Today I sowed the seeds in garden #2, which is the first one I started on. It uses an aquarium water pump, 1/2″ tubing, and spray nozzels.
I’m not really happy with it. I managed to order the wrong spray nozzels (again), and the ones I got spray a fine mist, but straight out instead of in a 360 degree circle. This would be great if I had a big outdoor garden, but doesn’t really work for my little planter. I also don’t like how tall the whole thing has to be for the plants to clear the spray nozzles, since the tubing sits about an inch taller than the pump, which itself is an inch and a half tall. And it’s noisy. You can hear the sound of trickling water when it’s on, although I’m hoping that will be resolved by eventually getting the correct nozzles.
I also realized I had a design flaw. The power cord, which is supposed to go through the small hole in the front, won’t fit. Because unlike airline tubing, which can be detached and reattached easily, the water pump power cord doesn’t come off. So it has to go through a hole big enough for the 3 prong plug to fit in. Unfortunately the only hole big enough was one of the plant holes, so until I order more acrylic to cut a new top it’s just a 5 plant unit.
Overall I’m feeling a little cranky about this planter. I think this design would be well suited for something larger. Home Depot had some fun looking 12″ diameter plastic planters, and if I had anything resembling a basement I’d build something nice and big and grow tomatos in it. But I don’t, and this design just isn’t working so great on a smaller scale.
On the plus side I cut black caps to replace the felt ones I was using before and etched the plant names into them. And they look pretty sweet. They give the whole thing a sweet sci-fi look. I stuffed a plastic bag into the open holes (one for adding water, one which is the failed power cord hole, and one which is a plant hole with a power cord sticking out). It’s very technical.
It’ll probably be a week or two before I get more acrylic in, so this one will have do until then. I’m holding off on ordering different spray heads until I get a better feel for exactly what I need, because it’s annoying to spend more on shipping then you do the actual item.
Over at planter #1, things are starting to grow. One very eager basil seed is starting to sprout, and another one looks like it may come up tomorrow. The oregano is still in hiding, probably won’t see that until next week.
Filed under: DIY Aeroponics