A homemade aeroponic system is easy to make but what I have found to be crucial in the system design is lid leaking water, more like dripping and water drain back to the reservoir. It is important to not loose water from the system as the water keeps on recirculating and constantly moving. I have found that keeping the water moving all the time keeps the water from stagnating.
But if there is a leak it doesn’t take long to find an empty reservoir and water with all the precious nutrients all over the floor. It can be very disheartening entering the growing area and hearing a pump winning and stepping onto a wet floor.
So take care when designing a large system. I have found that growing in a single unit to work but I have to change the water and nutrients out every week to maintain good root health. A single unit works great for cloning. When I clone I have my sprays pointing up at the net cups to make sure water is getting to the net pot medium. This is how the lid may leak because of the upward spray so having a good seal is the key to No Leaks.
A homemade aeroponic system will have the basic components
· Pump ( I use a 1000 gallon per hour aquarium pump per 24 sprays)
· Spray (I use a simple 270 degree pattern)
· Pipe ( I use ½” pvc)
· Reservoir (I use a 20 gallon tub)
· Drain Back ( I use a tunnel design)
· Net Pots (I use 2” to 3”)
· Hydroten (holds plant up and blocks light while keeping moist)
The Tunnel Design I am using helps take care of lid leaks and delivers the water back to the reservoir with little to no water lose. It has taken me years to come up with it but it is by far the cheapest Homemade design I could have possibly come up with. Here is what you will need to make one.
· 1”x1/2” x 8’ board ( cheap at home depot or lowells )
· 6 mil plastic
· Staple gun
· Screws or nails
When making a homemade tunnel I try to keep the width of it wider than the container that will be holding the plants. This way any leaks will be captured by the tunnel under the containers. I next design in the holder or cross member where the tub or container will sit. After creating the main frame and container cross member the plastic will be stretched across the complete bottom and wrapped then stapled secure to make the plastic tight and wrinkle free.
This is where the water will travel back to the reservoir. DO NOT MAKE ANY HOLES IN THE TUNNEL YET! Once the system is put together and everything is installed is when we will make the drain back holes in the tunnel Next is attaching legs to the tunnel and making the tunnel into the container shelf. The shelf has to get the water back to the reservoir so it will need to have a grade. I like a 2 to 3 inch grade. So when making your legs just measure the height of the reservoir and cut each set 2 to 3 inches longer and attach to the Tunnel and make a shelf. I hate leaks. Just imagine having a fish aquarium that leaked. You probably would not own it for too long.
I know there are many ways to doing anything but some ways come with more TLC than other ways. After making my own homemade aeroponic systems the one thing I have been experimenting with the most is the drain back part of the system and to maintain constant water levels to conserve on water and nutrients.