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Using PVC pipes for Vertical Hydroponic Farming

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If you’re the kind of do-it-yourself person that likes to get basic materials and make them into elaborate, well-functioning systems, PVC piping is one of the best materials for a DIY hydroponic grower’s setup.

The unique properties of PVC pipe are great for many aspects of running a hydroponic operation. This material is fairly lightweight and portable, relatively easy to cut and alter, and overall, pretty safe for use.

Structural Supports

One of the most important things in brainstorming a hydroponics setup with PVC is making sure that areas of the grow infrastructure will be well supported, and won't fall apart or collapse over time. Remember, you'll be running a lot of water and nutrients through these systems, and plants will eventually grow to have some amount of weight. There may be traffic in a grow area and other pressures on the system. You don't want something that's fragile enough to fall apart during the plant cycles.

Joining PVC Pieces

There's also the trick of joining together PVC piping in a way that supports the hydroponic project. If you have internal irrigation tubing that reaches individual closed plant pots, this might not be as much of an issue, but for most systems, you want to make sure that residual water is not leaking out of a spot on a particular pipe. Some growers use materials similar to those used in plumbing, for example, plumber’s bonding glues or rubber couplings.

Making Room for Plants

One of the most common ways to use PVC piping for plants is to cut a small round hole in the top of the pipe, in which to put individual plant pots. Follow recommendations and directions on how close to plant individual plants together, so that they don't crowd each other. Again, it's relatively easy to use a small jigsaw or other tool to cut these top holes, but figure out water levels to make sure that you’re cutting correctly.

Running Tubing

Growers can run tubing inside PVC to get plants the water and nutrients they need on a regular basis. These tubes may spray water jets into sterile media, or allow water to passively soak out and irrigate plants. Make sure you've figured out how to run the tubing before you seal together the PVC pieces, or you might have an access problem.

For more on using all sorts of neat pieces of equipment to build your own hydroponic structures, check out Dealzer’s web site, where we offer a lot of guidance to a worldwide growing community.

 
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