How to Make a Simple Aeroponics System


Aeroponics is growing plants in a mist environment. Unlike traditional aquaponics and hydroponics, the plants are suspended without grow medium such as hydroton. Here is the inside of the aeroponics system.

Aeroponics is a really simple and worry-free way to grow and clone veggies and herbs. Aeroponics is growing vegetation without soil, but the roots are suspended and sprayed with water and/or nutrient solution. It is a worry-free way to clone most non-woody stemmed plants from cuttings. You can also grow plants to harvest in the system as well.

The aeroponics system cloning our favorite tomatoes. Tomatoes take around one week to develop roots from cuttings. In two weeks they can be transplanted or continue to grow in the aeroponics system with nutrient solution.

Many folks have seen the aeroponics system we designed at the Garden Pool and we have decided to share our design. It is easy to both build and operate. The project takes about 30 minutes to build and only costs around $70 in materials. If you are cloning, it requires just tap water. If you are growing to harvest, then you can add hydroponic nutrient solution. We have our units sitting on our back patio and have cloned and grown mint, tomatoes, lettuce, and much more. The system we design can be built by anyone for a fraction of the price of comparable commercial units.

How to Grow with Aeroponics

There is no big secret, growing with aeroponics is another form of regular hydroponics. Purchase your favorite hydroponic solution from the hydro supply stores and follow the directions on the label. It is pretty simple to follow. You should be expected to drain the water and add more nutrient solution every couple of weeks as needed. Aeroponics and hydroponics uses more water and resources than aquaponics.

How to Clone with Aeroponics

Cloning with aeroponics is a better method than conventional soil root cuttings. It is quickly becoming the preferred method of cloning. With cloning from cutting with aeroponics you do not need to add any nutrients to your water. You do not have to flush your water as long as the water quality stays clean. It is a much more sterile way to clone than soil cuttings. We just add tap water, let it run for an hour to let the chlorine evaporate, and then start cloning. Here is a detailed video about cloning with aeroponics. The info about aeroponic cloning starts at 5:40 on the video.

Materials

The materials for the aeroponics system.

  • (1) 30 Gallon Tote with Lid
  • (6) 3/4″ slip to 1/2″ threaded PVC connectors
  • (1) 3/4″ slip “T” connector with 1/2″ threaded top.
  • (1) 1/2″ threaded bulkhead fitting with gasket.
  • (1) 1/2″ barb to male threaded connector.
  • (77″) 3/4″ PVC
  • (2) 3/4″ slip “T” PVC connector
  • (6) 180 degree 1/2″ plastic head threaded sprinkler heads
  • (1) 12″ black flexi-tubing
  • (1) 1/2″ hose clamp
  • (1) 1/2″ flexi-tubing shut off valve
  • (1) 200 gallon per hour (or equivalent) Fountain Pump
  • (1) Tube of 100% Silicon Caulking
  • (1) 3/4″ slip “cross” PVC connector
  • (6) 3/4″ slip “elbow” PVC connector
  • (1) Indoor/Outdoor Electrical Timer with 30 Minute Increments
  • (6 or desired amount) Hydroponic Net Pots with Rubber Foam Lids – You can use any size and quantity you want depending on the plants you are growing. We used six 3.75″ net pots with lids.

Tools

  • Caulking Gun
  • Saw to cut PVC
  • PVC Primer & Glue
  • Hole Saw – Appropriate size for desired net pots & bulkhead fitting
  • Drill for hole saw
  • Teflon Tape
  • Tape Measure
  • Safety Glasses
  • Utility or hobby knife (if you do not wish to use the drill and hole saw)

Instructional Video

Class: How to Make a Simple Aeroponics System
Recorded LIVE
Who: Dennis McClung
When: July 21st, 2012
Where: The Garden Pool in Mesa, AZ
Length: 48 minutes
This class was recorded live in a classroom setting. To be a part of our classes in person, join our meetup group. Click here to see pictures from the class.

Instructions

  1. Decide what size net pots you wish to use. The pots should be spaced a few inches apart. We used six 3.75" net pots as we will use primarily to clone tomatoes. Use many smaller pots for smaller crops.

  2. Carefully cut your holes for your net pots. You can carefully use an exacto knife instead of the drill and hole saw. The net pots should fit snugly in to the holes and not fall through.

  3. Cut the 3'4" PVC as follows: (6) 4.5", (6) 6", (1) 8", (2) 3".

  4. Using the pvc glue and primer, connect the 4.5" PVC pieces to the PVC elbow connector and the 6" PVC pieces as shown. the 6" piece will serve as the riser.

  5. Using the PVC primer and glue, attach the 3/4" slip to 1/2" threaded PVC connector. Screw in the sprinkler heads as shown.

  6. Using the PVC Primer and glue, connect two 3/4" "T" PVC connectors and one 3/4" "cross" PVC connector as shown.

  7. Connect the two 3" PVC pieces to the 3/4" "T" with the threaded 1/2" top. Also connect the 8" section to the risers. Screw in the 1/2" barb to 1/2" threaded connector.

  8. Place the PVC sprinkler unit inside the tote. Connect the fountain pump to the PVC unit with the 1/2" flexi-tubing. Make sure there are no kinks in the tubing.

  9. Using the entire tube of silicone caulking, seal the lid on top of the aeroponics system. Make sure that the seal is airtight with no gaps of coverage. Let completely cure and dry before using. Install the bulkhead fitting at the desired location along the bottom of the unit. Attach the shut off valve with flexi-tubing as a drain valve.

  10. Insert the net pots with foam lids. We place our unit on a timed cycle of 30 minutes on and 30 minutes off. Fill with water to just below the sprinkler heads.

The pump and/or air tubing is placed in on of the net pot holes. Your fountain pump should be able to easily fit through the hole. Check before sealing the aeroponics lid.

A 1020 humidity dome helps young cuttings by keeping a more humid environment.

Check out the 5 gallon bucket aeroponics design.

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