I came up this system after learning what others are doing. As far as I know, no one is doing exactly what I am working at. So I would like to report shortly what I do. For those who prefer to watching the video, here is the YouTube video I made:
Basically I used a T connector to make a low power airlift pump which can lift water to vertical grow towers up to 7 feet high - could be higher. Here is a picture showing the simplicity of the T airlift pump:
I then placed the airlift pump and associated tubing inside a gutter drain downspout. Holes are drilled on the downspout to hold grow net cups. Then I inserted this downspout into a plastic container which was really a Christmas gift wrap container I got from Canadian Tire right after the Boxing Day. The finished setup is this (the black tubing is the only part sticking out which acts as the air inlet):
I like the vertical grow towers because it is perfect to use the DripGrow method for slow drip feeding and it has eliminated all the plumbing problems associated with water-filled system powered by water pumps.
Using airlift pumps can also supply both the water and air at the same time (a must for aquaponics especially), which works even if the grow system is almost entirely enclosed to prevent water evaporation.
Here is another shot showing a second tower placed inside a shallower container with snap-on cover, side by side along with the first tower:
Wow, Aubrey. That looks amazing! I would love to see your systems growing food, and how the root zones adapt to your system. Are there sprayers for each root zone, or how do you manage to get nutrient solution to each grow basket thing?
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
-Robert A. Heinlein
Chris Kott wrote:Wow, Aubrey. That looks amazing! I would love to see your systems growing food, and how the root zones adapt to your system. Are there sprayers for each root zone, or how do you manage to get nutrient solution to each grow basket thing?
Chris, I am using it for my small and compact aquaponics. I can post more pictures later on. No, you do not need sprayers as this is the DripGrow method. As long as each net cup is dripping water onto each other, everything is fine. Watch my video again as I have clearly shown this point.
OK, I post now more pictures showing how my DripGrow towers are doing. Note that during the testing for about two months, I had used several ways to construct the towers, but the water feeding system is the same, using low power airlift pumps.
This first pic shows two systems using five towers: one system is an aquaponic system (blue is the fish tank) with four towers - one tower is blocked in this first pic so I will post several pics, and one is a hydroponic system with the bamboo tower and two rectangular plastic containers:
Note that the two towers built with double wyes were the hardest to get water onto the grow zones. I had to use sponges and rockwool to stuff the inside right above the grow zones, and for the four grow zones on the top I used four tubes to directly feed water there. The two downspout towers and one bamboo tower, however, are doing well in getting the dripping water, whether using net cups or rockwool cubes directly. As I said earlier, as long as the water is dripping onto one another, everything is wet and fine.
Note that I am NOT using the two newest towers in the first post because I do not have enough air outlets right now as I am switching to test the use of DripGrow in growing microgreens (will post as a separate topic).
As you can see in the following pic, I am using one air outlet split into two to feed air (using airstones) into two fish tanks I have (one fish tank is part of the Aqualibrium kit someone gave me), one outlet for the hydroponic airlift pump, two outlets for the aquaponic system (one to move water from fish tank to hydroton filter bucket and one to lift water all the way to the top and then split into four to feed water for the four towers with the system).