Garden/Hydroponics Veggie Garden

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Hydro.jpg

What

We would like to have built a vertical hydroponics veggie garden.

It works by pumping water and nutrients to the top of the garden and gravity feed all the plants on the way down. As the water is constantly on the move it doesn't become stagnant and the nutrients/healthy bacteria mix helps keep the system free of clogging and pests.

Requires a water and nutrients top up once a week.

In an ideal world we would also have a yard webcam to make it easier to keep an eye on the health of the system.

Update

  • 22-MAR-2015: Solar charger, battery and charge controller acquired, pump on the way.
  • 18-JAN-2015: Hydroponics has been shutdown today
  • 7-JAN-2015: Will be taking down the hydroponics system soon to make upgrades and have it ready early spring.

Pros

  • cost approx £200
  • build can be done in a weekend
  • no soil or compost required
  • uses 80% less water than conventional soil-based veggie gardens
  • takes up less space than a garden bed
  • plants "hypergrow"
  • low maintenance - prune and water/nutrient top up once a week
  • flexible - the frame can be constructed on wheels so it can be moved around, plants can be rearranged

Growing what

Good places to check plant pH and cF requirements, also here pH and cF.

Plant pH cF Got seeds?
Asparagus 6.0-8.0 12-18 Y
Basil 5.5-6.5 10-18 Y
Broccoli 6.0-6.8 16-24 Y
Cauliflower 6.5-7.0 16-24 Y
Cherry Tomatos 6.0-6.5 22-45 Y
Coriander 4.5-8.0  ? Y
Chives 6.0-6.5 12-20 Y
Lettuce 6.0-7.0 8-20 Y
Mint 7.0-8.0 10-14 Y
Pok Choi 6.0-7.5 16-22 Y
Snow Peas 5.5-6.5 16-18 Y
Spinach 6.0-7.0 16-22 Y
Spring Onion 6.0-6.5 16-22 Y
Strawberries 5.5-5.8 16-20 Y
Target 6.0-6.5 16-18

Where

In the bbq/garden area of the hackspace yard.

When

February/March 2014

Build Progress

Hydro-build1.jpg
Hydro-build2.jpg
Hydro-build3.jpg
  • Request permission from the members to build (Mailing List Request)
  • Collect structural parts
  • Request permission from the members to store parts during build (Mailing List Request)
  • Build wooden frame
  • Cut and assemble pipe structure
  • Paint/weather proof wooden frame
  • Test water flow
  • Research plants and plan nourishment amount/frequency
  • Sow seeds
  • Short term power solution
  • Plant!
  • Install power out to bbq area

Who

Add your name here if you're interested in helping out.


Lessons learnt from 2014

  • Watch out for rapidly growing plants that saturate the channel with their roots: e.g. brocolli
  • Current setup requires a relatively high amount of maintaince
  • Don't think we need that much constant flow

Improvements

  • "Off grid" setup solar + more efficient pump
  • Strengthen the structure using a-frames
  • Water level sensing
  • Time lapse camera?