To get started building this garden, you’ll need mostly common parts which should be available in local garden and housewares stores. If you run into problems sourcing the parts, visit the Oasis Agro Industries Pakistan online at: http://www.oasisagropk.com should a kit available by the time you read this which includes many of the harder to find items needed to build this garden. If you feel difficult to build system, feel free to order us at firstname.lastname@example.org, our tem will contact you and your own ready made Oasis AeroponicsTM delivered within next two working days.
Theory of operation.
Oasis AeroponicsTM is the most advanced means of cultivating plants. It has been show to outperform soil based cultivation by up to a factor of ten! The reason it is so effective is that since the roots are suspended midair, they receive the maximum amount of oxygenation possible while maintaining 100% humidity for exceptional growth potential. The diagram at right details how the roots grow down through suspended baskets containing GroRox and into the misting chamber where they are gently sprayed with nutrient solution every few minutes.
Oasis AeroponicsTM parts list
A. (1) 30-50 Gallon Plastic Container With Lid
We used a “Tucker” 42 Gallon Storage Container With Hinged Lid from Caldor, a local housewares store. You should have no problem finding these containers on sale in just about every type of store from home improvement/hardware to bed and bath. You want to use a container that is free from holes and made of a rugged, opaque plastic – preferably dark blue, black, green or red in color to keep light from passing through its walls and causing algae growth within the system.
The container needs to have a lid that fits securely as you will be cutting holes in it through which your plants will be suspended in plastic cups, allowing the roots to grow down within.
B. (1) 100-150 GPH Submersible Pump
We used a Beckett 150 GPH Submersible Pump from Home Depot, a home improvement store. These types of pumps are commonly available as fountain and pool/spa cover drainage pumps. I found 150-300 GPH pumps to work best.
C. (1) 1/4” > 1/2” Threaded Coupler
Connects the pump outlet to the 1/2” PVC pipe
D. (2) 1/2” PVC Male Threaded Couplers
To connect 1/2” PVC pipe to pump and valve
E. (1) 1/2” PVC Ball Valve
F. (1) 1/2” > 3/4” Garden Hose Adapter
G. (1) 1/2” PVC “L” Fitting
H. (1) 1/2” PVC “T” Fitting
I. (1) 1/2” PVC end cap
J. (1) 10’ PVC Pipe 1/2” Inside Diameter
The above parts can be purchased at a plumbing supply store.
K. (4-8) 16 Oz. “Solo” Plastic Cups
Final quantity depending on how many grow sites you choose – you will also need some smooth, clean gravel or GroRox to fill these cups with and provide an anchor for your plant’s roots. You’ll need about 2 cups per grow site.
L. (1) Cycle Timer +/- 20% Duty Cycle
A cycle timer is one that turns on for “x” minutes and off for “x” minutes and then repeats this “cycle” as long as it is plugged in. We used an NFT-1 cycle timer that is specifically manufactured for hydroponic applications. It turns on for 1 minute and then off for four minutes. This is effectively a 20% duty cycle which keeps the roots wet and the pump from running continuously which would heat up the nutrient solution quickly.
M. (6-8) Micro Sprayers – 180 or 360 Degree pattern
Pictured at right are actually three different types of micro sprayers – be sure to use those designed for low pressure applications or else they will not “spray”
1) Stocking or Filter Bag – not shown
Measure the diameter of your selected growing baskets at the shoulder or at approximately 3/4 its height. Record this width as it will be the width of the holes you will need to cut to accept the cups. For Solo brand 16 Oz. cups, the diameter is 3”
Measure the depth of the cups from where you have measured the diameter -This distance or depth is how far into the misting chamber your cups will sit and is important in determining at what height to mount the spray manifold.
For Solo brand 16 Oz. cups, the depth is 3 1/4”
The Sprayer manifold will run lengthwise inside the misting chamber (Parallel to top and bottom in picture on right). You need to determine the spacing and quantity of grow sites for your system now.
We chose to have seven grow sites with three in front and four in back – see inset photo… Basically all you need to do is to mark off the centers of the holes you will cut in the next step – USE A RULER!
Using a holesaw – size determined from Step 1. – and the marks you just made in the previous step, cut out the grow sites. Use CAUTION with the hole saw -You can also use a sharp razor knife to cut them or a pen-type soldering iron to melt them. Whatever you use BE CAREFUL!!! Sand the edges to make them uniform.
Now you will need to measure the distance from the lid down to the bottom of he misting chamber. Simply use a tape measure and record this measurement as it will be used in the following step.
Now subtract the cup depth from Step 2 from the distance measured in step 5. Make a mark on the inside of the chamber at this height – this is where the bottoms of the cups will be situated once placed into the system. You will use this mark to determine the proper height to mount the misting manifold.
From the mark you made in Step 6 (A), mark off two more lines, the first (B) at one inch below and the second (C) at 1 1/2” below. This is so that the tops of the sprayers are at the same level as the bottoms of the cups. Some sprayers will aim the spray upwards at a slight angle – you may wish to try them out first to determine if this is the case. Your goal is to get the spray to hit the bottoms of the cups.
Look at the drawing of the completed injection manifold in Step 16. It will give you a better idea of what you will be creating in these next few steps…
At the height of the last mark you made (#2 from above), drill a 7/8” hole at the horizontal center of each end of the misting chamber. Remember – the misting manifold runs lengthwise (left to right) inside the chamber and it runs parallel to the top and bottom of your chamber. These holes need to be perfectly aligned so use care in judgement.
Cut a 6” piece of 1/2” PVC and insert it through one of the holes you just drilled. This will be the drain side of the chamber so if it is to be placed in a tight space -you should consider which side you want the drain fitting to be on… On the inside of the chamber and on the end of the 6” pipe, insert the 1/2” PVC “T” fitting so that the extra opening points downward into the chamber and the opposite end opening faces the opposite side of the chamber.
Step 10 – 11.
Get out your pump and screw on the 1/2” threaded PVC adapter (C) and one 1/2” PVC threaded coupler (B)
Now lay the pump down on the bottom of the chamber with the outlet facing up towards the “T” fitting and measure out a length of pipe (D), to connect them. You want the pipe to be long enough to fit snugly and maintain proper alignment. Now you may remove the pump and vertical pipe and drill a pressure relief valve into the fitting as shown in the picture above (A). The hole should be drilled through only one side of the fitting and pipe with a 3/8” drill. The purpose of this hole is to allow excess pump pressure to bleed off inside the chamber, causing a gentle circulation inside the reservoir. By keeping this joint free from glue, you can rotate the pipe inside the fitting to vary the amount of relief (pic. B shows a 50% setting.)
Now you can glue on the “L” fitting on the outside of the chamber and attach the ball valve with the remaining 1/2” PVC threaded fitting. To this you will screw in the garden hose adapter which will serve as your drain system. A simple twist of the valve will allow you to pump out old nutrient solution instead of having to upset the plants to drain it manually with a bucket.
You can now place the pump and its vertical manifold back into the chamber, connect the vertical manifold to the “T” fitting and then cut a piece of 1/2” PVC pipe to connect to the open end and pass at least 4” through the opposite side of the chamber. This horizontal structure is the misting manifold.
Cap off the open end of the misting manifold as it exits the chamber on the opposite side of the drain using the 1/2” PVC end cap. Most of these PVC fittings will fit snugly – use glue when necessary and to prevent leaks.
Our particular container had two small holes in the handles at either end of the chamber. We used a hot melt glue gun to seal them up. Make sure you inspect your chamber for any holes and plug them up with hot melt glue or aquarium safe silicone.
Using the diagram at right as a general guide – mark off locations for the sprayers at even intervals along the top of the misting manifold. We found that the 150 GPH pump we chose had enough power to run eight sprayers so we put five across the top and three upside down between them to provide even more spray to the roots.
Drill the holes to accept your sprayers. Make sure you don’t drill them too big otherwise you will not get a good seal and the sprayers may pop out due to pressure. Antelco make a line of small garden sprayers perfect for this application -we have them on our site if you can’t find any locally.
Screw or glue in your sprayers with silicone sealant. The ones we use screw in using their included wrench. You’ll probably want to remove and clean the sprayers between crops as even the finest filter may pass small root hairs that will eventually clog your system.
Get your grow cups together for this step. Here we used a small pen-type soldering iron to melt the root holes into the bottoms of the Solo brand cups. You could use a razor blade or drill to cut them out too. Make sure you don’t make the holes bigger than your growing medium otherwise it will all fall out!
The more holes the better – again – make sure they are not big enough to allow loss of your growing medium (gravel , expanded clay pellets or lava rock). The holes only need to go about 1/2 way up the cup.
Our lid required the use of a plastic skirt, duct taped to the inside of it to prevent water from spraying outside of the chamber. Here you see the lid, upside down with the finished cups in place and the plastic skirt (cut from a garbage bag) securely taped in place around the perimeter of the lid. When the lid is in place, the skirt hangs down between the inside of the chamber and the outside of the cups to prevent over-spray from causing a leaky mess….
Time to Test – Fill ‘er up – I made marks on the vertical manifold to indicate the water level in gallons – to do this, simply fill it up a given amount at a time and mark it off accordingly. Spray should reach all walls of the chamber – you can adjust their strength by rotating the vertical manifold and adjusting the relief valve.
Put the lid on, making sure that the plastic skirt (if required) falls into place. Insert the cups and fill them with a layer or two of your growing medium. Run the pump and make sure that the medium is getting moistened through the holes in the cups.
You can pull out the cups as the pump runs and check for water droplets on their outside too. The medium only needs to get slightly moistened so that until the roots grow down and out of the cups, they can feed. You can adjust the relief valve to increase/decrease spray.
After your system is complete and checked out, you can prepare your seedlings for transplanting into the system. We planted this array of salad greens, tomatoes, basil, oregano, dill and sage about three weeks before transplanting.
You will see that our seedlings sprouted in both rockwool cubes (on left) and in the Cocofiber (on right). Cocofiber needs to be rinsed off the roots before transplanting into the cups. All in all we have determined the Cocofiber to be better for sprouting seeds than rockwool but it is much messier than the rockwool cubes!
To transplant your seedlings or cuttings, make sure they have at least a set of true leaves and have developed a small root system. Simply line the bottoms of your cups with a layer or two of medium and then backfill around your plants to offer them support in their new home. You should pre-moisten the medium with nutrient solution first to avoid drying out the roots.
Here are two sweet basil plants that we just transplanted. Notice that we backfilled the medium all the way up to the growing tops. We did this so that the roots had plenty of support and moist medium available until they mature and grow out beyond the confines of their cup.
After about a week, you will see the roots beginning to poke through the holes in the cups and down and into the misting chamber – once this happens plant growth really takes off since the benefit of Aeroponics is realized.
I have found that the best spray cycle is a 1 minute on / 4 minutes off routine. It seems to be just the right ratio of on/off to allow the plants enough nutrient in high heat/strong lighting conditions. The NFT-1 cycle timer is a perfect match.
The Oasis PVC Pipe GardensTM
These designs were inspired by the many commercially available hydroponic gardens that utilize PVC pipe as a main design component. PVC pipe is relatively inexpensive, easy to work with and extremely durable. These designs allow easy expansion owing to their popularity among commercial growers and family farmers. Perfect for producing large harvests of rapidly growing crops such as salad greens, tomato, chilies, culinary and medicinal herbs and decorative flowers. This garden requires a bit more skill and some power tools to complete. There is the option to build it with either three inch, four inch or six inch diameter PVC according to intended use. Indoors use with 250-1500W MH or HPS light for best results when sunlight isn’t available. Oasis Agro Industries Pakistan provide complete ready to use PVC NFT system for both home use and commercial farmer. Our expert team of R&D department modify these system according to our country needs and available resources in order to maximize the profit of farmer. We always try to provide low cost system with high return outcome.
For feasibility study send your request at email@example.com , brief feasibility study provide on FREE of charges, if you are requesting detail feasibility PKR 3000 charged for one acre feasibility.