Aeroponics

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AeroFarms™ System

Cloth Medium
AeroFarms has developed a patented, reusable cloth medium for seeding, germinating, growing, and harvesting. Cloth has a number of benefits such as durability and reusability, increased cleanliness and sanitation, and the efficient harvest of a dry and clean product.
LED Lighting
AeroFarms has been pioneering the use of LED (light emitting diode) lighting for growing and vertical farming systems, targeting specific wavelengths of light for more efficient photosynthesis and less energy consumption. LEDs can also be placed much closer to the plants, enabling greater vertical growing for
even greater productivity per square foot.
Aeroponics
Aeroponics is a cutting-edge type of hydroponic technology that grows plants in a mist. The aeroponic mist most efficiently provides roots with the nutrients, hydration and oxygen needed, creating faster growing cycles and more biomass than other growing approaches. AeroFarms has designed its aeroponics as a
closed-looped system, recirculating our nutrient solution and using over 95% less water than field farming.

aeroponics1

Other aeroponic supplyers:


 

DIY aeroponic systems

 

As a plant substrate you can use cell foam, rock wool, etc to germinate and plant anchoring. Aeroponics is anexcellent method for cloning from stem cuttings.
For the sprays use a dropsize: 5-50 micrometer/ 0.025”opening. For bigger plants, dense root systems, use high pressure pumps for example: 100psi (diaphragm pump)

 

 

Building1

  • 4″ PVC Pipe (We used 3x 56″long pieces)
  • 2x 4″ PVC Caps per Large Pipe (6 for us)
  • 1/2″ PVC Pipe (enough to go through larger PVC, through caps, and still have PVC sticking out on the end so you can connect it, and enough to connect the long tubes together to the pump)
  • 1/2″ PVC Connectors: 6 right-angle, 1 3 way, 1 4 way.
  • Pump for sprayers (Ours is 930gph… You could probably use lower)
  • Sprayers (Hydro Store)

Fencepost version by

  1. aeroponics5Lay the four fence posts side by side and make each of these markings and then drill them out with the 3” drill bit, except for the hole at 70.5”, making sure you are in the center of the fence post.
    The hole located at 70.5” should be drilled straight through the opposite side. This hole is for the returned nutrient solution. After drilling the 1” hole through both sides of the fence install the Nylon Drain in the hole on the backside of the grow chamber.
    The measurements above are for a 32-site system; more holes can be drilled depending on what you plan on growing and how far apart the plants need to be. For ease of instruction these directions will continue with the 32-site system.
    After you have finished Drilling all the holes in each of the four fence posts and installing the Nylon Drain you are ready to glue on the Fence Post Caps. Caulk around the inside edges of each of the four Fence Caps and insert the end of the Fence Post with the Nylon Drain into each of the 4 Fence Caps. It is very important to add enough caulk to make sure there will be no leaks.  This end of the grow chamber is for returned nutrient and water will be circulating by these end caps for the life of the system. Do not attach the other Fence Cap to the other end of the Fence Post; this is where you will insert the Misting Lines. After the misting lines are inside the Grow Chambers is when you will glue the other End Cap on.
  2. First, cut the 1/2” PVC Tubing to 69” so that it will fit inside the Grow Chambers. Save the Scraps, they will be used for making the Misting Line.
    Next use the 3/8” Drill Bit to drill holes at each 9″ mark. Glue the 1/2” Caps and the 1/2” Elbows on to the Misting Lines. Screw the Micro Spray Jets into each of the 28 holes. The holes are very tight and screwing the jets into each of the holes requires a lot of work.  Boring the holes out just ever so slightly
    can aid in this process.
    Insert the Misting Lines into the Crow Chambers with the elbow toward the end with the 1” hole in it.
    Glue the 4 Fence Caps onto the ends of the Grow Chambers with minimal glue. Minimal glue is used because this end does not support any water. The water will be flowing in the opposite direction. If anything goes wrong with the Misting Line it will be easier to access if the glue is kept to a minimum around the bottom edge.
    Now that the Grow Chambers and Misting Lines are Complete it is time to build the Reservoir and the Distributor Line.
  3. Making the Reservoir, Elevator Stands and Distributor Line. Drill 4 Holes in the top of the reservoir in a straight line and at these 5 positions: 7.5”; 6.75”; 6.75”; 7.5”
    After the holes are drilled the Elevator Stands must be assembled before the Grow Chambers can be attached to the Reservoir.
    Cut the 3/4” Tubing in these pieces: 8 – 9” Segments – Footings; 6 – 24” Segments – Footings and Top; 4 Segments 1” taller than your Reservoir so the opposite end of the Reservoir is elevated and the Nutrient will return to the Reservoir.
    Assemble the pieces of 3/4” Tubing with the 3/4” Tees and Elbows. After you have two Elevator Stands built do the following: Assemble the pump; Fill the Reservoir halfway up with water, submerse the
    Pump in the Reservoir and put the lid on.
    Now attach the Grow Chambers. Unscrew the Nylon Nut from the Nylon Drain on each Grow Chamber. Insert the Nylon Drains through each of the 4 holes in the lid of the Reservoir.
    After the Nylon Drains are through the lid of the Reservoir replace the Nylon Drain Nuts on each of the 4 Grow Chambers, sandwiching the lid of the Reservoir between the Grow Chamber and the Nylon Drain Nut. Tighten the Nylon Nut all the way to prevent leakage.
    The system is almost complete. The next step is building the Distributor Line.
  4. Assemble the pieces to look like the picture below. Using the Tee with the threading as the middle piece.  4” 7.5”  6.75”. Insert the Distributor Line into the Grow Chambers through the 1” hole that you drilled and connect all 4 Misting Lines to the Distributor Line. Keep in mind the side on which you want the
    Purge Valve to be i.e. the closest to the drain or irrigation. After you have made sure the Distributor Line fits the system glue the pieces together. Cut a piece of 1/2” Tubing to connect the middle Tee to the
    pump feeding the tubing through the middle hole of the Reservoir Lid and then into the Pump.

ABS pipe version by overgrow.com

aeroponics64”ABS piping with nozzles inserted into them; fogwater pipes parrallel 1/2”. The basic design is a series of 4″ pvc (schedule 40) tubes that are sealed on one end and drain back
into a central reservoir on the other. Plants are held in net pots set into the tubes. Each plant is fed by
a sprayer set in the tops of the tubes. This placement keeps the sprayers from becoming root clogged.
The system encourages root growth into the tubes and even back through the drain and into the
reservoir. The system combines the benefits of aeroponic, ebb and flow, NFT and deep water culture
setups.
The sprayers are fed through manifolds that run parallel to the 4″ tubes and branch off through either
elbowed 1/2″ pvc (Irish) or 1/2″ flexible tubing (Webfish). A 1450 gph pump feeds webby’s 4 tube
system (pictured below), with 2 twin manifolds which emerge from the res and supply each sprayer
site.

When designing your aerotubes, please keep in mind the following:
You want to be able to access all of your plants during the grow. At a bare minimum, that means being
able to crawl under the system and go up between the tubes. The recommended spacing between net pots is 10 inches. That can be narrowed to 6-7 inches if you are growing a sea of green, single cola plant. Conversely, bushy, branchy plants demand up to 11 inches of separation.
The system will easily support a SCroG application. Simply drill holes in the tubes for the screen supports.
Again, access is critical. By using separate reservoirs, a grower can propagate a perpetual garden or grow profoundly different phenotypes. The system may be increased or reduced by simply adding or removing tubes and either capping or disconnecting their manifolds.
The systems use an average 500 ppm nutrient mix fed in five minute on cycles every fifteen minutes. Webby says that he never goes over 800 ppm.
Each plant site is 11″ on center and offset 5″ from the plant site accross from it in the adjoining tube. Irish
devised this integrated method for supporting plants during heavy flowering (with yields of better than 3
oz’s per plant, we can see that necessity is truly yo mama of invention).
 Irish’s SPRAYER FEED LINE ALTERNATIVE
Apparently not satisfied with the relative simplicity of Webby’s design, Irish devised the following method
for constructing his sprayers.
Tools used here were:
(1) 9/64″ drill
(1) 10-32 threaded tap
(2) rainbird full circle micro spray jet #360JET010
(1) 1/2″ female pvc threaded cap with « nut » molded to the end
(1) 1/2″ pvc elbow (slip thread x 1/2″ male thread)
(1) 1/2″ pvc slip cross
(1) small stick of pvc 1/2″
(1) pvc cutter
(1) 1 1/8″ hole saw

Attach fem cap to male elbow; drill hole with the 9/64″ drill bit into the cap (here you may do two as done, or one would probably work). Tap the hole(s) you just drilled with the 10-32 tap, this is the thread size of the sprinkler. Iinsert sprinkler. Take the hole saw and drill the 1 1/8″ hole where you have decided it should go. Web’s suggestion is to place one hole on each side of the 3″ netcup holes.
Insert cap and sprinklers into the hole, should fit snug, you can purchase an O-ring to seal the fit better, but it should be okay Remember, all connections should be sealed with the pvc glue to prevent leakage. The o-rings for the sprinklers can be bought in the same irrigation aisle.
The pvc cross is used to make a connection to the main manifold. One extension from each side,
leading to the « feeder holes »


aeroponics7Growing With Your New System

When growing Aeroponic crops there are four main elements that affect the rate of growth. They are – Nutrients, Ph, and Carbon Dioxide Content in the garden and Watering Cycles.
Most people believe the amount of nutrients a plant receives is directly related to a plant’s growth rate.  This is only partially true.  A plant needs nutrients but when you feed nutrients to a plant at the wrong Ph level the plant will not even be able to utilize those nutrients and the nutrients will build up in your system. These built-up, unused nutrients become salt over time and start inhibiting the plants’ roots from absorbing nutrients. First and foremost the Ph Level must, at all times, be between 5.5 and 6.5 otherwise the growth rate cannot ever reach 100% due to lack of nutrient uptake.  While the plants are small never let Total Dissolved Solids get over 1100 PPM; when the roots are just babies they will not be able to absorb much nutrient solution at all.  Wait until the plants have been in the system for at least 1 month before letting the PPM go over 1100.  Never exceed 1800 PPM unless CO2 is being added to the grow room.
Adding CO2 to a grow room can increase growth rates only if the Ph and Nutrient Solutions are at the proper levels.  Only then will CO2 be able to be utilized at faster than normal rates.  I recommend injecting the grow room for 3 minutes at 20 PSI on the hour, every hour while the lights are on during the bloom phase. Make sure to exhaust the CO2 after each injection to make sure there is enough ventilation for the plants. They still need a lot of fresh air.  Injecting the grow room with CO2 while the lights are off will just waste the CO because the plants need light to use the CO2. Photosynthesis occurs in the presence of light, CO2, chlorophyll, and nutrients. Watering the plants while the lights are off also does not increase growth rates.
Watering the plants takes good timing and quality water.  Most aeroponic systems have expensive timers that turn the pump on and off 6 – 8 times an hour.  With the system you just built it is only necessary to set the pump to turn off for 20 minutes every other hour The nutrient solution is aerated during circulation. If enriching your garden with CO2 it is highly recommended that you add an aerating rock to the Reservoir.  This way the roots can absorb nutrients at accelerated rates.  Depending on where you live tap water can vary widely in Ph levels.  Most areas in the Western United States have somewhat high Ph levels ranging from 6.8 – 7.7.  Do not adjust for Ph before adding nutrients to the water; some nutrients can change the
Ph of the nutrient solution. The nutrients are delivered directly to the roots by the 28 misters inside the Grow Chambers aerating the water while it is circulated. The roots are misted 360 degrees with nutrients making it easier for the plants to develop root structure. This system can also be configured in various positions to maximize square footage and overall yield of your garden.
Depending on the dimensions of your grow area the State-of-the-art Aeroponic System you built can fit your needs.


maintenanceMaintenance

Regular Maintenance:
Regular Maintenance is mandatory. Making sure the misters are working properly and that the pump is not clogged are the two most important aspects of regular maintenance for this system.
Making sure the misters are functioning properly should be done every week. Lifting up each plant and visually inspecting the each mister is all you need to do.  If some of the misters are clogged simply turn the
pump on and take the red cap off of the Micro Spray Jet; the clog will be forced out of the Misting Line.  Clogging does not normally occur during the first couple of weeks using the system. After the roots have
filled the Grow Chambers and the plants are well sustained is when a rare clog might occur.  These clogs are due to foreign debris getting through the enclosed filter in the Submersible Pump.
The Submersible Pump should be cleaned every 4 weeks.  To clean the internal filter, unhook the pump from the Distribution Line and remove the pump from the Reservoir.  Take the front part of the pump off and
remove the filter. Rinse the filter under warm water making sure there is no debris left in the filter before replacing it.  Making sure that the internal pump filter is clean and that the misters are working properly
will make for faster growth rates and larger yields.  The only other maintenance this system needs to operate correctly is cleaning after each harvest.
Cleaning After Each Harvest:
After each harvest the system should be purged, or drained completely and rinsed thoroughly. Follow these steps:
i.  Remove all of the Grow Cups and root debris from
the Grow Chambers
ii.  Pump all of the water out of the system and refill it
with fresh water
iii.  Scrub the sides of the reservoir with a cloth making
sure all of the algae is off the sides of the reservoir
iv.  Use the Purge Valve on the Distributor Line to pump
out all the wastewater from the Reservoir.
The system should be clean. Repeat these steps if necessary.  The system should look like new before starting each new cycle.