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          “The Matrix”
          – a do-it-yourself hydroponic garden
          This design makes use of the
          AeroGarden? pods
          (Aeropod) and sponges that
          are available online (Ebay) in
          bulk (50 each)
          This design also uses
          pea gravel (or aquarium
          gravel) to support the
          plant as it grows larger
          This design also uses 4 inch
          plastic net pots (Amazon)
          Note: the basket slats will
          keep the pebbles from
          clogging the overflow and
          drain outlets, so just make
          sure the pebbles are larger
          than the slat openings…
          This design also uses 4 inch PVC
          pipe and fittings. You will need
          something to cut this to length.
          This can be a hacksaw, rotary
          saw, or large pipe-cutter. Note
          that clear PVC is also available
          (but also much, much more
          expensive than white)
          6”
          4” PVC Sched 40
          1
          3
          /
          4
          4” PVC Sched 40 4” PVC Coupler
          3”, 4” Closet Flange
          (Oatey #43557)
          4” Round Plant Basket
          Parts list (mostly complete…)
          Note: make this
          longer if you need a
          larger volume. With
          this plan the garden
          will be about 500ml
          ? Oatey Heavy Duty Clear PVC Cement
          ? Some Teflon tape
          ? Something to cut PVC pipe with (e.g. hacksaw)
          ? Black vinyl tubing ?”, 5/16”, and ?” I.D. (also 1/8” ID)
          ? 5 gallon bucket
          ? 3/8” MNPT x 3/8” hose barb (US Plastics #61136) x2
          ? ?” MNPT x 3/16” hose barb (US Plastics #61153) x1
          ? Small submersible fountain pump (e.g. 75 gph) – best if it is adjustable!
          ? Cyclical timer for power
          ? Table/stand (5 gallon bucket can fit underneath)
          ? Air stone (optional)
          ? 7/16” and 37/64” drill bits (intermediate drills for pilot holes; 3/8” chuck drill)
          ? ?” CS NPT TAP, 3/8” CS NPT TAP (and tap handle)
          Parts list (cont…)
          4” PVC Sched 40
          4” PVC Sched 40
          4” PVC Coupler
          3”, 4” Closet Flange
          1. Puts lots of glue here:
          (this is a notoriously loose fit)
          Inside
          2. Glue here:
          Inside
          2. Glue here:
          Inside
          Top should be flush with coupler
          After assembly
          Note on the coupler:
          It might seem strange to have a coupler instead of just extending the length of the 4”
          PVC pipe. However, the coupler adds width to permit tapping of a threaded hole having
          a useful depth. Conveniently, the threaded nylon fittings end up being flush with the
          inside wall.
          The bottom closet flange serves the same purpose, and importantly also prevents the
          apparatus from tipping over.
          37/64” Drill (overflow hole)
          1
          1
          /
          4
          7/16” Drill (drain hole)
          37/64” Drill (input hole)
          9
          /
          16
          Front
          Back
          Input and overflow holes: tap
          3
          /
          8
          ” NPT thread
          Drain: tap ?” NPT thread
          Overflow fitting:
          3
          /
          8
          ” MNPT x
          3
          /
          8
          ” hose
          Input fitting:
          3
          /
          8
          ” MNPT x
          3
          /
          8
          ” hose
          Drain fitting: ?” MNPT x
          3
          /
          16
          ” hose
          (wrap Teflon tape around the threads!)
          7
          /
          8
          Pilot holes:
          1
          /
          8
          ,
          3
          /
          16
          , ?,
          5
          /
          16
          ,
          7
          /
          16
          (stop on
          drain hole), ? (fill and overflow),
          37
          /
          64
          9
          /
          16
          37
          /
          64
          hole
          Drill 37/64” inlet hole into basket
          Line up basket hole
          With inlet hole
          After basket is installed insert short
          (e.g. 1 ?”) length of 3/16” tubing
          through basket and into the inlet fitting.
          Cut 3/16” tubing to length and with an
          angle so that inlet water feeds top
          center of the unit.
          This is how the cup/sponge is
          positioned and the pebbles are
          filled. The inlet tube through the
          top of the cup is beneath pebbles
          Side view showing unit on table
          above 5 gallon bucket containing
          pump. The nutrient inlet (left) and
          overflow (top right) and drain
          (bottom right) are visible
          The 4” mesh cup is inserted. The short
          ?” tubing is inserted from the inside of
          the cup into the inlet. An empty
          Aeropod holder is covered with masking
          tape and centered in the cup. Gravel is
          poured to secure the Aeropod holder.
          Then remove the tape.
          Eco66 pump
          (75 gph adjustable)
          5 gallon bucket
          (volume of water/nutrients is 2.5 gal;
          this can be increased if more than one
          garden is connected )
          Inlet
          Overflow
          Exit of overflow and drain tubes must be
          above the water level in bucket (i.e. tubing
          end is open to air) and should not sag
          down below the opening
          Drain
          Unit raised up on
          table or shelf above
          5 gallon bucket
          Balancing the Water Flow
          Pump output may need to be adjusted to:
          1. Provide sufficient flow to fill unit up to the overflow level
          ? If necessary increase the flow of the pump (use an adjustable pump)
          ? If the drain is too fast to permit filling of the unit, then cut the drain tubing about 2” long
          and insert a smaller diameter drain tubing into this (e.g. use 1/8” tubing) – this will slow
          the flow of the outlet
          2. The pump flow should not be so great as to overwhelm the overflow (i.e. cause a flood out
          the top of the unit)
          ? The only way to deal with this is to get a smaller pump! (or you could tap two drain
          lines…)
          ? A small trickle from the overflow is sufficient to indicate filing to the correct level. The
          primary flow is out the drain, not the overflow, but the water level to the level of the
          overflow is critical to achieve
          3. A cycle timer for the pump is needed. This would be set up to be 90 min on/15 min off. This
          permits gas exchange to the roots without drying them out
          4. Multiple units must be connected in parallel and ideally with some ability to control water
          inlet flow to each unit
          Inlet
          Overflow
          Drain
          Inlet
          Overflow
          Drain
          If input flow exceeds drain
          outflow, nutrient level will
          continually to rise. However, the
          overflow outlet will prevent
          flooding.
          Some plants like this much water
          Nutrient flow from top
          to bottom. Some plants
          like this much water
          Nutrient Flow
          Inlet
          Overflow
          Drain
          1. Nutrient flow into inlet
          Inlet
          Overflow
          Drain
          Inlet
          Overflow
          Drain
          3. Flow out overflow
          (maintains top level
          of nutrient)
          2. Flow out drain
          (establishes nutrient flow
          from top to bottom)
          4. Pump cycle (90 min ON/15 min OFF)
          Nutrient level goes down to drain level, permits gas exchange of roots.
          You can also add an air bubbler to the 5 gal bucket
          Nutrient Flow
          Expanding the System
          The pump outlet can be connected to a “T” fitting
          to provide nutrient flow to two systems; however:
          ? The drain tubes should be independent, as well
          as the overflow tubes
          The reason for this is that T-fittings can introduce
          bubbles/back pressure in the system that can
          prevent drainage. Also, with separate drain and
          overflow tubes, nutrient flow for each unit can be
          monitored
          Additional units can be connected with more T-
          connectors to the pump outlet
          Eco66 pump
          (75 gph adjustable)
          Inlet
          Drain
          Overflow
          Inlet
          Drain
          Overflow
          Inlet
          Single unit
          Double unit
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