I did not use to think of a drip system as being a hydroponics system. I have discovered that due to the recent droughts that homemade hydroponics drip systems are increasing in popularity. They work great for food and flower growth. Once the drip system is installed, watering can be automated.
Drip irrigation has been used for as long as we have written history. There are many advantages to homemade hydroponics drip irrigation.
The advantages of drip irrigation are:
- Watering plants is highly efficient
- Good quality balanced water is recycled.
- Moisture in the root zone is easily maintained.
- Growing media (soil, etc.) is less of a factor in healthy moisture.
- NO Soil erosion when using hydroponics.
- Less weed growth.
- Water distribution can easily be automated.
- Less time spent on watering and irrigating.
- Lower energy costs, especially when using gravity feed irrigation.
The disadvantages of hydroponics drip irrigation are:
- Expense: initial cost can be more other systems.
- The sun can affect the tubes used for drip irrigation, shortening their usable life.
- Plugged water lines, if the water is not properly filtered.
- Water Chemistry. since there is not much waste, salts applied with the water can build up in the root zone. Make sure that you keep your chemistry balanced.
- Threats from rodents, especially if the hydroponics system is outside. It is a great place for them to get a quick drink.
- Cost of purchasing high end organic nutrients
Homemade Hydroponics Drip Systems Cost Less
There are lots of homemade hydroponics drip systems that have been created. From buckets, small ponds with a recirculating pump all the way to complex, automated greenhouse systems. I have seen PVC pipe, used gallon containers and even bathtubs with grow media in them with drip feed tubing feeding the vegetation.
Here is a list of some of the inexpensive material you may need to create your own homemade hydroponics drip system:
- 1. Air pump, fish tank air pump : you do not need high tech gadgets
- 2. Good Sized PVC or bucket container (approximately 10 gallons)
- 3. 3/4″ PVC pipe (White PVC)
- 4. Clear tubing (1/4″ Inside diameter)
- 5. T connectors (2)
- 6. PVC Plant Pots
- 7. Air Line as required
- 8. Garden drip line, hydroponic shop or hardware garden supply
- 1/4″ ball valves (used to adjust the flow of nutrients)
Now, you will take your materials, and put the system together. I am not going to give you exact step by step directions, experiment some and get it to work for you! If you are struggling, you can send us a picture and your questions if you need to. The BEST thing to do though is to go to the local hydroponics store and start a relationship with a local expert!
If you want to grow outside in the soil, you can still use the same method to water and feed your plants. One great way to use drip irrigation is to create a highly efficient garden. The Food4Weatlh growing system is what we use in our home garden. It is easy to grow, and does not take alot of maintenance. Last year, in two (2) rows 3 feet wide and 18 feet long, we grew enough food for 3 families plus ourselves.
Homemade hydroponics drip systems are easy to make, and we are getting our garden ready now. Most people who live in warmer climates have already started their plants. We are just starting our indoors due to the short growing season that we have. We would love to hear your stories and be able to share them as you are growing Your food this year!
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