Figure 1: Floating raft deep water culture
So, here we are back again with hydroponics and again we are going to take some help from Arduino to grow some grass again. Technically it is a tricky project but we have made all efforts to break it down into simple bits so that anyone and everyone becomes capable of doing it at home. There are a lot of parts that you will need for this project starting from a tub with straight walls till the bottom end, make sure these are not tapered from any end as that would give way out to algae. Paint it black as you find it.
Figure 2: Tub has to be colored with black
Next, find some construction foam insulation, these will play a huge role in keeping water clean.Next go to some online store to get some 2-inch long net cups.
Figure 3: Plastic film with holes to fit net caps
Figure 4: Airlines-attached-to-pump
Figure 5: Seeds sprouted on Rockwell cubes
Also, you will have to get some Rockwool cubes, these are great medium for providing required moisture to small plants. Ensure these are soaked in a very low pH solution. Other things that you need to work on are simple 2 output aquarium, 10-15 feet low cost aquarium hoses, some air stones.
Now it’s time to start the project. Place your tub on a piece of foam to draw accurate lines for cutting foam in size of the tub. The best device for this purpose is a electric meat carver. Now place the net cups over foam to get a rough idea of number of cups that should be used. Keep a distance of 2-3 inches between every piece for smaller lettuces.Now cut holes in accordance with the net cups placement, Once you have settled the cups over foam, sstart setting up the air lines for the bubblers. Check the valves well and pay close attention to direction arrows given over them. Attach the air lines with the pumps and set the lines in the tub.
Figure 6: 1-week-after-sprouting
In the above pic you can see the exact arrangement. Next fill the tub with water, ensure the foam thickness is consistent after the tub is filled up.The foam needs to float over water with the net cups.For final setup, setup the indoor tent around the tubs and light it up. PLeace 3 seeds in each rockwool piece for seeding and leave them for 3 day to germinate.Here the experimenters used looseleaf, oakleaf, and some butterhead salad greens. In the next picture, you can see the germinated seeds.
Now the things will move at a fast pace. Now cull the sprouted seeds, it will remove competition and weak plants giving space to the strongest survivor. Indoors give you the freedom to grow the plants in less humidity which means you can keep the plants in the rockwool in the net cups and remove the plastic. A healthy growth will still be attained. After a week’s growth you will have to keep the lights on for 24 hours. Keep a regular check on plants after that and ensure they are healthy and growing properly. You should be able to take your harvest within a month.
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