Simulate nature.Make it rain.
Each time it rains plants roots get flooded and then they drain and dry out allowing them to soak up oxygen.
Oxygen is a nutrient.
Hydroponic growers know that oxygen is the pathway to dense yields. Rather than pump oxygen into our nutrients like other hydroponic systems, we remove the solution from the root chamber allowing the roots to air out while the pump is on. When the pump is off the system is in a deep water culture (DWC) state.
This could be considered a circulating reverse flood and drain (ebb and flow) system however in a static state the system is a deep water culture. More similar might be aeroponics on a longer cycle as the 2″ Rockwool cube prevents the plant from completely drying out. Regardless, oxygenating the roots at intervals provides unrivaled root structure and in turn results.
Oxygenate the roots and enjoy the fruits.
Controlling the weather with a digital cycle timer makes automation simple
You dictate how long plant roots remain underwater. The grow containers drain into the reservoir via a simple inline water pump that drains the root system and recirculates the nutrient solution when you activate the cycle timer.
Hydroponic System Diagram
Less is more
In order for an agricultural system to be more efficient than growing in dirt, it needs to use resources efficiently. The only non-renewable product in this system is the two-inch Rockwool cube used to house the seedling (or alternative starter systems).
Unlike traditional air pump systems that run for 24 hours, the single pump system requires intermittent power. Without the cost of a full Rockwool block, the one-gallon grow chamber only provides ample room for roots. Power failure in NFT and other Ebb and Flow hydroponic systems equals disaster while our system leaves the plants in a watered state.
Removing moisture from the grow chamber drys out the roots quicker than in dirt or a hydroponic ‘mix’ system. It is a DWC system without the challenges of root-borne diseases due to high root temperatures.
Plants don’t drink out of a firehose!
It seems many multi-flow, recirculating hydroponic systems use larger diameter pipes in order to distribute nutrients. The challenge with larger diameter pipes is that plants love to grow through them and will eventually clog them. Our system uses 1/4″ tubing that is sliced at an angle and then pointed towards the floor. In order for the system to get jammed up roots would have to learn how to grow up.
The smaller tubing also has the advantage of slowly flooding the grow chamber and rehydrating the roots providing active hydroponics that rely on gravity while using no power at all.
Single inline water pump operation regardless of the number of plant sites.
Regardless of how many plants you are growing, our system only requires one pump Tee’d in between the reservoir and grow containers. One pump will drain all grow buckets while recirculating and aerating the nutrient solution. The external nature of the pump reduces heat buildup in the solution which is known to cause root diseases.
Personal Grow Hydroponic system for indoor apartments and homes.
DIY Four plants, a five-gallon reservoir – hydroponic system.
A traditional four plant 5 gallon grow bucket is the equivalent of mixing up 20 gallons of nutrients. That’s a lot of waste per weekly nutrient change…
4 PLANT/5 GALLON EXAMPLE BOTTLEPONICS HYDROPONIC SYSTEM
Disclosure: Some of these products are affiliate links however for this system we have purchased and used these items. Many of these items (especially irrigation supplies) can be bought at large big box home improvement stores such as Lowes or Home Depot.
- Qty 4 – one-gallon buckets with 3″ cut into the lid. Perfect for a 13-14 week indoor grow cycle which is fairly typical as most lighting systems will not penetrate much more than 3ft into a canopy so there is no need to leave plants in a vegetative state longer than 3-4 weeks at max.
- Qty 2- five-gallon buckets with lid reservoir. This will capture the entire capacity of the hydroponic system when active which will require fewer resources in terms of water, nutrients, and weekly effort. The second bucket is perfect for weekly nutrient changes and also serve as a seat to sit and stare at your plants.
- Qty 4 top hat washers. These magic grommets enable the grow bucket to connect to the 1/2 inch vinyl tubing via barb and 1/4 inch tubing.
- Qty 1 bulkhead connects 1/2 inch tubing to the five-gallon reservoir.
- Qty 6 feet 1/2 vinyl irrigation tubing
- Qty 4 1/4 barbs plugin and connect the 1/4 inch flexible tubing into the 1/2 inch vinyl tubing.
- Qty 1 in-line water pump with a 1/2 barb. Most inline pumps come with a selection of tube adapter barbs however they mostly seem to have one of each various sizes. Either use a different size return tubing to the reservoir or purchase a separate adapter kit and you’ll have two .5inch adapters that will connect to the irrigation tubing. (1/2inch vinyl tubing)
- Qty 1 cycle timer when it rains it pours and with this cycle timer you control the weather. Run this pump for 15 minutes and the grow chambers are emptied of nutrients. Using 1/2 inch tubing to 1/4 inch tubing slows down the return so the root system gradually returns to the flood stage.
- Qty 4 three-inch net cups support the two-inch Rockwool cubes used to grow in the system. The Rockwool is the only non-renewable part of the system.
- Qty 4 Rockwool cubes. For every new grow this is the only product that gets used and replaced. No dirt. No full blocks of Rockwool. No perlite. No cocoa coir. Just a small jacket to keep the root stem moist.
- Qty 1 float valve. Not mandatory for the system to function, however adding a float valve takes out much of the guesswork. Placed at the correct level the system will constantly remain filled to the correct level to keep the root system moist. Can be connected to water sources such as washer outlets, toilets, and fridge lines. etc.
- Qty 1 Nutrients Jacks 321 meets the basic requirements for most hydroponic grows. Don’t get caught up in expensive nutrient solutions. Plants have basic requirements NPK and by adding O2 (oxygen) and environmental (temperature) control your use of those nutrients with exceptional results.
Designing your own system for commercial or personal grow applications
The first consideration should be the number of plants you want to grow. The second would be the size of your root chamber. Multiply No. of plants by grow chamber size and that is how many gallons your reservoir will need to be. Our four plant system needs a 5-gallon reservoir to contain the 4 gallons from the growing containers. If you wanted to scale that up to 50 plants your reservoir would need to be something like a 55-gallon drum. The nutrient and water savings at this level are significant. Also, the complexity of the system does not increase. This could all be down with a single pump.
The Holy Grail of Hydroponics?
Over the past 20 years, experimentation has led to the obsession with finding the Holy Grail of Hydroponics, a system that is the most logical for implementation, scalable and cost-effective while delivering remarkable results.