Cool Hydroponic System Displayed At The 2012 Maker Faire

This year my family and I went to the 2012 Maker Faire, and MAN was it awesome. One thing I was surprised to see was an urban homesteading section that had all kinds of cool booths which were exhibiting everything from DIY seedbombs, to how to grow your own mushrooms or make honey with your own bee hive. Cool, right?

The coolest exhibit however, was Vertical Theory’s vertical plant tower they had running off 5 gallon buckets.

 Vertical-Theory’s plant towers, running off 5 gallon buckets on a drip system using felt holders.                  -Maker Faire 2012

 They essentially took a few yards of felt, tailored it as seen above into little pouches to hold some hydroton, and then strung them up on a stick above a 5 gallon bucket. In the bucket is a single pump which pumps water from the reservoir through a hose to the top of the tower, where it feeds into the first plant and subsequently waters all of the plants below it as gravity pulls it back down into the bucket. The water is recaptured at the bottom by a funnel which is jerry-rigged onto the top of the 5 gallon bucket’s lid. Genius. The only improvement I would make is to NOT USE CLEAR HOSES for the water. As we all know, bacteria LOVES light, so using a black hose would solve a lot of problems down the road with growth in that reservoir!

Here is a video of the system in action:

This system can be made yourself out of cheap parts (I mean felt can’t cost that much for a few yards worth), and holds 3 small plants in it. A constant drip of water circulates through them and back down into the bucket, meaning it relies mainly on gravity, and only requires a single pump. Too easy.

Mark my words, I will be building one of these in my backyard in the coming weeks. I just have to convince my wife to do a little “arts & crafts” work with the felt to get it set up like how they have it in this picture 

And as always, I will take photos and video of my project the entire time and post it here as a front-to-back tutorial with parts list, step-by-step instructions, and an itemized breakdown of what it cost. Stay tuned!


Posted on May 22, 2012 and filed under DIY Projects, Grow Gallery.