New Project: DIY Aero Garden

I’ve always been amused by / interested in Aero Gardens, an aeroponic tabletop indoor growing system for herbs and small plants. But $200 seems like a lot to spend on a wannabe space-age novelty item. So I started looking into what exactly they’re doing. And decided I want to attempt to make my own.

Aeroponics is the science behind growing plants in air (very very damp air). Like Hydroponics it uses no soil, and apparently this makes things grow faster. There’s a fair amout of chatter about it on the internet, mostly pertaining to the growing of illicit substances.

The plants sit in a nice sterile looking tray and the roots of the plant are suspended over a vat of water, which is either constantly or occasionally (I couldn’t tell which) spraying mist on them. Some sort of UV light gives the plants what they need to photosynthesize, and everyone lives happily ever after.

There are only a handful of basic things I need:

  • Some sort of base container for the water, preferably plastic so I can put holes in it as needed. Roughly the dimensions of this Rubbermaid container.
  • A water pump. I found a Micro Jet 450 for $16 on Amazon which is tiny and 120 GPH (gallons per hour) which *might* be enough.
  • Tubing and spray nozzles to hook up to said pump. Tubing I’ve got. Not sure where I’m going to find tiny spray nozzles to poke into it. These are apparently rated for 3 GPH.
  • Something to hold the plants. I plan on laser cutting this.
  • A light fixture and a light which plants will grow under

Looking at my parts list, this thing will probably be quite ugly, which is probably why Aero Garden gets away with being so expensive. Because it looks space age, and not like something you’d use to grow illicit plants. I’m starting my hunt for components, and will update as I find things and do more research.

Filed under: DIY Aeroponics

7 thoughts on “New Project: DIY Aero Garden

  1. Jennigma says:

    Fun project! If you use drip irrigation components coupled to an aquarium pump, you may need a pressure reducing valve. The drip components are not designed to handle even normal house water pressure, and aquarium pumps are substantially stronger than that.

    I know there are foggers that are used in terrariums- self contained submersible pumps that work like humidifiers. Here’s an example:

    http://www.sciplus.com/category.cfm/subsection/18/category/176

    (second item down on the page.) Don’t know if they make enough mist for your purposes.

    Also the tray for holding the plants can probably be made from flourescent light diffuser plastic grids. I use that stuff for all kinds of aquarium construction projects. 🙂

  2. Ben Combee says:

    Too bad you missed the HTINK urban hydroponics class… one will happen again in the near future.

    The guy who taught the class has a site at http://www.boswyckfarms.org/ that gives some details.

  3. ken says:

    I’ve been wanting to experiment with aeroponics as well, also inspired by seeing those Aero Gardens. Plus I totally missed getting anything started in time to go in the ground in my actual garden this year… Are you going to go organic?

    1. Kellbot says:

      I’m not sure organic really applies so much here, at least not in the commercial organic sense. I’m not using any insecticides or pesticides at all, organic or not, since it’s all indoors and without soil. A lot of the food that’s sold as organic is still grown using non-organic fertilizers. My understanding is that organic fertilizers and aeroponics don’t really mix. At least not in a good way. All the little buggies that make organic farming organic cause mold and bacteria blooms in a damp, enclosed environment like an aeroponic chamber.

      I’m using MaxiGro as a fertilizer, if you’re curious what’s in it I found the label here: http://www.generalhydroponics.com/genhydro_US/product_labels/maxigro_1.5lb.pdf

  4. halidev says:

    what is the instrument used or the machenisum behind it .How can we get that aerogarden .

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