An example project and code to run a greenhouse (or maybe a local food revolution ...).
As always it's a Work In Progress (WIP).
Checkout the Twitch stream [coming soon] https://twitch.com
You can even fund some projects and the ongoing development of the urban distributed agriculutre concept. Sign up via Patreon [coming soon] https://patreon.com
As demand grows for high quality produce and the thirst for robust low impact supply chains expands a number of projects are being created to commercialize and educate the consumer. However, everyone should be able to create their own sustainable food source.
Some examples include:
- Paris, France - Agricool
- Bay Area, United States -
- MIT food computer V1, V2, V3 link
- (Please add)
What is Aquaponics?
The Plan - v0.1 Backyard Greenhouse
- Insulate where possible the sump tank
- It's very hard to holesaw PVC, try to use fittings instead
- Assume you don't have wifi
- Ensure you have multiple water routes
- Design your circuits
- You are at the mercy of water temp
Prep the area, level it put down wire. Then create a frame to house the gravel/rock.
- 20 x 10ft Shelter Logic extra high greenhouse
- 2" PVC pipe
- 4 x 300 Gal. IBCs
- 2 x 50 Gal. barrels with removable lids
- 2 x 3-500 Gal. tanks
- 1 x 20 Gal. Bucket
- 20 x UniSeals
- Dow Blue Board Foam
- 2" PVC Couplers
- 2" PVC Ts
- 2" PVC X
- 4 x 2" PVC union joints
- 4 x 2" PVC male threads
- 2" PVC 90'
- 2" to 3/4" adapter female to male
- 4 x 3/4" X manifold female
- 12 x 12v 3/4" solenoid / Function wise it may be better to just get the 2" Krain 24V valves
- Solderable bread board
- Male and Femal terminals crimp on
- Red and Black small gauge wire
- Multi Colored medium gauge wire
- 2 X Sparkfun Particle Photon
- 12v Power supply
- 5V activated 4 Relay board
- 2 x Xaomi ip cameras
- 4 x temp prope
- 1 x humidity prope
- Pure loctite silicone (No anti-fungal agents)
- Bio balls
- Air pump
- 3 x large airstones
- Large water pump
- 20 x Cinder blocks
- PVC Glue - Not too hot...
- Extension cable
- 2" PVC Valves
- 4 x Pallets
- Chicken wire
- 2x2" Timber to make frame for cover
- Pool noodles
- Hyropoinc 2" baskets
- Rockwool cubes
- 1 Gallon/ 4 Litres white paint
- Dish washing liquid
- Plumbing thread tape
- Hydroponic buckets
- Rockwool cubes
- Iron supplement
- Fish food
- 2" & 3" holesaw
- PVC pip cutter
- Allen keys
- Socket set
- Skrew drivers
- Angle grinder
- Stanley knife
- PH meter
- Sand paper
- Garden hose
- Soldering iron
- Pole and paint applicator
- Pressure washer
The overall design evolved as it was built but I am realtivly confident that it is in a stable state now.
Step 1 - Build the greenhouse
Select an area and get it levelled off and make sure the bottom is well draining.
This video shows the process. Note be sure to measure the space. In our case we had to leave out one section due to a leaning fence.
You you will need at least 2 people.
Step 2 - Cut the IBCs in half
First be sure that they are clean. If not use a pressure washer to clean them.
- Take the IBCs out of their metal cages - keep the metals bars as they will be used later.
- Use a string line and sharpie to mark all 4 sides of the container.
- Cut them with the angle grinder using a cutting disk.
- Trim the extra metal such that it is not pertruding.
- Mount the top half of the metal cages to the 4 pallets.
- Replace the 1/2 IBCs into the 8 pallet holders/containers.
Step 3 - Wash the rocks
Depending on what media you have selected its a great idea to wash them such that minimal debris is present.
You can use two of the IBCs and place them at an angle such that the water drains through the valve.
Use the pressure washer and add the rocks as you clean them.
Step 4 - Setup the water flow
Now we want to create the water flow for the setup.
- Place the deep water culture IBCs on the side of you preference.
- Place the cider blocks in groups of four such that you can place the IBCs with original bottoms on them.
- Determine your water route
- Use the holesaw to cut the desired holes
- Install the uniseals
- Cut the PVC to length and glue the required sections
- Trim the PVC so that it has a taper with a stanley knife
- Use dish soap to push the PVC through
- Move the rock IBCs to their positions
- Attache the union joints using thread tape to get a good seal
- Create the top water dispenser manifold
- Create the bottom water manifold
- Connect the water manifolds to the tank and pump outlet
- Create the swirl filter
- Create the bioreactor
- Install the airpump and stones
- Install the pump and connect to water inlets
- Begin water filling and cycling, fill the deep water IBCs first
The system should now be cycling and you can add the fish once you are comfortable with the flow and water quality.
Step 5 - Create floating rafts
Paint the tops of the boards.
Measure out the Dow Blue board and cut it with a sharp knife, angle grinder or multi tool.
Create the 2" hole for the planting. Create a offset pattern depending on what you intend to grow.
Keep the hole cut outs as you may want to place them back in to grow in alternate configurations.
Step 6 - Water manifolds and sensing
Create the water manifolds with the solenoids.
Attach them to the top water pipes.
Using the particle board, connect it to the relay module and program it to cycle.
Using another particle add the temp, humidity, light and any other sensors you'd like. (TODO)
Run the wiring and solder where neccasary.
In order of ease:
- Gold fish
- Talapia (Temp and water quality can be challenging)
- Trout (Temp and water quality can be challenging)
Operations & Maintaince
Feeding calculation v. ease
Year 1 Crop
Using only the floating rafts we were able to grow an extrodinary amount of:
- Tomatoes (planted too late)
- Thai basil
Year 2 Crop
- Lemon balm
- Collard greens
- Peas (planted late)
(Coming Soon) For Real - v0.2 20 and 40ft containers! (Maybe...)
Building out vertical solutions in a container that can be delivered to you or a driveway near you.
DIY v. OTS
There are a number of items and even complete systems that you can buy. I have taken a very DIY centric approach to ensure that costs are kept low.
This has however, created a number of challenges and made some things take longer as I looked for solutions.
- Proper sealing
- Heating and cooling
- HVAC $$$?
- Cooling wall
- Add vertical growing ala zip grow
- Add aeroponics link
- Add fully automated robotic crop maintaince - farmbot
- Live camera streaming and image object detection plus localization/masking. hack