I designed a vertical Aeroponics gardening system with the intention of putting it in an apartment, townhouse/duplex or small living quarters in which you do not have a yard.
I initially designed it while I was going to College and living on-campus in a dorm. I wanted to be able to grow basil & lettuce, as it was hard to find fresh (and good) leafy produce & herbs. Actually going to the nursery to buy herbs was a lot cheaper than getting them from the grocery. Ironically the university I attended ended up planting Rosemary around their building, so that was easy to obtain :P
[alert style=”1″]**NOTE** This is not a How-to article, but rather a description of a design I came up with. Maybe in the future this design will come to life and there will be a how-to article[/alert]
So what I needed was something that was simple, coule be made with readily available items at Lowe’s or Home Depot & should look elegant (yes elegant. I didn’t want it to look like crap :) ) I also didn’t want something that took up very much room. So a footprint of no more than 2 square feet was necessary.
This design uses 5-inch PVC Pipe as it’s main structure.
Holes are cut into it in 2-different patterns. Not sure which one would work better and would be a trial & error, but I’d personally start with the “H” cut design. Cutting into the PVC using a dremel tool, then I’d heat up the PVC so that I could bend it into position.
I could be wrong here, but caution would need to be used as I believe getting PVC too hot causes the pipe to give off toxic fumes (further research may need to be done there.) Bending the top flap inward and the bottom part outward. As to hold the basket but to keep it from falling down inside the pipe. Again trial & error would need to be used depending on the size of the basket you used. The basket lip would need to catch on the bottom-flap upper edge.
On the top of the PVC pipe adding an end cap, then mounting a water pump to the top on it, drilling a hole in the end-cap to allow for the spray hose.
The intake on the pump would draw water up from a reservoir located below the pipe.
The pipe bottom itself would actually sit into the reservoir container. Currently the reservoir would be a plastic container. I’d have preferred to use a larger pipe – like a 10-inch diameter pipe to help stabilize it, but I don’t think that’s easily available. So for now, it’s a plastic container. The bottom of the pipe would have 3 “arches” cut into it so that it sits into the reservoir container but does not prohibit the circulation & collection of the water that falls down the pipe. The intake stone/filter would be in the water as well to provide the intake to the pump at the top of the pipe. It may be better to provide the pump at the base of the pip and pump it up to the top of the pipe. This would also be another trial & error item.
Since the pipe unit sits down into the container, its going to require spacers on the backside of the pipe that sits up against the wall. These spacers simply just need to hold the unit away from the wall and keep it upright versus actually supporting the unit. If you have baseboards at the base of your wall you would see why this might be an issue. The container itself wouldn’t set flat up against that wall, so the pipe needs to be just inside the wall of the container. Something that likely puts the pipe about 2-3 inches away from the wall. Sections of stiff foam would do the job just fine.
On the other hand the pipe-unit does need support from the wall and can be done via tethers, as shown below. I’d personally use wire to form the “U” bracket around the pipe, then tether this to a Screw that is in the wall. If this isn’t a viable option, the screw in the wall, then might try using a “Magic Hook” they were an “As Seen on TV” item. They created a small hole in the wall, but can hold a decent amount of weight. When you move out, cut the end off the hook and they fall down into the wall and patch the hole up.
As for providing the seedlings their food, water misters (orange squares on the tube in the first image above) are mounted about every 12 inches within the pipe to mist the plan’t roots with the nutrient-rich solution. The solution falls to the bottom reservoir which is then recycled for the next use.
The pump itself would be set on a timer to turn on a certain amount of times per day to spray the roots for a given amount of time then shut off. This design does not explain how the plants get their “sunlight”. That is something I will come back to in a later Part.