Friday, November 9, 2012
Custom Hydroponics design
It was getting to the point where my wife was spending ~250 per month on organic vegetables @ whole foods. This drove me absolutely nuts, because growing up in Salinas you could get fresh produce for one fifth that price at the local vegetable stands/farmers market. This got me thinking about how to solve this problem. I took a look at what was out there, and tested out the window farm. I determined that although the window farm is great for growing vegetables in a low cost way with minimal effort, it was never going to provide 100% of our veggies.
This is my third iteration on this design. It has 50 growing pods, is automatic, is easy to adjust, and cost about $150 to build. It has gone through about 20 hours of testing, and is ready for planting. It uses parallel pipes, and dams with small drains at the base, so the water fills up to 2.5" depth then overflows the dam and drains down into the pipes below. When the pump turns off, the water level drains down to about 1/2" through the dam's drain. This allows it to quickly fill up to 2.5" depth and drain without any mechanics or risk. The pump is controlled by a timer, and right now is setup to run twice per day for 30 minutes.
I placed it in a large window with the most sun in the house. My hopes is that I will be able to grow 50 vegetable plants without grow lights, and using minimal electricity.