Many years back, during the 80’s I subscribed to Mother Earth News magazine. I found it interesting back then, but now it is clinging to more ideologies that do not match mine. But one of the most intriguing topics was hydroponic farming. It is where plants grow in a base other than old fashion dirt, like the stuff I played with when I was an innocent child.
I always told myself I will try making a hydroponic system someday, which did not happen right away. I didn’t get to fulfill that dream until I reached retirement. But I have now succeeded.
Now a quick side story here. All my life, young and old, I made my projects with scrap I could find. I worked as an electrician at a manufacturing plant for about 15 years, and it was the typical plant that didn’t want to spend money. So, any repair I did used parts gathered here and there, and the plant had many places where they stacked old equipment, so I had plenty of pastures to roam for parts.
Now, fast forward to this day and age, I still have that mindset not to spend anymore that is necessary. So, as I collected items on Amazon, eBay and Home Depot, I did more cost cutting than I should have. What I came up with looks like crap, but it is about a third of what it could have been, had it been properly built.
Add all that to the fact, I am an impatient fabricator, unlike my father who was very meticulous. I used cheap wood that was warped and twisted, thus requiring me to add shims and spacers.
But, like the words of Doris Day’s, Que Sera, Sera, I have what I have. So, here is the masterpiece I have created. My consolation is it is just the first attempt.
The concept: A pump that squirts water with plant nutrient into the top pipe, which then runs down to each of the others, then back to the tank. That of itself sounds easy. But what I wasn’t expecting, after reading many articles on the World Wide Web, is I also have to provide the proper PH of the mixture, aerate the mixture, and provide plant lighting. I also had to add a UV light mounted above the tank to kill any algae.
Now, all that has been completed, and with the help of my amazing wife, we planted the herbs she cooks with. It will be about a week before the roots extend down to where they can absorb the nutrients, and when that happens, the pump will cycle on and off several times during the day.
So, in the coming weeks, I will update you on what is growing, or not.