Saturday, August 25, 2012


We’ve finally finished setting up our hydroponic growing system! 

We first had it set up conveniently between the house and the garage. Then we realized we hadn’t really left enough room between the towers. So we moved it behind the garage where there is more space. I had been working in the mornings and evenings since it’s over 100 degrees in the daytime. Then it rained a little the other day which made the ground a little bit softer so we thought it was a good time to move it.

First location: between house and garage plus didn't use the ground cover

We purchased our 5 tower system from Urban Oasis before we moved. The whole system cost $500. It came with clear instructions and everything we needed to set it up. All I had to provide was a large bucket, a hammer, and water.
Our location needed to be near the house for convenience and near both an electrical outlet and a water supply. Our area should also have plenty of direct sun.

The system: growing pots, tubes, and pipes

The pump and timer

The water barrel

The growing medium and nutrients

The first step was to lay out the ground cover sheet and secure it with the metal staples.  We realized we weren’t in Florida anymore when we bent several of them because the ground was so hard.

The ground cover

The towers stand on two overlapping metal pipes. The 18” long / 1/2” conduit pipe is hammered into the ground about 12”, leaving 6” exposed above ground. We were supplied with an extra washer and bolt to help with the hammering process.

The shorter 1/2" pipe

The 60” / 3/4” conduit pipe is hammered into the ground over the 1/2” pipe about 4” leaving about 56” exposed. The heights are approximate, but we did want to get four of the towers as equal as possible. The fifth tower has only two growing pots and is intended to be slightly higher than the other four.

The longer 3/4" pipe

A 2” metal washer is placed down the pipe against the ground cover. The 34” PVC pipe is then added along with another 2” washer on top. The containers sit on this.

Washer, PVC pipe, washer

The growing containers should first be filled with the growing medium. In our case, the growing medium is coconut fiber mixed with perlite (water retaining granules). The coconut fiber comes in a large block and you will need a large bucket to hydrate it. A wheel barrow would be perfect, but we don’t have one of those yet. The kit comes with three blocks.

The hydrated growing medium and perlite
The medium in the containers

Once the containers are filled, you slide them down the pipe and set them at 90 degree angles on top of each other. The notches on the rim help to line them up correctly. Each tower also has a small 6” pot at the top which I’m going to use for growing a few herbs.

Included in the kit are four ground pots for larger plants with a deeper root system. I put them in between each tower.

The last step is to connect the water source. We placed our water barrel at the end of our towers. Inside the water barrel is a pump connected to the tubing. The tubing is connected across the top of each tower. With a handy little device, I poked a little hole and connected a small tube that will deliver water to the top of each tower. I filled the water barrel using the garden hose, connected the pump to the timer and plugged it into the outside outlet. I have started out with the timer set to pump water 3 times a day for about 3 minutes each time. This is apparently enough water for all five towers.

Watering tubes

I’m testing my system for a few days before I add the nutrients into the water barrel. Once I’m happy that everything is working correctly, I will add my nutrients (naturally occurring fertilizer and calcium) at the prescribed ratios. And then I will add the seedlings that are ready for planting.

Finally finished behind the garage

No comments:

Post a Comment