A Simple Hydroponic Drip System

| February 13, 2017
Basic Drip System
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

Hydroponic Drip System Update *2-23-21

If I had to redesign this system, I’d consider a larger reservoir. I would also use hydrodoton or lava rock, as a growing medium to prevent debris from blocking drainage, and simply run the water pump with more frequency.

Hydroponic Drip System Basics

A 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 SystemBasic Drip System CloseupDrip Emitter SetupDrip System Overview

The 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, larger reservoir, etc.

Hydroponic Drip System Equipment

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.

1. Coco Coir ($5.00-$25.00) - Order It
2. Perlite ($3.00-$12.00) - Order It
2. Pot or growing container WITHOUT drainage. ($2.00-$12.00) - Order It
3. Small Reservoir or 5 gallon bucket ($2.00-$120.00) - Order It
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)
9. 6 Zone Pressure Compensating Drip Emitter with 1/2″ FNPT QTY 1 ($2-$6) - Order It
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) - Order It
13. 24 hour/7 day Outlet Timer [mechanical or digital] – ($2.99-$25.00 ) - Order It
14. Air Pump ($4.99-$29.99) - Order It
15. Air stone ($0.99-$1.29) - Order It
16. 3-5 feet of 1/4″ airline ($0.99-$3.99) - Order It
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