POOR MAN'S DUTCH POT SYSYEM
The Dutch pot system is one of the best designed hydroponic systems. It is a form of drip system that is enclosed except for the top of the growing surface. The nutrient is never exposed to sunlight, therefor no algae will grow. The outlet system prevents roots from plugging the outlet line. It also has a reservoir in case of pump failure or operation with a timer.
The individual pots in this homemade system can be made at a cost of less than 50 cents per pot. This is based on finding buckets for free. Almost every restrurant or bakery or other food processing firms buy produce in these buckets and will most times give them away. If you cannot find free buckets, you would probably be just as well off to purchase "Bato buckets" for $5.00 per bucket.
2 to 5 gallon bucket (use a food grade bucket)
2 1/2 inch PVC elbows
1 8 inch piece of 1/2 inch PVC pipe
1 4 inch (same )
1. Drill a 1 inch hole in the side of the bucket approximately 2 1/2 inches up from the bottom. (place the 1/2 inch elbow with one 8 inch piece of 1/2 inch PVC pipe in the bottom of the bucket, raise it 1/2 inch. When level, the end of the pipe should mark the correct place to drill. It does not have to be perfect to work correctly.)
If done correctly, the 1/2 inch elbow should be sitting on the extension 1/2 inch from the bottom of the bucket.
A 3/4th inch grommet is placed in the 1 inch hole.
The grommets can be purchased from the electrical department at Home Depot.
The 1 inch hole is about 2 1/2 inches from the outside bottom of the bucket. The grommet is installed in the 1 inch hole. The PVC pipe fit is very tight inside the grommet, so it will probably be necessary to taper about 1/8th inch of the end of the 1/2 inch PVC, and use some type of lubricant to get it inside the grommet.
Just put an elbow on each end and it is ready to go.
Here is an excellent example of Dutch pot bucket. It is a 5 gallon cheese container that was aquired free from a restaurant.
The drain system is a length of 1 1/2 inch PVC pipe with a cap on one end and a "T" on the other. A 7/8th inch hole is drilled in the top of the pipe for each bucket at a distance for proper plant seperation.The drain from each bucket should be between 1/4 amd 1/2 inches into the pipe. The end cap on the "T" end is to refill the nutrient and check the level with a dip stick. The bottom of the "T" drains through the lid into the nutrient tank.
There are three holes drilled into the lid. One for the 1 1/4 or 1 1/2 inch drain, a smaller one for the pump outlet, and a small one for the pump extension cord.
The nutrient feed systen is 1/2 inch PVC with a 1/4 inch black irrigation tubing for each bucket. A hole is drilled into the PVC that is slightly smaller than the black tubing. An angle on the end of the tube makes it eaeier to insert.
The 1/4 holes are drilled above a pot so if one leaks, it drips into the pot.
The pump is connected to the distrubution system by drilling a hole in an end cap slightly smaller than 1/2 inch then slide a piect of 1/2 inch vinyl tune 4 inches long into the hole. Half will go into the hose, half into the PVC pipe. Use PVC cement between vinyl tube and end cap if necessary. The other end had a cap.
By using a single supply line with all connections above a pot, any problem with leaks is eliminated. If any connection leaks, it will drip into one of the pots.
Medium added: 4 inches of coarse pine bark topped with 6 inches of cypress chips. There are a lot of other things that could be used. These were the things on hand. A 1/4 inch hole was drilled 3 inches down the side of the 5 gallon pots to help hold the feed tube.
An old milk jug plus a 4 inch piece of 1 inch PVC makes a good funnel for refilling nutrient. Cut the bottom out of the milk jug, dip the spout in warm water and slip the PVC in about 1/2 inch. Use PVC cement if necessary.
The 1 1/4 inch cap can set loosly on the "T" for easy removal to use the funnel.