A Simple Hydroponic Drip System

Basic Drip SystemA simple automated drip irrigation system is pretty easy to build. Drip hydroponic systems offer unfamiliar hydroponic growers an opportunity to work with dirt-like growing mediums, but unlike soil the hydroponic growing mediums offer greater flexibility and control over aeration and moisture holding capabilities.

Our example system is very basic in principle. Water is sent through drip irrigation to plants from a reservoir beneath the growing container. Plants are potted in a pot or growing container filled with a 50/50 mix of coco coir fibers and perlite. The excess runoff is returned through drainage to the reservoir via two 1/2″ hoses. The hoses are attached to barbs, securely fit into grommets, that fit into drain holes that are drilled into the growing container. The system automatically runs off of an 24 hour outlet timer.

Our example uses basic irrigation equipment, a pond pump, and a fairly basic timer. It is also stowed nicely into a custom cedar planter box to make things a bit more aesthetically pleasing.

Basic Drip System CloseupThe cost to build this system can range based on availability of materials, and your ability to price shop. The system pictured, cost roughly $45-$50(sans cedar planter box) and can accommodate a couple more plants. The cost would increase as one scaled the system to accommodate more growing beds. Its a simple economic issue of needing a more powerful water pump, additional plumbing, more growing containers, etc.

What you will need for this basic hydroponic drip system is in the build list below. Shown are quantities, and what Gardenisto perceives to be reasonable ranges on the cost of equipment in US dollars.

Drip Emitter Setup1. Coco Coir ($5.00-$25.00)
2. Perlite ($3.00-$12.00)
2. Pot or growing container WITHOUT drainage. ($2.00-$12.00)
3. Small Reservoir or 5 gallon bucket ($2.00-$120.00)
4. 1/4″ riser pipe, 6″ minimum length ($0.15-$0.99)
5. 1/2″ drip line QTY 8-10 feet ($2.40-$6.00)
6. 1/2″ barbs QTY 2 ($0.30-$1.50)
7. 1/2″ grommet QTY 2 ($0.40-$2.00)
8. 1/4″ drip line QTY 10 feet ($0.50-$2.00)
Drip System Overview9. 6 Zone Pressure Compensating Drip Emitter with 1/2″ FNPT QTY 1 ($2-$6)
10. 1/2″ female to 1/2″ barb adapter QTY 1 ($0.30-$1.20)
11. Adjustable Flow 1/4″ drip risers QTY 6 ($2.00-$6.00)
12. Water Pump – about 200gph ($10.00-$60.00)
13. 24 hour/7 day Outlet Timer [mechanical or digital] – ($2.99-$25.00 )
14. Air Pump ($4.99-$29.99)
15. Air stone ($0.99-$1.29)
16. 3-5 feet of 1/4″ airline ($0.99-$3.99)