Food -> Water

Making a DIY Aeroponics System to Grow Vegetables


Today I want to experiment and show you a DIY aeroponic system!

0:00 Aeroponics Overview
1:45 Materials Needed
3:43 Setting Up Pump
5:36 Choosing Produce to Grow
8:46 Get Started!


If you think that the world is headed in a direction that makes you a bit concerned for the future and you’d like to be as self-sufficient and independent as possible, then you’ve come to the right place. My name is Lynette Zang. Now it’s time to go Beyond Gold and Silver.

Hi, my name is Lindsey and I’m here at the Urban Farm, and today I want to experiment and show you a DIY aeroponic system. So here on the farm we have a ton of wonderful and really productive aquaponic systems. And the difference is that in an aquaponic system, in all of ours, we have fish, and the fish waste then becomes fertilizer for the plants that are submerged in the water. So the plant roots are what are submerged in the water and they get all the nutrients from that water solution. In aeroponics, it’s slightly different. So the word aero comes from air and it means that our plant roots will be suspended in the air, so they won’t be in constant contact with the water. Instead, they will be misted by a nutrient dense water solution. This is slightly different. A lot of people have good luck with both or one or the other. This is gonna be our first little experiment in aeroponics here on the farm. And we’re doing it at a really small scale. So this five gallon bucket is going to be the entirety of our system, but there are obviously lots of ways that you could scale this up. So this is what we’re gonna start with and if we have success with this, we might turn it into a bigger project down the line.

But let’s get started. So I just have a five gallon bucket and a lid that sits firmly and it’s really tight on there. So we want a lid that’s snug and one that has surface area that we can cut into. And I did two practice cuts just to make sure it worked. And I’m gonna do the other two. And these holes are where our plants are gonna sit.

So we’re gonna use the aquaponic cups and we are going to suspend them just like that. So that’s the idea. I have this three inch hole cutter that I got for the drill. This made really easy work of cutting the three inch holes and that’s exactly what we need for those cups.

And safety first. And then you’re just going to hold your bucket down. Be careful it take, it took a little bit of practice and then just hold down firmly. And then just one more. Okay. And then I also drilled a hole for the cord because we are going to be using a little pump. That’s what supplies the mist. So you just wanna have a little drilled hole that your cord of your pump will fit through. And then take those off. And I am gonna go rinse out all these debris and fill this up with about a sixth of it with water.

I have filled up the bucket. I just wanna make sure I have enough water in there that this pump I have, this is an aquarium or fountain or waterfall pump. And then I just have this riser extender on it with this sprinkler head. I just wanna make sure that where the water goes into the pump, I have enough. So I definitely do. So I’m gonna take a little bit out because we don’t actually need that much water.

Okay? That’s another great thing about an aeroponic system is that you use a lot less water. So if you are water constrained or you just don’t want to have that much flowing water in your system, aeroponics is a great solution to that. So once we have our bucket and we have water in there, I am going to place the pump. And we wanna make sure that we have a riser that’s tall enough so that the mist or the sprinkler water can get to the top of the bucket. And then this pump is really nice. It has a little suction cups that are just gonna stick right there. And I’m gonna center it and then give that a little bit of room, pop my cord through. Perfect. And then you can reach down and center it a little bit better. There we go.

And by this point, we are almost all done. So in a small system like this that we’re just experimenting with, and I’m gonna put lettuce in, if you have herbs or lettuce or something that doesn’t take a lot of time to grow a simple fertilizer.

Liquid fertilizer like this one that has just a good all around concentration of different fertilizers, you can kind of see here. It has a little bit of everything. So this is a great way to start. And then as your system gets more complex and the different vegetables you would grow, you could invest in different liquid fertilizers. But for the purpose of this, this is a great start. It’ll keep the water clean and you don’t need that much of it to be successful. So I’m just gonna look at the directions. Two teaspoons per gallon, and then this is a five gallon bucket, but I probably only have about a fifth or sixth of it filled. So I’m going to do one cap full. And with an aeroponic system, you’re gonna wanna change the water pretty regularly. So it just depends on how big your system is. For one like this, I’m going to monitor it, but my plan for now is to change the water every five to seven days. And with that, I would also add another cap full of fertilizer.

I have my three inch pots, I’m just going to fill them with this rock. You can use the coco pebbles or just lava rock. And you can find these at any aquaponic store. They’re really lightweight. They let the roots grow and the roots will have no issue coming through these holes, the sides of the cup. And then that is how the water will eventually get to them. So I’m just going to place the roots in there and then just make sure that the rocks are covering the roots and that they are propping the plant up. And then it can go right in there. There we go!

Once we have all our plants in, I’m going to plug this in so we can try it. We wanna make sure no water is escaping anywhere, that our lid is tight and that our pots are exactly in there and that we don’t have too much overspray. I can hear the pump going, I can see the water. And if we take one of these cups out, we can see that the sprinkler head is just briefly touching each of the cups. So I might adjust the sprinkler head so it does more outward flow, but otherwise it’s doing gist of what we want it to. And we can see that the rocks are wet. So with time the rocks will absorb this water. Our roots will have access to that nutrient dense water, and this lettuce will be able to grow and flourish in this very small limited water system that didn’t take a lot of effort and was really easy to put together. So this is an example of a DIY aeroponic system you can use. You can obviously scale this up to better suit your needs, but for the extent of this project, I’d say it’s a success. And we will check in and update you on how our lettuce does in this system. And you can leave your pump running 24/7, or you can put it on a timer. I’ll probably put this on a timer to go once every 15 minutes or so for a couple of minutes. And it’s a great way to have a low water system that can grow beautiful, healthy, fresh food. So I hope you like this DIY and I hope it inspired you to try something new in the new year.

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