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hydroponics using plastic gutters

How To Build Hydroponics Using Plastic Gutters?

    The hydroponics system is considered to be the most beneficial planting system than the traditional soil-based technique. It helps to increase the yield up to 10 times more in the same space or even less than that.

    But can you make hydroponics using plastic gutters?

    Here you are going to study the build of a hydroponics system using plastic gutters. Here you explore the different techniques, materials, and the process.

    How To Build Hydroponics Using Plastic Gutters?

    The different kinds of techniques are available to build hydroponics using plastic gutters. You can build hydroponics using downspouts, hydroponic gutter garden, and hydroponic gutter NFT for the purpose.

    Similarly, the costs will also vary according to the technique you choose. Without further ado, let’s discuss the various methods in brief as follows.

    1. Setup Hydroponics using Downspouts

    The setup of hydroponics using the downspouts NFT technique is exceptionally simple. The experiment is going to be done with 30 minutes of the cycle at night and 15 minutes of the cycle during the day.

    It’s upon you to take the downspout pipe short or long. You can also set it up at different levels as required.

    The list of materials is given below that you are going to need during the setup.

    • Downspout
    • Downspout Flex Elbow
    • A-Elbow
    • Submersible pond/fountain pump
    • U-hook
    • ½ Barbed elbow fitting
    • ½” roll tubing
    • Electric drill with a hole saw 2″
    • Zip ties
    • Large & Clean plastic tub
    • Round Net Pots 2”

    Here are the installation steps that you can follow:

    Step 1: The first step is to drill the holes in downspouts. Drill 2-inches holes at a space of around 6-inches on the wide or top side of the downspouts. Make sure to fit the pot and check its placement after drilling the first hole.

    Step 2: To support the downspouts, you need to install the U-hooks with a slight decline of 0.5-inches over 10ft. It helps in the smooth flow of water rather than too fast.

    Step 3: The third step is to make a small slope by putting a plastic plate inside the downspout. The aim is to raise the level and hold back the water for better irrigation.

    This kind of setup is also ideal for young seedlings as their roots are not long enough to reach the downspout bottom.

    Step 4: Right at the bottom of the plastic barrier, you can make two notches for easy flow of oxygen. The triangular shape of notches allows exposure of the plant’s roots to the oxygen which is beneficial for the ideal growth.

    Step 5: The NFT downspout hydroponics system can be set up alongside the window in this manner. You can adjust the length according to the available space or width of windows.

    Use zip ties to support U-hooks and fasten the downspout.

    Now, you need to make a small hole for the barbed elbow fitting on top. Connect the fitting with the tube to pump the reservoir. You must seal all connections of pipe with food-grade silicone and prevent leakage.

    Step 6: Install downspout A-elbow on one end and connect with the flexed elbow of the reservoir for drainage purposes.

    So, this is all about the inexpensive setup of hydroponics using downspouts where you can grow short growth period plants such as lettuces, tomatoes, etc.

    2. Using Plastic Gutter For Ebb & Flow Hydroponic System

    Let’s build a hanging garden from rain gutters. It is also one of the interesting ways on how to build hydroponics using plastic gutters. In general, Ebb and Flow refer to the different phases of ocean tides.

    So, it is a whole different process than a continuous water flow system. Many DIY builders even favor the setup due to simplicity and less risk with regards to water damages.

    Let’s start by ascertaining the materials required!

    • Two plastic rain gutters
    • Four end terminators/plugs
    • Stainless steel chains
    • S-hooks
    • Water can for manual watering/Install a permanent watering system
    • Fertilized herb soil
    • Gravel or coconut fiber
    • 50W fountain pump
    • Garden hose connectors
    • Pattex glue
    • Short cycle timer

    Here is the installation step that you can follow

    Step 1: Start by screwing two loops on the roof support. Pull the chains through and check the status or height of rain gutters. Now, you can plug in the end terminators to get everything in place.

    Step 2: The second step is kind of optional if you want to follow the manual watering system. If yes, take a watering can. Water gets quickly evaporated in the glass-enclosed balcony.

    So, you can put some kind of growth medium and slow down the natural process of evaporation to further buffer the water.

    Step 3: While continuing step 2 for the manual watering system, the growth medium can be soil which is a fertilized herb soil. You can fill the hanging rain gutters with this herb soil.

    And, you can put some on the white couch if any, placed beneath.

    Step 4: The step is essential if you opt for an automated watering system rather than the manual one. Here, you need to buy the fountain pump with ideal measurements.

    So, you can go for a 50W fountain pump with a head height of 2-3 meters. The installation process of the fountain pump is pretty straightforward. Start by drilling the holes. Then, screw the garden hose connectors to make inlets.

    Attach hose clamps and connect the fountain pump. At last, you are required to put the pump in a bucket.

    Pattex glue is used if you face any leakages in the end plugs of gutters. You can connect the drainage hose and input hose to make it look attractive and sturdy.

    Step 5: The pump can be controlled by many types. The scene looks like this if you are controlling the pump from a switch. So, the pump starts after flipping the switch. The initial drains may be slow but the final drainage is comparatively fast.

    Thus, it is a scenario of the current running method with the fountain pump.

    You can further automate the process to speed up the process of filling. Note down the time it takes to drain. You can add safety margins and add a program with a short cycle timer. It is a timer to cycle the power outlet on/off consecutively.

    For the purpose, timer relay like Icstation Programmable Digital Time Cycle Delay Switch Module (Buy Now On Amazon) is ideal with regards to easy adjustment as well.

    2. Using Plastic Gutter in NFT Technique

    Let us setup NFT hydroponics using plastic gutters. We should first start by outlining the materials required for the system and then proceed with the exact installation. The defined system will be designed as per the installation on the window rather than the table.

    Here is the list of things that you would need to build the system:

    • 5’ head submersible pump
    • 3” wood nails
    • Carpenters glue
    • Flexible vinyl tubes 10’, outer-diameter 5/8”, inner-diameter ½”
    • 3 plastic ‘tee’ connectors ½”
    • 9 pieces 2×4 lumber
    • Water reservoir
    • Corrugated plastics (optional)
    • Traditional PVC gutter 10’

    Follow these steps to build the hydroponics using plastic gutter

    Step 1: Marking and cutting of wood

    Before you start cutting, it is recommended to design the combinations for lumber as follows.

    – (x 1) 36.5″ | 36.5″ | 7.5″ | 7.5″ | 7.5″
    – (x 1) 7.5″ | 7.5″ | 7.5″ | 33″

    – (x 1) 40″ | 40″ | 7.5″ | 7.5″

    – (x 2) 43.5″ | 43.5″ | 8″

    – (x 4) 26.5″ | 33″ | 36″

    You can either use a table saw or hand saw for cuttings. Also, don’t fret over an extra ½” to avoid imprecise cuts.

    Step 2: Start side framing

    You should begin with side framing for which dimensions are given below.

    Wooden piece dimensions for the left frame

    – (x 1) 43.5″
    – (x 1) 33″
    – (x 2) 26.5″

    Wooden piece dimensions for the right frame

    – (x 1) 43.5″
    – (x 1) 33″
    – (x 2) 26.5″

    Line up 33” wooden piece across 43.5” piece over a flat surface. Then, line up 26.5” wooden pieces across the different locations.

    Glue up and nail the joints after checking all the dimensions. It is preferred to use a single nail to allow slight adjustment. Repeat the exact process for left side framing.

    Make sure to lay the 33″ wooden pieces on the left and 43.5″ wooden pieces on the right side while designing the right frames.

    And, remember to lay 33″ wooden pieces on right and 43.5″ wooden pieces on the left side during the construction of the left frame.

    Step 3: Finish side frames

    Dimensions of wooden pieces for right frame:

    – (x 1) 36.5″
    – (x 1) 40″
    – (x 1) 43.5″

    Dimensions of wooden pieces for left frame:

    – (x 1) 36.5″
    – (x 1) 40″
    – (x 1) 43.5″

    For left framing, place 36.5” wooden pieces under the 6.5” wooden pieces and next to the shorter side of 33″ wooden pieces. Line up and mark the right dimensions. Use 7.5″ wooden pieces for alignment of vertical pieces. Then, apply glue and lift the frames.

    Repeat the similar process for 43.5” and 40” wooden pieces in sequence. Also, do the exact steps for right side framing.

    Step 4: Add gutter supports

    Dimensions of wooden pieces for right frame:

    – (x 4) 7.5″

    Dimensions of wooden pieces for left frame:

    – (x 4) 7.5″

    Take 43.5″ wooden piece and measure 6″ from its top with regards to right side framing. Mark a line afterward. You are required to measure the same 6″ dimensions from top of the remaining vertical wooden pieces.

    Start with the longest vertical wooden piece. Put the glue under its marked line and place a 7.5″ wooden piece horizontally under it. Repeat this process for remaining vertical wooden pieces.

    It is recommended to slant PVC gutter at the ratio of 1:40 and allow a smooth flow of water. This technique is preferred in the NFT hydroponic vinyl gutter system as well. You are required to mark the measurement of 5″ from the top of the remaining vertical pieces to construct the left frame.

    And, repeat the above steps for the left frame as well.

    Step 5: Join Frames

    Dimensions of wooden pieces for joining

    – (x2) 33″

    Stand two sides vertically while placing the 33” shortest wooden side facing downwards the floor. Mark a distance of 33” between side frames. Also, remember to mark multiple measurements to ensure a parallel fit.

    Glue up the 43.5” wooden pieces and lay 33” wooden pieces. Hammer a single nail on each side. Put the entire frame on flat ground in the upright position and ensure the stability of the structure. Hammer another nail after confirmation.

    Step 6: Set crossbeams

    Dimension requirements of wooden pieces

    – (x4) 36″

    Glue up the crossbeam supports after laying the entire structure in an upright position. Lay 36″ wooden pieces on top of the support and hammer nails afterward.

    Step 7: Reinforcement & Addition of drainage gutter

    Wooden pieces requirements:

    – (x 1) 33″
    – (x 2) 8″

    Lay 33” wooden pieces across the lowest support on every side of the frame. Glue up the edges on 8″ wooden pieces and lay them over the sides of the right frame. You can these wooden pieces along with the right frame with a clamp while waiting for the glue to dry up.

    Step 8: Install gutters

    Wooden pieces requirements

    (x 5) PVC gutter with 40″ each

    Installations of gutters are required to be done in two parts i.e. drainage to the reservoir and growing plants. Start by gutter installation for growing plants. Measure the length of PVC gutter up to 40″ or slightly more. Repeat the exact process to cut 5 PVC gutters.

    Lay this hydroponic gutter garden over the frame and mark the location of wooden pieces. Drill holes after removing it from the frame at the markings. After doing a similar process for the remaining 4 gutters, you are required to use strings and tie the gutter back to the wooden post.

    Take drainage gutter support and place gutter over its side of the right frame. Afterward, mark arbitrary locations for the same. Do slight hammering of the nail on the marking while leaving a space to hook up the gutter. Finally, fit the gutter over the nail and it will automatically rest over the drainage gutter support.

    Step 9: Install a water circulation system

    Wooden pieces requirements:

    – 20ft 1/2″ ID vinyl tubing
    – (x 4) tee connectors for 1/2″ ID tubing

    – 132 GPH water pump

    – Paper clips (optional)
    – water container

    Place the water container below the drainage gutter while ensuring that sides are parallel to it. Fill it with water and place the water pump. Set a water circulation system and place diagonal length between the rows. Connect the tubes with the tee connector.

    Restrict water flows for certain outlets using the binder clips. Tie up the tubes using the string and ultimately let the system run.

    What Kind Of Hydroponic System You Build Using Plastic Gutters?

    You can say, it can be using in almost any hydroponic system, but here we have listed some of the most suitable hydroponic systems that can make use of plastic gutters:

    1. Using Nutrient Film Technique

    The NFT technique is a kind of staple to the hydroponic plantation. It is generally used to grow quick and small growing plants such as herbs, lettuces, tomatoes, spinach, etc. You can check out our post on best plants for NFT system.

    A steady stream of nutrient solution is provided through the plants for the entire time of their growth. And, the bare roots dangle into the nutrient solution or stream while hanging into the trough. As such, there is nothing like supportive media for the plants.

    It is a highly famous technique among hydroponic growers due to effective and simple design. The method is a bit similar to Ebb and Flow in the way that both these techniques use water pumps for the ultimate delivery of nutrients to the plants.

    2. Using Ebb & Flow Technique

    The Ebb & Flow technique uses the basic method of placing plants simply in a tray. The system is pretty versatile and comes with an intermediate level of difficulty with regards to setup.

    Generally, rain gutters can be used with the hanging ebb & flow technique of hydroponics. The basic components are namely the plant tray and reservoir.

    The plant tray is usually called a flood tray which is filled with a growing medium like Perlite etc. apart from seedlings. And, the reservoir is placed right below the stand of flood tray.

    3. Using Drip System

    The drip system is another popular method to be used with gutters. It is comparatively easy to build hydroponics using plastic gutters with the drip technique. Simply fill each gutter with a growth medium along with the full plants.

    The nutrient solution will drop through the end of gutters which then flows through the overall system and keep it wet. However, this hydroponic gutter garden is quite risky in case the flow stops.

    You will need around 12-18 hours to get the things back on track then!

    4. Using Vinyl Gutters Garden

    The vinyl gutter garden is said to be the best among gutter systems. They consist of sharp edges and the material that never rusts. Generally, NFT hydroponics use downspouts or gutters for effective plantation.

    The open and trough-type gutter is also ideal for the drip hydroponics technique. Cap these open trough gutters on the upper end and place the screen on the lower end to keep media flowing.

    You need to cap the upper end even if it’s the enclosed gutter. And, you can make the supporting rack with either PVC or wood. The use of an air stone or air pump is required to oxygenate the water in the bin.

    Also, the selection of plants would be such that won’t cramp in the gutters.

    Final Thoughts

    So, this is how you can setup hydroponics using plastic gutters. The process would be pretty simple if you follow a highly acceptable NFT system. However, we’ve also mentioned the materials and steps required to set up hydroponics using ebb and flow and downspouts as well.

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