New growbed setup

Half-buried tank, two grow bed trays.

back side of the grow bed. Note flush bottle. When the water reaches a set level in the bucket above, it then overflows into the tubing feeding the coke bottle. When sufficient weight is reached, the bottle pulls on the cord and flushes the valve in the bucket. A small hole in the cap of the bottle allows the water to drain out and the cycle repeats.

This is my new setup, sans the second bucket.  I am waiting on tee-less connectors to add the second bucket to the dump tank (existing bucket).  I’ll use a short piece of 1½” plastic pipe near the bottom of the buckets to connect them.  The two buckets, connected together, will give me the volume I need to fill both beds in a single dump.

Here’s the list of parts.

  • 2 five gallon buckets – mine used to contain pickles and were obtained from a local deli.
  • 1 pump
  • black tubing running from the pump to the bucket (visible in the top picture as the black loop to the right of the bucket and in the bottom picture).
  • 100 gallon Rubbermaid stock tank (buried to first step in the tank side).
  • 2 mortar mixing trays (the 8″ deep ones).
  • miscellaneous scrap lumber – none of this lumber was purchased new.  I’ve got 4×4 for the four legs (mix of pressure treated and cedar – it’s what I had), 2×6 for the between post supports and 2×4 for the top plate on which the tray rims rest.  The bucket rests on a notched 3×4 and a notched 2×4 held up by 2×8 scraps screwed to the tray frame.
  • a handful of 3″ decking screws
  • 1 toilet flush valve.
  • 1 16 oz plastic coke bottle (flush valve counter-weight).
  • black tubing to feed flush valve counter-weight bottle (visible in the second picture – connects to a piece of aluminum tubing which inserts through the bottom of the coke bottle.
  • miscellaneous hardware including a collection of stainless nuts and washers to act as the flush valve weight (offsets the weight of the plastic bottle so the flush valve flap closes completely).
  • Plumbing parts – some 2″, some 1½”.
  • Tee-less connectors to gang the buckets together.  I never order enough tee-less connectors.  They are the first connector I reach for when I have to fasten pipe to pipe or insert pipe into something.  I could have replaced the 2″ tee with a tee-less connector for less than a quarter of the price of purchasing a 2″ tee.

It took me an afternoon to take apart the old single-bed stand (I needed to reuse the legs and some of the shorter lumber) and another afternoon to construct the new two-bed stand.  You cannot see it from the picture, but there is a 2×6 that supports the center of the beds underneath going from left to right.

It took another afternoon to get the new bucket and flush assembly put together and get the tray flood plumbing set up.

I still need another 100 liters of hydroton.  It should only take another 50 liters (1 bag) of hydroton to fill the beds, but I want to increase the size of the gutter for my plant wall so want some extra to ensure I have enough.  Until I get the additional hydroton, I’ll let the beds cycle and build the nitrite/nitrate eating bacteria colony.

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