Geekzone: technology news, blogs, forums
Guest
Welcome Guest.
You haven't logged in yet. If you don't have an account you can register now.


13990 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 2493

Trusted
Subscriber

Topic # 150193 14-Jul-2014 18:57
Send private message

I'm building home made versions of the earthbox, which is a self watering system for plants. I want to grow vegetables for us to eat, plus strawberries, tomatoes, that sort of thing. I'd appreciate some help finding parts.

The way it works is water is sucked up into soil by capillary action from a reservoir in the bottom of the container, but it's separated to avoid getting too much soil in the water. There's a good diagram here, which I'll try to include below.

I have some 90L Sistema containers from The Warehouse, I got them on a two for one sale. I have supports, 100mm PVC pipe. The part I'm having trouble with is the rigid screen, which is what the soil sits on.

The two major materials the DIY people seem to use is:
 - The lid of the container. I've tried this, but the plastic of the containers I've chosen is quite bendy making it difficult to work with, and also cracks quite easily when you cut near the edges. With solid plastic you have to drill lots of holes through it, so air can get into the roots of the plants, and to let water come up. Example image here.
 - Plastic grate, as shown on this page by this image. This example uses ceiling tile grate, which is cheap in the US. I can't find anything similar in NZ though.

Can anyone suggest a rigid waterproof plastic or grate that might work well in there? The box size is approx 650 x 400mm. I want to make quite a few, so it can't be super expensive. Perhaps:
 - Some kind of a grate, that can be cut to fit the box
 - Rigid plastic, but that can be drilled and cut to fit the container
 - I thought about thick wire mesh, but it would rust out eventually, and probably not be great to have in the soil
 - Some other creative idea? I considered wood but it would eventually rot, plus treated wood has awful chemicals in it
 - A couple I found are safety flooring and walkway grating, but I suspect they could be pretty expensive

Any bright ideas anyone?






AWS Certified Solution Architect Professional, Sysop Administrator Associate, and Developer Associate
TOGAF certified enterprise architect
Professional photographer


Create new topic
523 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 79

Trusted
Lifetime subscriber

  Reply # 1088853 14-Jul-2014 20:13
Send private message

Hi timmmay, have you had a look at some aquarium undergravel filter plates. Used to be the mainstay of aquarium filtration many moons ago but modern external filters are now more common. In essence they create a space between the bottom of the aquarium and the substrate, so are relatively rigid. I'm not sure of costs or sizes but you may be able to put 2 or 3 together and pick up some second hand.

P.S. they're already "slotted" so water passes through, so no drilling required



13990 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 2493

Trusted
Subscriber

  Reply # 1088870 14-Jul-2014 20:23
Send private message

Thanks, interesting idea. Unfortunately it'd cost at least $32 per container, which is more expensive than the containers themselves, making them a bit too expensive I think. Cheap is important in this jury rigged effort! Thanks for the thought :)




AWS Certified Solution Architect Professional, Sysop Administrator Associate, and Developer Associate
TOGAF certified enterprise architect
Professional photographer


2467 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 667


  Reply # 1088895 14-Jul-2014 21:06
Send private message

Have you looked into Seratone yet? If you can't find pre perforated sheets, you could easily drill them out in whatever size holes suit the project, and they are firm and plastic too :)



13990 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 2493

Trusted
Subscriber

  Reply # 1088904 14-Jul-2014 21:28
Send private message

I've never heard of it before you mentioned it. Looks like you can get big 2400mmx1200 sheets for $89 on trademe, retail more like $200-300. Any building product like that would likely do the job. It's 5mm thick so it's probably pretty rigid, maybe a bit more difficult to work with is all, given all the holes and cutouts I need to do, but possible. A sheet that size should do 6-8 containers. Good suggestion!

I wonder if it'd be worth a trip to the wreckers, they might have something similar.




AWS Certified Solution Architect Professional, Sysop Administrator Associate, and Developer Associate
TOGAF certified enterprise architect
Professional photographer


2401 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 702

Trusted
Lifetime subscriber

  Reply # 1088923 14-Jul-2014 22:17
One person supports this post
Send private message

PhantomNVD: Have you looked into Seratone yet?

Seratone is one brand of bathroom wallboard IIRC.  It has the shiny waterproof stuff on one site, but the other side is compressed wood fibres that doesn't like being wet.




"4 wheels move the body.  2 wheels move the soul."

“Don't believe anything you read on the net. Except this. Well, including this, I suppose.” Douglas Adams

63 posts

Master Geek
+1 received by user: 2


  Reply # 1088945 14-Jul-2014 23:16
Send private message

If you are going to drill holes what about a piece of core flute. The stuff real estate signs are made from.
You can buy large sheets of various thickness http://www.awardplastics.co.nz/shop/Sheet+Plastics/Corflute.html
o
r recycle real estate signs :)

2401 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 702

Trusted
Lifetime subscriber

  Reply # 1088947 14-Jul-2014 23:22
Send private message

That's a great idea. Perhaps 2 layers with the grain running opposite directions for extra rigidity.




"4 wheels move the body.  2 wheels move the soul."

“Don't believe anything you read on the net. Except this. Well, including this, I suppose.” Douglas Adams

2455 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 291


  Reply # 1088963 14-Jul-2014 23:52
Send private message

If these will be outside I wouldn't worry about life of subsoil components. The limiting factor will be the life of the plastic exposed to UV. This is like pot plants in the bath. Could you just stick any container with a hole in the bottom in a tray of water?



13990 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 2493

Trusted
Subscriber

  Reply # 1089009 15-Jul-2014 08:25
Send private message

grb67: If you are going to drill holes what about a piece of core flute. The stuff real estate signs are made from.
You can buy large sheets of various thickness http://www.awardplastics.co.nz/shop/Sheet+Plastics/Corflute.html
o
r recycle real estate signs :)


Dynamic: That's a great idea. Perhaps 2 layers with the grain running opposite directions for extra rigidity.


Corflute may be the best idea I've heard so far! So long as it's fully plastic and not paper. Is it rigid enough to hold a hold of soil on top?

Bung: If these will be outside I wouldn't worry about life of subsoil components. The limiting factor will be the life of the plastic exposed to UV. This is like pot plants in the bath. Could you just stick any container with a hole in the bottom in a tray of water?


They'll be in a greenhouse, which is UV shielded, and the plastic box is probably UV protected as well.

In theory any container with a hole in the bottom will work at least party. The idea of this is you have a large amount of water available, set up so it doesn't get waterlogged, and the holes you add provide oxygen to the soil which helps them grow.




AWS Certified Solution Architect Professional, Sysop Administrator Associate, and Developer Associate
TOGAF certified enterprise architect
Professional photographer


523 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 79

Trusted
Lifetime subscriber

  Reply # 1089448 15-Jul-2014 18:46
Send private message

Bar-B-Q grill ??? :-)



13990 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 2493

Trusted
Subscriber

  Reply # 1089532 15-Jul-2014 20:29
Send private message

ubernoob: Bar-B-Q grill ??? :-)


I need maybe 20 very large, plus they'd rust. Probably not practical.




AWS Certified Solution Architect Professional, Sysop Administrator Associate, and Developer Associate
TOGAF certified enterprise architect
Professional photographer


2401 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 702

Trusted
Lifetime subscriber

  Reply # 1089537 15-Jul-2014 20:36
Send private message

timmmay: Corflute may be the best idea I've heard so far! So long as it's fully plastic and not paper. Is it rigid enough to hold a hold of soil on top?

Depending on the weight, I would think you would need to support it in the middle.  That should be easily done, potentially with a round section of PVC piping that can happily sit in the water.




"4 wheels move the body.  2 wheels move the soul."

“Don't believe anything you read on the net. Except this. Well, including this, I suppose.” Douglas Adams



13990 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 2493

Trusted
Subscriber

  Reply # 1089543 15-Jul-2014 20:46
Send private message

Dynamic:
timmmay: Corflute may be the best idea I've heard so far! So long as it's fully plastic and not paper. Is it rigid enough to hold a hold of soil on top?

Depending on the weight, I would think you would need to support it in the middle.  That should be easily done, potentially with a round section of PVC piping that can happily sit in the water.


Yeah, I'm planning on five supports, including one central.




AWS Certified Solution Architect Professional, Sysop Administrator Associate, and Developer Associate
TOGAF certified enterprise architect
Professional photographer


Create new topic

Twitter »

Follow us to receive Twitter updates when new discussions are posted in our forums:



Follow us to receive Twitter updates when news items and blogs are posted in our frontpage:



Follow us to receive Twitter updates when tech item prices are listed in our price comparison site:





News »

Hawaiki Transpacific cable ready-for-service
Posted 20-Jul-2018 11:29


Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central launches
Posted 10-Jul-2018 10:40


Spark completes first milestone in voice platform upgrade
Posted 10-Jul-2018 09:36


Microsoft ices heated developers
Posted 6-Jul-2018 20:16


PB Technologies charged for its extended warranties and warned for bait advertising
Posted 3-Jul-2018 15:45


Almost 20,000 people claim credits from Spark
Posted 29-Jun-2018 10:40


Cove sells NZ's first insurance policy via chatbot
Posted 25-Jun-2018 10:04


N4L helping TAKA Trust bridge the digital divide for Lower Hutt students
Posted 18-Jun-2018 13:08


Winners Announced for 2018 CIO Awards
Posted 18-Jun-2018 13:03


Logitech Rally sets new standard for USB-connected video conference cameras
Posted 18-Jun-2018 09:27


Russell Stanners steps down as Vodafone NZ CEO
Posted 12-Jun-2018 09:13


Intergen recognised as 2018 Microsoft Country Partner of the Year for New Zealand
Posted 12-Jun-2018 08:00


Finalists Announced For Microsoft NZ Partner Awards
Posted 6-Jun-2018 15:12


Vocus Group and Vodafone announce joint venture to accelerate fibre innovation
Posted 5-Jun-2018 10:52


Kogan.com to launch Kogan Mobile in New Zealand
Posted 4-Jun-2018 14:34



Geekzone Live »

Try automatic live updates from Geekzone directly in your browser, without refreshing the page, with Geekzone Live now.



Are you subscribed to our RSS feed? You can download the latest headlines and summaries from our stories directly to your computer or smartphone by using a feed reader.

Alternatively, you can receive a daily email with Geekzone updates.