Monday, April 14, 2014

PVC Strawberries growing system

Growing in PVC is not a new concept.  I have seen other people do this so I followed "some" of their ideas and put it into a working system with my Aquaponics.  I decided to grow some strawberries in mine. However, this could grow all kinds of things.

What you'll need...
3 - 4" PVC 10'
1 - 1" PVC 4'
1 - 3/4" PVC 3'
6 - 4" PVC Caps
4 - 1" PVC Elbows
1 - 3/4" PVC 45 Elbow
1 - 1"x10' Vinyl Braided Tubing
4 - 1" Uni-seals
2 - 3/4" Uni-seals
1 1/4" Hole Saw bit
1 3/4" Hole Saw bit
3" Hole Saw bit
1/4" Dripline hose
3 - 3/8"x1/4" Brass Barb x MIP Adapter
Hose Clamps
Galvanized Steel Hanger Strap
A few screws to attach Hangers
3" Net Pots
Fish Tank Pump*

Let's chat about the Fish Tank Pump for a minute.  I put a star buy this as not any old pump will work. Depending on your system and the height that the pump is going to have to "push" the water up will determine what kind of pump that you will need. I have a RIO 2500 submersible pump in this system. I needed a pump that had a "max head" of 10'. This pump also has a flow adjustment which is helpful for this.

When I first put this together I attached the ends with 4" Elbows and attached all the pipes together and started it right up. I did run into a problem of the water just skimming on the bottom of the 4" tubes and not reaching my net pots. I finally found an guy on the internet who just glued in a sour cream lid in his to create a dam. Then through the growing season he removes them. That seemed like to much work for me so I changed out our ends and attached the 4" caps instead. I must say the whole system works great. No over flows and the net pots are getting water. By adding the caps and the holes in the middle of the caps this allows the 4" tubes to fill 1/2 way up and then drain. This ensures that your net pots will get wet.

1. Drill your 3" holes in your 4" pipes. Depending on what your going to add you can have different spacing. I would recommend running a chalk line down the 4" tube (makes it easier to drill straight).  I spaced ours 8" on center. I have 14 holes in each pipe.

2. Drill your end caps. 2 of the end caps will need drilled in the middle of the cap with the 1 1/4" hole saw bit.  This is for the 3/4" Uni-seal and the pvc pipe which will attach to the pump and at the very end. The other 4 caps will have the 1 3/4" hold saw bit, 1" Uni-seal and the pvc pipe. Also, on these 4 ends you will need to drill a 3/8 hole to fit the 3/8"x1/4" Brass Barb x MIP Adapter under the middle hole on the lower end of the end cap. This is to help drain the whole tube. (On a side note...Uni-seals are the bomb! I will never use anything different! They hold, don't leak and are so easy to install. I highly recommend them.)
3. Put in the 1" Uni-seals and the 3/8"x1/4" Brass Barb x MIP Adapter in the 4 end caps. You will need a wrench to tighten the brass adapter. At this time cut 4 - 3" long 1" pvc pipe and put in the Uni-seal now. They are tough to put in...a little window cleaner will make it go in easier.

4. Attach the end caps to the 4" pipe. Mine are not glued. They do have a drip leak every now and then but I want to be able to fix or clean out in the future. Hang your 4" pipe. You will need a helper for this. They need to be level and attached with the hanger straps.

5. Now you just need to measure the distance between your 4" pipes to attach the 1" pvc pipe with the 1" elbows. Cut to length.