As you can see, the pump constantly sends solution from the reservoir below to the gravel bed inside the 2 inch PVC pipe located above it. The solution recirculates and goes down to reenter the reservoir. Even though the actual passage of the solution may seem “biased” towards once side, the truth is that a small part of the solution actually flows through the whole pipe and ends up draining through the other side as I have not noticed any difference in development between plants in opposite sides of the tube. Since there is a level that has to be filled within the tube before a return of solution is established there is a constant feeding of aerated solution for the plants.
This system is very cheap to build and it can be made with 6 – 90º elbow joints, 3 – T joints, 2- 2′ to 1′ adapters, 5 feet of 2 inch PVC piping and about 10-15 feet of 1 inch PVC piping. You also need a container that can hold enough nutrient solution volume, a water pump and an air pump. The system provides very good growing conditions for plants and the gravel media provides adequate support for a wide host of vegatable varieties. This system is also great for strawberries and similar crops. Several improvement over this design are obviously possible and many will be featured on future blog post articles as I implement and test them.
The above picture shows you my setup with the basil plants currently growing vigurously (they are currently about 60 centimeters high). Above the system you can have a small look at the high power LED fixture I built myself to provide these plants enough light (as hardly any light gets through the window). I hope you have enjoyed this article and decide to build your own simple home-made PVC hydroponic growing system. Make sure you leave any comments with questions or suggestions you may have :o).