BlackDynamite
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Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2009 4:01 pm
Location: Cleveland

Poorman's Hydroponic Tutorial

I'm new here and thought this would be a good thread to start since hydroponics can be as cheap or expensive as you choose. Ultimately we want the best system regardless of our garden size.

So, I thought we could all contribute effective but non industry marketed products we've incorporated into our systems.

I'll start with my ballast/reflector.

My ballast/reflector is a cheap, plastic tub from Walmart. About 4-5 bucks.
I bought 4, screw bulb socket shop lights made from heavy ceramic capable of running 120-240 voltages and able to withstand lots of heat.
Then from the Dollar Tree, I bought Voila brand chrome tissue paper which of course, costs 1 dollar and is 4 sheets of 18 x 30 per package.

I cut holes in the the top of the tub making a 4 point square so the light is centered and focused. I then spray glued the sheets cut to measure through the entire tub. Inserted the sockets by unscrewing the cap housing, removing the wires then screwing the cap back to the housing once it was inserted through the holes and reattached the wires.

The final addition was Chroma orange, gel paper for stage lighting which produces "true" sunlight for when the plants reach the flowering stage. This is simply taped to a piece of plexiglass I cut on my table saw and can insert in the ballast/reflector system when needed.

The bulbs are simply the fluorescent twists drawing 26 watts each. It's VERY bright although I have but one complaint.
The bulbs have that white softener pasted inside them. Would be great if the manufacturers would offer them without it as we would get easily 2-3 times the output from them.

I think the overall cost was about $40 and it definitely competes with the lower priced HPS and MH lights I've seen over the years while drawing 1/4 or less of the energy.

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Hydrogardener
Cool Member
Posts: 99
Joined: Sat Dec 27, 2008 2:04 am
Location: Upstate New York

Ebb and flow

This ebb and flow system will hold quite a few plants, and is simple to build. The top reservoir is a rubber mixing tub that can be purchased at Home Depot or Tractor Supply for less than twenty dollars. The bottom reservoir can be pretty much any container that will support the tub. In this case it is a storage box that was in the back of my pickup. A small pump from Harbor Freight Tools and a few fittings will complete the system. A comparable commercial system this size would cost a few hundred dollars, and this unit cost me less than fifty dollars to build. It has been in use for several years and I am really happy with it.

[img]https://i404.photobucket.com/albums/pp121/hydrogardener/ebbflow.jpg[/img]
https://hydroponicworkshop.blogspot.com/

What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Hydrogardener
Cool Member
Posts: 99
Joined: Sat Dec 27, 2008 2:04 am
Location: Upstate New York

Inexpensive planter

This planter can be made from pretty much any container that will hold a gallon or so of liquid. The cover has a hole to support a net pot, and another 1/4" hole to allow an airline to be inserted to run an airstone. The net pot is filled with pea grave, or hydroton clay pellets, and the plant inserted. Fill the container with nutrients to 1" below the top, drop in the net pot and turn on the pump. I have used one of these to grow tomatoes, strawberries, lettuce, flowers or any number of plants. Oxygenating the nutrients in this small container will really facilitate growth. The asters in the photo were grown in this container.

[img]https://i404.photobucket.com/albums/pp121/hydrogardener/1230.jpg[/img]
https://hydroponicworkshop.blogspot.com/

What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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