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RM Watson
11/10/2003 9:15:00 PM
Help with Building a PVC System

I am planning on building a fairly large(relatively speaking) drip irrigation system for Basil. I was hoping for some advice on pumps, how to run irrigation, and drainage. Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Here are some of the specifics of the system that I have in mind:

72 plant sites on 9 – 4 inch round PVC pipes using 3 inch net cups at plant sites and 2 gph drippers. Built on a 2 x 4 frame approximately 3 feet off the floor. The pipes will be held by a 2 x 8 that will have 4 ½ inch holes(hole saw) and then be cut in half to leave 9 semi circles that the pipes will rest in. One side will be slightly higher than the other to allow the nutrient solution to drain to one end of the pipe. A 3 inch hole saw will be used to cut the 8 holes per pipe for the net cups and we may add 1 foot pieces of 3 inch PVC to the holes and put the net cups into the top of them to give more room for the roots to grow downward before reaching the return pipes. And a few holes in each of the riser pipes to allow air to the root zone. I don’t know if that’s a good idea or not so let me know.

The system will be roughly 10 feet long and 5 ½ feet wide. The spacing between plants will be 1 foot with 8 plants on each of the 9 pipes. Space between pipes will be 2 to 3 inches. The holes in the pipes will be staggered so that they are off set from one pipe to the next to maximize space between plants.

The lighting will be from 2 1000 watt Metal Halide lamps and possibly 1 1000 watt High Pressure Sodium lamp to add some red.

The reservoir will probably be a 20 to 30 gallon (or more) Rubbermaid container. Several small airstones will be added to it to add oxygen to the nutrient solution(with an air block junction and air pump).

I am fairly new with hydroponics. I am currently using a small system I built with a 50 gallon Rubbermaid container with 10 3 inch net cups mounted on top. Using a Rio 600 pump and 2 gph drippers and an airstone in the nutrient solution. The system is working great with only a few problems which is why I was planning to stay with drip irrigation. One problem is that the net cups have become so full of roots that the solution is no longer able to drip through it and runs over the top of the cups. If any one has a solution to this problem(currently I have made small holes in the ridges of the lid to drain the water back into the container) or to help prevent this problem in the future please let me know.

My major problems with the new system is on deciding on how big a pump to use to maintain the water pressure needed to push the 72 drippers and how to get the solution from the 4 inch PVC pipe back to the reservoir after it has been dripped through the net cups.

Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated and any advice on how often to water the plants(in my old system they were watered 15 minutes and then off for an hour) would be great too! Thanks in advance.
green thumb
11/11/2003 1:06:00 PM
Re: Help with Building a PVC System

My suggestion is to check into N.F.T. Systems.The same concept, except you have one feed line at the top of your P.V.C. pipe and a drain tube at the bottom for nutrient return.It's a much simpler system.Feel free to call us between 10-6 to talk further.
RM Watson
11/15/2003 6:10:00 AM
Re: Help with Building a PVC System

We have redesigned our system to be NFT. It is somewhat based on the system on this page except that we have 9 pipes and each pipe is 10 feet long. I am wondering how powerful of a pump do I need if I will be using 1/2 inch hose for my main irrigation line with 9 to 18(we were thinking of putting a feeder hose at the top of each pipe and one half way down each pipe), 1/4 inch pipe feeders. Also what amount of on/off time would you suggest for a system like this? Thank you once again in advance for your time.
10/18/2004 10:13:00 AM
Re: Help with Building a PVC System

Ppole planter
11/5/2005 12:29:34 PM
Re: Help with Building a PVC System

Use 2 long pipes,lay horizontaly.
Support them small diameter pipe which asemmbled U shape.
Fill water ,then blow air bable into vertical small dia pipe by air pump.
Water in the pipe will flow .
Now you can grew plants by this hydroponic system,
11/6/2005 8:03:52 AM
Re: Help with Building a PVC System

You are going to have tpo familiarize yourself with flow and pressure in liquids. How big a pump you will need depends upon how many gpm you want.

I have an aero/hydro hybrid and pump 0.25-0.5 gallons/minute/plantsite.

4" pvc is too small and most plant's root ball will clog the water passages in a short time.
11/28/2006 12:08:16 PM
Re: Help with Building a PVC System

good idea with the 3 inch pipes up as long as your doing the drip system. for your drainage back into you resivour i would just get a plastic hose like 1/2 inch to an 1nch from your 4 1/2 to your resivour.. it sounds like you are going to have an amzing system. i got the same thing but also think about an up grade to 6inch pvc and a easy switch to aeroponics the the sprayers in the pipes..
Lillian Zelinski
9/11/2009 1:14:37 PM
Re: Help with Building a PVC System

I planning to start a small hydro garden next spring. I'd like to use your concept. It is similar to one I saw in Manjack Cay in the Bahamas. That one had a verticle design in which the solution was pumped to the top and drifted down through a "gerbil run" to the recovery bucket. Would that work for your root bound or pump size issue?
2/25/2010 4:16:10 PM
Re: Help with Building a PVC System

I have an NFT 612 system from American hydroponics. Th system is simple it holds 35 gal of water, the channels are 12 ft long and drop 1 inch every 4 ft, they recomend 1 1/2 quarts per min down each channel. It has a venture so the water contunually airiates the storage. Very successful gardening in this NFT
R bradley
3/25/2010 9:07:47 PM
Re: Help with Building a PVC System

im wanting to build a hydroponics system. something small for lettuce. and maybe tomatoes. i want to do it with pvc pipe can you advise or help with ideas
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