entirely up to the grower, making this design very versatile.

NOTE: Whether you choose 4? or 6? round PVC pipe or the new 5? square extrusions for grow chambers, the principle is the same. Plants are suspended in baskets while the upper part of their roots are treated to a fine spray as the bottom extremities are bathed in a constant flow of oxygen-rich nutrient solution.

(1) 700GPH submersible pump
Approx. 5′ of 3/4? PVC pipe for manifold construction
Approx. 2′ of 1/2? PVC pipe for cutting into spray line support clips
25 feet of .375 ID poly spray line tubing
(4) 3/4? female garden hose swivel to compression adapters (for spray line ends)
(4) 10mm insert plugs to seal spray line ends

Build your own diy aeroponic system

The versatility of PVC pipes when used as growing chambers creates endless possibilities. Here is a 3′ model that provided Keith with fresh salad greens all winter long and kept the air in his home office comfortably humidified and fresh too!

Tools You’ll Need
Electric or battery powered drill, 3/8? or 1/2? chuck
1 7/8?, 2 7/8?, and 4? hole saws for cutting drain holes, plant sites and service ports
5/8?, 3/4?, and 7/8? speed bore bits (flat, inexpensive drill bits)
1/8? drill bit to make spray holes in spray lines
Hacksaw for cutting PVC pipe
Razor knife for cutting poly tubing
Ruler and a marker

Using either the template provided below or your own design, you must first layout each of the holes to be cut.

It’s best to mark and measure them center to center. Make sure to pay close attention to avoid any mistakes which can be very costly in both time and materials.

Use the 2 7/8? hole saw and a cordless drill to cut each of the grow sites and a 4? hole saw for the access ports (one per chamber, on the right side of the chambers shown here). The 14v cordless drill I used here has cut hundreds of holes over the last year! A single charge was enough to finish the chambers shown here, each with 6 grow sites and 1 access port.

The 5? and 6? growth chambers each have an internal spray line that needs to be suspended from the top of the chamber. To do this, cut spray line clips from the 1/2? PVC pipe (3/4? to 1? long works best).

Use 3-5 spray line clips per chamber and glue them into the chambers using PVC cement. For best results, use PVC primer before applying glue to soften the material and create a tighter seal. Glue them exactly between the grow sites so as not to block the spray holes placed just off to the side of each grow site.

The black arrow denotes how the spray line passes through each of the clips.

Using a 1 3/8? hole saw, cut a hole into each of the end caps to accommodate the spray lines. Center this hole exactly 1 1/8? down and 1 1/8? over from the same corner the spray line clips are attached. You will use a 1? ID rubber grommet (shown in step 9) to seal the compression fitting as it passes through this hole.

End caps for the 5? PVC chambers need to be glued on using PVC cement. Use PVC primer first on both surfaces to be glued.

Stand the chambers on end and use a small squirt bottle to fill any gaps between the cap and chamber to prevent leaks.

Assemble your stand from two sawhorse kits and some 2×4 lumber. Use a level placed between the two sawhorses to make sure the chambers will lay flat, with zero slope.

Place the level across each sawhorse to make sure all the chambers will be at the same height.

Assemble your system so that each chamber is evenly spaced apart on the sawhorse supports. It is best to leave yourself a few inches of space between the bottom of the chambers and the lid of your reservoir. Measure the spacing from the center of one chamber to the center of the next to determine the spacing of spray lines on the manifold below.

Lay out the manifold parts as shown here and measure out the lengths of 3/4? PVC pipe you will need to complete the manifold. You may wish to refer to the next section for more photos of the complete manifold and how it attaches to the system for further clarification.

Assemble the internal spray lines from the parts shown here: 3/4? FGH swivel adapter with a compression end, .375 ID poly spray line, 10mm insert plug, and a 1? rubber grommet to seal the entry point of the spray line into the growth chamber. Begin by cutting the poly spray lines down to the exact inside length of your chambers.

You will then need to use a 1/8? drill to puncture spray holes into each line just off to each side of every grow site. Keep the holes about a half inch from the grow sites so they don’t get blocked by the spray clips installed in the previous steps.

NOTE: once you insert the spray lines into the compression end of the adapters, they are nearly impossible to remove with damage. Test fit everything first! You only need to insert about 1/2″ into the compression end for a good seal.

Using a 1.5? hole saw, cut a hole for each chamber’s drain fitting to mate with the lid of your reservoir. I have found the simplest way to measure and mark off the location for these holes is to connect all chambers to the injection manifold, position them over the reservoir, and mark the center of each drain hole by sighting down each drain fitting.

Connect your submersible pump as shown here using a length of vinyl tubing and a nylon barb to female hose thread adapter.

A 7/8? hole in the bottom of the reservoir wall accepts a 1/2? ID rubber grommet, 1/2? barbed elbow and 1/2? level tubing to complete your nutrient reservoir level indicator.

1/2″ level tubing is blue in this example. NOTE: there are actually two options available when making the drain stems. The first is to use the bulkhead fitting and nut. The second is to use a rubber grommet and 1 1/4″ PVC stub. Cost and availability of the materials will help you decide, as I’ve found both to work equally well.

If you choose to use the bulkhead fitting, be sure to seal with aquarium-safe silicone sealant to prevent leaks. Apply as shown here.

If you choose to go with the grommet method, it helps to apply a thin coating of non-toxic silicone grease to the inside of the grommet to allow the level tube to move up and down easily.

You are now ready to connect the chambers to the injection manifold as shown in the sequence of photos here.

Since this system is a pure water system, the only growing medium you will require is that to start your seeds or cuttings. Once you have viable plants, they will be placed into 3? plastic net cups with a handful of LECA stones to give the roots something to hold onto and keep them from falling over inside the cups.

Start your seeds or cuttings in your preference of starter cubes or sponges. Transplant to net cups once roots are clearly visible from the bottom of the cubes. Set plants in cups into your system: make sure the initial water level touches the bottom of the cups, as shown here.

Depending on your crop and stage of growth, you will want to choose a good quality hydroponic nutrient. Do not use fertilizers designed for soil gardening, as they do not contain a complete balance of nutrients required for growing in water. While you can successfully grow more than one type of plant in this system (e.g. vegetative, reproductive), for best results choose one or the other. This way you can target your nutrient solution to best satisfy its requirements.

Drain and replace nutrient in the reservoir when it falls to a level just above the top of your pump. Never let your pump run dry! Inspect and clean in-line filters with every nutrient change. It’s also a good idea to clean the chambers and reservoir between crops to remove any sediment or algae that can sometimes build up in high light conditions. Use a scrub brush and a 10% bleach solution. Rinse thoroughly!

Drain your reservoir and use the waste water to feed your landscaping or lawn. If using LECA stones or gravel, dump into a storage container and rinse thoroughly, then allow to dry. Clean all empty bucket cups and chambers with hot water and allow to dry before storing.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Aeroponics

Jul 26, 2017 · 4 min read

Aeroponic growing systems are able to produce higher yields with a shorter growth cycle, but as any other system, they have their own difficulties to navigate. While the HPA Aeroponic system provides many benefits for growers, it is a delicate system, and possible to lose an entire crop cycle due to a small problem. Plants in an aeroponic system tend to thrive under the correct conditions when things are going right, but are not very forgiving when conditions go wrong. Because of this, many aeroponic growers choose to grow small, uniform plants that have a faster turnover. This accentuates the positive benefits of aeroponic growing, while reducing the risks. Whether you choose to follow this method or not, aeroponically grown crops must be kept a close eye on in order to yield the maximum benefit.

Many problems associated with aeroponic growing are related to the DIY nature of the system. It’s hard to find all of the pieces to fit together to create the perfect aeroponic kit, while still creating the perfect environment to grow. In terms of the equipment itself, it’s extremely important to be using a quality system to avoid malfunctions. A common problem with these lower end aeroponic systems are pump malfunctions. If for any reason the pump stops working during a growth cycle, the humidity rate may drop extremely quickly, cutting off the root’s supply of nutrient solution. It’s better to invest in a quality pump that won’t alter the humidity rate of the root box, and allow for consistent growth.

Quality equipment also plays an important role with the root box. Many aeroponic growers that build their own systems find that their box doesn’t completely shield roots from the light, and therefore doesn’t maximize growth potential of the system. There also may be “leaks” in the system that lead to lost nutrient solution and moisture. Investing in a kit that is designed to completely block all sources of light and any moisture leakage will improve the efficiency of the system and lead to better plant growth.

Now that you’ve invested in a quality aeroponics grow kit, it’s important to maintain the hygiene of the system with proper sanitation routines. This is important to prevent build up in the nozzle of the nutrient spray, as well as preventing airborne disease within the system. Clogged nozzles are one of the most common problems in aeroponics, but it’s solved by simply cleaning filters, pumps, tubes, and fillings. Growers also frequently have problems with the system drying out after harvesting, but before cleanup. This leads to the accumulation of nutrient salts on the inside of the plumbing, which then block up the nozzle before the next growth cycle begins. It’s important to catch these problems early and work on prevention, because once the system is infested, it’s extremely hard to get rid of the disease. Clean the filter between sprayings, sterilize your entire system routinely (often recommended on a monthly basis) using warm water, 35% hydrogen peroxide, and a 99% isopropyl alcohol. Avoid using any sort of bleach, which leaves a harmful reside in the system.

Another common issue with aeroponic systems, related to the hygiene of the system, are bacterial and fungal growth. Unfortunately, aeroponic systems can easily provide the perfect environment for bacteria and fungi, so they are extremely prone to these kinds of growths. It’s important to note that bacterial growths can come in both beneficial and a harmful variety, so it’s hard to find a one-size-fits-all solution. Make sure that you are maintaining the proper water temperature to prevent the environment for bad biological growth. If you do find a bad bacterial or fungal growth in your system, adding a very small amount of hydrogen peroxide is a common way to kill bacterial and fungal growth, but it also kills any helpful bacteria that may be present. Depending on the condition of the crops, this may be a method to try if you’re suffering from a lot of harmful bacterial growth.

Remember that no matter what the issue is, it’s important to keep a close watch on your plants. If the growth begins to slow down in growth and vigor, that’s a sign that something could be wrong. Take a step back to analyze the growing environment — temperature, hygiene, humidity levels, seed compatibility with this environment, etc. All of these factors can contribute to the success of the growth, and vastly change the results. With specific problems growers have in their aeroponic systems, they often choose to reach out to forums and online communities to get their answers. This is a great way to receive feedback on your crops, because you can attach photos and get the opinions of other experts who have learned through trial and error systems. Many of these problems lead back to some sort of breach in the system, sanitation issue, or pest infestation/bacterial growth, but there’s always someone who has seen it before.

Now, what problems have you faced with your aeroponic system? And how have you been able to find a solution or diagnosis?

Hydroponics has already established itself as the favorite “alternative” way of raising plants, but its cousin called aeroponics remains less known. Let’s learn something about this promising method.

In anaeroponic (or fogponic) system, the roots are not submerged in a growing medium. Instead, they are continuously sprayed or misted with water. The method has several advantages over some of the more typical hydroponic systems:

The roots are able to absorb much more oxygen and carbon dioxide, ensuring vigorous growth.

Fine droplets of nutrients sprayed along the entire root system secures efficient nutrient uptake; aeroponics uses ⅓ the amount of fertilizers needed for hydroponics and soil growing.

A wider range of plant species can be cultivated; while carrot and potato are not suitable for hydroponics, they can be grown within an aeroponic setup.

You can grow more plants in a small space.

There is no need to buy growing medium of any sort.

As you can see, aeroponics has a lot to offer. Even NASA used it in its plant-growing space experiments in the 1990s, contributing to its popularity significantly.

However, due to the need for pumps and automation, aeroponics systems can get expensive. Many people are turning to build their own DIY versions of aeroponic systems to save some money, to upgrade their maker skills, and for the sheer joy of building your own highly-productive system out of easily available components.

Here’s a list of 14 diverse aeroponic projects you can build yourself.

1. Inexpensive DIY low-pressure aeroponic system V2.0 by Peter Stanley

Low-pressure aeroponic system is usually the first choice for beginner aeroponics enthusiasts. Although they are less efficient than high pressure systems, they are easier to build and maintain.

This homemade design uses two 5 gallon buckets, PVC spray bars and misting nozzles. It is an upgraded version of the previous design, which guarantees it has been perfected and made more efficient. This is exemplified by the nice, large Helios Habanero plant that the author raises with his system.

Difficulty level Easy

2. Garden Pool’s Simple Aeroponic Design

Garden Pool, an international public charity which researches and educates on sustainable ways to grow food, offers two detailed tutorials for simple aeroponic setups. The first one consists of a 30-gallon tote box with six sprinklers inside, and six holes for plants. It is a great option for cloning.

Difficulty level Easy

3. Garden Pool’s Simple 5 Gallon Bucket Design

The second project from Garden Pool – The Five-Gallon Bucket plan uses only about two gallons of water, making it much and lighter, compact and easier to manage than the previous design. It provides space for seven plants. The main piece of gear is a hydroponic pump with a riser and a threaded 360 sprinkler head.

Difficulty level Easy

4. High Pressure Aeroponics System By Aeroponics DIY

High pressure aeroponics systems are more efficient in dispersing nutrients. However, they might be harder to build and maintain, so it is important to do your homework before diving into building your first high-pressure aeroponic system

While you do your research, check out the instructions by Aeroponics DIY. While it doesn’t offer a highly detailed plan, it covers all the important aspects of the high-pressure principle that you should know. The video on how to make a high-pressure system is promised to come soon.

Difficulty level Medium

5. Homemade Aeroponic Gutter System by Jason’s Indoor Guide

Jason from Jason’s Indoor Guide specializes in finding budget-friendly, efficient solutions for hydroponic and indoor gardening. His take on aeroponics is quite interesting.

In this instruction, he presents a DIY version of a store-bought system based on a series of small rails and a 20 gallon reservoir. He created his own rails (or channels, as he calls them) out of the larger-diameter PVC tubes, while the narrow tubes are housed inside them to bring in and spray the nutrient solution.

Also, Jason has focused on avoiding the most common problem of aeroponic – the clogged spray nozzles.

Difficulty level Easy / Medium (larger number of pipes includes a larger number of steps)

6. 35 Sites Aeroponic Cloner by Barns Farm & Garden

Another simple tote box low-pressure setup, this time with an emphasis on maximizing the number of plant sites – which makes it ideal for cloning. The video tutorial is short, clear, and neat – just like the project itself – and tells you everything you need to know about a simple low-pressure setup without a single spoken word.

Difficulty level Easy

7. Aeroponics for Small spaces by Tamanaka Collective

The this DIY high-pressure system is the first pyramidal design on our list. It was created with an intent to save space while maximizing the number of plants you can grow.

In his last tutorial video, the author says that he believes that “people that are more successful with this kind of work are the people who fail a lot in their experiments, and learn from those failures to get to something that eventually works”. That is why he gladly shares the problems he encountered while making his system, and also points out what could be made better. His experience makes this particular video a precious resource to learn from somebody’s else mistakes. And fortunately – everything works out in the end.

Difficulty level Medium

8. Automated Aeroponics System Using Raspberry Pi by Darkstar1

This simple and neat aquaponic bucket is easy to build. What makes this plan stand out is the utilization of Raspberry Pi to control the camera function. The camera simply takes pictures of plants, but as the author states, the project can be advanced further by utilizing Raspberry Pi to control pH, send emails and similar useful functions.

Difficulty level Medium / Expert

9. Art Garden

Art Garden is a small family business that on sustainable gardening, including vertical aeroponic systems. Although they do not offer full free tutorials (at least not yet), you should definitely take a look at these two great videos, as they reveal enough about Art Garden’s innovative, inspiring aeroponic practices, so they will surely be practically useful.

Difficulty level Expert

10. High-Pressure Aeroponic System Build by Aeroponic.net

This is a tried-and-tested and very well thought-out, yet it still fairly simple high-pressure system. It uses 18-gallon Roughneck Rubbermaid totes as a reservoirs, and is equipped with Aquatec 8800 booster pump, with misters in a closed loop.

What is perhaps the most interesting is the way the author deals with clogging. He used a fuel filter bag to keep the dirt out of his systems. The pores on these filters are 10 microns, they are made of polyester felt and can be washed in a washing machine. The author claims that with these simple and inexpensive filters the system becomes really low-maintenance, almost to the point when he doesn’t even have to check on the spray heads for long periods of time.

Difficulty level Medium (but easier than most other high-pressure systems)

11. Aeroponics Tower Build by Patch To Plate

Patch to Plate has focused on building a productive tower system out of the materials that are affordable, easy to find (or are even upcycled) and are of food grade quality.

The video above (Part 1) is a step-by-step narrated slideshow about the construction of the system. Part 2 shows a footage of a working system, growing lettuce, basil and other leafy greens and herbs; it includes additional details on spraying, misting, tubes, timer and other technical details. Also, there is an additional video on mixing nutrients for the tower.

Difficulty level Medium

12. Aeroponic Tree by Auburn Sky Farm

A true work of art among listed projects, the Aeroponic Tree provides 36 growing sites in a 2 square foot area. It is a tall, modular, custom-built tower, which can be lengthened if needed. The 36 planting sites are done in the style of Dutch buckets, with the empty sites covered with neoprene to stop the mist from escaping. For even more convenience, the whole tree sits on wheels so it can be moved around easily.

The Four-Part video series documents the entire process of building one aeroponic tree, and can be found on the Auburn Sky Farm channel.

Difficulty level Expert

13. Automated Aeroponic Garden by Tribe Awesome Teens

Remember that expression “It’s so easy my kid could do it”? Well, the teens Erik, Briana, Elise and Leona surely challenge the concept. They used an ultrasonic fogger, buckets and foam as the basis for their design, which is fairly simple, but they don’t stop there. Tubes, solar power, rails and Arduino automatization – the Tribe Awesome worked all that in into their elaborate aeroponic system.

The video is more like a documentary then a true how-to tutorial, but it is a nice overview of the system which provides enough details that you can incorporate into your own design.

Difficulty level Expert

14. DIY 39 pepper Aeroponic System

This homebuilt rail aeroponic system is used to grow 39 pepper plants. Although the video is an overview of a complete system rather than a step-by-step tutorial, for anyone who has some prior experience in building hydroponic systems, it should provide enough information.

To enjoy the sight of the author’s mature, healthy aeroponics-powered pepper plants, check out the updated video

Difficulty level Expert

I hope that this overview of the DIY aeroponics systems was useful and inspirational for you. As you can see, there is a full range of aeroponics projects available, from those suitable for beginners, to those that require experience, and even some craftsmanship – such the Aquaponic Tree. You will easily be able to choose what is suitable for your taste and skill level.

Have you ever tried an aeroponic system? Did you buy it, or tried to build your own? Let us know in the comments below!

What are aeroponics?

Aeroponics are different than hydroponics:

Hydroponics uses moving water enriched with minerals as a growing medium to sustain plant growth.

Aeroponics uses a nutrient enriched spray mist as a method to sustain hyper plant growth.

If these terms are confusing you, you should definitely check out our guide for beginners in the world of cannabis which will clear up all the questions regarding the terminology.

Aeroponic research utilizing a water vapor to utilize plant growth began in the mid-1940s. Today, aeroponics is used in agriculture around the world to grow food and medicinal plants. And of course, memes.

The basic principle behind aeroponic is that of growing plants in a semi-closed, or better yet completely closed environment and spraying the roots of plants with a nutrient rich solution. This is done to lower the chances of rot and mold appearing on the plant, as well as faster growth and more potent yields.

Even though it might not be your first choice when growing cannabis at home, aeroponics can be quite the efficient method when used properly, with the right nutrients and the right number of plants per container.

Bonus: Hydroponic Growing eBook

Just type your email in the box below, hit the magic button and I’ll send you a free eBook which explains everything you need to know about hydroponic growing, including detailed guides for all of the 6 most popular growing methods.

Pro’s of using aeroponics

One of the major upsides of aeroponic systems is the decreased use of water when compared to other hydroponic systems. Like any other hydro system, aeroponics use around 90% less water than your regular soil-based gardens and systems.

Another great thing about aeroponics is that you can grow it in a rather small space, and still be very successful.

Aeroponics, like other methods that don’t require large amounts of soil, require far less space than soil-based grows.

Since aeroponics allow you to stack plants vertically as well as horizontally — one next to another.

Increased oxygen uptake is what makes this system much different from other hydroponic and soil based growing systems.

Plant roots are suspended in growth chambers and they receive unmatched levels of oxygen and are moisturized continuously. This is the biggest advantage of aeroponics over all other hydroponic systems. It is also another reason why this is the optimal system for vertical gardening.

Since other systems usually use an aggregate material (often called a growing “medium”) such as rocks, pebbles, and such.

In any aeroponic system the roots receive almost 100% of the available oxygen and carbon dioxide, which is pretty much unheard of in other hydrosystems. This means you can grow plants faster, which might be a goal for some people out there, but often proves to bring small yields.

Aeroponics accelerates biomass growth and reduces rooting times, but does not change the flowering phase, which means that only your plants will get bigger, without any significant increase in bud size.

Crop versatility is another thing to consider when thinking about aeroponics, but that’s not really any of our concern, since most people reading this article are weed growers.

The micro environment of your grow can be much more finely controlled in aeroponic systems, which makes this system even better for growing more demanding strains.

Con’s of using aeroponics

The big disadvantage of aeroponics for the regular person is that it’s not a casual way of gardening. Unlike soil based cultivation, you can’t just dump some seeds in the ground and hope for the best.

Hydroponic systems demand a little bit more attention, and more thing can go wrong when compared to soil based systems.

There are plenty DIY systems that will allow you to put aeroponics into practice at home through DIY aeroponics, but they might require some effort and dedication.

Clogging is one of the biggest problems, not just in aeroponic systems, but all hydroponic systems that rely on water flowing or being moved in any way (so this does not include deep water culture hydroponics).

Aeroponics relies on delivery of nutrient-rich water to plant roots in the form of a mist. The micro misting outlets often clog up easier and faster than traditional hydroponic setups, which use wider plumbing accessories, such as garden hoses and water outlets.

This is why hydroponic systems demand a bit more maintenance than soil based systems — to reduce a possible buildup of nutrients and other particles in the water that might bring your crop in danger.

As previously mentioned, hydroponic systems can take up a lot of your time even to a greater extent than other hydroponic systems. Given the sensitivity of roots, aeroponic systems can be combined with additional conventional hydroponics.

This is most often used as a backup plan in case your crop needs to be saved and moved.

5-gallon bucket aeroponic systems setup

  1. One 5 Gallon (~20 liters) bucket with a lid
  2. One ½ inch by 12 inch cut-off threaded poly riser
  3. One 360 degree ½ inch plastic head threaded with sprinkler heads
  4. One hydroponic pump which can power 317 gallon per hour (or equivalent), also ½ inch threaded
  5. One electrical timer with 30 minute increments
  6. Several hydroponic net pots with lids, preferably made of rubber foam; The number of lids depends on the number of plants you want to hold in a single bucket.

As you can see, these materials are not really that hard to get – it’s not like we are telling you to get Iranian dust or molten lava in order to grow weed.

Aside from those materials which are essential to building even the simplest aeroponic systems, here’s a list of tools you will need for assembling the said systems.

Take a look around your house, garage, or wherever you might hold the following, before rushing to the nearest Black & Decker.

  1. A saw to cut poly riser, doesn’t even have to be an electrical saw – hand saw will do the job;
  2. One sharpie;
  3. Hole saw – appropriate size for desired net pots. If you are using 3″ net pots, use a 2 7/8″ or 2 3/4″ hole saw;
  4. Drill for the hole saw;
  5. Safety glasses because safety always comes first.

Make sure you put the safety glasses on first, even though we placed them fifth on our list. Safety first people, and then getting high second, third and every other place.

Step by step guide

Punch holes in the bucket lid

Take your hole saw and the bucket lid and punch several holes in it, depending on how many plats you plan on growing in that one bucket. You can do one plant per bucket, but that won’t bring in big yields and large amounts of weed.

When deciding to grow weed in an aeroponic system, it is often best to grow more than one plant in a bucket, so why not grow 6 or 8?

Place net pots

Place the net pots into the freshly drilled holes you just made on your bucket lid. You can also buy a premade lid with net pots already installed if you don’t mind spending an extra buck on that.

Pun one in each hole on the lid, and push the lid down on the bucket. Make sure the net pots fit snugly.

Setting up the pump

Carefully screw the threaded poly cut-off riser to the hydroponic pump and place the pump on bottom of the bucket. Make sure you cut the threaded riser to the desired height and add a threaded 360 sprinkler head.

Hydro pumps with suction cups are the best way to make sure your pump will stay in one spot.

Connect the hoses/tubes

Run the pump plug through one of the net pot holes and plug it into the timer. Always set the timer for 30 minutes on and 30 minutes off as that will be your watering periods during which the roots will take in water and nutrients, and then subsequently dry off.

Fill with at least 2 gallons of water (about 8 liters), place your plants in the net pots and let the growing begin!

Have you grown weed in aeroponic setups before? What are your experiences and how good was the weed you grew? Let us know in the comment section below.

DIY Aeroponics: How to Make a Personal Aeroponic Growing System

Nearly any plant can be grown with an aeroponic growing system. Aeroponic plants grow faster, yield more and are healthier than soil-grown plants. Aeroponics also requires little space, making it ideal for growing plants indoors. No growing medium is used with an aeroponic growing system. Instead, the roots of aeroponic plants are suspended in a darkened chamber, which is periodically sprayed with a nutrient-rich solution.

One of the biggest drawbacks is affordability, with many commercial aeroponic growing systems being quite costly. That’s why many people choose to make their own personal aeroponic growing systems.

DIY Aeroponics

There are actually many ways to create a personal aeroponic system at home. They are easy to construct and are by far less expensive. A popular DIY aeroponics system makes use of large storage bins and PVC pipes. Keep in mind that measurements and sizes vary depending on your own personal aeroponic needs. In other words, you may need more or less, as this project is meant to give you an idea. You can create an aeroponic growing system using whatever materials you like and whatever size you want.

Flip a large storage bin (50-quart should do) upside down. Carefully measure and drill a hole in each side of the storage bin about two-thirds up from the bottom. Be sure to choose one that has a tightly sealed lid and preferably one that is dark in color. The hole should be slightly smaller than the size of the PVC pipe that will fit through it. For instance, make a 7/8-inch hole for a 3/4-inch pipe. You’ll want this to be level too.

Also, add a couple inches to the overall length of PVC pipe, as you’ll need this later. For example, instead of a 30-inch pipe, get one that is 32 inches in length. At any rate, the pipe should be long enough to fit through the storage bin with some extending out each side. Cut the pipe in half and attach an end cap to each piece. Add three or four sprayer holes within each section of pipe. (These should be about 1/8-inch for a ¾-inch pipe.) Carefully fit taps into each sprayer hole and clean out any debris as you go.

Now take each section of pipe and gently slide them through the holes of the storage bin. Make sure the sprayer holes face up. Screw in your sprayers. Take the extra 2-inch section of PVC pipe and glue this to the bottom of a tee fitting, which will connect the initial two sections of pipe. Add an adapter to the other end of the small pipe. This will be connected to a hose (about a foot or so long).

Turn the container right side up and place the pump inside. Clamp one end of the hose to the pump and the other to the adapter. At this point, you may also want to add an aquarium heater, if desired. Add about eight (1 ½-inch) holes in the top of the storage bin. Once again, size is dependent on what you want or have on hand. Apply weather-seal tape along the outside rim.

Fill the container with nutrient solution just below the sprayers. Secure the lid in place and insert netted pots into each hole. Now you’re ready to add your aeroponic plants to your personal aeroponic growing system.

Best DIY Hydroponic Strawberry Tower

Tower gardens are perfect for producing more in a small space, and they’re perfect for a strawberry crop. But like any other system you can buy, a lot of would-be hydroponic and aquaponic gardeners face sticker-shock when investigating getting set up to grow. Sometimes you just gotta get started with what your current budget will allow though, and the good news is that there are ways to do that with a homemade system.

A homemade strawberry tower that do-it-yourselfers have built that works well is still going to cost between $75 and $150 – depending on where you live, and the materials you wind up using. I’ve seen a bunch of different homemade versions, but they aren’t all practical – especially if your growing strawberries outdoors. Which is where you’ll have the most economical growing conditions, because strawberries are light energy hungry plants. To have a bumper crop from your strawberry tower in the indoor garden beneath a solid roof means investing in super powerful grow lights, and paying for the electricity they consume. One overhead light isn’t going to power your strawberry tower residents up to breaking any records, let alone producing a great harvest – you need top lighting , and side lighting.

Its just way more cost effective to let the sun carry the load. But, putting together the tower itself is something you will find just about everything you need at Home Depot, Lowes, or any fully-stocked hardware store. Pulling nutrients from an aquaponic setup will require a somewhat different inflow than a simple bucket of hydroponic nutrients, but this is about the tower, more than it is about outfitting it for any configuration possible.

Some DIY tower garden designs are just a length of PVC pipe with a channel or holes cut in rows for the plants that the grower has just filled with a grow medium. Gravity and the wind will pull the outer layer away outdoors, which is not good for plant health. But it takes a lot more media to fill the entire pipe, then it does a couple dozen net cups, which reduces the overall cost of planting your vertical growing system. Net cups are very inexpensive – a lot cheaper than potting mix or hydroton. Working them into the tower design means you’ll need a few more tools, a PVC fence post and caps, and some other supplies.

In the first video below the builder uses different tools than the second guy – but the both arrive at the same hydroponic tower setup in the end. I will say that the extra step of sanding before gluing the net cup sleeves to the tower is very wise, and will give you a much stronger bond than quickly slapping A and B together using lots of epoxy. Some people caulk them, but that won’t hold up over the long haul.

With a hydroponic bucket system you will have problems with the heating up of nutrient solution as summer progresses. Some people bury them in the ground, but there are other solutions. For one, the size of the pump you need to push water 6 feet high is a lot larger than one that gives you 4 feet of rise, and it runs hotter too. Like everything else that are always more than one way to cure the problem. Mike in the second video above has switched from buckets to coolers for his nutrient tank/tower base, and he’s created a cooler to maintain better solution temps for his plants. You’ll find his videos on what he’s done and learned on his YouTube channel.

But here’s a guy who has stuck with a 4 foot strawberry tower design, increased the number of plants it will house to 24 with a little CAD engineering, and found a smaller, much cooler running, and power conservative pump than the 400 gph size everyone else is using.

He talks about the smaller pump for a couple minutes in this one, starting at about 1:30.

He forgot to share where he got the pump at the end, but this one on Amazon looks just like the one in the video, and meets the description the 4 ft. tower builder gives us. He’s hooked it to an AC adapter, but you could set it up to run off a battery power supply.

Here’s a list of materials you’ll need to make the bucket reservoir version of the square strawberry tower. For tools – follow what the guys in the videos above have used.

  • Black 5-gallon bucket with lid
  • 5″ vinyl fence post (8′ long)
  • (2) 5″ post caps – 1 plain, 1 fancy
  • Vinyl fence cement
  • 3″ PVC SCH40 pipe, or sewer drain pipe
  • 3″ PVC female thread adapter
  • 3″ PVC plug
  • (20 – 24) 3″ net pots
  • 8′ of 1/2 tubing
  • 1/2″ Slip to male thread adapter
  • 1/2″ Female thread to barb (an irrigation system part)
  • Submersible fountain/pond pump (** minimum 6.5′ head height)
  • Air Pump
  • Air stone
  • 1/4″ ID grommet (inside diameter)
  • 1/4″ Air tubing
  • About
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Amber

Contributing Writer at Garden Culture Magazine The garden played a starring role from spring through fall in the house Amber was raised in. She has decades of experience growing plants from seeds and cuttings in the plot and pots.

Latest posts by Amber (see all)

  • The Many Advantages To Freight Container Farming – April 4, 2018
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  • Organic Matter In Soil Boosts Garden Yields – March 7, 2018

30 DIY Tower Garden Ideas To Grow Plants Vertically

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A DIY tower garden is the ideal solution for people who have limited outdoor space, but want to grow plants for food and/or beauty. A garden tower project can be as simple as just stacking a few various sized planter pots in ascending size order for herb growing, to building a more elaborate vertical garden tower that is capable of supporting larger food and flower plants. Whatever your gardening need and outdoor space is, one of these 21 DIY tower garden ideas is sure to meet your needs.

Related topics: vertical gardening ideas, diy planter box, diy garden trellis, vertical garden plants and diy hanging planters.

DIY Tower Garden Ideas For Urban Gardeners:

1- PVC Pipe Tower

Build your own tower garden with PVC pipe. Perfect design for a small space. Here is step by step guide:

  • Select 2 PVC pipes that are 4 inches in diameter and the same length. The length depends on the desired height of the tower garden.
  • Use a drill with a cutting bit attachment to create planting holes in the PVC pipe as shown in the video
  • Use smaller, 1 inch PVC pipe as a support system for larger pipes
  • Stand upright and secure in-ground and/or against a fence
  • Fill large PVC pipes with potting soil and place plants in vertical holes

Related article: pvc pipe projects

2- Terra Cotta Vertical Planter

Attractive and so easy to create, 5 terra cotta planter in various sizes, a rod and potting soil is all that’s need to build this flower pot tower.

  • Five terra cotta planters in ascending sizes, ranging from 14 inch to 6 inch
  • A wood or metal rod long enough to span the height of the stacked planters
  • Flower pot tower will be heavy when completed, so build it in its permanent location
  • Fill the larger planter with potting soil, insert rod in the center. Place the rod through the bottom hole of the next smallest planter and slide planter down until it rests on top of the soil in the first planter.
  • Fill the second planter with potting soil and continue stacking and filling the planters.
  • Plant selected seeds or plants in the exposed soil of each planter

Related Topic: DIY Terra Cotta Heaters

3- Pyramid Tower Garden

Ideal design for starting plants from seeds or for growing strawberry plants. Use these free plans for building a long-lasting diy pyramid tower from wood. Great way to use scrap lumber you have on hand. This DIY Tower can be built to your desired height.

4- Strawberry Tower

This DIY vertical grow tower is perfect for growing strawberries or other similar running vines. The best thing about this design is the hidden water reservoir that keeps the plants hydrated at all times. Below are simple steps to build this strawberry tower.

  • Use five gallon planters or buckets
  • Create 1 1/4 inch holes in the bottom for drainage and around the sides for plants to grow out of planter.
  • Fill each planter half way with potting soil and stack on top of each other until the desired height is reached
  • Cut the bottom off of a plastic water bottle and insert it upside down in the top planter drainage hole, then fill in the remaining space of the top planter with potting soil. This is the water reservoir for the entire strawberry tower
  • Plant strawberry plants in the side holes and exposed soil on the top of each container

5- Planter Bird Bath Combination

This whimsical DIY flower tower provides a space for flower growing and a place for birds to bathe. Paint the terra cotta planters a bold color so the DIY creation will be an attractive piece of yard art during the winter months.

6- Spiral Herb Garden

An easy way to grow more herbs in less space. A 6 foot space is that’s needed to create this large spiral herb garden that can support the growth of more than just herbs.

7- Trash Can Grow Tower

Watch this YouTube video to learn how to transform a 15 gallon round trash can (a 55 gallon barrel can also be used) into a productive plant tower that can be used on a porch, roof top, patio or in the landscape.

8- Aeroponics Growing Tower

Transform a 55 gallon food-grade plastic barrel and some PVC pipe elbows to create this aeronautics growing tower that can support a large number of vegetable plants. Easy to follow YouTube video walks you though the entire DIY process.

9- Sweet Potato Tower Garden

Follow this YouTube video to discover how easy and fun growing sweet potatoes can be in a potao tower. A few containers, soil and patience will have you digging up a tasty harvest of fresh sweet potatoes.

10- Miniponics Vertical Garden

Grow edible plants and fish in this attractive miniponic vertical garden. Easy to build, takes up very little space and makes an interesting addition to any sunny location inside of your home. Also check out DIY aquaponic system.

11- Recycled Bottle Tower Garden

This DIY vertical garden shows you how to recycle various bottles and buckets and transform them into a tower garden.

12- Strawberry Tower

Simple, sleek wood design takes up very little space, but produces an abundance of fresh strawberries.

Get the tutorial at: zestitup.com

13- Herb Tower

Use this idea to build an herb tower from cedar wood. Plenty of growing space for a variety of herbs, and the cedar wood will last for years.

14- Garden Tower Under $10

This diy garden tower project can be created for less than $10. Economical, functional and beautiful.

15- Stacked Planter

Welcome guests at your front door with this attractive stacked planter garden tower.

16- Flower Tower

A little fence wire, potting soil and flowers can be transformed into this lush flower tower in under an hour.

17- Hydroponic Strawberry Tower

Another masterful and simple design using PVC pipe. This hydroponic system will enable you to grow large, juicy strawberries inside or outside of your home. Also check out diy hydroponic systems.

18- Pallet Vertical Garden

Recycle pallet wood to create vertical garden shelves. Perfect for growing a variety of fresh herbs and edible flowers. You may also like to see pallet garden ideas.

19- Stacked Wood Crates

Use this vertical garden idea to create an attractive focal point for your backyard. Easy to build and provides a large vertical growing space that will provide a lot of fresh produce.

20- Rain Tower Garden

Unique idea that makes vertical gardening easy. Simple DIY build with lots of room for growing plants.

21- Easy-Peasy

A simple idea that produces big results. Use these step by step instructions for creating your own DIY tower garden.

22- San Francisco Vertical Garden Tour

Found at: sunset.com

23- Petunia Flower Tower

Use wire fence and a suitable container to make a petunia tower.

24- 55 Gallon Plastic Barrel For Tower Garden

Use 55 gallon plastic barrel to grow 50 plants in a 4 square feet of area.

25- Half-Pint Homestead Garden Tower Barrel Construction

Grow herbs or food in a limited space using scrape garden barrel that has composting worms for aeration and fertility.

26- Galvanized Garden Tipsy Flower Pot Tower

Use galvanized watering can, a coal bucket, two medium sized tubs and a large wash tub to make this flower tower. Get the details at : fleamarketgardening.org

27- Grow Potato Garden Tower In A Wire Cage

This idea will work fine if you have not good garden soil and have a small garden space. Here are brief instructions to make this potato garden tower.

  • Cut 3′ wide wire fence and blend the ends to make a circle.
  • Fill it up with grass clipping or hay.
  • Push the hay to the side and fill the center with good garden soil mixed with compost and worm casting.
  • Plant some seeds or seedlings right in the top.
  • Cover the top with garbage can to protect it from frost.
  • Cover top and sides with tulle to protect plants from pests.

Tutorial: lifeisjustducky.com

28- DIY Vertical Herb Garden

Tutorial: diy-vintage-chic.blogspot.com

29- Slot Together Pyramid Garden Planter

Make pyramid garden tower planter by using reclaimed Pallet timbers.

30- DIY Strawberry Garden Tower

Grow strawberries in a bucket that keeps them contained mobile and easy to water.

Tutorial: homemadefoodjunkie.com

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Do you have a small yard, but love growing plants? Many of us have this issue, and there are not a huge number of solutions for us. It can be tricky to have enough space available to cultivate the habits that we love. Luckily, there is one alternative that we can consider in this situation: tower gardens! It is basically a way of growing plants vertically, conserving space and still looking beautiful. How can you use it and what are its other benefits? We will be discussing the answers to those questions in the article below, so keep reading!

Table of Contents

Aeroponic

Specifically, a tower garden is an aeroponics growing system. But what is a tower garden growing system, exactly? Aeroponics is the process of growing plants without dirt being involved. Instead, plants are grown in an air or mist environment. Plants thrive by spraying them with a special nutrient solution to help them grow. You will need to purchase this nutrient compound as well. An aeroponic system is great because it allows you to grow your garden either inside or out, whichever you prefer. They are also good for the environment because they use less water and energy than a traditional garden requires. Not every plant will be able to grow in an aeroponics environment, but you still will have a wide variety to choose from!

Benefits of Tower Garden

What can you grow in a tower garden? We all know that we should be eating healthier and including more fruits and vegetables in our daily diets. However, this can sometimes be difficult to do. People often do not have time to run out to the store to pick up fresh groceries, so they just end up ordering something in. Produce in the grocery stores are often sprayed with pesticides and other chemicals to ensure that they grow. A towered gardening unit is great because you have the opportunity to grow your own fresh food, without the use of pesticides!

You can grow food in your towered gardening structure and easily access it, as it will just be a few steps away from your kitchen. If you live in a place that has cold or rainy weather, you can even set up your vertical garden indoors. You will just need to install special lights that will serve as artificial sunlight to help your plants grow. Another benefit is that you will also know that there are no pesticides because you have full control over the growing aspect.

Easy to Use

Sometimes gardening can be more challenging than we would like to admit. Figuring out which plants require sunlight, while remembering that other like the shade, and trying to distinguish weeds from flowers can be tricky. A towered garden is a good way for a beginner to get some practice. A tower garden is simple to use because it can only hold up to 20 plants at one time. It is also quite small, 3 square feet, so you can easily see everything that is going on in it. The manufacturers of vertical gardens are very helpful when you first get started. They will include plenty of instructions, and you can call and ask them questions whenever you are having trouble with your garden.

Lower Maintenance

One common complaint of a traditional garden is the vast amount of work that is required to keep it operational. Digging, weeding and planting are just some of the many tasks that you would be required to do. Switching over to an aeroponics system is a way to cut down on the amount of maintenance that you would have to do. Seeing as there is no dirt, you would not need to dig to add or remove plants. As well, the whole system is easy to clean out and replace with a new set of plants if you wanted to do that. Using aeroponics will also reduce the risk of diseases spreading through your garden. The plants will also be ready sooner than with a traditional garden. This means that you will not need to do as much work before you see a full harvest ready to eat.

When to Use a Tower Garden

There will be some situations where it simply makes more sense to invest in a towered garden. For example, if you have pets who love digging in the dirt, a traditional garden probably wouldn’t survive with them around. If you switch over to a towered gardening unit, the pets and backyard animals will not be able to ruin your plants.

The same can be said for small children who like to play in the dirt and run around in the yard. They might accidentally trample any plants that are trying to grow. If you have older children, you can teach them about aeroponics. A lot of classrooms have them installed so that the children can watch the plants grow and learn about the process.

Finally, a towered garden might be a good idea if you are trying to switch over to organic fruits and vegetables, but are not liking the price tag that comes along with it. Growing your own fruits and vegetables using just sunlight, water and nutrients is a great way to obtain fresh and chemical-free food that your family can enjoy.

Conclusion

A towered gardening unit is a more environmentally-friendly alternative to gardening that might be worth taking a look at. It will produce flowers and produce that you can use and enjoy however you like. A tower garden will take up much less space, and therefore is perfect for small yards or for growing things indoors. It can also use either sunlight or artificial light to grow, which is convenient for rainy environments. A tower garden might be better for you if you have children or pets, or even if you just want to try your hand at something new! Go give it a try, and let us know what you think, we would love to hear your experiences with your tower garden!

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