DIY HYDROPONIC TOWER BUILD WITH NANCY JANE STACKING PLANTERS

These are step by step instructions on how I built my 9 tier hydroponic tower, made out of Nancy Jane stacking planters. This seems to be the right height for a system, set up from floor level up.  I have the lower tiers planted up with day-neutral strawberry plants, and the rest with my favorite herbs/veggies. I have choc. mint, basil, parsley, kale, swiss chard, comfrey, and collards.  I’m using a combination of plants and seeds,  just thrown in the pebbles, to experiment and see how it goes. 

I ordered a 210 pump from ebay, and it’s doing a fine job, on  the second notch setting from the low end. I wrapped some sheer nylon material around it to keep debris out. This is a tip from my fountain designer days. I affixed 1/2″ Inside diameter tubing to the pump.  I ran the tubing up through the middle hole of the stacks. The water seems to disperse it’s self fine through the holes that are already in the stacking planters.

I found a 13″ plastic basket from  dollar tree to be the perfect size for the stacks to fit into perfectly, and support them. I used the plant saucer from the stacking system, and cut out holes for the tubing and more to drain. It also acts as a bit more support for the stacks, and allows space for the pump to sit without pressure on it. The basket holds about 1 1/2 gal. of water, which is plenty. I only have to refill about once a week.

For extra support, I inserted all into a 3 gal standard sized bucket from Lowe’s. It happened to be pink, and the other basket is aqua, so I carefully wrapped a trash bag around them and tucked it under the first stack to hold in place. I set both theses buckets inside a 20″ D. whiskey barrel type planter.  I wanted to be sure if any bucket split and failed that something else would catch the water, since I’m in an apartment. 

It took a 10L bag of hydroton to fill each 3 tiers, with only a small amount left over….so 30L for the whole project. I’ve played with several timer settings, adjusting the the pump running time, and right now I am going with 15 min on and 45 min off.  I’m using E27 red/blue led plant light bulbs to give a little added light boost. I just put them in a floor lamp. They screw into a regular light socket and take only 5W each. 

I’ve ordered some rugs for the area. By next month’s update we should be styl’in!

The tower set up and planted on 1/28/2015

The tower set up and planted on 1/28/2015

1/2" I.D. black tubing

1/2″ I.D. black tubing

The pump inside the buckets

The pump inside the buckets

The basin with holes cut in for drainage

The basin with holes cut in for drainage

The first tier, with plastic bag wrapped neatly around and tucked in.

The first tier, with plastic bag wrapped neatly around and tucked in.

Bareroot strawberry plants waiting to get planted

Bareroot strawberry plants waiting to get planted

Closeup of a planted strawberry...will update monthly

Closeup of a planted strawberry…will update monthly

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JOY’S HIGHRISE GARDEN UPDATE 1/27/2015

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Aren’t the grow lights pretty?!

I started up the hydroponic tower last week. Made from Nancy jane stacking planters. I used a 230 gph pump, and it is plenty strong. The planters are stacked atop a 13″ D bucket, inside a sturdier bucket, inside a 20″ planter. No chances being taken on any water escaping in this apt! When I first moved here, I had only 4 stacks , filled with soil, on my table.  The hydroponics is something new for me. I enjoy the sound of the water, so it’s half for plant growing and half for the fountain experience. I used to design fountains, and I missed the sound.

I ran 1/2 plastic tubing up through the planters, from the pump. It provides more sturdiness to the stack, as well as the water sprite will flow more evenly. Water will trickle down from one stack to another.  It seems to take a 1/2 hour for the stacks to get watered properly. The in one hour I add 15 min, and next hour it’s the whole 1/2 watering. I was trying to go 2 hours between waterings, but it needed a bit more. 

In the week, some plants are doing ok and some seem to be ready to bite the dust. The kale is getting worse and worse….maybe too much nutrient solution? Maybe too flooded, as it’s on the bottom stack. One mint died and two others are thriving, and I am propagating through leaf tip layering to replace the dead one. I also sprinkled some seeds in the stone to just see what would happen….kale and swiss chard. A few babys are peeking.

One baby Roma tomato is growing so far on the tomatoes…yay.  There are peas and lettuce growing.

Some E27 40 led plant bulbs arrived yesterday. I put them in my floor lamp, and hopefully they will help . I got them on ebay and spent $12 for 5 instead of $20 each here.

 

I will be adding 10 strawberry plants, as soon as more hydroton arrives. I ordered day neutral plants, which are supposed to do best in this situation.  I hope you will enjoy following as I experiment and grow some food!  

The tower and greenhouse

The tower and greenhouse

a E27 plant light bulb

a E27 plant light bulb

Close up red and blue leds

Close up red and blue leds

Cheery and Roma tomato plants

Cheery and Roma tomato plants

Baby Roma

Baby Roma

Mint ..clear rock covers the propagation

Mint ..clear rock covers the propagation

See the baby root hairs of the mint....

See the baby root hairs of the mint….

Collards...so ..so

Collards…so ..so

kale is biting the dust..baby kale seeds might make it

kale is biting the dust..baby kale seeds might make it

Sugar daddy peas

Sugar daddy peas

Lettuce starting

Lettuce starting

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