I took some more pictures of my farm as it’s evolved. The reservoir, airlift and lighting are the biggest changes. I also included some detailed shots of materials I’ve used.
I have quite some experience with my farm so far which I’d like to share. As you can see from the picture, it grew. I now have 8 containers made from 2l fanta bottles with net pots in them. The reservoir is made from an Ikea container named Rationell. They make it from recyled plastic bottles. It has a lid that closes perfectly and blocks out any light. The airlift tubes are wrapped around a net pot and sunk into the reservoir by a stone i put into the net pot. I have strawberries, peppers, cherry tomatoes and beans growing, the 2 remaining containers will get more tomatoes and another sort of beans. After experimenting with wine bottles and using a mixture of techniques taken from @eloinen and @jamesnutter, I went back to plastic bottles, but keeping the 2mm steel cables for suspending the bottles. In my opinion, it looks beautiful and is incredibly sturdy. With the wine bottles, it all wasn’t holding together very well and I experienced quite some leakage. I had some ph problems with my old setup, but it all seems fine now.
I have my pump on a day timer. It runs for 15 minutes every 2 hours. It has a break between 1am and 7am. For the end and the start of the cycle, I let the pump run for 30 minutes.
I have two individual t-joint airlifts installed. What I noticed is that they take a while before they start performing well when installed for the first time or after changing the water in the reservoir (i.e. they come out of the water). I guess this is due to air in wrong parts of the hoses. In the beginning, I always fiddled around with the installation because I thought something was wrong. However my finding is to just let it run for an hour or so and see if it sorts itself out.
Water exit on top
You may see on the pics that they’re not identical on the 2 columns. Actually this was unintended but proves as a good solution for my pepper. It doesn’t like to much water, and the short end shoots most of the water on the bottles wall, making it flow down directly to the next bottle while only a few drops now and then actually get into the container.
Water and nutrients
I’m running my farm on some bought nutrients which seem to work fine. I change the water about every week to 10 days, checking the pH every now and then. It’s usually between 7.2 and 7.8. Once, I had it hitting 8, don’t know why and after a water change it never happened again.
Fortunately, we don’t have chlorine in tap water here in Switzerland, so no need to air it out first.
On my to-do list:
- Adding lighting. I ordered a 20W solar kit with a battery, charger, alternating-current converter and a bunch of red-and-blue LED growing bulbs which should arrive any day now. I want my garden to be independent from the power grid. It is quite an investment and I will have to grow a lot of veggies for a return on investment. But for me, it makes no sense having to buy a lot of electricity to grow plants.
- Starting a worm-tea manufacturing process.
Edit: I put a lot of info in the pic’s descriptions, but don’t know why it’s not displaying. Anyone know what went wrong?