Mini Hydroponics Herb Garden
Mini Hydroponics Herb Garden
Mini Hydroponics Herb Garden
Mini Hydroponics Herb Garden

So... I've recently decided that I wanted to build myself a mini hydroponic herb garden and so naturally, I came onto instructables to find out how to do so. However, the instructables that I found all involved a simple airstone/grow pot hydroponic set up which, while simple to build, didn't fulfill what I was looking for in my herb garden.

After some research online, I decided that I wanted a ebb-and-flow system in order to best grow the varying types of herbs that I wanted to grow.

Having been to this site multiple times and gained plenty of knowledge from it, I decided that I should post up the process of how I build up my own mini hydroponics herb garden.

Step 1: Spray Painting

Mini Hydroponics Herb Garden

So, I went out to Bunnings (aussie version of home depot) and got myself 2 plastic containers, 1x8L and 1x15L.

They only came in a transluscent colour and so, knowing that roots don't like light, and that leaving a tub of nutrient solution in direct sunlight can be a very bad idea for algae control, I went ahead a spray painted both containers a nice flat black on the outside.

Step 2: Drilling a hole for attaching your bell siphon

Mini Hydroponics Herb Garden
Mini Hydroponics Herb Garden
Mini Hydroponics Herb Garden
Mini Hydroponics Herb Garden
Mini Hydroponics Herb Garden

Drill some holes.

How I attached my PVC piping is by purchasing 1 PVC to male coupling and 1 PVC to female coupling. I then place an o-ring, threaded my male coupling through the hole, placed another o-ring, and screwed on my female coupling.

Tadaa~ A water-tight seal accomplished.

Step 3: Creating and Refining a Bell Siphon

Mini Hydroponics Herb Garden
Mini Hydroponics Herb Garden
Mini Hydroponics Herb Garden

So the Bell Siphon has been undoubtedly the most finicky and frustrating part of this entire project. Getting it to work flawlessly was a complete nightmare requiring hours upon hours of reading up on the internet, testing it, running into a problem, making some fine adjustments, succeeding, and then it failing to work again on the next cycle.

While researching, I chanced upon, on the forums, Affnan's principals. One should definitely read that page if you're building and designing your own Bell Siphon.

Major ideas include that you need to have a wider point for water entry, in order to generate enough pressure to start the siphon. How I did this was to get a fruit-ball-scooper thing from my kitchen, heat up both the PVC pipe and the scoop, and then pushing it down firmly. Success!

Step 4: Creating and Refining a Bell Siphon (continued) - Bell

Mini Hydroponics Herb Garden
Mini Hydroponics Herb Garden
Mini Hydroponics Herb Garden
Mini Hydroponics Herb Garden

Next up was building the bell, which was fairly straightforward.

I used a piece of PVC pipe twice the width of the overflow pipe. Attach an end cap, drill a hole in the end cap, and attach a snorkel. Secure with cable ties.

I realised that 4 small holes at the bottom were actually causing a bit of water resistance and hence the siphon wasn't quite starting as quickly as I wanted it to. So I drilled more and made sure that water could move freely.

Step 5: Creating a gravel guard

Mini Hydroponics Herb Garden

So I used an empty pill container, cut off the top and the bottom, drilled lots of holes, and then wrapped it up with a fly screen.

Step 6: Preparing the Resevoir

Mini Hydroponics Herb Garden
Mini Hydroponics Herb Garden

Drilled a hole on one end of the pump wire to come out of, another hole for the water outlet.

Place pump in. Voila~

Step 7: The drain pipe

Mini Hydroponics Herb Garden
Mini Hydroponics Herb Garden

Drill a couple of holes in some sprinkler tubing.

Step 8: Assembling

Mini Hydroponics Herb Garden
Mini Hydroponics Herb Garden
Mini Hydroponics Herb Garden
Mini Hydroponics Herb Garden

Fill with diluted hydroponics nutrient solution, add some hydroponic media, transplant some herbs, and there you have it: Your very own hydroponics ebb-and-flow herb garden.

P.S. It's still to early to know if the plants will survive, much less thrive. I hope they do, and that I can look forward to an endless supply of fresh herbs.

P.P.S. Somewhere down the line I am considering converting this into a mini aquaponics system. It should be as simple as changing the reservoir to something suitable for fish to live in.

 
 

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