The system is a small flood and drain hydroponic system which we are using on our windowsill to allow us to have herbs and chives etc. readily available in the kitchen,
The design has come about because we originally grew herbs inside using soil, This became quite messy with the continuous watering required and soil getting everywhere.
** Warning ** If you are having a go at making something like this yourself, Great care must be taken because liquids and electric are being used close together, If you are not sure about what you are doing or what precautions you should be taking please don’t attempt anything like this. It would be better and more safe for you to consider buying a ready made kit such as Nutriculture Gro tank kits as shown on some of my other pages.
Now back to the design, The design has come about because we originally grew herbs inside using soil, This became quite messy with the continuous watering required and soil getting everywhere.
The items I needed to make this system were :
- A plant container the right size for our windowsill.
- A small length of guttering which will fit inside the container.
- Two end pieces for the guttering so the guttering is water tight.
- A small hydroponic pump with outlet pipe.
- A digital electric timer for the pump capable of a 1 minute interval.
- A length of clear tubing for a simple level gauge.
The diagram below shows all the pieces put together, Below the diagram you can find full details on what steps were involved in constructing it.
Building the system started with cutting a piece of guttering to length so it was a snug fit into the plant container when both guttering end pieces were fastened on.
Several small slow drainage holes were drilled into the guttering so the nutrients when pumped into the guttering would be able to drain slowly back into the bottom of the container.
Several very large overflow holes were drilled near to the top of the guttering incase the pump was able to pump the liquid past the top of the guttering within the time set on the timer, This would also ensure that the system would not overflow if the timer was set wrong or failed to work correctly.
Another hole was drilled into the bottom of the guttering for the outlet pipe of the pump to fit through.
Finally a length of clear tubing was fastened to the bottom of the container with a small suction clip and then fed back out the top of the container and looped back down to the same level as the bottom of the tank and then clipped back to the top of the container. The liquid level could then be easily seen at the side of the tank. Using this method rather than drilling a hole and feeding a tube from the bottom of the tank allows me to keep the container intact incase I want to use it for something else at a later date.
After I put all these bits together inside the container and filled the tank with nutrients I ran the pump to check that it couldn’t overflow the container and then drilled a couple more holes in the bottom as it was draining to slowly when the pump was stopped.
Now it was just a matter of connecting a mains timer to the tank which I set to 1 Minute on per day and then placing some seeds on a moist Rockwool cube.
Below are a few photo’s of the system after it’s been in action for a week or so.