Hello Professor Lee
I’ve been playing around with a simple deep water culture garden. I have four clones started from a mother plant I keep in a twenty gallon container filled with a basic soil mix. I’m growing each clone in one gallon plastic containers filled with Hydroton. Each one gallon container sits in a five gallon bucket filled with a few inches of water and small air stones provide the aeration. My problem is having to keep up on the water level in each bucket. Is there a way I can automate my system to cut down on the time between waterings? I use a 1000 watt HPS in my 5’x5’ flower area I’ve set up in the corner of a bedroom so I have plenty of room for equipment, if needed.
Thanks a lot.
Automating a bucket system is a simple and straightforward method to extend the time between watering. This can be done by simply connecting the buckets together with plastic tubing and using a large reservoir and control bucket to maintain the water level in the system for days or even weeks depending on the water demands your plants present. I suggest using the largest reservoir container you can get your hands on. Two of the most popular choices are a fifty-five gallon food grade plastic barrel or a large plastic trashcan. A control bucket can be built using another five gallon bucket and a simple float valve from a toilet. As the water level in the system drops the float valve is tripped and will refill the system.
Another helpful tip to reduce the time between watering’s is to cut down on evaporation. Five gallon buckets usually come with lids, if not you can pick them up for cheap at any DIY store. Cut holes in the lids just large enough to hold the plant containers. The plants/containers will be suspended from the lids and the roots can grow down into the water below. Next, put a lid on the control bucket and the reservoir poke a small hole in the lids to break any suction that might occur. Keeping the containers relatively sealed will cut down on the evaporation and further extend the time between refills. It will also have the added bonus of lowering the overall humidity in the garden. Keeping the humidity under control will help to prevent possible fungi and mold outbreaks.