We have moved - but just up the street to 38 Chapel Street and our new hours are

Monday 0930 to 1730
Friday 0930 to 1730
Saturday 0930 to 1230

We are available for consultation and site visits at these times- other times by appointment by email (robin@soladome.com.au)

After 35 years at 44 Chapel Street it was time for a change to a web based operation and to offer guidance based on many years of practical experience.

 

 

How do I make a simple drip feed system ?

Chose a location that will suit the plants to be grown to give good light, warmth and shelter from strong draughts.

Mount the gulley so that it is horizontal and the drain end is just higher than the top of the waste bucket. Make sure that the holes in the gulley are facing up. Set up the reservoir so that the base of the reservoir is 30 cm above the drip-in hole of the gulley...

Chose a location that will suit the plants to be grown to give good light, warmth and shelter from strong draughts.

Mount the gulley so that it is horizontal and the drain end is just higher than the top of the waste bucket. Make sure that the holes in the gulley are facing up. Set up the reservoir so that the base of the reservoir is 30 cm above the drip-in hole of the gulley...

 |-------| | -  -  | reservoir
 |  -  - | | - - - | |_______|--|         gulley with plants 
           |            |__     \/     \/     \/     \/               |     |      |      |      |            |-- ---- | ---- | ---- | ---- | ----|            
|XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX|---|            |-----------------------------------|   |                                                    |                                                 |     |                                  waste bucket   |-----|                                                 |- - -|                                                 |_____|
 

Parts list (with approximate costs in Australian $)

20 litre reservoir with cap

12.00

3/4 BSP threaded outlet to reservoir

 

3/4 BSP to 13 mm director

1.00

On/off tap

2.75

13 mm pvc tube approx 20 cm

0.20

13 mm barbed elbow

0.50

13 mm stop end

0.35

Dripper ( mains pressure 4.5 litre per hour type )

0.15

6 mm tube approx 12 cm

0.10

Gulley with holes for plants 90 mm ( 3 1/2 inches ) round plastic pipe 120 cm to 300 cm ( 4 feet to 9 feet long ) holes about 7.5 cm ( 3 inches ) diameter spaced 17.5 cm ( 7 inches ) apart.

 

At the inlet end of the gulley near the end cap you will need a 2.5 cm ( 1 inch ) diameter hole for the dripper to feed the gulley.

15.00 to 30.00

End caps fitted to plastic pipe

3.20

Grommet fitted at waste end cap to take 13 mm fittings.

1.00

13 mm barbed elbow

0.50

13 mm pvc tube to drain into drain bucket about 30 cm

0.30

9 litre drain bucket

1.00

Plastic funnel with removable mesh filter ( use plastic scotch-brite pads )

5.00

A stand for the reservoir and three upturned buckets for support for the gulley.

15.00 + 3.00

   
 

Setting up

Chose a location that will suit the plants to be grown to give good light, warmth and shelter from strong draughts.

Mount the gulley so that it is horizontal and the drain end is just higher than the top of the waste bucket. Make sure that the holes in the gulley are facing up. Set up the reservoir so that the base of the reservoir is 30 cm above the drip-in hole of the gulley.

Fill the gulley with washed hydroponic medium ( coarse river gravel is a good starting medium ) and then set the gulley on the stands making sure that it is horizontal and supported so that it does not sag. Use the waste bucket to add water to the gulley and adjust the position of the gulley to make sure that it is horizontal and keep adding water until water just dribbles out of the drain end.

Turn the reservoir tap off and using the waste bucket mix up a half strength nutrient solution and fill the reservoir but leave the cap only resting on the top ( do not screw the cap onto the reservoir ).

Place the waste bucket under the drain tube of the gulley to catch the overflow from the gulley.

Adjust the position of the dripper 6 mm tube so that it is positioned over the middle of the gulley drip-in hole. Make sure that the dripper flag is pointing towards the dripper 6 mm outlet tube. turn on the reservoir tap and check that after a while drips start coming from the end of the dripper 6 mm outlet tube and drop into the middle of the drip-in hole of the gulley.

Plant the young plants in the medium at each hole position. The waste tube can be swivelled up and down and if the waste bucket is placed in front of the gulley this makes moving the waste bucket a lot easier.

The dripper will drip at the rate of about 8 litres per 24 hours so once it it set up one can leave the system for 3 - 4 days. However most people prefer to take the waste once a day and using the funnel and filter pour the waste back into the reservoir and then top up the reservoir with fresh water. This gives you a chance to test and sample the nutrient and keep a check on the water and nutrient consumption of the system.

With young plants after one to two weeks mix up the other half of the nutrient solution and add to the reservoir.

When plants are about 15 cm tall or approximately 4 weeks old they should be able to accept normal strength nutrient appropriate for the type of plant being grown.

Change the nutrient about every two weeks by emptying the reservoir onto your garden and making up a fresh nutrient solution.

Check each day that the dripper is dripping. If it slows or blocks up clean the dripper by holding the barrel of the dripper in one hand and pull on the stalk part which is attached to the flag with the other hand and pull out the stalk core of the dripper . Clean by using a soft brush then replace making sure that the flag is in line with the 6 mm dripper outlet tube ( 12 o'clock position ). Make sure that the stalk part is fully pushed back into the dripper barrel.

About every 2 - 3 months it may be necessary to flush out the entire system to remove accumulated salts.

If very little or no waste liquid is in the waste bucket after a 24 hour period and there is still liquid dripping into the gulley then it is likely that the plants need more liquid and another dripper can be fitted next to the first dripper (cost about 20 cents). If there are two drippers fitted for summer time then in winter one can be turned off by turning the dripper stalk flag to the 9 o'clock position.