My biggest problem with homemade aeroponics systems has always been the clogging spray emitters. Somebody really had their thinking caps on when they came up with this design here. All you need is a 5 gallon bucket, an aquarium water pump, and a short section of tubing.
The pump is submersed in 1-2 gallons of nutrient solution in the bottom of the 5 gallon bucket. The tubing (or hose) has several 1/16 inch holes drilled into it. The tubing is positioned to coil around the container from bottom to top, and is plugged at the top end. You can see from the photo how the roots will be getting good coverage with the hydroponic nutrient solution. A 300 GPH aquarium pump works well for this.
The lid of the bucket will usually be cut to accommodate a 3 or 4 inch netted pot, either filled with expanded clay pellets or containing a pre-soaked rockwool block. Other media could be made to work in the netted pots. Plants may need to be hand watered until the roots begin to hang down low enough to get watered.
The biggest disadvantage to this system (the way it is pictured here) is the small nutrient reservoir size. The smaller the reservoir, the more quickly the solution will become unhealthy for the plants. In the commercial version of this design (pictured below), you can see how an additional nutrient reservoir has been added to the system below the 4 pods. To learn more about maintaining the nutrient solution in ANY hydroponic gardening system, check out my page on how to grow hydro, or get started in the right direction with my organic hydroponic feeding tips (which happen to be one of the easiest feeding plans ever).
With a little modification, the design at the top of the page can be fashioned into a larger hydroponic system. The design pictured here uses a much larger nutrient reservoir, which will help you avoid problems like nutrient deficiencies, nutrient imbalances, and constantly changing pH levels. Each container may have its own water pump, or a more powerful pump can be used to supply all four containers with nutrient solution.
By using a larger pump and a manifold to drop the pressure, you would be able to build a homemade aeroponics system of this type with 6 to 8 pods (possibly more, but I don't know for sure because I have never built one that large myself). A 1/3 horse power pump moving about 2200 GPH at a relatively low pressure of about 10 psi would be a good choice for a project of that size. As you can see from the picture above, small leaks in the plumbing would not be a big concern with this design (because the plumbing is nearly all self-contained).
I suppose when you take into consideration how much money you save NOT
having to buy food at the grocery store, it is surely cheaper to grow
your own food hydroponically even with the cost of high quality
nutrients. Nevertheless, I didn't have a whole lot of money to work with
and I needed to make my efforts as affordable and effective as
possible....and in the last 24 years I HAVE learned a thing or two!
As you browse through Jason's Indoor Guide, you will notice all of the systems that I use personally are homemade systems. As I got 3 or 4 years of experience under my belt, I quickly adopted a preference to standing water systems and systems that use expanded clay pellets or lava rock, because the media is re-usable and it eliminates a huge operating expense. So once a hydroponic system is built, garden maintenance is minimal- check and adjust the nutrient solution daily, and to change it completely every 2 weeks....and the biggest operating cost is the hydroponic nutrients. (and the electric bill, lol)...
And, regarding the cost of the nutrients....I experimented for about 3 years with making different compost teas and nutrient teas, but there is still a lot of expense $$$ associated with making high quality nutrient teas....like kelp meal, liquid seaweed, rock dust, bat guano, un-Sulfured molasses, worm castings. You can eliminate a lot of this expense by becoming an expert at making high-quality colloidal humus compost, and use your properly made compost as the basis of your hydroponic nutrient solution.
Unfortunately, I have been gardening for over 24 years and I have only
just recently mastered this difficult skill....and even then, only
because I happened to find a very easy to follow, high quality technique
and decided to follow the instructions to the letter. I produced more
high quality compost in just one week than I was able to use in a whole
year! If you can master the technique, I highly recommend it. It is one of the top 3 things you can do to
increase the productivity of your food production efforts, while at the
same time decreasing the amount of effort required to grow all of your
own food, and decreasing the total cost of operating your food
And when I say decrease operating costs, I mean decrease them to almost ZERO, especially if you are producing your own nutrients...
The ultimate solution to eliminate the cost of your hydroponic nutrients: Imagine a hydroponic system that does not require you to buy any nutrients, does not require you to make your own compost, and does not require you to brew your own nutrient tea. Seriously! No cost and no effort as far as providing nutrients to your plants! Plus, at the end of the gardening cycle you harvest all of your garden vegetables, PLUS YOU HARVEST FISH from the system--->
This solution is aquaponics. If you are serious about producing all of your own food and being self-sufficient, this is the ultimate solution for reducing expenses (as much as possible), reducing the total amount of work required, and maximizing the productivity of your gardening efforts. I have been gardening for over 24 years, and it is the perfect food production solution in my opinion.
Besides mastering how to make high quality compost, learning aquaponics is one of the top 3 things you can do to increase your garden productivity, reduce your total costs, and reduce your total work. The product that I learned from is called Aquaponics4you. With all of my hydroponic gardening experience, the first time I came across the Aquaponics4you product I knew immediately that it was something very special! Place an aquaponics system outdoors and use the sun instead of grow lights, and you have reduced every garden expense to nearly ZERO!
The Same System/ 10 Weeks Later!